Mowing just isn’t enough to get your lawn in top shape. For a truly well-kept yard, you need to follow up with an edge trimmer or weed eater to get to those areas that the lawnmower can’t reach. There are several types of weed eater, but which is best for your space? Well, if you have a smaller yard or a limited area that will need to be tended, an electric weed eater may just fit the bill. This type is corded so that you don’t ever have to worry about running out of gas or battery life. We will show you five best electric weed eater options along with everything you need to know to choose and maintain the ideal model for you.
First, let’s look at the different types of weed eater for comparison’s sake. We will be focusing on electric weed eaters here but it can be helpful to understand the pros and cons of other types as well.
You will generally find three types of weed eater that are commonly available: electric, battery, and gas. These tools may also be called weed whackers or string trimmers. Electric models are ideal for smaller yards and have the benefit of a steady energy supply without need of an oil and ethanol-free gas mixture or repeated stopping and recharging of a battery.
An electric weed eater is ideal for people who have a small yard and don’t mind using several extension cords. Ideally, you’ll have an outdoor source of power for your electric weed eater, but it’s also possible to run the cord out a window or door. The nice thing about a corded model is that the power is consistent and steady, which is not so with gas or battery models.
However, you will need to navigate around the cord as you’re working. It can be a tripping hazard, and nicking the cord with your cutting line is quite dangerous. Still, as long as you plan your cutting path in advance, this can be managed. One thing to note is that you’ll almost certainly need to use a couple of extension cords. Some electric models don’t come with any cord at all, but none have extremely long ones that can cover a whole yard.
A battery powered weed eater can be quite convenient because you have a larger range with no cord to consider. However, even the best cordless weed eater won’t give you much more than 30 minutes per charge. For this reason, they aren’t great for larger yards unless you have multiple extra batteries to swap out.
Both electric and battery operated string trimmers are lighter and quieter than gas models, and of course, there is no exhaust to breathe while you’re working. If you choose a battery powered trimmer, just make sure that the battery comes standard with your purchase – sometimes they don’t.
Gas weed eaters are the most powerful models, but they are also the heaviest and loudest. They run on a mixture of ethanol-free gas and oil. Depending on where you live, it can be difficult to find ethanol-free gas, and it’s tricky to get the right mix of gas and oil in the tank. These tools can also be hard to start up, control, and maintain. On the plus side, you can go anywhere you need to within the space and work for a lot longer on one tank of gas.
Regardless of the type of weed eater you buy, you’ll want to pay attention to the style of head it uses. The overall type refers to the unit’s power source, but the cutting action is managed by the head. Many weed eaters allow you to replace the factory head if you prefer.
This most basic model requires you to thread one or two lengths of line into the cutting head, depending on whether it is a dual or single line model. When the cutting line wears out, you replace it. The standard line for fixed head trimmers is typically quite strong and lasts a long time, but you’ll need a whole new replacement line when it stops working as well.
A bump feed head, on the other hand, holds a spool of line that can be fed out as needed by bumping the weed eater on a hard surface. This allows you to vary the length of the line depending on the job, and to feed more out when one breaks. While the spool may contain line that is less sturdy than that on a fixed head, there is a lot more of it. You can go longer before you’ll need to stop and reload a new spool.
An automatic feed head is similar to a bump feed head, except that you don’t need to do anything to feed out more line as necessary. It uses a line spinning motor to keep the line at a standard length. This can make shorter work of your edging job, but gives you less overall control. Because an automatic feed contains a motor, it is more complex than the other varieties and therefore more prone to breakdown.
Weed eaters are shaped basically the same way no matter their power source. They have a long handle with a handgrip on the top end and a cutting head on the bottom. There is usually some sort of debris guard affixed to the cutting head. If it’s a gas weed eater, there will be a largish tank; if it is run on a battery, a battery compartment. Electric weed eaters have a cord that usually comes off the top end, opposite the cutting head. Sometimes there is no cord at all, just a plug receptacle.
Some more upscale models come with additional features to make your trimmer more ergonomic or powerful. These features are nice to have, but make sure you pay attention first to the cutting swath and the weight of the unit. Here are a few examples of weed eater upgrades.
•Double cutting lines handle thick vegetation better and get the job done faster.
•Speed controls are useful when you have varying kinds of vegetation that needs to be cut. You can run on high when you need to, but save energy by turning it down when less power will suffice.
•Shoulder straps help you bear the weight of the weed eater, so that you experience less fatigue as you work.
•Ergonomic handles make it easier to grip and hold your weed eater so you experience less wrist and hand discomfort.
•An anti-vibration handle will also minimize damage to the hands. Weed eaters typically vibrate quite a bit while running, and after awhile can actually cause nerve damage in the hands or wrists.
These extras are nice to have and can push a weed eater past the competition. Ready to look at some top rated models?
Now let’s look deeper at the five top models on our list.
Corded electric weed eaters are easier to operate than gas powered ones, which you have to fill with the right ratio of ethanol-free gasoline and oil, start with a pull cord, and then let warm up for a few minutes before you even start working. Battery powered models need to be charged and recharged frequently. An electric
weed eater, on the other hand, just needs to be plugged in and away you go.
But wait! Before you start, please review our list of tips and tricks to make weed whacking safer, easier, and more efficient.
Protect expensive landscaping
You need a weed eater to trim back vegetation around the edges of your yard and landscaping. Lawn mowers often can’t get all the way to the edge without destroying expensive plants, trees, shrubs, and flowers. However, edge trimmers can do a lot of damage to landscaping as well if the cutting line strikes it.
One way to protect your landscaping is to mulch around it so that there’s a buffer between it and the lawn. Another option is to use your weed eater but stop short of hitting anything valuable and hand trim around these items. That can obviously be quite time consuming, but it is less expensive than mulching or replacing valuable greenery.
Wear protective clothing
This is critical. When operating a weed eater, debris flies everywhere. This can include sticks and gravel as well as vegetation. At a minimum, make sure you have on protective glasses to shield your eyes. You may even want to go further to protect your face from nicks and cuts by donning a full-face visor.
Ideally, you’ll also be wearing long pants and a long sleeved shirt as well. Not only can the chlorophyll in yard trimmings stain your skin, but thorns, woody stems, loose gravel, and even dirt can really hurt when hurled at exposed skin at a high rate of speed.
Pay attention to the weather
You’ll want to wait until the grass and ground in your yard are dry before firing up the weed eater. Wet grass is slippery and difficult to work it, plus it clogs and damages a weed eater very quickly. Muddy ground tends to cause vegetation to be ripped out by the roots rather than cut.
Morning dew will dry in a couple of hours, but if you’ve had a significant amount of rain, you may need to wait at least 24 hours for favorable weed whacking conditions. This will save a great deal of wear and tear on your weed eater and your body.
Keep extra cutting line on hand
With a corded electric weed eater, you don’t need to have gas, oil, or an extra battery around, but you will need to replace the cutting line every so often. Keep a roll or two in your garage or shed so that you don’t get stopped and have to go to the store in the middle of a job.
That said, it is important to take a break every so often if your edging job is a big one. Electric trimmers don’t create quite as much vibration as gas powered ones, but it can still be significant. The vibrations travel through your hands and wrists and have the potential to cause damage after a certain amount of time without a break. If you ignore growing discomfort caused by the vibration, you could sustain permanent nerve damage.
You don’t want to be doing yard work all day, so it makes sense to learn the most efficient way to get the job done. Most weed eaters use a rotating head that spins counterclockwise. If that’s true for yours, it will cut most effectively when swept in a right to left direction through the vegetation. Check to verify which way your cutting head spins – if it goes clockwise, sweep from left to right to cut more effectively.
Depending on your vegetation, you may actually get the job done faster if you make two passes through each section, rather than one. If the plant material is dense or woody, it’s best to cut through the top of it in your first pass and then work closer to the ground on your second. This is because trying to cut long strands of plant matter all at once tends to jam your tool’s cutting head. That’ll slow you down over and over as you turn off the machine and remove the jam before you can begin cutting again.
Now you have a lot to think about, but everything you need to decide upon the best electric weed eater for your yard is right here. Whether you are looking for ergonomic features, wide cutting swath, ease of use, or the ability to take accessories, one of our highly reviewed products should fit the bill. The right electric string trimmer makes all the difference when it comes to keeping a tidy yard. Choose wisely and you’ll get through that work in no time, so you can start enjoying your beautiful space.
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