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Line trimmer reviews

Line trimmer, whipper-snipper, weed-eater, lawn trimmer - whatever the name, which is best for your backyard?
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We review 55 lawn trimmers, including petrol, electric, and cordless battery-powered models, priced from $49 to $549.

Through our rigorous testing, we reveal which lawn trimmers:

  • perform the best at trimming horizontally and vertically
  • perform the best at trimming long grass
  • are the easiest to use.

On this page:

In our years of testing line trimmers (also known as whipper snippers, string trimmers, strimmers, lawn trimmers and weed eaters), we've found that petrol models are your best option for big yards. But electric and cordless battery-powered models have improved in performance and can be good for smaller yards. They're easier to start and quieter to use too.

For more information on lawnmowers and trimmers, see Backyard.

Corded electric trimmers require dragging an extension cord behind you, which is potentially dangerous - so they're only suitable for a small-sized backyard, as are the battery-powered cordless lawn trimmers. Despite their downsides, however, battery-powered and electric trimmers are easier to start than petrol models, and also quieter to use.

The petrol lawn trimmers on test have a two-stroke engine (except the Honda, which is a four-stroke and uses regular unleaded), so you'll have to do some mixing of fuels. Most cordless lawn trimmers use Li-ion (lithium-ion) batteries, typically 18V, but 36V and even 40V models are also now available.

Models on test

  • Black & Decker Whipper Snipper GLC3630L-XE
  • Black & Decker 18V Whipper Snipper GLC1825L-XE
  • Black and Decker GL741 XE
  • Black and Decker Cordless BST2018 XE
  • Bolens BL160
  • Bosch ART 30 Combitrim
  • Bosch ART 26 LI
  • Echo GT 22GES
  • Echo GTE 350
  • Flymo Contour 700 Power Plus
  • Flymo Contour 500XT
  • Flymo Samurai 1000
  • Hitachi CG22EAB(SL)
  • Homelite HBC25SJSN
  • Honda UMK425U
  • Honda UMS425U
  • Husqvarna 122C
  • Husqvarna 122LD
  • Littl' Juey LJ650E
  • Makita RST210
  • Makita RST250
  • McCulloch MT 260 CLS
  • McCulloch MT 250 LK
  • Morrison BC260 SST Split Shaft
  • Morrison BC260B S2 (552525)
  • Ozito Cordless Grass Trimmer LGT-118
  • Rockwell RG8082
  • Rockwell RG8150
  • Rok 150-85-50087
  • Rover R2700
  • Ryobi RBC254FSDSN
  • Ryobi 36V Cordless Line Trimmer RLT36
  • Ryobi RLT1830LiX4
  • Ryobi CLT1830LBC
  • Shindaiwa Home Pro 22F
  • Shindaiwa Home Pro 22T
  • Stihl FS 45
  • Stihl FS 38 
  • Stihl FSA 65
  • Stihl FSE 71
  • Stihl FSE 41
  • Tanaka TCG 22EAS(SL)
  • TPE Brush Cutter TBC005
  • Troy-Bilt TB80EC
  • Victa Tornado Plus TTS2226
  • Victa Tornado TTB2226
  • Worx WG168E

Discontinued models included in the table:
  • Gardeners Choice GCT 260
  • Gardeners Choice N1E-SPK-500
  • Homelite HLT25CNB
  • Homelite HLT25CS
  • Ozito Cordless Line Trimmer OZCLT18VA 
  • Ryobi RLTGM25CS
  • Victa Envirotrimmer ETP5912B
  • Worx WG151E.5

How we test

Performance Our tester, Peter Horvath, tests horizontal trimming along fences and walls and on areas of lawn. He also trims vertically, with the cutting head perpendicular to the ground, along the edges of paths and garden borders.

Ease of use Peter assesses how comfortable the trimmers are to use, taking into account their weight, balance, handles, angle of the cutting head and so on. Respooling the line, using controls, starting, using the line feed and vibration are also taken into account.

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