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Lawn trimmer reviews

Lawn trimmer, whipper-snipper, weed-eater, line trimmer - whatever the name, which is best for your backyard?
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We review 42 lawn trimmers, including petrol, electric, and cordless battery-powered models, priced from $49 to $409.

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 CHOICE's years of testing lawn trimmers (also known as whipper-snippers and line trimmers), we've found that petrol models are the clear choice if you have a big yard and lots of grass to trim, especially if the grass is long. Although they still can't match a good petrol model for cutting power, electric and cordless battery-powered models have improved in performance. For smaller yards, electric and battery models can be much more convenient and we've found some good models to recommend.

For more information on lawnmowers and trimmers, see Backyard.

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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 of the cordless lawn trimmers on test use Li-ion (lithium-ion) batteries, typically 18V; the Ryobi RLT36 is an exception at 36V.

Models on test

Newly tested models:

  • Black & Decker 18V Whipper Snipper GLC1825L-XE
  • Bosch ART 30 Combitrim
  • Flymo Contour 700 Power Plus
  • Hitachi CG22EAB(SL)
  • Homelite HLT25CNB
  • Husqvarna 122C
  • Littl' Juey LJ650E
  • Makita RST210
  • McCulloch MT 260 CLS
  • Ozito Cordless Grass Trimmer LGT-118
  • Rok 150-85-50087
  • Rover R2700
  • Ryobi 36V Cordless Line Trimmer RLT36
  • Stihl FS 45

Previously tested models:

  • Black and Decker GL741-XE
  • Black and Decker Cordless BST2018-XE
  • Bosch ART 26 LI
  • Echo GT-22GES
  • Echo GTE 350
  • Flymo Contour 500XT
  • Flymo Samurai 1000
  • Gardener's Choice GCT-260 
  • Gardener's Choice N1E-SPK-500 (A)
  • Homelite HLT25CS (A)
  • Honda UMS425U
  • Husqvarna 122LD
  • Makita RST250
  • McCulloch MT 250 LK
  • Morrison BC260B
  • Ozito Cordless Line Trimmer OZCLT18VA (A)
  • Rockwell RG8082
  • Ryobi CLT1830LBC
  • Ryobi RLTGM25CS
  • Shindaiwa Home Pro 22F
  • Shindaiwa Home Pro 22T
  • Stihl FS 38
  • Stihl FSE 41
  • Stihl FSE 71
  • Troy-Bilt TB80 EC
  • Victa Tornado TTB2226
  • Victa Envirotrimmer ETP5912B (A)
  • Worx WG151E.5

(A) Discontinued.

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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