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2019 Best Weed Wacker: 4 Powerful Plant Eating Machines
best weed wacker

2019 Best Weed Wacker:
4 Powerful Plant Eating Machines

In 1971, an ambitious young inventor named George Ballas invented the first weed wacker. Inspired by the cleaning brushes of a car wash, he took a tin can and some fishing wire and went to town. While we don’t have a picture of the very first weed wacker, it wasn’t pretty. Thankfully, they’ve developed a ton in the last fifty years.

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Two Line Summary

Your problem these days usually comes from having too much choice. Walk into any hardware store (or check online) and you’ll have to choose from a bewildering variety of weed wackers. How do you know you’re getting the best weed wacker? Don’t fret, we can help. Those weeds don’t stand a chance.

Our top recommendations are the Craftsman WC205 (Gas) and Black & Decker LST140C (Electric).

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Craftsman WC205

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Craftsman WC205

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Simply put, if you’re looking for a reliable, easy-to-operate, gas-power weed wacker then this is the one for you. The WC205 has a great combo of a curved shaft, lightweight body, and attachment adaptability that makes it ideal for almost all residential settings.

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Ryobi RY253SS

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If you’re tall, looking to mainly use this to cut under trees and shrubs, or just want an affordable consumer weed wacker, the Ryobi checks those boxes. You’ll be in trouble if you try to use this for any sort of heavy-duty or commercial use, this model can more than hold its own for traditional residential applications.

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Black & Decker LST140C

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With the LST140C you’re getting unmatched versatility, customization, power, and a long battery life. That’s putting it in a class above its competitors. Plus, you know that with a three-year warranty and sturdy construction that you’re getting a durable weed wacker that’s built to last. This is one that you’ll be keeping in the shed for the foreseeable future.

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Husqvarna 324L

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Look, the Husqvarna 324L isn’t your typical residential weed wacker, but if you’re looking for a commercial-use weed wacker then look no further. It’s got a great four-stroke engine, 18” of cutting range, and a premium cutting line. It’s amazing for large, heavy-duty jobs.

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Craftsman WC205 – Editor’s Choice for Best Gas Powered, Curved Shaft Weed Wacker of 2019

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Craftsman just does tools right. This is the perfect weed wacker for light to moderate personal lawn jobs. It’s got a great balance of power, quality, and cost. It has a 25cc gas engine that can easily power through light brush and tall grass. It also comes with a two-year limited warranty, which means that craftsman stands behind their product – something that shouldn’t be taken lightly when making a big purchase like a weed wacker. You want something that’s going to last, this warranty assures that it will.

It’s also pretty nice for newbies, utilizing its “Easy-Start” technology for hassle-free startups. There’s nothing to it: just prime, choke, and pull. Additionally, it’s got a 17” dual line cutting width, which means that you’re getting plenty of trimming power for your dollar. The Craftsman WC205 also has the ability to interchange its cutting head with other Craftsman attachments, which can include an edger, brush cutter, pole saw attachment, cultivator, hedge trimmer, blower, and even a sweeper. Phew, that’s a lot of attachments!

You also get the peace of mind that this is a Craftsman tool. Since its inception in 1927, Craftsman has been one of the most reliable power tool manufacturers for almost a century. They produce quality products year-in, year-out. The WC205 also has an extremely high rating on Amazon, with a 3.9 rating on 96 reviews.


Pros

  • The WC205 only weighs 12.5 pounds. It’s light, easy to maneuver, and fun to use.
  • It’s easy to assemble. Customers report that it requires only four steps from start to finish.
  • It’s reliable. We talked about the “Easy-Start” tech that Craftsman uses, meaning that this is a weed wacker that’s ready to start off of just one pull.
  • An adjustable ergonomic shaft. The WC205 caters to users of all heights thanks to its adjustable shaft, it also effectively reduces vibrations meaning your hands won’t hurt after a day of yardwork.
  • Bump-head line release means that you can replace a line mid-job when required. You won’t have to disassemble anything to keep on with your day.
  • Great for suburban yardwork.

Cons

  • Some reviewers found that it was difficult to find a replacement spool. Craftsman does make it possible (and cheaper) to remove the used spool yourself and reload with cutting string. Maybe it’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing.
  • Extremely loud and incredibly close. This is definitely one you’ll need some hearing protection for.
  • No shoulder strap. If you can’t handle the weight, there’s no shoulder strap to offer relief.

The Bottom Line

Remember, this is a consumer model, not professional-grade, so if you’re looking for something a little more heavy-duty then you’ll have to read on.

CLICK TO CHECK PRICE

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Ryobi RY253SS – Editor’s Choice Best Gas Powered, Straight Shaft Weed Wacker of 2019

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The price tag on this wacker is ridiculous – almost a third of what you’ll pay for other comparable weed wackers in terms of quality. It has a 25cc engine that is a great value without sacrificing too much power, and it’s backed by a 3-year warranty. 

It’s cutting swath is comparable to the Craftsman model, with a large 17-inch area with two different trim lines. Customers seem to love this model, with tons of reviews citing the fact that it’s giving you a lot of bang for your buck. It also (like the Craftsman) can be used with the Ryobi “Expand-it Attachment System” which allows you to augment your weed wacker with a pruner, edger, blower, tiller, and a straight shaft trimmer. Ryobi is a leader in the world of cordless tools, with a great track record of producing everything from drills to saws to lawnmowers. Now we can include weed wackers on that impressive list. Nice.


Pros

  • It weighs only 12.2 pounds. That’s way lighter than most other straight shafted models in this power range, important as sometimes a straight shaft can be harder to wield.
  • Utilizes a “Zip Start” carburetor system. That means it has an easy and reliable start virtually every single time you use it.
  • They include a 2.6 oz “Ethanol Shield” engine lubricant that will protect your 2 cycle engine in the event you use lower quality gas. Take the worry away when you’re filling up at the pump.
  • The Ryobi “Reel-Easy” line comes with a handy wire reloading system that reduces the time it takes to reload by a significant margin. We also love a good pun and this definitely scratches that itch.

Cons

  • 12 oz for a fuel tank seems a little small to us.
  • Some of the third-party testers for this product suggested that this weed wacker cuts slower than its competitors. While that’s a bummer for thicker grass and plants, it’s still a great value because of its low price point.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for value, the Ryobi RY253SS is the straight shaft, gas-powered answer to all your weed wacking needs. That’s rad, especially when you’re paying almost a third as much as other comparable wackers.

CLICK TO CHECK PRICE

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Black & Decker LST140C – Editor’s Choice Best Electric Weed Wacker of 2019

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Maybe you care about the environment, or maybe you don’t want the hassle of a gas-powered weed wacker, either way, you can’t go wrong with the Black & Decker LST140C. While there are a ton of electric weed wackers on the market these days, none compare to this model which offers great versatility, a long battery life, and unparalleled user control. You’re also not going to break the bank, which is a definite plus in our book.

Featuring a 40V Lithium-Ion battery with long-lasting power and a charge indicator. The Black & Decker LST140C is also super versatile. It can be converted into an edger by simply rotating the shaft, while the shaft height is also adjustable – a key feature if you happen to be a little on the short side.

The word is out on this weed wacker, with a whopping 4.1 stars from over 290 Amazon customer reviews. It comes with a 3-year warranty, and you’ll never have to mess around with mixing gas and oil together. Plug it in, charge it, and you’re good to go. Nice!


Pros

  • The 40V lithium-ion battery delivers some serious cutting power for an electric weed wacker.
  • The battery level monitor is accurate and easy to read so you’ll never be caught off-guard.
  • The built-in edger transformation allows you to add professional detailing to virtually any cutting job.
  • The ergonomic handle is great, but it’s also enhanced by having that adjustable shaft length. That’s key for finding the sweet spot for wacking, no matter your height.
  • Like the others on this list, it also uses auto-feed string deployment technology.
  • It’s a midrange weight for an electric weed wacker, weighing in at 6.4 pounds.

Cons

  • The 13” cutting range is significantly smaller than many other weed wackers.
  • Pre-filled string refills can get expensive. We recommend manual refills to keep the price low.

The Bottom Line

Is it the cheapest electric weed wacker on the market? Probably not. Is it the best value for an electric weed wacker? Almost certainly.

CLICK TO CHECK PRICE

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Husqvarna 324L – Editor’s Choice Best Professional Grade Weed Wacker of 2019

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The Husqvarna 324L is a state-of-the-art, extremely lightweight and powerful weed wacker. It’s great for extended, heavy-duty workloads and is guaranteed to retain its quality through years of service. Husqvarna is a Swedish company that’s made its name by producing quality outdoor tools and vehicles for 300 years. Think about that, this company has been around longer than America. Nuts, right?

This is also an extremely well-reviewed product. The Husqvarna 324L has over 87 5-star reviews on Amazon. Users praise this model’s power, it’s quality, and how easy it is to use. It’s got an extremely durable body and a high-quality titanium line. Intrigued? So are we. Let’s take a closer look.


Pros

  • 0.9 horsepower engine is at the top of its class. This thing has the power to get stuff done.
  • It’s got a 4-stroke engine, which means you won’t have to mess around with mixing oil and gas together.
  • The two-year warranty allows you some insurance against manufacturing defects.
  • It’s got an extremely easy to use “Tap-n-Go” bumper head that can automatically feed string. This, plus a dual-feed line means that it’s going to have a lot of stopping power.
  • A four-stroke engine is actually significantly quieter than two-cycle models. Plus it’s more fuel-efficient. That’s a win-win. We still recommend some type of hearing protection though.

Cons

  • This thing is built like a tank, and at 17 pounds it shows it. If you’re using its 59” extended reach shaft, it can be a little unwieldy to maneuver, especially for inexperienced users.
  • It’s expensive, almost double the price of an entry-level gas model. You get what you pay for.

The Bottom Line

Do you have your own lawn care business? Maybe you just own a giant piece of property with a wide variety of flora to deal with – either way this weed wacker is for you. If the price tag makes you balk a little, you can always consider the Ryobi, but this one is definitely the cream of the crop for serious weed wacking.

CLICK TO CHECK PRICE

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Buying Guide for the Best Weed Wacker

There are two critical facets that consumers need to consider before buying a weed wacker: power source and shaft shape. We’re willing to bet that you don’t understand how those can affect your buying choices, so let’s get into what we’re talking about.

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Power source

Weed wackers really boil down into two groups for power source: gas or electric. Choosing the right type of power is critical because it dictates not only what you can cut, but how long you can cut it for. That means that what’s good for one size of lawn might not be the best for the other. Depending on your terrain, we’ve got the best options listed below so that you can make the informed decision.

Gas

Gas weed wackers are the power horse of the wacker world. Say that five times fast. Seriously,   weed wackers are powerful, versatile, and pack a lot of wallop. They’re often more expensive than their electric counterparts, but can be well worth the cost if you need a heavy-duty weed wacker to get the job done. Most gas engines are two-stroke models that require you to mix gasoline and oil together, usually at about 50 to 1 gas to oil ratio. These are the types of models you might see a professional landscaper use. Simply put: they can handle a lot of tough to cut grass.

Pros
  • Tons of power (torque AND speed). You’re able to cut tall grass, weeds, and in some cases even reeds and small trees.
  • You’re never limited by battery capacity. You don’t need to find a charging outlet. They can be refilled instantaneously, which means you’ll never be caught waiting for a charge halfway through a job.
Cons
  • Noise. Simply put, these gas engines are loud and can definitely annoy the neighbors. You’re also going to want to invest in some proper hearing protection or you’ll risk damaging your hearing.
  • Weight. Gas engines are heavy and often unwieldy. They can be hard to maneuver and definitely require a little extra elbow grease to get the job done.

Electric

Think of the electric weed wacker like its the little brother of the gas-powered variety. These have become quite popular because they’re light, easy to maneuver and are less expensive than gas models. They also don’t require a ton of upkeep or maintenance, which can be appealing to the casual lawn enthusiast.

Pros:
  • Less expensive than gas models.
  • It’s lightweight and easy to maneuver. That’s great if you don’t want to bulk up just to wack your lawn.
  • Comparably quiet, especially in contrast to gas mowers. We’d still recommend you use some form of noise protection.
  • Environmentally sound. If you’re looking to minimize the presence of gas in your life, you can use these weed wackers and feel relatively green.
Cons
  • Definitely less power than the gas version. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty weed wacker for heavy-duty jobs, this isn’t for you.
  • Your operating time is limited by battery capacity or the length of an extension cord. If you have a large yard or a ton of wacking to do, the battery might run down before you get a chance to finish.

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Shaft Shape

All weed wackers can be separated by two distinct shapes: a straight or curved shaft that connects the power source to the cutting edge. Your choice as a consumer depends upon the application of that choice and the height of the weed wacker. While this isn’t a hard rule, typically a straight shafted weed wacker will be more expensive than the curved models. Which is right for you? Read on, fair consumer, read on and find thy optimal wacker.

Straight

Straight shafted weed wackers feature – you guessed it – a linear tubular connection between the power source and the cutting edge. While you do get an amazing cutting range, it often can come at the expense of precision. That’s OK if you need it for big, expansive lawns, but it isn’t as nice if you have a lot of tight corners to wack.

Pros
  • The extended shaft makes these wackers better at accessing hard to reach areas under trees, shrubs, or other large obstacles.
  • Having a long shaft means that the user is able to cut larger areas from a single position without having to move around too much.
  • If you’re tall, this might be the way to go, these are often seen as the most comfortable for larger users. 
Cons
  • Intense vibrations when in use compared to the curved shaft models.
  • Typically these feel a bit heavier, so they can be more difficult and physically taxing to operate.
  • You’ll have a slightly diminished ability to make precise cuts around obstacles. No biggie, but it’s worth noting.
  • These are often more expensive than curved models.

Curved

A curved shafted weed wacker has a downward bend within the last few feet of its shaft. The curvature is designed to reduce the length the weight felt by keeping it closer to the fulcrum of the weed wacker. This design also increases maneuverability.

Pros
  • This type is the best weed wacker for cutting around obstacles instead of cutting under them.
  • The shorter shaft means that you’ll get increased maneuverability. This also can make using a curved shafted weed wacker more user-friendly, especially for first-time users.
  • Better if you’re medium or short in stature. 
Cons
  • The decrease in shaft length means that it doesn’t cut under obstacles with overhanging barriers (like tree branches) very well.
  • The shorter range forces the user to walk around more.
  • The curvature of the shaft may strain the drive cable. That can decrease the lifespan of the tool and reduce its overall torque and power.

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Other things to consider

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Safety First

Buying a good weed wacker is essential, but staying safe is just as important. We highly recommend that you get the appropriate safety gear too. You definitely need a great pair of safety goggles (here’s our favorite pair) and you should probably consider some hearing protection. Here’s a great model that has an NRR rating of 30.

Shoulder Strap

If you’re going to be doing a lot of grass cutting, you’ll probably want a shoulder strap to lessen the load. Consult your manufacturer’s product manual to find the best strap for your model.

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Conclusion

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Look, the best weed wacker for you depends on you. Think about the size of your lawn, the debris you plan to cut, and the obstacles around you wish to trim. After that, it’s all a matter of personal preference.

For urban and suburban settings, we recommend either the Black & Decker LST140C (for control and adaptability) or the Craftsman WC205 (for power and operating time). The Ryobi RY253SS is a great intermediate wacker that suits most jobs thanks to its power, range, and ability to cut under large obstacles. If you’re really jonesing for the ultimate weed wacker, it’s hard to go wrong with the Husqvarna 324L. It’s great for cutting large swaths of grass with heavy debris and can operate for extended periods of time. No matter what your choice happens to be, we know you’ll be happy with one of these weed wackers. Now get out there and wack those weeds!

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We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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