Best Gas Weed Eaters | String Trimmer 2022

Comparing yard tools can be somewhat objective, so I like to break it down into two separate categories:

  1. The best Gas Weed Eater that money can buy
  2. The best Gas Weed Eater Under $200

If you’re looking for a beast of a Weed Wacker to use on a commercial or professional basis then I have identified, tested, and fallen in love with exactly what you are looking for…

For all of our home user readers, who want to keep the cost of ownership low… don’t worry. For under $200 you can also pick up a fantastic gas-powered weed eater that can handle anything you can throw at it in or around your backyard. 

So let’s get into the weeds…

Best Gas Weed Eaters: Top Picks

Right off the top, I have two gas weed eaters that I highly recommend. The first is the best overall, and the second is the best value for the money.

Stihl FS111R Gas Trimmer

Best Overall Gas Weed Eater

Stihl FS111R Gas Trimmer

Exceptional build quality and extraordinary power 1.4hp. Low vibration. Accepts Brush Cutter saw and blade add-ons.

Troy Bilt 25cc Gas String Trimmer

Best Gas Weed Under $200

Troy Bilt 25cc Gas String Trimmer

Excellent value for money Weed Eater at $150. Low vibration, lightweight, and great build quality for the price.

Weed Eater, String Trimmer, Weed Wacker, Brush Cutter

I often get asked to explain the difference between Weed Eaters, String Trimmers, Weed Wackers, and Brush Cutters. Too often you will see the terminology getting confused and misused. But it is really simple. 

String Trimmer, Weed Eater, and Weed Wackers are all the same. From a technical standpoint, the most common name used by manufacturers is String Trimmer. Weed Eater and Weed Wacker are slang terms or nicknames. 
Brush Cutter on the other hand is a slightly different tool designed for heavy-duty brush and scrub clearance. They usually have a dual handlebar design, harness straps, and interchangeable cutting heads. The cutting heads use saws, chains as well as heavy-duty blades. Check out this post on the Best Brush Cutters.

Choosing the Best Gas Weed Eater

Choosing the best gas weed eater requires understanding how they work and what features to look for in your tool. Let’s look at some features and terms to make sure we’re on the same page. 

Gas Weed Eater

A gas weed eater will almost always feature a 4-cycle or 2-cycle engine. Without being overly technical, the difference in engine designs makes a big difference to how you will handle and use them. 

All two-cycle motors require a fuel mixture of gasoline and two-cycle oil. Mixing the proper fuel blend is essential but can be messy and a hassle, especially if you don’t have other tools that need the same mixture. 

Four-cycle motors don’t require a fuel mixture. However, they tend to be a little bit heavier, so there is a trade-off for the added convenience. 

Four-cycle motors are also less powerful than a two-cycle motor but make up for that by being a bit steadier-running and more fuel-efficient. 

Engine Power (Hp)

Horsepower (Hp) is the rating we use to describe an engine’s power. For weed eaters, that power will determine how hard and fast the cutting head can spin. 

It’s not always transparent exactly how much horsepower a particular weed eater has. Power is not usually a big selling point because it doesn’t take too much grunt to spin the cutting string on a string trimmer. 

But, the higher the horsepower, the more power it has. And engines with more power will make a huge difference in generating torque when tackling heavy-duty jobs. 

You can also keep an eye out for the maximum cutting speed shown in RPMs. It is nice to have the ability to cut very fast, but a good string trimmer will allow you to vary the speed easily, so you can back down the RPMs and work around walls and other obstacles.

Engine Capacity and Weight

Increased engine capacity usually means increased weight. So, while more power is usually a good thing, there is a trade-off. 

If you only need a light-duty weed wacker, you don’t need a massive motor because you don’t necessarily want to be lugging that extra weight around for quick and easy jobs. If you have other applications in mind, you shouldn’t hesitate to step up the size of your weed eater. 

But, the added weight is something you’ll have to contend with when you’re out in the big fields and when you’re just trimming around the house. So, think carefully. 

If you’re just trimming around the foundation and along a couple of paths, you don’t need a large behemoth of a machine. Conversely, if you’re tackling a two-acre field of large overgrown grasses, you might want more oomph. 

Even with a strap, the highest capacity, heaviest weed eaters might even be too heavy for some people to carry and control comfortably. Keep that in mind when shopping.

Gas Weed Eater vs. Battery Powered

Battery or electric corded models are typically the best lightweight weed eater options. They are quick and effective but only suitable for light-duty use. Whereas gas weed eaters are heavier and more maintenance-intensive than those that use battery power. 

Check out Best Battery Operated Weed Eaters

Battery power is an ideal choice for a homeowner who just needs a quick solution for handling a few overgrown weeds. They don’t have to worry about fuel and oil or running a combustion motor that needs upkeep. 

But don’t expect a weed eater with a battery to hold up well under rigorous use. And you’ll probably need at least two batteries to swap in and out of the machine and the charger to complete even quick trimming jobs.

If you’re handling heavy growth or covering very large areas, then a gas-powered weed eater is the way to go.

Straight or Curved Shaft

Straight shaft string trimmers are ideal for cutting weeds. Their straight shaft design makes it easy to pass the head under overhanging bushes or other foliage, sparing them from the spinning string but trimming the weeds underneath. 

This design is inherently less ergonomic than a curved shaft that is easier to hold. For some users, the easier handling of a curved shaft makes those models much more appealing. 

Straight shaft string trimmers are the professional choice. Due to their design, a straight shaft trimmer will have more power and better durability than a curved shaft model. 

If you’re wondering why the simplest explanation is that it’s easier and more efficient to translate the motor’s power to the cutting head in a straight line than around a bend.

A user’s height is also one factor in choosing a string trimmer shaft. A curved model will force a taller user to hunch over a bit when using it, while a straight shaft model might be very awkward and too long for a shorter, smaller user. 

Even if you do your shopping online, it makes a lot of sense to go to the local hardware or big box store and pick up a few different models. Hold them in your hands and see if the ergonomics work for you.  

Controls & Features

Understanding the controls and features of a string trimmer is essential for making an informed purchase. 

String Trimmer Line Cut Path

The cutting path of a string trimmer is sometimes called the cutting swath. Whichever term you prefer, realize that weed eaters cut everything they touch. Once the string starts whipping, you need to avoid close encounters with plants you want to keep and sensitive infrastructure like wires.

A weed eater with a large cutting swath is ideal for use in an open field, where it’s free to hack down everything in sight. A smaller cutting swath might be more manageable, especially for less experienced users who are still getting the hang of maneuvering their weed eater. 

Lawn Edger Function

Edging your lawn is essential for creating a tight, neat border. Weed eaters can handle the task but require the operator to angle their cut by maneuvering the weed eater at an angle. 

Some weed eaters have little wheels that make edging easier by helping to support the head at the severe angle required for edging. The wheels roll along the ground, bearing much of the weight. 

Interchangeable Head

Some string trimmers allow the user to change the tool’s head, transforming it from a weed eater into an edger, blower, tiller, brush cutter, or pruner. 

The attachments often come separately with their own price tags, so think carefully about your budget. But, the added versatility of an interchangeable head is an asset for a homeowner looking to get a lot out of one platform.

For a pro or a homeowner that needs to run a string trimmer all the time, interchangeability is less important. 

Line Feed Type

Most newer string trimmers have a bump feed. Before we talk about that, let’s look at how to add the trimming string. Sold in a coil, you typically will load the string into the head. Once in place, to advance more string, you just tap the cutting head on the ground. 

Older models used to require manually cutting the string and loading it. Bump feeding is now almost a standard feature on weed eaters. Some systems are better than others, and this is an essential part of weed eating. So make sure your weed eater is reliable when feeding string. 

Speed Control

Weed eaters aren’t permanently set to one speed. Rather, by using a speed trigger – usually located on the head of the trimmer – you can adjust the speed to accommodate the job you’re doing.

By reducing the speed of your trimmer, you can have more precise control when working around fixtures of your lawn that might get damaged. Lowering your eater’s speed when you don’t need it to be very high can also extend the battery life!

On the other hand, by turning up your speed, you can cut through more dense areas of your lawn more efficiently.

Handles

Getting a good grip on your weed eater is essential. Even with a strap, you’re going to need to secure and guide the weed eater while cutting. That means a strong, rugged handle that you can grip firmly is essential. 

A ring or D-shaped handle is easily gripped at any angle, making them pretty standard on weed eaters. 

Overall Weight & Balance

The weight of a string trimmer is a huge factor when purchasing one. Even if you’re pretty big and strong, carrying around a fifteen-pound weed eater for hours at a time can be pretty tiring. 

Don’t forget to consider the added weight of fuel. A full tank of gas will make the motor end of the weed eater even heavier and could upset the balance a bit. 

The key to using a weed eater, especially for a long time, is to find a grip and stance that makes the weight of the motor act as a bit of a counterbalance for the cutting head. This is hard to test out without holding the tool yourself, so consider trying some out in a store before making an online purchase. 

best gas weed eater trimmer inset

Best Gas Weed Eater Reviews

Here’s where we get down to the nitty-gritty. Let’s look at some of the best gas weed eaters available and weigh up the pros and cons to find the best. 

As part of the selection criteria, each product has the product specification compared, has taken a field test for ‘real world’ performance in cutting and comfort. Customer reviews and online forum feedback are also taken into account to get a broader view of user experience over time to expose reliability or customer service issues. 

Stihl FS111R 2-Cycle Gas Trimmer Brush Cutter 16.5-Inch
  • Engine:  31.4cc, 2-cycle 1.4HP
  • Cut Path: 16.5”
  • Line Feed Type: Bump
  • Line Diameter:  0.095 to 0.105”
  • Weight: 12.1lbs

Pros

  • Exceptional build quality and extraordinary power 1.4HP
  • Low vibration for such a powerful machine
  • Accepts Brush Cutter add-on saws and rotary cutters

Cons

  • None. It’s expensive, but worth the money

Some things are just built differently…Stihl’s 4-MIX Engine offers the benefits and power of a 4-Cycle engine within a 2-Cycle engine. The result is a huge 1.4HP power output. 

The start pull cord features compression meaning the easy start cord starts the engine with just half a pull, it really is a please to use. 

The Anti-vibration system is effective in reducing unnecessary hand and arm fatigue allows for extended use with the handle placement and design feeling comfortable. The curved lower handle offers plenty of versatility in controlling the trimmer through tight positions and angles. 

The standard string trimmer cutting head featured a bump line feed. But it’s worth noting this tool accepts a series of attachable heads, meaning it is classed as a Brush Cutter, Trimmer and is also compatible with a hedge trimmer, adjustable scrub cutter, and rotary cutting head. 

If you are looking for a professional-grade weed eater that can be upgraded to handle a multitude of heavy-duty tasks then the Stihl FS111R is the best in class. It handles with exceptional finesse and destroys anything from grass, heavy weeds and can be upgraded to saw through thick brush and wood. 

This premium product carries a premium price tag of just under $400. Check the latest price of the Stihl FS111R here is the best gas weed eater that money can buy.

Troy Bilt 25cc 2-Cycle Gas String Trimmer 16”
  • Engine: 25cc, 2-cycle
  • Cut Path: 16”
  • Line Feed Type: Bump
  • Line Diameter: .095”
  • Weight: 10.5lbs.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money Weed Eater at $150
  • Lightweight, low vibration and comfortable handle and grip
  • Well built shaft and body components

Cons

  • Nothing at this price

The Troy Bilt 25cc TB25SB 2-Stroke Gas String Trimmer is a serious contender for the crown of best gas weed eater for the money. It has a 2-cycle motor, a 16-inch cutting path, and a slick bump feeding system called the “Click N Trim.” 

Engineered for easy starts, the “SpringAssist” works in tandem with the “Prime & Go” system for easier pulls and less priming.  

At 10.5 pounds, it’s a decent weight yet gives a solid performance. The straight shaft assists with cutting under shrubs and low-growing trees and this. 

In use, this trimmer has low vibration and a bump line feed. The cut is clean and able to work through medium-thickness growth with ease. 

All of the components are well built, feel solid, and combine to make a machine that defies its tiny price tag.

If you need a quality gas weed eater that is sub $150 then this Troy-Bilt weed eater is the best option out there. 

Check the latest Troy-Bilt 25cc Weed Eater price here at Ace Hardware.

Echo SRM266 25.4cc Gas String Trimmer 17”
  • Engine: 25.4cc, 2-cycle 0.78HP
  • Cut Path: 17”
  • Line Feed Type: Bump
  • Line Diameter: .095”
  • Weight: 13.4lbs

Pros

  • Professional quality gas weed eater for under $300
  • Extra heavy-duty vibration reducing mount
  • Easy start I-30 system, gives first time engine start

Cons

  • Slightly heavier than some models on my list

If you are looking for a professional quality weed eater for under $300 then the Echo SRM266 is a perfect choice. There is no doubt you will be familiar with Stihl, Husqvarna, and Makita when it comes to premium yard tools. 

But don’t overlook Echo. Okay, they are not of the same reputation as the aforementioned giants. But they are building some excellent products. 

This SRM266 Gas String Trimmer scores 4.8/5 from the 266 Acme Tools customer reviews, which makes it their top-rated weed eater based on customer review score.

On a straight head-to-head, I would take the Stihl FS11R every time, but the Echo product is $100 cheaper. So on that basis, it represents exceptional value for money. 

The SRM266 is very easy to start, has a responsive throttle, and has plenty of power for a mid-range weed eater. My only complaint is there is no shoulder strap included and it’s a touch heavier than most. But in the field test, it did everything I asked of it. 

These tools will be more than capable of handling anything the average homeowner has to contend with. Check the Echo SRM266 latest price at Acme Tools.

Husqvarna 324L 4-Cycle Gas String Trimmer 18"
  • Engine:  25cc, 4-cycle, 0.9HP
  • Cut Path: 18”
  • Line Feed Type: Bump
  • Line Diameter:  0.095 to 0.105”
  • Weight: 11lbs.

Pros

  • 4-cycle engine does not require gas and oil mix
  • Produces 0.9 horse power
  • 18” cutting path will appeal to anyone covering large areas 

Cons

  • String got tangled with the head 

The Husqvarna 324L 4-Cycle Gas String Trimmer 18″ is powered by a powerful four-cycle motor built by Honda. It has low starter cord resistance that makes startup easier, and due to its four-cycle design, there is no need to mix oil with your fuel. 

With an 18” cutting path, this weed eater is a class leader, making quick work out of large projects. A clear fuel reservoir makes it easy to monitor the fuel remaining in the tank. The T25 cutting head enables rapid changes of the spool of line, and the “Tap n Go” line dispensing system will keep you cutting without making any manual adjustment. 

Most pro and semi-pro weed eaters have a bump feeder for the line. But the Husqvarna system is among the most reliable. It also has an ergonomic handle, a lightweight frame, and easy and intuitive controls that make running it easier on you. 

In use, I did experience the string getting into a tangle with the head on one occasion which was annoying, but I soon untangled it and was back to work.

For instance, the stop switch automatically returns to the running position, so you don’t have to keep clicking back and forth when restarting the unit after a break. 

The orange high-visibility cutting shield is easy to see for added safety, allowing you to be sure you know exactly where you are cutting. 

This is a premium piece of machinery that can handle hard-core weed whacking jobs, edging, and more. It can also accept multiple string gauges. But, it also carries a premium price tag. 

Check the latest price for Husqvarna 324L here at Acme Tools.

Husqvarna 128LD 17" Cutting Path Gas String Trimmer
  • Engine: 27.6cc, two-cycle
  • Cut Path: 17”
  • Line Feed Type: Tap advance
  • Line Diameter: .095”
  • Weight: 11lbs.

Pros

  • Lightweight, powerful and fuel efficient
  • Comfortably capable of clearing 1/3 acre

Cons

  • Husqvarna 324L offered a smoother engine and lower vibration

The Husqvarna 128LD Gas String Trimmer is a two-cycle model, so it needs a fuel mix with two-cycle oil. And, when compared to the Husqvarna 324L, this model runs a little bit rougher. But it’s plenty powerful and about the same weight. 

It also has almost all the same features as the 324L, including the bump feed, the same start and stops switch, and the T25 cutting head. 

Its cutting path is slightly narrower by an inch. This model has a straight shaft, but you can also find a very similar model with a curved shaft if that’s your preference. 

Maintaining a small- to moderately-sized yard is probably the right choice, especially from the Husqvarna range. But, if you’re going to be working long duration jobs in thick brush, the Stihl FS111R is a better choice. 

Check the latest price for Husqvarna 128LD online here.

Makita 4-Stroke 25.4 cc Gas Straight Shaft String Trimmer
  • Engine: 25.4cc, 4-cycle, 1.1 HP
  • Cut Path: 17”
  • Line Feed Type: Bump feed
  • Line Diameter: .095
  • Weight: 10.9lbs

Pros

  • Powerful 4-cycle engine generating 1.1HP
  • Very robust and well constructed head, shaft and body

Cons

  • String feed system a little tricky

The Makita 4-Stroke 25.4cc Gas Straight Shaft String Trimmer has just over one horsepower, driven by a 25.4cc four-cycle commercial engine. Designed for use at any angle, the motor’s lubrication system keeps the oil where it needs to be, regardless of the tool’s orientation. 

That means you can use it effectively for almost any application you can think of. Want to do some edging? No problem. Need to trim some bushes? Go ahead. This tool can handle it.

It has a bump feed for string and a system designed to make pull starts easier. A heavy, commercial, dual-stage air filter keeps debris from clogging the motor. And the oil fill and drain port are easy to use. 

However, this model is limited to using only a .095 gauge string, and it’s relatively expensive at $370, so I would recommend switching your attention to the exceptionally versatile Stihl FS111R. 

Check the Makita Gas Trimmer price here at Acme Tools.

Craftsman 27.2cc Weed Wacker 18 in. Gas String Trimmer
  • Engine: 27.2cc, 2-cycle
  • Cut Path: 18”
  • Line Feed Type: Bump feed
  • Line Diameter: 0.105”
  • Weight: 13lbs

Pros

  • Accept combi tool attachments, edger, blower, hedge trimmer
  • Extra wide 18” cutting path

Cons

  • Finger nut on shaft and front handle grip not as robust as other models

The Craftsman 18” Weed Wacker is another good option for anyone looking for a capable tool under $200. Straight up the performance is very good, with plenty of power to compete with the Troy-Bilt 25cc Weed Eater. However, the build quality is lower. 

The handle front grip feels prone to movement over time and the finger nut on the adjustable shaft also feels a touch lightweight for me. But those two issues aside the power and performance of this tool are very good. 

The 18” cutting path will be very appealing to many users looking to clear areas faster, but on balance, this is a powerful tool that feels and looks like it is sub $200. Whereas the Troy-Bilt is $150 and feels and performs as if it is a lot more expensive.

Check the latest price of the Craftsman 27cc Weed Wacker here. 

Echo SRM-255i 21.2 cc Gas 2-Stroke Cycle Straight Shaft Trimmer
  • Engine: 21.2cc, two-cycle
  • Cut Path: 17”
  • Line Feed Type: Bump feed
  • Line Diameter: .095”
  • Weight: 12.1lbs

Pros

  • A solid Gas Weed Eater in the mid price range
  • Will accept a brush cutter attachment
  • 5-Year warranty for domestic, 2 year commercial

Cons

  • No shoulder strap and limited to max .095” line

The Echo SRM-255i 21.2 cc Gas 2-Stroke Cycle Straight Shaft Trimmer is a solid machine for around $250. It provides a 17” cutting swath covered by a large debris protector. Which is a good size for most domestic and commercial uses. 

This Echo uses the i-75 easy start mechanism to reduce effort by up to 75%. I cannot say I had the before and after to compare whether 75% is a fair claim, but to their credit, the engine did start very easily, so I was happy with it. 

Its weight is average, at just over twelve pounds. But unfortunately, it does not ship with a shoulder strap or harness. It has a straight shaft design great for hard-to-reach spots, plus it can accept some brush cutter attachments too which is also a bonus.  

However, it won’t accept any gauge of string greater than .095.” This model is a bit of a compromise between a light-duty commercial string trimmer and a homeowner model. 

Overall a good performing weed eater but not a stand-out trimmer. Check the latest price of the Echo SRM-225i at Acme Tools.

Verdict: Best Gas Powered Weed Eater

For me, the best gas-powered weed eater is the Stihl FS111R offering exceptional performance and a great deal of versatility. 

Stihl FS111R Gas Trimmer

Best Overall Gas Weed Eater

Stihl FS111R Gas Trimmer

Exceptional build quality and extraordinary power – 1.4hp. Low vibration. Accepts Brush Cutter saw and blade add-ons.

With all of the premium features of much more expensive weed eaters and plenty of power, this string trimmer can handle just about any job you throw at it, short of major industrial or commercial applications. With some good maintenance and a skilled user, it might be able to handle those jobs too. 

Yes, you’ll have to mix two-cycle oil with your gasoline. But that’s not a big deal, especially if you have other equipment that requires the same blend. After months of hard use, the Stihl fires up quickly and devours weeds, and I couldn’t ask for more.