- by Bob
The Basics: Each of these options has its own pros and cons. A battery-powered unit (also known as a cordless weed eater) is lighter weight than gasoline-powered ones. They also have great portability, because they do not have a cord like an electric weed eater. However, the length of the battery life is a very crucial thing to consider. Some brands, like Black & Decker, have begun to include two batteries. This should give you enough battery life to power through most jobs, especially if you charge one while using the other. They’re easy to start, usually with just the push of a button. Battery-powered weed eaters are also much quieter than gas-powered.
A gas weed eater is usually more powerful, but there are some things you should keep in mind. Gas trimmers require you to keep a canister of gasoline on hand. If you happen to run out, this can be a minor inconvenience that forces you run to the gas station. Most models also require you to add oil to the gasoline, so this is another item you’ll need to have on hand. Gas-powered weed eaters also tend to be heavier, and they produce an exhaust smell, just like a gas lawn mower. Getting it started with the pull cord can also be a challenge, especially if you have limited mobility or arthritis. Also remember that a gasoline engine is much louder than an electric or battery/cordless unit.
Finally, we have the electric weed eater. These are a lot like the battery-powered ones, but they have a cord. They must remain plugged in. While this can mean slightly more power than one run on battery, it also can be a safety hazard. You want to avoid connecting too many extension cords together, which can cause a fire. Extension cords can also be a tripping hazard, and when you’re holding a running power tool, that’s the last thing you want.
Trimmer, Edger, Thick Brush – What To Expect From Your New Weed Wacker
Consider what you need your weed wacker to do. Many models have adjustable heads that allow you to use the tool as an edger for neat lines along your landscaping, walkways and driveway. Using your weed eater as an edger sometimes requires you to snap an accessory part onto the head. Most other models simply have a rotatable head. A few models even let you attach bush-trimming accessories that can go through thicker branches.
Straight or Curved Shaft Models – Which Is better?
This question is somewhat a matter of personal preference and comfort. A straight shaft will kick debris farther away, but a curved shaft tends to do better for edging purposes. A straight shaft also tends to be easier for taller people and for those who need to do a lot of work under bushes.
Curved shafts can be easier for shorter people to use. There is some concern that curved shafts lead to more stress on the trimmer head, but most brands, like Black & Decker, do not have any problems due to the quality of the materials and construction.
Fixed or Feeding String Replacement
This option refers to the method used to replace the weed trimmer’s string. A fixed head uses two short pre-cut strings, usually about 8 inches long. These strings tend to be thicker, and therefore can cut through heavier brush. The downfall is that you have to stop, turn the machine over and physically replace the strings when they wear down.
However, because the string is heavier, it won’t need to be replaced as often. A feeding head is constantly replacing the thinner string it uses. If it’s automatic, you won’t even notice the string being replaced. If it’s bump-fed, you’ll have to stop and activate the spool to get more string.