Best Gas Weed Eater 2019 - Interactive Buying Guide

Gav Barber

I've put 9 years of my commercial lawn care and gardening experience into helping you find the right weed eater.

Just so you know, I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated site.

OK Good Luck!

Kick some weed eating butt!

For anyone doing regular work that requires edging, slashing and trimming, a gas weed eater (line trimmer), is the best option. Battery technology has come a long way but the battery versions are not up to the performance of a good gas engine powered weed eater. 

From a personal perspective I have always found the straight shaft models the most responsive and durable and this is also reflected in the amount used by other lawn contractors. I have included one bent shaft model in my comparison chart because I realize that the straight shaft models can be difficult to use at first and some folk prefer the bent shaft configuration.

If time is not on your side and you just want a damn good weed eater then the Tanaka 26cc commercially rated model is an excellent choice. How do I know this? Well apart from lots of research, I used two of these during my 9 years of running my lawn care business, and they never let me down.

Tanaka also came out on top of my best gas weed leaf blower buying guide, click here to access

If you want to do your own research jump into my comparison chart below and that can help anyone find the best gas weed eater for their needs.

 

Tanka

Big Gav's Best Overall

Tanaka is probably not known to most folk but any commercial lawn care operator will know about their products. I loved my Tanaka weed whacker and 26cc engine is just the right size without being too powerful or too heavy. I think this product is a great buy for anyone who needs to do a lot of weed trimming, slashing and edging or simply want a commercial grade product that will last many years. The warranty of 7 years which is the highest in residential weed eaters reflects the quality of the product.

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Big Gav's Best Value Option

The Hitachi 22.5cc comes a close second to the Tanaka 26cc model for best overall. From a value for money proposition there is no comparison. The Hitachi represents great value for money for gas powered straight shaft trimmers that comes with a 7 year warranty. It was one of the lightest I reviewed and the 22.5cc engine should cover the needs of most users.

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Big Gav's Best 4 Cycle Option

If the idea of managing 2 cycle fuel is not appealing then the Husqvarna 324L could be a viable alternative. Four cycle engines provide good power and ease of use and maintenance but their responsiveness can be less than a two cycle engine.  Keep in mind the 4 cycle engine contributes to a weight increase over the two cycles. 

If you don't like the hassle of mixing fuel but like the performance and usability of a two cycle engine thenTruFuel 2-Cycle 50:1 Pre-blended Fuel could solve your problems. It comes premixed in ratios of 40:1 or 50:1 depending on the engines manufacturers recommendations.

COMPARISON
CHART
 PRICEWARRANTYTwo Cycle or
Four Cycle
ENGINE
SIZE
CC
FUEL
CAPACITY
(OUNCES)
WEIGHT
(POUNDS)
SOUND
LEVEL
(DB)
DRIVE
SHAFT
LENGTH
(INCHES)
CUTTING
WIDTH
(INCHES)
LINE
FEED
TYPE
Hitachi CG23ECPSL $137.077 YEARS (BODY)
LIFETIME ON
DRIVE SHAFT
Two Cycle22.514.510.31006015SEMI-
AUTO
Husqvarna 128LD $563.212 YEARS
LIMITED
Two Cycle2813.4410.8N/A56.917BUMP
Tanaka TCG27EBSP $359.257 YearsTwo Cycle26.917.611.2N/AN/A17BUMP
Echo SRM-2620T $699.005 YEARSTwo Cycle25.42112.5N/A5917SPEED
FEED
Ryobi RY253SS $115.173 YEARSTwo Cycle251812.2974418BUMP
Weed Eater 25cc Price not available2 YEARSTwo Cycle25N/A13.896.33916MANUAL
FEED
Echo GT-225 $159.995 YEARSTwo Cycle21.214.210N/A4816SEMI-
AUTO
Husqvarna 324L$339.002 YearsFour Cycle2518.517N/A58.518SEMI-
AUTO
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Best Overall Tanka 26cc Weed Eater

The Tanaka 26cc has been my go to brush cutter after nine years. Even when the engine got a little tired from so much work I was able to get a new piston and rings and a little TLC at the mower shop and it was good as new again.

If you are not familiar with the brand, Tanaka have been in the small engine manufacturing business a long time and utilize "Japanese" small engine technology. Their products are generally commercial grade and the warranty of 7 years reflects this.

What I like about this unit is it has just the right amount of power to tackle any job. Sometimes if you are under powered, jobs like slashing can be tedious and slow. 

I used to have a separate edger in my business but once I got used to using the Tanaka I could do edges as well. Because of the rotation of the head I found if I slowly walked backwards whilst cutting an edge I could get clean lines.

The big feature about this unit and why I love two cycle engines is that they are really well suited to weed eaters. They give you that zippy response needed for cutting through heavy grass or cutting in a new edge on a path.

If you like the Tanaka quality and don't need the power, drop down an engine size and save some money. Click Here.

Available at Amazon

 

Pros

Class leading warranty of 7 years

Powerful engine will cut through challenging applications

Commercial rated product

Cons

2-cycle engine requires fuel mixing

You still have to mix fuel being a two cycle engine

Expensive option if you dont need to use a weed eater often

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Best Value Weed Eater Hitachi CG23ECPSL

If you don't need a top of the line weed eater or your budget won't stretch that far, then the Hitachi CG23ECPSL is a worthy alternative.

The Hitachi drops down in engine size vs the Tanaka but other than that the remaining features stack up well.

The seven-year warranty is a good indication of how good this product is and this and Tanaka are the only products with this duration.

For most folk, the 22.5cc engine will be just fine for average use around the home.

The Hitachi also has one of the longest shaft length at 60 inches (1.52 m) making it ideal for taller users but not so long a shorter person would not be able to manage it.

Available at Amazon

Pros

Great feature set for the money

Good length drive shaft

Awesome warranty

Not too heavy

Cons

Engine might lack power for heavy duty work

The long drive shaft could be problematic for shorter folk

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Best Four Cycle Option Husqvarna 324L

 

Mixing two cycle fuel is not always easy. The Husqvarna 324L weed eater does away with this by utilizing a four cycle engine.

This takes regular gas and better still it is super easy to start.

The four stroke engine allows for extra torque which can assist in cutting through heavy foliage.

The trade off from having the four cycle engine is extra weight which is over 7 pounds (3.18 kg) heavier than the Hitachi. This might not sound much but the extra weight is quickly felt particularly if you are not using a strap.

Available at Amazon

Pros

Good alternative to a two cycle trimmer

Good size engine with solid power output

Quality engine that is easy to start

No fuel mixing

Cons

Heavier than two cycle options

Not as responsive as a two cycle

Expensive and shorter warranty vs competition

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Best Bent Shaft Option Echo GT-225

Most commercial lawn care operators will use a straight shaft trimmer. They are responsive, durable and powerful. The bent shaft trimmers don't have the performance of their straight shaft cousins, but they do have advantages.  

For example, the bent shaft models are easier to use, and they tend to be lighter. For a person just wanting to trim around the home and not needing the heavy artillery of a straight shaft then a bent shaft makes sense.

The Echo GT-225 finds the middle ground of balance between power and weight. Its comes in at 10 pounds (4.54 kg) which makes it my lightest option in the buying guide.

This unit would be good for someone who just wants an easy way to trim grass and edges etc as the bent shaft is easy to manage.

Its 5 year warranty is above the industry average, a big tick for me there.

Available at Amazon

Pros

Easy to use with a bent shaft

Good size engine for most applications

Light at 10 pounds

Cons

Limited to lighter work

No attachment options

Considerations When Purchasing A Weed Eater

Engine Size VS Weight

Gas powered weed eaters or line trimmers are a great option when it comes to tackling weeds. A big consideration and one that I know well is the bigger the engine the heavier the machine.

My Tanaka was 11 pounds (4.99 kg)and that was on my limit of carrying capacity.

After 11 pounds (4.99 kg)that weed whacker will start to really impact on your arms and shoulders pretty quickly if you're not used to it. Of course, you can get a strap but that has its own issues as it can reduce maneuverability.

If you regularly have lots of heavy trimming to do then a bigger engine is a must.

For most applications a 21-25cc engine is plenty of power.

 

Getting The Right Fit

If you've never used a straight shaft trimmer before, it can feel really uncomfortable and awkward at first. If you have a small to medium size yard and don't expect too much use then a bent shaft or even a cordless option might be more suitable.

Bent shaft trimmers are easier to use and are lighter than most straight shaft models. The trade off is responsiveness and power output. Electric options get rid of dealing with fuel, and they can also be lighter. Their trade off is battery run time or cord management.

Shaft Length

For me standing at over 6'4 (1.93 m), a longer shaft makes for a more comfortable user experience. If you are not over 6 foot then a slightly shorter shaft might be better. 

Bent shaft trimmers tend to be lighter and shorter and are well suited to smaller frame sizes and limited carrying capacity.

Whats The Difference Between Curved And Straight Shaft Trimmers

Bent shaft trimmers tend to be shorter, lighter and less responsive than the straight shaft models. Bent shaft models are ideal for domestic use as they are easier to learn on, are lighter and take up less space.

Straight shaft models are heavier, more responsive due to the straight shaft, have more power output at the head and are generally more suited to heavier trimming jobs. This is why they are popular with commercial contractors who require durability, power and reliability.

Get The Right Trimmer Head !!!!!

This information is really important. Often the trimming head (IE where the trimming line goes) that comes with the machine you buy is not always very good. If you splash out the cash on a nice new trimmer make sure it has a good trimmer head. I used to use the Shindaiwa trimmer head on my Tanaka because it was so easy to use. Even under commercial conditions I could get a whole days worth of work out of one spool head of line. It was easy to load you just fed the line through the holes in the head and turn the face of the head and it would wind the line in.  A poor quality trimmer head can result in a lot of frustration.

What Is Trimmer Line Used For?

Trimmer line varies in construction but is often made from a type of nylon.

It is used in weed eaters, or line trimmers or brush cutters depending on where you come from. It is stored in a head on the end of a weed whacker and spins around very quickly when the weed whacker is running.

Trimmer line is well suited to trimming around trees or buildings and with the right experience can also be used to cut edges along paths and roads.

 

How Does A Bump Feed Work?

Bump feed trimmer heads basically allow you to extend the trimmer line as it wears down by bumping the head on the ground during operation (as in whilst the head is spinning).

The centrifugal force pushes a section of line out so that you are ready for more trimming.

Other units that are not bump feed mean you have to stop and put a new section of trimmer line in or adjust as you need it. 

 

Safety Considerations

Please look at the following recommendations, most of which I have experienced the hard way.

  • Always where eye protection. It is amazing what that stringer line can pick up and throw out.
  •  
  • Ensure you know who is around or use safety cones so that people know you are working in the area.
  •  
  • Weed eater line is not too dangerous in terms of hitting you whilst going but blade attachments are!
  •  
  • Gas engines can get boiling hot quickly so be mindful of the heat they generate
  •  
  • Wear good quality footwear when using a weed whacker and always wear long pants as little stones and twigs etc feel like needles going into your legs if you are wearing shorts

The Final Word On Gas Weed Eaters

The right gas weed eater makes life in the garden so much easier and the wrong choice makes it a big frustration.

A good price range for gas weed eaters is between $150 - $250, if you have the cash go for a commercial model. 

Straight shaft weed eaters can be difficult to use if you only need them periodically. Consider a curved shaft for less frequent work and ease of use.

All the best in your purchase decision.