3 Types of Weed Eaters You Should Know

Types of Weed Eaters

While a lawn mower is always very useful in cutting grass and giving your lawn a well-manicured look, it is often not enough and also not useful in certain situations. And it is because of this reason that you should always invest in a good weed eater.

A weed eater or string trimmer not only helps to take care of the unkempt grass and weed edges but is also handy when it comes to cutting hard to reach places like around tree and fence posts.

But as useful as weed eaters might be, it is important to make sure that you choose the best one. One of the important decisions you need to make to ensure this is picking the right type.

Weed eaters come in two main types which are electric and gas powered models. But, there are also two types of electric weed eaters which are corded and cordless or battery-powered.

While the three main weed eater types are still very useful for maintaining your lawn, it is vital to understand the pros and cons of each as this makes picking one simple.

Types of Weed Eaters

1. Gas-Powered Weed Eater

Gas-Powered Weed Eater

Gas weed eaters are probably the oldest type among the three as they have been in use for many decades. The gas weed eater uses either gas or a mixture of gas and oil.

They are available in two-stroke and four-stroke engine options. The two-stroke types require a mixture of oil and gasoline but the more powerful four-stroke models use gas only.

Besides the massive power that these weed eaters will generate, they also offer mobility. They do not come with a cord and so you can use them almost anywhere as long as there is fuel on the tank.

And unlike the battery-powered string trimmers which also offer mobility, you do not have to worry about batteries running out of charge or have to wait for many hours as they recharge.

Gas-powered weed eaters often have a tough and rugged construction to make them highly durable, and they are great for heavy-duty trimming and also for covering large areas.

Most of these trimmers will also accept various attachments, and can also use lines with a larger diameter than the electric types.

The downsides of gas trimmers are that they are large and bulky which can make them harder to handle, they are noisy and also emit fumes.


  • More powerful. Gas powered weed eaters are the most powerful of the three types. And if you get one with a four-stroke engine, then you can be confident that you will have a highly powerful string trimmer for heavy duty use.
  • Longer runtimes. Modern gas weed eaters come with highly efficient engines and this means that a little fuel goes a long way. As long as you start with a full tank and the weed eater is in good condition, you can be confident of trimming large sections or getting a longer run time than what most battery-powered weed eaters can provide.
  • Complete mobility. Unlike the corded electric weed eaters, gas-powered ones do not have a cord that can restrict their mobility. Hence, with these string trimmers, you will have complete mobility and this means that you can use them almost anywhere provided the tank has enough gas.


  • More maintenance required. Like with any other gas-powered power tool, gas weed eaters will require more maintenance than both the cordless and corded string trimmers. You will need to change spark plugs and filters, and several other things. And this not only means more work but also higher operating costs.
  • Noisy and emits fumes. If you are going to use a gas weed eater, it will be a great idea to have some ear protection as they can be quite noisy. Besides the noise, they also emit fumes from the combustion of fuel which is harmful to both the user and environment.

2. Corded Electric Weed Eater

Corded Electric Weed Eater

If you have a small sized garden an expensive gas weed eater will not be a necessary investment as the corded electric types are a much better option.

These weed eaters are the kind that requires a constant plug-in to operate. And so you can only use them where there is a power outlet nearby.

Electric weed eaters are often the lightest of the three types. Unlike the gas weed eaters, they do not have a large and heavy engine or a fuel tank, and unlike the battery-powered types, they do not use a heavy battery pack.

They are also super quiet when in operation and you will hardly hear any significant noise when in operation. And unlike the gas-powered types, they will not emit any fumes which makes them more environmentally-friendly and also safer for the user.

The shortcomings of these weed eaters are that the presence of a cord limits their mobility and they are also not very powerful, and hence not very useful for heavy-duty use.


  • Unlimited runtime. With a corded electric weed eater, you will never have to worry about running out gas or batteries running out of charge. Provided the weed eater is plugged-in and there is no power interruption, you can be confident of getting unlimited runtimes.
  • Easy startup. There are no cords to pull when starting a corded electric weed eater like you would do on a gas weed eater. All you need to do is to push a button and the string trimmer will start.
  • Quiet operation. These weed eaters are super silent when in operation and you will not even need to cover your ears when using them. This is a huge advantage as you will not have to worry about creating any early morning disturbances when trimming your lawn.
  • Little maintenance. There are fewer moving parts on the corded weed eaters than what you get on the gas weed eater, and this means that they require little to almost no maintenance at all.


  • Limited mobility. Presence of a cord on these weed eaters limits their mobility. How far you can trim and the size of lawn that you can clear will depend on the length of the tool’s electrical cord and the extension cord reel you are using if any.
  • Cord is hard to deal with. Electrical cords can be tedious to deal with as they expose you to the risk of tripping, and they can also get tangled or get caught on something and lead to accidents.

3. Cordless/Battery-Powered Weed Eater

Cordless/Battery-Powered Weed Eater

The cordless or battery-powered weed eaters try to make up for the shortcomings of both the corded and gas weed eaters.

Like the gas-powered string trimmers, they offer mobility but without the messy oil and gas mixing, emissions and noise. And like the corded electric weed eaters, they offer a quiet operation and easy start but without the restrictions of a cord.

These weed eaters run on rechargeable batteries, and although there are a few other battery types available, lithium-ion ones are the most popular.

The absence of a cord makes these weed eaters highly portable as you can carry and use them anywhere provided the batteries are charged.

However, these weed eaters also have some downsides such as the fact that the batteries limit their runtime and also the need to recharge them means longer downtimes.


  • Highly portable. Like the gas weed eaters, the battery-powered ones do not have a cord and this makes them highly portable. You can carry and use them anywhere provided the batteries are charged and you have an extra battery pack for longer run times. However, most of these weed eaters are still heavier than the corded electric ones.
  • Quiet operation. There is no loud engine on the battery-powered weed eaters as they are electric tools that run on a more quiet motor. The modern models will hardly make any noise when in operation which makes them more comfortable and convenient to use than the gas powered ones.
  • No emissions. If you are looking for a portable and environmentally friendly weed eater, the battery-powered ones are a great choice. These string trimmers do not burn any fuel and so they always provide an emission-free operation.


  • Battery runtime limits usage. Even if you get the best battery-powered weed eaters, they will hardly run for more than a couple of hours. The limited runtime means that these weed eaters will only be ideal for use when trimming small and medium size yards.
  • Longer downtimes. Apart from limiting the runtime, batteries also lead to longer downtimes as they will require time to recharge. And even if you go for brands that provide a fast charger, you will still need to wait for at least an hour before you resume trimming.

Buying Advice

If you are looking for a highly powerful weed eater for heavy-duty trimming or for working on your large yard, the gas string trimmer is the best option.

Go for the corded electric, on the other hand, if you prefer something that offers unlimited runtime when working on small or medium size yards and the battery-powered weed eaters for a cord-free mobility.


When it comes to choosing between gas, corded electric and the cordless weed eaters, your choice should be based on the size of your yard, budget and also your preferences.

But, regardless of the type that you choose to buy, it is also important to note that there are also other vital factors to consider such as the brand as all companies do not produce the same quality.

Having enough information in mind on all these important factors and taking time to shop around and compare between different brands and models is the only way to ensure you end up with the best weed eater.

Last Updated on August 7, 2020 by Tom Bradly

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Tom Bradly

My entrepreneurial journey started in 2006, when I dropped out of university. I wanted to work with my hands, to build things. Now I mix my background with computers with my first-hand experience with woodworking to provide insights into the tools I like best. I love everything about woodworking and have been building stuff for over 20 years of my life. I hope to pass some knowledge and expertise. See more at TomBradly.com

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