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Best Walk Behind String Trimmers of 2020

Best Walk Behind String Trimmer Reviews of 2020


EARTHQUAKE 28463 M205 Walk-Behind String Mower with 150cc 4-Cycle Viper Engine

Best for heavy-duty use

A commercial-grade string mower designed to get rid of all tall grass, weeds, and small brush on your lawn.

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1 EARTHQUAKE 28463 M205 Review

Whether you have to take care of a large property in the middle of a prairie or need the best walk behind string trimmer for a small landscaping business, the EARTHQUAKE 28463 might be it.

Powered by an aggressive 150cc engine, it’s designed to get rid of everything a property might throw at it. From mowing and trimming at the same time to cutting brush and stubborn weeds, this machine is up to anything.

A cutting swath of 22 inches makes it easy to finish the job in no time. We also like the relatively low weight and the fact that the 14-inch no-flat wheels allow you to maneuver it easily on all kinds of terrains.

Equipped with a four-stroke engine that needs no gas and oil mix, easy to use, and really easy to maintain, this string mower is by far the best you can get for heavy-duty domestic or light commercial purposes.

Best value
Southland SWFT15022

Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SWFT15022 150cc Field Trimmer

Best value for money

Very easy to maneuver by most homeowners, including ladies and elderly people.

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2 Southland SWFT15022 Review

The Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SWFT15022 might not be powerful enough to cut through the brush, but it can easily get rid of stubborn weeds and tall grass. Powered by a CARB-compliant 150cc engine, it can be used in all states without worries.

A similar cutting swath to our best in class makes it a great choice for larger lawns and homeowners who don’t want to break the bank.

Not only it’s almost as performing as the EARTHQUAKE; this walk behind weed eater boasts a lower weight, sturdy wheels, and is more maneuverable.
Comfort during use is also delivered by the anti-vibration, soft-grip folding handle. Compact to store, easy to use, and incredibly capable, this walk behind string trimmer brings unrivaled value for money.

Also great
Southland SWSTM4317

Southland SWSTM4317 Wheeled String Trimmer

Best for domestic use

A trimmer head bevel feature allows for a precise edging along any obstacles.

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3 Southland SWSTM4317 Review

Designed with smaller lawns in mind, the Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SWSTM4317 is another great choice for most homeowners. Like our best value, it’s CARB compliant, but it’s equipped with a smaller, 43cc engine.

This doesn’t mean it’s not powerful; on the contrary. It’s aggressive enough to slice through thick grass and tall weeds in a blink of an eye. The 17-inch cutting swath makes it just perfect for small to mid-sized lawns, while the low weight and oversized wheels make it incredibly easy to maneuver on all terrains.

Small but mighty, it can use either .095-inch or .105-inch line, so you can choose the adequate string for the task. We also like the swivel head adjustment for wall or fence trimming, as well as the bevel head that allows for precise edging. Furthermore, the height-adjustable handle makes it perfect for people of all heights.

Best budget
Southland SOWST4317

Southland SOWST4317 Wheeled String Trimmer

Best for small yards

A compact walk behind string trimmer designed for small to mid-sized lawns.

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4 Southland SOWST4317 Review

Last but not least, the Southland SOWST4317 can save the day if you want a powerful string trimmer but don’t want to break the bank.

It maintains most of the features seen on our also great pick, but it’s lighter and cheaper. Powered by a 43cc 2-stroke engine, it can cut through most types of grass and weeds. It can’t really handle brush, but after all, it’s not a brush cutter, but a weed eater.

In broad lines, it’s almost identical with the SWSTM4317 model, except for the head swivel adjustment and head bevel. So, if you don’t really care about wall or fence trimming nor about precise edging, this walk behind string trimmer will surely save you some bucks while satisfying your needs.

Walk-behind vs. handheld string trimmer. What are the differences?

When thinking of string trimmers, the first image that comes to mind is that of a traditional, hand-held weed wacker. When thinking of self-propelled, we typically think of walk behind lawn mowers. Yet, if you live in an area with thick grass and stubborn weeds, if you have a big property or if you’re a landscaper, a professional string trimmer with wheels might be your best bet.

Often dubbed as a walk behind string mower, the self-propelled weed eater brings the best of both worlds.

This machine looks like a lawn mower but utilizes a string trimmer head with nylon line designed to cut through tall, prairie grass and weeds. The best commercial string trimmers even have bevel heads that work similar to an edger, allowing for neat edging along walkways or fences.

What are the benefits of a walk-behind string mower?

It’s often associated with landscapers and other professionals, but the walk behind weed eater comes with a bunch of advantages for residential users too. In a nutshell, a self-propelled string trimmer can:

  • Help you finish trimming grass and weeds faster
  • It’s easier to handle by impaired or elderly operators
  • It is a better choice for large properties

2-cycle vs. 4-cycle engines. Which should you pick?

Unlike the lawn mowers, which can be electric or cordless, the vast majority of the walk-behind string trimmers have gas engines. Choices, therefore, are reduced to 2-cycle and 4-cycle models.

  • The best walk-behind string trimmers come with 4-cycle engines that are more powerful and run cleaner than the 2-cycle ones. Most of these engines are CARB-compliant, meaning you can use your professional weed eater in all states. However, they need more maintenance and frequent oil changes.
  • Two-cycle engines are louder and produce more emissions than the 4-cycle ones. However, they are easier to maintain and are typically lighter in weight Needless to say, they are also cheaper than the 4-cycle ones.

Can walk-behind field trimmers cut brush?

Whether you’ll be able to cut brush with your self-propelled weed eater largely depends on its power and type of line it uses.

Typically, walk behind string trimmers use a heavy-duty, commercial type of line with a diameter of at least .095 inches. This nylon line is strong enough to slice through thick grass and most types of weeds, but it’s not adequate for brush cutting.

Stronger line – either nylon or metal wire – with a diameter of .105-.110 inches can typically cut underbrush, but for effective brush cutting, you should invest in a self-propelled string trimmer compatible with steel blades. Or even better, you should consider getting a brush cutter.

What is the cutting swath of a wheeled string trimmer?

Like self-propelled lawn mowers, wheeled string trimmers can have various cutting swaths. When choosing, think of the size of your lawn:

Lawn size

Recommended cutting swath

Small lawn up to ½ acres

Up to 17 inches

Mid-sized lawn ½-1 acres

17-22 inches

A large lawn of 1 acre or over

22 inches or over

Do self-propelled string trimmers need a lot of maintenance?

Self-propelled string trimmers don’t need a lot of maintenance, but they do need more maintenance than a handheld weed eater. There are two things to take into account the maintenance of the engine and that of the cutting head.

How to maintain a 2-cycle engine?

If you decided to invest in a professional weed eater with a 2-cycle engine, you’d be pleased to know that this type of engine is easy to maintain. To prevent damage, only use fuel and oil mix as specified by the manufacturer. Clean and replace the spark plugs every season, and check the condition of the anti-vibration system regularly to make sure it’s in good working conditions.

How to maintain a 4-cycle engine?

Four-cycle engines are more efficient and cleaner, but they have more components and need more maintenance than the 2-cycle ones. Besides making sure that you’re using the highest quality fuel, you should:

  • Clean and change the spark plugs every season
  • Change the oil at the beginning of each season, then every 20-25 hours of use
  • Change the air filters every 3 months or every 20-25 hours of use, whichever comes first
  • Replace the crankcase detergent oil as often as indicated by the manufacturer

How to replace the string trimmer line?

Replacing the line on a wheeled weed eater is very similar to replacing the line on a handheld string trimmer. However, you will have to lift the string mower to remove the cutting head; for safe lifting, the best thing to do is to invest in a light-duty lawn mower lift.

  1. Lift the self-propelled string trimmer, remove the cutting head, and take it apart.
  2. Cut at least 10 feet of adequate line (usually with a diameter between .095 and .110 inches), and put one end of the line in each of the two holes of the inner reel.
  3. Pull the ends to close the loop.
  4. Find the arrow on the reel, then rotate in the indicated direction to wind the trimmer line around the spool. Continue winding until you’re left with about 6 inches of line.
  5. Assemble the cutting head and mount it back. Free the ends of the trimmer line, and you’re good to go.

What features to look for when buying a walk behind weed eater?

Besides all the above, there are a few other important features you should consider when buying a self-propelled string trimmer:

  • Wheels: A wheeled weed eater is an excellent choice instead of a hand-held one if you have a large plot or difficult terrain. The best walk-behind string trimmers come with rugged wheels of at least 10 inches that can make handling easier.
  • Anti-vibration system: No matter how performing they are, all gas engines produce vibrations. To reduce fatigue, it’s best to invest in a self-propelled string trimmer with an anti-vibration system.
  • Adjustable height handle: This feature allows you to adjust the size of the handle to your own height; thus, it helps you prevent lower back pain while improving your overall experience.
  • Foldable handle: Reduces the size of the string mower for storage and transport purposes.
  • Ergonomics: Last but not least, don’t underestimate the comfort factor. A walk behind string trimmer may help you finish the job faster, but maneuvering it will be easier if the handle is ergonomic and equipped with a soft grip.

Best Walk Behind String Trimmer for the Money

Best value
Southland SWFT15022

Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SWFT15022 150cc Field Trimmer

Best value for money

Very easy to maneuver by most homeowners, including ladies and elderly people.

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