Weed eaters are a handy tool for keeping your lawn trimmed and weed-free without having to constantly mow it, which can be especially helpful in tight spaces or sloped ground that a larger mower can’t access properly!
Photo By: Andrew Sherman Photography
However, like all gardening equipment, there are thousands of different varieties to choose from, each with unique features and a design that stands out from the others. Trying to pick a single one from the list can be difficult, but there are some features you’ll want to prioritize over others.
Electric weed eater designs can come with multiple heads, although not all of them will let you swap them out for one another. Each one has a different purpose and is meant for different things. For example, the bump feed head needs to be pressed down on the ground so that more of the line can be released, but are also easy to repair and only extend the line when you need it. A fixed feed head is similar, giving your electric weed eater a very simple design that uses single lines that you can thread in yourself.
The third type is an automatic feed head, which is designed to provide fast garden weed removal using a spinning head that manages the line automatically. However, they can be hard to repair if they end up breaking down, so they’re best used very carefully.
The power source of any tool can completely change how it works and what its most effective doing, with the two most obvious types being corded and cordless electric weed eater designs. A corded design has to be plugged in (usually to the mains power) to operate, and can’t move very far unless you have an extension cord, but often gets the highest level of performance and doesn’t run the risk of any batteries dying while you’re using it. In smaller gardens and lawns, there’s almost no downside to using a design like this.
Cordless designs are the exact opposite, trading some power and relying on batteries instead. This makes them more likely to die and need to be recharged unexpectedly, but also frees them up from any kind of power cord, meaning that you can take them almost anywhere and keep using them as long as they have power stored up to use. The hit to their performance is very minor, and you won’t usually notice it unless you’re dealing with extremely thick weeds.
Like all garden weed removal tools – especially weed killer – an electric weed eater can be a safety risk to people who use it incorrectly or get in the way. Having good safety features is important, even if it’s only the basics: this can be anything from an emergency stop button to a trigger that works based on pressure, turning off the moment you stop holding it down. Some will even have a safety switch that you can flick to ‘lock’ the tool, meaning that it won’t activate even if you pull down the trigger.
Another common issue shared by all tools is the weight involved. Most electric weed eater designs will be fairly light, since electrical power systems don’t weigh very much, but some are still going to be much lighter than others. It’s up to you to decide what kind of weight you want to work at: lighter ones can be easier to move around but might not feel as sturdy, whereas heavier ones can take more effort to use but can often include better power systems or larger batteries (if they’re not cord-powered).
The string used in an electric weed eater acts as the tool’s ‘weed killer’, cutting up weeds and letting you actually trim them down in the same way that a lawnmower blade would. Since strings are weaker than blades and usually have to be replaced or adjusted more often, a good design that can accommodate the strings properly matters a lot. Remember that the head of the electric weed eater is often the part that has the most impact on how the strings work, but you can also get different versions of those heads that might be more efficient, stronger or easier to work with.