Weed Eater Comparison
Black & Decker 136
Black & Decker 900
Black & Decker 140
Black & Decker 300
Black & Decker 420
Black & Decker 7700
|0.085″ Bump||0.95″ Bump,
|0.065″ Bump||0.065″ Bump||0.065″ Bump||0.065″ Bump||0.065″ Bump||0.065″ Bump||0.065″ Bump|
|Warranty||2 Years||3 Years||1 Year||2 Years||2 Years||2 Years||2 Years||2 Years||2 Years||2 Years|
Weed Eater Buying Guide
What is a Weed Eater?
Weed eaters are usedto keep weeds and tall grasses trimmed in the areas that mowers can’t get to. When weeds and grasses are kept trimmed it makes a big difference in how your yard looks. This improves the look of your home which is especially important if you are trying to sell your home.
There are many different types of weed eaters on the market today. When you are looking to buy one, there are multiple things that you will want to look at when you are comparison shopping for the best one for your needs. There really is no “best” weed eater overall since there are so many that have similar features. What you can do is find the best one for YOU. Everyone’s needs and preferences are different and a weed eater that is a good for one person may not be a good choice for another.
Things to Consider when Buying a Weed Eater
When you are comparing one weed eater to another, you will find that they have different engines, power sources, shaft styles and extra features. Considering what your needs and preferences are before you buy will help you eliminate the choices that just don’t have what you need and are looking for. Below we’ve outlined these considerations to think about and answer before you look. By looking at these considerations, you’ll be able to find the weed eater that will do the job you want it to and be a help rather than a disappointment.
- What areas will you use the weed eater? – Where you will be using your weed eater can determine a lot about the kind you need. How far is it from outlets if you are considering an electric weed eater? Is the lot large or small? Electric weed eaters can work great for small yards, but if you have a large yard or a lack of outlets, gas or propane powered will be a much more practical choice.
- What is in your yard? – Will you be using your weed eater around a lot of trees, bushes, fencing, decks and other structures? If you’re going to be doing a lot of weed eating under bushes or fences, you will have a much easier time with a straight shaft variety. Curved varieties are good choices when you will be weed eating around gardens and flower beds.
- What kind of weeds do you have? – If you’re going to be tackling a lot of thick grass and tougher weeds, you will need a more powerful, commercial grade weed eater. For a lot of intense weed eating, the standard models just don’t have the durability or staying power that you will need.
- Gas, Electric, Battery? – Each type of weed eater has different benefits and drawbacks. The battery or gas powered weed eaters work well for yards that are larger and where you need to be able to move around without having to worry about running out of extension cord. The problem with battery powered is that if your charge runs out before you’re done and you don’t have a back up battery it could take you a lot longer to get yard work done. Gas powered weed eaters are typically the most versatile and have the most features but some people don’t want the added hassle of getting gas and oil.
- Features and Extras –Be sure to compare the features and extras that the different weed eaters have that you are interested in. You will find things like models that can do other jobs such as edging, leaf blowing and more. Some have guards to protect fragile flowers and others have things like see through gas tanks on gas powered models or deflectors that keep the exhaust blowing backwards.
Different Types of Weed Eaters
Weed eaters are available in three main types: Gas powered, electric powered and battery powered. Within these three types they can also be corded or cordless, straight or curved shafted and so on. With all of these different variables, you may just throw your hands up, close your eyes and point to one, but that won’t be necessary when you understand what all these variables are.
Gas Powered –This type of weed eater is going to have the most power of all three of the power choices. They also usually have a larger head which means they will cover more surface area when weed eating and this can make the job go much faster. There are no restrictions on freedom of movement, so you can use this type of weed eater all around the house and outbuildings with no concern for running out of cord or having the battery die.
They also can hold more string than the electric and battery powered weed eaters do.They are heavier than the other types and you will need to purchase additional gas and oil to make it run, but if you’re looking for a weed eater that can tackle the big jobs, gas powered is the way to go. They are louder than the other two types, but wearing some ear protection can keep this from being a problem.
Battery Operated–Battery operated weed eaters can be good choices for smaller yards. Having an extra battery on hand is always a good idea in case your first one runs out of juice before the job is done. They are fairly lightweight compared to gas powered models and provide a lot of flexibility for the user because there is no cord to contend with.You can expect to get about 20-30 minutes of continuous power before needing to recharge it and/or put the backup battery in.
Electric Powered – This is the lightest weed eater of the three types available. They typically have smaller heads and cutting widths as well. Some electric powered weed eaters can also function as an edger too. They are powered by a cord and you’ll need an extension cord as well. Electric weed eaters are extremely quiet and don’t require batteries, gas or oil to run.
You do need available outlets and power which can restrict movement. They are very good for extremely small areas close to the house. They are easy to start, just press the button and you’re good to go. There is a bit of a learning curve involved in getting used to electric weed eaters so you don’t get tangled in the cord but many people really like using them if their circumstances fit what they are capable of. They are great for those who are environmentally conscious. They are also the least expensive of all three types.
Below we have outlined a simple breakdown of the three types of weed eaters with the common pros and cons of each.
- Requires no cord
- Covers large areas
- Powerful for heavy duty jobs
- No battery or power source required
- Great for commercial use
- Requires gas and oil
- Louder than other types
- Typically costs more than other types
- No cord to worry about
- No gas or oil required
- Easy to start
- Quiet motor
- Low maintenance
- Needs recharging after every use
- Can run out of battery power before the job is done
- Might require an additional battery to be purchased
- Costs more than electric weed eaters
- Not a good choice for heavy duty jobs
- Less power
- Least expensive
- No gas or oil required
- Easy to start
- Quiet motor
- Low maintenance
- Harder to learn to use with a cord
- Needs power to run
- Can’t handle large areas without an available power source
- Not good for heavy grass and weeds
- Not good for commercial use
Weed eaters are available in many different size ranges. Each range is better suited to specific types of use.
10” to 12” – this cutting width is great for light use such as just sidewalks or a very small yard.
14” to 15” – A little larger cutting width means you can handle a little but more complication when it comes to your weed eating.
17” and up – this is the heavy duty size and is great for large jobs and commercial jobs.
- 10-in to 12-in cutting swath for light use
- 14-in to 15-in cutting swath for moderate use
- 17-in and larger cutting swath for heavy-duty use
The shank of a weed eater, or shaft as it is also called, is the long straight or curved “pole” that the handle and head are attached to. You can choose from curved or straight shanks. Each have their benefits and it depends on what you are trimming which one will be the best choice.
Straight shafts are longer and are easier to carry than curved shaft weed eaters because they are weighted much better than curved shanks are. This makes them a good choice for taller users. They are ideal for trimming under lawn furniture, fences, decks and other structures. Overall, curved shank weed eaters are less expensive than straight shank and they are usually more comfortable angle wise as well. If you’re using the weed eater in small, tight spaces you might prefer a curved shank weed eater.
Some weed eaters actually have a split shaft which means the head is removable and other attachments can be put on so it can do other features like edging, leaf blowing, etc.
Weed Eater Cutting Line
There are two types of weed eater cutting line available. The standard grade line is what is most often included with lower powered weed eaters. It is a good choice for small yards that don’t have a lot of trimming work to do. It wears out fast but is less expensive to purchase.
There is commercial grade cutting line as well. This is much more durable and lasts a lot longer than the standard line does. If you’re regularly cutting heavy weeds and grasses you will want to get the commercial grade cutting line to make your job much easier. If you live in the country, you are also better off with commercial grade line because of the types of weeds that are usually present in the country and how tough they usually are when allowed to grow too long. Cutting line is usually not interchangeable. If your weed eater takes standard line, that is all you will be able to use with it unless it specifies otherwise. If you need commercial grade cutting line, you will need to purchase one that enables it to be used or comes with it initially.
Weed Eater Features
Wed eaters come with many different features. You should have an idea of what types of features you’re looking for or at the very least have knowledge of what your needs are when it comes to the weeds and grasses around your home. Below of several common features that are available with different models.
Rotating Head – Many weed eaters have a rotating head which enables them to be used for edging along driveways and sidewalks. This is a great feature that can give your yard a really finished look.
Bump Feed – This feature releases more line from the spool when the head of the weed eater is bumped on the ground. This feature is only available for weed eaters that have spool lines.
Fixed Line –One of the drawbacks to spooled line is that it can become tangled inside the head causing all kinds of problems. Fixed line heads have short lengths of line which completely eliminates tangling. All you need to do is thread in a new piece of line as needed and get to work. You will need to do this fairly often which some consumers don’t like. Many weed eaters offer the fixed line option for spooled line varieties if the user wants to have another option for line feed.
Carrying Strap – Some heavy duty models come with carrying straps which make them much easier to carry for longer periods of time. These straps distribute the weight over more of the body rather than just having to hold it up with your arms and shoulders. It reduces user fatigue as well.
Top Mounted Motor– Motors are mounted on the top of the weed eater for all gas powered models. Some electric models are also top mounted which makes them, ore balanced and easy to use.
Stop Switch – Weed eaters that have this safety feature allow you to quickly stop the engine without ever having to move your hands. This is good in the event of an emergency or if something is suddenly in your path that isn’t safe to cut.
Centrifugal Clutch – on gas powered models, the centrifugal clutch lets the engine idle without spinning the cutting line. On electric models there isn’t a need for this feature because the cutting line doesn’t spin unless a button is pressed.
Starters – If you have used a gas powered weed eater, you know that starting them with the pull string can sometimes be a challenge. If the weed eater has a spring assisted start, it makes pulling that cord much easier. Some gas powered models that are higher end have the StartEasy feature which makes starting it less of a chore.
Exhaust Deflector–the deflector aims hot exhaust gases towards the rear of the weed eater rather than forward. If you are left handed this is even more important.
Clear Fuel Tank – This is a great feature for being able to tell when more fuel is needed.
2 and 4 cycle engines– 2 cycle engines require a mixture of oil and gasoline but the 4 cycle engines do not need that.
Attachment Capable – There are several models of weed eaters that are able to have attachments of all kinds added. These attachments usually enable the weed eater to be used for other jobs such as edging, leaf blowing, brush cutting and more.
Single line head – most often seen in electric weed eaters, single head lines are easy to wind when installing a new line.
Dual line head – this means more cutting line is being applied to the job at hand and this is great for taking care of those bigger job that have heavy grasses and tough weeds to deal with.
Safety Tips for Using Weed Eaters
Using a weed eater still has some risks that users need to be aware of. There are some safety tips that you can use to ensure the safest use possible of your weed eater. It is important to note that weed eaters are not good for children to use ever.
- Read that manual – Make sure that when you get your weed eater that you read the instruction manual. It is a valuable resource that tells you all about the model you purchased, how to use it, start it, maintain it and more.
- Protect your eyes – safety goggles are always a good idea when using a weed eater. With grasses and weeds flying all over, things can get kicked up into your eyes causing irritation, redness and more serious problems if something sharp gets tossed up.
- Wear long pants – Long pants such as jeans will protect the skin on your legs from getting cut or scratched from flying debris. It can also protect you from insect bites.
- Wear long shirts when practical– if it’s super hot outside, wearing long sleeves may not feel good, so just be as careful as you can if you choose to wear a regular t shirt. Never use the weed eater without a shirt on or in a bathing suit or shorts. This leaves the skin exposed to debris flying around.
- Wear gloves – gloves are always good for protecting your hands when you are using weed eaters. They are also good for grabbing potential “pokey” brush that is in your way. It can also reduce blisters.
- Ear Protection – Some weed eaters are loud and using them for any period of time can result in your hearing being affected or giving yourself a headache. Ear protection will reduce the ear noise you have going on and is a must have for extended use.
- Wear proper shoes – you should never use the weed eater or any similar yard tool barefoot or with sandals on. Wearing proper shoes can prevent accidents and injuries from occurring.
- Take Breaks – User fatigue is common, especially during the hot summer months. When you have a lot of weed eating to do, take periodic breaks and drink plenty of water. This will keep you hydrated and avoid user fatigue from the constant vibration your hands and arms will be subjected to.
- Keep pets and children out of the way – Weed eater and kids or pets don’t mix. Dogs are sometimes prone to jump at motorized things that make noise, and the cutting line could strike them if they get too close. Kids and pets should not be nearby when you are using the weed eater. Flying debris can get thrown into a child’s face or they can get too close and get hurt that way as well.
- No electric weed eaters when it’s wet – Gas powered weed eaters can be used in light rain or when grass it wet although it won’t cut as well, but electric weed eaters that use a power cord should never be used in the rain no matter how slight nor should they be used when the grass is wet. Mixing electricity and water is never a good idea.
- Don’t use more line than you need – having long lengths of line can make the engine work harder and that means it can wear out sooner or break down from the overload. Keep the length of the line the recommended length.
- Clear the area of toys, sticks, and other potential hazards – weed eaters are much like mowers when it comes to kicking up debris when it hits it. Make sure to check the yard for toys and other things that could get in the way of weed eating cleanly. It’s much safer to check the yard ahead of time rather than come upon something unexpectedly.
- Do not refuel while the engine is hot – if you run out of gas while using the weed eater, let it cool down before you add more fuel. It will not take long for it to cool down and it is much safer.
- Stop the Weed Eater if someone walks close – 30-60 feet is the closest anyone should get to the weed eater that is being used. If someone comes closer, stop weed eating and either shut it off completely or run it at idle while you are speaking to them.
- Store securely – when you are done using your weed eater, make sure you clean it of any debris and grass and let it dry if you rinse it off. When you store it, make sure it is stored in a way that doesn’t allow spillage if it is gas powered.
- Keep the Weed Eater Clean – to avoid potential fires, don’t allow grass and debris buildup to occur on the weed eater. Keeping it clean not only makes it work better, it helps it work longer and that means saving money on repairs and replacements. Cleaning the weed eater is easy. Just remove grasses and debris from any area that is covered. Wipe down with a damp rag.
- Check it out – be sure to check on the performance of your weed eater. If it sounds funny, don’t use it, if it has a frayed cord of connection, get it looked at. Using a potentially defective weed eater is a recipe for disaster.
When it comes to having a well kept yard, no tool is more versatile and helpful than the weed eater. They make trimming weeds and grasses and brush that are making your yard look overgrown much easier than having to do it with clippers. There are many models of weed eaters out there, but with the information you have received in this buyer’s guide you can learn all of the important things there is to know about them so you can choose the right one for your needs.
It’s not hard to narrow down your choices once you have an understanding of what those features offer, what the difference engine sizes can handle and even what types are better for certain yards than others. The points we’ve outlined in this buyer’s guide will help you get the best weed eater for your money that is available.
- Poulan Pro – http://www.poulanpro.com/
- Ryobi – https://www.ryobitools.com/
- WeedEater – http://www.weedeater.com/