There are a lot of walk behind string trimmers online, and it can be hard to tell which are good deals and which are likely to break down after just a few uses. It doesn’t help matters that manufacturers and their advertising agencies aren’t shy about overinflating their machines’ capabilities while forgetting to mention their potential downside.
Problems like these stop many people from buying the equipment they need. We’ve assembled a list of reviews of the best walk-behind string trimmers of 2020 to help you avoid this problem. Once you read our reviews and our buyer’s guide, you’ll have a good idea of what makes for a great model, and which ones you should avoid. Buying online can be easy, you just need to get the information you need to make an informed decision.
|Remington 22-Inch 159cc Gas|
|Poulan Pro 961720015||71 lbs||4.6/5|
|Husqvarna 961730006||71 lbs||4.5/5|
|Southland SWFT15022||50 lbs||4.25/5|
|Southland SWSTM4317||39 lbs||3.9/5|
The Remington 22-Inch 159cc Gas string trimmer is a great choice for anyone who wants ease of use and a powerful string trimmer that will last for a long time. It comes with a 4-cycle engine, which means you can use standard gas and oil, something you can’t do with 2-cycle engines. You can also expect it to last longer since 4-cycle engines have better internal lubrication. It comes with a folding handle, which means this model is a good choice if you have limited storage space. It’s also an off-set trimmer, which means you can trim along the side of a building or fence without the trimmer’s wheel getting in the way.
It has a massive 22-inch cutting swath, which is far more than you could expect from a handheld string trimmer. That feature alone would make this a good buy, but it’s only one great feature among many. The only potential problem with this model is that it is a bit top-heavy, which is rarely a problem on level ground but is really noticeable on slopes. If you’re going to be working on flat ground, and want a powerful push string trimmer, this is the model for you.
The Poulan Pro 961720015 is a good choice for someone who needs an adjustable height on their walk behind string trimmer. You can set the height anywhere from 1.6-inches to 3.04-inches, which gives you a wide range of trimming options while you work. It also comes with a 22” cutting width, which makes jobs fast and easy due to how wide that is. The easy-rolling wheels require less force to turn that the wheels on other units, meaning you’ll end up less worn out after using this model than you would with others.
Since you’re going to like using this model, you’ll probably have to change out the trimming line frequently, but this model makes it fast and easy, possibly easier than it would be on a standard, handheld weed eater. What ultimately keeps it out of first place is the fact that there are a ton of plastic parts in this model, and they’re not always well-made. Many people get good, durable units, but some come defective from the factory or break shortly thereafter. If it didn’t have that problem, we wouldn’t have any problem ranking it first on our list, but as is, it comes in second overall.
The Husqvarna 961730006 is an expensive walk behind string trimmer, and for the money, you’d like to make sure that you get a lot of value. It does many things correctly, including most prominently the big 12” wheels that make it easy to navigate over terrain, no matter how rough it gets. That makes pushing it easier, and as with all lawn equipment, easier use is always a good thing. You can adjust the height of the trimmer line to between 1.6 and 3 inches, which gives you a nice range of cutting, useful for when you need a tighter or coarser cut.
The 22” cutting with is great and helps you get big jobs done faster than you could with a handheld weed eater. It also usually starts on the first pull, which means you won’t have to spend time fussing with the engine before you get to work. However, it does have some engine problems in the long run. The carburetor seems to be a common culprit that kills motors a few years down the line. Given how expensive this model is, we’d like to see it have an engine that lasts longer.
The Southland SWFT15022 has good durability and includes many good features but has some design flaws that may make it unsuitable for many people’s intended use. It comes with a 22” cutting swath, which is good for clearing large areas in short amounts of time. It also comes with a foam grip handle, which is comfortable to hold and reduces the vibrations that you feel. It also comes with large, 12-inch in diameter wheels, which should, in theory, make it a stable and easy to use machine.
The problem is that it’s not a stable or easy to use machine. There’s no height adjustment, so you can’t change how coarsely or tightly you trim your field, which means it might not cut to your satisfaction, and there’s little you can do about it. This machine is also unstable on rough terrain and can be a nightmare to use on slopes. It has a habit of toppling over with very little provocation, and that’s not something most people want to deal with. If you’re looking for a well-made string trimmer, this is a good choice, but if you’re looking for something you’ll love using, you may want to look elsewhere.
The Southland SWSTM4317 has the most adjustable head on any of the string trimmers on this list, but it still falls short in some areas that may make it undesirable for you. The head-on this model is fantastic, giving you up to 30-degrees of swivel left and right, which makes this model useful for trimming along houses or fences without having to approach them at an awkward angle, while allowing you to return to a head-on configuration so that you can clear a field in straight lines.
It also accepts 0.095” .105” and 0.155” trimmer line, making it one of the more versatile walk behind string trimmers on the market. And, it has onboard string storage, so you can easily swap it out when it’s time, even if you’re far from your home or garage. However, it only cuts a 17” swath, which is underwhelming. It has a short handle, which means people of average height might have to hunch over to use it. Finally, it’s not the most powerful model on the market and won’t cut through saplings like some of the other entries on our list. Unfortunately, that will make it a poor choice for many people.
We hope that our reviews already have you thinking about the features that you’d like to see in your next string trimmer. If you’re still not sure which model will be the right one for you, don’t worry. We’ve assembled this buyer’s guide so that you can learn everything you need to know about string trimmers before you buy so that you can make a great decision when you do. It’s also a good resource to use if you haven’t bought a string trimmer in a while and want to get up to speed on what’s new in the market.
The engine is one of the most important parts of a string trimmer, no matter whether it’s handheld or walk behind. The biggest difference you’ll find in this area is between 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines. Some people errantly think that 4-stroke engines are more powerful or more efficient than 2-stroke engines, however, this isn’t true. The differences in the number of strokes don’t change how much power or torque the machine puts out, but instead changes how oil lubricates the engine.
Consequently, the two kinds of engines need different kinds of oil and gas. With a 2-stroke engine, you either need to buy prepared 50:1 gas to oil mix or make it yourself from non-ethanol gasoline and motor oil. The mix gets poured in through the single gas valve.
With a 4-stroke engine, you need to use standard gasoline. Gas with up to 10% ethanol is fine to use, so you don’t have to worry about finding it. You also have to add oil separately, through a different valve than the one used for gas. Since the 4-stroke engine uses the extra two strokes to lubricate its moving parts, which leads to less wear, it tends to last longer than the 2-stroke engine. It also tends to put out less emissions than an equivalently-sized 2-stroke engine, so it’s more environmentally friendly.
However, the 2-stroke does beat the 4-stroke in some areas, and these are ones that can be very important in lawn care. It has fewer moving parts, so you have do less maintenance over the lifespan of the machine. 2-stroke engines are smaller, and they also tend to weigh far less, which means they’re better for situations where you’re pushing or carrying the tool. It also vibrates less, so it wears you out less that way. 2-stroke engines are also far more likely to start on the first pull, even from cold, so they’re easier to get going than 4-stroke engines.
Like the engine, the wheels can have a big impact on how easy it is to use a walk behind string trimmer. The bigger the wheels are, the better they move over rough terrain, so you know that you’re going to be working in rough areas, you’ll want to get big wheels on your string trimmer. If you’re not going to be working on rough terrain, they’re not as important, but keep in mind that big wheels make most tasks easier, even if the relative gain isn’t as large as it is with bad terrain.
Keep in mind that some tires are better than others for use on a walk behind string trimmer. Smooth riding isn’t as important for a string trimmer as it is for a car or riding lawnmower, so you won’t commonly find rubber inflatable tires. Instead, you’ll find a lot of never-flat tries that feature a thin rubber outer rim on top of a thick plastic hub. These tires won’t ever deflate, because no air is used in their design, so that means you should never have to perform maintenance.
With wheels so large, stability becomes an important concern, and while an overturned string trimmer is unlikely to be dangerous, it is inconvenient, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting a stable model before you buy.
One of the biggest advantages of a walk behind string trimmer over a handheld variant is the cutting swath’s size. With handheld models, you top out at about 17” cutting swaths. With a walk behind string trimmer, you should expect a far larger swath, and with most of the models on our list, you get a 22” cutting swath. While that five inches may not sound like a lot to you, it adds up significantly if you’re trying to clear large areas.
For example, if you’re using a 22” walk behind string trimmer vs a 17” handheld model to clear a field, after five trips back and forth across it, you’re 25” further along. That means in the same amount of time you clear more than two extra feet, which is a great way to speed up the job without moving faster.
You can also save a lot of time if you invest in a model that makes it easy to replace your trimmer line. Not all string trimmer heads make it quick and easy to change out lines, so you should consider this feature strongly before you buy. Some models even come with onboard string storage, so you can easily replace trimmer line in the field without walking back to your garage or vehicle to get more.
If you’re not sure how to go about choosing the walk behind string trimmer that is right for you, don’t worry. A good first step is to think about the fields you know you’ll be clearing. Consider the size of the fields, how rough the terrain is, and how much time you’ll spend clearing weeds near a building or fence. Those considerations should help you narrow down what features you’ll need to get the job done quickly and well.
Once you know that, create a short list of models that have all the features that you’ll need. You’re safe buying any of the models that are on that list. However, if you’re looking to get good value out of your investment, it’s not a bad idea to buy the cheapest model on that shortlist. Since it has all the features you need and comes at the best price, you know you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
The Remington 22-Inch 159cc Gas string trimmer comes with a great 4-cycle engine, a folding handle that’s great for storage, and an offset trimmer that makes it great for trimming along buildings or fences, earning it the title of “best overall.” The Poulan Pro 961720015 is our runner-up, due to its great adjustable height, easy-rolling wheels, and easy string changes, though quality control problems ultimately keep it out of first.
The Husqvarna 961730006 comes with an easy start, large wheels, and adjustable cutting height, but its price and engine problems drop it to third. The Southland SWFT15022 comes with an anti-vibration foam handle, as well as large wheels, but its instability and lack of cutting height adjustment drop it to fourth. The Southland SWSTM4317 comes with the most adjustable head of any model on our list, but its small cutting swath, short handle, and lack of power drop it to the bottom of our list.
If you’re looking for the best walk behind string trimmer on the market, we hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have taught you everything you need to know. You should now be able to use this information to buy with confidence.
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!