Electric vs Gas Weed Eater – Which is Best for You?

a man whipping weeds

Image credit: David R. Yeo, Wikimedia

When it comes right down to it, the question of whether to buy a gas- or electric-powered weed eater rests on how much you hate noise. We’ll break down the relative pros and cons of each here shortly, but ultimately the issue that matters when you’re using it is whether you can put up with the noise of an internal combustion engine.

If you can’t stand what is sometimes a high-pitched, loud whine, you’ll want to go electric. Weeds don’t normally require all that much power to clear out, so you can sacrifice the output of a gas engine and still get the job done.

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The satisfaction of the gas engine

For some folks, the answer is that they can. There’s a certain amount of satisfaction that comes with operating an internal combustion engine. We’d be lying if we said otherwise. Gas-powered weed eaters put out more juice, but to a lot of their fans, that’s just a secondary issue to the satisfying feeling of power in their hands.

That aside, when you’ve arrived at your choice in model, there are a few things you’ll want to know about as part of the bargain you just bought into.

Silent and tethered with electricity

The good news, if you prefer to work quietly, is that electric weed eaters are a good deal more affordable than gasoline-powered ones. The reason is pretty simple. There’s no gasoline engine required. That knocks quite a bit off the price. It also knocks quite a bit off the weight.

That brings with it two disadvantages.

electric weed eater

Credit: Anthony Sanchelli, Ellsworth Air Force Base

The first is that you have to get your juice from somewhere and that somewhere is a wall plug. The extent of your range is the amount of extension cord you have and the availability of a wall plug. A really large yard could make an electric weed eater prohibitive just for this reason.

Electric mobility with a battery

One option to eliminate this is to get an electric weed eater that is powered by a battery. The battery offers the flexibility of movement without the added weight of a gas engine. It’s not a perfect solution, however. Batteries require overnight charging and their power starts to diminish as they lose charge. If it conks out completely before you’re finished, you have to recharge it to wrap things up.

The second disadvantage to electric weed eaters is reduced power. Weeds don’t really require all that much power to chop through, so this isn’t that significant a disadvantage, but electric motors just can’t deliver the muscle that gas engines can.

Gas gets you loud and mobile

On the other hand, if you’ve opted for a gas engine, you’ve opted to spend a little bit more. You’re not just paying for the engine, but also more for fuel and maintenance. It’s a bit of an investment, but again maybe one that you want to make because you just like the feeling of a revving engine in your hand.

gas weed whipper

Credit: Lance Cpl. Patrick Osino, Marforeur

If you’re riding a motorcycle, the sound of a revving engine is the sound of freedom. So it goes for a weed eater. You’re untethered from electricity and are as free to operate it, limited only by your willingness to carry it around. Make no mistake about it, that engine adds weight.

There’s power in that noise

That engine also adds power. It can crank out power that your wall current just simply can’t match. If your weed growth includes stout shrubs and little trees, that power might come in handy.

Internal combustion engines mean fuels, which means exhaust fumes alongside the noise. If you’re eco-conscience, this might be a significant disadvantage. If you have health issues related to your lungs, it might be a significant downside, too.

The good and the bad

Like we said at the beginning, your choice is probably going to come down to whether you want the noisy freedom of the gas engine or want something that will go easier on your ears. That invariably falls to individual taste, and really the rest is a matter of accepting the consequences of your choice.

Electric motors are quiet but less powerful and limited by the range of the cord. That is unless you buy a battery-powered weed eater, which is limited by the life cycle of the battery. It’s a dodge around the limited mobility of an electric, but they lose power as the battery drains and the batteries don’t last all that long anyway.

Gas motors are more expensive and loud. But they offer greater freedom of movement, and if you need to cut through difficult weed growth they offer more power.

Other posts that may be of interest to you:

4-Cycle vs 2-Cycle Weed Eaters – Which is Better?

WORX WG163 GT3 Trimmer/Edger Review

WORX GT2 (WG160) vs WORX GT3 (WG180)

About the Author Adam Harris

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!