Straight vs Curved Shaft Weed Eaters: Which One To Choose?

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weed eaters

Proper gardening maintenance requires the use of a sturdy, decent weed eater. If you take a trip to your local yard supply store or even hardware shop you will quickly find that there are lots and lots of different options out there.

Not only do some of them have different power sources, different sizes, different prices, but they also have different shapes.

There are two main looks for our friend the weed eater: curved or straight shaft.

Both are great yard upkeep tools, but they also have slightly different functioning capabilities. If you are serious about your gardening, you don’t want to just buy the first tool that you happen upon. You want the perfect weed eater for your needs.

That in mind, let’s explore the difference between straight and curved shaft weed eaters.

The Curved Shaft Weed Eater

Curved shaft weed eater. (new)jpg

A Husqvarna curved shaft weed eater. Image credit: Husqvarna on Amazon

The curved shaft weed eater is typically a little bit more compact than the straight shaft alternative. This truncated design makes the unit a little bit more lightweight, while the curve of the shaft also makes it feel a little bit more stable.

You can get a curved shaft weed eater that uses battery power, gas, or a cord, but no matter the power source, it probably won’t have quite as much oomph as the straight trimmer.

This is by virtue of the design. The curved shaft features an arched driveline that supplies the unit with a little bit less torque than you would see with a straight shaft.

There are also issues with maneuverability. The curve of the shaft presents a natural barrier that might keep you from being able to reach underbrush.

However, for most average homeowners, there won’t be any problems. If you have a typically sized lot and only require light to moderate use out of the weed eater, the curved shaft units will be forgiving, stable options.

The Straight Shaft Weed Eater

Straight weed eater

A craftsman straight shaft weed eater. Image credit: Craftsman on Amazon

Then we have the straight shaft weed eater. These units are going to very powerful, and they will also have no trouble reaching hard to access places.

As an added bonus, they are also usually more durable than the curved shaft weed eater. This is simply because the curve compromises the stability of the unit slightly.

It all sounds great, right? So why doesn’t everyone just opt for the straight shaft weed eater?

There are actually a few things, but they all boil down into one slightly significant con: they can be pretty hard to use.

There are several reasons for this. For one thing, they are heavier than the curved shaft unit. They are also longer, and more unruly. Remember, great power comes with great responsibility.

While straight shaft weed eaters are able to generate lots and lots of torque, it comes at the price of stability. They vibrate much more than curved units and they also tend to spit out lots and lots of debris.

Better units will be able to mitigate these cons somewhat, but the fact remains that this is a tool best left in skilled hands.

Professionals or people with large properties are going to have a good time with this product. Otherwise, it will simply be overkill.

So, which should you choose?

If you didn’t already know all of the information that we mentioned today, it probably means that you will be better suited for a curved shaft unit. Since the straight shaft weed eater requires a little bit of experience to use properly, you will most likely be better of waiting until you learn the ins and outs of yard upkeep.

Of course, there are also plenty of exceptions to this. At the end of the day, it will come down to the specifications of the unit itself.

There are plenty of high powered curved shaft units out there. Similarly, there are also lots of straight weed eaters that have vibration-reducing properties.

As a matter of fact, more and more manufacturers are emphasizing their straight shaft lines over the curved alternative.

Modern technology is quickly closing the gap between these two options. However, if you want to play it safe, you can always follow the simple rule of thumb that we have illustrated today. If you have lots of experience or a large property, you might think about going with the straight shaft weed eater.

If you are new to the world of yard upkeep, or, you just don’t have a massive property that requires lots of power, go with the curved shaft.

Of course, both options will work in a pinch. But, now that you have read this comparison, you should have no problem picking the perfect weed eater for your needs.


Header image credit: Airman Yvonne Morales, Air Force Medical Service

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!