Gas string trimmers are powerful tools that can capably and efficiently help you trim the areas of their properties which can’t be reached easily by lawnmowers, as well as helping you achieve a beautiful and manicured look to the edges of your lawn.
There are many choices when it comes to these machines, though, which is why you should find out all you can before you buy.
Size and power of gas string trimmers
String trimmers in this category use powerful small engines which run on gasoline.
The engines are measured in terms of cubic centimeters, or ccs. On gas powered string trimmers, the engines are typically rated between 20 and 30 ccs, though some units feature engines slightly smaller or larger.
The engines on these units are located at the top end of the trimmer shaft, where users can have easy access to the controls.
The cutting heads on gas powered string trimmers offer between 15 and 20 inches of cutting width. This is more than is normally available on electric trimmers.
Also, you can usually use heavier gauge trimmer line on gas powered machines.
This makes it easier for users to trim in tough areas which might require thicker line and means fewer frustrating stops to change broken line.
Another factor to consider is the length of these units. Some of them can be over five feet long from engine to trimmer head. If you are comfortable with handling tools of this size, you should have no problems, but some new users might have trouble getting accustomed to them.
How do gas string trimmers compare to electric and walk-behind string trimmers?
Gas string trimmers are much more powerful than corded electric or cordless string trimmers. If you have ever questioned an electric trimmer’s ability to handle a job, you need not worry about the abilities of gas powered trimmers.
These machines are powerful enough to accomplish even the toughest trimming tasks, though they are heavier and can be more difficult to handle.
Gas string trimmers also require you to keep fuel on hand. Many of these units feature 2 stroke engines, which means that you must use a gas and oil mixture. Machines featuring 4 stroke engines run cleaner and they do not require you to mix gas and oil, but they are usually more expensive.
Dealing with fuel is one aspect that owners of electric string trimmers do not have to contend with, but they also sacrifice a significant amount of power.
Perhaps the most important difference between gas powered string trimmers and electrically powered models is the noise factor. Because gas powered machines use 2 or 4 stroke engines, they are much louder than other types of trimmers.
Also, they release emissions which can be harmful to the environment. This can be a problem if you live in a municipality with noise restrictions, or if you live in California where machines must be CARB compliant in order to be bought, sold or operated by consumers.
Another downside of gas string trimmers is that they can produce more vibrations than electric models. This can be a problem if you are using your machine for extend periods of time, as it may cause (temporary) discomfort in your hands, such as tingling and numbness.
Walk-behind string trimmers also run on gasoline and they are an even more powerful step up from the hand held models.
Walk-behind trimmers use a trimmer head with a spool of cutting line, but the head is mounted on an apparatus resembling a walk-behind lawnmower.
These machines are bigger and even more powerful than hand-held string trimmers, but their maneuverability is somewhat limited by their size.
Features to look out for in gas string trimmers
The most important feature of a gas powered string trimmer is the user’s ability to handle it effectively. Some models are better engineered than others, so you should look for a unit that has a good reputation with existing users for ease of use. Try to avoid big and bulky models that offer great power but poor ergonomics.
Some models, more typically brush cutters have ‘wing’ type handles that can make it easier to trim along lengthy straight places, such as hedge lines.
Many brush cutter models use a blade instead of line as the cutting implement. If you have thicker brush to cut, then look out for a model with blade as well as line capability.
You will also need to decide which type of shaft you prefer. Curved shaft trimmers are not always able to reach places accessible by straight-shafted trimmers. String trimmers with straight shafts can be more costly, but they are also more versatile and easier to handle.
Finally, you may want to consider buying a trimmer with a 4 stroke engine. These engines run much more cleanly, they are less noisy plus they do not require you to mix gas and oil.
Best uses for gas string trimmers
These machines are terrific if you have a larger property with numerous trees and other obstacles that you need to trim around after you have done the main work with with your lawn mower. They are great for trimming along fences and sidewalks, as well. Most of all, these trimmers are wonderful for giving your lawn and property a finished look once your yard work is done.
If you mainly want a trimmer to edge your lawn, consider looking at a dedicated lawn edger, as that may be more appropriate for your needs.
While gas powered string trimmers are not the answer for everyone, they offer a powerful solution for people requiring a machine to complete tough trimming tasks.
Certainly, they can be loud and unhealthy for the environment, but they are also better suited to handle some trimming jobs than electric or walk-behind string trimmers.
Commercial grade gas string trimmers
The Tanaka Commercial Grade Gas Powered Straight Shaft Grass Trimmer / Brush Cutter 32cc 1.6 HP 2-Stroke (CARB Compliant) TBC-340PF is a powerful and highly efficient commercial grade string trimmer.
It has a PureFire low emission two-stroke engine that is CARB compliant, a solid steel drive shaft, an anti-vibration system and it weighs just over 13 pounds.
A good alternative, with a 25cc Four stroke engine is the Makita EM4251CA Commercial Grade 4-Stroke 24.5cc String Trimmer (CARB Compliant).
This trimmer is ligtweight (11.5 pounds), has a quick start low compression engine and is CARB compliant, yet its rugged enough for commercial use.
Top rated residential grade gas string trimmers
The Husqvarna 128DJx 17-Inch 28cc 2-Stroke Gas Powered Straight Shaft String Trimmer/Brush Cutter with Detachable Shaft (CARB Compliant) is a highly regarded machine. It has an easy start recoil system, and is equipped with a semi automatic trimmer head and metal blade. It has a two stroke engine and weighs around 11 pounds.
Another well-respected model is the Hitachi CG22EADSLP 21.1cc 2-Stroke Gas Powered Straight Split-Shaft Grass Trimmer (CARB Compliant). This is pretty much a commercial grade machine, with easy start and anti-vibration systems and a split shaft design that allows for the use of the implement heads (not included) such as cultivator or a pole saw.
It weighs in at only 10.2 pounds and, given its versatility, represents great value for money.