questionselectric vs. gas trimmer?

vote-for10vote-against
vote-for5vote-against

I am a big fan of gas powered trimmers. You get what you pay for though.

The $100 Troybilt from your local home improvement store is usually disposable after the first 1-2 seasons.

But, if you're not going to do routine maintenance on your trimmer, then don't bother buying a more expensive one. Things break on small engines. You have to take care of them or they won't last long and you'll be paying through the nose to fix it when it does go into the shop.

I have a Husqvarna that I paid $250 for 4 years ago. I have used it every week for 6 months of the year for the past 4 years. It starts on the second pull every time. However, I have replaced the fuel lines and cleaned the carb 3-4 times in that time period. I also replaced the pull-start recoil. All of this was preventative maintenance. I also only buy 100% gasoline (no ethanol)

Honestly, if you're going to take care of it, go with a gas trimmer and pay a little more. If you're not, get an electric.

vote-for3vote-against

I wholeheartedly agree with @capguncowboy and prefer the gas trimmers too. They have a lot of power compared to electric and I can zip through the job.

If you don't trim weekly and don't take proper care of your gas powered machines, I would recommend the electric models. I have friends that own a small engine repair company and they repair those gas trimmers all the time. Apparently the amount of ethanol in the gas eats up some rubber components in the engine and that requires you to replace those items and that can be expensive. You can avoid this problem by purchasing the more costly ethanol-free gas and draining excess gas from the machines when you plan on storing them for a long time.

Battery operated trimmers have their own share of problems. Some people complain about the WORX Trimmer/Edger batteries failing after only a few charges. Depending on battery type, you have memories, problems with full discharge, capacity issues, time to full charge, etc.

vote-for3vote-against

Gas preferred here for all outdoor equipment. Much more power and runtime than electric. I own a Hitachi straight-shaft trimmer that is a joy to use. The advantage of many straight-shaft trimmers is that the trimmer heads are interchangeable for various jobs. I also just purchased an Echo chainsaw that rated higher than the comparable Stihl & Husqvarna models in the home/ranch class. These tools were top-rated by users on Amazon & elsewhere. I research all major purchases, and both of these also had excellent warranties. Absolutely run ONLY PREMIUM ETHANOL-FREE gas, and pay attention when mixing your oil & gas. Two-cycle engines are much better now than when I was a kid, and a little maintenance will go a long way toward ensuring years of service.

vote-for2vote-against

Common thread here seems to be using ethanol free gas. Where do I get that from? Every gas pump in town has a sticker that says "may contain a lot of ethanol" or something like that.

vote-for2vote-against

I've got an mtd gas trimmer that I bought from costco about five or six years ago. I don't have to mix the gas in it so that's a bonus. I've had to replace a couple things like the feeder head, spark plug, and gas lines but it's still going strong and does a great job trimming and edging. I just use regular gas from the pump. The manual says ethanol free if you can find it but if not then run it dry after you use it so as to not let the gas sit in the engine.

vote-for3vote-against

@spunkyjt: You won't likely find it at your local Exxon or Shell station. All of the stations here that offer it are mom-and-pop, locally owned and operated stations that have been around since the dawn of time.

vote-for3vote-against

@spunkyjt: They use ethanol-free gas for boats so places nearby a river, lake, or ocean might have it.

There are many websites that list the gas stations selling ethanol-free gas. Here's just one example that lists 7850 stations.

http://pure-gas.org/

vote-for2vote-against

I'll plug the electric option. I've never actually used one though, so beware (I don't even have a lawn right now).

My folks always had gas. We maintained the trimmers but didn't trim super often, about once a month. We lived on 2/3acre that backed onto a forest preserve so the border of our lawn was always a little fuzzy and we would get long weeds where it was neglected. As a result the engine would sometimes stall from the resistance even when it had been running hot and smooth for a while. Maybe we needed to buy nicer trimmers, but my folks aren't exactly cheap.

Anyway. Nobody has mentioned it, but electric engines have instant torque and more importantly a lot of torque which I think would be reasonably useful for weed trimming... People here have said gas is more "powerful," but what does that mean? Gas engine power varies depending on the revs/fuel. No revs, no power. Not an issue on electric. Just a thought. Cheaper to run too when you're not revving the nuts off a 2-stroke.

vote-for1vote-against

I use battery powered trimmers but it really comes down to how much trimming you need to do. I can barely get done with my area on one battery (good thing mine came with 2). Now mine is older and cost me $40 with 2 batteries so I'm not expecting much.

It's way easier than my dads gas one that he has which is worlds more powerful but it's such a pita to start.

I also have a pure electric one that I plug in that cost less than $50 and it does the job very well but having a long extension cord tether really sucks.

vote-for1vote-against

I used to have a gas/oil mix one. Pain in the bum that was.
Now I have this: http://tools.woot.com/offers/black-decker-20v-lithium-ion-string-trimmer and it's been great. Came with 2 batteries, but I can usually do the whole lawn using only 1. If I want to edge the driveway, curbs, and sidewalks, on top of everything else, I may end up using the 2nd battery.

So unless you're have really high and thick vegetation to chop down, I say go with a cordless electric trimmer. Leaf blowers and mowers, on the other hand, always go gas powered.