Our tests of gas and electric trimmers focused on their ability to trim near a wall, edge a vertical line along a walkway and cut tall grass and weeds. In addition, we assessed trimmers' handling and ease of use.
Among gas-powered trimmers, a couple of models combined comparatively low price with top-notch performance to earn distinction as CR Best Buys:
¢ The curved-shaft Homelite UT20004 ($70) was excellent at trimming and edging, and very good in tall grass and weeds. It lacks a clutch, however.
¢ The straight-shaft Weed Eater FeatherLite SST25 ($100), although performing slightly poorer in the thick stuff, was nonetheless a stellar trimmer and edger, and - at just 10 pounds - one of the lighter gas models.
Corded electric trimmers we liked were the Troy-Bilt TB50 and the Ryobi EL15 RY41002. At just $60 each, they qualify as CR Best Buys. Choose the Troy-Bilt for excellent trimming and edging; the Ryobi for its rotating head. Both are dual-line models.
If you must have a cordless electric trimmer, the Black & Decker Grass Hog NST2018 ($100) was the better of an unimpressive bunch. It uses the same 18-volt batteries that power the manufacturer's drills and other tools.