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A walk behind string trimmer can be beneficial when trying to maintain a large property with lots of wooded areas. They are generally easier to work with than regular hand-held weed eaters for larger, more demanding jobs. All string mowers are a little different; some are more powerful, but also heavy, while others are less powerful, but easier to maneuver and store.
So, how do you decide which string mower you should purchase?
The trick to finding the right mower is to know how you will it. If you are looking to tackle tough jobs like clearing a well-grown area or knocking down tough, invasive weeds, you will want a more powerful model. However, if you are looking to maintain your yard, a traditional string trimmer (weed whacker) may be enough. As with anything in yard work, getting the right tool for the job is the right place to start.
Quick look: Here are the best walk behind string trimmers in 2019
- Remington RM1159: my favorite model, best combination of cost and features
- Poulan Pro PR22WT: large 22″ swath, very easy rolling , high wheels, cutting height adjustable
- Earthquake 28463: long 5 year warranty, 1 piece construction reduces vibration and fatigue
- Southland SWSTM4317: lowest priced model researched, ideal for getting into tight spots
- Dirty Hand Tools 101085: accepts .17″ cutting line which allows the machine to cut through very thick brush
How We Rated the Walk Behind Trimmers
We rated the walk behind trimmers based on power, durability, ease of mobility, consistency, maintenance, and price.
Though each machine has its setbacks, the top rated ones are more reliable and received better reviews across the board. From the top trimmer with the main problem being size and weight to the lowest rated trimmer have more wrong than right, each had good reviews.
As with any machine you purchase, knowing what is important and what doesn’t matter to you is going to be the deciding factor in your purchase. If you are just looking to do simple yard detailing work with a push trimmer akin to a hand-held trimmer, #4 may be fine for you. However, if you are looking to take on bigger jobs, #1 may be a better choice.
When purchasing a trimmer mower, having a warranty is essential. The mowers mentioned above have 5 to 2-year warranties.
The higher rated trimmers typically have a longer warranty because they generally are more reliable. In contrast, the lower rated trimmers normally have a shorter warranty. This difference in duration suggests quite a bit about these machines.
Companies honestly don’t want to deal with customers who theoretically cash-in their warranty because something has gone wrong with the machine. Thus, to prevent the use of the warranty, companies will put a more extended warranty on their more reliable machines and a shorter one on the less reliable ones. This saves them from dealing with as many warranty customers.
Trust what the warranty says about a product.
Wheel size is an important aspect of any good push mower. Smaller wheels will require more effort to turn and maneuver over a lawn while larger wheels will be easier to use – in most cases.
A larger wheel has a greater circumference and covers more ground faster than a smaller wheel. So, the larger the wheel, the easier it will be to redirect the machine. Also, a machine with only two large wheels as opposed to four smaller ones is more easily redirected.
Machines with larger wheels are also easier to push over uneven terrain and up hills.
All of these string trimmer mowers have two wheels, so they are essentially equal save their size. When deciding on a mower, the wheel size should play a part in your decision.
What type of performance do we look for in a high quality wheeled string mower?
- Ability to power through thick grass and weeds
- A motor that doesn’t slip when challenged
- Consistency in power throughout the entire job
An essential aspect of any good mower is its ability to tackle tougher jobs. A trimmer with a motor that slips when it takes on a thick grass or weeds is not a capable machine. Most of the above-listed trimmers besides the higher ranked one struggle with thicker brush.
If you’re looking for dependable performance from your mower, look for ones with good ratings and positive feedback.
The amount of power needed is based on the needs of a job. If you are looking to tackle tougher brush like shrubs, saplings, thick grass, or dense weeds. You are going to need more power. If you are working with lighter jobs like already well-kept lawns and thinner grass and weeds, power won’t be as important.
- More power = heavier motor
- Less power = lighter motor
Also, with more power typically comes a heavier body. Though greater power can make a job more manageable, it can also make it more difficult. With a heavy mower, maneuvering through rough terrain can be a pain.
Ease of Use
For many people, there are few things more important than an easy-to-use machine. There is nothing worse than trying to do yard work with a machine that hurts your back the entire time.
Especially if you are an older person, physically limited individual or outdoor worker – time spent with a difficult to maneuver machine is not fun.
The ease of mobility is an important deciding factor. With a string mower, maneuverability makes jobs easier. If a mower is difficult to push around on rough terrain, it will strain the user. For machines that are easy to use, look for larger wheels, lighter weight, and well-balanced mowers.
How to Pick the Best Wheeled String Trimmer
If you’ve spent time with string trimmers in the past, you know that some can be very difficult to load and will have inconsistent string lengths. When comparing the best string trimmer mowers, pay particular attention to the mechanism that holds the string.
The type of string is less of a factor than what holds the line. Save yourself the pain of having to fight changing the string in your machine and trust the reviews.
Things to keep in mind when looking at wheeled string trimmers:
- Ease of rotation
- The RPM of the swivel
- Ease of string replacement
How Much Power Do You Need?
As we have mentioned, power needed is dependent on the job. If you are looking to take on large tasks with thicker brush, you will need more power.
My pick for the best string trimmer mower has an engine power rating that is higher than the others listed. This gives the machine far more power to tackle tough jobs. However, as stated above, this also leads to a heavier machine which can be more difficult to handle.
Keep in mind that though the more powerful machines can tackle harsh brush, you will still struggle trying to cut down thicker saplings and similar foliage with just a string trimmer. Don’t expect a 190cc engine to take down a young tree and don’t expect a 100cc engine to cut through thick weeds. Some of the models may allow you to switch out the string line head for a brush cutter head, but we didn’t research this.
So, be realistic about your expectations for your machine.
Safety Precautions During Operation
As with any heavy-duty machine you deal with, there is always a risk factor if you use it without taking the proper precautions.
Trimmer mowers are high powered machines that can do severe damage. One of the primary safety concerns when working with any trimmer mower is its ability to cut through just about anything. When this mower is running, it can easily sever toes and fingers.
Also, do not operate any trimmer mower wearing loose fitting clothes or hanging jewelry.
Though direct contact with this machine can be harmful, simply being near it can be dangerous without the proper safety equipment. A trimmer can fling debris at high speeds when slicing through a job and this can be very dangerous for your eyes.
- Do not operate any trimmer mower over gravel, loose stone, woodchips, or sticks.
- Wear protective eyewear at all times when operating
- Wear protective clothing and shoes when operating (no hanging or lose items)
The engine on these machines can also get very hot. Though it can seem like a less dangerous and more obvious safety tip, mind your hands and legs when the motor starts to heat up.
Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Models
Some users say that getting a pricey machine is a waste of money when the cheaper version does the job just as well. While others say that it’s worth it to invest in the higher priced machine over the cheap one. You could argue both sides.
Though it may seem excessive to spend so much money on a string mower, sometimes pricey models are better. They come with more features and typically more overall power. Pricier models are also often more durable. When the tough gets going, most of the more expensive models can last through the fight.
Sometimes saving your money and getting a cheaper model will save you more than money at the end of the day. There are some instances where the cheaper versions are hardier. They can take more of a beating and still come out needing little to no maintenance.
Whether you invest in a expensive model or a cheap one, your decision should be based on individual performance and needs. If the cheap one outperforms the expensive one, don’t let a price tag fool you into thinking you’ll get a better machine just because it costs more.
Best Selling & Top Rated Brands
- Poulan Pro
- Fields Edge
- Dirty Hands
- Cub Cadet
How Much Should I Expect to Pay?
When looking for a quality string trimmer mower, you can expect to pay anywhere in the range of $100 – $300. As with most things, there are exceptions to either side of that range, but that’s the general rule. However, the quality models listed above run around $300.
A major deciding factor in how much you are going to pay is what quality you are looking for and the type of work required.
You’ll probably pay more if you:
- Have tougher, bigger, or thicker jobs
- Want more maneuverability
- Want more power
- Want a more durable machine
- Want less frequent maintenance
If the tasks you are looking to do are not as challenging or require less power, then you likely won’t have to spend as much. A $150 machine may work fine for you.
However, as much as saving money on a cheaper model would be great; you may not want to sacrifice quality for price tag.
Walk Behind String Trimmer Reviews
1) Remington 22-Inch Trimmer Lawn Mower
- Easy to use on level ground
- Consistent and clean cut
- Powerful engine built to withstand any job
- The heavy build makes it difficult to maneuver
- Bulky and somewhat difficult to store
With these impressive attributes, this powerful string mower is great for tackling any terrain.
- Powermore 159cc 4-Cycle OHV engine
- A 22-inch cutting swath
- 155 diameter trimmer line
- A 14-inch ball-bearing
It is easy to start and easy to handle. The unique deck shape also makes getting a clean, close cut easy and consistent. The smooth-turning wheels also make maneuvering through curvy terrain and leaving precise cut lines a simple task.
This machine is designed with a foldable handle that makes storage somewhat simple. With the compact and easy to maintain design, this is a great push mower for anyone looking to keep a well-manicured lawn.
2) Poulan Pro 190 cc High Wheel Lawn Trimmer Mower
- Adjustable deck and speeds help with varying jobs
- Powerful engine
- Convenient maneuverability
- Set up and maintenance can be tricky
- Some users complained wheels weren’t durable
This mower has a conveniently adjustable deck that ranges from 1.6 inches to 3.04 inches. Great for larger jobs with its 22-inch cutting width. Works well on lawns with rougher terrain and more varied layouts. The high rear wheels provide mobile freedom to make tasks easier.
Powered by the Briggs & Stratton 625 Series engine, this trimmer mower can take on just about any job. Its durability lets you work near driveways, fences, posts, and more while still keeping the nylon line in tack. With its adjustable speeds as well, you can determine how much power and speed each job will require.
3) Earthquake 28463 String Mower
- Reduced vibration
- Easy to set up and get started
- String replacement is simple
- Top heavy and difficult to move up and down slopes
- Front part of the frame appears weak
The 173cc 4-Cycle Engine on this mower gives it the power to tackle almost any job on virtually any terrain. Though, the engine has been said to slip when the brush or grass gets too thick. Taking more time in the thicker areas will let this mower do its job and leave you with a clean cut.
Its design and light weight make this machine easier to maneuver and causes the user less strain. Some have suggested that the string has a tendency to come undone, but is not difficult to recoil. It has also been said that though the design should make rough terrain easy to maneuver, that it can struggle at times.
4) Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SWSTM4317 Wheeled String Trimmer Mower
- A convenient alternative to a hand-held trimmer
- Works well for detailing already maintained lawns
- Useful swivel head
- Does not handle thicker jobs well
- Not a heavy duty machine
The Southland string mower offers 35% more torque than a standard 25cc hand held trimmer. With a multi-string head, this machine gives the user multiple line length options. The 5 degree and 10-degree swivel allow for easier rotation and more trimming versatility. This machine works well with grass, particularly short grass, and struggles with thicker debris.
Users have found that this machine works well, but is too short and thus can be difficult to handle. It has also been said to operate just as well as a cheaper, more light-weight string trimmer. Also, the lower quality of the machine results in broken parts and more maintenance – especially if used for heavy duty jobs.
5) Dirty Hand Tools 101085 Walk Behind String Trimmer
- Adjustable height and string length
- High wheels for increased mobility
- Easy to start
- Difficult maintenance
- Inferior cutting capabilities
This DHT trimmer has some useful aspects:
- 149cc Kohler XT675 engine
- 5 adjustable heights for cutting
- 14 gauge durable steel frame
- 4-inch diameter trim ball with 4 inch heat-treated blades
- 14 in x 1.75-inch wheel width
The Kohler engines and adjustable cutting heights make this wheeled trimmer a powerful tool. The large wheels allow for easier mobility around a rough yard and a more consistent cut line when working on uneven terrain.
Based on our research, this is fairly poor quality machine. The cutting quality, frame strength, and functioning inconsistency cause user frustration. Though, some of these issues seem to be solved by learning to adjust the trimmer for the job appropriately.
Finding the right wheeled string trimmer can be challenging. However, if you know what you’re looking for, finding the right machine should be fairly straightforward.
The 5 trimmer mowers reviewed above are just some of the higher quality models on the market today. Each has its own strength and weakness.
So, how do you know which walk behind string trimmer mower is right for you?
As redundant as it may seem at this point, choosing the best trimmer mower is an individual decision. One person’s best mower may not work well for another person.
Read the reviews, but evaluate the ratings and reviews in light of what you plan to do. What you need is based on what YOU need, so once you know what you want, go out and get it!