Gas vs Battery String Trimmer: Which is the best type of string trimmer?

Last Updated on September 15, 2021 by the staff of TheAllElectricLawn

gas vs battery string trimmer

Trimming the weeds and grass around your home can be difficult unless you have the right tools. String trimmers are the perfect tool for taking care of this trimming task.   Let’s take a look at a gas vs battery string trimmer.

There are really three types of string trimmers. There are gas, cordless battery powered string trimmers, and corded electric string trimmers.

If you’re looking for a cordless string trimmer, then you’ve probably heard of gas powered ones. However, another type of string trimmer has been gaining popularity lately – the battery powered ones. They’re often cheaper than their gas counterparts, and they also offer better performance.

Rise of the Battery Powered  Outdoor Tool

Not to be biased here, but you are on an electric outdoor tool blog, battery powered tools have really come of age in the last few years.  I am not just talking about string trimmers, but lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, and leaf blowers.

Most of the major lawn tool companies are producing battery powered outdoor power tools.  This includes RYOBI, DeWALT, Makita, Milwaukee, Greenworks, Husqvarna, Snapper, and EGO.  These are all great companies that are producing a great lineup of battery powered outdoor equipment.  Most if not all of these companies produce string trimmers.

 

string trimmer cutting grass

Gas vs Battery String Trimmer: Pros and Cons

So if we are going to discuss gas vs battery string trimmers, we have to discuss the pros and cons of each type of string trimmer.  Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each type of trimmer by discussing items like

  • Power and Runtime
  • Size & Weight
  • Power Supply
  • Noise Levels
  • Maintenance

Gas String Trimmers

Well, if you have done any yard work in the last 20 years, you have used or have at least heard of a gas string trimmer.  Gas string trimmers are the old stand-by for weed eating and grass trimming.  They are powered by either a 2 stroke or 4 stroke small gas engine.

Noisy Yet Powerful

The noise of a gas powered weed eater is unmistakable; the loud buzzing and whirling can be heard daily as professional landscapers tend to lawns and businesses.  These are powerful and capable trimmers that have a bad reputation for being hard to start and spew a lot of emissions.

A lot of Maintenance and Heavy?

While the engine makes them powerful, it also makes the trimmer heavy when using the trimmer for extended amounts of time.  This engine also requires maintenance and fuel.  Yearly maintenance includes oil changes for 4 strokes, air filter changes, and spark plug replacement, to name a few.

Easy to Power but it Comes with a Cost

Gas is readily available anywhere and provides long runtimes (as long as you don’t run out of gas).  If you have a 2 stroke engine on your string trimmer or weed eater, you will also need to mix fuel with oil, which can be a hassle.  This fuel also needs to be stored and stabilized if not used for a long time, so the fuel doesn’t become unusable.  Here are a few of the pros and cons of gas string trimmers.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Long runtimes
  • Attachment capable (you can add attachments like edgers and blowers to certain models)

Cons

  • Loud
  • Hard to start
  • Yearly maintenance
  • Fuel Storage
  • Heavy

 

Battery Powered String Trimmers

Battery powered string trimmers are the new kids on the block in the string trimmer world.  Not like new born baby new but like elementary school new.  Battery powered string trimmers have been around for years, and corded electric string trimmers have been around for decades.  I actually remember my dad having a Black and Decker corded string trimmer to do the trimming around our suburban Georgia home when I was growing up.  It wasn’t very powerful but it got the job done.

Modern and Powerful

Today the battery powered string trimmers that I personally use at my home are powerful and adaptable.  Most modern battery powered string trimmer use large 20v -80v batteries with brushless electric motors that deliver gas like performance without many of the gas powered trimmer issues.

Lightweight but with Limited Runtime?

Battery powered trimmers are generally lightweight compared to gas powered models.  That being said, the batteries,  especially some of the larger batteries, can be fairly heavy.  The greatest strength and the greatest weakness of the battery powered string trimmer is the battery.

While having the battery frees you from the cord of an electric corded string trimmer or weedeater, it also limits the runtime.  The string trimmer will only run as long as the battery lasts, much like a gas trimmer will only run as long as the gas tank is full.   You can always buy more batteries, but they can be expensive.

That being said, you shouldn’t have any issue trimming even some of the largest yards with a modern battery powered string trimmer.  I personally have an RYOBI 40v model and have no issues edging and trimming around my home.  I also have to trim around a dozen or so trees and a fence line.  I have never had an issue with the battery running out while trimming.

Little Noise and Maintenance

One of the many positives of electric or battery powered outdoor equipment is the noise or lack of noise created when running.  Battery powered string trimmers don’t disappoint in the noise department. They are relatively quiet, with only the whirling of the string creating most of the noise.

Maintenance is also a positive for battery powered string trimmers.  They require little to no maintenance.  The trimmer line will need to be replaced, but that is about it.  The batteries will need to be charged and maintained properly according to manufacture recommendations, but that is about it. Here are a few of the pros and cons of battery powered string trimmers

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Lightweight
  • Powerful
  • Little to no Maintenance
  • No Emissions

Cons

  • Battery runtime
  • Battery Replacement Cost

 

string trimmer cutting wet grass

Gas vs Battery String Timmer: Who wins?

Well, that really depends on a few things.  Both gas and battery powered string trimmers excel at trimming grass and weeds.  What you need to take into consideration is power, maintenance, value, and runtime. In our case will reward a point for each category.

String Trimmer Power

If you solely base your decision on power, then either of these types of string trimmer will work for you.  Gas powered string trimmers have loads of power and are time-tested to perform as long as they are maintained properly.  Gas string trimmers are widely used by professionals and homeowners alike worldwide and have been for many years.

Battery powered string trimmers also have plenty of power with modern brushless motors and larger batteries. They really do rival gas powered models.

This is a wash Gas Trimmers=1 and Battery Powered Trimmer=1

String Trimmer Runtime

Gas String Trimmers

Now runtime is a little interesting.  Gas powered string trimmers obviously are powered by gas or a gas/oil mixture.  Gas is readily available pretty much everywhere in the United States since it powers our cars and trucks.  If your gas power string trimmer uses a gas/oil mixture, you might have to find the specialized 2 stroke oil at a hardware or home improvement store to add to the gas.  Not a big deal but something to remember.

Gas string trimmers can run as long as you have gas available, so if you have a 1-gallon container of gas or gas/oil mixture,  you should be able to power your trimmer for a very long time.  This depends on the size of the engine and the workload, but it will take a long time (hours or continuous use) to run 1 gallon of gas through a string trimmer.

Battery Powered String Trimmers

Battery powered string trimmer relies on lithium-ion battery packs in ranges from 18v – 80v.  These battery packs power the string trimmer’s brushless or brushed motors and allows for a decent amount of runtime, at least 30 minutes – 1 hour.  Like I have mentioned previously, I have never run down a battery trimming grass or weeds.

That being said, if you run out of power, you are done until the battery is recharged.  If you purchased another battery, you could continue trimming, but those extra batteries can be a little pricey. One other thing to note is that if you do get extra batteries, they are most likely compatible with other outdoor power equipment by the same manufacturer.

I have a good amount of RYOBI equipment, and I use the same 40v batteries for all of these tools. That being said, for runtime, I have to give the nod to gas string trimmers.

Gas Trimmers=2 and Battery Powered Trimmers=1

String Trimmer Maintenance

Gas String Trimmers

So like every small gas engine, gas string trimmers are going to require maintenance.  If applicable for your model, this includes oil changes, spark plug replacement, air filter replacement, and fuel storage.

If you fail to maintain your gas engine, you will have some issues down the road.  Those issues will be hard starting (if it starts at all), smoking,  abnormal fuel consumption, loss of power, and possible engine damage.

Not to say that any of these tasks are hard to do, but you have to do them.  Bad fuel will cause the engine not to start.  Clogged air filters can cause loss of power and bad fuel consumption.  A fouled spark plug could cause poor engine performance or cause the engine not to start.

I have owned and still own a gas string trimmer ( though it has been pushed to the corner and not used in quite a while). I know the pain of replacing these parts and having an engine not want to start up after not using it for weeks. That is why I switched to battery powered outdoor tools.

Battery Powered String Trimmers

Battery powered string trimmers require little to no maintenance, which, as I mentioned previously, is why I switched to them several years ago.  There is no gas to buy, no oil to change, no air filter, or spark plugs to replace.

It really is a simpler and easier ownership experience.  Lithium-Ion batteries are pretty easy to maintain.  You need to keep them charged and use them occasionally.  It would be best to refer to your battery operating instructions on battery maintenance, but it is pretty simple.

I will say that replacing a battery is not something I look forward to, as they can be pretty expensive, especially the larger batteries. That being said, battery powered trimmers win in this category.

Gas Trimmers=2 and Battery Powered Trimmers=2

String Trimmer Value

Gas String Trimmers

Gas string trimmers can have a pretty high initial cost, especially models from more premium brands like Stihl and Echo.  Lower-end models can be purchased fairly inexpensively, but you know the old saying, “You get what you pay for.”  You might sacrifice quality for a lower entry point. There are plenty of inexpensive models that will work well for a homeowner for many years.

Gas trimmers also have ongoing costs for fuel and maintenance, which have to be considered as well.

Battery Powered String Trimmers

Battery powered trimmers in the 40v – 80v range, when compared to lower-end gas trimmers, might seem expensive.  They aren’t, however, intended to be compared to these models. They are intended to be compared to the more premium models since they have comparable power and function.

As far as the lower-end battery powered models, the same goes for gas string trimmers.  You can purchase a more inexpensive model, but you might not get the runtime or power you might need to get the job done.  The 18v battery powered trimmer my father uses to trim around his home works for him, but I need something larger because I have more property to maintain.

In the value category, I give the win to Battery powered string trimmers.

Gas Trimmers=2 and Battery Powered Trimmers=3

 

Gas vs Battery String Trimmer: The Results

There you have it.  Battery powered string trimmers, really in our opinion, are easier to own, powerful, and are a great value.  Gas powered string trimmers have their place, especially if you have a very large property or you are running the trimmer continuously all day long.

That being said, most homeowners don’t fit into that category, so a battery powered trimmer would be the way to go for 90% of those you are looking for a string trimmer to use around their home. So in the battle between gas vs battery string trimmers, the winner is battery powered string trimmers.