For quite a long time now, there has been a heated debate between the electric vs. gas weed eater. While some people are focused more on the output, others are keen on environmental factors such as noise and air pollution. For instance, the electric model is hailed for being extremely quiet and quite easy to operate.
On the other hand, homeowners with large lawns will prefer the gas-powered model as it’s fast, powerful, and completely independent as it’s not limited by any power cords. So, if you’re a beginner who’s completely new to this technology, choosing whether to take the gas or electric route will definitely be overwhelming.
For that reason, this guide has taken ample time to discuss everything you need to know about gas and electric weed eaters. Here, we’re going to discuss both features and flaws of each model to see which among them will lift the golden crown.
But First, When Should You Use a Weed Eater
Before we get to that, what exactly is a weed eater? To those that aren’t acquitted with this lawn care machine, a weed eater is a yard tool that’s used to chop down weeds and overgrown grass on your lawn. To do this, this tool uses a flexible plastic wire that’s spun using the machine’s centrifugal force.
A weed eater consists of a cutting head at the bottom that comprises of a spinning wheel with a plastic line attached to it. It also has a long shaft and a handle attached at the top. The handle allows you to grip the machine when working. It also houses all the machine’s controls such as the on/off switch and the trigger.
Now that you understand what a weed eater really is, when should you use one? In most cases, there are two main reasons that might force you to use a weed eater. One, weed eaters have profile bodies that allow them to get to profile areas such as through cracks and tiny spaces. For instance, a weed eater can trim weeds and overgrow grass around trees, fences, and beneath the bushes where lawn mowers can’t manage.
Two, weed trimmers can be used to trim overgrown grass before mowing. If you happen to use a lawnmower on tall grass, the process is likely to get tough, as your lawnmower will struggle a lot to trim the grass evenly. So, trimming the tall grass to manageable height using a weed eater will allow the lawnmower to do a perfect job afterward.
A Brief History of the Weed Eater
Just like most other inventions, the invention of the weed eater came as a total coincidence and a surprise to many. Before its invention, people who owned large lawns and gardens used hand clippers, cutlasses, and manual lawnmowers to manicure their lawns.
However, in 1972, everything changed thanks to the remarkable invention of the weed eater. Now, the weed eater was invented in 1972 by George Ballas. The funniest thing about Ballas is that he wasn’t an engineer but rather a businessman, author, and University lecturer.
Ballas got this idea while watching his car being cleaned in a car washer. He observed how the soft bristles of the brushes removed grit from his car without ruining the paint job or scratching the car’s body.
Out of what he saw, Ballas thought of using the same spinning principle to create a machine that would spin and cut grass without having to push it like a lawnmower. From there, Ballas improvised a simple DIY weed eater that was made from a popcorn can, a nylon fishing line, and a rotary, which he got from his edger.
To his surprise, his concocted prototype was a success as it managed to chop grass and weeds from his lawn. From that time, his invention became a major success thanks to televised advertisements that pushed many customers to buy the product.
Electric Vs. Gas Weed Trimmer
Gas Weed Eaters
If you have a large lawn you’re looking to tend, the gas-powered weed eater will be the best candidate to handle the job. That’s because these types of weed trimmers are extremely powerful and their mobility is not limited at all.
Weed eaters have powerful engines that go as far as 40cc. This allows them to work for longer hours hence the best for trimming weeds and overgrown grass in bigger yards. Gas-powered weed eaters also come in two main variations that are the two-stroke and the four-stroke engines.
The two-stroke variants are the most common and are powered by a mixture of gas and oil. In most cases, the oil comes in a 2.6-ounce plastic bottle. To determine the fuel oil ratio, you’re supposed to mix one 2.6-ounce bottle with one gallon of gas.
The four-stroke model, on the other hand, is more powerful and efficient and is powered only by gasoline. Once the trimmer is fueled, the last step is to turn it on which requires you to push the choke lever before pulling the recoil cord several times. So, with that said, let’s now discuss the benefits and drawbacks of gas-powered weed eaters.
Features and Benefits of Gas Weed Trimmers
- They’re Powerful
One of the major advantages of gas trimmers is the amount of power they pack. While most electric weed eaters are limited by the voltage, gas weed eaters have absolute freedom to operate in high RPMs to handle any mammoth trimming job.
Their engines can manage up to 12,000 RPM, which is much higher than their electric counterparts (that manage around 6,500 RPM). The high RPM allows the wire to spin faster and harder to accomplish tough cutting jobs such as cutting overgrown weeds and plants.
- No Limitation
Other than being powerful, gas weed eaters enjoy full mobility without being limited by anything. This is quite different with electric weed trimmers that are restricted by the cord’s length and battery life. This advantage is the main reason why people with large lawns prefer gas weed eaters over electric models when trimming their lawns.
- Easy Accessibility
Although electric weed eaters are gaining popularity in recent times, gas-powered models have been available for quite a long time. This advantage makes them readily available in most stores as you won’t miss an assortment of different models to pick from.
Also, gas-powered models use gasoline to run which is available in any filling station. So, by fueling the tool, you can enjoy the full freedom of trimming your lawn without being limited by anything. When it comes to electric trimmers, most models are new in the market. This alone makes it difficult to find replacement parts in case the weed eater is damaged.
- Longer Run Time
One of the greatest benefits of using a gas weed whacker is the amount of run time it offers. You see, these trimmers are equipped with powerful engines that require gas to function. So, once you’ve filled it with the right amount of gasoline, the weed eater will work for about 8 hours nonstop.
In case it doesn’t have enough fuel, all you’ll need is to refill the gas tank and continue trimming. But, with electric cordless models, the batteries don’t last for so long. Secondly, you have to wait for some hours for the battery to recharge which will cost you a lot of time.
Corded models, on the other hand, may enjoy the freedom of unlimited power supply from the main outlet. However, in case of a power surge, these models automatically become less useful.
- More Durable
Lastly, gas-powered weed eaters last longer than their electric counterparts. You see, with gas weed eaters, most of their parts are mechanical. This allows them to last longer as these parts are less susceptible to damage. With electric weed trimmers, most of their parts are electronic which makes them more susceptible to damage caused by short-circuiting.
However, gas weed wackers demand regular maintenance to stay in good shape. You have to inspect the oil, the filter and the spark plug more regularly to ensure they’re in great shape.
Most professionals choose gas weed eaters because of their speed and massive power. What they fail to know is that this advantage comes at a price. Due to their powerful engines, these trimmers tend to be very loud when working. In fact, the level of noise they produce can force you to use hearing protection to avoid damaging your eardrums.
Other than the noise, gas trimmers emit lots of fumes to the atmosphere due to their combustion engines. Although this might not be a concern to some people, those living in states that have strict emission regulations will have troubles using gas weed eaters. Most of them will hence be forced to switch to electric models to comply.
- They’re Heavy
Lastly, gas trimmers weigh much higher than their electric counterparts. While electric trimmers weigh around 10 pounds, gas trimmers go to as high as 20 pounds. Their weight is largely due to their combustion engines.
Although there are lots of benefits to enjoy with these weed eaters, their massive weights can be a huge problem to seniors suffering from arthritis, joint and muscular problems.
Electric Weed Eaters
While gas weed eaters rely on gasoline to work, electric models rely on electrical power to function. These weed eaters come in two major variants that are the corded and cordless versions. Corded weed eaters rely on a long cord that’s inserted in the power outlet.
On the other hand, cordless models use rechargeable batteries to work. So, in simple words, a corded weed eater uses AC current while a cordless model uses DC current.
But, regardless of how they’re powered, both of these models work in a similar fashion. Once they’re connected to a power source, all you need is to push the ON button and press the trigger for them to work. These types of weed eaters are very easy to use, as they don’t require pulling the cords to start.
They’re also light, affordable, and very safe as they don’t emit any fumes to the atmosphere. With that said, let’s discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of electric weed eaters.
Features and Benefits of Electric Weed Eaters
- Less Maintenance
One of the areas where electric trimmers have really thrived is in the maintenance department. Since they comprise of fewer moving parts, these types of weed eaters are very easy to maintain. All you need is to inspect the condition of the battery and the power cord to ensure they’re not damaged.
This is quite different from gas weed eaters, which require regular maintenance to stay healthy. With these types of weed trimmers, you have to inspect the condition of the spark plug, the air filters and the fuel. You also need to have a lot of experience in mixing the fuel and oil in the right ratio to avoid damaging the engine.
- Quieter Operation
Another huge benefit of using an electric weed eater is that they’re less noisy than their gas-powered counterparts. Since they’re powered using batteries or AC power, the amount of noise you hear is a low-pitched sound produced by the nylon string as it whips the weeds. This makes them the perfect choice for use in estates where loud disturbing noise is strictly prohibited.
- Zero Emissions
Other than being quiet, electric weed eaters are environmentally safe as they produce zero emissions. These types of trimmers have no engines so they don’t produce any noxious fumes. This is a huge advantage to homeowners suffering from various illnesses, as you won’t have to worry about inhaling the fumes.
With gas-powered trimmers, emissions are inevitable as there must be combustion for the engine to deliver enough trimming power. So, if power is not a concern for you, then it’s best if you pick an electric model.
Electric weed eaters are designed with incredible user-friendly features. Starting them requires you to switch the power button to the “on” position then hold the trigger. These trimmers are also light making them the best for seniors suffering from arthritis and other muscular problems.
This is the direct opposite when it comes to gas-powered trimmers, as they demand a lot of knowledge and experience to start them. They’re also heavy and have multiple mechanical parts that demand regular maintenance.
- Less Powerful
Whether you’re using a corded or a battery-powered model, the amount of power you’ll expect to get from your weed eater will be less than that produced by a gas-powered model. Their power is mostly limited by the amount of voltage a battery can offer. So, to have more power, you have to switch to a more powerful battery pack.
- Limited Time of Usage
Most gas trimmers can last for up to 8 hours before they can call for more gasoline. Provided there’s enough fuel, gas trimmers can go to the furthest corners of your lawn without being restricted.
This is not the case with battery-powered weed eaters as most of them run for a maximum of one hour. Once the battery is depleted, it takes around 2 hours to get fully charged which in the process wastes a lot of your time.
As you can see, the debate between electric vs. gas weed eaters is not expected to end any time soon. That’s because each category has its own fine share of pros and cons. Although it’s hard to decide which route to take, finding the right pick highly depends on several factors.
One of them is the size of your lawn. If you have a large lawn, then a gas-powered weed eater will be the best candidate as its mobility is not limited. On the other hand, if the lawn is small, then an electric model is the best option.
Two, if you live in regions that have strict regulations when it comes to emissions and noise pollution, an electric weed eater will be your best companion. Otherwise, if you live in the countryside where the population is quite scarce, then you can freely use a gas-powered weed eater without worrying about the emissions or disturbing any neighbors.
Lastly, you need to consider the ease of usage. If a gas-powered weed trimmer seems to be too complex for you to operate, then an electric model can be a perfect substitute.
With that said, we’ve now come to the end of our discussion. We believe that this guide has offered you immense information regarding electric vs. gas weed eaters. In case you have any questions about the topic or maybe you’d like to share your experience, please don’t fail to do so in the comments section.