How to Start a Weed Eater

How to Start a Weed Eater

This blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

If you own a large lawn, an electric or a self-driven lawn mower is probably the best yard care tool you can consider to give your lawn a well-manicured look. But despite being such a robust machine, there are instances when a weed eater becomes an absolute necessity. Now, supposing you’re a beginner that’s less acquitted with this tool, starting it will definitely be a challenge. For that reason, it’s important that you know how to start a weed eater.

Known by many names such as weed whacker, line trimmer, and string trimmer, a weed eater is an invaluable yard tool that lets you knock down those unkempt weeds and overgrown grass while still allowing you to cut hard to reach areas such as around trees and beneath bushes.

But, as useful as the weed eater may be, there are two major types that are available. These are the gas-powered models and the electric models. Electric models are further sub-divided into two categories, which are corded and cordless models. So, in this guide, we’re going to discuss how to start each of these weed eater types individually.

But First, What are the 3 Types of Weed Eaters?


Before we get to our main topic of the day, it’s important if we explain just a little bit about the different types of weed eaters that are available. This information will not only help you to start the trimmer but will also help you to choose the right trimmer that will suit your lawn or backyard needs.


  1. Gas-Powered Weed Eaters

Just as their name suggests, gas-powered weed eaters are powered by gasoline. They come in two main variants, which are the two-stroke and four-stroke options. Two-stroke weed eaters rely on a mixture of gas and oil to operate while four-stroke variants require only gasoline to run.

Gas-powered trimmers have two major upsides. One, they’re very powerful hence the best for trimming weeds and overgrown bushes. Two, these trimmers offer great mobility making it easier for you to trim a large lawn.

Although battery-powered models offer the same mobility advantage, their time of operation is limited by battery power, which can get depleted after running for several hours. But, despite being so dominant, gas-powered weed eaters have some flaws.

One, they demand a lot of maintenance to stay healthy. You have to service them often by replacing the spark plug, the oil, the filter, and several other components. Two, these weed eaters are noisy and tend to release a lot of fumes that are harmful to the environment. Three, gas-powered weed eaters have a long process of starting the engine which can be overwhelming if you’re a beginner.


  1. Corded Electric Weed Trimmers

Corded weed eaters, on the other hand, are smart options if you have a source of power nearby. They’re the best for handling light trimming duties around the backyard. The best thing about these weed eaters is that they’re extremely light as they don’t require any engine or batteries to work.

They’re also relatively quiet when working making them the best for densely populated estates where a little noise can cause a nuisance to the neighbors. These weed eaters are also environmentally safe as they don’t emit any fumes.

The only downside with electric weed eaters is their mobility, which is heavily limited by the electric cords. This makes them suitable for medium-sized lawns but not large yards. Other than that, these trimmers demand less maintenance and are very easy to start as compared to gas-powered models.


  1. Cordless battery-Powered Trimmers

Battery-powered weed eaters are more like hybrids that bridge the gap between gas-powered and electric corded weed eaters. These trimmers rely on battery power to operate. The best thing about it is that it offers great mobility without the messy oil and gas mixtures that come with gas-powered models.

They’re also quieter, light, and environmentally friendly as they don’t release any harmful fumes into the atmosphere. Battery-powered trimmers can be used on large lawns as they depend on their powerful batteries.

The only limitation is that they take a lot of time to complete the job as the batteries demand longer hours to recharge after getting depleted. However, this setback is quickly becoming a thing of the past as newer models are coming with extra batteries that can be switched.

In fact, most brands such as Stihl, Echo, and Husqvarna are designing their power tools with compatible batteries to allow you to switch the batteries depending on the power tool you’re using.


How to Start a Gas-Powered Weed Eater


So, with such in-depth information, we believe you’ve decided which type of weed eater to pick. In this section, we’ll now discuss how exactly you’re supposed to start each trimmer. We will start with the gas-powered model then move on to the electric corded model then finalize our discussion with a battery-powered model.

Starting a Cold Engine

  1. Step One: Place the Trimmer On a Flat Surface

To start your weed eater, you need to start by placing it on a flat surface where there are no obstructions. This step is very important as it helps to prevent any possible injuries. Also, this will give you enough time to inspect the machine before you can proceed to use it.

  1. Step Two: Inspect the Gas Tank

Now, while the weed eater is on a flat surface, presumably a working bench, inspect the gas tank to ensure there’s enough gasoline to power the trimmer. Since most weed eaters use the two-stroke engine, you have to inspect the level of oil to ensure there’s a precise fuel oil ratio when operating it.

Checking the gas and the oil is very important when starting a gas-powered weed eater. This ensures smooth and effective operation of the trimmer without causing any damage to the engine.

  1. Step Three: Turn the Power Switch On

Once you’ve inspected the gas tank, the next step is to turn on the weed eater. Now, the power on/off switch comes by many names and it’s located in different positions depending on the weed eater brand you’re using. In the case of Stihl, the on/off switch is marked as “I”. However, most models mark it as “Switch” to make it easier to identify. About its location, this on/off switch is mostly located on the shaft.

  1. Step Four: Switch the Choke to “On” Position

With the power switch on, the next step is to push the choke lever up to the ON position. This lever is usually orange in color making it very easy to identify. Now, this step is mostly considered when you’re looking to cold-start your weed eater.

A cold start refers to when the engine’s temperature is lower than the normal operating temperature. By turning the choke lever ON, what happens is that you restrict airflow into the engine to make it easier to start the weed eater.

However, if the weed eater was in use a few minutes ago, then there’s no need of switching the choke ON as the engine is already warm.

  1. Step Five: Press the Purge Valve

Since you’re cold starting the weed eater, you’ll need to have enough fuel in the carburetor for the engine to start. To do this, you’ll have to find the purge valve and press it approximately six times. The purge valve is located close to the engine and it resembles a tiny bulb or the tip of a finger. Its purpose is to send fresh fuel into the carburetor via the fuel tank return line.

  1. Step Six: Pull the Cord

If you’ve accomplished all the previous steps, then congratulations! You’ve now come to the last step which is mostly the simplest part of starting a weed eater. So, in this step, what you’ll be doing is to pull the cord or the recoil starter handle to fire the engine. In most cases, you’ll have to pull the cord two to three times before the engine fires.

  1. Step Seven: Switch the Choke to Run Position

So, once you’ve engaged the engine, release the cord and allow the weed eater to run for about 15 seconds. This will give the engine enough time to warm up before you can start working. Next, switch the choke back to the “off” or “closed” position to allow efficient flow of air back to the engine. Allowing sufficient airflow into the engine helps to lower fuel consumption, which is important for any weed eater.

Once the engine has warmed up, grab the throttle support handle or throttle lever and release the throttle lock to allow the engine to run at full RPM. From there, you can now start trimming your lawn or yard.

Start a Warm Engine

The process of starting a warm engine is pretty much the same as the one we’ve discussed above. The only slight difference is that you won’t have to switch the choke lever to the “ON” position. The reason for this is because the engine is already warm.


How to Start an Electric Weed Eater


As you can see, starting a gas-powered weed eater requires a lot of time and precision. However, when it comes to the electric corded and cordless weed trimmer models, things get a little bit simpler. So, in our next discussion, we’re going to learn how to start an electric weed eater.

  1. Step One: Inspect the Weed Eater

So, the first step of starting an electric weed whacker is to inspect it thoroughly for any signs of damage. Check the extension cord for any signs of damage as this can cause an electric shock. Inspect the weed eater to ensure there are no signs of exposed wires.

  1. Step Two: Plug the Trimmer into a Power Outlet

Once you’ve inspected the weed eater, it’s now time to connect it to a power source. If the trimmer is a corded model, then you’ll have to connect it to a power outlet. Here, you need to check the extension cord to ensure it’s long enough to cover the area you’re working on.

If the weed eater model you’re using is a cordless or a battery-powered version, then you have to check the status of the battery to ensure it has sufficient charge.

  1. Step Three: Press the Trigger

So, with everything ready, it’s now time to start your electric weed eater. Here, all you need is to press the trigger and start the machine. The best thing about electric weed whackers is that they’re very easy to start. All you need is to connect them to a power source, press the trigger and you’re done.


How to Stop a Weed Eater


Now that you’ve accomplished all your lawn maintenance tasks, how do you shut off the weed eater? Well, unlike starting a weed eater, the process of shutting it down is very simple. If you’re using a gas-powered model, all you’ll have to do is to release the throttle slowly to let the engine run at idle. From there, turn the switch to the “stop” position to turn the engine off.

Now, there are times when the engine might fail to stop even after switching it to a stop position. In such cases, move the choke lever to a “cold start” to stall the engine. From there, try to identify the cause of the problem before using it again.

If you’re using an electric weed eater, all you’ll have to do is to release the power switch trigger to stop the machine.



As you can see, there are lots of notable differences when it comes to electric vs. gas-powered weed eater. Gas-powered weed trimmers demand more care and maintenance to stay in good shape. Electric trimmers, on the other hand, are very easy to handle, as they don’t require that high level of maintenance.

When it comes to the output, gas-powered models are mightier than their electric counterparts and are hence the best for handling heavy-duty trimming jobs. These trimmers are not limited by power cords or battery life making them ideal for trimming large lawns and yards.

So, in this guide, we’ve managed to offer immense information on how to start a weed eater. We’ve also discussed each type of weed eater in detail to help you make an informed decision.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top