What makes the very best 4 stroke weed eater? Is it design, ease of use, durability, price? Or maybe, it’s all four.
I’ll let you in on a little secret:
There are four cycle string trimmers that can be good for different people’s needs, and what works for you might not end up working for somebody else.
But I guess that’s why you’re here, aren’t you? To find the very best for YOUR needs!
I’ve got ya’ covered:
If you want to find a weed eater that’s going to fit your needs absolutely perfectly, then you owe it to yourself to stick around and keep reading, because I’m about to break it all down.
Short on time and want my #1 recommendation?
If I had to recommend you only one (4-stroke) string trimmer, it would be this Husqvarna 324L Straight Shaft Weed Eater.
While it’s not the least expensive, it can handle anything you throw at it, and both homeowners and professionals will appreciate its benefits.
Overall, the price and durability make it a solid piece of lawn equipment that I feel confident enough can fit almost anybody’s needs. It feels good in the hands and has the quality that only Husqvarna can provide.
The Best 4 Stroke Weed Eaters
Husqvarna 324L 4-Stroke Weed Eater - Best for Home & Commercial Use
If you’re looking for a do it all kind of gas trimmer; one that can handle any home yard with ease or cut through your commercial jobs like a champ, then you’re going to love the Husqvarna 324L String trimmer.
From a well designed, 18” cutting width trimmer head that reloads string line easily to its easy start, smooth-running operation, you’ll find that you’re getting the job done quicker and more efficiently, every single time.
A Robust (Work of Art) Trimmer Head
Your weed eater’s head is the part of your equipment that you want to be designed the absolute best. Luckily, Husqvarna did exactly that with the 324L.
The head can easily release more line by simply tapping it on the ground. This makes your job so much easier by effortlessly allowing you to keep working. Gone will be the days of having to stop and manually pull out more line.
Next, you can use any size trimmer line that’s available (.095 to .105). You might be wondering why this even matters, but by using the stronger line you can cut through thicker brush, weeds, and debris that may be around your property.
The only downside to this trimmer head is the fact that it doesn’t have a pop-off lower, so you won’t be able to use any aftermarket attachments trimmer.
Smooth, Yet Powerful Operation
Combine this string trimmer’s four-stroke motor and straight shaft design, and you’ve quickly got a powerful piece of equipment on your hands.
The noise on the Husqvarna 324L is considerably lower than most others and you won’t get any shaking or vibration, all thanks to the shaft design.
It feels smooth in your hands, but you know that you are working with something powerful by how it cuts through grass and weeds like a knife through butter.
Pros & Cons
- Can handle any home or commercial job you throw at it
- Puts off less vibration
- Great design on the trimmer head
- More expensive than most
- Can’t add attachments
My Final Thoughts
I really like this weed eater and it’s one of my favorites, but I’ll be straight up: it’s not cheap! However, you really do get what you pay for. You’ll be investing in a solid piece of solid equipment that’s backed by a really good company. If you can get over some of the minor cons like the price and not having the ability to add any attachments, then this will be a complete winner for you!
Click here to read through all the Amazon reviews for the Husqvarna 324L and I think you’ll quickly see why it’s rated as my most recommended.
Craftsman WS405 Straight Shaft Trimmer - Best for The Money
If you have a small yard and you are looking for a four-cycle weed wacker that gets the job done reasonably well, then the Craftsman WS405 may be worth a deeper look.
With its easy (2 steps) prime n’ pull start and accepting an array of attachments, essentially making it a jack of all trades, this Craftsman straight shaft weed eater can deliver for most homeowners.
The cons I found with this trimmer is the fact that it’s reasonably heavy and there is a design flaw with the bump cap that makes replacing string harder than it needs to be.
Prime & Pull - You’re Ready to Go
Having a weed eater that can easily start makes life so much easier. Being able to just prime, pull and go (on the very first pull) with the Craftsman WS405 makes using it such a breeze.
You’re going to feel confident knowing that you won’t be spending more time fidgeting with a piece of equipment just to get it started, than actually using it!
Go Attachment Crazy
If you’re looking for a string trimmer that can accept a list of TrimmerPlus attachments, then this is going to be right up your alley.
The Craftsman WS405 can accept all of these attachments below (which are conveniently available on Amazon):
Pros & Cons
- Accepts all TrimmerPlus attachments
- Best bang for your buck on a budget
- A breeze to use
- A little on the heavier side
- Difficult to reload trimmer line (bump cap is over tightened)
Listen, if you’re a homeowner with a smaller yard and you want a lot of different attachments that can really make this a one and done type of tool, then I would recommend the Craftsman WS405. Personally, I think it’s the best 4 stroke weed eater for the money.
It is a little on the heavier side (which you may or may not get used to) and many people have complained about Craftsman over-tightening the nut on the bump cap which makes it hard to restring. If you can get over these two minor annoyances, then I think you’ll be happy with the versatility this 4 cycle string trimmer provides.
Troy Bilt EC (Four Stroke) String Trimmer - Best for Small Yard, Home Use
If you’re a homeowner who wants the ease and reliability of a 4 stroke trimmer that is going to get a “weekend only” type of use then you’ll probably want to take a look at the Troy Bilt EC 17” Weed Eater.
With its lightweight (compared to the other two in this guide) frame and soft pull-start, it’s a decent trimmer if you’re not looking for the top of the line perfection.
Anyone who has been around power equipment long enough knows that having to use something heavy (weekend after weekend) can become a real pain.
While the Troy Bilt EC still has a 4 cycle motor, making them heavier to begin with, it’s lightweight (only 11lbs) compared to the other two in this list
If weight is a huge factor for you and you just want the lightest of the three, then this should fit your needs.
One major advantage of this string trimmer is just how easy it starts, and that makes a world of difference.
You may be used to other weed eaters that take all your strength just to get started, but the Troy Bilt EC only needs a light pull and it should fire right up.
Pros & Cons
- Lightweight frame for a 4 stroke motor
- Easy to start
- Only for the average homeowner
- Not the best build quality
It’s a good weed eater for the average user. It doesn’t do anything exceptionally well, but it gets the job done that it was made for. Definitely not my favorite, but I’ve also seen worse!
This 4 cycle string trimmer can have a lot of little quirks, so you need to make sure to read the manual fully and understand proper start-up procedures, etc.
Still not sure? Don’t just take my word for it:
How I Picked
Picking these three string trimmers wasn’t easy, but I’ll share the criteria I used when making my decision:
- The Brand: For me (and you), it’s really important to pick reputable brands when we are choosing a piece of power equipment. All three of these brands (Craftsman, Husqvarna, and Troy Bilt) create a solid, wide range of lawn and garden products that have a good reputation in the industry.
- Specific Uses & Features: While technically these weed eaters can be used for anything, it doesn’t mean they should be. A homeowner with a small yard might not need the power that a more professional, gas weed eater provides. I’ve done my due diligence in reviewing three different trimmers with their own features that I feel have certain benefits that could fit your needs.
- Price: I get it, price is important for some, and not for others. Maybe you just want the very best and the price is not even a factor, or maybe you’re looking for the durability that a four-stroke motor can provide, but at the best price possible. I’ve selected three weed trimmers that tier in price from top of the line to budget friendly.
What is a 4 Stroke String Trimmer?
If you’ve been looking around at power equipment lately, then you’ll likely have noticed a new technology making its rounds – the 4 stroke engine. So, what exactly is it and how do they work?
4-Cycle Engine Explained:
A 4-cycle engine does almost the same thing as a 2-cycle, but it takes two more strokes to complete a cycle.
The 4 stroke cycle looks something like this:
Step 1) Intake – As the piston moves into a downward position, the pressure is allowed to push the air-fuel mixture into the bore of the cylinder.
Step 2) Compression – The air-fuel mixture gets compressed between the cylinder head and the piston.
Step 3) Power – The piston is in the perfect position to ignite the gas. This is where all the magic happens and gives power to your equipment.
Step 4) Exhaust – As the piston reaches the center once again, the exhaust valve opens and pushes the used gases out of the exhaust system. Once the piston reaches the center again, the 4 stroke process will repeat
4 Stroke vs 2 Stroke Weed Wacker
Now that you understand how a 4 cycle engine works, you’re probably wondering what exactly are the benefits and are they really better?
Well, that depends, but let me explain:
Advantages of a 4-stroke vs a 2-stroke
There are many advantages to getting a 4 stroke weed eater over a 2 stroke:
- Saves you time by not having to pre-mix oil and fuel
- Makes more torque at lower RPM’s, which allows for a more durable, longer lasting engine
- Cleaner burning emissions so you don’t have to smell gas and oil while you work
- Better fuel economy, which is going to save you money on fuel in the long run
Disadvantages of a 4 stroke string trimmer
While it may seem like four cycle trimmers are the hands down winner, they don’t come without their own set of disadvantages:
- More complex to build, which means they’re harder to repair if something goes wrong
- Usually more heavy (although new technology is finding ways to make them even lighter)
- More frequent oil changes required
Straight or Curved Shaft: Which is Better?
Many weed eaters (not only 4 cycle) come in straight or curved shaft options. You’re going to have to decide which style fits you best.
Straight shaft weed eaters are a great, versatile option. They make getting into hard to reach spots so much easier. They usually have less vibration because of their extra weight and tend to be a little more powerful than a curved shaft.
I find straight shaft designs great if you have a lot of different areas and hard to reach places you need to get into with your string trimmer. They’re usually capable of accepting different attachments for other jobs, as well.
Many people find curved shaft weed trimmers more comfortable to use since they are (usually) lighter in weight and have a natural curve that allows the head of the weed eater to sit closer, allowing for more control.
Personally, I find curved shaft easier to do other tasks such as edging lawns and quickly cutting down weeds out of the cracks of concrete.
How To Choose a Weed Eater
If you’re anything like me, you want to know that you’re investing your money into the right piece of equipment, am I right?
So below, I’ll break down some key things you should be looking for when picking the best 4 stroke weed eater:
1. Size of Yard
In my opinion, the size of your yard is going to determine almost 90% of what type of weed eater you decide to buy. Pick one that isn’t meant for the job you’re going to be doing and it’ll be a pain every single time you take it out.
If you have a medium to large sized yard, then I really recommend you choose something that’s going to be more on the professional side of things. You want it be able to handle the amount of work you’re going to throw at it and stay durable.
If you have a small yard, you can get away with a weed wacker that’s more suited for light, home use.
2. Brand and Warranties
Making sure you stick with major brands (like Husqvarna, Craftsman, Troybilt, Steel, etc.) and checking their warranties is always critical. The last thing you want to do is get an off-brand weed eater that doesn’t offer a robust warranty and be left with a hunk of junk that sits collecting dust.
3. What Other People Say (Reviews)
Spend your time and do your due diligence. Each of the string trimmers I have listed on this page have many, many reviews on Amazon from others who use the equipment. Don’t just take my word for it, but look and see what others have to say about the weed eaters you’re interested in. When it’s all said and done, I want you to be informed and able to make a smart purchase!
If you’ve made it all the way down here to the end, you’re amazing! You should have got major value, insight and tips on finding the right 4-stroke weed eater for yourself. Always remember, do your due diligence and you’ll never make the wrong purchasing decision!
Recommended reading: I’ve got many other guides on the site that help people (just like you) make a more empowered buying decision. Make sure to see one of the more popular guides on my best tillers for breaking new ground
I’d love to hear from you! Make sure you leave a comment below to say hello, ask any questions or let me know what weed eater you decided to pick up based on my recommendations!