If you’re looking for a 4 stroke string trimmer or weed eater, you’re in good company.
A string trimmer is an essential tool for anyone who does yard work. They’re good for trimming around curbs, siding, flowerbeds and every other nook and cranny in your yard.
Weed whackers have been around forever, but 4-stroke weed whackers are relatively new. When I entered the landscaping industry some twenty years ago, 4 cycle engines were just too big and clunky to put on a stick, plus most oil pans relied on gravity.
But nobody ever liked those 2-cycle engines. They’re noisy, require mixing oil, always break, and spit out that disgusting blue smoke that nobody likes.
Ryobi RY34001 4 Cycle Gas Powerhead Trimmer Parts. Search within model. Questions & Answers Page A. Showing only parts from: Page A. $2.99 Part Number: 660563002. In Stock, 12 available In Stock, 12 available. Husqvarna 324L Straight Shaft Gas Trimmer. (The hands down best weed eater you’ll ever use).
But now, in 2019, we have 4 stroke weed eaters. They are just as every bit compact, powerful, and easy to use as the 2 stroke counterparts, yet without all the bad parts of a 2 cycle engine. So all things considered, I’d always recommend a 4 cycle trimmer.
First time trying this weed trimmer out this Spring. 4-1 Combo - includes trimmer attachment, brush cutter blade, hedge trimmer attachment and edger attachment Quickly converts into a string trimmer, brush cutter, hedge trimmer or pole saw 52cc 2-cycle, full crankshaft engine designed for quick starts and comfortable operation.
In this post, we’ll break down the 3 hands-down best 4 cycle weed whackers you can buy today.
Quick Glance: My Top Picks
The 3 Best 4 Cycle String Trimmers of 2019
1) Husqvarna 324L Straight Shaft Gas Trimmer
(The hands down best weed eater you’ll ever use)
- 25cc Engine
- 1.07 HP
- 11.24 lbs
- 1 Year Warranty
This is my go-to weed eater. It’s the best I’ve ever used and I don’t plan on changing anytime soon. It’s also affordable.
The Husqvarna 324L is a hand-held, straight shaft weed trimmer. Its cutting circumference is 17 inches and its got a respectable 25cc engine. It’s equipped with a Smart Start System and X-Torq engine. The X-Torq engine design increases fuel efficiency by up to 20% and reduces harmful exhaust emissions by up to 60%. It’s not just quieter, its exhaust emissions are also lowered and you can barely even smell the exhaust.
The Husqvarna 324L is super easy to start. No more blisters from frustratingly pulling the cord only to flood the engine and have to start all over. This thing starts on the first pull almost every time I use it.
The weight on the Husqvarna 314L is just icing on the cake. At only 11lbs, the 324L provides plenty of power while maintaining maneuverability. Even though four stroke weed eaters are known to be heavier, this is lighter than most two stroke trimmers.
All in all, the Husqvarna 324L brings commercial power and performance at a very reasonable price for both homeowners and lawn care professionals alike.
2) Troy-Bilt TB525 EC Curved Shaft Trimmer
(Best if you’re looking for versatility)
- 29cc Engine
- 10 Attachments capability
- 12 lbs
- 2 Year Warranty
If you’re looking for a 4 stroke string trimmer that offers a little more versatility, and you don’t mind a curved shaft, the Troy-Bilt TB525 is gonna be your best best.
The Troy-Bilt TB525 EC 4-Cycle Gas Curved Shaft Trimmer string trimmer has a cutting area of 17″ and is very easy to operate. The Troy-Bilt TB25 is equipped with SpringAssist technology that makes pulling the trimming like cord easier. The 29cc 4 cycle engine provides plenty of power, allowing this thing to cut through weeds like a knife through hot butter.
When it comes to versatility, the TB525 can be used with 10 different attachments turning your weed eater into a pole saw, blower, cultivator or edger to name a few.
Note, the cutting area of 17” is considerably smaller than the 24” cutting swatch of the Husqvarna 324L, but that’s not always a bad thing. Most homeowners don’t need a huge cutting swatch, and the smaller the more precise.
3) Remington High Wheeled Trimmer
(best wheeled string trimmer)
- 159cc Engine
- 22″ Cutting width
- 12″ Wheels
- 2 Year Warranty
The Remington High Wheel trimmer is the best 4-cycle wheeled string trimmer there is, if that’s what you’re looking for. It is geared up with a 4-cycle OHV, 159 cc engine and has a cutting diameter of 22″. Needless to say, this weed wacker is equipped with a great deal of power making it perfectly capable of handling even the most overgrown weeds. Of course, at the center of the Remington High Wheeled trimmer is the wheeled design, which operates very smoothly. If you’ve got a lot of edges to weed eat, the Poulan Pro is one for you. I’ve got one of my own and the thing is a charm to work with.
The one drawback to this one is the size, which is the case with all wheeled trimmers. As such, it can be hard to store if you’re short on garage / shed space. So, if you want something compact, consider one of the other options here. But if a wheeled trimmer suits your needs, don’t even bother shopping around, go with the Remington.
Operating a 4-Stroke
Operating a 4-cycle trimmer isn’t all that different than any other weed eater, other than starting. In the video below, Lawn Care Life does a review of the Husqvarna 324L (again, my favorite weed eater) along with some operating tips.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the advantages of a 4-stroke vs a 2-stroke?
A 4 stroke trimmer has a number of advantages over its 2 stroke counterpart.
No More Fuel Mixing: 2 stroke engines require that you keep a separate fuel can in which you have to mix in. 4 stroke engines take normal old gasoline, which is less mess and headache.
Less Noise: 2 stroke engines have an annoying, loud, high pitched hum to them. 4 stroke engines are a quieter, lower pitch sound that is more bearable. Of course, you should wear ear protection either way.
Cleaner Emissions / No Blue Smoke: Because 2 cycle engines burn oil, they emit a nasty blue smoke that worse for your lungs and the environment. By contrast, 4 stroke weed eaters emit a much cleaner smell with less odor.
When it comes to keeping your yard or garden well-groomed and manicured, trimmers are often a necessary evil.
If you really can’t maintain your green space with simply a pair of good garden shears, then purchasing the right weed whacker is your next challenge.
And if you’ve decided on a gas-powered model, you need to compare the merits of a 2-cycle vs 4-cycle trimmer before adding it to cart.
Let’s take a look at what makes them tick – and hopefully, you can choose the type that’s right for you.
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- Two-Cycle and Four Cycle Stand-Off
- 2-Cycle String Trimmer Reviews 2021
- 4-Cycle String Trimmer Reviews 2021
2-Cycle Vs 4-Cycle String Trimmer: The Short Answer
Before we break down the differences between a two-cycle and a four-cycle trimmer engine in detail, let’s provide the “too long, didn’t read” answer for those of you in a rush.
Without going too much into the mechanics of each (read on for that information), a two-cycle trimmer is more powerful, lighter, cheaper, and with lower maintenance.
However, a four-cycle trimmer is more fuel-efficient, much quieter, and offers more torque. They are also more durable and longer-lasting than a two-cycle engine.
And the winner is – it entirely depends on what your needs are.
That’s comparing a 2-stroke vs 4-stroke trimmer in a nutshell. Read on to discover the analysis in a little more depth with some sample reviews thrown in for good measure.
Two-Cycle and Four Cycle Stand-Off
First, let’s explore how two and four-cycle engines actually work.
The cycles (or strokes – as they’re also known) represent how many times the piston moves in a combustion engine.
It’s not rocket science here, but rather than go into it at great length with a text that will quite possibly insult your intelligence, take a look at this very useful video below if you feel you need a quick refresher course.
Bear in mind that this is in relation to a vehicle engine, but the principle is the same – just on a smaller scale.
Ryobi 4 Cycle Trimmer Review
2-Cycle String Trimmers
Easily more popular and readily available compared with four-stroke trimmers, two-stroke engines are well suited to smaller machines and tools and have been around for a number of years.
Ryobi 4 Cycle Trimmer
Like all outdoor power tools, two-cycle trimmers come with their pros and cons.
On the plus side, they are much cheaper than their four-cycle counterparts. This is largely due to utilizing fewer components in their overall manufacture. They’re a lot less complex.
Which leads us nicely onto our next advantage – two-cycle trimmers require less maintenance than four-cycle engines.
They’re also blessed with offering more power. Requiring only two strokes to produce the power required to turn your line spool, you’re getting a harder working engine for your money.
2-cycle string trimmers tend to be lighter, which is a big advantage when working larger areas for a continuous period of time.
Arguably the biggest downside of using a two-stroke string trimmer is that annoying mix of fuel and oil you need to add to the engine to get it running.
For many people, this can be an exasperating stage of the process, as it requires getting the ratios just right in order to use the machine – and keep it operating at peak performance.
Ryobi 4 Cycle Trimmer String Pull Stuck
Additionally, 2-cycle trimmers produce more emissions and are a lot less fuel-efficient compared to four-stroke versions. Across the board, you’re going to be spending more money in the long run for gas and lubricant.
Finally, two-stroke trimmers are noticeably louder machines, which isn’t ideal if you have neighbors who are sensitive to loud noise or you live in a built-up area – particularly if you have to regularly maintain your yard or garden.
4-Cycle String Trimmers
While usually reserved for larger tools, vehicles, and machines, manufacturers have begun to incorporate four-stroke engines into string trimmers in recent years – for good reason.
At first glance, it might seem that two-stroke trimmers have their four-stroke rivals totally beat. Thankfully, that’s not the case.
While being more expensive, four-cycle trimmers are much more durable and long-lasting than two-cycle versions.
They offer greater fuel efficiency – which means you’re not going to be spending nearly as much to keep the tool in working order and ready to go.
As a result, four-stroke trimmers are preferred by landscapers with a lot of ground to cover, or anyone looking for a heavier-duty machine to tackle tough vegetation and brush.
They don’t require an oil/fuel mix to run, which will also save you time and money down the years, with an easier refueling system.
They’re much quieter than two-stroke engines, too, which is preferable if you live in a built-up area, or you’re simply sensitive to loud engine noise. Two-stroke trimmers can seriously up the decibel level.
And if you can have a gas engine that is eco-friendly, a four-stroke version is a better option for being kinder to the planet (by a nose).
Four-cycle trimmers are heavier than their two-cycle counterparts. They also need more maintenance throughout their working lives as they incorporate more complex parts.
And you’ll part with more money upfront for a four-stroke engine, too. However, it will likely save you money over time as it uses less fuel and oil – all things being equal.
2-Cycle String Trimmer Reviews 2021
Remington RM25C 25cc 2-Cycle 16-Inch Curved Shaft Gas String Trimmer, Orange
This Remington 2-cycle string trimmer is well and truly at the budget end of these power tools, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not without merit. With a 25 cc gas-powered engine and 16-inch curved shaft, it’s ideal for smaller yards and gardens and residential use.
The bump feed allows you to cut continuously without the need to stop and start to replace the line, which is designed to be thicker and more durable at .095 inches. Check out this review on the best string trimmer lines when you do need to eventually switch it out, as having the right line can make all the difference.
- Excellent price.
- Lightweight design.
- Easy to use.
- Ergonomic shaft and handles.
- Not attachment compatible.
- Might be on the small side for some users.
An ideal entry-level two-stroke trimmer for anyone who needs to maintain a smaller yard or garden, and one of the lighter models in our brief review.
Echo 21.2 cc Gas 2-Cycle Shaft Trimmer
Next up we have a two-stroke gas-powered trimmer from Echo that has a 21.2 cc engine. Like Remington, it also features a curved shaft.
Maneuvering around your yard is easy with this design, with easy-start technology for less effort in getting the machine up and running. Lightweight and dependable, the ergonomic handle is fully adjustable for improved comfort and control no matter the user, while a 16-inch cutting swath ensures the job is completed as fast as possible.
- Affordable price.
- Rapid loader for fast line changes.
- Starting effort reduced by 30%.
- Translucent fuel tank.
- Flex cable drive.
- Not attachment compatible.
- Not suitable for taller folks.
One of the lightest gas-powered string trimmers on the market, this is a handy device from Echo that is perfectly suited to medium-sized yards and gardens and comes very highly rated to boot.
Toro 2-Cycle 25.4cc Gas String Trimmer
This Toro string trimmer has a straight shaft and 25.4 cc engine that has been designed as a commercial-grade product for maintaining larger areas.
Offering a premium carburetor for easy starts, long life, and the best performance possible in this class, the straight shaft also allows you to get to those hard-to-reach areas around your property. The fast-spooling bump feed head is loaded with a durable .095-inch line, and the padded, ergonomic handle offers comfortable use over longer working hours.
The generous 18-inch cutting head is ideal if you have a lot of ground to cover, and the machine is also compatible with attachments, so you have a versatile power tool that covers a lot of bases.
- Quality construction.
- Relatively lightweight.
- Reduced vibrations.
- Translucent fuel tank.
A decent straight shaft two-cycle string trimmer that offers a nice power for the price ratio. For some additional help whacking weeds, why not try these potent commercial weed killers and really take the fight to them?
4-Cycle String Trimmer Reviews 2021
Ryobi 4-Cycle 30cc Gas Trimmer
Ryobi are famous for their range of compatible battery-powered tools, and it appears to have rubbed off with this gas trimmer that is adaptable with multiple attachments. Six additional tools can be swapped out with the string trimmer head, backed by a 30cc four-stroke engine and straight shaft for ease of use and accessing hard to reach areas.
With an 18-inch cutting width, you’ve got plenty of line to get the job done as fast as possible, and the bump head feed will keep your string coming when you most need it. Another quality inclusion to the extensive Ryobi power tool family.
- Name to trust.
- No-tool line replacement.
- Great choice of attachments.
- Ergonomic handle.
- Very highly rated.
- Can be tricky to start on occasion.
- Instructions are not the best.
A versatile, multi-use trimmer that will save you time, money, and much-needed garage space. The ability to switch between an edger and a trimmer is especially useful. Here’s our article talking all about the differences between edgers vs trimmers, so you can see for yourself that having a 2-in-1 is the ultimate tool!
Husqvarna 324L 4-Cycle Gas String Trimmer
Husqvarna is a by-word for quality outdoor power tools and equipment, and you only have to check out this article on their world-famous chainsaws to understand why. They do a mean line in gas-powered string trimmers, too, and this is their powerful, 25cc, four-stroke model with a large 18-inch cutting head.
It runs on unleaded gas, with no mixing oil and fuel of any kind, and features Smart-Start technology so you can get up and running in no time. A bump feed ensures efficient cutting, and the T25 trimmer head is designed for simple and easy line reloading when the time comes.
- Name to trust.
- Quality design and construction.
- Translucent fuel tank.
- Ergonomic handles.
- Air purge system.
Quality like this doesn’t come cheap, but that’s what you’d expect from the Swedish power tool professionals. In a 2 cycle vs 4 cycle gas trimmer match up, this comes out swinging for the latter.
Honda 35 cc Gas Trimmer
Honda requires little introduction when it comes to manufacturing engines, and they’ve put their years of know-how into this very powerful, four-stroke, straight shaft string trimmer.
Backed with a whopping 35cc engine, you’ve got a professional, commercial-grade machine here that will destroy unwanted grass and foliage while you barely break a sweat. With an easy start feature, lower vibrations, and unbeatable balance, this beast is a joy to use all around your yard and garden.
Truly one of the best four-stroke trimmer available on the market today.
- Name to trust with engines.
- Excellent build quality.
- 360° inclinable engine that can be used and rotated in any position.
- Automatic line advance.
- Shoulder harness/strap included.
If you want to trim and landscape your green space to perfection – and do it as the pros do – then this is the only choice you need for a four-stroke, gas-powered string trimmer. Just check out other feedback/reviews from others if you don’t believe me – top drawer stuff from Honda.
What is better, a 2-cycle or a 4-cycle trimmer?
It depends on what you need it for – and personal preference. As outlined above, both have their advantages and disadvantages. Learning what these are will help you choose which machine is right for you.
I would suggest a two-cycle machine is better for a smaller property, if you’re on a budget, or if you require a lighter tool.
Choose a four-cycle version if you prefer a more eco-friendly, fuel-efficient unit, have a larger area to cover, and prefer/require less noise during operation.
Check out these commercial weed eaters if you need something to really tame unruly vegetation around your property.
What’s the difference between a 2-cycle or a 4-cycle trimmer?
The main difference is that one uses two piston strokes to create power, while the other uses four.
In short, a two-stroke trimmer is cheaper, lighter, easier to maintain, and more powerful.
A four-stroke trimmer is more fuel-efficient, eco-friendly, durable, and offers quieter operation.
Is a straight or a curved shaft trimmer better?
Great question. Lucky for you I’ve covered this in a more detailed article on straight and curved shaft trimmers.
Follow that link to get the full skinny and find out which is the best option for you.
Do 4-cycle engines use regular gas?
Yes – just like your car. It’s the two-cycle versions that use a mix of oil and gas in the fuel tank – a balance you need to get right in order for the machine to operate as intended.
A four-cycle engine will still require oil – but you add it to a separate tank, which many prefer as an easier method for lubricating the machine.
Can you use 2-cycle oil in a 4-cycle engine?
There is no real difference between 2-cycle and 4-cycle oil, providing of course you’ve not already mixed it with gasoline.
Both should work perfectly fine in either machine, but I would always err on the side of caution and use 2-stroke oil for a 2-stroke engine, and 4-stroke oil in a 4-stroke engine – just to be on the safe side.
How do I mix oil and gas for a 2-cycle engine?
A great question – because this often causes a bit of a headache for new 2-cycle engine users or anyone (like me) who freaks out when trying to mix quantities of liquids together.
Check out the very useful and educational video below for more information.
Is a 2-cycle trimmer louder than a 4-cycle trimmer?
Yes – much more so. A 2-cycle trimmer can get extremely noisy at the best of times.
Listen to the difference between the two engines in the short but informative video below. If noise pollution concerns you – you’re going to want to purchase a 4-cycle trimmer – no question.
What is the best gas string trimmer?
How long is a piece of string?
The best gas string trimmer will depend on a number of factors and the answer to this question is very subjective. One person’s ultimate weed whacker is another person’s pile of junk – depending on what it’s required for.
But speaking of killing weeds, have a look at this article on the best weed killers for large areas – for when even the most powerful gas trimmer in the world just isn’t going to cut it.
There you have it, folks, the battle between the 2-cycle vs 4-cycle trimmer has pretty much ended in a draw.
It all depends on your own needs and personal preferences when it comes to deciding which one takes the crown.
Let me know which gas-powered trimmer you would prefer and why.