There are tons of options when it comes to trimming your yard, but there aren’t too many brands that can compete with STIHL for outdoor power equipment.
They are without a doubt the premier name on the market and they have been for decades. Unlike some of their competitors, their products are built to last a lifetime. They may cost a little more, but they are worth every penny.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t other good choices on the market. There are many. With that in mind we decided to update this STIHL trimmer guide to take a closer look at the competition as well.
For every STIHL trimmer we review, we now include a comparison against one of its closest competitors. It’s our hope that this will make your buying decision easier.
The STIHL brand has an extensive dealer network to support their equipment and they’re strong believers in backing up their workmanship. They may be the only maker of lawn care equipment that still refuses to embrace selling online – it’s one area that the completion has an advantage. Purchasing STIHL equipment is less convenient, but it’s worth the hassle.
If you’re thinking one STIHL product is probably much like any other, nothing could be further from the truth. When it comes to weed eaters, string trimmers, weed whackers, or whatever your preferred name for a lawn trimmer is, they have a full range of products.
In this article, we’re going to look at a few different options from their gas powered, battery-operated, and electric trimmers. Hopefully, our STIHL trimmer reviews will help make it easier for you to choose the best STIHL trimmer for you.
Top 7 Best STIHL Trimmer Reviews 2020
We’ve divided our reviews into three different categories: gas powered, battery powered, and electric powered string trimmers. What makes these reviews unique is that there isn’t a bad choice. Anyone of the trimmers reviewed in this article will keep your yard neat and tidy for years.
Instead, it comes down to a matter of personal preference. No matter which one of these STIHL trimmers you decide to go with, you’ll be satisfied with your choice.
Here are the best STIHL trimmers 2020:
1. STIHL FSA 56
If you find yourself leaning towards a green option that leaves only a small footprint on the environment while you work outdoors a cordless battery powered trimmer is the best way to go.
STIHL has some great options for the green gardener. In our STIHL battery string trimmer reviews you won’t find better value for the money than the FSA 56.
The FSA 56 weighs slightly less than 8 pounds with the battery attached and it has a familiar straight shaft design.
The biggest drawback is that you only get about 40 minutes run time (with AK 20) once the battery’s fully charged – if you have a large yard with a lot of weeds to trim this is not the trimmer for you. It’s also hurt by the fact that the cutting area is only about 11 inches. For small yards and quick jobs it does a great job.
The other reason we believe the FSA 56 deserves a strong mention in our STIHL battery string trimmer reviews is because of how quiet it is. You won’t have to worry about waking of the family or the neighbors if you decide you want to do a little trimming early on a Saturday morning. With a battery powered trimmer like this you get a model that’s just as quiet as an electric trimmer, without having to worry about any cords in the way.
This model has a 36-volt battery that gives you lots of juice to get the job done. Although the charge doesn’t last an extremely long time, you will be able to use it normally up until the charge runs out. There’s no noticeable difference in power output between the first minute of use and the twenty-eighth minute.
The housing for the motor is lightweight, as well as impact and corrosion resistant. There are no worries when starting this machine. No cords to pull and no worries about throwing your shoulder out in the process. As long as the battery is fully charged you simply press the start button and away you go.
The FSA 56 is a good battery-powered string trimmer. It’s ideal for small yards. If you have a lot of trimming to do thought this may not be the best weed eater for you. The 40 minutes of operating time is a little limiting.
FSA 56 vs. The Competition
As an entry-level battery-powered string trimmer the FSA 56 has plenty of competition. After looking around for a good comparison product we settled on the Husqvarna 115iL.
This is a great entry-level string trimmer and, spoiler alert, it’s the only competitor in this article that we believe might actually edge out its STIHL competition.
This Husqvarna trimmer uses a 36-volt battery, just like the FSA 56 and it you’ll get a similar amount of run time on one charge – usually somewhere between 35 and 45 minutes. So far there isn’t much to choose between the two. Where this machine edges out the FSA 56 is in cutting width. It cuts a slightly larger path at almost 14 inches.
Both trimmers are good products, with a quality reputation. Husqvarna and STIHL both stand behind their machines with industry leading warranties. They also have great customer service teams that are readily available when consumers need them.
With so little to choose between the two, you really can’t go wrong with purchasing either one of these products. Since we had to pick a winner, on this occasion we went with the Husqvarna 115iL. It really came down to its slight larger cutting deck.
2. STIHL FSA 45
If there’s one thing you can say about STIHL products it’s that they always tend to do a good job at the task they’re designed for. The FSA 45 battery-powered string trimmer is no exception. This little machine is efficient and cuts through weeds no problem.
The issue we have with this model is the miniscule amount of run time you get when operating it. You won’t get much more than 20 minutes of work done on one charge and that will be a non-starter for some.
On the plus side, this is likely to be one of the lightest trimmers you’ll ever use. It weighs only 5.1 pounds and that makes it very easy to handle for almost anyone. The cutting width isn’t very large though at just 9 inches. This trimmer is really meant for small yards or small finishing jobs.
What you do get with this trimmer is cordless freedom and a clean conscience. It emits zero emissions and very little noise. The environment will thank you and so will your neighbors. It also comes equipped with the familiar STIHL adjustable shaft for comfort and the looped handle can be adjusted up to 360 degrees as well.
The STIHL FSA 45 battery-operated trimmer is designed for small jobs. If you have a small yard with just a few areas to trim you’ll be happy with it. It’s cordless and there are no emissions to worry about. For anyone with a large yard it would be a good idea to look at a different STIHL product as this one won’t fit the bill.
FSA 45 vs. The Competition
A good product to compare the FSA 45 against is the Black+Decker LST201. It’s a popular model with strong reviews and for good reason. It has a slightly larger cutting deck than the FSA 45 at 10 inches. That extra inch will speed up your work a bit, but how does it perform?
Its battery life is similar, about 20 minutes of use on one charge. Many suggest having a second battery ready to swap out and that may be the best option for any trimmer in this category. The bottom line is there aren’t many clear advantages for STIHL over Black+Decker in this category.
Where this Black+Decker model does seem to fall behind is in terms of the quality of workmanship. Many consumers have complained that parts of the machine are fragile and can break easily. That’s not an issue with a STIHL trimmer.
It’s true the LST201 does have a slightly larger cutting deck, but that wasn’t enough to convince us it’s a better product. Yes, you can buy this product from online retailers and that’s an advantage, but you can find a STIHL dealer in just about any city or town so that’s not a major issue either. They simply make a better quality trimmer than Black & Decker, so we’ll stick with our endorsement of the FSA 45 as the best choice in the entry-level battery powered trimmer category.
3. STIHL FSA 90 R
Many consumers avoid battery-powered string trimmers because of the limited run time you get on an individual charge. The FSA 90 R string trimmer is in a different class from what most of us are used to.
This trimmer is compatible with two different batteries – the AP 300 runs for about 30 minutes and the AR 2000 can run for up to 2 hours on one charge. That’s enough cutting time to power through most jobs, even professional jobs. With the recommended AP 300 battery it weighs 9.9 lbs.
Another feature that separates the FSA 90 from other battery-operated models is its impressive cutting swathe. This machine covers an area about 15 inches in diameter.
With this model you get the type of specs you’d expect from a professional trimmer – it just happens to be environmentally friendly as well. It operates quietly and there are zero emissions produced.
This STIHL trimmer also features an ergonomic design with a fully adjustable shaft. It features a looped handle with a quick start trigger that starts the machine instantly. It’s an easy to use trimmer with industrial strength.
Anyone with their heart set on a battery-powered string trimmer will love the FSA 90 R. It’s one of the best cordless string trimmers and it’s a great environmentally friendly option.
It does have to be recharged like other battery-operated models, but with the compatible AR 2000 battery you can get 2 hours of runtime before each charging session. There aren’t too many battery-operated string trimmers that can match that.
FSA 90 R vs. The Competition
A company that’s a bit of a new name offers some decent competition for the FSA 90 R. In the premium battery-powered trimmer market the Kobalt KST 130X is a decent product.
This is an impressive machine with a 40-volt battery for extra power. It cuts a respectable 13-inch path which makes for quick work of most weed problems and it’s comparable to the FSA 90 R.
As far as battery life is concerned this one does okay. It will last somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour depending on how you use it. That’s better than most battery-powered trimmers, but it doesn’t compare to the FSA 90 R’s ability to go for up to 2 hours with its upgraded battery.
The Kobalt KST 130X is a good machine with some clear advantages over its competitors. It’s a powerful trimmer and it cuts a 13-inch cutting path. Where it falls short is with its battery power. You’ll get a decent amount of running time with this model, but it doesn’t come close to the FSA 90 R’s potential to go for up to 2 hours.
4. STIHL FS 40 C-E
We might typically think of gas-powered string trimmers as large machines that are difficult to carry around the yard. That’s not always the case. The FS 40 C-E is a relatively lightweight trimmer that’s a perfect entry-level trimmer for the home owner. It’s not meant for dealing with heavy-duty brush, but it’s perfect for those standard backyard jobs.
This trimmer has a curved shaft design which can make it a little easier to maneuver, although it doesn’t make it easy to get into tight spaces. It weighs in at 9.9 lbs, which is pretty light for a gas trimmer and STIHL has done everything they can to make it as environmentally friendly as possible. It is a gas trimmer so it will give off some emissions, but they aren’t a significant amount.
One of the nice features about the FS 40 C-E is that you can adjust the handle to make it more comfortable for you depending on your height. This is ideal for the husband and wife that tend to share yard duties.
With older gas-powered lawn equipment, one of the biggest frustrations for anyone using them was getting them to start. It wasn’t unusual to need a few tugs on the cord before you got it going.
This STIHL gas-powered trimmer starts with very little effort thanks to their easy starting technology. It will start on the first pull just about every time and your shoulders will thank you!
The FS 40 C-E also comes equipped with a quick stop button that will stop the device quickly if you run into a snag. If you tend to be a bit absent minded like me when doing the yard work this is a nice back up feature to have. Let’s just say I’ve come close to taking out my wife’s favorite flowers on occasion!
The FS 40 C-E is ideal for the homeowner with a small to medium sized lawn. It isn’t meant for heavy-duty jobs, but it’s a reliable machine that works as advertised.
FS 40 C-E vs. The Competition
The Remington RM2510 Rustler is a strong competitor for the FS 40 C-E. This gas-powered trimmer is perfect for the homeowner that wants the power of gas on a tight budget. Typically this model retails somewhere between $125 and $150. That’s not bad for cordless freedom and strong cutting power.
Like our STIHL trimmer, this model has a curved shaft. That makes it easier on the body, but not the most practical design for dealing with tight spaces. Its 16-inch cutting deck is a nice feature – that’s a pretty large deck for a trimmer. The FS 40 C-E has a slightly smaller deck.
The level of quality with this Remington trimmer is what you would expect from an entry-level trimmer. It’s okay, but after a couple of years of use, you start to notice where they’ve taken short cuts. Parts start to wear out or break off. That’s where STIHL shines even in this entry-level gas trimmer category. Their products are always built to last.
In terms of performance, there isn’t much to choose between the FS 40 C-E and the RM2510. The real difference is in overall quality. The STIHL model is built to last. When you’re ready for an upgrade it will make a great gift for a family member who can still expect many more years of use out of it. The Remington trimmer is a good for 2 or 3 years and then it’s time for a new one.
5. STIHL FS 56 RC-E
An entry-level trimmer may be fine for a homeowner with a small yard, but if you’ve just purchased a couple of acres in the country, you’ll need something a little more robust. The FS 56 RC-E definitely fits the bill.
This trimmer has a straight shaft design which makes it easier to reach into confined spaces and it’s long enough to extend your reach considerably.
This is a pretty powerful trimmer with a 0.8kW gas powered engine. It’s also equipped with an impressive 16.5-inch cutting deck so that you don’t have to make too many passes as you go.
These features do make it a little larger than the entry-level models though – it does weigh in at about 10.6 lbs. That can be a lot of weight to swing around and that’s why they’ve also included a support strap to ease the burden.
Compared to professional trimmers the FS 56 RC-E is still relatively lightweight. When you’re using it with the support strap you can easily work for a couple of hours without a lot of discomfort. If you have a couple of acres to trim that’s a good thing!
Like other STIHL gas-powered trimmers this one starts on the first pull just about every time. STIHL takes the quality of their products seriously and that’s evident with this trimmer.
The handle is fully adjustable for the comfort of the user and it can be rotated as well. The drive shaft also has built-in vibration protection which also makes it more comfortable to use.
The choke lever is also housed behind a protective sleeve to help protect it from damage. It’s little details like these that separate this and other STIHL products from its competitors. It’s even equipped with a throttle trigger interlock that has to be engaged before the trigger can be activated. They might not have thought of everything, but they’ve come close.
The FS 56 RC-E is one of the top-rated STIHL grass trimmers. It’s a bit of a crossover device that can do the job for both homeowners and professional users. The weight may be a bit much for some to handle, but the support strap does compensate for that. It is a gas-powered model so there are some emissions, but its carbon footprint is still relatively small.
FS 56 RC-E vs. The Competition
The Bolens BL110 is a great trimmer that gives the FS 56 RC-E a run for its money. This machine has a 25cc engine for extra cutting power and it has a strong reputation. It’s a premium gas-powered trimmer that’s more than capable of handling just about any weeding job you throw at it.
Unlike the FS 56 RC-E this Bolens trimmer has a curved shaft. That makes it easier to use in wide open areas, but it isn’t ideal when you’re working in tight space. The FS 56 RC-E’s straight shaft is a more practical design. What you lose in ease of use in wide open areas is worth it – it’s not a major drawback.
There’s no arguing that Bolens has made a good trimmer with the BL110 – it’s just not quite as good as the FS 56 RC-E. STIHL’s trimmer is a more reliable product and it’s built to last the test of time. If you want a trimmer that you’ll get years of use out of STIHL is the clear winner.
6. STIHL FS 240
Sometimes you need something with a little more power. A prime example is someone who’s moved from a house with a small yard to one with a few acres. It may also be because you’re a professional landscaper.
Whatever the reason is that you need a string trimmer that can handle a lot of hard work the FS 240 from STIHL has you covered.
STIHL specifically designed this trimmer to be used by professionals. It comes with a 5-year warranty which is virtually unheard of for lawn equipment.
The cutting deck on this machine is an impressive 22 inches and it has a powerful 173cc engine. As you might expect with all that power, it does weigh a little more than standard trimmers.
The FS 240 weighs in at 15.2 lbs and that’s why it has a two handled bicycle handle design that makes it easier to manage. It also comes with a harness when you purchase it and it’s a good idea to use it. With the two handled design and the harness it’s still relatively comfortable to use for most users.
For the environmentally conscious consumer this one may pose a bit of a problem. The FS 240’s powerful engine does emit a fair bit of fumes and it will make a lot of noise as well.
If you’re in the back half of a large property while using this trimmer you should be okay, but you may want to wait and do the areas around the house until the family’s awake.
This trimmer has all of the standard features that other STIHL models come with, including the ability to start on the first pull. The gas tank is a decent size at 25 ounces, but you may have to fill it a couple of times for large jobs. That’s pretty normal for any gas powered trimmer though.
The FS 240 is one of the best STIHL trimmers for professional use or if you have a large property. It has a powerful engine and a nice wide cutting deck for handling larger jobs. It is a little on the heavy side, but the double handle design and included harness do compensate for that nicely.
FS 240 vs. The Competition
It wasn’t easy finding a competitor to compare to the FS 240. It really doesn’t have any. The closest runner up we could find was the Craftsman WS405 and it still doesn’t really compare. It’s a good-quality product with tons of great features, it just doesn’t pack the same punch as the FS 240.
This Craftsman trimmer does have some quality extra features. For example, it does have easy start technology that allows you to start the machine without having to pull a cord. It’s something your shoulders will definitely thank you for, but the FS 240 has similar features.
Where it really falls short is in terms of raw power and cutting capability. The FS 240 has an unmatched 173cc engine – the Craftsman trimmer lags far behind at 29cc’s. With the extra horsepower, STIHL was able to include a 22-inch cutting deck without negatively affecting performance. The Craftsmen trimmer only offers a 17-inch cutting deck.
This really isn’t a close contest. The FS 240 is clearly a much better trimmer than the WS405. Both are good trimmers – it’s just that the STIHL trimmer has a lot more cutting power. If you want to plow through weeds with ease it’s the machine you’ve been looking for.
7. STIHL FSE 60
If you want something that’s environmentally friendly, but you’re not sold on battery powered trimmers that only operate for a limited time then an electric model is your best options.
The FSE 60 is a good-quality STIHL electric weed trimmer with zero emissions. It’s a quiet machine that won’t disturb those around you while you trim the yard and it does a good job.
It weighs a manageable 8.8 lbs and the engine pumps out a decent amount of power at 0.6 kW. As it is electric you will need an available wall outlet nearby, so it’s not ideal for property that’s more than ½ an acre.
This model does not come with a support harness included, although thanks to its relatively light weight design that’s not a major concern.
There are some major benefits to using an electric trimmer like the FSE 60 on a small or medium sized lawn. First of all, as long as you have an outlet nearby you don’t have to worry about running out of power. You don’t have to recharge a battery or refill the gas tank. All you have to is turn the switch and press the button and you can keep going until the jobs done.
This model also comes equipped with STIHL’s standard adjustable handle which can be adjusted up and down or rotated up to 360 degrees to make it more comfortable to handle. The built-in anti-vibration technology also makes it more comfortable to use.
The FSE 60 does have a curved shaft design which can limit your ability to get under brushes and trees. What the curved design does do is make the trimmer easier to handle. If most of the areas you’re trimming are edges or exposed areas this model will do a great job.
The bottom line is that the FSE 60 is a great option for the environmentally conscious consumer with a small to medium sized lawn. It’s a top-quality STIHL weed trimmer and it performs as you would expect. It is limited in range due to the need for an available wall outlet, but other than that there are few major issues with this machine.
FSE 60 vs. The Competition
The FSE 60 is a good-quality electric trimmer with the STIHL name backing it, but it has some strong competition in its category. Perhaps the best example of this is the Greenworks 21272. This is a nice little machine that’s usually competitively priced for well under $50. It’s 5.5 amp motor gives the user plenty of cutting power.
At just a little over 7 lbs it’s lighter than the FSE 60, but not by much. Both machines start at the push of a button and both do need an available outlet nearby for power.
The problem with the Greenworks trimmer is that it doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to longevity. Many buyers complain about parts wearing out within a couple of years of purchase.
Both the FSE 60 and the Greenworks 21272 offer similar features. In fact there isn’t much to choose between them – until you look at the quality of the product. The STIHL trimmer may cost a little more, but it has the same reputation for durability as more expensive trimmers in the STIHL line.
Do I Really Need a Lawn Trimmer?
If you own a home or you’re renting property where you’re in charge of lawn maintenance then the answer is yes – you need a lawn trimmer!
That is unless of course you’re okay with runaway weeds or you want to use a hedge trimmer. The latter option is a bit awkward though, so we don’t really recommend it. For the rest of us a trimmer is a must and a STIHL trimmer is the best of the best.
A weed trimmer keeps the edges of your lawn looking pristine and it keeps the weeds from invading your gardens. It also happens to be a great way to get outside and get a little fresh air – you’ll even get in a little exercise while you’re at it.
How Do I Know Which STIHL Trimmer is the Best One for Me?
There are a lot of things you may want to take into consideration when finding the right STIHL lawn trimmer for your needs.
Gas powered trimmers are the clear winner when it comes to extra cutting power and the ability to last and go anywhere. The problem is they are noisy and even the most environmentally friendly ones do pollute the environment.
It comes down to a matter of both priority and needs. If you have a big piece of property, but you don’t want to harm the environment by using a gas powered trimmer a battery powered trimmer with an extra battery pack on hand may be the right choice.
If you have a small yard than an electric model can easily cover than that’s a good green friendly option as well. If on the other hand, raw cutting power is your main concern, there’s no substitute for a gas powered STIHL trimmer.
Straight Shaft or Curved Shaft?
There are both straight shat and curved shaft trimmers. Both have their good qualities, but in our experience the straight shaft is usually the best option. They make it easier to get under brushes and other confined areas, they also give you a little more reach.
Curved shaft trimmers tend to be a little lighter and easier to handle. If you’re not used to lifting or if you have certain physical limitations this is still a good choice. Curved shafted trimmers are just as powerful as most straight shafted trimmers – it’s just a matter of preference and comfort.
Can’t I Just Use My Mower?
There are few things that make me cringe more than watching a neighbor trying to awkwardly navigate the edges of their lawn with a lawn mower. Sure you might be able to trim the edges with a mower, even with a cheap entry-level lawn mower, if you have a square lawn with no objects in the way, but why would you want to?
In some spots, you may have to lift your mower on an angle to trim and that can cause injury to you and damage to your lawn. A good lawn trimmer does a better job, it’s easier to use, it’s quicker, and it’s really not that expensive.
What Makes a STIHL Trimmer Better?
We live in a throwaway world. Everybody wants the latest and greatest gadget. That means we’re typically looking to replace our things within a year or two of purchase. It’s no wonder manufacturers aren’t too concerned about their products lasting, since we’re just going to move on in a couple of years anyway.
That type of thinking can be expensive when it comes lawn equipment that can easily cost you a few hundred dollars. The folks at STIHL certainly think so.
That’s why they’ve stuck with an old fashioned approach that relies on quality products, a strong dealership network, and a warranty that’s second to none in the industry. Quality and reliability are the two things that make STIHL trimmers better.
STIHL has a reputation for being a top-quality manufacturer of outdoor power equipment and it’s a reputation that’s well earned. Their products are first class and this applies to their line of string trimmers as well.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for a gas-powered machine, electric, or a battery model. STIHL has something in every category and for every type of consumer. You may pay a little more for a STIHL string trimmer, but it’s money well spent.