Canstar Blue’s 2021 Line Trimmers review has seen Makita, Ozito, Stihl, Victa, Ryobi and Bosch rated on value for money, ease of use, design, maintenance, reliability, noise and customer satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
When it comes to tackling the lawn, a lawn mower sometimes just isn’t enough to get that manicured look, particularly if you have tight spaces or plenty of edges to mow around. But instead of getting on your hands and knees with a pair of scissors or secateurs, households have another way to tidy up close to footpaths and trees – the line trimmer.
Known also as a whipper snipper, weed-whacker or weed-whip, the line trimmer is a handy addition to the shed, allowing you to tackle areas where you can’t use a lawn mower, or even tackle the whole yard if you only have a small patch to take care of. Generally available in both electric and petrol models, you have plenty of options to choose from for the next time the grass gets away from you. But which model should you spend your hard-earned money on?
Thankfully, Canstar Blue has looked to cut down the amount of time you spend looking, surveying more than 500 Australian adults for feedback on their recent line trimmer purchases to see which brands are proving a cut above the rest. This year featured a joint-winner, with Makita and Ozito knocking off two-time winner Stihl for the podium honours.
Here are the best brands for line trimmers in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2021 review:
Makita and Ozito took out top spot, with both achieving a five star rating for overall satisfaction, with previous winner Stihl scoring four stars overall. All other brands, including Victa, Ryobi and Bosch, were rated three stars for overall satisfaction.
Makita also scored five stars for maintenance and servicing, fuel economy and battery life, alongside design, while Ozito was rated five stars for value for money, ease of use and noise while operating. Other five star results include Stihl picking up the only five star rating for reliability, along with five stars for fuel economy and battery life, while Bosch was rated five stars for ease of use and design.
Read on as we explore what the brands in our 2021 review have to offer, before going into detail about what you should look for in a good whipper snipper.
Founded over 100 years ago, Japanese brand Makita produces a variety of power tools, with a focus on electric and cordless models. Its tools are available at hardware retailers including Bunnings, along with a number of other retailers, which can be found via Makita’s Retailer Locator available on its website.
With a line-up that primarily consists of 18V models, Makita offers brush cutters and line trimmers for your yard’s needs. Makita’s introductory model, the DUR189Z, includes an adjustable shaft with ergonomic curve for easy use and manoeuvrability, with four variable speeds to help you tackle the lawn, whether it only needs a light trim or you’re tackling a jungle. If you need a bit more grunt, the DUR368AZ features a 36V output, with three stage speed control to help you tackle the lawn, with a reverse switch to remove tangled grass. It’s also available as a kit, with a u-handle for easier handling. Makita also offer backpack electric models, which allow you to carry a battery source on your back to ensure the corded model can finish the job. Also featuring a three stage speed control, 43cm cutting width and automatic torque drive for when you need a power boost, it may be handy for those who have a bit more garden to take care of.
Another brand primarily found in Bunnings, Australian-brand Ozito has been a mainstay within the power tool market, offering hand tools, garden tools and power cleaning options for households to use on DIY projects. Focussing primarily on electric line trimmers, the Ozito range can be purchased individually, or as a package if you’re looking to kit out your garden shed.
The bulk of Ozito’s range comes in the form of 18V cordless models, with individual whipper snippers or full kits that include chargers and batteries available. The OGT-0185 model includes features such as a 240mm cutting path and adjustable telescopic shaft for easier manoeuvrability, and weighs under 2kg, making it easy to carry around. Another 18V model – the PXCLTK-218 – features a 90-degree rotating head to allow you to edge your lawn, and additionally includes 10 trimming blades for optimal cutting height.
For those after something a bit more powerful, Ozito also offers the 500W line trimmer, which includes a rotating head and edging wheel to help you spruce up all areas of your yard. Alternatively, you can opt for Ozito’s sole petrol model, a 52cc 2-stroke multi-tool model, which also features a low-vibration design, 0.9L fuel tank, 42cm cutting circle, with the multi-tool function able to be turned into a pole pruner and hedge trimmer.
Founded almost 100 years, German brand Stihl is a mainstay with the yard work market, offering a range of products to help with jobs around the house, including chainsaws, pressure cleaners, hand tools, as well as gardening equipment such as hedge trimmers and line trimmers. Offering a wide range of line trimmers, from affordable electric models for small lawns to the Professional Series for those who have tough grass and strong scrub to tackle, Stihl’s products are available at Stihl retailers around Australia, as well as at hardware retailers like Bunnings.
Offering a wide variety of battery-powered models, Stihl’s electric range weighs around 4-5kg, making them easy to move around your backyard and into those tight spaces. There’s also a number of corded electric models, with the FSE 52 line trimmer featuring a 30cm cutting diameter, 500W power consumption, ergonomic handle and weighs just over 2kg. If you’re after a petrol model, Stihl’s Homeowner range may be your speed. The introductory FS 38 model includes a multi-function handle, allowing you to easily stay in control of the engine output, while more expensive options, such as the FS 55, include Stihl Easy2Start functionality, featuring an additional spring accumulator which in turn places less stress on the starting device, meaning you won’t throw your shoulder out when you go to start your whipper snipper.
If you need something serious, the Professional brush cutter range may be more your speed, with a wide variety of models available. The entry level FS 70 R model features a 0.9kW engine, 340ml fuel tank, 27cm cutting width, loop handle and simplified starting system to help you get going. The top-of-the-line Professional brush cutter is the FS 260 C-E, which features a 41cc engine, 48cm cutting diameter, 750ml fuel tank, anti-vibration system and multi-function control handle for easy use.
One of Australia’s icons, Victa may be more well-known for its range of lawn mowers, but still offers plenty when it comes to giving your yard the full care package. Primarily focussing on petrol models, bent and straight-shaft whipper snippers are available at power tool retailers and Victa wholesalers nationwide.
Included within the range is Victa’s Swift Start whipper snippers, which feature Swift-Start to make sure you’re off and running easily, with the 2-stroke engine combining with the anti-vibration system to ensure that you’re not left sore after the yard work. Both the straight and bent shaft varieties weigh in at over 6kg, but have a cutting width of 400mm, making them some of the largest whipper snippers on the market. Victa’s other model is the 23cc curved shaft trimmer, which features a 2-stroke engine, Diatop Bumphead, anti-vibration system and a 380mm cutting width, ideal for those who may have a smaller space to work with, or don’t need all the bells and whistles.
Victa also offers various attachments for select models, including a hedge trimmer attachment and pole trimmer attachment to take care of those hard to reach areas of the yard. And if you’re looking for a manicured end product, Victa has an edge trimmer attachment to keep your lawn looking fresh.
Sold exclusively through Bunnings, Japanese manufacturer Ryobi has been in the power tool market for close to 80 years, offering a wide range of products for any projects you might have in and around the house. When it comes to whipper snippers, Ryobi’s range consists of both electric and petrol-fuelled models, with the range split into brush cutters and line trimmers, allowing you to narrow down your search depending on how much lawn you have to tackle.
Ryobi’s electric range is further split mostly into 18V and 36V models, with the introductory 18V model featuring an adjustable shaft for easy use and control, a fold out edge guide to give you that manicured look, as well as an auto spool feed to take the guesswork out of sorting out the trimming line. The One+ is also available as a kit, coming with a fast charger and 2.0Ah battery to keep you going during those big jobs. If you’re after something with a bit more grunt to it, the 36V Ryobi models may be more your speed, offering a similar output to a 25CC petrol engine. Selected 36V models also come equipped with ‘Expand-It’ capabilities, allowing you to turn your whipper snipper into six other power tools, including a hedge trimmer and blower, ideal for those looking to tackle all areas of the backyard.
If you’re after a petrol line trimmer, Ryobi offers both curved and straight-shaft options, with most models including an easy startup feature to help you get your motor running, while also including a safety clutch for additional user-safety. The 52cc brush cutter model features a fixed bike handle for easy use, multiple heads to tackle multiple jobs and terrains in addition to the Reel Easy function for easy line loading to help you keep going on the job.
While it may not offer the variety of some other brands, German brand Bosch has been operating within the lawncare industry for a number of decades, offering lawn mowers, hedge trimmers and power washers. It’s line trimmer range focuses primarily on three models – the EasyGrassCut, UniversalGrassCut and the AdvancedGrassCut, all of which are battery powered.
The EasyGrassCut features a semi-auto spool feed, edging function for a manicured look, as well as an 18V battery to power the operation, 26cm cutting diameter, and weighs just over 2kg. The UniversalGrassCut model includes a V-shape handle for easy use, as well as automatic spool feed to help keep the operation running smoothly. The head can also be rotated via a foot pedal to transform into an edging tool, with a plant protector guard equipped to ensure you stick to the lawn, and not your precious flowers. The AdvancedGrassCut bumps up the battery power to 36V, and also includes a dual-line cutting system to make short work of unruly grass, along with an automatic spool feed. Weighing under 3kg, it also features a 30cm cutting diameter and can be transformed into an edging tool for all areas of the garden.
There are a few other brands available on the market which didn’t qualify for our ratings. These include the following:
While better-known for its range of two and four-wheel vehicles, Honda has expanded into multiple markets that require an engine, including tools such as lawn mowers and whipper snippers, and are available to purchase either through the Honda website or through a hardware or power equipment retailer.
Honda’s most affordable model, the UMS425 Brush Cutter, includes a bent shaft for easier manoeuvrability around the yard, ideal for those with tight spaces or sharp corners. Also featuring a 0.55L fuel tank and four-stroke engine, the UMS425 comes equipped with a loop handle and anti-vibration padding so that you’re not left sore after tackling the lawn.
For those looking for something a bit more ‘top of the line’, the UMK435 may be the best tool for the job, featuring either a loop or bike handle depending on your personal preference, along with a 4-stroke engine, 4-tooth metal blade alongside a heavy duty nylon line head, helping to make short work of your lawn. You can also expect a single shoulder harness for additional comfort, as well as an anti-vibration engine mount to make your time on the tools easier on the body.
While originally a musket manufacturer, Swedish brand Husqvarna has transitioned into the power tool market, offering a variety of outdoor equipment, including chainsaws, mowers and whipper snippers. Available for purchase at hardware and power tool retailers, Husqvarna’s range includes electric and petrol models, with a professional range also available for those who own a lawn care maintenance business.
For the weekend-only warrior, Husqvarna offers a number of models under the ‘Occasional Use’ banner, including some which include Smart Start technology to reduce starter cord resistance, along with a low engine noise of 88 decibels. Also in the Occasional Use line-up is the 115iL Trimmer, which weighs in around 3kg for easy use, and additionally features two modes – normal or save mode, depending on whether you want more power or more runtime. If you’re looking for something serious, then the 535LK combi-trimmer may be the model for you, featuring a 1.5kW output, metal skid plate to protect the engine as well as several attachments to take care of any chores you have around the house. Husqvarna also features a Professional Use range for those who frequently are out tackling the garden, featuring battery and petrol models.
Petrol-fuelled line trimmers are the most common variety available, with 2-stroke and 4-stroke models ready to be used. Most models will have a 25cc engine, although some boast a 50cc engine, helping to make short work of any untidy part of the lawn.
Electric models vary between 18V up to 82V, with both corded and cordless varieties available to suit households with and without external power points. Most cordless models will include a rechargeable battery and charging station, although some sell them separately, so be sure to check before you hit the checkout!
Apart from how they’re powered, the biggest difference among whipper snipper brands and models is the type of shaft they have. Whipper snippers are available with either a curved or straight shaft, but what’s the difference?
If you’re after something a bit heftier, a brush cutter may be more your speed. Essentially a bulkier whipper snipper, brush cutters are generally better suited for clearing larger areas that aren’t suitable for lawn mowers, such as those filled with trees, or have plenty of rocks hiding under the grass.
The main difference between brush cutters and whipper snippers is a bigger engine and wider cutting area, with brush cutters similarly available in both 2-stroke and 4-stroke petrol models, together with electrical models. If you’ve got a large area to tackle, shoulder harnesses and straps are also available, making it easier to carry around.
If you’ve got footpaths or pavers in your yard, an edge trimmer may be a handy option to have, allowing you to cut clean edges around the border of your lawn, giving you the ‘edge’ over your neighbour’s front lawn!
Edge trimmers work similarly to whipper snippers, although feature guiding wheels to ensure that you don’t accidently stray off course. Most edge trimmers also include variable height settings and cutting depths to suit your needs and garden. But before you simply turn your whipper snipper on its side, be aware that edge trimmers include specialised grips and guards for increased safety, meaning it may be worth investigating if you’re looking to get the most out of your lawn.
While some trimmers use steel blades to get through tough grass and weeds, most whipper snippers use a trimmer cord, otherwise known as a trimmer line. Found at your local hardware store, a trimmer cord is traditionally made from nylon or plastic, and is available in both pre-cut or full spools.
Generally, a thinner cord will wear quicker, but gives a straighter cut than a thicker cord, making it more ideal for those looking to edge or trim, while a thicker line will be more suitable for those looking to go to town with the brush cutter.
Feeding the cord itself can be almost as tough as tackling the lawn, particularly if you find yourself doing it often. Older models required you to hand feed the spool through, while modern ones have something more convenient, including the automatic feed and the bump feed.
The automatic feed works by automatically sending out more cord when you need it, which can take the guesswork out of how much cord you need. While handy for those unsure about cord length, it does add another mechanical part that could potentially break, meaning an automatic feed may cost you additional maintenance costs. 25% of survey respondents had purchased a model with an auto spool feed, indicating that a good chunk of those tackling the lawn are finding use of the function.
The bump feed works when you ‘bump’ or press the head of the trimmer against a flat surface, which squeezes a spring and releases cord from the spool. The bump feed uses centrifugal force to pull the string from the spool, which also allows you to control how much cord comes out. However, you’ll have to be careful with how hard, and how often, you’re bumping the feed, as one bump too many could spell the end of your whipper snipper.
Line trimmers can cost anywhere between under $100 to over $400 depending on the model, brand and retailer, with most line trimmers also available as a kit with accessories. Brush cutters will also be more expensive than traditional line trimmers, as they often pack more of a punch. Respondents to Canstar Blue’s survey stated that they spent just over $200 on their line trimmer purchase, indicating that getting the lawn of your dreams doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
For some, spending time in the sun means hitting the beach, but for others a sunny day means a perfect time for getting the yard work done. In addition to asking survey respondents about their most recent purchases, we also asked them how long they generally use their line trimmers for, with their answers recorded below:
With almost half (47%) of survey respondents starting up their line trimmer at least every fortnight, and an additional 35% getting their whipper snipper out on a monthly basis, the brand and type you choose could be the difference between slaving out in the hot sun for longer than you need to, or enjoying the time in the sun followed by a relaxing drink in the shade.
To get the lawn of your dreams, you’ll have to put the work in, which can be made easier with the right tools. While a line trimmer may not be a worthwhile purchase for every lawn, it will come in handy for those with footpaths, trees or other obstacles to navigate. To ensure you’re not left in a spin, be sure to check out all your options before dipping your green thumb into your wallet.
Photo Credit: Sergey Novikov/shutterstock.com, Shutterstock
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Content Projects Lead, Dean Heckscher. He’s our resident expert on all things automotive, health & fitness, streaming and more. Dean is also one of Canstar Blue’s customer research report producers, helping to turn complicated subjects into easily-digestible information for our readers. He’s passionate about helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services.
Canstar Blue surveyed more than 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used a new whipper snipper/lime trimmer/weed-whacker in the last five years – in this case, 510 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
Below are the previous winners of Canstar Blue’s Line Trimmer reviews: