Last updated on May 6th, 2022
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When I need raw power and the freedom to strim larger areas for longer periods of time, it really is hard to beat using a petrol strimmer. All I basically need is a 5-litre jerry can of two-stroke mix and I’m good to go for hours on end.
My review of the Best Petrol Strimmers presents the pros and cons of the models I recommend most highly. I also explain why these are my choices. My Buyer’s Guide covers the features of the best strimmers and what to look for in each feature.
My new favourite petrol strimmer, and now my Best Pick is the McCulloch TrimMac 25cc Petrol Grass Trimmer. This strimmer is one of the lightest models in my review at less than 4kg and is great for those gardeners who struggle with heavy petrol machinery. When I first got this strimmer, I was amazed by how lightweight and how easy it is to use. Perfect for smaller and medium sized gardens although I have pushed it way past these limits during my most recent tests.
My Runner-up selection is the Stihl FS 55 R 27.2cc Petrol Strimmer. Now, this strimmer is what I recommend if you want more power and perhaps looking for a slightly more heavy-duty model. Think large gardens or small holding. With this model, you get a more powerful engine, thicker strimmer line and basically just a little more oomph than the McCulloch strimmer, plus it is just a little more robust and extremely well made, obviously, you pay more though.
5 best petrol strimmers that have included in our review are listed below:
- McCulloch TrimMac 25cc Petrol Grass Trimmer – BEST PICK
- Stihl FS 55 R 27.2cc Petrol Strimmer – RUNNER UP
- Hyundai HYBC5200 Petrol Strimmer & Brushcutter
- Hyundai HYWT5080 Wheeled grass trimmer – BEST WHEELED PICK
- Ryobi RLT26CDS 26cc Petrol Line Trimmer
Top Petrol Strimmer Reviews
1. McCulloch TrimMac 25cc Petrol Grass Trimmer
MY BEST PICK
The McCulloch TrimMac 25cc Petrol Grass Trimmer has become one of my go-to strimmers for general strimming at home. So, I personally use this model in my own garden often preferring it to my DeWalt or Bosch cordless strimmers (I have more choice than most as I test and review products for living).
I will get straight to the point and tell you what I really like about this model and why it’s my strimmer of choice. Firstly, it’s lightweight at under 4kg and is about as light as petrol strimmers get. It might even be the lightest petrol strimmer available. I’ve not found a lighter model anyway.
With this in mind, if you usually find petrol strimmers too heavy and cumbersome, this might be the model that makes you reconsider. In truth, it’s probably why I use it at home more than other models I have, it’s lightweight and never needs recharging, unlike my cordless alternatives.
The 25cc engine provides plenty of power and can pretty much strim through anything I ask it to which I show in some pictures further down this review, within reason obviously.
Let’s not forget it’s also super compact and easily fits onto my garage shelf as shown above. I have also recently reviewed my favourite garage racking which you can read here.
It’s also easy to connect the two halves together by sliding the two halves together (they only slide in one way) and then side the sleeve and screw it tight to hold the two halves together and its ready to use.
I know I usually talk about how good cordless tools are but sometimes, the petrol models, they have their advantages too and easy refuelling is one of them as shown above.
A little tip, the petrol to oil mix ratio is 40 parts petrol to 1 part 2-stroke engine oil. I usually have a 5-litre jerry filled with unleaded petrol and then add 200mm of 2 stroke engine oil to the petrol and give it a good shake. This is then used with most of my 2 strokes engines and refilling is easy so I always have fuel on hand to top up in seconds.
So in terms of power, it’s got a 25cc engine which is really easy to start, never had any issue starting this which is more than I can say for some of the cheaper Chinese petrol strimmers out there. Basically, this engine is easy to start and it also features soft start, which basically means it’s easier to pull the cord to start the engine. Overall it’s easily powerful enough for most general strimming jobs.
I think what I’m trying to say is it’s super reliable and easy to work with. Even the air filter can be easily removed and cleaned with no tools needed, the cover just clips off.
Further down I have done a breakdown of how to start this model the first time every time. The reason a lot of people have trouble starting petrol engines is they don’t do it correctly and flood the engine and then blame the engine, 99% of the time though, it’s the user incorrectly trying to start the engine.
Something else I really like about the model is the curved shaft, as shown above, it just makes it so much easier to use and keep the strimming head level making it easier to strim very low down putting less pressure on my back. It’s also so lightweight that it doesn’t even need a harness. I only mention this because some people have asked if it comes with a harness and it doesn’t because it’s simply not needed.
Combine the curved shaft with the sliding loop handle which is also adjustable and can be moved up and down the shaft and it just means you can get everything balanced and positioned just right.
Another feature I really like is the “Tap and Go” line feed head which allows quick and precise cord feeding. Basically, as you strim you can tap the head on the ground and it pushed the centre section which feeds more of the 2mm line automatically.
This feature is not only on this model, however, it works great which is not always the case on some models. This was one of the issues I had with a Black + Decker strimmer I have, the auto line feed didn’t work very well. On this model though, it works great.
So in terms of what this is capable of, pretty much anything except maybe really thick brush such as brambles, the picture below is long grass and weeds, some thicker brush and it went through this fairly easy in a minute or two.
It does have a fairly wide 40cm strimming cutting width so with each pass it cuts a fairly large area too.
As you can see in the picture above it’s strimmed everything right down well and I can confirm it didn’t struggle in the slightest. If you plan on using it on lawns like I often do, it will have no issues whatsoever.
So as promised, here is how to start the engine. I have now been using this model for over a year and it always started easily so here it what I do.
The first thing you need to do is make sure it’s filled with the correct fuel and switch the red switch on the shalf as shown below to the ‘on’ position as shown below.
Next, you need to press that red primer button 5 or 6 times to prime the engine, don’t press any more than 6 presses. You can see the primer button in the picture below.
Now turn the choke fully on by pushing the choke lever fully down as shown below. The choke is now fully on
Now pull the cord until you feel resistance and then firmly pully the cord, after 1-3 pulls, the engine should sound like it’s about to start but doesn’t.
Now push the red choke lever to half choke as shown below and pull the cord again 2-3 times and the engine should start.
Let the engine run for a minute at half-choke and then push the red choke lever all the way up to turn the choke off as shown below and it will be ready to use.
Once the engine is warm and if need to restart, you can just set the choke to half and it will start up again without having to use the full choke.
It’s also worth noting that McCulloch is owned by Husqvarna which is also a very well known and trusted brand of professional tools.
- Fitted with a lightweight yet powerful 25cc motor for effective and efficient working.
- Has a “tap and go” line head for smooth feeding of the cord as and when needed.
- Features a lightweight design at only 3.6kg that offers great flexibility during movements.
- Has a loop handle which ensures easy handling of the tool.
- Easy to assemble and use.
- Affordable and offers good value for money.
- Not powerful enough for really heavy thick brush, perhaps consider a model with thicker line such as the Stihl model I review next which has 3mm line instead of 2mm which this model has.
The McCulloch TrimMac 25cc Petrol Grass Trimmer is an amazing machine for the price and I really like the fast and precise feeding of the cord with its tap and go feature. It’s nice to see one that actually works as it should, it makes using it so much easier.
If you’re looking for a reliable, lightweight, easy to start strimmer for using around your garden or even if you have something larger like a small paddock, then this is a great choice which is what helped it win my ‘Best Pick’ spot and why I even use this model myself. I also really like that is fairly compact and super easy to store in two halves.
Overall, I have been really impressed with its performance and would recommend it. Now for more professional work or heavy brush, I would recommend spending more and getting something a little more substantial but for most people, this is a great model to consider.
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2. Stihl FS 55 R 27.2cc Petrol Strimmer
The Stihl FS 55 R 27.2cc Petrol Strimmer is an entry-level/lighter professional petrol strimmer that doesn’t sacrifice any of the features of its larger competitors. While less powerful than the engines in some of the other petrol strimmers I review, this strimmer’s 27.2cc 2-stroke engine is more than capable of strimming all the unruly parts of your garden and is also great for larger areas such as paddocks, fields, large gardens etc.
The 2-stroke engine produces fewer emissions as well as using less petrol than some of the other models. This helps to save not only your money but also the environment.
The FS 55 R strimmer is easy to start thanks to the ErgoStart function that cuts the regular effort in half, similar to what the McCulloch model does. It also takes one-third the effort to pull the start cord than on other petrol engines with the exception of the McCulloch strimmer which does have soft start. Notice a trend here? they both have features that make them easier to start.
The fuel tank holds 0.33 litres of fuel. This isn’t a great amount but it’s enough for most jobs in the average home garden.
The ease of use of this strimmer is carried through its design. All the controls to operate it are on the multi-function loop and within reach of your thumb. You don’t have to take your hand off the loop at any time so you remain in full control of the strimmer.
The bike handle is fully adjustable to your height and, when used alongside the included harness, you’re able to generate a smooth motion when mowing down the errant growth in your flowerbeds and on the edges of your lawn. The harness also puts some of the weight of this strimmer onto your shoulders rather than in your arms. However, at a lightweight of 4.9kg, this isn’t usually a big issue.
The straight shaft of this Stihl strimmer lets you tackle larger areas that need growth removing. The design also lets you into the tight spaces between brushes and shrubs or over the difficult ground like slopes.
The Stihl FS 55 R comes with a mowing line. The good news is this strimmer can take a blade if you want to cut tough grass or large patches of plant growth. Unfortunately, to do this you need to have the blade, the Stihl blade guard, the thrust washer and the rider plate and bolt. All these accessories are available as optional purchases if you really want to do this.
- Petrol strimmer with a 27.2cc 2-stroke engine as an entry-level strimmer and brushcutter.
- ErgoStart function halves the effort to start the strimmer so most adults can use it.
- The cutting diameter of 42cm creates a wide path with every pass.
- The multi-function loop handle places all the controls within reach of your thumb for easy access.
- Can work in tight spaces and over difficult terrain so nowhere is off-limits.
- The fully adjustable bike handle plus the harness make for an ergonomically balanced and comfortable strimmer.
- Two-year domestic warranty to back up Stihl’s quality guarantee.
The Stihl FS 55 R 27.2cc Petrol Strimmer is comparable in power to our Best Pick strimmer but is 25% heavier. This Stihl model makes a good entry-level strimmer to handle the unruly elements in your garden beds and around your lawn. It can get into tight and out of the way spaces and difficult terrain doesn’t scare it. This strimmer is ergonomically designed and balanced so that you experience minimal stress and strain when using it.
The Stihl FS 55 R 27.2cc Petrol Strimmer is our selection for Runner-up in this review. It’s a good choice if you have a small garden and being Stihl you know it’s reliable and designed to last.
3. Hyundai HYBC5200 Petrol Grass Strimmer & Brushcutter
The Hyundai HYBC5200 Petrol Strimmer & Brushcutter features a powerful 2-stroke 52cc engine. It is capable of cutting even the toughest areas while putting less strain on the engine. This helps in prolonging the engine lifespan compared to lesser capacity models.
The machine has a 2-string nylon cutting head for use as a grass trimmer. It also comes with two different metal cutting blades for use as a brushcutter, with 3 and 8 teeth. The 3- tooth blade is ideal for trimming brambles and the 8-tooth blade for thicker wood. This Hyundai HYBC5200 Petrol Grass Trimmer also has a large cutting width ranging from 25.5cm to 45cm that allows you to cut through larger areas with ease.
For increased comfort during operation, the tool comes with “bike handles”. The handles give you precise control of the machine during application. It has a single point adjuster for folding the trimmer flat for easy transportation and storage. The machine also has a split shaft that allows you to split the unit in half. This makes it easy to transport in the boot of a car or the back of a van.
This Strimmer features a double shoulder harness and multi-position attachment for the ideal balance. This allows you to use the machine for long periods of time without strain on your back, shoulders or arms. Its relatively low weight of 9.1kg also helps. The machine also comes with spares for quick maintenance.
- Has a powerful Hyundai 52cc 2-stroke engine that lets you tackle even the toughest areas.
- Comes with a two-string nylon cutting head for normal grass trimming.
- Features 3-tooth and 8 -tooth blades for all cutting requirements.
- Has a large cutting width from 25.5cm to 45cm for cutting through large areas.
- Includes split shaft that allows for easy transportation and storage.
- Comes with a full double shoulder ergonomic harness for improved comfort during application.
- Features “bike handles” which provide increased comfort and precise control.
- Comes with a 3-year warranty for full peace of mind.
- Some may feel it has excessive vibration at full speed.
The Hyundai HYBC5200 Petrol Grass Strimmer is ideal for large areas and is one of the best affordable petrol strimmers we review here. This model is a great alternative to our best pick and it shares a lot of features and qualities. The fact that it trims grass, brambles, weeds, nettles and general overgrowth makes it one of the most versatile tools for most of your trimming tasks.
Being lightweight (for its size and power) and easy to assemble, the machine is really easy to use. Noise is an issue, however, it comes with ear defenders to protect you but not your neighbours. However, this is a common problem with petrol garden machines. Thus, with its impressive features, the machine will get the job done without too much strain.
Overall an excellent and versatile model that comes with everything you need to trim everything that’s sticking up unwanted in your garden.
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4. Hyundai HYWT5080 51cc Petrol Wheeled Push Garden Grass Strimmer
BEST WHEELED STRIMMER
The Hyundai HYWT5080 is a powerful grass strimmer that is ideal for both domestic and professional use. The tool is mounted onto large wheels for ideal balance and manoeuvrability. Adding in the powerful engine, this strimmer cuts through tough grass, weeds and even tougher undergrowth like brambles with the least effort necessary.
The HYWT5080 wheeled strimmer is powered by a reliable 50.8cc 2-stroke, easy to start petrol engine. This model has a compact, well-balanced design that lets you guide it easily under low hanging branches which can be difficult to reach with a standard strimmer. This ensures that the trimmer cuts in those hard to access areas making it a very versatile machine.
The tool comes with a durable nylon string cutting head and has a large cutting width of 40cm to 45cm making it ideal for tackling larger strimming jobs. The machine also has a large 0.8L fuel tank so you can work for longer without frequent top-ups or refills. This large tank is possible because the user is not physically holding the weight thanks to its wheeled design.
Equipped with a foldable handle, the grass strimmer is easy to transport from job to job and store in the corner of a work shed. You can adjust the handle to suit your height for increased comfort during use. As with most strimmers, the trimmer has controls that are mounted on the handgrip to ensure safe and easy control.
One feature we really like, that makes it stand out from the crowd, is the innovative design of this strimmer that lets you easily cut grass next to trees and walls with ease. This also ensures that the main body of the strimmer remains away from the obstacles and doesn’t get damaged.
Finally, it comes with a 3-year warranty for full peace of mind.
- Powered by a powerful and reliable 50.8cc petrol engine for efficient cutting performance.
- Fitted with large wheels for increased manoeuvrability.
- Has foldable handles for easy transportation and storage.
- Weighs 16kg, but remember that this strimmer is on wheels so you don’t have to carry that weight.
- Includes a 3mm nylon cutting head for enhanced versatility.
- Has a large cutting width of 40cm to 45cm, ideal for tackling larger cutting jobs,
- Fitted with a 0.8L fuel tank for a long-running time so you spend more time strimming and less time refuelling.
- Covered with a 3-year warranty for full peace of mind.
- Need to watch the video on Amazon.co.uk before threading the nylon strimming line.
The Hyundai HYWT5080 51cc Petrol Wheeled Push Garden Grass Strimmer allows you to cut through tough weeds, brambles, scrub and grass. This makes it ideal for both domestic and professional use and the 51cc engine provides more than enough power.
A standout feature about this trimmer is that it’s on wheels. For its size, this machine is fairly lightweight and provides perfect balance during trimming. The wheels keep the strimmer’s weight off your body and this makes it incredibly easy to use. This would be a great model for anyone who may struggle with a standard petrol strimmer because it also helps in reducing back and arm strain.
We also like the ability to trim under low-hanging trees which can be a problem with standard models. This improves its versatility and allows for efficient trimming of large areas.
Overall the Hyundai HYWT5080 51cc Wheeled Grass Strimmer gets the job done in no time and is very easy to use. It’s not the cheapest model we review, but it’s especially useful for those who take pride in their garden yet cannot handle the weight and design of regular petrol strimmers.
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5. Ryobi RLT26CDS 26cc Petrol Line Trimmer
The Ryobi RLT26CDS 26cc Petrol Line Trimmer is ideal for most domestic garden trimming needs. It’s well suited for trimming the lawn edges of gardens as well as undergrowth and long grass.
Fitted with a powerful 26cc 2-stroke petrol engine that delivers great power, this trimmer is relatively lightweight for its size at only 5.3kg. It provides clean energy technology which easily beats emissions restrictions. The engine produces a minimal amount of fuss during use. It makes use of the clean energy technology that Ryobi has started to invest in to do its part for the environment. The machine gives a 43cm cutting width, which is around the same as our best pick model. You can strim through any job quickly.
The trimmer has an ergonomic handle to give you a comfortable experience during operation. It comes with a split shaft for Expand-it attachment compatibility. This lets you extend it for extra reach and to help balance the strimmer out with the size of the user.
It also features a ReelEasy bump feed head with a patented thread and load system which allows for rapid line refills for a better user experience.
- Features a 26cc petrol-driven 2-stroke engine with reduced vibration that makes it very smooth and easy to use.
- Features a D-shaped handle which is easy to hold, and allows for easy start of the trimmer.
- Lightweight and easy to set up.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty for full peace of mind.
- Not sturdy enough for professional work.
The Ryobi RLT26CDS 26cc Petrol Line Trimmer is a brilliant and clever tool for your DIY garden needs but we would avoid using it for professional use. It’s a good choice for domestic use because it is very lightweight and easy to lift. Its ergonomic handle helps with your comfort during operation. Despite some issues reported with the strimmer head melting, it does a good job the moment it is operating and does come with a 2-year warranty.
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Since the 1970s, gardeners have happily been using strimmers to keep the straggly bits of their flower beds and lawns under control. There’s not much to a strimmer so your purchasing decision is quite straightforward.
In this Buyer’s Guide, we go over the types of strimmers available, even though we only look at petrol strimmers in this review. We then look at the important features of the Best petrol Strimmers on the market.
Types of strimmers
Understanding the different kinds of models on the market helps you make an informed decision.
Electric models are good for light-duty tasks. They are affordable and manoeuvrable due to their lightweight structure. The only problem may be when the power cord gets in the way.
Battery-powered models are popular for their ease of use. You just need to charge the batteries and you are set. But your work session is limited by the run life of the battery and recharging the battery can take hours. You may need to invest in a spare battery and keep that fully charged.
Petrol based units are the champions of heavy-duty work and working in more remote locations. They can be a bit noisy but nonetheless, they will deal with hard cuts of grass and brush-scrub such as brambles and nettles.
The power rating of a petrol strimmer is determined by the engine size, with most models ranging from 25cc to 55cc. The higher you go the more power you have to work with, but the larger the engine, the heavier the strimmer. Small gardens can do with 22cc engines without it being overkill, while larger lawns need 32cc and above, especially if using a brushcutter disc. Most strimmer engines are two-stroke.
For petrol strimmers the larger the fuel tank the longer you will be able to work without interruptions. But remember that the weight of the tank and the fuel adds to the weight of the strimmer, unless it’s on wheels.
Weight and size
The weight of most basic strimmers ranges between 3.9kg and 9kg, with some even weighing more. This usually includes the weight of a full tank of fuel.
The balance of a tool as you work is important because it affects your posture so a well-balanced strimmer is essential. Some models come with harnesses so that the weight is more evenly distributed, often over the operator’s shoulders. Other ergonomic features that add to the best balance include a handle shaped like a bicycle’s handle, a loop handle, or a soft grip on the handle. One of the models in our review has all the controls within reach of one thumb, so the user’s hand need never be off the control handle.
Cutting path and strimmer lines
When you think of coverage you need to think about the cutting lines. The cutting path is the actual width that the strimmer will cut. The larger the diameter of the cutting path the faster you get those pathways clear. A cutting width of less than 23cm should be used for light garden applications. Cutting widths larger than 41cm are more adapted to handling heavier work.
The strimmer lines are the actual lines that do the cutting. The diameter of the strimmer lines determines the level of work they can handle. You will find that the strimmer models for normal work have strimmer lines made of nylon. Other materials create even tougher strimmer lines. This includes metal blades also known as brush cutters to handle woody plants such as brambles.
The design of the shaft – straight, curved or split – affects the areas that you can reach with the strimmer. A curved shaft is great for roomy areas but may be limited in tight spaces; a straight shaft is more manoeuvrable and can reach into tricky corners with ease; while a split shaft is useful for when you need to put on different attachments.
Ease of use
Comfort is essential whilst working if you want to minimise the stress and strain on your body. The handles on a strimmer have to be comfortable to allow the operator to maintain balance as they work. In this matter, padded handles are essential in ensuring that the vibration is not too much. Larger models are best when they have bike handles because they give better control. To help adjust to the height difference in people, some strimmers come with adjustable shafts.
Watch this video by Lawn care life about how to use a strimmer safely and 10 skills to master
As always, safety should be your prime concern when using any garden equipment, petrol or not. Strimmers are cutting tools, so there’s always the risk that someone or an unplanned something may be cut. In addition to the usual safety precautions, along with those recommended by the manufacturers, and anything else anyone in your family can think of.
- Make sure that you have protective clothing on, especially ear defenders and safety glasses.
- Ensure that the harness is safely secured to avoid involuntary movements.
- Use the unit only at appropriate hours to avoid noise disturbances and be aware of your neighbours.
- Assess the areas to identify any objects or surface dents that might damage the strimmer.
- Read the manual provided so as to have all valuable information.
- Clean your strimmer after use to facilitate durability.
- Refuel only after the engine has cooled down.
- Remember to service the engine, clean air filters,, check oil levels, spark plugs etc. Most jobs are simple and can be done even by a novice.
A petrol strimmer is just what you need to make sure that all of your garden is neat, tidy, cleanly and evenly cut. Take out all the straggling flowers along the outsides of your beds, the untidy clumps of grass along the edge of your carefully manicured lawn, and the brambles peaking out of the sides of your immaculately styled hedges. Strimmers are easy to use and petrol strimmers are the most powerful ones you can buy.
My Best Pick is the McCulloch TrimMac 25cc Petrol Grass Trimmer. This is the lightest weight strimmers in our review and is great in small to medium-sized gardens.
My Runner-up is the Stihl FS 55 R 27.2cc Petrol Strimmer. This is a great model for first-time strimmers because you can access all the controls without taking your hand off the control handle.
For even more power, I recommend our Best Wheeled Strimmer, the Hyundai HYWT5080 51cc Wheeled Strimmer. Yes, it’s a heavy machine, but with the large wheels, it’s easy to manoeuvre.
For more strimmer options, including cordless and electric models, check out our Best Strimmer article. If you have more brush than plant growth to deal with, our Best Brush Cutters review has very useful information and recommendations.
Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API