Stihl string trimmers are the standard when it comes to landscaping. Just about every landscaper you see around town is going to have one of these bad boys strapped to the back of their trailer.
They’re just built in a way that makes them extremely reliable and durable.
I’ve talked to folks that are still using Stihl (pronounced Steel) trimmers they got over 10 years ago.
Now that’s why they are so dang popular. But there are many classes of Stihl weed eaters – residential, landscaping / professional, and even battery-powered.
I’d like to cut through all of the options and bring the best right up to the top for you.
Let’s get started.
The Ultimate Stihl Weed Eater Ranking
To really cut to the chase, we distilled down the dozens of Stihl weed eaters to a concise list, by category of user. No need to do a Top 10 when you just want the best, right?
Most Powerful Stihl String Trimmer for Landscapers: Stihl FS 240 R
When you’re looking for a weed eater as a landscaper there are a few things to keep in mind. First is how effective and reliable the machine is, second is how efficient it is, and third is how it feels to use.
All of these are related to speed. Speed is the name of the game in landscaping. More jobs = more money. You aren’t going to be nearly as fast with a dinky weed eater that you’re constantly having to mess with.
The Stihl FS 240 R is the answer to the speed issue. Here are a few of my favorite things about this Stihl Weed Eater:
- A large fuel tank. Having a larger fuel tank allows for less re-fuels which means you can spend more time getting the job done.
- Massive cutting width. The 16.5 inch cutting swatch on the FS 240 R is best in class. Having a big cutting swath means you can tackle thicker brush and absolutely devastate any grass. Another huge time saver.
- An easy way of starting the string trimmer. This automatically returns the throttle to the start setting whenever the trimmer is stopped. Another time saver.
- A shoulder strap. Again, not having to take breaks on your arms or shoulders when using this is going to get you from one job to the next in less time.
Stihl consulted with professional landscapers with each element of this design. Every element of it was meant to be focused on one thing: empowering the landscaper to move from one job to the next while providing consistent reliability.
You can check out more details on Stihl’s website.
The Stihl FS 240 R costs about $670, which is very expensive but also saves you a ton of time on the job. Tough balance. It goes on sale at Ace Hardware.
Best Stihl Weed Eater for Green Landscaping: Stihl FSA 130 R
Green landscaping is using battery-powered lawn tools to get the job done instead of exclusively gas-powered tools. It is a growing trend, but still not the most practical way to run your landscaping business.
Frankly, gas-powered tools get the job done faster because refueling is way quicker with gas than it is with a battery. Most batteries take a few hours to fully charge, which is precious time you don’t have on the job site. Even if you buy multiple batteries, they still have to charge somewhere sometime.
But Stihl has recently entered the battery-powered string trimmer space and has a mostly residential line of weed eaters (see below for more). The new FSA 130 R however, was designed for landscaping applications.
The Stihl FSA 130 R differentiates itself from its gas counterparts by selling itself as the quiet weed eater. The reason this sells well with landscapers is that it simply isn’t practical to be an entirely gas-free landscaping company (yet). They aren’t going to be interested if that’s the angle Stihl takes.
So Stihl is playing this really well. Landscapers can use this for properties that require quiet environments. Think schools, churches, hospitals, etc. that are customers of the landscaping company. Having quiet features is a huge benefit to them.
Here are some of the features on this that really make it best in class:
- Extremely light at only 8.6lbs, compare that with almost 15 on the gas one above
- No maintenance other than replacing string
- Starts with the push of a button
- Has a quiet motor
- Comes with separate “quiet” string trimmer line
Essentially, this is the ninja of commercial landscaping.
One major downside to Stihl’s commercial battery line is that you have to wear the battery as a backpack. You’re reading that right. There’s a backpack that fits their battery and connects to the tool with a cable. It’s weird and bulky, but it does give you the flexibility to have significant run time that an attached battery can’t do without throwing the tool out of balance.
If you’re interested in more, check this one out on Stihl’s website.
The Stihl FSA 130 R costs about $500, which is a heck of a lot of money.
Best Stihl Weed Eater for Home / Residential Use: Stihl FS 56 RC-E
Not a commercial landscaper and just want a really high quality and reliable weed eater? Well Stihl has you covered here, too.
The Stihl FS 56 RC-E is an amazing all-around weed eater for home use. Made right here in America, it provides the power and reliability of the commercial series at a size and price that fit the average homeowner’s needs well.
I’ve owned this string trimmer for a few years and it has continued to be one of the most reliable tools in my shed. Here are a few things I love about it:
- High end power with 5 more ccs of output than its ECHO SRM 225 competitor
- Straight shaft and lack of vibration
- 10.6lbs, super light for a gas powered weed eater
- Easy 2 Start technology helps reset the choke and allows you to start on the first pull
One complaint I have after owning this for a few years is that replacing the line is super difficult. It’s always a tedious task and it still takes a lot of guess-and-check for me to get it done right.
I got mine at Ace Hardware, but the Stihl website should be able to guide you well.
Best Stihl Weed Eater for Small Yards: Stihl FSA 57
So you want a Stihl weed eater but don’t need anything big and fancy, just a reliable and easy to use trimmer with the brand power of Stihl?
Maybe you just downsized and sold your big bad gas trimmer?
Whatever your situation, if you have a small yard then you don’t need to go overkill and spend too much money. Stihl is trying to build a bigger footprint in the homeowner sector and has launched their battery line to appeal to lighter-duty needs.
The Stihl FSA 57 battery weed eater (which we reviewed as well in a long form post) is a great tool for the average homeowner in a smaller house. I love that it still has a straight shaft and it’s super easy to use.
As compared to the commercial line of battery lawn tools that require a backpack that you plug the tool into, the residential weed eaters from Stihl have a nice little battery you can pop right on. I also love that WITH the battery, this string trimmer comes in at 7.5 lbs. That is maybe the lightest weed eater on record.
Lastly, this thing has a really cool feature that auto-feeds string trimmer line when it gets short. Huge timesaver.
One thing I don’t love about this Stihl weed eater is that it doesn’t have a brushless motor, meaning it may have a tendency to not last quite as long as its brushless counterparts. It also only has an 11 inch cutting width, which is probably fine for most small yards but definitely weaker than the bigger string trimmers out there.
Fuel Mixture for Stihl Weed Eater
Stihl Weed Eaters take a 50:1 gas to oil fuel mixture ratio. You can measure this out yourself or grab a pre-mixed fuel mixture from Stihl on Amazon.
Best Weed Eater String for Stihl String Trimmers
We developed the world’s best weed eater string by testing dozens of weed eater strings and taking the little elements of each one that we like the most. We found that a .095″, green, triangle shaped string was the most visible, durable, and had the best performance. It is incredible.
Final words about Stihl Weed Eaters
Stihl Weed Eaters are top of the line for a reason – they consistently deliver the most power, the best user experience, and absolutely unbeatable reliability.
From landscapers to homeowners, Stihl’s lineup is impressive.
If you’re interested, check out our complete guide to the best battery powered weed eaters.
Not a Stihl person? Try our list of the best ECHO weed eaters here.
Why we review lawn tools
The reason we started this website in the first place was because we had so much trouble trying to find reasonable, understandable, honest reviews for lawn equipment. And it’s not cheap! After hours and hours of research, trying products and returning them, and messing up our yards – we started this site.
As people who had to learn the hard way, we want you to know exactly what you are signing up for before you purchase a piece of equipment. That’s why we are committed to providing honest, easy-to-understand reviews that mean something.
Stihl is still at it! Pumping out high quality product after high quality product. They’re thought of as one of the GOATS of the yard product game. The boys in orange are known to have a superior product to their competitors. The Stihl Trimmers are obviously no exception to their already super strong lineup.
The world’s largest chainsaw manufacturer, the company moved some operations to Virginia in the 1970s and opened up their first factory dedicated to a single chainsaw. They have continued to master their craft and expand their product offers in the lawn care space. They have amazing blowers like the Stihl BG 86 C and the Stihl BR600 backpack blower.
Stihl has a great reputation that many commercial landscapers rely on each day. Many residential owners will be more than pleased with their products and they’ve recently launched a new battery line-up.
Gas vs Electric Weed Eaters
When purchasing a piece of lawn equipment in 2023 it’s important to understand your power source options. It basically boils down to gas or electric. Electric trimmers are typically easier to start and require little to no maintenance.
They also have less of a noise and environmental impact. Electric trimmers are usually a good bet for small jobs.
Trimmer powered by gas usually end up having more power and are more suitable for larger, more commercial type applications. Because some electric trimmers receive power by a cord they’re not super mobile, gas powered weed eaters can go where you can go. If you want to trim up the moon, it can go with you.
If you want to know more about weed eater string, check out our guide to finding the right weed eater string.