Skip to content
The Lawn Review: Home » Curved vs Straight Shaft Weed Eaters: Difference Explained

Curved vs Straight Shaft Weed Eaters: Difference Explained

Curved and straight shaft weed eaters are two tools often thought to be variations of the same thing. In reality, they have two very different purposes and are each suited for a specific use.

ego string trimmer

Today I am going to break down both styles of string trimmers and highlight which one I prefer and why I never use one of these (after spending a ton of money on it). I learned this lesson the hard way after trying to make it work for a very long time and finally throwing in the towel.

How to instantly improve your weed eater

Upgrade your weed eating game with the ultimate GrassKicker Weed Eater String! While weed eaters and lawn edgers are great tools, it’s not complete without the right string. Our specially crafted line is designed to enhance your weed eater’s performance and give you flawless edges around your yard and garden.

weed eater string

Don’t settle for subpar string that breaks easily and leaves ragged edges. Our team has scoured the market and combined the best colors, shapes, thicknesses, and materials to create a superior line that cuts more cleanly and lasts longer.

With GrassKicker, you can take pride in your perfectly manicured lawn and make a lasting impression on your friends and family. And who knows, your envious neighbors might just start dropping by more often! Don’t wait, elevate your weed eating game with GrassKicker Weed Eater String today! Click the link now to buy.

What’s the difference between curved and straight shaft weed eaters?

Put simply, curved shaft weed eaters have a downward curve that can act as a miniature mower whereas straight shaft weed eaters are longer and straight. 

Curved and straight shaft weed eaters both function as trimmers for brush and edgers for the border of your yard, but are often used in different circumstances. I often see most commercial landscapers having both on board their trailers. 

curved shaft weed eater
Me reluctantly posing with my curved shaft weed eater.

Each has pros and cons that make them uniquely situated to be “better” in each setting. I’ll walk you through my experience as an owner of both.

Pros and cons of curved shaft weed eaters

Pros of curved shaft weed eaters:

  • Lightweight
  • Smaller
  • Better to use for cutting flat surfaces over larger areas (think replacement for a mower in tight spots)
  • Less expensive

Downsides of curved shaft weed eaters:

  • Less flexible in their use case, for example I never use mine for edging
  • Hurt my back because I am tall
  • Less likely to be attachment-capable
  • Often can be weaker

Curved shaft weed eaters certainly have their place, but in my experience as an owner of an ECHO gas-powered curve shaft weed eater – I never use it. I simply don’t need to. Most of the edging and trimming I do can be easily done with my EGO weed eater and attachment-capable tool.

When it comes to covering larger areas of grass, yeah it is slightly less convenient to use my straight-shaft – but I will gladly go at a weird angle for a few minutes to save on the back pain I get from leaning over with the tiny curved-shaft.

Who should use a curved shaft?

As much as I have been sippin’ Haterade when it comes to curved shaft weed eaters, they have their place. My neighbor, who is shorter than the average man, has a curved shaft lightweight weed eater that he loves. He uses it for everything.

But landscapers tend to use these when they have areas of grass to mow that are too small for their zero turns. It can quickly give you an even, flat cut in small areas that does better than a straight shaft weed eater due to the positioning of the head. 

Other than that, people who accidentally bought one and don’t feel like getting another (which was me for a full year back in my youth). 

Pros and cons of straight shaft weed eaters

Straight shaft weed eaters also have many pros and a few cons, for example:

Pros include:

  • Longer, easier to have surgical precision with (I pride myself on this)
  • Often come attachment-capable
  • Better for edging
  • Easier to handle
  • More flexible in their use
  • Generally have better torque as it can come with a straight driveshaft (flexible ones on curved shaft lose torque in their flexibility)
ego multi head review
EGO’s attachment capable straight shaft weed eater system.

Cons include:

  • Heavier
  • Harder to use on flat surfaces as opposed to a curved shaft
  • Can be more expensive

Who should use a straight shaft?


ryobi 40v battery
Friend let me borrow his to try out.

Just kidding – while I strongly prefer these, they aren’t perfect for everyone. But for the average homeowner who does trimming and edging themselves, I recommend a straight shaft trimmer 9/10 times. If you aren’t a landscaper and aren’t short, then you’ll strongly prefer a straight shaft trimmer to a curved shaft.

Which is better for edging? Curved vs Straight?

Straight shaft weed eaters are better for edging than curved shaft string trimmers. 

Because they have a straight shaft, I have a much easier time using these weed eaters to edge around the yard. Curved shaft weed eaters make it much more difficult because they have to be held at a certain angle and are prone to spinning out of your hand when using, causing a mess.

Straight shaft all the way.

Are straight shaft weed eaters more powerful?

When evaluating power on a weed eater, there are a few things to note:

  • Cutting swath, which indicates how long the string is that is actually doing the cutting. The larger the cutting swath, the more powerful the weed eater is.
  • Rotations per minute, or RPM. How fast is the head spinning? This tells you how much power is being delivered. 

Side-by-side, both straight shaft and a curved shaft weed eater could have identical metrics here and be considered the same amount of power. 

ryobi weed eater
My trusty attachment capable straight shaft.

In my experience, straight shaft weed eaters are more powerful – but that is likely just me being biased. There are some curved shaft weed eaters that can absolutely shred thick brush. 

So in short, no – they are not more powerful unless they differ in cutting swath or RPMs.

My Choice: Straight or Curved Shaft Weed Eater

If I haven’t made it abundantly clear yet, I much prefer straight shaft weed eaters for many reasons. For starters, they are easier to use for tall people and homeowners. They also are more flexible with how they can be used and can be purchased with attachment capabilities. While they are larger and can sometimes be more expensive, I think you’ll agree with me that they make a lot more sense for the average Joe than a curved shaft string trimmer. 

Why we created The Lawn Review

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. 

40v ryobi
Me with my Ryobi 40V trimmer.

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. 


Alex K

Alex is not a lawn care natural. He had to learn things the hard way. But after stumbling through his first few seasons of lawn care, he learned a lot. Mostly - what not to do. Alex has become one of the country's advocates of battery-powered lawn tools, quoted in the Washington Post among other highly visible publications. Alex started The Lawn Review with his friend Tyler - who you may see in some of the videos on this website - to help normal people like you understand how to take care of their lawn themselves with the best tools possible. Alex has thousands of hours of experience using hundreds of different lawn tools and has found exactly what to look for in each type of tool. He speaks with deep experience not only about the boring technical specifications, but what the tool actually feels like when you are using it, what to look for before you make a purchase, and how the lawn tool measures up when you factor in price.