Whether you’re a professional landscaper or just a daddy-hero who takes care of the family’s acreage, I’m sure you’re aware what back pain means.
Believe me, I do know what spring means. I’m an ex-landscaper myself.
In today’s guide I’ve tried my best to put all my knowledge into your hands so you can avoid back strains, injuries and sore back when trimming or whacking that lawn.
As you’ll see I’ve listed some weed eaters that can do their job in longer grassy or bushy areas as well. However, if you’re planning to do forestry with your machine on a daily basis, I advise you to visit a Stihl or Husqvarna shop for a high-end device.
Staying within the boundaries of regular gardens however, these trimmers will serve you and your back well.
Pro tip: Don’t spend your money on awful cheap trimmers every second year. Go through this guide and do yourself a favour: buy a quality make.
Those for in a hurry I’ve put together a comprehensive table so you don’t need to go through the entire article:
|Shindaiwa T242||10.7 lbs||68.5"||Most powerful, lightweight, well-built, for light brush cutting||None||Price|
|WORX WG163||5.3 lbs||36.5"||For lawns, most lightweight, trimming and edging||Short, battery depletes fast||Price|
|Husqvarna 128LD||11 lbs||40"||Great all-arounder, lightweight, Smart Start, extensions available||None||Price|
#1- Best weed eater for back pain: Shindaiwa T242
Powerful motor – The Shindaiwa T242 comes with a powerful 23.9 cc motor. Thanks to it, you’ll be able to cut thicker and longer grassy areas without ruining the machine.
Lightweight – The T242 beats similar Husqvarna and Stihl models. Weighing only 10.7 lbs, it’s easy to hold this weed whacker for longer hours too.
Long enough shaft – A 68.5” shaft allows you to reach the ground without bending your back. This makes the duty more comfortable and you’ll avoid injuries caused by lifting while bending your back.
Can be used for light brush cutting – Compared to my other contenders, the Shindaiwa is an entry level commercial grade weed eater. The well built construction and motor allows for some light brush cutting action. You can even get the blade-ready version (T242X) as well if you want to cut through thicker branches.
#2 – Ergonomic string trimmer for small, well tended lawn: Worx WG163
Good for regular lawn maintenance – But nothing more, to be honest. This is a sturdy little string trimmer, but it’s a trimmer. It’s not designed for weed whacking nevertheless brushcutting.
Go for it if you’ve a small yard that’s regularly maintained.
Super lightweight – Although not the best tool for whacking through dense weed, it’s unbeatable in terms of weight. Being as light as 5.3 lbs, there’s no way it’ll hurt even a kid’s back for sure.
Shaft length – This will be tricky for taller people. 36.5” is considered short compared to Shindaiwa T242’s 68.5” long shaft. The good news is that you can hold it with one hand, and reach the ground easily that way.
Trimming and Edging – Thanks to the dual-position wheels on the head, you can transition to a precise lawn edger in no minute. This help you a lot where the lawn connects to a patio and they’re on the same level.
One letdown: battery power – Since one battery won’t last too long, I advise you to buy the 3 pack with a double charger, so you can avoid waiting for depleted batteries to be used again.
#3 Most versatile gas string trimmer Husqvarna 128LD
Versatile – No weed eater guide can exist without a Husqvarna gas trimmer. The 128LD does every job around a regular yard, including some weed whacking, trimming. But be prepared: this is still just a trimmer. If you need some massive whacking, I advise you to go with the Shindaiwa T242 instead.
Lightweight – It’s 11 lbs won’t give you strains for sure, but as for every gas weed whacker, I advise to buy that additional strap (see link later).
Shaft length – It’s not as long as the Shindaiwa T242’s extra lengthy shaft, but it hits the 40” mark being a well balanced, decent all around tool.
Combi-trimmer multi tool – Although the link contains only the trimmer itself, you can replace the shaft’s second half with 6 different attachment heads (brush cutter, hedge trimmer, etc.). This makes this gas weed eater not only a true back saver but an all-around garden maintenance tool.
Back-saving easy start – Husqvarna has been using the Smart Start technology for a couple of years now. And I’ve love using it as well. When comparing a Smart Start engine to a regular one… man, it saved me from so many back strains!
How we selected the best weed eater for back problems?
Weight – This might seem obvious and therefore the most important aspect if you want to save your back from strains. The lighter your trimmer the less the chance you’ll get your lower back strained. As you’ve seen, there are only 3 options on my list. Weight is the reason for that.
One more advantage of lightweight weed eaters: you won’t get fatigued that much in the end of the day.
Shaft length – If the shaft is long enough – especially if you’re as tall as me – you won’t need to constantly bend your back or squat to reach the ground with the trimmer. Adapting a healthy posture while trimming/whacking really starts here.
Motor power – You’ll need to think over what kind of task you’ll be doing with your weed eater. For instance, if you want to maintain your lawn only, and you’ve small backyard, the WORX will probably fit you. However, if you plan to cut some thicker, longer grass and weedy areas, you’ll surely need a gas powered weed whacker. And of course, motor power comes with the price of weightiness.
What to look out for when trimming if you have a bad back?
Use a well balanced strap for gas engines – Try not to be greedy here. Husqvarna brushcutter straps are hands down the best on earth. Look at how balanced my old Husky looks on me thanks to the strap:
You’ll instantly notice the difference compared to a regular strap as soon as you put it on. It distributes weight onto your shoulders, hips, chest and torso efficiently allowing you to keep your back straight. Here’s another picture of the new Husqvarna balance straps:
I urge you to use it, regardless the price and whatever gas engine you’ll go with. If you decide upon a battery powered trimmer, you won’t need any straps though.
Not all trimmers come with a shaft clamp, where you can snap the strap. If you need one, you can still get an extension here for a relatively low price. You can easily fasten these onto the shaft wherever you feel comfortable:
Warm up and stretch before starting out, especially your lower back – Check out my stretching and strengthening workout, which takes only 10 – 12 minutes. Believe me, it’s well worth that extra 10 minutes prior to each outdoor session of yours. It helped me huge when I was doing whacking every other day for 8 hours or more.
Pay attention to your posture – Focus on keeping your lower back as straight as possible. Also, do everything slowly. Give yourself time, because it extends the job’s length with just a couple of minutes, whereas your back will thank you when getting to bed.
Keep the machine close to your torso – If you stick with the Husqvarna strap I mentioned, you can put a tick over here. Nonetheless, if you still choose to do it the hard way and go with a regular strap or without a strap, pay attention to keeping the machine as close to your torso as possible.
Do that reaping motion – This is my favourite. Start swinging your weed eater from left to your right by turning your torso and walking slowly forwards. Keep your back straight! As soon as you’ll get a hang of it, you’ll notice how easy it is to progress even with larger areas.
Choose a lightweight whacker – Weight does count. A lot. Although you’ll need a gas weed eater for most yards, choose one with a lightweight construction like the Shindaiwa T242.
Bend your knees, NOT your back – If you’re tall like me, and choose a shorter trimmer like the WORX, be prepared to squat a lot. Yes, it does need some endurance but again, your lower back will thank you at the end of the day.
Premium string, quicker the job’s done – How many times I tried those cheaper strings. Made me suffer a lot, for sure. Premium strings aren’t just more powerful. They need less replacement, meaning less bending down, meaning less back pain. As always, I prefer to use Husqvarna’s reinforced titanium strings:
Avoid no-name cheap whackers – If you don’t want to find yourself kneeling in thick grass looking for a spring or a screw, or just don’t want to hassle with searching for replacement parts all the time, I urge you to buy a wacker from my list. Believe me, it’ll save you time, and nerves as well.
Why aren’t there any electric trimmers in this guide?
Yes, I know they’re the most featherweight options out there. However, I don’t believe in them.
I had used a good number of corded electric trimmers, but I found them too weak. They cannot whack weeds or longer grass, and they eventually end up in the trash because the motor cannot stand the trial. Also, there’s a lot of hassle with cords, as we all know.
These added up, I don’t recommend using corded trimmers at all.
Then why’s the WORX battery powered trimmer is on the list, you might ask. The reason for that is simple: being cordless has a good advantage. Although they’re not powerful, at least you won’t need to deal with the ever-tangling twines.