How To Start A Weed Eater

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Weed eaters, weed wackers, string trimmers, whipper snippers – whatever you call them, they’re the best tools for the job when weeds start taking over the lawn.

And when the lawn mower isn’t cutting it (literally), weed wackers are also great for showing those hard-to-reach patches of grass who’s boss.

When they turn on, that is.

But whether your weed eater isn’t working or you’re just having a tough time getting it to turn on (it might be a brand new weed eater or it might be your first time using one), we’ve got all must-know tips and tricks right here for how to start a weed eater.

We’re going to leave out the obvious here, as you probably know you shouldn’t try to turn on a weed eater indoors or near any part of your body (… right?).

It should also go without saying that there are different types of weed eaters, so instructions can vary depending on the type and model that you own.

Good thing we’ve covered most of them.

So with all that said, here’s your simple step-by-step guide to starting a weed eater.

How To Start A Gas Powered Weed Eater

How to start a gas powered weed eater in 5 simple steps:

  1. Turn on the kill switch located on the shaft
  2. If your weed eater is cold, set the choke to “on”
  3. Press the purge value or primer bulb on the shaft 5-6 times
  4. Squeeze the throttle lock on the shaft and pull the cord 2-3 times until the engine starts running
  5. Set the choke to “off” (if you used it in step 2)

How Start An Electric Weed Eater

How to start an electric weed eater in 2 simple steps:

  1. Plug the weed eater into an electrical outlet
  2. Pull/squeeze the trigger located at the handle to start

The Difference Between A Gas Powered And Electric Weed Eater

Looking at the instructions above, one difference is clear: electric weed eaters are easier and quicker to use than gas-powered weed eaters. 

Yep, there is no kill switch or pull cord involved with electric weed eaters, so it’s just a matter of squeezing the trigger and getting to work.

But because electric weed eaters need electricity, they also need to be plugged in (the non-cordless electric weed eaters, anyway).

So another big difference between gas-powered weed eaters and electric weed eaters is that electric weed eaters come with the limitations of cords – not great if you have a large lawn.

My Weed Eater Still Won’t Turn On

My Weed Eater Still Won’t Turn On

Followed the instructions above but your weed wacker still won’t turn on? Now we have a problem.

Just kidding. We have a few troubleshooting tips for you to try before you throw out your weed wacker and head to the DIY store to pick up a new one.

If you own a gas-powered weed eater, the first step is to make sure it has fuel in it. It’s a simple fix, but one that even we often forget from time to time. The next thing to do is to check the spark plug.

These don’t last forever and yours might need replacing if it’s old.

If you own an electric weed eater, check that it’s plugged in at the electrical outlet.

Also check that your extension cord is working properly and that the lead of your weed eater itself isn’t damaged at any point. Last but not least, try replacing the fuse.

As for cordless electric weed eaters, double check that the battery is fully charged up.

How To Choose A Weed Eater

So your trusty weed eater has finally kicked the bucket. The good news is that it’s time to purchase a brand new shiny one, and you’ve got plenty of great options to choose from.

The first thing worth considering is the size of your garden. Gas-powered or cordless electric weed eaters are your best friend here, unless you own (or don’t mind buying) a very long extension cord.

The next thing to consider is the shaft. Straight shafts get the job done in most cases, but if you have many hard-to-reach areas in your garden, you might need a curved shaft.

Weed eaters come with many different features too: edging attachments, vibration control, blade replacements. So if these sound good to you, they’re worth thinking about.

Last but not least: brand. You can expect to pay more for weed eaters manufactured by trusted brands, but you can also expect them to last longer. It’s totally up to you.

How To Maintain A Weed Eater

So you’ve bought a shiny new weed eater and want to make sure it lasts? Then it’s worth knowing how to properly maintain it.

Like all power tools and electricals, weed eaters need TLC, too. And while it might be tempting to throw it straight in the shed or garage after an exhausting weed wacking session, you’re not doing it any favors.

So the best thing you can do after using your weed eater is to give it a thorough clean, which includes the shaft and the blades. Just make sure it’s turned off, of course.

And just like how gas-powered weed eaters have more instructions to use, they also require more maintenance. This includes checking the fuel levels regularly (before and after use) and making sure to replace the spark plug every 100 hours or so. They don’t last forever!

But for the best and most accurate maintenance instructions, it’s always best to check the official owner’s manual for your specific weed eater.

And no worries if you threw it out with the box; you should be able to find a digital version online.


And there you have it: how to start a weed eater in just a few simple steps, including gas-powered weed eaters and electric weed eaters.

If your weed eater turned on (hooray!), you’re probably wacking weeds and not reading this right now. Glad to help.

Otherwise, follow our weed eater troubleshooting tips and tricks above, or read our short weed eater buying guide (also above) for everything you need to know before buying a new weed eater.

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