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Best Walk Behind String Mower

I searched the forum and would like to hear more recent recommendations. I am looking for a walk-behind string mover that I can more easily handle than an over-the-shoulder weed whacker to neaten fence lines. About 5,000 linear feet of perimeter fence.

If you don’t have personal experience with this tool, do you have brands you recommend and brands to avoid?

Do not buy a Swisher. I bought one and it is crap. The first year I had it I was able to use it about 15 minutes - the rest of the year it was in the fix-it shop. AND the fuel tank/ lines are set up in such a configuration that the carburetor is constantly clogged up unless you run it weekly despite which type of fuel you use. Worst part - NOBODY around Birmingham does warranty work on them and calling Swisher is an exercise in futility. Not their problem if it won’t work.

Now that I have vented - make sure there is a good shop in your area that does warranty work for the brand you buy.

I bought the fanciest DL trimmer they make. It is difficult to maneuver, and overheats so quickly, it’s nearly useless. My fabulous mechanic calls it junk. I’ll be watching this thread to see if someone has a positive recommendation.

I bought a DR new about 15 years ago. It was very good over the years but is now starting to lose power. Im not sure if I should get it fixed or buy new. There is a Remington model with good reviews but I don’t know anything about them. I’m also curious to hear what brands people like.

I have a DR walk behind trimmer/ mower that’s about 4 years old and I really do not like it. It has been a bear to start from day one and just doesn’t work as well for the fence lines as I had hoped. It’s surprisingly difficult to maneuver and doesn’t have the oomph for some of the heavy bunch grasses here. I always end up using my big Stihl adjustable hedge trimmer with the blade angled under the fence. The job seems to go faster and take less effort even with having to harness up and tote the heavy trimmer around. I’ll be following this thread though…curious to know if there is a better machine or easier option out there.

Round up?

I despise string trimmers.

I have a DR string trimmer with an electric start (I despise pull string starters) that works fine.

It’s SO much better than carrying a weed whacker around. I sometimes wish it was self propelled though.

I bought a new DR walk behind trimmer last year from TSC. They have a one-year return policy, will pay for any repairs within that year. I have had no problems with it. I used it hard, do like how well it manages my brush cutting issues. Mowing heights can be adjusted on the string holder part. It has been great about starting with 1-2 easy pulls. I use it for cleaning fences, areas between fence rows that horses can’t graze down.

I flat wore out a Craftsman. This is my third DR trimmer. The first 2 were purchased used, because i am always trying to save some money. They both got used hard, before I finished wearing them out. This time I thought “Why go cheap? Don’t know how hard a used machine got abused before I got it, too many fixing issues. Let’s try starting with a new one!” I enjoyed using the new one, it cut everything I aimed it at!

I may order the ‘mow ball’ for easy string changes. It just needs me to insert the string length in the hole! Holds it tight at the length you set it. No more threading and pulling the new weed string tight. It would be a big time saver according to my friend with a mow ball on their DR machine. Ball takes the heavy size 155 string with no issue.

I would recommend the DR trimmer if asked. Buying mine at TSC, there was no assembly needed. I added gas, oil, string, put it to work. Not too heavy to lift in and out of the Gator to run it way out to the back field for trimming there, instead of pushing it out and back the whole way…

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Are you able to post a picture of your DR trimmer or provide the model number? Mine truly is a piece of junk. I bought it from an implement dealer and purchased the self propelled, top of the line they offered.

I have not been able to find one tough enough to do the job but easy to maneuver. The heavy duty DR I used was a beast. We are pretty hilly and uneven, so I have given up and just use the Stihl. And actually a hand scythe the other day. Swinging that thing was therapeutic! But not the answer for our whole property…

Thinking about goats! :slight_smile:

Did you buy one yet? I ADORE my Cub Cadet ST100, bought it 3 years ago during TSC’s spring sale. I weed spray my back pasture fencelines, but usually go over it with this trimmer a few days later to pretty it up. I do some careful weed spraying of my road front fencelines, but since I don’t want to see a big brown strip around everything, the walk behind trimmer is great for keeping it clean. I also prefer to use a walk behind trimmer around my pond, so I’m not precariously balanced on unstable ground with a standard weed eater strapped to me. I do still need to use my regular weed eater for the detail work around the house and gardens, but fencelines are way easier with this.


I hated my club cadet. Always in the shop for repairs. Was told by the repair shop that the parts were made of inferior metal and would not hold up. Luckily I had bought the TSC service plan and after playing angry customer with the warranty company, I was reimbursed in the form of a TSC gift card. Repair place said go with DR. Disappointment to see that you guys have had bad experiences with DR too. Watching this thread to see the replys.

I haven’t bought one yet. Still reading replies here and reviews. So much negative feedback that this has become a scary purchase. Walk-behinds aren’t cheap!!

Does it change the answer when I add the important detail that this will be used against a woven wire fence? Not under a board fence where there’s clearance. So the string will be smacking against wire.

Maintenance aside, tall grass growing up against fence makes the property look so shabby so fast. I haven’t mowed anything yet, because it isn’tquite needed, but it looks like the grass and weeds along the fence line got a head start. Suddenly the place looks unloved :unamused:.

I was tempted to get out the over-the-shoulder weed whacker but the rational side of my mind knows my joints will pay too dear a price.

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Oh I forgot. Instead of having a head that fed string on the Swisher you had to thread individual pieces of string on the head. I would spend more of my time putting in new string than actually mowing. When I could get the piece of junk started.

How about a light weight battery operated weed eater and multiple batteries?

My Cub Cadet string trimmer gets used against chain link, no-climb horse wire, and heavy wire cattle/hog panels. Once you find the right distance from each fence material, you go through a bit less line, lol. But, due to the tires, a walk behind trimmer simply can’t get super close to the fence wire or scalp the ground bare like an over the shoulder weed eater that you can angle however desired.

My DR is the basic model with a Briggs & Stratton engine. It’s about 10 yrs old now. Starts first pull. I think its great. Perfect for getting around T-posts. Wire fencing, like the hand held ones, will take a toll on your line. Your best bet for new line is Amazon.

The only issue is when I’m in the pastures, horse side, the hoof prints catch the wheels. It’s more of a battle trimming on that side of the fence. I’ve often wondered if the self-propelled model would work better with that.

I also have the basic DR trimmer, still love it after several years of hard usage. I upgraded it with the mow-ball head which husband changed out for me. The mow-ball head takes cut lengths of string and makes it MUCH easier to put on the string as it gets worn down. Just poke one end in the hole and push it in. Worth the upgrade price for me! The mow ball likes big round type strings best, and they cut well. Round, over the sharp edged type strings. The trimmer is in use almost constantly to keep fences clean and hot. We have a LOT of fencing my other mowers can’t get clean.

Still starts easily with 1 or 2 pulls. Economical to run. A tank of gas gets me around most of my fields, and that is all I want to push it in a day. My son has used it all day cutting under fences, cleaning growth in the drainage ditches, flood areas too soft for the lawn mower. Regular mowing makes ditch easier mowing, preventing woody growth sprouting, lets the dirt dry faster with short growth.

My dr is still going strong (knock on wood) 3 yrs later. The kids who do my mowing in exchange for riding like the Stihl shoulder weed wacker but I have less trouble with the dr.

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