Should You Buy a 4-Cycle Weed Eater or a 2-Cycle?

A weed eater is a great tool for the yard or garden, especially when the summer months are approaching. Weeds, no matter how hard we try, can be very hard to control, and some grow aggressively and extremely fast. If, like many people, you don’t like to use chemical weed-killers, then the weed eater is a great choice. Easy to use, effective and versatile, these devices will soon recoup their cost in terms of time saved and weeds removed!

What is the best type of weed eater for you? There are electric weed eaters available that are suitable for very small yards and gardens. These are light and effective as long as your weeds are not too well-established. They are also limited in scope by the length of the cable or, if rechargeable, by the life of a charged battery. So, the better choice for an average to bigger garden or yard is a gas-powered weed eater. Then there’s the choice you have: 4-cycle or 2-cycle? Let’s explain what we mean and what the benefits are of each.

4 or 2-Cycle – What’s the Difference?

First, a bit of confusion to clear up: the ‘2-cycle or 4-cycle’ refers to the way an internal combustion engine – that’s a gas engine to you and me – works. It is often referred to as 2 or 4-stroke, which means exactly the same thing.

Such an engine works by pistons opening and closing, and in doing so, igniting the fuel at a certain ‘stroke.’ In a 4-cycle engine, there are 4 motions to go through every ignition; in a 2-cycle engine, there are just 2. Your automobile engine, for example, is likely to be a 4-stroke, as that is the most efficient for such engines. However, you may have power-tools that are 2-stroke, as they are less complicated. Let’s have a look at the factors that differ in terms of weed eaters.

Differences Between 2 and 4-Cycle Weed Eaters

Price - a 4-stroke engine is a more complex machine than a 2-stroke version, so you can rely on a 4-cycle weed eater being more expensive than a 2-cycle. However, there might not be much in it, and you should look around for deals, as you never know where bargains can be found!

Power – 2-cycle gas engines can be very powerful – more powerful, in fact – than 4-cycle engines of the same size. This is due to the complex way in which engines operate and dissipate their energy. For large areas, a 4-cycle weed eater will get through more space in less time.

Fuel usage – see above; as the 2-stroke engine produces more power, so it will use more fuel. It is also a less efficient type of engine, so this is exaggerated. Once again, there might be very little Difference, so check with the maker’s details.

Weight – you want to be handling a machine that is a comfortable weight, especially if you have large areas of weeds to clear. Due to the size of the motor, a 4-cycle weed eater will often – but not always – be heavier than its 2-stroke equivalent, so check with the manufacturer details for confirmation.

Noise – 2-stroke engines are, by their very nature, noisy. This is once again due to the way they do the job as opposed to the 4-stroke, which is smoother and therefore quieter. It’s up to you which you choose.

Eco-friendly – This is perhaps the defining factor for people who like to be green, as the 2-stroke engine uses oil as well as gas to power it and is more polluting as a result. If you’re an eco-friendly home, a 4-stroke engine is the one for you.

That’s a few of the important factors to look at, so which is best for you?

Our Conclusion

Whether you choose a 2-cycle or 4-cycle weed eater is purely down to the size of the area you need to clear, and the number of weeds that you have to deal with. There are merits to each, so we won’t single one out for recommendation here, but we will say shop around, check for the best deals and compare performance and price, and find yourself the best weed eater for your budget.

Amelia
 

Amelia Robinson is a lover of plants and gardens, as well as an educator on this topic. It’s her goal to make sure that you get the chance to learn what you need to about gardening to succeed with your own home garden at the blog RobinsonLovePlants.com. You’re not going to find just a collection of basic articles about gardening here. Instead, she wants to answer the difficult questions for you. She tweets at @robinsonplants

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