When you’re choosing the best weed eater for your needs you’ll probably be considering whether an electric, cordless, gas or propane weed eater will do the job. There’s also the question of whether to get one with a straight shaft or a curved one.

The straight shaft weed eater is perhaps the more traditional model. Historically the larger, more expensive professional models are straight shaft. If you’ve always used a straight shaft weed wacker you might wonder what the curved ones are for.

The straight shaft weed eater is usually available with more accessories: like heavy-duty cutting blades and other attachments. Curved shaft weed eaters are shorter, and to be honest I’m not sure I’d want a hard steel blade doing several hundred rpm that close to me – even if it was available!

In fact the real difference is simply one of comfort. The two Hitachi 2 stroke weed eaters pictured above have exactly the same motor, they weight just about the same (the curved shaft is slightly shorter so slightly lighter) – so the only difference is the length of that shaft. Taller people tend to prefer the straight shaft and shorter people the curved shaft – although that’s by no means an absolute.

You could claim the string angle to the ground is closer to parallel and so more natural with a curved shaft – although I’ve never had any problems with my straight shaft model. You could argue that the short shaft is more maneuverable in tight spaces – but most times that’s not really a issue. If you’re working in a small area you’re unlikely to find the really dense undergrowth that professional weed eaters are designed to tackle so a smaller, light weight electric weed wacker will probably be your choice.

The right power and accessories for the jobs you’ll be doing are the more important factors. If your chosen weed eater has straight and curved shaft options, that’s a bonus.