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Homelite Weed Eater Review

Factory Reconditioned Homelite ZR21546 17-Inch 26cc Gas Powered Mighty Lite Straight Shaft String Trimmer

Factory Reconditioned Homelite ZR21546 17-Inch 26cc Gas Powered Mighty Lite Straight Shaft String Trimmer Rating:
List Price: $129.99
Sale Price: Too low to display.
Availability: unspecified

Product Description

Light and powerful Homelite Mighty Lite 17-inch straight shaft string trimmer. New Rotochoke starting system. Extended shaft for hard-to-reach areas under porches, decks, shrubberies, etc.


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I had the chance to use a Homelite weed eater for about a week last year for my lawn business. During the spring my main trimmer went down and I had to take it to the local repair shop to get it fixed. Since it was the spring, they were backed up quite a bit and informed me that it would take at least a week to fix it. Well, as you might imagine, I was going to need a trimmer a lot sooner than that!

So instead of doing the smart thing by going home and reading weed eater reviews in order to make a more informed buying decision, I rushed to the nearest Home Depot. I checked out their selection of trimmers, picking up each model to get a feel for it. I wanted a quality trimmer that could handle the work load, but I didn’t want to spend too much since I would be getting mine back within a week or so. I ended up choosing the Homelite weed eater that cost me just under $100.

Homelite Weed Eater Product Features:

  • 26cc, 2 cycle engine
  • Bump feed head
  • Straight shaft
  • 17″ cutting width
  • Anti-vibration design
  • 12.8 oz. fuel tank capacity
  • CARB compliant
  • Read more…


Homelite Weed Eater My Review:

Once I paid for the Homelite weed eater, I took it out to my truck to assemble it and try and get it started. I wanted to make sure that it was at least going to be capable of the work I needed it for. The assembly was easy, and I was able to put the guard and handle on in under 10 minutes. I then added gas with the 2 cycle mix to the tank. However, when I went to start it, I couldn’t get it running.

I tried to start it the same way I did with all the other trimmers I had used before. So, I pulled and pulled in the Home Depot parking lot to try and get it going. I was frustrated and about ready to take back inside and return it. That’s when I noticed clear starting instructions on the shaft. I followed what was on there to a “T” and the weed eater started immediately. I felt pretty stupid, but was glad to have it running.

One thing that I did notice reading while doing online research about the trimmer is that a high percentage of the negative reviews focused on the starting issue. My guess is that a lot of those people also did not follow the proper instructions to get it running. The instructions are not complex, just a slight variation of how a trimmer normally gets started. I can say, after that first time I never had another problem getting it started.

Now that I had the Homelite weed eater running, it was time to take it to a lawn and test it out. Up until that point, I had used a few non-commercial string trimmers, but not on the lawns that I mowed for my business. The trimmer was a comfortable weight and length. The handle was also easy to adjust to make it comfortable holding.

I was immediately impressed with its power and cutting ability. It definitely exceeded my expectations. When I was trimming normal grass and edging, it worked great. However, if I did get into some thick weeds or if I ran it into a fence line, the string spool would occasionally come out. This would be frustrating at first, but I just stayed away from anything that would cause too much resistance and it would work great.

The only other problem I had was that by the end of the day, it became uncomfortable to use. It seemed to vibrate quite a lot, due to the thin shaft. And, my elbow was hurting like it never had before. To be fair though, this model is not meant to be a commercial trimmer and it’s not supposed to be used for 8 hours in a row. Whenever I used the weed eater for a short time, I didn’t experience any issues.

After I received my Homelite weed eater back from the repair shop, I gave the Homelite to a friend. He uses it for his lawn once a week and he thinks its great.


Bottom Line:

Unlike most of the reviews I read online about the Homelite weed eater, I think it’s a quality trimmer for a good price. Always make sure to follow the instructions for starting. Use it for standard trimming and edging, while keeping it out of the thick stuff. If you need a unit for more heavy duty trimming then I recommend the Hitachi CG22EASSLP weed eater.

Buy The Homelite Weed Eater On Amazon

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Russell July 12, 2011, 1:17 am

    I bought a Homelite Weed Eater in early 1991 and its a curved type . I have had that thing for over 20 years and it still runs good. I thought I would replace it a few years ago and so I bought a Bolins straight type and that thing was junk from day one!! I finally gave that thing way to get rit of it. I do take the Homelte in to the shop about every 5years and have it serviced and that all I have really ever done to it. I have never used it comerically though. I do my Yard and my Neighbors with it. I have never had any trouble with the String spool coming off of it.

  • kolbpilot August 19, 2011, 9:36 pm

    I agree Homelite makes a decent product. I’ve had no starting issues with any of the 4 Homelites I’ve owned since ’94. Both the ’94 & ’05 trimmers ran fine, the pull cord rewind spring is kind of a hassle to rewind after the pull cord breaks, so I bought a new one. Both the ’11 blower & trimmer have a newer, low emissions Chinese engine. While they both start fine, I’m not so sure I like the clutch on the new trimmer. The old ones were direct drive, delivering good performance at lower rpm’s. The new one you have to rev up to get the strings to move. The trade off is easier (lighter pull) starting, for you are only pulling on the engine, & therefore, the pull cord should last longer. The smaller tank on these is a detraction as well. They may have done this to compensate for the clutch weight, but it’s half as big as the older ones & needs filling frequently.

  • kolbpilot August 19, 2011, 9:42 pm

    I should have clarified. My three Homelite trimmers are the curved shaft as well. I enjoy ’em for the lightness, & find the curved shaft has its advantages as well.

  • Eric Burdette September 12, 2011, 1:49 pm

    I recently (August 2011) bought a Homelite weed trimmer. I’ve used approximately 5 times. Now the trimmer totally unspools when I start the trimmer. I’ve searched online for answers to this problem to no avail. I’ve even contacted Homelite customer support and have received no response. I’ve been using trimmers for thirty years and never had this problem. I doubt I will be buying any more of their products.

    • tim September 17, 2011, 5:08 pm

      I got my trimmer in the end of summer last year (2010) and have nothing but problems with it just like you the string does nothing but unspool after I respool it I will never buy another homelike power tool from them.

  • Bob Brawders October 5, 2011, 11:58 pm

    I bought a Mighty Lite 26cc Homelite weed trimmer in 2007. Within two months the primer bulb cracked and leaked gas. Took it to local Homelite rep and he refused to replace it because he said “I probably left it in the sun”. $8 later, I had the new bulb.
    Within a year, the unit refused to stay running. It would start OK, and sometimes stay running for a minute or so if I was very careful with the throttle. To trim my back and front yard, I would have to start that thing about 50 times. Wanted to adjust the carb, but you need a special tool ($20 on E-bay) because the screws are sunk into holes in the carb. Three years of frustration passed and I had cleaned the carb 5 or 6 times, to no avail. Went to the local shop to buy another primer bulb (the third one) and some new gas line, and asked the owner to adjust the carb for me, and he said “you work on it yourself, so fix it yourself”. Nice guy.
    So finally out of frustration, I took the carb off, put it in my vice and used a hack sax (24 teeth per inch) to cut through the carb body and score a slot in the top of the adjusting screws, so I could use a small flat blade screwdriver to turn the screws. Turned the screws all the way in to get a base line, and they were both 1 3/4 turns. Turned them both back out and added 1/2 turn to the “L” and started the trimmer and it purred like a kitten. So I turned the “H” 1/2 turn out and Trimmed my whole yard without once having to restart. After all that frustration, it now runs fine. Seems that they set those carbs so lean to get good emission numbers that they will hardly run with the factory settings.

  • Robert Taylor August 25, 2012, 4:34 pm

    I purchased a homelite 17 inch weed eater frome Home Depot in June, I have been back to the store because I could’nt get it started they check it and said keep pulling. I am tired of trying. It will not start. My arm hurts so I will never buy another weed eater from Home depot again because you only have 30 day’s to use it. I bought it in June of this year and they do not want to accept it back in the store even with my receipt.

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