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Last updated on May 10th, 2021
The most intimidating thing about using a string trimmer or weed wacker is learning how to spool a weed eater line. Some spools are easy to load while others are very difficult. Others are not entirely difficult, they just lack concise instructions.
So, to save you from the frustration of loading the spool unsuccessfully, we have put together a comprehensive set of instructions. These instructions cover the three major ways of restringing corded, gas-powered, and cordless weed eaters. The methods include manual loading, manual ratcheting, and electric loading mechanism.
Method 1: Manual Spooling
Tools and supplies needed
- Safety gloves
- Weedeater tool
- New trimmer line
1. Put on the safety gloves
A pair of abrasion-resistant safety gloves is essential for protecting your hands from injury and dirt.
2. Disconnect weed eater from power supply
Remove the battery if you are using a battery powered weed eater. Otherwise, unplug the cord of your electric weed whacker. if you have the gas trimmer, push the ON/OFF switch to the OFF position.
3. Remove the spool
Read the instructions of your string trimmer to learn how to remove the spool. For most DeWalt weed eaters, press the weed eater cap inside and twist clockwise to unlock it. Then grab and pull it straight out to remove the spool.
For the Greenworks string trimmer, locate the latch points on the side of the trimmer head . Push them inwards with one hand simultaneously to release the head cover. Use your other other hand to pull out the cover. Remove the empty spool from the trimmer head and place it aside. Keep the trimmer head spring intact inside the head.
4. Remove old line and debris
Remove any old line that is in the spool by taking apart the head. Alternatively, you can power the tool and run it so that you can use the bump-to-feed mechanism to spit out any remaining trimmer line.
Ensure that the spool is free of grass and debris before you begin to restring. Reinstall the spring if it comes out in the process.
5. Reload the spool
Restring the spool using the appropriate size and length of the trimmer line. Typically, cut about 20 feet long of the trimmer line if your weed eater has a single hole. If it has two holes, cut a 40- inches long cutting line. Then wind the string onto the spool.
There are two ways to do it for the weed eaters with a two-hole trimmer head. The first method is to cut the trimmer line into two and wind each half separately on the spool. The second method is to fold the string in half and hook the loop in the middle notch of the spool before winding the rest of the line.
How to string a weed eater with two holes (Method 1)
This method involves winding each half of the 40 feet weed eater line alone. It is the traditional approach and it works for many dual-line weed eaters such as the Dewalt 40V string trimmer and the Stihl weed eater. Here is how to go about it:
- Get the one piece of 20 feet long trimmer line and insert it into the retaining hole on one groove of the spool.
- Wind it neatly in layers in the direction of the arrow. Avoid crisscrossing the layers.
- When only 6 inches is left, secure the string the notch on one side of the spool.
- Repeat the process for the second cutting line and push it onto the notch on the other side of the spool when only 6 inches is left.
How to restring a weed eater with two holes (Method 2)
This method involves installing the entire 40 feet trimmer line without cutting. It works for many weed eaters including Dewalt and Greenworks. This is how to do it:
- Fold the 40 feet cutting line in half. Hold line near the bend.
- Hold the spool with the front side facing you.
- Place the loop of the folded line in the middle notch located inside the spool.
- Wind the string onto the spool. Each half should neatly wind on its groove without crisscrossing
- When only 6 inches is is left on each end, secure them onto the slots on the opposite sides of the spool. This should keep the string from unraveling as you prepare to install the loaded spool onto the trimmer head.
If your string trimmer has a single hole, this is how you reload the spool.
How to string a weed eater with one hole
- Remove the spool from the weed eater. Just follow the instructions on your tool’s manual. However, most trimmer heads have an almost similar removal process. Just press in the tabs on the side of the head to pop out the cap. It does not come out, just pull out while you press in the tabs. Some weed eaters require you to grab on the head and twist as you pull.
- Remove any remaining string on the spool.
- On the empty spool, you will see a hole. Slip the tip of the precut trimmer line into that hole and start to wind the string around the spool. Wind the line in the direction indicated on the spool.
- While you spool, do it in layers. Fill the bottom layer first, from one edge to the other, and progressively fill the second layer. Do this until only about 6 inches of the string is left. Keep everything nice and tight and avoid crisscrossing the string to keep it from kinking while you cut.
- Slip the free end of the trimmer line into the notch on the spool to keep the string from unwrapping.
- Now insert the tip of the end of the string through the eyelet on the trimmer head cover from the inside. Then sit the loaded spool onto the head and reinstall the top.
If you have done everything correctly, you single hole hole weed eater should be ready to cut.
6. Reinstall the loaded spool
Once loaded neatly, reinstall the spool to the trimmer head housing. Be sure to feed the end of the string through the hole on the side of the head. In the case of a dual line, feed each end of the strings to the holes on the opposite sides of the spool housing. Ensure that the holding slots are aligned to the holes on the walls of the housing. Push the spool into the spool housing and turn counterclockwise to lock it in place.
Once the spool has locked into place, pull the end(s) of the trimmer line(s) to release from the holding slot(s). The trimmer is now ready to be used. If the strings extend beyond the cutting blade, you can resize them manually or let the blade resize them once the unit runs. If the lines are shorter, bump to advance the line in case your trimmer has the bump feed system. Otherwise, the line will advance automatically.
Method 2: Spool weed eater by ratcheting
Reloading the trimmer line by ratcheting is the second method of spooling. It involves using a tool or hands to turn the head in a ratcheting manner. Unlike manual spooling, this method of reloading string head is more efficient because you do not need to take the head apart to replace the cutting line. Respooling by ratcheting involves the following easy steps:
- Wear Safety hand protection gloves
- Remove the battery or unplug the weed eater from the power supply
- Bump the head a couple of times to eject the old line
- Line up the arrows on the top part of the head with the eyelets on the sides.
- Insert the correct size of the cutting string through the eyelets on one side through to the other side. At least 5 feet of trimmer line is enough or as per your weed wacker manual.
- Pull the string through to even out both sides.
- Attach the winding tool or speed winder to the bump-feed knob with teeth or grooves on the side. This feature applies mostly to the Ryobi trimmer line of tools. Otherwise, proceed to the next step.
- Begin to ratchet until almost all the string is fully loaded. If your tool does not have a ratcheting tool, just hold the spool housing tightly with one hand and rotate the head to eat string until only about 6 inches of the line is left. The craftsman weed eater also has this autofeed mechanism whereby you don’t need to remove the spool. Just line up the holes, insert the string and even it out then turn the top of the head to feed the string into the spool.
- Power up the tool and bump its head to release the string for resizing. The blade on the guard plate will cut the string to the appropriate cutting length. However, ensure the cutting blade is sharp. Otherwise, use a file to sharpen it.
Method 3: Spool string trimmer by Electric Loading
Some string trimmers have a very simplified spooling mechanism. With them, all you need is to run the trimmer line through the eyelets and then press a button to wind the string. The EGO Power Plus is one such weed eaters with an electric spooling mechanism. This weed eater has a powerload head system that makes loading cutting string a child’s play. No hand-winding or head disassembly is needed. Just follow these four simple steps and your Ego Power+ string trimmer or any other weed eater with an electric loading mechanism will be ready to rock.
- Align the eyelets so that you can push through the cutting line from one side to the other.
- Push through one end of your trimmer line through the eyelet until it comes out on the other side. Grab both ends of the string and even it out.
- Power up the weed eater and press the line-feed button to load the trimmer line with the electric load system. You can hold the string loosely to prevent it from entangling.
- Release the load button when only about 5 inches of the string is left. Otherwise, use the bump-feed mechanism and the string cutter on the guard plate to resize the weed eater line to proper cutting length.