Eco Trimmer gets job done with propane, not gasoline

Lawn and garden equipment outgasses carcinogens into the atmosphere as a result of a charming process called "evaporative emissions." Millions of these atmospheric cesspools are stewing away in garages and tool sheds, venting volatile organic compounds into troubled skies. And that's before you even pull the string to start them.

The worst polluters are hand-held devices powered by small, howling two-stroke engines — like leaf blowers and string trimmers — that spew clouds of unburned hydrocarbons (gas and oil), nitrogen oxides, particulates and carbon monoxide. They are like roach bombs for humans.

Compared to the typical two-stroke weed whacker, the propane-powered Lehr Eco Trimmer exhausts angel's breath. Because it uses a 1-pound liquid propane gas canister — like the ones you might use in a camp stove or lantern — the device has no evaporative emissions. And because you don't have to slop gasoline and oil into a fuel tank, you can avoid adding to the millions of gallons of gasoline spilled onto driveways and lawns every year. Lehr uses a twist-cap connector for the canister. You simply slide the canister into the strap holders, screw on the connector and voila, you are Hank, the master of propane from "King of the Hill."

The Eco Trimmer weed whackers — one-piece or two-piece shaft, curved or straight — are available at Ace Hardware and other retail outlets and start at $199, a price comparable to most trimmers of similar power and size. Sears offers a Craftsman-branded version.

Lehr estimates that the 1-pound canister will provide about two hours of run time, which is longer than a gas-powered unit with a 1-pint fuel tank.

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