String trimmers are the ideal gardening tool to tidy up those hard-to-reach borders around your lawn that your mower might struggle with. In this article, we highlight why you should consider purchasing one and list the different types to help you with your purchasing decision.
What are String Trimmers and Why Should I Use One?
As the name suggests, a string trimmer is a trimmer that uses a string to trim your lawn. It works at high speed and spins a spool of line which does the trimming.
Whenever you mow a lawn, there’s usually some grass close to fences or rocky areas you can’t reach properly. This leaves you with an untidy finish, and if you attempt to cut these problematic areas, you can damage your lawnmower. The value of a string trimmer can be felt in these instances.
You can use string trimmers for specific tasks like cutting grass situated near obstacles or borders. Grass on steep inclines is also easier to cut with a string trimmer than a lawnmower, which has to be pushed uphill.
Although string trimmers are easily confused with edgers, they aren’t the same. However, some trimmers can be used as edgers when their setup is adjusted. If you like your garden edges nicely trimmed, make sure you purchase a string trimmer that can function as an edger too!
Different Types of String Trimmers Available
Many different types of string trimmers are available, but gas and electrical models are most often purchased. Other types include:
Walk-Behind Wheeled Trimmers
4-Stroke Weed Whackers
Commercial Weed Eaters
Battery Powered String Trimmers
Electric vs Gas Trimmers
Although many people prefer gas-powered garden tools, they can become a lot of work. Remembering to have gas on hand and filling up the tank every time you want to use your tools can become a tiring task. Usually, they’re also heavier than their electric counterparts.
Electric string trimmers are capable of chopping off untidy grass patches and weeds with little power. They’re lightweight, and you won’t have to worry about running out of fuel in the middle of your gardening session.
The only drawback is that you’ll be trailing a cord behind you, but cord retention systems make this unnoticeable. If electricity prices are compared with fuel costs, electric trimmers still save you a ton!
In short, there’s really no reason why a gas-powered string trimmer is a better choice than an electric one.
The Pros and Cons of Electrical String Trimmers
They’re inexpensive compared to most other models.
They have almost no maintenance.
They’re easy to understand and use.
They are lightweight.
They’re easy to store.
They have a cord attached, which gets dragged along as you work and can potentially be cut when in the way.
They’re typically less powerful than other models.
Although they have disadvantages, when keeping their advantages in mind, they’re a great, inexpensive option when you have a small area that needs trimming and won’t be using it frequently.
The Different Types of Electric String Trimmers
When choosing an electric corded string trimmer, there are particular features you should look for to ensure that you get the best value for your money.
The price you pay for a string trimmer is highly dependant on the power it has. The more amperes the motor has, the more cutting power you’ll get.
To ensure you get value for the money you spend, your chosen trimmer needs to be durable. Instead of going for the cheapest option, spend a bit more on a high-quality string trimmer. If it lasts long, it’ll pay for itself in the long run!
The weight of your trimmer will play a significant role in how comfortable it is to use. Luckily, most electrical string trimmers are lightweight because they don’t have a fuel tank or battery compartment. If the trimmers’ motor is situated on one end and the cutting head on the other, it will balance well, which also helps with weight distribution.
Electrical string trimmers are usually limited by their cord. If you have large areas that you need to cover, make sure that the cord is long enough, or alternatively, purchase an extender cord.
Having a string trimmer with an uncomfortable hold will make you rue working with it. Make sure that your chosen model has an ergonomic design and soft grip. Ultimately, it should be easy on your wrists. Some models have a handle that can pivot or extend for a longer reach, depending on the required type of trimming.
Choosing between a straight or curved shaft will mainly depend on your height, cutting needs, and ultimately personal preferences. The shaft portion of the string trimmer refers to the parts that connect the handle and cutting head, and each type has its pros and cons.
Straight shafts work best with tall people, are mainly used by professionals, and they’re more versatile when it boils down to hard-to-reach areas. Straight shafts are also longer, heavier, and a bit more challenging to use.
A curved shaft is more suitable for short people, more comfortable to control, ideal for small to medium-sized lawns, and easier to turn on their side for edging and reaching crannies and nooks. Generally, they’re also cheaper but can be more difficult to store.
The cutting head will do all the work, so make sure you choose a trimmer with a sturdy one. Ideally, there shouldn’t be a gap between the shaft and the cutting head, as this will prevent weeds and tall grass from getting stuck. Remember to also look at how the cutting head can be cleaned for instances where debris gets stick in it.
The higher the cutting heads’ revolutions per minute (RPM) is, the faster it will rotate and the better it will cut.
As per the name, the string is an integral part of a string trimmer. This is situated inside the cutting head and cuts through grass and weeds as the head spins at high speed. To prevent the string from wearing out fast, you need to ensure that you buy one of good quality.
Besides the actual string, you should also pay attention to the different string attachments available. A spool attachment will last long, but it can get jammed quickly. Fixed-line attachments don’t jam as often, but with them, the string wears out faster.
String trimmers also have different string feeds. A bump feed can be bumped on a hard, flat surface when you want the string to extend, while an automatic feed extends the string with the push of a button.
Some string trimmer models have controls that help regulate the cutting head’s speed, so if you want this added feature, make sure your chosen trimmer has it.