What is a String Trimmer?
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A string trimmer is a lightweight, versatile outdoor power tool that is used for the trimming of weeds and grass. Trimmers come in a variety of models that have either a gasoline, electric, or battery-operated engine and feature a spinning head at the bottom of a long shaft. The head uses a rapidly spinning monofilament string that uses centrifugal force to cut through weeds and grass easily and efficiently with a string trimmer (click here for our comprehensive review).
The major benefit of the string trimmer is that they can reach spots that lawn mowers can’t. These lightweight power tools can precisely trim the weeds and grass along driveways, sidewalks, fences, trees, and flower beds, allowing yards to look neat and manicured. And since some models even feature a rotating head, allowing it to serve as an edger as well as a trimmer, these tools are an essential part of any homeowner’s landscaping arsenal.
String Trimmer Pros and Cons
If you are considering whether purchasing a string trimmer is the right move for you, it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages that these tools offer. Thousands of homeowners and landscaping professionals count on string trimmers to maintain lawns but they’re not the perfect tool for everyone. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons involved with this power tool. The main benefit of string trimmers is that they are the perfect complement to lawn mowers.
Due to the design of a mower, it simply can’t hit certain tight spaces such as along narrow walkways, sidewalks, driveways, fences, obstacles, trees, and flower beds. But due to the compact head of a string trimmer, it’s perfect for getting into those areas and leveling those areas to the height of the rest of your lawn. String trimmers are also versatile and can remove weeds and even get rid of the stubborn grass or weedy patches that creep through cracks in the sidewalk.
The other perks of a string trimmer are that they are relatively affordable, lightweight, and easy to store and use. There aren’t many cons of a string trimmer though, depending on your desired use, it might not be the ideal tool for the job. Due to the small cutting width of these tools—most models can make a swath between 12” to 16”—it’s certainly not ideal for cutting large areas of grass. There are also some cons inherent to each style of trimmer.
While offering the most power, portability, and cutting performance, gas trimmers can be rather loud and emit fumes. Cordless models offer impressive power and portability but you are restricted to the life of your rechargeable battery. And corded models are the most affordable options on the market but limit you since you will be bound to an extension cord.
Grass Trimmers vs Lawn Mowers
For lawn maintenance, it’s tough to compare a string trimmer with a mower since they both do different tasks remarkably well. A mower is the workhorse that tackles the bulk of the cutting while a trimmer is the finisher, used to clean up spots that the mower might have missed. When these two tools work in tandem, yard work can be done quickly and with impressive results. A lawn mower is designed to mow your lawn to a specific height.
Depending on the size of their lawn, homeowners choose between various gas, electric, or battery-operated models as well as conventional walk-behind and riding mowers. These tools feature wide cutting decks with blades on their underside. As the tool is advanced, it makes a wide cutting path across the lawn, allowing it to tackle large jobs fairly quickly and easily. A string trimmer is the perfect finishing tool that is used to give a yard that professional, manicured look.
The tool features a rotating head that spins a string at an incredibly high velocity, allowing it to slice through patches of weeds and grass. These tools come in gas, electric, and battery-operated models as well. While trimmers don’t have the wide cutting path that can tackle a large area, their compact size is perfect for trimming around shrubs, fences, and garden beds while also removing weeds easily.
This makes it the ideal tool to make those spots that the mower might have missed neat and tidy. While string trimmers and lawn mowers are both great tools that deliver clean, efficient results to lawns, the main thing to keep in mind is that they’re each best-suited for certain tasks. A mower is more powerful and effective at mowing a large grassy area compared to struggling for hours with a trimmer.
Meanwhile, a mower isn’t going to be able to neatly shear every grass blade along a fence or around a tree like a string trimmer can. But by combining the power and cutting width of a mower with the edging capability and maneuverability of a trimmer, you have the tools needed to make your yard look its best.
How to Use a Line Trimmer for Edging?
Besides being able to neatly trim grass along obstacles and in hard-to-reach spaces, a string trimmer can also be used to edge your property. Edging is used to clean up the parts of your yard that run parallel to each other such as your sidewalk or driveway. To edge with a line trimmer, turn your tool so that the string is vertical. Now, simply walk your tool along the cut path so that it removes debris from the cut line.
It will eject dirt, rocks, and grass as it proceeds, cleaning up the divide between your concrete and lawn. If you haven’t edged your lawn before, a good tip is not to try and get a perfectly clean edge on the first attempt. Just cut a bit more lawn each week until you work up to the edging line that you want. This will allow you to get a more uniform appearance and, once you have the edge line that you want, it will be easier to maintain.