String Trimmers & Accessories

Cut grass and weeds in areas lawn mowers can’t reach with a string trimmer or edger

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String trimmers are great for giving your lawn that finishing touch by trimming hard to reach areas where lawn mowers can’t go, such as around trees, fence posts, mailboxes, shrubs, walkways and more. 

This guide highlights the different types of trimmers, along with information on shaft styles, trimmer line and usage and safety considerations.

Types

There are two main types of string trimmers: gas-powered or electric.

  • Gas trimmers are cordless, tend to be more powerful and require a two-cycle mix of gas and oil to operate. Some models feature a four-cycle engine that runs more smoothly, starts easier and doesn’t require an oil and gas mix.
  • Electric models can either be corded or cordless and are ideal for smaller yards.
  • Some models can convert into edgers by rotating the head, putting it in a vertical position to cut precise lines for a uniform appearance.


Trimmer Type Benefits Points to Consider

Electric

  • Corded or cordless
  • Doesn't require gas and oil mixture
  • Easy startup
  • Quieter operation
  • More economical
  • Lighter weight
  • Low maintenance
  • Cordless models have much greater range
  • Recharge cordless models after every use
  • Corded units tend to weigh less

Gas

  • Cordless
  • Covers a large area
  • Ideal for heavier cutting and brush removal
  • Wider range of attachments
  • Accepts lines with larger diameters
  • Dual trimmer heads cut faster
  • Two-cycle engine requires mixture of gas and oil
  • Requires periodic maintenance
  • Pull starters


Shafts

Shafts, sometimes called shanks, can be straight or curved, each providing its own set of benefits when you’re using a trimmer.

  • Straight shafts tend to provide better weight balance, and longer drive shaft life.
  • They provide safer operation by keeping the head farther away.
  • Longer shafts are ideal for trimming under fences, hedges and bushes.• Curved shafts use a flexible-cable drive shaft to provide power to the head and generally require a lower initial investment.
  • They are great for trimming around flower beds and other squared-off areas.
  • Curved shafts are easier to maneuver and often weigh less for more comfortable use.

Trimmer Line

Using the right trimmer line will go a long way toward making sure your trimmer works efficiently.

  • Standard-grade line is best for low-intensity trimming in smaller yards, and it’s economical.
  • Commercial-grade line is ideal for use in larger yards where there are heavier patches of grass and troublesome weeds.
  • Let the tip of the line do the cutting to avoid premature wear.
  • Always keep an extra spool of line handy so you never run out.

Usage and Safety

Always use the recommended line size as a heavier line will put extra stress on the motor.

  • Models with tap lines feature a button on the bottom of the head that lets out extra line when you tap it on the ground.
  • More advanced models have automatic line-advanced systems that sense when the line is worn and automatically release more.
  • Be careful when trimming around trees as flying tree bark can be dangerous and trimmers can damage young saplings.
  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots to protect your feet.
  • If vibration bothers you or if you tend to blister, wear heavy-duty gloves.
  • Consider wearing goggles to protect your eyes and ear plugs to protect your hearing.