Back when baby boomers were kids, suburban lawns were mostly clean-shaven thanks to the convenience of lawn mowers; backyard landscapes, on the other hand, lacked meticulous grooming of perfectly edged sidewalks, driveways, lawns and flowerbeds unless manual hand trimmers were utilized. In the early 1970s, the first string trimmers appeared on the scene, changing the face of the suburban landscape and becoming one of the most important pieces of outdoor power equipment in any garage or tool shed.
The string trimmers of the 1970s were limited in terms of both selection and performance. But trimmers, along with baby boomers, have matured. These days it’s easier than ever to find a trimmer that can tackle your particular landscape needs. A string trimmer can cut stretches of grass your mower can’t reach, trim around trees and flowerbeds and tidy uneven edges. A growing number of trimmers can even clip hedges, prune, sweep, cultivate and blow, thus saving you the trouble and cost of buying and storing multiple garden tools.
Quick Comparison Chart
If you are in hurry, check out our top grass trimmers in UK for 2018 in below comparison chart or else read our detailed guide below.
|Product||Type||Shaft||Feed Mechanism||Cutting Width||Engine Power||Weight||Rating||Buying Option|
|Bosch ART 23 SL Electric Grass Trimmer||Corded Electric||Straight||Single line semi-auto||23 cm||280 W||1.7 kg||Buy on Amazon|
|Garden Gear Cordless Strimmer ||Battery Powered||Straight adjustable||Single line auto||26 cm||20 V||1.99 kg||Buy on Amazon|
|BLACK+DECKER ST5530-GB Corded Grass Strimmer||Corded Electric||Straight||Single line auto||30 cm||550 W||2.5 kg||Buy on Amazon|
|Flymo Contour XT Electric Grass Trimmer and Edger||Corded Electric||Curved||Double line auto||25 cm||300 W||2.8 kg||Buy on Amazon|
|BLACK+DECKER STC1820PC-GB String Grass Trimmer||Battery Powered||Straight||Single line auto||28 cm||18 V||3.77 kg||Buy on Amazon|
|Hyundai 51cc 2-Stroke Anti-Vibration Petrol Grass Trimmer||Gas Powered||Straight||Double line bump feed||45 cm||52cc 2 stroke||9.68 kg||Buy on Amazon|
Things to consider while buying string trimmers
With so many different shapes, sizes and brands from which to choose, the task of selecting a particular string trimmer can seem overwhelming. Prices, too, can vary depending on the power source and features. Expect to spend anywhere from around £20 for low-powered electric corded model to £400 or more for a professional-grade gas-powered unit. If you’re constantly confronted by really tough jobs, you may want to consider investing in a more expensive, high-impact trimmer with a metal blade capability; for simple tasks, an inexpensive model may be more sensible. If you do opt for a super-cheap model, however, make sure it cuts grass rather than simply bending it down.
Types of string trimmers
String trimmers can be divided into three categories: gasoline-powered, electric corded or electric battery-powered (cordless). Though their power sources may differ, they all generally have a long shaft — a major component of the trimmer — with a power source on one end and a trimmer head on the other. (Some electric models have both the motor and trimmer head at the bottom end of the shaft.) The type of trimmer head can vary, depending on how it dispenses the string. Despite their differences, though, all trimmers are designed to spin a plastic line at a high speed, thereby turning the string into a super sharp cutting instrument that slices through tall grass and weeds.
There are three main types of string trimmers, each with advantages and drawbacks.
- Electric string trimmers: Corded trimmers are lightweight, and the best models can power through tough weeds as effectively as gas-powered trimmers. However, their range is limited to the length of an extension cord (usually 100 feet, with a few exceptions). If your trimming work is light and can be completed within half an hour, a cordless electric trimmer is an option. Both types are quiet and produce no fumes.
- Gas trimmers: For big lawns or for cutting tough weeds and tall grass, gas-powered string trimmers are a more powerful option. You aren’t limited by a cord, but you do need to buy and store gasoline. Two-stroke models, the most popular kind, run on a mixture of gas and oil. Four-stroke models, which run on gas only, are more powerful, more efficient and produce lower emissions. However, they also tend to weigh more, are harder to start and vibrate more than two-stroke models. Four-stroke models also have more moving parts, which means they require additional maintenance. Both types of gas trimmers are loud enough that you will need some kind of hearing protection while using them.
- Cordless string trimmers: Electric battery-powered trimmers give you the best of both worlds: the free range of gas trimmers and the eco-friendly features of corded models with a clean battery power source. Cordless units are easy to start and use, require no fueling, produce no exhaust emissions and run extremely quietly. Their performance has generally not been on par with gas trimmers, but once again, new technology and more efficient motors have raised the power levels of some cordless models to those of their gas-powered counterparts. Cordless trimmers are great for lawns with many trimming areas, and the best can even tackle your tallest grass and toughest weeds. Run times can vary from 15 minutes to an hour or longer.
Differences in shaft types
String trimmers come in three basic designs: straight-, curved- and split-shaft models.Straight-shaft models usually have a longer reach, making them a great fit for taller users. The longer shaft length also makes this type of trimmer better for reaching under decks and trimming beneath shrubs and low branches. Curved-shaft models are well balanced and generally lightweight, thus making them easier and more comfortable to use. Split-shaft trimmers are the most versatile, since you can remove the string-trimmer head and attach a variety of other accessory tools, such as a leaf blower or edger.
String trimmers are available in a variety of cutting widths. A smaller cutting width — 8-12 inches — works well for smaller areas or less frequent trimming tasks; a cutting width of 14-15 inches is better for moderate use; and trimmers with a cutting width of 15-18 inches work best for large areas and heavy-duty use.
Many of these machines are designed with only trimming in mind, but if you want to keep the borders along sidewalks, driveways and flowerbeds well manicured, then opt for a unit that lets you switch between trimmer mode and edger mode. Some models can convert into edging mode by turning the cutting head 180 degrees with the touch of a button.
Manual, Semi-Automatic and Automatic Feed Systems
Manual feed trimmers means that you have to stop trimming and manually feed line from the spool. Semi-automatic feed requires you to bump the trimmer on the ground to release a new length of line. Automatic feed systems either use centrifugal force to release the new length of line or on other trimmers you need to stop the trimmer and when you restart new line will be introduced.
The average diameter of trimming line used by most electric trimmers is 0.065 inch. This is the diameter that is recommended by most manufacturers and they will also warn against using a thicker line as it could place excessive strain on the engine. All trimmers come with a factory pre-wound spool and extra spools can be bought from the manufacturer or from your local gardening store. Rewinding your own spools can be a arduous task at first but with practice you will soon master it. Once you have secured the line on the spool you can begin to wind on the line doing so as neatly as possible and layer upon layer. The larger and more powerful electric trimmers come with dual lines which will cut down drastically on the time it takes you to complete your trimming and edging.
Handles and Assist Handles
It is also vitally important that the handles and assist handles of any trimmer you buy should preferably be over molded and fully adjustable to ensure the least amount of vibration and maximum comfort while trimming. Most trimmers also have telescoping shafts so adjustments can be easily made no matter your height.
Nickel Cadmium or Lithium Ion Batteries
The NiCad batteries are the older generation batteries and are approximately twice the weight of the Li-Ion battery but with half the power. The Li-Ion batteries are the better choice due to the fact that they last longer, are not as heavy and also maintain their level of power right up until they quit. Some trimmers for sale still use the older NiCad batteries and some even come with two batteries.
It really depends on the size of your lawn and how long you estimate your trimming/edging will take. If you have a small area and your trimming only takes about 10 to 15 minutes buying a cordless trimmer powered by NiCad batteries is fine. If your trimming takes in excess of 15 minutes think carefully before you decide on a trimmer. I have always preferred a corded trimmer because it cuts out all the hassles of dealing with charging batteries and them quitting on you before you are done. Managing the cord is a minor headache I am willing to deal with.
On the other hand if you have a large property and using a corded trimmer is not an option consider buying a high amperage trimmer, using a Li-Ion battery and one that has run-times in excess of 45 minutes. Some of these batteries do also have a very quick recharge time of an hour or less. Buying extra batteries is always an option but this can be an expensive choice at times. Some manufacturers use identical batteries for all there gardening implements so that is also a remedy for your run-time problems.
All lawn equipment has the ability to cause serious damage to one’s person and string trimmers are no exception. When using a trimmer it is vitally important that protective gear be worn at all times. Electric trimmers are a lot quieter than gas models but if you find the noise excessive rather wear ear protection. Even with the protective guides in place a string trimmer does tend to throw a lot of debris around so rather wear long trousers to protect the legs and most importantly wear eye protection at all times. While you are trimming always be aware of other people, children or animals in the vicinity as flying debris or stones could be thrown about and injure someone. Purchasing a trimmer with a lock off switch is also a good idea if you have little ones running around. The lock off switch has to be activated before you can pull the trigger to start the trimmer.
How to shop
The first step in buying a trimmer is deciding on whether you want gas-powered, corded electric or cordless electric model. Advances in technology have enabled manufacturers to design gas-powered trimmers that are much quieter and cleaner than models introduced only a few years ago. Most gas models are equipped with a two-stroke engine, though four-stroke engines are often the norm on near-pro and professional models. Two-stroke engines burn on a mixture of gas and oil, whereas four-stroke engines add the oil automatically, so all you need do is pour in the gas. Two-stroke engines weigh less than four-stroke engines, though four-strokes are quieter and cleaner, cutting toxic emissions by 50 to 75 percent over two-stroke units. If you want a cleaner running two-stroke, look for a CARB-compliant model that meets higher emissions standards.
Gas-powered units today are easier to start than before, using a simplified 1-2-3 starting system — you only need to push the primer bulb, flip the choke lever and pull the cord. For even simpler starting, look for models with a spring-assisted advanced starting system that makes it easier to pull the cord. Four-stroke gas engines are designed for easier starts and significantly less vibration than two-stroke engines; this can help reduce hand fatigue, especially if you’ll be using the trimmer for more than 15 minutes at a time.
Regardless of the power source, a trimmer needs to be comfortable to use. Hold the trimmer in the cutting position and make sure the weight is evenly distributed or only slightly heavier at the top. Some electric models have the motor and trimmer head at the bottom end of the shaft and, therefore, may be uncomfortable to use due to the lack of balance. Cordless units featuring a battery pack on a belt or a strap are easier to use when tackling tougher tasks, since the weight is shifted from the trimmer.
- Choose the right power type for your needs. Reviewers generally say that cordless trimmers (and some electric models) are less powerful than gas or propane trimmers. However, they’re quite adequate for light-duty trimming. Many cordless models will only run about 20 minutes on a fully charged battery, but extra batteries can extend their run time. If you need to whack tall grass or weeds, you’re probably better off choosing a gas or propane model.
- Good balance is just as important as weight. The string trimmer’s weight should be evenly distributed or slightly heavier toward the top. A bottom-heavy trimmer will be harder to handle.
- Some trimmers can take attachments. Many string trimmers can double as edgers or accept attachments such as metal blades for cutting heavy brush. Look for a rotating head that flips to a vertical position if you want to edge your lawn.
- Check the feed mechanism. Most string trimmers are loaded with a spool of line that unwinds automatically. This is fine when it works, but jamming is a common problem. Bump-feed systems advance the trimming line when you tap the trimmer’s head on the ground, but some users find this hard to use. Owners also say refilling a string trimmer line can be tricky on some models. An alternative is a fixed-head trimmer, which uses line in small precut lengths instead of unwinding it gradually from a spool. Owners say this feature eliminates jams and tangles, and it only takes seconds to insert a new piece.
- Extra features are useful on gas trimmers. Spring-assisted ignitions make it easier start a gas-powered trimmer. A translucent gas tank is also handy because it lets you know when the machine needs refueling. Finally, consider buying a shoulder strap or harness for comfort and back safety if your string trimmer doesn’t come with one.
- Left-handed users need rear exhaust. Look for a trimmer with a deflector that can send the exhaust to the rear instead of to the side, where it will hit left-handed users.