Strimmers Ultimate Buyers Guide

Struggling to understand which strimmer you require for the task in hand? SGS Engineering have put together this guide to help you choose which strimmer to buy.

Why choose a Strimmer?

When it comes to the essential gardening tools you need, there's nothing of more convenience then a grass strimmer. These trusted tools offer a wealth of benefits, leaving your garden in pristine condition. Finding the right grass trimmer will make tidying up the garden a breeze. They are perfect for tidying areas where the mower can't reach, such as around the edges of the lawn where it butts up against a fence or steps, or under a hedge.

Before we look at our options though, strimmers come in different shapes, sizes and uses, these include:

  • Petrol or battery powered
  • A variety of engine capacities and power ratings
  • Lengths of shaft
  • Handle styles and grips
  • Different applications (for example, cutting, trimming, thick brush cutting)
  • Adjustable trimming angles

Which is the best trimmer to buy?

When deciding which trimmer to purchase there are two main considerations:

  1. What materials will be cut or trimmed?
  2. How large is the area to be worked in?

If you will be mainly cutting grass and trimming your lawn edges, and are in an urban setting with an average garden, then a corded or battery trimmer may be suitable for you.

If you need to cut thicker weeds and vegetation, or have a larger garden or area to cut then a petrol model may be more suitable.

Electric trimmers

Electric trimmers are great for using over prolonged periods of time. Their constant supply of power enables reliable performance. You are however restricted by the tools cord. If you have a larger garden it can be very difficult to navigate your way around, as you have a constant fear of cutting through the power cord. You may prefer to choose a model with a longer and preferably a replaceable cord.

Cordless trimmers

Cordless trimmers are much more more convenient then their corded counterparts, though you are limited by the battery life. While it will reach all areas of the garden, half an hour might not be enough time for use in a larger garden, meaning if you don't have a spare battery you will have to pause your work and allow time for charging.

Petrol trimmers

If youve got a large garden or a lot of undergrowth to hack through, a petrol powered trimmer really is the best and only option for you. These models are heavier and louder than other types, but make up for it with unrivalled performance. They are generally heavier than battery or corded trimmers, but come with a harness or in a backpack style to which spreads the weight, improving comfort and efficiency.

What is the difference between a grass trimmer and a strimmer?

The difference between the two here, is absolutely nothing. Strimmer is simply a shortened way to say string trimmer. It is a word typically used in the UK. Regardless of the names, the machine is still predominately the same. They all use a version of a nylon line to trim patches of grass or neaten the edges of lawns and borders.

What is the difference between a trimmer and a brush cutter?

A brush-cutter is a very similar in design to a garden strimmer, however it features a large, sharp, metal cutting blade rather than the standard nylon line, for cutting. This means that it has the ability to cut through more than just grass, as the name may suggest.

A brush-cutter will generally also have a more powerful motor than a line trimmer, to enable it power through more dense types of brush and undergrowth. Some brush cutters can even cut down small trees! While line trimmers are a great way to clear thick overgrown grasses and weeds, they just don't have the power to handle larger tasks like clearing thick brush, saplings, and hearty reeds. If you're only looking to keep your fence edges tidy, and hard to access areas trimmed, then a line trimmer is the best option. However, if you have heavy brambles and nettles that grow into thick weeds, a brush cutter will be more suited to your needs.

How thick brush can a brush cutter cut?

There are various different shapes of knife blades available for brush-cutters, they are generally lasered or stamped from thin sheets of steel. They range in shape from rectangular to round with dozens of small knife like teeth. Because their are so many different options available, to know how thick a brush cutter can cut isn't going to be one set number.

The most common shape available is star shape that has three or four cutting edges. Generally cutting any branches larger than 10 to 2,0mm in diameter will cause the speed of brush cutter to slow down. This is because brush cutters are designed for cutting that requires high tip speed and are not tailored for high torque jobs as a chain saw would be.

How does an auto feed trimmer work?

An automatic feed trimmer, sends more line out of the spool when the string gets too short to cut with. Since the string is made of a synthetic or composite material, it is prone to getting worn out from cutting down grass in a lawn. For this reason, a feed system is installed in string trimmers to effortlessly reload the string instead of manually pulling it whilst doing the job.

A downside to having a string trimmer with an automatic feed system is that it runs through the entire spool of line faster compared to a trimmer with a bump feed system. This is because the operator has less control over the feed.

How does bump feed trimmer work?

A bump feed trimmer releases more string from the spool, when the head of your trimmer against a flat surface. When you press the head of your strimmer, it squeezes a spring in the head of the string trimmer.

When you have a bump feed string trimmer, you manually advance the string by gently bumping it on the ground. This gives you control over how much line you use. The bump feed is also a more simplified system for advancing string, so if it stops working, it's more likely you can make repairs quickly and easily.

Can I cut grass with a trimmer?

A string trimmer is designed to give your lawn a perfect, well manicured look. While it's entirely possible to cut your entire lawn with a strimmer, the results will never be as polished as they can be when using a lawn mower. A mower is more powerful, more efficient and more effective at cutting a large area of grass. You would be hard-pressed to cut an entire lawn with a trimmer alone.

If you do plan to cut your whole lawn with just your string trimmer then ideally you need to plan to do so when the grass is completely dry. When the morning dew has gone and plenty of time has passed since the last rain fall, the grass will be in good condition to tackle with a strimmer, without risk of damp grass getting everywhere and causing grass stains on clothing, shoes and in your home.

Can I use electric trimmer on wet grass?

When grass is wet, it becomes very heavy and sticky. The spool of wire of your trimmer will break very easily cutting wet grass so make sure that you have plenty available before you start. You're surely going to have trouble ensuring that you get an even lawn level, when the grass is wet. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to avoid this. Theres a chance that the strimmer will chew up, knock over or completely miss the taller wet grass blades. Meaning that when the ground finally dries out, and the grass straightens up, you'll be left with an uneven trim.

When cutting wet grass, it's imperative to frequently check if the tool is clogged. Wet clippings will stick together forming clumps and these clumps, if not collected correctly, can damage your grass by suffocating certain patches and depriving them of sunlight.

Keep in mind trimming wet grass will discolour everything in close vicinity green. Be cautious when doing this around white walls, shoes clothing, or outdoor furniture!

How does a string trimmer work?

Strimmers use a nylon line that rotates very fast enabling it to cut and trim grass. A string trimmer works on the principle that as the line is turned fast enough it becomes very stiff by centrifugal force. The faster it turns, the stiffer the line, ideal for precise cutting.

What does a strimmer do?

A strimmer can be used for:

  • edging the lawn
  • tidying areas your lawn mower can't reach such as along fences, under hedges and at the edges of the lawn
  • trim long grass around heavy or immovable objects such as a rotary drier pole or garden furniture
  • cut larger areas of grass away from your home where it's easier to use a grass trimmer than a mower, such as your paths at the allotment
  • cut down a meadow at the end of the season
  • cut down areas of nettles, brambles or other weeds

How important is a trimmers cutting width?

You may have noticed that the more powerful your strimmer is, the wider it's cutting width is. The bigger the trimmers head, the more grass you trim away with each sweeping move and €“ theoretically €“ the less time youll spend on the job. You'll typically find that trimmers widths range between 20 to 35cm, however you can find professional petrol models (more often used by landscape gardeners) can be as wide 42cm, if not more.

Are curved or straight shaft trimmers better?

Both the straight and curved string trimmer are fast and efficient in use. Despite the noticeable difference in shape, the trimmers are essentially the same in their applications. The do however differ in their capabilities, so it all comes down to personal preference and style of garden to make the best decision.

If your garden features not only grass but also other plants such as trees and shrubbery, you're likely to want the straight shaft trimmer. This strimmer enables you to reach under and around the trees and shrubbery, this is because the shaft is long and sturdy enough to make it easy to reach under low hanging trees and bushes. Straight shaft trimmers are the best option when you have a large property as they use a heavier line. These models are also more likely to last longer than their curved shaft counterparts as their drive cable will not have to flex as much.

A curved string trimmer is a lightweight and affordable option, ideal for smaller gardens. As the name suggests, the curved shaft trimmers are the type that will come with an arched drive cable. They also feature a much shorter shaft than the straight shaft models, for easy manoeuvrability and storage. The design and shorter reach of the trimmers are suitable for people with small statures, and are more comfortable and easy for regular garden maintenance.

What is a split shaft trimmer?

A split shaft trimmer can replace a garage full of other trimming tools. A split shaft trimmer can transform into several different pieces of equipment, saving you both time and money. These attachments include, but are not limited to: a leaf blower, edger, brush cutter, hedge trimmer, pole saw, clean sweeper and several more. These trimmers are brilliant multi-tasking tools to assist you in getting lots of work done without purchasing multiple machines.

A Big Back Garden

52cc Petrol Grass Strimmer / Trimmer / Brush Cutter

  • Improved bump spool with easy load
  • Extra padding and protection harness
  • Easy start engine for trouble free usage
  • Spool & blade to tackle any task

This model packs a bit more punch than the one above thanks to its petrol powered 52cc engine and can easily get through larger garden lawn areas.

Along with the powerful and durable engine, at only 8.9kg, the lightweight design makes the 52cc Petrol Strimmer easier to hold and use. Equally, it comes with an Bosch spark plug which provides you with dependable ignition every time you use it.

Large Gardens with a Variety of Greenery

52cc 5in1 Cutting Multi Tool Garden Set: Chainsaw, Trimmer, Strimmer, Brush Cutter

  • Chainsaw, strimmer, brush cutter and hedge trimmer
  • Includes long reach pole
  • Dynamic 52cc engine
  • Includes safety googles, gloves & ear defenders

If your gardens are home to other plant life (aside from just grass) then you cant go wrong with this model thanks to the versatile functionality it can provide. You get plenty of power from its impressive 52cc, but with four different cutting applications that can deal with grass, shrubs and tougher branches and brush, as well as the extending shaft for reaching higher areas, your garden will be sorted in no time.

Still need help?

Our in house experts are always on hand for buying advice and to provide bespoke care, regardless of the application.

Call SGS on 01332 576 850 or fill out our contact form today.

How to Use Your Grass Strimmer

Which Leaf Blower Should I Order?