You’ve likely noticed that mowing alone doesn’t give you quite the pristine yard you envisioned. Trimming is the secret to a clean, finished-looking making a string trimmer your secret weapon.
String trimmers (also called weed eaters or grass trimmers) allow you to clean up the places your mower can’t easily reach. The trimmer’s whirling plastic lines can trim right up to fence posts, trees, walkways, flowerbeds, and more. They can also tidy up uneven or rocky areas that are too irregular to mow. Choosing the right model depends on several factors, so we’ve narrowed it down to the following 5 things to look for in your next string trimmer.
1. Power Source
We recommend first deciding between a gas- vs. battery-powered motor because this will determine some of the options available in the remaining considerations While gas-powered string trimmers have historically outperformed battery-powered trimmers, with advancements in lithium-ion battery technology battery-powered tools have become a more viable option. Believe it or not, according to Consumer Reports, for the first time, cordless battery-powered string trimmers now outsell gas models!
When choosing your power source make sure to consider the size and layout of your yard. You can count on battery-powered string trimmers with at least 40V to effectively handle up to about a half-acre lawn. However, if you have multiple batteries to recharge and swap out, they can tackle much larger yards.
For lawns over an acre, gas-powered string trimmers may be a better choice. When selecting a gas-powered string trimmer, look for a 4-cycle engine. Compared to 2-cycle motors, 4-cycle motors are quieter, easier to start, and create less pollution. They also run smoother, and don't require a gas-oil mix.
Comfort is an important consideration when purchasing any outdoor power tool (particularly with one you’ll use as frequently as a string trimmer), keep in mind the weight, balance, noise level, and vibration of the machine.
Gas-powered string trimmers offer the most power, but they also tend to be heavier. This can make them tough to maneuver and can cause fatigue during use. Look for a trimmer with the right combination of power and weight to comfortably handle your trimming needs.
For balance, consider the overall design of the trimmer; ergonomically designed string trimmers make it easy to keep the trimmer at the proper angle without constantly adjusting. The Senix X5 Cordless 58V Straight Shaft Grass Trimmer is a great example of ergonomic design, featuring a 360-degree front handle that allows for comfortable cutting and trimming at any angle.
Noise and vibration levels mainly depend on the power source. Gas-powered yard tools can produce intense vibrations that may leave your hands numb, and they also require ear protection. For a quieter, low-vibration, option choose a battery-powered string trimmer, or look for a gas-powered trimmer with a 4-cycle engine.
3. Shaft Style
String trimmer shafts can be curved or straight, and the right choice mainly comes down to personal preference.
Curved-shaft trimmers tend to be shorter and easier to control, allowing you to trim in tight areas and maneuver around obstacles. Straight-shaft trimmers are normally longer, increasing your reach under obstacles, like decks and benches, while allowing you to cover more ground in fewer steps.
4. Cutting Width
A string trimmer’s cutting width refers to the amount of space the trimmer can properly trim without moving the unit. So, generally speaking, a larger cutting width means you can cut more at once, while a smaller cutting width is more precise. The cutting width doesn’t determine how efficient or effective the trimmer is and bigger isn’t always better. Consider that a smaller cutting width means that the trimmer itself is going to be smaller and easier to manage.
The best way to decide between cutting widths is to account for the size and needs of your yard, along with your comfort level and physical ability.
4-Stroke Gas-Powered Straight Shaft Grass Trimmer with 17-3/4" cutting width.
X5 Cordless 58V Straight Shaft Grass Trimmer with adjustable cut off blade allowing an 11" cutting path for tight areas and longer run time or a 13" path to clear larger areas more quickly.
5. Line Feeding & Loading
String trimmers offer two main types of feed systems. The feed system controls how much of the string, or trimming line, is fed out through the trimmer head.
The traditional method is called a bump feed, named for the bumping motion that manually releases more of the line. This system gives you the most control over how much string you use, since you simply tap the cutting head against the ground when you need more.
The second system is called an automatic feed, because the trimmer automatically feeds more string as you go, using the centrifugal force of the spinning line to release more when it starts to wear down. While the automation is convenient, this system doesn't give you the same level of control and can be difficult to fix if it breaks.
Also consider the system used for reloading the trimmer string. Single-line heads simplify winding new string, but dual-line heads trim faster, cutting twice with each revolution. Fixed-line heads allow for quick loading of pre-cut pieces of line with no winding required. The fast-loading spools used in fixed-line heads allow you to insert new string without removing or taking apart the spool.
Make sure you have considered all the aspects of your yard and personal preferences before selecting your tool. Senix offers a variety of trimmers that are built tough and built right with powerful motors, pro-style handles, and our signature sleek design. Shop our collection of gas-powered and battery-powered string trimmers and find the right one for your needs. Those weeds don’t stand a chance.