You are going to need the perfect strimmer for the job, and one which doesn’t frustrate you to use. This will make you more likely to use it, and you will, therefore, be able to keep on top of your gardening tasks more often. These are some of the signs you need to look out for:
- Corded – A form of electric strimmer. They are usually the cheapest option and can give more power than their cordless versions which is good if your grass is usually quite a task to get through. But do remember you will have the cord to contend with, and all the negativity this brings, such as restriction in distance, having to plug it in, and having to not cut through the cable
- Cordless – Another form of electric model. The battery can be removed and recharged separately, as opposed to being tethered by a cord as you strim. They usually last long enough to give your garden at least one cut before needing to recharge, which is good going but do be aware they don’t often give you as much power as the other variants
- Petrol – Seen as the most powerful of the three varieties. As with petrol lawnmowers, they are often best for the tougher jobs, such as very difficult surfaces. It may also be the best option if you have a very large garden, so can’t be tethered by power cables but also need something which can run for a few hours without a battery needing to be recharged
There are two types of cutters used with strimmers. A line will be the most common you find nowadays, which is often a nylon or plastic string which is made to turn at very fast speeds in order to cut away at blades of grass. The centrifugal force makes it a very stiff blade-like tool.
Blades are mostly found on lawn mowers these days, but still do exist on grass trimmers. They may be harder to maintain as the blade will be more expensive to replace when the time comes, and you may need to sharpen it in between uses. But as you can imagine, a sharp metal blade is much better at tackling thicker or tougher growth than a line. You may be hard-pressed to find one which matches if you have a price bracket or other vital features in mind, though.
The cost of a garden trimmer can vary widely. You can get a decent, lightweight and basic strimmer for around £30 which will be sufficient for reaching those grassy areas under hedges and along fences or walls which the lawnmower can’t quite get to. As technology moves on, many cordless models are also becoming cheaper, so you don’t necessarily have to pay a premium for this.
A more expensive electric model can reach beyond £100. These will likely be a bit hardier, and better at cutting weeds. They may also have handy extra features such as an extendable height, tilting head and compatibility to use with various attachments from the same brand/range.
Petrol trimmers are often at least £100 and can reach anywhere up to £500. They are seen as much more powerful, and those at the higher end of the scale are often heavy duty and the best for longer grass, weeds, and possibly other overgrowth such as brambles.
- Telescopic Shaft: This simply means the body of the appliance is extendable, which is good if you are tall or don’t like to bend too much when using an item such as this
- Secondary Handle: To give extra control and manoeuvrability, an ergonomic and comfortable handle about ⅔ of the way up the shaft is ideal. Most models do have this nowadays, as it is also an important safety element
- Automatic Line Feed/Spool: Rethreading the line of your strimmer manually will likely become a tiresome job for you if you have to do it often. You have to stop the machine and what you are doing, then pull the line. So buying a model which can do this automatically if the line wears away or breaks could be vital. Bump feeds are also becoming more popular, where you bang the head on the ground to encourage the feed
- Harness: Mostly seen on petrol models which are traditionally heavier, a harness will keep your appliance at a nice height and also will take some of the weight off your arms
- Wheeled Trimmer: If you want something which can go around the bedding plants and tidy the edges, a wheeled model could be the best choice. You will be able to literally wheel it along the edge, so you get the neatest finish possible, and it is less effort to hold it
On top of the possible harness and secondary handle, you will also need to take some precautions.
Wear goggles when using a strimmer, to prevent grass flying up and affecting your eyes. You may also need ear protection and gloves. Also wear a tough pair of trousers and boots, even if the weather is glorious – strimming in flip flops and shorts could cause a nasty accident which makes us shudder thinking about.