How to Choose the Right String Trimmer

So you need to buy a new string trimmer for your yard but there are so many choices you don’t know what you should buy. Hopefully this guide will help you pick the right kind of trimmer for your needs. There are quite a few determining factors that can help narrow you choices when deciding the type of trimmer to buy:

        1) The size of your yard
        2) What you are planning to trim (grass, weeds, brush, etc.)
        3) Price
        4) Will you be doing a lot of edging?
        5) Convenience
        6) Weight
        7) Noise
        8) Maintenance
        9) Pollution
      10) Cutting swath

Now let’s take a look at each of the determining factors listed above and break them down to help you make the right decision.

Gas String Trimmer

Electric String Trimmer

Battery String Trimmer

The size of your yard
If you have a large yard you might want to consider staying away from an electric and battery trimmers. You will need an extension cord long enough to reach the parameter of your yard if you choose an electric trimmer. The longer the extension cord the better the chance of getting it tangled up or wrapped around something. You also run the risk of cutting the cord if you have it stretched all over the yard. Battery powered trimmers have a limited amount of running time and you can drain the battery before you finish when tackling a big yard. However, this can be remedied by purchasing an extra battery so you can have one charged and ready to go when the trimmer runs out of power. Battery trimmers also tend to have a narrower cutting swath than a gas trimmer which could extend your cutting time when trimming a big yard. A gas trimmer has a larger cutting swath and you won’t have to worry about running out of power as long as you have gas and oil readily available.

What you are planning to trim?
If you are only planning to trim grass and weeds any type of trimmer will do the job. Battery and electric trimmers will cut through grass and weeds as well as a gas trimmer. However, if you have areas in your yard with heavier brush that you are planning to cut you might want to consider a gas trimmer to handle the job. Depending on the thickness of the brush you may need a trimmer that has the option to attach a blade which can cut through tough brush. You will pay more money for this type of trimmer but it will be worth it when trying to tackle thick brush.

If price is a limiting factor for you keep in mind the following: Electric trimmers are generally the cheapest, followed by battery powered trimmers, with gas trimmers being the most expensive. Everyone wants to get the best price when buying a trimmer, but if you can help it don’t let this be your only consideration. You should always consider the application before making your final choice.


Will you be doing a lot of edging?
If you have a long driveway or walkways or flower beds that you are planning to edge around you should consider a trimmer that easily converts to an edger with guide wheels. Many of the newer battery powered trimmers offer this feature. You can be trimming one minute and edging in a matter of seconds with precise accuracy for keeping your yard beautifully manicured. Gas trimmers are usually awkward for edging because you have to turn them on edge and hold the trimmer steady as you walk along the area you are edging. You can purchase edging tools that attach to your trimmer but they are costly and are still awkward.

If ease of use and convenience is important to you a battery powered trimmer is the answer. There is no messing with gas and oil or untangling of extension cords. You simply take the battery from the charger and connect it to the trimmer and you’re ready to go to work. Battery trimmers are also easy to use. They are also very convenient if you need to take your trimmer to another property to use. You simply put it in the car and go. You don’t have to worry about gas and oil spilling in your car or dragging an extension cord along with you.

Gas trimmers tend to be heavy and awkward and for some people they are too much to handle. Electric and battery powered trimmers are light and easier to handle. This is definitely something to consider when weighing your options (no pun intended). If you are going to use the trimmer for an extended length of time a gas trimmer can get heavy and cause fatigue.

This one is pretty obvious. A gas trimmer is without a doubt noisier than an electric or battery powered trimmer. If noise is an issue in your community you will want to avoid a gas trimmer. There are more and more laws being written regarding noise levels so be sure to pay attention to the rules and laws in your area.


All trimmers will require some maintenance such as replacing the string and general cleaning but a gas trimmer will require more maintenance than the others. A 2-cycle engine will mean that you have to mix the gas and oil before refueling. There are a lot more parts to a gas trimmer and more things can go wrong. They sometimes get hard to start or to keep running and might need adjustments to the carburetor or some other adjustment and if you don’t know what you are doing you will have to take the trimmer to someone who can fix it. Overall, if maintenance is a concern you might want to purchase an electric or battery trimmer.

This is another no brainer. Gas trimmers are going to create more pollution than electric or battery trimmers. They burn gas and oil and as a result release pollution into the air. If you are concerned with the pollution created by gas trimmers then you should consider electric or battery powered.

Cutting Swath
As I mentioned above electric and battery trimmers tend to have a narrower cutting swath than gas trimmers. This can add time to your job if you are trimming a big yard. It can also be to your advantage if you are trimming around flowers and bushes. You have better control of your cut with a narrower cutting swath which gives you less risk of cutting the flowers instead of the grass. Again, this is something that you should think about as make your decision on which trimmer to purchase.

So, there you have it. There’s a lot to consider when choosing a string trimmer and hopefully this will help you make the right choice. If nothing else, this should at least get you thinking about the pros and cons. All trimmers have pros and cons and it’s just a matter of deciding which trimmer is right for your application and for your comfort level.

I hope you found this article helpful. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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