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How To Choose A String Trimmer In 3 Easy Questions

Freshly trimmed grass. There are a few basic factors to consider when choosing a string trimmer that meets your specific needs.

Wondering how to choose a string trimmer that will meet your summer yard work needs? There are a number of different options out there, but they all boil down to the same, basic thing: matching your particular landscaping needs against the capabilities of each tool’s design.

String trimmers are a versatile solution for dealing with grass and brush in areas where a normal mower can’t easily fit, or for jobs that are too small to tackle with a traditional mower. Let’s take a quick look at how to pick the right trimmer for your yard.

Electric or Gas?

One of the first considerations when learning how to choose a string trimmer is whether you want a gas-powered or an electric model.

There are a number of factors to consider. Not everyone wants to store gasoline inside their basement or garage due to the smell and combustibility concerns, which often rules out a gas-powered trimmer. Gas units are also noisy and occasionally heavy.

On the other hand, if you have a large yard then you may not be able to use a plug-in unit, as an extension cord might not reach. Battery-powered trimmers offer a compromise between both worlds, but you’ll need to make sure you have enough batteries to do your entire yard at once, which could be an expensive proposition.

Brush or Grass?

String trimmer

What you need to cut might make the above decision that much easier. The question of how to choose a string trimmer often ties back to whether you’re dealing with standard lawn and garden work, or whether you’ll be beating back the bush.

Battery-powered trimmers often don’t offer enough power to cut into shrubs and scrub trees. At the same time, if this is what most of your work will consist of, you may want to move past the string trimmer world and instead seek out a bladed trimmer. The general rule of thumb is if the string you are using wraps around the stem of whatever you are trying to cut, instead of slicing it, you’ll need to swap in a blade.

Wheeled or Carry?

The vast majority of the string trimmers you will encounter are models that you carry. Some split the handles front and back, while others put them both out in front of the users. You may also find trimmers that use a harness setup to shift the weight from your arms to your shoulders.

If you would prefer not to carry your cutter, however, you can opt for a walk-behind design that mounts the trimming point in front of a set of tall wheels. These trimmers are usually larger than a carry design and can cut a wider swath as a result. They’re also good at taking a chunk out of the brush. They aren’t nearly as maneuverable, though, which means they can’t reach as many tight nooks and crannies as a handheld — which in some ways defeats the purpose of using a string trimmer, to begin with.

String trimmers provide a versatile and inexpensive solution for tackling summer projects. Choosing the right one will make sure your yard looks great all summer long.

Check out all the lawn and garden products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to choose a string trimmer, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.


Benjamin Hunting View All

Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time.  I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

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