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Guide to Garden Strimmers and Brush Cutters

A strimmer is great around the garden, it can get into the areas your lawnmower can’t and is very useful for trimming around raised beds or furniture and along the edges of borders and walls.

Some strimmers are suitable for heavy duty clearance work in the garden such as cutting down undergrowth, these are also sometimes referred to as bush cutters.

This article reviews the main differences between the various types of strimmer and will help you decide which strimmer is best for your garden.

To view our range of strimmers click here.

What are the different types of strimmers?

We are reviewing the 3 main types of stimmers.

Cordless Strimmers

These are the most environmentally friendly strimmers and are perfect for small and medium sized gardens and the only drawback is the battery run time. If you have a range of garden tools then you may have a number of batteries so swapping a battery will allow you to use the strimmer for longer.

With the continual development of battery technology the lithium-ion battery models provide the longer lasting batteries and generally a 24V battery can provide about 20-30 minutes of grass cutting time and an 80V battery could last for 40 minutes.

Power - this is rated by V (volts) and the higher the V the more powerful.

Electric Strimmers

These are great around a small or medium sized garden and will deliver constant power without running out as a battery might.  The main drawback of electric strimmers is the cord and the need for an extension cable, there is an extra need to be careful with electric strimmers to ensure you don’t slice the cable will strimming.

Power - this is rated by W (watts) and the higher the W the more powerful.

Petrol Strimmers

These are generally used for clearing large areas and for heavy undergrowth. They are nosier than the others so ear protection is essential and are bigger, heavier and harder to manoeuvre than the others. These will give of fumes and are less environmentally than electric of battery strimmers.

These are often used by professional landscapers as they find taking extra petrol is easier as they can’t get a source of electricity and also they don’t need to worry about charging batteries.

Power - this is rated by cc (cubic capacity) and the higher the cc the more powerful.

To view our range of strimmers click here.

What is a strimmers cutting width?

This is basically the area of grass you will cut with each swathe. Obviously if you have a bigger cutting width then the more grass you will be able to cut with each swing of the strimmer and it should make the job quicker, however, the power of the strimmer will also come into play at this point.

Why is the power rating important when choosing a strimmer?

The power of a strimmer will dictate the speed the blade turns and this will then factor into:
  • how much grass you can cut
  • the speed you can work
  • the thickness of the grass, weeds or undergrowth.

What strimmer functions should I consider?

Apart from the power of the strimmer and the cutting width it may be useful to consider the following when making your decision:
  • Weight of the strimmer – you will be carrying this about and moving it from side to side so look for a light weight model that offers better manoeuvrability.
  • Balance of the strimmer - like the weight this is about comfort and ensuring the handles are suitable to allow you to reposition the strimmer to do different types of cutting.
  • Size of safety guard – this protects you from flying debris.
  • Switch mechanism – a strimmer with a trigger switch is best to ensure it isn’t accidentally left on or if you drop it, it doesn’t keep running.
  • Adjustable shaft – this is ideal if you are taller as having an adjustable shaft may help prevent you having to bend over while using the machine.

What’s the difference between line feed and blades?

Line feeding strimmers operate by spinning a line and the cutting power is at the end of the line not in the middle. These stimmers will have a manual or auto-feed mechanism which allows you to keep the line at its best length.  Each strimmer will have a cutter on the guard to ensure the length of the line is cut to size so as not to cause any injuries and to ensure the best performance of the equipment.

Generally, speaking the thicker the line the heavier the grass and weeds that can be cut.

Blade strimmers can also be referred to as bush cutters, these are generally more powerful and can be used for cutting back thick and heavy undergrowth.  The blade is stronger than the line feed but when it breaks you will need to replace the blade whereas with the line feed you can keep working until the spool of line runs out. 

What is the best way to operate a strimmer?

Firstly, when using any strimmer you should ensure you have protective eye wear on, as you are cutting grass, weeds or undergrowth the speed the line or blade is operating will result in debris being cut and expelled from the strimmer at very high speeds.  While your strimmer should have a guard on it to contain the spread of the cuttings this will not stop everything.

The most important factor to work out first is the direction the blade or line feeder spins, check the instructions and if you can’t find it then check the guard around the line and it will have a cutter built in to the open side.  If when holding the strimmer the cutter is on the right side of the guard then it will be clockwise and on the left it will be anticlockwise.

  • Clockwise – this will send the cut material out to the right and so you should keep your left side towards the area you are cutting.
  • Anticlockwise – this will send the cut material out to the left and so you should keep your right side towards the area you are cutting.
To view our range of strimmers click here.


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