Help & advice: Buying guide to grass trimmers
Buying guide to grass trimmers
EA grass trimmer keeps your lawn edges beautifully neat - but it's also a nifty tool for cutting in tricky areas a lawnmower just can't reach.
Smarten up your garden with the Homebase range of grass trimmers.
Versatile and light, a grass trimmer gets in anywhere you need it. They're obviously excellent for keeping lawn edges and borders neat and tidy. But take your trimmer into awkward spaces and they perform wonders there too. Cutting steep grassy banks, trimming along the bottom of fences and walls, or hacking away under hedges - the grass trimmer gets the tricky jobs done. Take a look at our trimmer checklist before you buy:
A line of nylon cord clips into the trimmer's head and spins at very high speed. As the cord spins it cuts through grass and vegetation. With some grass trimmers you change the cord when it wears out or breaks. Others have an integral cord spool that feeds through automatically as you need it. It will only need replacing when the spool runs out.
If you've got especially overgrown areas in your garden, try a grass trimmer with a double cord as it gives a higher performance.
To keep your lawn edges looking perfect, choose a trimmer with a rotating head. It turns to 180 degrees, just the right angle for those edges.
Different gardens need different trimmers. Do you have large, wide-open grassy spaces that are less 'manicured' than the lawn, or do you want to clear a scrubby patch overgrown with nettles and brambles? If so, go for a trimmer with more power and a wide cutting swathe to do the job effectively and quickly.
But opt for a trimmer with a smaller cutting swathe if you have a well-manicured garden with only a few tricky areas such as borders, path edges, or underneath hedges and shrubs. These trimmers tend to be lighter, and so are easier to move about in tight spaces.
The way a trimmer's cutting line or cord is attached and replaced varies from model to model. With some you simply replace the worn-out or broken cord with a new one. Other trimmers have an integral spool. These either automatically feed to give hours of continuous trimming, or they 'bump feed': when you need more line you tap the head of the machine on the ground and the cord automatically comes through. When the spool runs out, all you do is replace it.
Trimmers can be powered in one of three ways:
- Rechargeable battery
- Mains electricity
Rechargeable battery power: advantages
- These cordless grass trimmers have no lead to cut through so are safer than electric grass trimmers with cords.
- You can use them anywhere.
- Some cordless grass trimmers use batteries that are interchangeable with other power tools.
Rechargeable battery power: disadvantages
- Cordless grass trimmers have a short run time - about 30 to 40 minutes.
- You'll need two batteries for continuous power on bigger jobs.
- You have to remember to charge the batteries!
- Batteries take five to seven hours to provide those 40 minutes of run time.
- Petrol grass trimmers have no lead to cut through so are safer than electric grass trimmers with cords.
- Their engines are more powerful than electric or battery trimmers so are great for overgrown areas.
- You can use them anywhere.
- Petrol trimmers tend to be heavier and bulkier so they're more difficult to handle, and aren't good for small, tight spaces.
- You need to make sure you have a ready supply of petrol.
- Petrol trimmers are noisy and can be smoky.
Mains electricity: advantages
- Electric grass trimmers are convenient.
Mains electricity: disadvantages
- You need to have a power source close by.
- There's always the danger of cutting the cord. You must use an RCD power breaker at all times.
Choose a grass trimmer that's comfortable for you to use. This is really important if you're trimming large areas over a long period as this can be back-breaking work! You can buy a grass trimmer with an extendable shaft - simply adjust to suit your height.
The smallest, lightest machines are pretty easy to operate single-handed for a short time. But get a trimmer with a second handle if you'll be using it for long periods, so you can keep the machine steady more easily. Some models have an adjustable second handle for extra flexibility. Others feature an extension to support your wrist.
- Protect eyes from flying debris with safety goggles.
- Protect feet by wearing heavy-duty footwear.
- Keep children and animals away from the area.
- If you're using an electric trimmer, check the socket outlet has RCD protection and that the RCD is working.
- Keep the electrical cable away from the cutting direction.
- Don't use an electric trimmer in wet weather.
- Check that the trimmer's rotating head has stopped and the machine is switched off before you replace the cord or remove jammed foliage.
- Make sure you read, understand and follow the manufacturer's instructions.