Choosing A String Trimmer

Before this tool was invented in 1974, you could only get to these tight spots with grass shears or clippers. String trimmers perform this tedious job quickly and easily. A string trimmer consists of a motor, a curved or straight tube enclosing the drive shaft, handles, and a shielded cutting head. Most trimmers mount the motor at the upper end of the shaft but some electric models mount the motor right at the cutting head. In most cases, the cutting head contains a spool mounting 1, 2, or 3 heavy nylon monofilament lines, which spin at speeds of up to 6,000 rpm. As the line wears off at its tip, more line is paid out of the spool.

A string trimmer cuts a swath from 7 to 20 inches wide depending on the model. Important fact – The actual cutting of the grass is done only at the end of the string!!! Use it to trim grass and weeds around posts, between rocks, near walls, or any irregularly shaped object in your yard that can’t be touched by a mower. By holding the whirling line at an angle, you can also use the trimmer to edge the borders along driveways, walks, and flower beds. Some models can be easily adjusted to perform this task.

Because the spinning line is flexible, you can cut close to a wall or other hard object without significantly damaging either the object or the tool. Be aware, though, that it will damage young trees and other plant material if it’s used carelessly.

A brush cutter looks and works like a string trimmer except that it uses a variety of sawtoothed blades instead of flexible nylon lines. Think of it as a chainsaw on a stick. It’s heavier and more powerful (and more dangerous), designed to clear tough vines, brambles, and other rank growth having stems up to 1 inch in diameter. Some string trimmer models come with sawtoothed blades for heavier work, too. So size up the job you need to do before you choose the tool. There are about 250 different models of string trimmers available, ranging in cost from under $100 to over $700.

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