Whether you own a house in the suburbs with a large front and backyard, or you have a humble sized garden, a string trimmer is a good investment especially if you prefer to do things your way. Also known as a “weed eater” or a “weed whacker”, this garden power tool uses a monofilament line, which is basically a fishing line made from a single fiber of plastic, instead of a blade to cut grass and other plants. The principle behind this tool is to spin a line at a very high speed which then causes it to stretch and become taut. Due to centripetal acceleration, the line becomes stiff and tense, and the inertia gives it the power and energy to cut. This machine was first brought to life during the early 1970’s thanks to a man named George Ballas from Houston, Texas. Today, we get to enjoy gardening and mowing even more because of this tool.
The Benefits of Having a String Trimmer
Before we get into more details about how to use a string trimmer effectively and what kind of weed eater you should use, it’s good to know what makes the tool a great addition to your home. Here are some of the reasons why a string trimmer is a neat gadget to own.
- It’s easy to use.
Although there are different types of this tool, which we will discuss further in a while, the machine itself is easy to use. You don’t need to be a professional to use a weed eater. You can trim, mow, or edge your lawn very conveniently and quickly.
- It’s lightweight and flexible.
Most machines we use for our garden needs can be quite heavy and difficult to operate and maneuver. Whether it is electric powered or not, string trimmers are very handy and lightweight. Some trimmers are so light that even children can handle them. Trimming your lawn has never been this easy.
- It’s safe.
Precautions should still be practiced and kept in mind whenever you are using any kind of tool, but a string trimmer takes the cake for being extremely safe to use. It’s also safe for the environment plus it won’t cause many distractions to your family and neighbors.
- It’s easy to maintain.
A string trimmer is composed of very few parts, so it’s without a question that it won’t need much maintenance and would have fewer repairs. This makes it a very practical tool to own and use.
How to Choose the Right String Trimmer
There is a number of factors to consider when buying a string trimmer, and those will either make or break your overall experience as well as the end-result.
Basically, there are 3 types of string trimmers to choose from, and each kind has its own advantages. You can choose depending on your lifestyle, schedule, and size of lawn.
An electric-powered trimmer is great for beginners. It’s clean, quiet, and it weighs less.
A gas-powered trimmer goes well with carrying out trimming and edging tasks for larger lawns. This can easily mow thick weeds if you’re also willing to deal with all the gas and oil.
- Wheeled or Walk-Behind
This type of string trimmer is for lawns that need a lot of trimming without a lot of time. The wheels help with mobility and the size is perfect for a wider cut.
Once you have figured out which type you’re going for, it’s also important to consider the most important part of the trimmer – the head. See Fryefarmsinc guide on trimmer heads if your looking to buy one. The head of a string trimmer is the part that actually trims, so it’s good to know which one will work best for you and your lawn situation. There are essentially 3 types of head to choose from:
- Automatic Feed
Most string trimmer models have an automatic feed system. A line spooling motor is used which requires no effort when in use. With this, you can focus more on the actual trimming than laying down the line. The problem with this kind of head is that it can malfunction at some point. For example, the motor still works but the feed line isn’t.
- Bump Feed
A bump feed system works by lightly tapping the bottom of the trimmer to the ground while trimming. You have more control with a bump feed head when it comes to how many lines you are using. If it malfunctions, it’s easy to repair.
- Fixed Head
With a fixed head, individual lengths of lines are used and loaded into the trimmer as needed. This kind of head is popularly used for larger trimmers. The only bad thing about this is that you need to stop the machine each time the line is used and then proceed to replace with another line.
That being said, you can make an informed decision on which kind of head will work best for you and the type of string trimmer you have.
Using a String Trimmer
With any kind of machine, big or small, it’s always important to protect yourself and your surroundings. When using a string trimmer, despite it being very safe, it’s still recommended to wear protective clothing. Goggles, visors, heavy trousers, and safety shoes will ensure that you are safe from debris and any other material that may hit you.
Once you are fully geared, check the grass. Wet grass is not an ideal condition for trimming because you could slip and slide. Also, the machine will not operate with its full capacity, which will eventually cause damage to your trimmer. Check the ground as well, especially for bits of glass or pebbles that can go flying when it gets caught in the line. If you are using a corded trimmer, watch out for the cable and make sure not to hit it. Avoid bystanders, windows, and cars just in case any debris come flying out from the trimmer.
Trimmer Tips and Tricks
Although this varies from case to case, here are some tips on how you can use your string trimmer effectively.
- Use a trimmer line that is specified for your trimmer’s head. Check the manual of your machine to make sure everything goes together well.
- For higher grass and weed, start at the top and slowly work your way down to the base.
- Most line trimmer heads spin counter-clockwise and you get the best results if you sweep from right to left. However, it’s still important to check your tool’s manual for correct instructions.
- Do some research on the plants you have around and how to best trim or maintain them so that you don’t accidentally kill the plant.
- Cut with the tip of the line and keep the head of the trimmer off the ground.
- For wide and large lawns, consider taking frequent breaks especially when using a gas-powered trimmer.
- Once you are finished with your work, keep your string trimmer in good condition by rinsing it off and getting out debris and grass clippings. Make sure the engine is off and that it’s disconnected before handling the tool.
A string trimmer is convenient, easy to use, and most definitely, practical. Why waste money on hiring a professional when you can do it yourself, right? All you have to do is follow the instructions, practice, and choose the best string trimmer for the job.