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Buying a String Trimmer 101

There are two primary reasons to own a string trimmer (besides making your neighbors jealous). The first is to reach the hard-to-reach places your mower won’t go – brush, weeds, longer grass on steep inclines or against a tree. The second is because it makes your yard look neat, tidy, and “finished!”

So, which trimmer should you buy?

Electric trimmers can get smaller jobs done, but my preference is still a gas-powered trimmer. I like the freedom of walking around my yard without having to be “plugged in.”

So what else should you consider when purchasing a string trimmer? There are some basic questions you should ask when you are “ready to buy”:

  1. How much power do you need?

The biggest factor to consider when choosing a trimmer is how big is your yard? Ultimately, the bigger the property, the more power you want to tackle the job. But you will also need to think about the terrain in your yard. Is it woodsy or weedy? Do you have just rocky areas, just sloped areas, or the dynamite duo of rocky, sloped areas? Is your primary goal really to make your sidewalk look pretty, or are you in fact trying to clear a hillside of saplings?

  1. Who will be using your string trimmer?

Choose a trimmer that doesn’t feel too cumbersome because you’ll be carrying it around your property. Gas trimmers are heavier than electrics and weigh between 10 to 14 pounds, but they are more powerful and they provide the freedom of movement without being tied to a cord.

  1. How much maintenance does the model require?

Gas-powered string trimmers are available in two-cycle and four-cycle models. Two-cycle models require you to mix fuel and oil and keep it on hand in a separate fuel container for your trimmer. Larger 4-cycle models are also available which use gasoline only, like your tractor or lawnmower (oil for lubrication is in a separate reservoir in the engine). Four-cycle engines tend to be more powerful at lower speeds and run cleaner, producing fewer emissions than a 2-cycle engine (without a catalytic converter).

  1. How does it feel?

While a lighter trimmer seems on the surface to be a sure-fire decision, it isn’t just about the weight of the trimmer. Good balance can be just as critical. One recommendation is to “test drive” the trimmer. Adjust the front handle for comfort and hold the trimmer in the cutting position with both hands. Its weight should be distributed so that you don’t struggle to keep the trimmer head several inches above the turf. Also check that all the controls are smooth and easy to reach. If you’re left-handed, make sure a gasoline-powered trimmer you’re considering has a deflector that routes the hot exhaust gases rearward (most now include one).

  1. What features do you want?

When shopping for a string trimmer, look for features that enable you to get faster starts, fewer tangles, and easier handling. Some heavier models offer a shoulder harness, which can ease handling and reduce fatigue. Other convenient features include easy-to-reach and easy-to-adjust switches and comfortable handles.

If you are in the market for a string trimmer, or have a trimmer that is in need of repair or maintenance give us a call 703-490-4905 and let the experts at Pro-Core Lawn Mower and Small Engine Repair give you a hand.

We are conveniently located at 2708 Code Way, Woodbridge, VA 22192, just a stone’s throw from interstate 95 and the Prince William Parkway.

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