Best Grass Trimmers/Strimmers UK Reviews
People buy grass trimmers for one of two reasons. They use them either to keep the edges of a lawn looking neat and tidy, or to reach parts of the garden, where a lawnmower simply can not get to, for general grass cutting or for getting rid of weeds and long grass.
That makes them a very useful tool to have for your garden. A good lawnmower can take care of most of the grass cutting, but the edges normally need to be tidied up. There are also parts of the garden, such as along the side of a wall, up against pavers, in and around trees and shrubs, where it is hard to get a lawnmower to do that work.
That is where a strimmer can be very useful. Strimmers are also useful in any garden where the grass has got completely out of hand. A lawnmower will really struggle with long wispy grass, and it could even cause the mower some pretty serious damage.
A good strimmer will get through this, but you will need to get the rake out after that. In this article we explain what types of grass strimmers are available on the UK market. We will also explain why these different types will suit different people.
They are better known in the UK as strimmers. There are essentially five different types of these available:
Various Types of Grass Trimmers Available in the UK
These are handy for doing small hedges, shrubs and lawn edges and are manual or electric
These are the most popular choice for strimming for UK gardeners as they are affordable.
Now very popular strimmers as they use a rechargeable battery, so no trailing leads.
Below, we have gone into each of the five types in a lot more detail. That should help you make your mind up, which is the best type for your own individual needs. It is always a good idea when you are thinking about buying a strimmer, to take some time and make sure you have got the right one for your exact needs.
The vast majority of the UK public will buy the corded electric type. That is because they work really well, and are the most affordable of all the trimmers available.
However, it is worth pointing out, that many people are now making the move to the cordless version of these. Those are more expensive, but you don't have the hassle of a trailing electric lead.
The more serious gardener, professional and landscaper who need to work on bigger gardens will almost always move to the petrol, or 2-stroke variety. The question that really needs answered, is which one suits your needs the best?
Let's have a look at the three main types of grass strimmers below in a little more detail.
Corded Grass Trimmers
These have to be plugged into your main's electricity. Even with an extension lead, these are best suited for small to medium sized gardens and lawns
Cordless Grass Trimmers
Ideal for medium to larger gardens, thanks to their cordless aspect. They are portable so also suitable for taking with you, to allotments, grave tidying or helping others.
Petrol Grass Trimmers
These are good for taking on the bigger and tougher jobs. They are pretty powerful, but also noisy and you do need to provide them with petrol/oil to run them.
We now explain these options is more detail so as you can have a full understanding of what is out there on the market. We will also explain what people buy these to do, and also give you some useful information on prices and quality.
Hand/Manual Clippers and Trimmers
As the name would suggest these are trimmers that are operated by hand. These come in two types, either ones with short handles or the long handled versions. These remain quite a popular choice for many gardeners in the UK.
The short handle versions are relatively inexpensive, but they do require you either bending over to use them, or kneeling on the ground.
That is why some users, and especially those who want to avoid a sore back, prefer to use the long handled version of these types of trimmers and clippers.
These are not really suitable for grass though they do work for many people. They were designed to cut shrubs and smaller hedges.
Both types can be used to cut grass in areas that the mower can not reach. More commonly though gardeners use these to get a nice clean edge around their lawn.
Electric Corded Grass Trimmers Explained
These are the most common type bought by gardeners in the UK. As the name would suggest, these tools are plugged into the UK 240 volt mains socket.
As such you will always have a reliable and constant source of power. The disadvantages of these are that you do have to be careful not to chop through the cord. You are also restricted by the length of the cord itself.
Quite often people have to use an extension cable to reach those far away places.Unless you have an external electric supply, that can often mean putting the cable through a window, or running it through a door to an electrical socket inside.
For safety reasons these should always be attached to an RFD to prevent shocks should the cable get damaged.
They work well for small or medium sized gardens. They are usually cheaper than the corded or petrol versions. Typically they cost around £15-30 at the lower end for a basic one, and from about £45-100 for the higher quality models, which are more powerful.
They do remain the most popular choice for UK gardeners.
Cordless Grass Trimmers Explained
These are in effect exactly the same product as the corded grass trimmer explained just above. They do however run off a rechargeable battery.
Those battery sizes can vary quite a lot from smaller 14 volt batteries and all the way up to 40 volts for the more powerful trimmers. The advantage of these is that they can go anywhere, and there is no annoying electrical cord to worry about.
The disadvantage is that you only have power for as long as the battery holds its charge for. That can be problematic with some of the cheaper ones only holding a charge for 20 minutes of work.
That might be fine for a small or medium sized garden, but not that good for larger areas.
These are typically more expensive than the corded ones with the cheaper models pricing in around £30, and the more expensive models anywhere between £100-300.
The strimmer is really only as good as the battery. Although all of them are rechargeable, some models take a great deal longer than others. If you have a large garden, it would be well worth considering buying a second battery.
These are however becoming more and more popular with users in the United Kingdom. That is most likely because they are more convenient to use, and can be used anywhere thanks to their portability. The battery can also be used with compatible power tools.
Petrol Grass Trimmers Explained
These are by a significant way the most powerful of all the grass and garden trimmers. They come in two types, the normal hand held strimmer and also a wheel driven trimmer, which I have explained below.
These can be used anywhere and they run off a two stroke engine. You use a mix of petrol and engine oil to power these.
The disadvantage of these, apart from the price, is that they can be heavy to hold and carry around. Normally they come with a shoulder harness which helps.
Professional gardeners and landscapers will almost always use these. People with large gardens, or with allotments, would be better off buying one of these, simply because they are powerful and portable.
They do however have several disadvantages which I think are worth your consideration. They are noisy and I do mean noisy to the point where I would recommend wearing some type of ear defenders. The second problem is that they do create quite a lot of fumes so are not considered environmentally friendly.
In addition to this the engine does get hot when used for long period of times, and they are usually quite heavy. I am 60 and although I can still handle one of these, it is pretty tough on your back, shoulder and arms.
Wheeled Grass Trimmers Explained
The wheel driven trimmers are considered to be the King of trimmers. Again these run of a 2-stroke engine but are wheeled along the ground.
This is a very good choice for people who have very big gardens. They are also an option for people who know the benefits of using a petrol strimmer, but perhaps suffer from back problems or various joint problems.
That does make edging very simple. For other areas it is a little more tricky but these are very mobile and highly effective. You would only ever need to consider one of these, if you have a really large garden, with a lot of areas that you can not reach with your lawnmower.
Like any petrol type of engine these are also noisy and do create quite a lot of fumes. They are used quite a lot in the forestry industry.
Grass Trimmer (Strimmer) & Edger Buying Guide
The information that we have provided above, gives you a very good overview of the various types that are available. It should also give you a good indication of which should be best suited to your needs. If you are new to gardening, or new to buying and using a grass trimmer and edger, then we would recommend reading our buyer's guide.
That is an in-depth look at all the various features of strimmers. if you know what those are, then we believe you can make a better buying decision. You can read the buying guide by clicking here.
Which Grass Trimmer Should You Buy?
Your number one consideration should be the size of your garden. With a small or medium sized garden the choice could be any of the above types. They will all work there, so really the choice comes down to your preference and your budget.
You should also give some thought to what you want to use it for. Is it primarily for trimming lawn edges, dealing with overgrown areas of grass or weed, or for general purpose tidy ups?
For larger gardens we would recommend either a cordless option, or a petrol style as they are portable and powerful. The petrol ones just get the job done very quickly.
The next thing you should consider is what will you actually be using it for. As I mentioned earlier, they are used for areas where the lawnmower can't reach or for edging. Most of these trimmers can be used for both. All that is required is to change the angle of the head, and you can use it for either purpose.
They can however also be used for clearing path edges, trimming along the side of decking, around plants, shrubs, trees, garage walls etc. Some people will also use these to take on long grass. For a task like that you are better off with a longer shaft model and a very powerful motor.
Most people still buy the electrical corded grass trimmers, but there is now a shift towards buying the cordless ones. It is the same idea as cordless drills, and cordless saws. There is a trend in the UK at the moment where people prefer cordless tools.
That is because they now use Lithium Ion batteries, which hold their charge longer, and are easier to charge. For larger gardens, or if you need to use these in various places, then my preference is always for a good quality petrol strimmer.
Manual or Power Choice?
If your garden is small, then the simple hand held trimmers may do your job nicely. These are fine for smaller gardens. They also have the advantage of not spreading grass into your borders, or garden beds.
With the power strimmers, although they are very fast, they do shoot the grass cuttings over borders and beds. Usually that means you have to tidy that up afterwards.
Now even when manually trimming like this, you will also need to tidy up, however the grass cuttings are less dispersed. That does make life a little bit easier when cleaning out beds etc.
Best Grass Strimmer for a Small Garden
For a small garden, you really will never need a heavy duty strimmer. It does depend on the size of the area that you need to strim, but in a small garden, that is not going to be very large. You will be able to easily get away with either a small handheld strimmer, or with an electrical corded strimmer.
We wouldn't recommend spending any extra money on a petrol or cordless strimmer as quite honestly, you just wouldn't get the use out of it. Something like the Black & Decker ST5530-GB will do your job very nicely. You can check out our top 10 list of corded grass strimmers by clicking here.
Understanding How Strimmers Work
If we leave aside how these are powered, then the next most important feature to consider, is how they cut. A few will use spinning plastic blades. The huge majority though, use a line of nylon cord. This cord comes in different thicknesses. This cord usually comes on a spool.
When it runs out, you can either replace the spool for convenience. Alternatively, you can buy the string and wind it on to an existing spool. That can be problematic though as it needs to be wound on properly.
Dual Line - Some strimmers, especially the more powerful type use what is called a dual line. Instead of one piece of cord coming out of the spool, there are two lines of cord. That increases the cutting power, and those are ideal for heavy or tall growth.
I will say this because it is true, though the advice I offer below, is usually and sadly ignored. As a general rule all strimmers are safe to work with.
However, they have electrical parts, spinning parts and need to be treated with care. When a strimmer head starts cutting, cut items can easily fly up into the air. That means they can get into your eyes, and that can be dangerous.
You really should wear goggles of safety glasses when working with a strimmer. Most people don't but I so wish they would.
Mind Your Toes - The strimmer head spins at very fast speeds. I have seen these cut through slippers and soft shoes. It is always best to wear suitable footwear, when working in the garden.
When working with an electric trimmer, never use it when the weather is wet, and always make sure it is plugged into some type of RCD protection.
You never want to risk getting an electric shock. That can easily happen especially when using a strimmer along with an extension lead.
Known Strimmer Problems - And How to AVOID Them
If you have ever owned one of these, then you may be very familiar with the problems. If you buy the wrong one, then it can leave you very frustrated. The three most common problems are:
- Breaking lines - This accounts for about 90% of all the problems. Most strimmer lines will not break when cutting long grass. However if they catch something hard, then they snap. With auto-feed lines, the strimmer will feed out more line and that makes life a great deal easier. With some strimmers though, especially cheaper ones, you have to bump the strimmer base on the ground to feed out the line. More often than not, that doesn't work. As a result every time the line breaks, you have to remove the spool, pull out more line, and then re-attach the spool.
- Under Powered - If working with large areas of grass or weed, with tall grass or thick grass you will need a lot of power. Buying a cheap strimmer with a small motor is a bad idea. They just don't have enough power and the motor comes under a lot of pressure and will burn out quickly.
- Over Powered - Some buyers spend a lot of money on a big powerful strimmer. They maybe only use it to trim the edges of the lawn a few times a year. With a powerful strimmer, it can actually cut a lot more that you need it to. That can really mess up the edge of your neat lawn.
You can avoid all those problems by giving some thought to which you are going to buy. For tough work you want to buy a powerful motor or engine with a long shaft. For basic edging a small strimmer will do the job nicely. When it comes to how the line gets fed out, there are three choices. These are:
Understanding Strimmer Feeds
- Automatic Feed - More line is fed out automatically when the strimmer starts up.
- Bump Feed - You quite literally bump the base of the strimmer on the ground to push the nylon strimmer cord out. This method can be really a hit or miss
- Manual Feed - As the name would suggest, you manually pull the line out and that is a huge pain.
The bump feed gives you more control over how much line is fed out. You do have to remember to keep doing this. A problem for many gardeners is that they forget to do this. The line can then disappear back into the spool. If that happens, then you have to stop and fix that problem.
With the automatic feed, more line is fed out when the strimmer starts up. If the line gets cut, or you need more line, then you have to stop and re-start the strimmer to get more line out.
It's your Decision
So folks, those are the various types that are available in the UK market. Click on any of the links above, to read more about the specific types. I have included top 5 list for each of these grass clippers, and also provided a buying guide. I hope that you find the information useful.