Last updated: August 8, 2021

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A normal lawn mower is not always able to reach all places in your garden. Due to its size, it is not very manoeuvrable and is especially useless on edges and in tight corners. A lawn trimmer can help you in such situations. You can use it to clear even the smallest corners of overgrown grass.

In our lawn trimmer test 2021 we present all the lawn trimmers we have tested in detail. You can divide them into different types: Lawn trimmers with a battery, with a power connection or with a petrol engine. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.

You will also find a lot of information about lawn trimmers in this article. This includes price tables, the right care and cleaning and various purchase criteria that you should pay attention to before buying.




Summary

  • Lawn trimmers help you cut edges in hard-to-reach places.
  • They are generally distinguished by their drive system. These are battery-powered, electric-powered and petrol-powered systems.
  • While battery and electric-powered trimmers are used for home use, petrol-powered devices are more likely to be found in the professional sector.

The Best Lawn Trimmer: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a lawn trimmer

Are you thinking about buying a lawn trimmer, but are a bit overwhelmed by the selection and the different offers? Then you've come to the right place, because we'll explain what you should look out for when buying a lawn trimmer.

What is a lawn trimmer?

A lawn trimmer is a tool for cutting lawn edges and hard-to-reach areas that a lawn mower cannot reach. It is usually motorised and powered by different energy sources.

The trimmer's cutting system consists of a thread spool with nylon threads or plastic blades. It also has one or two ergonomically shaped handles. This makes it easy to remove weeds and overhanging grass.

How much does a lawn trimmer cost?

Lawn trimmers come in different price categories. Lawn trimmers are commercially available from entry-level devices for hobby gardeners to professional devices for professional landscapers.

Electric lawn trimmers start at around 20 euros and are therefore an inexpensive entry-level option for hobby gardeners with a small area and straight edges. For rather infrequent use in the home garden, the prices are justified.

Depending on the manufacturer, these devices can also be more expensive, up to about 170 euros. At around 40 euros, cordless lawn trimmers start out a little expensive. However, a price range of up to approx. 650 euros is also possible here.

Type Price range
Electric lawn trimmer Approx. 20-170 €
Lawn trimmer with battery Approx. 40-650 €
Lawn trimmer with petrol engine From approx. 80-1300 €

A trimmer with a petrol engine starts at around €80. Here, too, the price ranges are very wide and you can spend a three- to four-figure sum on a professional device.

On the Internet you can compare a wide range of lawn trimmers. (Picture source: 123rf.com / Sergey Novikov)

How do I use a lawn trimmer?

It is quite easy to use: plug the cable into the socket, insert the battery into the device or fill the petrol tank and then the trimmer can be switched on at the touch of a button.

Before using the trimmer, make sure that the coil or blades have been inserted correctly. The trimmer's cutting system ensures that the lawn is cut appropriately through the rotational movement.

The trimmer usually has an automatic thread tracking system that works by centrifugal force.

The higher the grass, the lower the speed. Therefore, you can stop the device briefly to increase the speed again.

Is it better to use a reel or a blade?

The decision for thread or knife can first be narrowed down by the type of drive. Both cutting tools have their advantages as well as their disadvantages. While the thread spool with nylon thread is predominant in electric lawn trimmers and lawn trimmers with petrol engines, plastic blades are often found in lawn trimmers with rechargeable batteries.

The reason for this is the performance. The blades require less rotational power and therefore conserve the battery.

Did you know that the plastic blades of the trimmer wear out and plastic debris can end up in your garden?

In the test, NDR found that the plastic blades weighed less after use than before, even up to one gram less. The shredded plastic could be found in the garden.

On the other hand, the threads need a higher rotation speed to deliver a good result. The faster wear of the blades leads to more frequent replacement and higher wear. If the knives hit stone or wood, they can quickly splinter. The nylon threads last longer on the spool, but the thread runs out more quickly.

Can I rent a lawn trimmer?

Yes, there are tools available for hire online and in shops. Some DIY stores offer a tool hire service for a fee. You can also rent a lawn trimmer there.

In addition to the rental fee, you can also pay a security deposit, which varies from provider to provider.

These are trimmers for hobby use as well as for professional use. So if you need a trimmer at short notice or only clean the lawn edges infrequently, a rental unit may be worthwhile.

Are there professional lawn trimmers and what are the differences?

Professional lawn trimmers differ in their higher power, weight and usually more complicated handling. While the lawn trimmer for the hobby gardener is usually light and easy to handle with one hand, the professional needs more physical strength to guide the device. These trimmers not only cut grass, but can also remove hard roots.

Did you know that lawn trimming can give you sore muscles?

Most lawn trimmers have a telescopic pole, but tall women or men have to bend down slightly when trimming, which can cause a slight muscle ache. If you are rather untrained, you should start slowly at first and gradually increase your work. Similar to sports training, you will be able to handle the strain better and your muscles will get used to it.

In addition, they often have a plant guard to prevent damage to adjacent plants. Furthermore, the name brushcutter is usually used for a professional machine to better distinguish the machines.

What is the difference between a lawn trimmer and a brushcutter?

While the lawn trimmer is intended for trimming lawns and light weeds, the brush cutter is used for hedges, bushes and coarse weeds - mostly woody roots.

With a lawn trimmer you are able to do fine work in your garden quickly and easily. (Image source: 123rf.com / Pablo Hidalgo)

In addition, a brushcutter is larger and usually equipped with handle grips. Handling is also much more complicated than with a lawn trimmer, as the brushcutter cannot be started simply by pressing a button with one hand. However, there are also similar names on the Internet that offer a lawn trimmer but refer to it as a brushcutter.

What are the alternatives to a lawn trimmer?

Of course, there are some alternatives if the lawn trimmer is not for you. In general, you can use the following garden tools to cut your lawn as you would with a lawn trimmer:

Alternative Description
Lawnmowers Lawnmowers are the most popular way to maintain the lawn. They are easy to use and ideal for small gardens.
Lawn shears Lawn shears are mainly used for very small areas that need a finishing touch. They are also used when other tools, such as the lawn trimmer, or lawn mower are too big to reach the spot.
Power scythes Power scythes, like lawn shears, are used in places that cannot be reached with ordinary mowing equipment.

When making your decision, you should pay attention to the different features of the different tools to find the right gardening tool for you. To make your decision easier, we have summarised the advantages of a lawn trimmer compared to the alternatives.

What are the advantages of a lawn trimmer compared to a lawn mower, lawn shears or a brush cutter?

Compared to a lawn mower, the trimmer can reach hard-to-reach areas such as curves or lawn edges. The lawn trimmer is more suitable for smaller jobs or hedge trimming, as the nylon threads or blades of the trimmer wear out too much and break. The advantage of the lawn trimmer over the lawn shears lies in its efficiency. The trimmer covers more area in less time.

  • Back-friendly work
  • Much freedom of movement
  • High precision
  • Reaches hard-to-reach areas

With its higher power, the brushcutter has an obvious advantage, but it can only be operated well with a little practice. The brush cutter is also more suitable for larger areas, as the precision of the brush cutter is rather coarse in comparison.

For those hard-to-reach lawn edges: the lawn trimmer is ideal for precision work. (Photo source: 123rf.com / Anna Bizoń)

Thanks to the versatile selection of accessories, you can use the lawn trimmer in different areas.

Decision: What types of lawn trimmers are there and which is the right one for you?

In principle, there are three different types of lawn trimmers:

  • Electric lawn trimmer
  • Lawn trimmer with battery
  • Lawn trimmer with petrol engine

The mode of operation differs roughly in the type of drive, which can mean individual advantages and disadvantages in the way it works. Depending on how large or angled your working area is or how much access you have to certain energy sources, the choice of the right lawn trimmer can be limited.

Depending on whether you choose an electric lawn trimmer, a lawn trimmer with a battery or a lawn trimmer with a petrol engine, there are different advantages and disadvantages for you. (Image source: 123rf.com / Tatiana Karaseva)

In the following sections, we would like to help you find out which lawn trimmer is best suited for you. Therefore, we will introduce you to the lawn trimmers mentioned in the list and describe their advantages and disadvantages as well as their mode of operation and area of application.

How does an electric lawn trimmer work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

A big advantage of the electric lawn trimmer is the endurance due to an uninterrupted power supply and a low weight. In addition, the electric lawn trimmer does not use fossil fuels and you can therefore trim your lawn in an ecologically sustainable way.

Advantages
  • Continuous power supply
  • Light weight
  • Ecological due to the absence of fossil fuels
  • Long endurance without interruptions when trimming
Disadvantages
  • Outdoor socket required
  • Cable on trimmer very short
  • Increased safety risk due to cable lying around

The electric lawn trimmer is usually equipped with a string head that requires a high number of revolutions per minute. The rotational movement cuts off the overhanging grass.

Due to the ergonomically shaped handle, the grass trimmer can be guided freely. This makes it possible to trim lawn edges and inaccessible areas on flower beds or trees to the desired height. The continuous power supply is both an advantage and a disadvantage.

You need an outdoor socket and the power cable on the device is usually too short to reach all places. The electric lawn trimmer is more suitable for your own small garden than for large areas such as a meadow. In addition, you don't need to change the oil or the battery with an electric lawn trimmer.

How does a battery-powered lawn trimmer work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The freedom of movement without an annoying cable is the strongest argument for a lawn trimmer with battery. Like the electric lawn trimmer, the lawn trimmer with battery also works on the basis of a cutting system. The difference lies in the type of drive and the cutting tools.

Advantages
  • Great freedom of movement
  • Easy charging
  • Independent of electricity or other fuels
  • Very quiet
Disadvantages
  • Low endurance
  • Battery performance can decrease
  • Higher weight

While the electric lawn trimmer usually includes a spool with nylon filament, the battery-powered trimmer relies on plastic blades. This is due to the power required. With a battery in place, you have more freedom of movement in comparison, but the blades have a shorter life than the nylon thread.

On the other hand, the lawn trimmer needs less rotational power. In addition, the lawn trimmer with the commercially available 18 volt - 36 volt battery and a running time of approx. 30 minutes is a lightweight. However, it is heavier than the electric lawn trimmer.

As a result, it is perfectly suited for longer lawns or walkways. The battery-powered lawn trimmer is also very quiet.

How does a petrol-powered lawn trimmer work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Petrol-powered trimmers have an internal combustion engine and are more powerful than battery- or electricity-powered grass trimmers. If you have a larger garden or want to trim small shrubs, a petrol-powered trimmer is your ideal gardening companion.

Advantages
  • Very high performance
  • Very high freedom of movement
  • Independent of batteries or power sources
Disadvantages
  • High weight due to the existing tank
  • Complicated refilling
  • Very noisy
  • Not ecological

A large garden, a small hedge, disturbing roots, if you know these problems, the lawn trimmer with petrol engine will make your work easier.

Lawn trimmers with petrol engines are heavier than electricity-powered trimmers.

It has two handles and is slightly heavier than an electric trimmer because of the fuel tank. The cutting mechanism is equipped with a thread spool and has a tank that is filled with petrol or petrol mixture. Furthermore, for safety reasons, it is recommended to wear protective clothing and to use a carrying strap.

Trimmers with petrol engines are suitable for large areas due to their significantly higher power, but they are not ecological and are very noisy. Hearing protection is essential when working with these devices.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate lawn trimmers

To make the decision to buy a lawn trimmer a little easier for you, we have listed and explained factors below that you can use to compare and evaluate the devices.

  • Drive type
  • Dimensions
  • Cutting system
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Other criteria

In the following paragraphs we will explain what the individual criteria are.

Type of drive

We have already informed you about the differences between the individual drive types above, but it should be noted here that this is probably the most important decision criterion for buying a lawn trimmer.

First consider the size of the area you want to trim and whether you want to trim lawns or woody plants. A mains-powered lawn trimmer is ideal for short distances, an existing outdoor socket and trimming lawn edges.

However, if you prefer more freedom of movement and independence from power sources, the battery-powered lawn trimmer may be the better choice. If you want to trim bushes or roots in addition to a larger area, the petrol lawn trimmer with more power can score best.

For regular use to trim your lawn edges and impassable areas, the battery lawn trimmer is usually the best choice. However, you should also get to know the alternatives for special cases.

Dimensions

Lawn trimmers come in a wide range of sizes, and they also differ in the possibility of offering adjustable handles. As a rule, the lawn trimmer fits into any tool shed, garage or other storage space. It does not take up much space.

As a general rule, the larger and heavier the tool, the greater the power of the lawn trimmer. (Image source: 123rf.com / quark)

The electric lawn trimmer takes up the least space, because apart from a possible extension cable, no other things are needed, such as the battery charger and the corresponding battery for the cordless lawn trimmer.

On the other hand, petrol lawn trimmers are a little more bulky due to the petrol tank and the two-handle holder that is usually present.

Most lawn trimmers are about one metre high and fit into most corners with a width of 20-25 cm.

Petrol lawn trimmers require a little more space with an approximate height of 150 to 180 cm. In addition, these devices are heavier than battery or electric lawn trimmers due to the necessary petrol tank.

Cutting system

We have already explained the two different cutting systems with string or blade in the guidebook, but this is also an important criterion to help you make your purchase decision.

While the plastic blades are intended more for use on soft grass and light weeds, the nylon thread with either single or double thread technology is somewhat more robust and can also trim woody plants if necessary.

In addition, there are devices with automatic thread adjustment that ensure uninterrupted trimming. If the blades are worn out, the work must be interrupted so that the blades can be replaced. Furthermore, the blades can chip more easily as soon as they come into contact with stone slabs.

Extending the thread on lawn trimmers without automatic thread adjustment is usually a bit more work, but they can be used on slabs and stone edges without wearing out immediately.

Cutting width

When you want to cut grass with your lawn trimmer, you usually work with a string or blades. Lawn trimmers have a different cutting width up to the guard plate, which protects you from cutting yourself.

The cutting width does not differ significantly between battery and electric lawn trimmers. For example, if you have a small lawn with a few trees or bushes, one of the two devices mentioned above is usually enough.

However, if your area is larger, you are better off with a petrol lawn trimmer, because these devices trim with a larger cutting circle of approx. 300 mm.

Power

Lawn trimmers have different power ratings. Depending on the work you have to do with the lawn trimmer, a device with a different power rating is recommended. If you mainly want to cut grass and light weeds with the trimmer, you can choose a cheaper lawn trimmer with less power.

However, if you need the lawn trimmer for cutting shrubs or roots, you should choose a powerful lawn trimmer, such as a petrol-powered one. Depending on the necessity of the work you need to do, a lawn trimmer with a certain power rating makes sense.

Speed

There are different speeds per minute depending on the model. These values can help you assess the efficiency of the devices. Lawn trimmers with blades usually mow with fewer revolutions, as the blades are larger than the string and can therefore grip more grass.

With a lawn trimmer, your garden can also look super neat. (Image source: 123rf.com / Anna Bizoń)

Lawn trimmers with a string achieve a far greater number of revolutions to be able to ensure the necessary efficiency. This also consumes more energy, so this cutting system is more common in electric and petrol lawn trimmers.

Depending on the amount of work you have to do, you can decide which grass trimmer with which speed is best for you.

Other criteria

Noise level

Lawn trimmers have very different noise levels when trimming. There are devices on the market that reach 100db or more. Hearing protection is indispensable here.

The battery-powered lawn trimmer is quieter than the petrol-powered trimmer.

While the noise level of a battery-powered lawn trimmer is usually very quiet at less than 90 db, the level of a petrol-powered lawn trimmer is usually around 95- 105 db, making hearing protection necessary, as well as the possible understanding of your neighbours.

The electric lawn trimmer, on the other hand, is in the middle range at approx. 90 db and is therefore a good choice if you want to do without a noisy backdrop when mowing.

Cleaning / Maintenance

After the work is done, the lawn trimmer should be cleaned and serviced regularly. Depending on the model, this can be more or less time-consuming. Since lawn debris usually accumulates on the underside, you should remove it first.

You should spray moving parts with oil from a spray can and during the winter months the battery of the cordless lawn trimmer should be charged at irregular intervals. When using a petrol lawn trimmer, make sure you use the right fuel so as not to damage the engine.

Finally, you should clean the protection and the tools of the trimmer regularly after work. It is best to use an all-purpose cleaner for this. At the same time, you can also check whether the cutting tool is still correctly mounted on the guard.

Equipment and accessories

Lawn trimmers are usually supplied with certain equipment and various accessories. These usually include:

  • Handles
  • Cutting tools
  • Carrying straps

Handles can vary in number as well as in shape. In general, they are ergonomically shaped to guarantee easy handling. Most of the devices are equipped with two-hand grips and can be adjusted. However, there are also devices with non-adjustable handles.

Cutting tools are either already attached or are supplied separately for replacement. These are usually replaceable plastic blades that can be plugged in or string heads with extra spools that are attached to the lawn trimmer.

Which cutting tool you need depends on the work you want to do. There are also devices to which brushes or saws can be attached for special area work. These are not always included in the scope of delivery.

Carrying straps are usually included with petrol lawn trimmers because of their weight. These are not usually necessary with electric or battery-powered lawn trimmers, as they usually weigh around 3-4 kg. Additional accessories may include the following parts:

  • Safety goggles
  • Hearing protection
  • Spare batteries
  • Charger
  • Spare blades
  • Spare coils
  • Container for the petrol tank
  • Tools for maintenance

Depending on how work-intensive and varied the use of your lawn trimmer is, you should consider which equipment and accessories you will need before buying.

Facts worth knowing about lawn trimmers

Finally, we would like to answer a few important questions about lawn trimmers and their use. You will find out how to care for and clean your lawn trimmer, what accessories are available and how long the garden tool has been around.

How do I care for and clean a lawn trimmer?

The lawn trimmer is easy to care for, but it should be cleaned of dirt regularly. To be able to work safely, you should first make sure that the power supply is cut off. Then you can easily remove the lawn debris from under the guard with a hand brush. This should be done regularly so as not to impair the performance. It is best to do this after every use.

External dirt is best wiped off with a damp cloth. To ensure the safety of the appliance, it is advisable to check the screws regularly. Changing the cutting tools is also uncomplicated. The thread spool is either replaced with a completely new one or replaced with a new nylon thread.

Investing in a new thread spool will be more expensive in the long run than a new thread. Replacing the blades is also easy. Here, only the plastic blade is clipped off and the new blade is reattached to the attachment.

What accessories are available for lawn trimmers and where can I buy them?

Accessories such as chargers or brush rollers can be purchased conveniently online or in shops. You can buy the following accessories for the lawn trimmer:

  • Double thread spool
  • Brush roller
  • Spare blade set
  • Protective attachment
  • Universal brush cutter head
  • Battery charger
  • Safety goggles
  • Hearing protection
  • Plant protection guard

You can buy accessories for lawn trimmers in specialist shops, garden shops or online. The selection is very diverse and ranges from universal brush cutters to replacement batteries, various protective attachments and protective clothing.

How long have lawn trimmers been around?

The first blades were used in the 17th century. They were attached to long wooden sticks.

The first motorised lawn mower was developed in the 19th century.

This was a form of scythe to cut the lawn for events. Sheep, which had previously performed this service, were no longer sufficient for this purpose. With motorisation came the first lawn mowers in the 19th century.

But these devices could not handle the fine cut, and so the lawn trimmer made its entrance into the garden world at the beginning of the 1980s. To this day, they are subject to constant improvement in performance and handling.

Picture source: 123rf.com / Pablo Hidalgo

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