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Buying a String Trimmer

Tips for choosing the trimmer that is right for you

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Buying a String Trimmer
photo © David R. Yeo/Wikimedia Commons

As with buying nearly any household machine or gadget, the choices involved with buying a string trimmer can be dizzying. One could realistically go to a store to buy a string trimmer and be faced with at least half-a-dozen different choices based on price, options, engine size, and brand name. When making any large purchase, it makes sense to research the item a little bit. An informed customer is more likely to make a purchase that will best suit their needs.

Price Points

Similar to lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, chainsaws, and backpack blowers, string trimmer models fall into several price points. Price points are carefully researched cost thresholds of what a consumer is willing to spend on a product. For example, research might indicate that an average homeowner will spend $299 on a string trimmer but less likely to spend $349. In accordance, a line of string trimmers will be geared towards the homeowner and their price point. The same applies for landscapers, with owner/operators likely to spend more on a piece of equipment than an owner with hired help who may not take proper care of the equipment. This usually leads to several convenient pricing options with quality and pricing based on the market research.

Husqvarna, for example, generally has three lines of product. The 100 Series or prosumer model, the 300 Series or commercial line, and the 500 Series or heavy duty model. Each model line is based on a different price point and the wide spectrum allows for a trimmer for almost any budget or use. A quick look at their website shows 17 different string trimmers to choose from with prices ranging from $159 -$459. As with lawn mowers, the more expensive string trimmers are equipped with larger engines and higher quality parts.

What will it be used for?

Beyond price points, the main question when buying a string trimmer is what it will be used for. There's no sense in buying a top-of-the-line, heavy duty trimmer when it's only used once a week to trim the stragglers that the mowers leave behind. On the other hand, a low-end, homeowner model, would not be the best trimmer for a lawn care company working 6-7 days a week, operating a trimmer every day.

String trimmers are capable of doing a variety of jobs from trimming little bits of grass left behind by a lawn mower, to hacking down large expanses of over-grown weeds. Inexpensive, homeowner trimmer models are more suited to light trimming while the commercial and heavy duty models could easily handle the wear and tear of trimming larger areas.

Tied in with the price point and use of the trimmer is the quality of it's parts and construction. While not all inexpensive string trimmers are low quality, they are meant for light use. A commercial or heavy duty trimmer will more likely be made of higher quality parts simply because their anticipated use is much more than a homeowner model.

Fuel Source

Another consideration when buying a string trimmer is how it is powered. There are more choices than ever when it comes to powering small engines. Two-stroke mixed fuel engines once dominated the trimmer market but emissions laws and a more environmentally aware public has prompted the introduction of four-stroke engines, propane powered engines, battery power and the old stand-by corded electric string trimmer. It's up to the consumer to buy the trimmer that most suits their needs.

Attachments

Some trimmers have the ability to accept other attachments and are more of a multi-purpose tool than a string trimmer. The trimmer head detaches and can be replaced by a hedge trimmer, power broom, pole saw, blowers or brush-cutter. Each attachment is generally sold separately and the price can quickly escalate depending on the number of attachments a buyer wants to commit to.

Innovative trimmer heads can also be attached as an aftermarket item. Traditional trimmer heads can be troublesome and confusing to work with and there are several easy to use variations that may be worth looking into if  you have ever experienced the aggravation of winding twine onto a trimmer head and trying to reattach it.

Safety

String trimmers can be every bit as dangerous as a lawn mower and the same precautions should be taken as with lawn mowers. Shields must be kept in place and the operator should always wear a full face shield, long pants, long sleeves, and hearing protection. Onlookers should not be present when string trimming, especially children.

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