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How to Choose a Trimmer

Power Systems.

Electric/Cordless trimmers are lighter and quieter than traditional gas trimmers. They also require no fuel mixing and eliminate the need to pull start. However, electric/cordless trimmers are less powerful. Electric trimmers are recommended for those with smaller yards (usually under 100 yards from an outlet) because of the constraint of using an extension cord. Cordless trimmers are very portable and lightweight, and can be used for larger yards. Most are rechargeable, allowing for continuous use. Both are excellent choices for those with light weeds and smaller trimming jobs.

Gas trimmers are more powerful than electric or cordless trimmers and are the best choice for those with large and extended trimming jobs, heavy weeds or brush. Traditional 2-cycle trimmers provide consistent and dependable power. However, they use a combination of oil and gas and require mixing of the fuel. Four-cycle trimmers eliminate the need to mix oil and gas, while providing 30% more fuel efficiency than traditional 2-cycle engines. They also provide more torque. In addition, 4-cycle trimmers are considerably cleaner running, meeting more stringent air quality regulations.

A commercial engine provides the greatest durability and dependability, with higher torque. Commercial-grade components and the full-crank design give superior durability and reduced vibration. A fixed-jet carburetor provides optimal performance in all operating conditions and the chrome-plated cylinder and piston extends engine life. An outboard starter allows for easy maintenance and service. And an advanced solid-state ignition provides reliable starting. Look for a commercial engine for heavy, extended or landscaper use.

Starting.

Electric and cordless trimmers are the easiest trimmers to start, eliminating pull starting of any kind.

For gas trimmers, look for easy pull starting, which requires less effort to pull the starter rope. Also available are easy-starting features, which eliminate confusing choke settings for simple and effortless starting.

Shaft.

Curved shaft units are good basic trimmers for average trimming jobs. Straight shaft models are generally longer, giving easier access to areas underneath shrubs, fences and low branches. For taller users, straight shaft trimmers are also more comfortable to use and reduce user fatigue. The heavy-duty gearbox often found on straight shaft models also offers greater durability.

A split shaft or attachment-capable shaft gives you the greatest versatility. It allows the lower part of the shaft to be switched out with a variety of multi-task attachments, such as an edger, cultivator, blower or hedge trimmer. This system gives you a versatile lawn and garden system with one single powerhead.

Cutting Width/Line Diameter.

Look for a cutting width of 9" to 12" for light use and smaller jobs, usually found on electric trimmers. For more moderate use, look for 13" to 15" cutting width. And for heaviest and extended use, look for cutting widths of 16" or more.

Dual line provides twice the life of single line and allows the unit to run with better balance and less vibration.

  • .065" Diameter Line - For light weeds and vegetation.
  • .080" Diameter Line - Lasts longer than smaller diameter line and provides more cutting power on heavier vegetation.
  • .095" Diameter Line - For heavy, extended or professional use; 41% greater line area than traditional .080" line for improved cutting of heavier vegetation and greatly improved resistance to line breakage when used around fences, brick, concrete, etc.

Look for a brushcutter blade when trimming tall, heavy vegetation or light brush. A reversible brush blade gives the blade twice the cutting life.

Line Feed.

Look for easy line loading systems that make replacing the string easier than ever. These systems can enable the user to reload line without removing the spool from the cutting head or taking the spool apart.

Also, for ease of use, look for automatic feed line advance. This system feeds new line automatically with no tapping or bumping of the cutting head. Traditional bump feed releases pre-measured line with tapping or bumping of the head. Both allow for continuous operation of the unit.

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Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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