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Grass Trimmer FAQs

Grass trimmers come with several different features, and if you’re not well-versed in the terminology it can be tricky to know which one to buy. Read our answers to frequently asked questions to help you make sure you’re buying the right grass trimmer for your needs.

What is the difference between a brush cutter and a grass trimmer?

Basically, a brush cutter is more heavy-duty than a grass trimmer. Brush cutters often have a circular toothed blade that spins round and is suitable for cutting down woody weeds and thick overgrowth such as brambles and bracken. 
Grass trimmers are usually line trimmers with a single or double nylon line which spins round. Grass trimmers are suitable for cutting overlong grass and weeds such as nettles. Line trimmers are more suitable for cutting right up against walls, fences and trees.

Do I need a grass trimmer with a straight shaft or a bent (curved) shaft?

Trimmers with a curved or bent shaft are usually shorter than straight shaft trimmers, which makes them a little lighter. As the head of the trimmer is also closer to your feet, the curved shaft trimmer can feel more manoeuvrable, more balanced and easier to control.
On the downside, if you are very tall, then a bent shaft trimmer may be too short for you – you may need to hunch over to use it which would be uncomfortable. Trimming grass under benches or undergrowth is also trickier with a bent shaft trimmer. The main advantage of a straight shaft trimmer is that the drive cable or rod, which links the engine or motor to the trimmer head, is straight. It can be made of rigid material so is likely to perform and wear better.

Why are some grass trimmers called ‘split-shaft’?

As the name suggests, the shaft of some grass trimmers can be split in half. This makes the trimmer easier to transport and store. For many trimmers it also means that you can exchange the trimmer head for a different type, e.g. a hedge trimmer, pole pruner, tiller etc. This type of trimmer is often called a “multi-tool”.

What is the difference between a bike (or cow horn) handle and a loop handle?

A grass trimmer with a bike or cow horn handle is ideal if you have a harness and need to cut large areas of overgrowth. A bike handle enables you to move the grass trimmer in a wide to-and-fro sweeping action which covers a lot of ground quickly.

A grass trimmer with a loop handle is more manoeuvrable and better for more precise cutting around shrubs and trees, and on awkward angles.

What is a ‘bump-feed’ head?

To let out more line on a bump-feed trimmer, all you need to do is gently tap the bottom of the trimmer on the floor. This will cause the spring in the trimmer head to compress, releasing more line. The more you bump the head, the more line is released. Don’t worry if you release too much line – it will trim to the correct length as it spins against the trimmer guard.

Do I need a grass trimmer or brush cutter with a line head or a metal blade?

A spinning metal blade will be able to cut through tough woody weeds, brambles, young saplings and young shrubs. A grass trimmer with a metal blade is often called a brush cutter. The main disadvantage of using a metal blade is that you can’t cut against solid objects such as walls, fences or trees.
A line trimmer will have one or two spinning nylon lines which will cut through long grass and weeds. Line trimmers can be used against fences and walls. If you can’t decide then why not buy a grass trimmer that has a metal blade AND a line trimmer head?

Ready to buy a grass trimmer? Take a look at our wide range of grass trimmers and use the filters to find the best one for your garden.