Everything You Need to Know About Electric Strimmers

The first question we get from most rookie gardeners is, “What’s the difference between an electric grass trimmer and a strimmer?” So, we’ll start today’s discussion with this question. 

What’s the difference between electric grass trimmers and strimmers?

None! Strimmer is just a shortened form of grass trimmers, and this is mostly used by the British. Well, with that out of the way, I guess we can delve deep into electric strimmers. But before that, let’s see what electric strimmers, or grass trimmers, really are!

gardener contemplating
Gardener Contemplating Strimmers

What’s an Electric Strimmer?

 An electric strimmer is a tool that can cut through grass easily. Whereas other similar tools use blades to do this job, strimmers use thin nylon strands. As these rotate very fast, they can cut through strands of grass very easily. 

If you want to keep your garden clean, the strimmers are one of the best tools that you can get. Electric strimmers offer lots of benefits over the lawnmowers and pruning shears. For starters, it’s faster and more convenient than a pruning shear, plus it’s lighter as well. Yes, it doesn’t provide the raw power of a lawnmower, but that isn’t bad. As it doesn’t use blades to cut through the grass, it won’t end up damaging your fences, pavement, or walkways. 

That’s why if your task includes clearing the grass near a wall or fence, using a lawnmower isn’t a good idea. On the other hand, an electric strimmer will help you cut the grass without damaging the property!

Types of Strimmers

Like every other garden tool, there’s a variety of strimmers as well. Although this article is dedicated to electric strimmers, we’ll talk about the other types as well, so that you can choose the best one for you. Here it is:

Petrol Powered Strimmers

The petrol-powered strimmers are the most powerful amongst the strimmers, which was expected. These are run by two-stroke engines, and usually, their powers vary. The power level of the petrol-powered strimmers is depicted with ‘cc,’ just like those of motor cars. 

With the petrol-powered strimmers, you won’t have to manage any wiring, which makes it very portable. However, these are also a bit heavier than the electric strimmers. 

As these are very powerful, some of the petrol-powered strimmers offer external cutting attachment that allows them to cut through shrubs and bushes. 

The petrol-powered strimmers are very powerful, and they can cut through any type of grass, shrubs, and bushes you through at them. However, they come with some drawbacks as well. For example, petrol-powered strimmers are quite heavy. At least, they’re heavier than the electric strimmers. 

Then again, you need to refuel them every now and then, which makes them tougher to maintain. Plus, starting the tool up is far easier in the case of electric strimmers. As you have to refuel them, the maintenance cost rises by manyfold. 

The bottom line is, the petrol-powered strimmers offer high raw power, but they are tougher to maintain, and they come with lower cost-efficiency. 

Electric Strimmers

When it comes to electric strimmers, there are two types that you can choose from. Firstly, there are the battery-powered electric strimmers, and secondly, there are the corded electric strimmers. Let’s talk about them in detail. 

Battery Powered Electric Strimmers

These electric strimmers come with a lithium-ion battery that powers the motor. Comparatively, these are lighter than the petrol-powered strimmers. However, that also means that these are comparatively less powerful than the petrol-powered ones. 

Then again, you need to recharge these often to keep them running. An average battery-powered electric strimmer can be used for around 20 minutes, but then they need to be charged. However, a model that offers a better battery can last longer.

So, the question is, for whom is this suitable? Well, if you’re going to cut grasses of a small yard or garden, then this will work perfectly for you. Just think whether your garden can be trimmed in 20 minutes or not. If you can do it, you’ll be well off with a battery-powered electric strimmer.

Then again, if you have a large yard, but you don’t mind charging the strimmer after every 20 minutes, then you won’t face any problem with the battery-powered electric strimmers. 

Previously, the battery-powered electric strimmers couldn’t trim shrubs, bushes, or thick grass. However, technology has advanced a lot since then, and now the battery-powered electric strimmers provide enough power to meet the demands of any household. So, the only limiting factor that you’ll face is the low battery runtime. 

Corded Electric Strimmers

If you’re looking for the most affordable electric strimmers, you should go for the corded electric strimmers. Although these are the cheapest electric strimmers one can grab, it doesn’t mean that they are bad. 

Corded electric strimmers are comparatively cheaper than petrol-powered strimmers and battery-powered electric strimmers because these need to be plugged into an electrical outlet all the time. 

So, these are comparatively tougher to use than the cordless and petrol powered strimmers, as you’ll be attached to a point with a wire all the time. 

Yes, you can choose extension cables, but choosing the right extension cable can be a tough job too. However, that doesn’t mean that the corded electric strimmers are bad. In fact, if you’re going to use the strimmer for household purposes, a cordless electric strimmer will be enough for you. 

Plus, as these need to be connected to a power outlet all the time, you don’t have to worry about the battery running out. You can use them to trim your garden smoothly by taking all the time you need. 

We highly recommend the corded electric strimmers if you have a medium-sized or a small garden. On the other hand, if you need to venture far from your house, using a corded electric trimmer isn’t a good idea. In which case, you can use a battery-powered electric strimmer. 

Hybrid Electric Strimmers

Finally, there are the hybrid-electric strimmers. Essentially, these tools are a blend of both the corded electric strimmers and the battery-powered electric strimmers. There will be a battery that’ll be powering the strimmer for usage. Plus, there will be a cord that you can use to power it once the battery runs out.

The hybrid-electric strimmers are comparatively expensive, but they are quite convenient. If you can spend the extra to get one of these, we highly recommend these. 

Which Type of Strimmer is Perfect for You?

Now that you know the types of strimmers, you have to choose the one perfect for your usage. Let’s use the method of elimination to narrow down to the best one for you.

The perfect type of trimmer for you will depend on your need. If you have questions like “can you use an electric strimmer in the rain?”, you have to take a lot of factors into account. Let’s take all the different types of strimmers into account first. Do you need high raw power? If not, you don’t need the petrol-powered strimmers. These tools aren’t only hard to maintain, but they’re very inconvenient for personal usage as well.

As they use organic fuel, a lot of these tools emit black smoke, which is unhealthy for both the body and the environment. Plus, these tools are very heavy, and they have a high maintenance cost. 

Then we have the electric strimmers. If you can spend the extra cash, we highly recommend the hybrid electric strimmers. These strimmers offer the features of both corded and cordless electric strimmers, making them the most flexible strimmers. 

However, if you’d rather save that money, you can go for the battery-powered electric strimmers. Bear in mind that the battery-powered strimmers are a bit expensive than the corded electric strimmers, but these are the go-to as they offer more convenience and flexibility, making them more appropriate if you need to venture far away from the power outlets.

Then again, the battery-powered electric strimmers run away pretty quickly. If you despise that, and you don’t mind spending some time to research about the right extension cord for your electric strimmer, then we highly recommend the corded electric strimmers

The cordless electric strimmers are the cheapest ones, but you’ll need to spend some extra on the extension cords. Then again, there’s no possibility that these will run out of battery in the middle of usage, which makes them a great option. 

How to Avoid Accidents While Using Electric Strimmers

When you’re using electric strimmers, a lot of things can go wrong. Although the chances of the accident becoming fatal are extremely low, you can end up injuring yourself badly. Then again, there’s also the chance of damaging property. So, let’s take a look at what you can do to avoid accidents while using electric strimmers. 

Wear Protective Gear

We couldn’t stress this enough! This is one of the most important steps, but sadly, a lot of people avoid this. When you turn your electric strimmer on, the nylon starts rotating at an RPM of 3000, which is insanely high. If that touches you, be sure that you’ll have to carry a nasty scar for the rest of your life. 

So, we highly recommend you wear thick plastic gloves and boots. When you’re buying a pair of boots for yourself, make sure that they’re at least knee-high. Then again, you must wear protective goggles. When the electric strimmer is cutting grass at high speed, a lot of grass and other debris will be kicked upwards, and there’s a great chance that they might enter your eyes. Only a protective goggle can save you from this.

Then again, we highly recommend earmuffs or noise-canceling earphones to users. The tool gets very noisy when used for a long time, and if you are exposed to this sound over a long period of time, you’re most likely to suffer from hearing loss. 

Avoid Debris and Cables

You don’t know what you may find when you’re trimming your yard, and there’s a great chance that you may get distracted. However, we urge you to stay focused when you’re trimming your yard. If you see any debris in front of you, you should stop your strimmer immediately, and you should get rid of that debris. 

If the debris falls under the strimmer, either you or the strimmer may get damaged or injured. So, you need to be extra careful here. 

Then again, if you run your electric strimmer over routed cables, the cables may get damaged. If those are water cables, you’ll end up with busted cables. Then again, if you run over electric cables, there’s a potential risk of getting electrocuted. 

So, you should always be careful when you’re trimming the grass of your yard. 

Know When to Stop

If you use the power tools for a long time, you might feel strained. If you’re wearing protective gear, the strain will be reduced to a great extent, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be free from it completely. 

So, you should never use these for a long period. Take breaks often and stay hydrated as you’ll be sweating profusely while using these. If you’re feeling unwell, you should avoid using them altogether. 

Getting Started

Now, we’ll talk about how you can get started with the electric strimmer you purchased. Here are the steps that you must follow:

Read the Manuals

Every electric strimmer comes with a handbook of a sort, and it’s very important that you go through this handbook. This handbook will contain all the information that you must know to preserve the tool and to use it properly. 

If you skip the handbook, you may end up taking a wrong step that will reduce the longevity of the tool by a great deal. If you’re using a corded electric strimmer, you’ll get to know which voltage of outlet you should use and the perfect gauge of the extension cable. Then again, if you’re using a cordless electric strimmer, you’ll know how you can preserve the battery and make the best use of it. 

Get Your Garden Ready

As we’ve said before, you might face an accident if any debris falls under your strimmer. So, we highly recommend you clear away the garden before you even begin. So, before starting, take off all the chairs, tables, or any similar object that can be moved to clear the clutter as much as you can.

Then again, look for debris in your garden. If you even find the smallest piece of glass, tin can, or plastic, you should dump that in a bin right away! 

Once you’re sure that the garden is completely clean, you can finally start trimming the grass. 

Can You Use an Electric Strimmer in the Rain?

A lot of people think that cutting the grass during or after rain makes it easier. However, the opposite is true. You should never even think about using an electric strimmer in the rain. 

Electric strimmer, irrespective of whether it’s cordless or corded, is made of electrical components. As we all know, electricity and water don’t go that well. If you use an electric strimmer in the rain, water will reach the internal components of the strimmer, and it will end up damaging the components permanently. 

Then again, the grass gets thick, and the soil becomes very muddy after it rains. Thick grass will be harder to trim. To cut thicker grass, your electric strimmer will have to draw more power than usual, which will end up burning the strimmer’s motor, which can damage the motor permanently. 

So, the answer to the question“can you use an electric strimmer in the rain?” is, you shouldn’t use an electric strimmer in the rain, ever. 

What Can You Do with an Electric Strimmer?

An electric strimmer can do more than just trimming your lawn. Now, we’ll look at the things you can do with an electric strimmer. 

Trimming Grass and Weeds

Most people use an electric strimmer to trim the long grass and weeds of their yard and garden. An electric strimmer does a great job when it comes to trimming grass. Not only does this draw less power than a lawnmower, but it’s quieter as well. So, you can use strimmers instead of lawnmowers any day. 

How to

Simply hovering the electric strimmer over the grass won’t do you any good. If you want to cut through the grass efficiently, you need to follow a specific motion, which is called scything. 

To scythe through long grasses and weeds, you need to have a powerful strimmer. We recommend a very powerful battery-powered or corded electric strimmer, or any petrol-powered strimmer will do the trick. 

To do this, you need to hold the strimmer at an angle. Then, you need to hold the strimmer as further away from you as possible, and you should pull it towards you. Once it’s close to you, take a ‘U’ shaped turn and draw it further from you. 

This motion is called scything, and this is known to be one of the most efficient methods of cutting through long strands of grass. 

If you’re cutting the weeds that grow through the cracks in the walkways or the pavement, you need some skill. This is comparatively a harder thing to do, as you don’t want the nylon to hit the concrete. That’s why you’ll be better off with a lighter strimmer to do this. Plus, you shouldn’t attempt this if you have a shaky hand.

To get started, we recommend you take an electric strimmer. Then, you should lower the height of the spool slowly in a manner that it doesn’t hit the ground but cuts the weed. 

Edging the Yard, Walkways, or Flower Beds

A lot of people buy edgers and lawnmowers separately, as both serve different purposes. However, if you want to save the extra money, you can opt for an electric strimmer instead. Electric strimmers aren’t only cheaper, but they can also do both! 

Yes, you can edge your yard, walkways, or flower beds with an electric strimmer. However, it’s not as perfect as an edger would be. Then again, if you want to save a bit of cash and you don’t mind putting the extra effort into perfecting the edges of your yard, you can opt for a strimmer easily. 

How to

You can’t expect to have a perfectly edged yard the very first time you try this. However, if you keep on doing this, you’ll be able to learn how to control the strimmer properly. To edge a garden, yard, or lawn properly, you need to follow this procedure:

At first, you need to set the spool at the height you need to edge at. Then, you must take a firm stance and slowly drive the strimmer over the edge. We highly recommend you mark the edges before you begin.

To mark the edges, you should use a rope. Make sure to hold the rope in position with pieces of rocks and pebbles. This will enable you to get a much clearer cut. 

However, remember that there will be a lot of dirt, grass, and debris flying about, so wear the prescribed gears, so you don’t get hurt in the process. 

Cleaning the Garden Walls

Although a lawnmower is more powerful than an electric trimmer, you can’t use those to clear a wall or a fence. You can do this easily with an electric strimmer. As an electric strimmer doesn’t use any blade, it’s comparatively a lot more friendly to the walls and fences. 

If you find that weeds or small plants are growing through the cracks of your walls, you can use an electric strimmer to clear those. In such a case, you don’t have to worry about damaging your garden walls. 

How to

Tapering a wall or a fence is quite easy with an electric strimmer. The best part about this is, an electric strimmer doesn’t damage the wall in the process, but it’s far easier than any other tool out there. 

If you’re cutting the grass near a wall, fence, or pole, don’t cut at the usual flat angle. Instead, taper the angle of the nylon a bit. If you use this method, you won’t be able to cut through grasses fast, but you’ll be creating a special effect. 

If you taper the grass, it won’t look unattractive like it would if you would’ve cut it at a flat angle. That’s why it’s preferred by most expert gardeners. 

Decorating Your Yard

Trimmers move in a fixed direction, and if these are used in a certain way, they can create textures on the grass. In fact, decorating your yard with electric strimmers is quite easy. However, you’ll need prior experience to figure out how you can use your strimmer to create beautiful textures in your yard. 

Expert Advice on Using an Electric Strimmer

If you’ve bought an electric strimmer only recently, you’ll need some figuring out to know how to extract the maximum potential out of it. An electric strimmer is a bit of a complicated tool, but once you get the hang of it, you can do a lot with it. Now, we’ll give you some expert tips that’ll help you cut the grass properly with an electric strimmer. 

Utilize the Cutting Direction

While an electric strimmer cuts through grasses, it moves the grasses in a certain direction. Now, different strimmers move the grass in different directions, and you can know which direction your strimmer moves the grass to by reading the provided manual. 

If you see that the grass is being thrown to the right side of the tool, it means that the left side of the strimmer has a better cutting potential. So, if you’re edging your yard, you should keep the left side on the line you marked beforehand. 

Then again, if you want to keep some portion of your yard left untouched, you should move from right to left. This will help you determine which portions are being cut more precisely. 

Know-How to Maximize the Cutting Force

Although you might think that the strimmer provides the same power all across the line of nylon, it doesn’t. An electric strimmer leverages centrifugal force to cut down the grasses. The more powerful your strimmer is, the more efficiently it will be able to cut down the grass. 

However, the centrifugal force is maximum at the very edge of the nylon. So, the grass at the very edge of the nylon will be cut more efficiently. If you’re targeting a specific patch of grass, position the edge of your nylon there. 

Final Words

As you can see, there are a lot of things to learn when it comes to using electric strimmers. An electric strimmer is a bit complicated tool because it doesn’t use blades that cut more or less uniformly. 

However, if you follow the tips mentioned in this comprehensive guide, you’ll be able to cut through chunks of grass without any extra effort! 

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your electric strimmer of choice, and get started today! 

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I've been raised in a family of international gardeners spanning multiple generations, from vegetable growers in Germany to fruit tree growers in Iran. I hope you find the information you read useful to using electric gardening tools in gardening.

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