Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Weed Trimmer

A weedwacker can make short work of even the toughest trimming jobs.

Weedwackers are one of the greatest inventions ever—particularly for those older gardeners who find that bending over for long stretches isn’t as easy as it used to be. But which model should you buy? Gas or electric? Battery or corded? With all of the models out there it can all get a bit dizzying, so we’ve boiled the key things to consider down to a few simple points. Follow this advice to find the perfect weedwacker for your yard.

Assess Your Yard

This battery powered weedwacker offers an innovative push-button, command-feed spool system for instant line feeding. WORX

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Before you start shopping online, step outside and assess your yard. How big an area do you have that will require trimming? If your yard is small and you can reach all of the areas with a simple extension cord, a corded model is probably fine. If you need to reach areas that are outside of cord range, however, a cordless model (either gas- or battery-operated) is what you’ll need.

Electric, Cordless, or Gas Powered

This trimmer utilizes a 40V MAX lithium battery for a long runtime while a PowerCommand dial allows you to choose between MAX power and MAX runtime. BLACK+DECKER

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Weedwackers come in three styles; each with their own pros and cons.

Electric: Electric weedwackers tend to be lighter than gas-powered brethren and they are a lot quieter. You don’t have to worry about keeping smelly gas cans around and you won’t be adding pollution into the atmosphere. You will, however, be limited to the range you can reach with an extension cord and where your outdoor outlets are located.

Battery-operated: Cordless designs allow you freedom to roam anywhere you need to trim without having to hassle with cords and outlets. They’re also lighter than other weedwacker models. You will be limited by the run time on the battery (many of these use Lithium batteries for longer charges), but that problem can easily be remedied by either buying a model that comes with two batteries or ordering your weedwacker with a back-up battery so you can easily switch out batteries when one poops out.

Gas-powered: Gas wackers are made to do a lot of hard work. Gas-powered models are definitely more powerful, they generally hold more string, and many models utilize thicker cords so you can power through thicker weeds. The downside, of course, is that you’ll need gas (or gas and oil for some models) and gas-powered units are noisier. If you need to trim hard-to-reach parts of your yard where bigger weeds lurk or if you intend to also trim hedges occasionally, a gas-powered model is the way to go. Look for models that have a see-through gas tank to easily gauge how much running time you have before you need to fill up.

Safety First

This gas-powered trimmer features a 28cc 2-cycle engine, which powers the 17-inch (cutting width) trimmer head. Husqvarna

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While buzzing around the yard with a weedwacker can be fun, you need to consider a few safety factors first:

Protective eyewear: Safety glasses or a plexiglass visor is an absolute must protect your eyes from stones or debris that can kick up while trimming.

Leather gloves: Tough, leather gloves are also recommended to keep hands protected against flying debris.Clothing and footwear: Long pants and a long-sleeve shirt will also keep you protected against rocks and other flying items. And make sure you’re wearing suitably thick boots to prevent any mishaps while trimming.

Be careful what you whack: God forbid you mistakenly hack into a patch of poison ivy while you’re trimming up a storm (again, a good reason to wear pants and a long-sleeve shirt), so keep a careful eye out for what lies ahead as you go.

One last tip: No matter which model you ultimately decide on, purchase some extra cord so you don’t get caught short on string in the middle of a trimming job.