In this guide we’ll take a look at the best garden strimmers for the UK market.
I’ve compared performance, design, usability and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What is The Best Strimmer?
More Detailed Garden Strimmer Reviews
Black and Decker often pull it out the bag when it comes to garden equipment, and this BLACK+DECKER 36v Lithium-Ion Cordless Electric Strimmer wins first place for the best strimmer on the market.
It has no cable which may calm your concerns over cutting through the power supply. Instead it uses a powerful 36V lithium battery that cuts 3750 linear metres in one charge. That means unless your garden is a field you can get it done it one go. Lithium batteries are a great investment because they don’t need to run flat before recharging and this one will hold charge for a whopping 18 months.
It’s a pretty powerful strimmer too, with a high-torque gear system that can whizz through rough and overgrown areas at 8500rpm with a 30cm cutting swathe.
But that doesn’t mean it’s heavy-handed on lighter jobs, because there’s a power select switch. You can choose ECO for low key edging, trimming and a maximum run time, or Turbo for heavier growth. Admit it, you’ve always wanted a turbo button and now’s your chance.
The handling capability of a strimmer is a make or break deal, but the ergonomic design of this strimmer means two handles distribute the weight – although it’s not that heavy at 3.5kgs.
The primary handle has a non-slip grip and there’s an adjustable telescopic shaft to suit your height. This makes it easy to manoeuvre.
An automatic feed means the line spools out automatically so there’s no annoying stop and bump action needed.
This is a great piece of kit and a top recommendation for all strimming jobs except large brambles and tough roots. It’s the best cordless strimmer available for the money.
Petrol heads rejoice – a petrol strimmer has made it onto my recommendation list!
I’ve found this ParkerBrand 52CC Petrol Strimmer is the best petrol strimmer on the market.
Petrol strimmers are usually more powerful than electric strimmers and more suitable for heavy work such as overgrown gardens and allotments.
The powerful engine can really go some, so you’ll have no worries about those tough stingers, dock leaves and brambles. It’s not as noisy as some petrol strimmers either, though if you’re going to use it for some time earplugs are recommended.
There’s no auto feed spool BUT it has a bump head line spool that actually works well.
One of the best features on this strimmer, aside from its power, is the brush-cutter attachment
Brush-cutters are triangular metal or hardened plastic plates rather than a line. They are more like lawnmower blades, but way more adaptable. Brush-cutters are used for heavy jobs, roots, thick brambles and undergrowth that would snap a standard strimmer line.
It’s a touch heavy at 10.8 kgs which is something to bear in mind if you’ve a large garden and don’t like heavy work, but it has a sturdy harness to take the weight from your arms. To be fair this is an average weight for petrol strimmers.
The handle isn’t telescopic but it is long, which is essential with a strong machine – it easily reaches over obstacles and the length is counterbalanced by a second handle.
This is the best strimmer to choose from if you’re in the market for a petrol model – the starter cord even has a large plastic handle which makes firing up easier.
This BLACK+DECKER ST5530-GB Corded Grass Strimmer has less power that the cordless recommendation with 550W but it still packs a punch when it comes to tidying up the garden. Not everyone needs the power of a McLaren sports car and this strimmer has the oomph where you need it most.
A great feature is its auto-select technology which allows you to choose a setting that matches the job in hand. String trimming or edging adjusts the motor for spot on precision that suits your job.
This strimmer is hot on tech as it also has ‘E-drive technology’ with a high torque gear system that helps push through overgrown areas.
The motor is pretty good too with 550W of power. It strims at 7500rpm and with a 37cm cutting swathe you won’t have trim the same area over again.
You’ll want to know it has a six metre cord, so you may need an extension lead, but that’s not too much of a problem given this is one of the better value strimmers.
Because it’s B&Q this strimmer is made for comfort with a telescopic shaft to suit your height and a second handle for an even, safe grip – manoeuvrability is high with this beauty as it weighs in at just 2.5 kgs – one of my lightest recommendations.
It’s super lightweight and comfortable to use. If you desire comfort and ease of use from a corded garden strimmer then this is the best strimmer for you.
It’s got the all important auto feed spool too that pushes out line when you need it- so no bumping required.
Oh, and there’s a handy wheel edge guide to quickly zoom along those flower borders too, that’s a nice touch.
The Bosch ART 23 SL Electric Grass Trimmer has a 280 watt motor which is more than enough to trim the borders and tidy up around the birdbath where a lawnmower won’t go, but it can’t tackle brambles – you’ll need something more heavyweight for tough growth.
It has a 100cm shaft and double grip handles for ease-of–use, and at 1.7 kgs you’ll be hard pressed to find lighter. The semi-automatic spool line means you can just get on with the job.
One drawback is the short cable which is only two metres long, but at this price an extension lead won’t break the bank.
If you have a small lawn you can use this instead of a lawn mower as it has a cutting swathe of 23cms. Save on shed space and expense? Very nice.
If you’re looking for the best strimmer on a budget this is just the ticket. It’s cheap, small and quiet. Just what you need to get the job done!
Cordless Strimmer Buying Guide
Choosing the best strimmer can mean the difference between a tidy garden and a rainforest. If the strimmer is easy to use and it’s comfortable – you’re more likely to use it.
When you’re in the market for a strimmer it’s worth considering what you need it for.
If you just want to tidy up the border and fence line then a lightweight electric or cordless strimmer is more than enough. If you need to clear brambles and rough overgrown ground then a powerful beast is needed such as a petrol strimmer or a cordless one with plenty of oomph.
Once you know how you’ll be using it, look out for features that can make your life easier. Here are a few things to look out for when choosing the best cordless strimmer for you:
- Handles – an ergonomic handle is a great plus, and a second handle makes strimming much easier. They balance out its weight so you don’t end up with one aching arm.
- Telescopic shaft – Adjustable shafts help you find the perfect working position and save on backache, but more powerful strimmers should have a longer reach so you can hold them away from your toes. This is a good place to say you should never strim the lawn in flip flops. Always wear sturdy boots.
- A harness – If you have a weighty strimmer in mind that can cut through brush and undergrowth, look for a comfortable harness.
- Auto feed spool – Strimmers use a plastic string which spins at high revolution to effectively cut grass or weeds. The line is designed to break if it hits a hard object so it doesn’t tangle. The line will also need replacing as it wears through.
There are a few ways of getting more line out as so:
- Auto feed spool – line comes out automatically
- Bump feed- line comes out when you bump the head on the ground
- Manual – user pulls the line out
Auto feed spools are the easiest to use but they are not essential. If you want to avoid line spools look for a bladed strimmer.
So there you have it – a guide to choosing the right strimmer. You’ve got to feel for our ancestors who had to use a manual scythe to cut through tough weeds – that must have been backbreaking work!
Thankfully engineering has created strimmers to save us sweat, sunburn and tears. Use yours carefully, look out for wildlife and enjoy that extra lounging-around-in-the-sun time that a good quality strimmer brings.
Strimmers & Wildlife: A Few Things to Remember
It would be remiss not to mention the injuries strimmers can inflict on harmless wildlife.
They are great bits of kit, but use them well to avoid unnecessary damage. Always rake through long grass or undergrowth first.
This gives hedgehogs, frogs, toads, grass snakes, newts, mice and all our native wildlife a chance to escape. Bear in mind creatures like hedgehogs would rather curl up to avoid danger, so watch what you’re doing and never put a strimmer somewhere you can’t see the cutting line.
It might sound like a faff, but it’s less problematic than trying to find a wildlife rescue or vet that can take in the creature you’ve injured, and it avoids traumatising your kids too.
How do I use a garden strimmer?
Some folk are apprehensive about strimmers, granted they are noisy and that whirring, cutting line can make you feel a bit on edge, but if you are sensible, you’ll be just fine. Follow these rules:
Read all instructions and clear the area of stones and resident wildlife before you do anything else. Protective clothing such as ear defenders for louder, powerful motors can be useful, particularly if it’s going to take a long time. Sturdy boots are a must with no trailing clothes. If you’re strimming overgrown areas protective glasses are important as strimmers can throw up stones and other sharp objects.
Before you turn on a strimmer make sure you’re away from the business end. Battery and electric strimmers usually have a start button, but petrol strimmers work on a pull cord which may take practice – see more below.
If you have a corded strimmer make sure the cord is well away from the cutting line before you press the button.
Go slowly with the strimmer whether it’s an edging job or tough brushwood affair.
One side of the strimmer will host the cutting edge, and debris will shoot out from the other side. Experiment until you know which is which, otherwise you’ll walk against the cutting direction.
Finally, look out for tripping hazards, bricks, small fences, garden ornaments, cats, dogs and small children that can trip you over when you’re concentrating on a perfect line.
How does a strimmer actually work?
They use centrifugal force. Basically the line is no good for cutting as it stands, but it becomes stiff when spinning quickly. Grass and debris will be ejected from the strimmer depending on which way the spool spins.
That’s about it! You’ll need to replace the line as needed and actually wield the strimmer in front of your grass to find the cutting edge, but it’s simple enough. Strimmers cut where the line is spinning, not at the centre of the machine.
How do i replace the line on my strimmer?
It’s not difficult to replace the strimmer line, but it can be fiddly and annoying. Eventually you’ll have to replace it even with the utmost avoidance of rocks, stones and roots, so don’t be shy – get stuck in. Firstly, make sure the strimmer is unplugged or turned off.
Next get out your spare strimmer line.
Remove the casing and place the new strimmer line on the spool’s starter hole, winding it around the directional arrows.
It’s worth taking your time to make sure it’s neatly done, otherwise the strimmer may jam and you’ll have to start again. When you reach maximum capacity, or come to the end of your strimmer line, cut it with around six inches to spare and fix the end into the spool’s eyelets.
Then you’ll need to put the spool back in, making sure the strimmer line matches up with any outer eyelets.
Finally replace the strimmer casing by lining up the tabs and pressing until it clicks.
It may take some time to figure this out as it can vary between strimmers, so always retain the instruction booklet. There are some helpful videos online too.
How do I start a petrol strimmer?
Two stroke petrol strimmers need the right mix of fuel to work, so read the instruction book before you fill the tank to around 2/3rds full and make sure the cap is firmly in position.
Now, getting it started for the first time may require patience and then some!
Press the priming bulb so fuel enters. You may have to do this up to eight times so put your glasses on if you need to. Once fuel is spotted, flick the ‘on’ button.
Next up is the choke. If you have a cold strimmer, put the choke into the start position.
Now the tricky bit!
Place your strimmer on the ground so the cord faces upward. Make sure the cutting line isn’t on anything, then hold the strimmer neck and pull the cord. Go slowly until you feel resistance then give it a quick hard tug.
It may take a couple of pulls until the engine fires up, don’t worry if you can’t get it right away, there is knack just keep at it. It literally took me all morning to get my first petrol strimmer started.
Once the engine is running open the choke and let it purr away for a while to get in the mood.
If it just won’t start check your fuel mixture, or if you’ve pulled the cord many times you could have flooded the engine. Look for the spark plug (it’ll be under the casing) and if it’s damp allow the fuel to dry off before starting again.
Why does my petrol strimmer cut out?
There are a few reasons this can happen:
The fuel mix is incorrect. Two stroke engines need the right mix of petrol and two stroke oil. You’ll need the instructions to find the right ratio for your machine. Always mix the fuel in a suitable container rather than the engine itself, so the liquid mixes properly. Alternatively you’ve run out of fuel!
Another reason could be a blockage. If no fuel appears in the priming bulb then the tank might be blocked by its filter. You can adjust that by removing the casing and easing the filter into the right spot.
If you’ve put on another attachment, such as a brush-cutter head and its shaking or vibrating, then the strimmer could have overheated.
If these tips don’t solve your problem find someone who can service your strimmer.