Best strimmer 2021 – trim and edge your lawn with ease using one of the top machines on the market

Keep your lawn looking its best with one of these best strimmers
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  • While a lawnmower may make light work of the majority of your overgrown lawn, a large machine is never going to get into those tricky, awkward-to-reach areas like narrow borders. That’s where one of these best strimmers come into play.

    A bit like painting your walls but leaving scuffed skirting and door frames, a quick once over with a grass trimmer after mowing a lawn finishes it beautifully, leaving your garden looking its very best.

    So the question is, which grass line trimmer, or as they’re more commonly known, strimmer, is the best choice for you and your garden? This all depends on the size of the area you need to cover, or indeed, whether it has hard-to-get-to sections close to stonework or even under hedges.

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    Maybe your mower can’t get to your overhanging lawn, even on the lowest setting? Perhaps you tend to let your lawn grow out and need a strimmer to hack the worst away before you tackle it with a mower? 

    Whatever your specific lawn needs, you’ve come to the right place to gen up on everything you need to know about these handy gadgets, to help you find the best strimmer for your garden.

    Why do I need a grass strimmer?

    Woman cutting edges of a lawn beside a patio using a Bosch strimmer

    Image credit: Bosch

    If your mower struggles to cut grass in certain areas of your garden, from pokey corners to the base of bushes and hedges, then you’ll definitely benefit from introducing a grass strimmer to your gardening arsenal.

    Aside from tackling areas that you can’t reach, they’re just so much easier to use than forcing a mower repeatedly around a tight bend. The best strimmers are the difference between a really clean cut finish and a tatty, unkempt edge.

    Never used one before? Chances are when you do, you’ll realise how much better your lawn actually looks. Those with a patio or paving, where the grass runs right up to the edges, will find that strimmers will provide a clean and smart finish that will not only enhance your lawn look, but the surrounding patio, too.

    Best grass strimmers – updated for 2021

    1. Ryobi OLT1832 18V One+ Grass Trimmer

    Best strimmer for all-round use

    Best-strimmers-Ryobi

    Image credit: Ryobi

    Type of strimmer: Battery-powered, cordless
    Weight: 2.3kg
    Cutting width: 25–30cm

    Reasons to buy:
    • Great value for money
    • Easy to operate
    • Three-year guarantee

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Splits often

    Thanks to a lightweight build, at 2.3kg without the battery (2.7kg with), this strimmer features lots of clever adjustable settings. The telescopic head can be angled in three ways, which uses one big button that we found very easy to use. 

    Changing between edging and trimming is also a quick one-switch move. There’s even an adjustable and rubberised pommel handle that makes it comfy and easy and to spread the load across two hands. Crucially this meant we could get into usually awkward places without much effort, certainly a lot less than a corded model would demand.

    When it comes to performance this strimmer is a real all-rounder. Yes, it’ll tackle strimming or edging of grass just fine, but it’ll also deal with weeds and even thinner brush thanks to that 1.6mm cord that can be adjusted between 25 and 30cm of reach.

    We found it split a fair amount – mainly because we were heavy handed near stone edges – but that wasn’t an issue thanks to the auto feed. Take a little pressure off the power trigger and the spool feeds more line through – this was a truly brilliant feature that made the job non-stop, reducing battery usage and, of course, getting it done sooner.

    The fact that it’s a chipper lime green colour, which brightens up the shed, is just a tasty bonus. And the three-year guarantee is the cherry on top.

    Ideal Home rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Buy the Ryobi OLT1832 18V One+ Grass Trimmer at Amazon

    2. Stihl FSA 57 Compact Battery Strimmer

    Best strimmer for low noise

    Stihl FSA 57 grass strimmer

    Image credit: Stihl

    Type of strimmer: Battery-powered, cordless
    Weight: 3.5kg
    Cutting width: 28cm

    Reasons to buy:
    • Quiet when in use
    • Comfortable to handle
    • Good all-rounder

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Expensive

    Stihl has gone from one of the most famous and reliable petrol garden tool manufacturers to one of the leaders in powerful and high-performance battery-powered kit. That’s no different with the FSA 57 grass trimmer that runs on the company’s swappable batteries.

    The standout feature of this model is the noise, or more accurately, the lack of it. This model ran super quietly and with minimal vibrations making it not only comfortable to use for us, but for our neighbours to experience too, or not experience, in this case.

    It runs smoothly so there’s no numbing or even tiring of limbs while working, something you sort of expect from most models. The ergonomic design helps too with that adjustable shaft and lightweight build at 2.7kg without battery (3.5kg with).

    It’s actually easier to handle with the battery in as its weight counterbalances the head against the adjustable loop handle. That head isn’t adjustable but this entire tool is so light you can just flip it and use it for edging as well as trimming.

    There’s a bump feed for the 1.6mm spool, which can be swapped out for thicker lines if you need. That said, this made short work of grass, weeds and even had a good go at some thinner shrub areas, so power is plentiful and the AK10 battery it comes with lasts about 25 minutes on a full charge.  

    Ideal Home rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Buy the Stihl FSA 57 with battery pack and charger at Amazon

    3. Kärcher LTR 18-25 Cordless Grass Trimmer

    Best strimmer for long battery life

    Best-strimmers-Karcher

    Image credit: Karcher

    Type of strimmer: Battery-powered, cordless
    Weight: 1.6kg
    Cutting width: 25cm

    Reasons to buy:
    • Lightweight
    • Clear LCD display
    • Comfortable to use

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Not suitable for larger gardens

    Despite being relatively new to lawn maintenance, famed pressure washer brand Kärcher has got off to a very good start with its LTR battery grass trimmers.

    This model, the 25mm reach variant, uses the Battery Universe range of power packs that are interchangeable with other Kärcher tools. This 18V model offers enough power for smaller to medium gardens where you’re mainly taking on grass trimming and edging with the odd weed.

    While it has plenty of power we found anything heavier left the 1.6mm thread regularly broken when spinning at the impressively fast 9,500 RPM this model manages. But even that wasn’t too much of an issue thanks to an auto feeder. This meant the cord was always the right length without any effort at all. 

    The battery is a great feature in itself as it has a display that shows clearly how much power you have left. Not just a few lit up bars, like the competition offers, but a full-on display with the time left in minutes – a really useful feature to help you time your cuts for the half hour the 2.5Ah battery lasts, or less needed if you opt for the larger 5Ah battery that goes for a good hour on a charge.

    Ideal Home rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Buy the Kärcher LTR 18-25 Cordless Grass Trimmer at Amazon

    4. Worx W163E 20V Max GT3 Grass Trimmer

    Best strimmer for edging

    Best-strimmers-Worx

    Image credit: Worx

    Type of strimmer: Battery-powered, cordless
    Weight: 3.5kg
    Cutting width: 30cm

    Reasons to buy:
    • Versatile head for edging and strimming
    • Good battery life
    • Comfortable to use

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Head needs a bit of force to pivot on the first few uses
    • Quite loud

    Despite the lower than-the-competition price, this strimmer offers a lot of features. The one that we really enjoyed was the ability to edge trim with a handy wheel as a guide, this keeps you in a straight line and avoids catching the cord and snapping it on edges of a patio. So, technically, this could save you even more money in cord replacement costs.

    Another really useful feature is the ability to angle the head up to 90 degrees, we found that getting into the grass under low shrubbery areas is far easier, without you having to do your back in.

    While you don’t get an auto feed, there is Worx’s version, called Command Feed. This basically means you have to tap a button to feed more of the cord through, which is easily done from where you are so this is nice for those that want more manual control without the hassle of messing with the spool itself.

    You get a good hour of use out of this strimmer, which should be more than enough for most edging jobs. Especially with that large 30cm cutting swathe eating up grass fast. The handle can be angled but felt a little too close to the top, but that’s just a personal preference. For the price, this is a really impressive cordless grass trimmer and edging tool.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Buy the Worx W163E 20V Max GT3 Grass Trimmer at Amazon

     

    5. Bosch UniversalGrassCut 18-26 Cordless Grass Trimmer

    Best strimmer for comfort and ease of use

    Bosch UniversalGrassCut cordless Grass Trimmer

    Image credit: Bosch

    Type of strimmer: Battery-powered, cordless
    Weight: 2.7kg
    Cutting width: 26cm

    Reasons to buy:
    • Very comfortable to use
    • Long battery life
    • Powerful

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Slightly bulkier than others if you’re short on storage

    This 18V grass trimmer uses Bosch’s Power for All battery system meaning you can swap it between a wide range of power tools from the brand – ideal if you already own a few. It also means you can buy this without a battery, at a lower price. Not that you’ll need to swap out much as – according to Bosch – a fully charged battery will apparently trim the edges of full-sized eight tennis courts in one go. 

    Designed with an ergonomic v-shaped handle (which folds back when not in use), together with telescopic adjustment, you’re guaranteed to find a comfortable operating position, regardless of your height or build. This is particularly useful if various people in the family use it.

    It uses a cutting system which feeds the spool line whenever required so you don’t need to stop and start every time the cord breaks – which we found, wasn’t that often. In use, the head cleverly rotates through a clever foot pedal button and handle twist, making it a cinch to switch from edging to trimming and back again, while the neat plant protector ensures you don’t mistakenly hack away at any flowers when trimming around flowerbeds.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Buy the Bosch UniversalGrassCut 18-26 Cordless Grass Trimmer at Amazon

     

    6. Black+Decker 36V Lithium-Ion Strimmer

    Best strimmer for raw power

    Best-strimmers-Black-and-Decker

    Type of strimmer: Battery-powered, cordless
    Weight: 3.5kg
    Cutting width: 30cm

    Reasons to buy:
    • Ideal for larger gardens
    • Powerful
    • Long battery life

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Heavier than most models

    Offering a 30cm cutting swathe backed by 8,500 RPM of speed, this strimmer is tougher than most cordless models. We popped it into Turbo mode and found it could take on weeds, light shrubs and, of course, even long grass. The key is that E-drive tech which adjusts the power to suit the job.

    In real world use, it’s barely noticeable though –  all you need to know and feel is that it’s cutting through whatever you point it at, right? But should you want to make this last, say, on a grassy lawn, there is an Eco mode. We had this on as default for our usual lawn edge work and it was plenty powerful. If anything that 30cm cord length was a little on the long side.

    Despite all the power, the running noise was low and the battery just kept going for well over 100 feet of garden. The company says it’s good for up to 3,750 linear metres on a charge, which does take up to two hours to completely replenish.

    Unlike some models, this gives you the battery and charger in the price but it’s not the lightest, weighing in a little more at 3.5kg. However, it’s still comfortable to hold, features edging and strim modes that are easy to adjust, and the auto cord feed means no bending down and stopping when the 1.5mm cord snips.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Buy the Black+Decker 36V Lithium-Ion Strimmer at Amazon

     

    7. Makita DUR181Z 18V String Trimmer

    Best strimmer for reliability

    Best-strimmers-Matika

    Type of strimmer: Battery-powered, cordless
    Weight: 3.1kg
    Cutting width: 26cm

    Reasons to buy:
    • Robust and well made
    • Comfortable to use

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Not ideal if you’re quite tall

    Makita is best known for professional quality power tools, which is why it’s move into making strimmers is a welcome one, with reliable and powerful mechanics for a surprisingly low price. This uses a really handy bump feed which does as the name suggests, bump the head on the ground and more line is fed out.

    This actually worked well although we worried about damaging the head or parts, doing this regularly. That said, it feels solidly made with strong materials used, despite being light and easy to manoeuvre precisely – making it ideal for edging along that patio edge of ours we keep mentioning.

    The battery keeps going for around half an hour before needing a charge. This was the case for grass strimming and edging with the odd tougher weed and a bit of light brush. This is thanks to the 7,800 RPM of cutting speed you get behind the 26cm cutting diameter.

    Even as a taller user we found the 18cm of shaft adjustment range enough to suit comfortably without bending forward, though for anyone a lot taller this might be more of an issue.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Buy the Makita DUR181Z 18V String Trimmer at Amazon

    8. Flymo Contour 500E electric grass trimmer

    Best strimmer on a budget

    Best-Strimmer-Flymo

    Type of strimmer: Electric corded
    Weight: 3.1kg
    Cutting width: 25cm

    Reasons to buy:
    • Excellent value for money
    • Plug in and go
    • Quiet

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Need to be close to a power source so not ideal for larger gardens

    The Flymo name is synonymous with grass maintenance and the Contour 500E is at the forefront of all that fame. This is the pinnacle of what years of research and development have come to. The result is a corded electric strimmer that’s affordable, lightweight and just works well.

    Yes it’s a silly orange colour, yes it feels a bit plastic and yes it’s not as freeing as a cordless battery model. But the 500W motor is reliable and the unit is versatile with strimming, edging and shrubbing modes.

    You can move the head to suit the angle of the job needed, but thanks to the easy adjustment, with a button hold and move, this is genuinely helpful if you’ve got low bushes or trees to work around. The handle and telescope shaft are also easily adjusted, which we found useful for compact storage.

    The auto feed makes use of the 15mm line simple, although the 25cm cutting width is on the smaller side. But we did notice this Flymo is quiet, making it ideal for use anytime, early morning or late evening. Want an even cheaper option? Go for the Flymo Contour XT and save money with a lighter model with a bit less power.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    Buy the Flymo Contour 500E at Amazon

     

    How to buy the best strimmer for you

    best-strimmer-how-to-buy-Karcher

    Image credit: Karcher

    Getting that perfectly finished edge to a lawn is one of those pleasures in life that just can’t quite be put into words. It’s a job that, when done right, makes you appreciate the tool you used, no matter what it cost. That said, you don’t have to spend a lot to get that feeling.

    There are lots of factors other than price that you might want to think about first though. These should help you find what you need in your new grass strimmer.

    • Corded or cordless? If you’ve got a large space you may need corded, which is cheaper and lighter. But then you do have a cord to think about.
    • While cordless can be convenient, you need to make sure you always have a fully charged battery. It may be worth buying two so you always have one changed but this will naturally cost more.
    • Weight may be a factor for those that don’t want to lug a heavy unit.

    How much should I spend on a strimmer?

    Close up of strimmer cutting grass beside a tree

    Image credit: Stihl

    For simple grass cutting in a relatively small garden, you likely won’t need to spend a lot. You could go for the cheapest option which is usually a corded electric model. That also means it’s lightweight and won’t require much maintenance.

    However, if you want a little more freedom of movement, then ditching the cord and going for a battery-powered strimmer (which will cost more) could be ideal. Even in larger gardens, you can spend a little more on a larger or spare battery and you won’t be limited by runtimes.

    Petrol models exist too, but they’re becoming less a less popular choice. In part, because of environmental issues, but also because they tend to incur ongoing fuel and maintenance costs, too.

    What to look for when buying the best strimmer

    best-strimmer-how-to-buy-Worx

    Image credit: Worx

    Power

    Electric ranges from 250W to 600W with cordless from 12V to 66V and despite claims more can be done with less, it’s often the case that the higher the wattage or voltage rating, the more grunt you’ll get. If you need all that power or not is another matter. If you’re planning to go through lots of weeds as well as grass add a bit more juice.

    Cutting width

    This can be an issue to take into consideration if you want to cut larger areas of grass. These go from 20 to 35cm, with pro models up to 42cm. Day to day use for grass alone will see you happy using the 25cm option in most cases.

    Noise

    All strimmers make a noise but the petrol ones are really loud. They also kick out a smell. So if you’re in a space with others nearby, you may want to take that into consideration before you go for the big power option.

    Bump and auto feeds

    These are worth looking out for, and come with lots of models. They allow you to tap the base to the ground, or have it auto, to dish out more coil line when it splits off if you catch something like metal or stone. It just saves you time and effort of fiddling with the spool to get more out each time.

    Adjustable heads

    These are a nice addition with varying angle options making it easier for different jobs and even different sized users. There are also models that take add-ons which can make cutting other areas, like dense shrub, easier.

    What other key questions do I need to ask?

    How long does the battery last? For cordless strimmers, this is really important as you’ll ideally want a strimmer that lets you do the job without stopping to charge. Unless you’re doing a major lawn cut, a modern battery-powered strimmer should have plenty of juice to last you a good tidy up of even larger lawn areas.

    The line-and-spool plastic. This is what spins around at speed to cut the grass. It can break if thinner so if you’re going to catch lots of harder materials, or want to cut through thicker growth, then a thicker line is ideal. These range from 1.3 to 2.6mm in diameter typically.

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