Best strimmers 2020 – the top garden grass trimmers and edge cutters for your lawn

Find the best strimmers to keep your grass prim and proper
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  • Cutting the grass is all well and good but if you don’t strim down those hard-to-get-to areas, it never looks quite finished. Enter our best strimmers. Get the right strimmer for your garden and your lawn can go from nice, to stunning, with a simple and quite literal flick of the wrist.

    So, which is the best grass line trimmer, aka strimmer, option for you? You’ll need to ask yourself some questions about the area you need to cover, like does it have awkward to reach sections under hedges or close to stonework? Or perhaps your lawn meets your patio and overhangs it even when your mower is on the lowest setting.

    Get all the right tools for the job with help from our Buying Guide Reviews

    Maybe you just like to let your grass grow out and need a strimmer to get the worst of it hacked back before taking the mower to the rest. Whatever your need, you’re in the right place to learn everything you need to know about grass strimmers, so you find the best tool for your job.

    Why do I need a grass strimmer?

    best-strimmer-how-to-buy-Karcher

    Image credit: Karcher

    Do you have areas of your garden where there is grass that you can’t easily cut with your lawn mower? If the answer is yes, and we’re guessing it is since you’re reading this, then you could benefit from a grass strimmer.

    Even if you do manage to cut some areas with the mower, but it’s awkward, then a strimmer could make your life easier. It could also be the difference between a really clean cut finish and a less impressive edge. It’ll likely only be after you’ve done it with a strimmer that you realise how much better it could have looked all this time.

    If you’ve got a patio, where the grass runs right up to the edge, then a strimmer is a great way to get a really perfect finish that will not only enhance your lawn look, but the patio too.

    Best grass strimmers

    1. Ryobi OLT1832 18V One+ Grass Trimmer – best strimmer for ease of use

    Best-strimmers-Ryobi

    Ryobi has managed to find a near perfect balance between lightweight portability and raw line-spinning power. This 18V grass trimmer uses the company’s One+ battery system meaning you can swap it between tools of that kind – ideal if you already own a few.

    Not that you’ll need to swap out much as the battery, when using a 4Ah battery, for us covered a 100 foot space and the battery was still showing a full four bars.

    It’s also pretty quiet, we used it in the evening and the neighbours haven’t complained yet.

    This is one of the most comfortable strimmers to use. This is thanks to a lightweight build, at 2.6kg without the battery, combined with lots of adjustable settings. The head itself 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.

    The head is telescopic which was ideal when jumping between family members of different heights. 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 petrol or 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 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 now: Ryobi OLT1832 18V One+ Grass Trimmer, £65 (tool only), Amazon

    2. Stihl FSA 56 – best quiet strimmer

    Best-strimmers-Stihl

    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 56 grass trimmer that runs on the company’s swappable AP battery range.

    The standout feature of this model is the noise, or more accurately, the lack of it. This 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.

    The smooth running meant 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 2.5kg without battery.

    It’s actually easier to hold 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 strimming.

    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. This is likely why the AK10 battery lasts about 25 minutes, but go for an AK20 and you get a good 50 minutes that should cover most jobs. The 28cm reach of the cord is a nice middle ground between what the competition offers, making it an all rounder.

    It’s little Stihl touches we love, like the battery locking in two stages. Fully in for power on or a little out so the battery isn’t working, or being discharged between uses, but is still held in place to move the tool about or hang it up without the battery falling out. Genius.

    Ideal Home rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: FSA 56, £149 (tool only), Stihl

    3. Karcher LTR 18-25 Cordless Grass Trimmer – best strimmer for long battery life

    Best-strimmers-Karcher

    Despite being relatively new to lawn maintenance, famed pressure washer brand Karcher 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 Karcher tools. This 18V model offers enough power for smaller to medium gardens where you’re mainly taking on grass strimming 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. There is also a trimmer blade option for cutting thicker brush too which really shows how much power this trimmer kicks out.

    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 now: Karcher LTR 18-25 Cordless Grass Trimmer, £70, Amazon

    4. Black+Decker 36V Lithium-Ion Strimmer – best strimmer for raw power

    Best-strimmers-Black-and-Decker

    Black+Decker and strimmers are a match made in, well, it’s unclear as it has been a match for so long. As such this company has near perfected the humble grass trimmer and this 36V 2Ah battery model is a prime example.

    Offering a 30cm cutting swathe backed by 8,500 RPM of speed, this is tougher than most cordless models. We popped this 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 the real world use, it’s barely noticeable, 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 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 replenish full.

    This gives you the battery and charger in the price, unlike some models, but it weighs a little more at 3.5kg. Yet it’s still comfortable to hold, features edging and strim modes that are easy to adjust, and comes with a telescopic tube to adjust height.

    Also the auto cord feed works well and means no bending down and stopping when the 1.5mm cord snips.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Black+Decker 36V Lithium-Ion Strimmer, £150, Amazon

    Get gardening with the right gadgets: Best lawn mowers 2020 – the top models for cutting the lawn and clearing leaves

    5. Worx W163E 20V Max GT3 Grass Trimmer – best strimmer for edging

    Best-strimmers-Worx

    Worx has managed to create an impressive grass trimmer that fits into its 20V battery swap family of tools that still stays low on price. Despite the lower than-the-competition price this 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 strimmer and edging tool.

    Ideal Home rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Worx W163E 20V Max GT3 Grass Trimmer, £100, Amazon

    6. Bosch ART 23-18 LI – best strimmer for blade cutting

    Best-strimmer-Bosch

    Bosch has a whole host of tools that are now battery powered which is why its ART strimmer range works so well, using the same 18V battery family. In this case that battery not only works to give you freedom without a cable but also to sit at the back of the unit and weigh it just right in your hands.

    This uses a blade cutting system which has been improved to last 12 times longer than the predecessor – which is apparent since we didn’t have a problem once. And, to be clear, we break cords very regularly. Adjustments are easy, all with one click, for height, auxiliary handle and the change to edging mode.

    In use the power delivery is intelligent, using Bosch’s Syneon Chip. In real world terms that meant this was able to deal with thick grass and weeds as easily as edging – so you don’t really have to think, just point and cut.

    At this price point that level of ease is a real bonus that makes this fun to use. But, of course, blades aren’t for everyone as they’re more expensive to replace. Also this lacks the power of some of the larger models above. That said, the 30cm cutting area is good for a decent 30 minutes on a charge, no matter the power required.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Bosch ART 23-18 LI, £75, Amazon

    7. Flymo Contour 500E – best budget strimmer

    Best-Strimmer-Flymo

    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 battery model. But the 500W motor is reliable and the unit is versatile with strimming, edging and shrubbing modes.

    This just means 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 now: Contour 500E, £70, Flymo

    8. Honda UMK 425 LE Brushcutter – best petrol-powered strimmer

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    For pure raw power that will take on any thickness of grass, brush or even brambles, this is the tool for you. As a brushcutter this is built for pro-level jobs meaning there is pretty much no grass this can’t handle.

    Of course that means this 4-stroke petrol powered beast is heavier than most on this list. But it comes with a harness so it sits comfortably on your shoulder which made it actually easier to use than some lighter models on this list.

    This is noisy and it does make a petrol smell, plus it requires maintenance, but it is unrelenting. This comes with a three-blade head that’s super tough for cutting through even smaller branches.

    While we had no issues, even with branches as thick as 20mm, you might want to factor replacing those blades in the longer term as being more expensive than cord.

    Of course it also means you have optional head changes from grass trimmer and hedge trimmer to pruner attachments available. It’s a big bulky for edging but for heavy-duty jobs this is the tool for the task.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Honda UMK 425 LE Brushcutter, £329, Amazon

    9. Makita DUR181Z 18V String Trimmer  – best strimmer for reliability

    Best-strimmers-Matika

    Makita is best known for professional quality power tools, which is why it’s move to 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 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 260mm cutting diameter.

    Even as a taller user we found the 180mm 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 now: Makita DUR181Z 18V String Trimmer, £90, Amazon

    10. EGO ST1510E-K1252 Line Trimmer – best strimmer for large areas

    best-strimmer-EGO

    This is a big power battery model that finds a place between petrol power and battery ease. The result is the best of both worlds. You get a whopping 56V battery that powers a lengthy 38cm cutting swathe line all while keeping the weight down to an arm friendly 3.2kg.

    An included shoulder strap is a nice addition here to help make it feel light even for longer periods of use – we found it helpful for steady holding when intricate edging too. It feels solidly built and very sturdy – one that’s made to last.

    Even the line is on the stronger side at a large 2.4mm thick. But even that can break, when too near the patio, but reloading is easy thanks to the “Powerload” button which winds up the coil for you in about 10 seconds. Superb.

    Battery life, even on the relatively small 2.5Ah battery is decent with a good half hour runtime. But if you’ve got a bigger garden, or want less charging, there is a 7.5Ah battery option that’s good for a whole 90 minutes of use.

    Yup, this is every bit a pro-grade alternative to petrol that means less maintenance and noise. But, for that privilege you pay a pro-level price too.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: ST1510E-K1252 Line Trimmer, £280, EGO

    How to buy the best strimmer for you

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    Image credit: EGO

    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.
    • Petrol strimmer? Go petrol if you want maximum power and the ability to go anywhere, just be ready to annoy the neighbours with the noise.
    • Maintenance may be a factor where petrol will mean lots and electric will mean very little.
    • Running costs could be a factor, again where petrol will cost you in fuel and electric will cost you less in power.
    • Weight may be a factor for those that don’t want to lug a heavy unit or an arm numbing petrol motor powered strimmer around.

    How much should I spend on a strimmer?

    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 you 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.

    For all out power, freedom of movement and the ability to cut more than grass like weeds and even shrubbery, with attachments, go petrol. This will cost you more for a decent one – which you’ll want in order to avoid problems – and will incur ongoing fuel and maintenance costs too.

    What other key questions do I need to ask?

    best-strimmer-how-to-buy-Bosch

    Image credit: Bosch

    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.

    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.

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    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.

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