The best strimmer can tackle the parts of your garden that your lawnmower just can’t reach. And while we might have perfected the velvety, bowling green-neatness of the grass by pacing up and down with the mower, there are some parts that are trickier to deal with.
A strimmer (or trimmer as they are also called) can give you crisp edges along your borders, take down the long blades round the bases of washing lines, water features, garden furniture and trees, and even get right under bushy hedges.
Keep reading for our pick of the best strimmers for keeping your garden tidy, and if you want more buying advice, scroll down to the bottom for our top tips. Head to our best lawn mower buying guide if your lawn is still in need of a bit more TLC.
The best strimmer 2021
You can move easily through garden with this Bosch model as there's no cord to extend or worry about. In case of a snapped line, a semi-automatic spool feeds it through whenever you release the trigger, so you can carry on neatening up the grass near your fence or path. An easy-edging function protects your plants as you tidy up the borders of your flowerbeds.
Buy the Bosch EasyGrassCut 18-26 Cordless 18 Volts Grass Trimmer
This is probably the most user-friendly trimmer thanks to an ergonomic handle and harness which balance its very light weight and puts less strain on your neck, back and shoulders. Powered by an 18V motor, it can quickly work through all the rough edges. It has plastic blades rather than nylon string, which are easy to fit when they need changing.
Buy the Gtech Cordless Grass Trimmer GT 4.0
This model can whip through the long grass like butter. It has a soft grip with two handles for easy maneuverability, and comes with 20 plastic cutting blades. The housing and additional handle are made of impact-proof, high-grade plastic for durability. A good choice for a small garden.
Buy the Einhell GC-CT 18/24 Li P Cordless Grass Trimmer Kit
This is ergonomically designed with a fast and powerful cutting speed. It says it can trim up to 2,500 metres in one charge so should be able to complete most tasks without needing a recharge. The Iine is automatically fed out from the spool when needed. And the cutting head can be rotated 90 degrees to work vertically or horizontally, trimming along lawn edges or up to walls.
Buy the Black+Decker 18V Cordless 28 cm String Grass Trimmer 2.0Ah Lithium Ion Battery
This model offers three types of cutting in one machine. You can change the angle of the cutting head to edge your lawn, trim your grass and reach under objects such as benches and trampolines. There is flower guard which lets you trim right up to the edge of your garden without chopping down your precious blooms. An auto feed spool system extends the cutting line if it snaps so you don’t have the fiddly job of adjusting it manually.
Buy the McGregor 3-in-1 30cm Corded Grass Trimmer
This petrol strimmer can cut down stubborn growth in larger areas as well trimming and edging. Easy to assemble, it is robust enough to withstand regular use. The cutting head can be tilted either way to cut lawn edges with precision. It is economic to run on just half a litre of petrol.
Buy the B&Q L25A2 25cc 40cm Petrol Grass Trimmer
This has lots of clever design features, including a pivoting head, twisted cutting line and fold-out plant guard, that should protect the parts of your garden you don’t want trimmed or damaged. An edge-cutting function creates smooth lines along patios and paths while its two-handed grip offers comfort while you work. The line feed automatically adjusts to the ideal cutting length at all times.
Buy Kärcher LTR 18-30 Cordless Battery Powered Grass Trimmer in Yellow
How to buy the best strimmer 2021
When it comes to powering a grass strimmer, there are three options. Choose the one that best suits your needs.
Cordless: Battery powered, these give you the freedom to roam up and down unencumbered by the length of a plug-in cord, particularly useful if your garden is long and narrow. Cutting time is limited to how long the battery charge will last, unless you invest in a spare that you can switch easily.
Cable: This plugs into the socket so your run time is limitless. The cable style strimmers also tend to be a cheaper option. However, even if the cord is long enough to stretch to the end of the garden without an extension, movement can be limited as you flip it out of the way of the cutting head.
Petrol: These offer maximum power and freedom of movement, and you can tackle heavier growth than grass, such as shrubbery. Excellent if you have a large garden to work on. But they can be heavier, noisier and smellier. You will also have to factor in fuel and maintenance costs.
What to look for in a strimmer
Lightweight: Too heavy and it can make your arms ache and make it uncomfortable to work for long periods of time.
Ergonomic: You need a comfortable grip and to prevent strain on the neck, arms and shoulders. Adjustable shafts means you can get your trimmer to suit your height perfectly.
Convenience: Cordless and petrol offer more freedom of movement but corded means no limit on the time you can spend cutting.
Power: Look at the power output on an electric trimmer, battery voltage on a cordless and engine capacity on a petrol trimmer. The bigger the number, the heavier the work you can do.
Special features: Rotating and adjustable heads widen the scope of what you can do with your trimmer, allowing you to cut vertically and horizontally.
The best strimmer cutting tools
The grass used to be ‘strimmed’ with nylon string rotated at speed so it is taut. The string gradually wears down, though this can happen quicker if you are cutting thick weeds rather than grass, or if it is impacting against hard surfaces like patio slabs, rocks or walls. They range from 1.2mm up to 3mm in diameter; the thicker they are, the better they can deal with coarse undergrowth. Heavy duty work will require the maximum thickness.
Automatic feeds on strimmers release more of the string out as needed so you don’t have to do it manually, though you will have to replace the spool when it’s empty. Bump feeds mean you tap the base on the ground to release more string, which is more controllable than an automatic feed.
Some strimmers now use plastic blades to cut. These are easily clicked on and off and tend to be more durable than the thinner nylon string, so able to tackle thicker grass and tough foliage.
The bigger the cutting width, the more grass you trim away with each sweeping move and the less time you’ll spend on the task. They usually go from 20cm up to 35cm for household models, rather than those used by professional landscapers
Top tip: To prevent string breakages when cutting thick weeds, don’t force the head into the middle of them, instead move it slowly toward the area so the weeds and stems are being cut with the tip