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Seven of the best electric strimmers

Not sure which strimmer to buy? We've got you covered with the best cordless and corded models on the market. If you have unruly grass, a strimmer is a perfect tool for the job. Not only can it tidy up long grass, but it can also reach areas that a lawn mower cannot, such as paths, flower bed edges, and around trees. If you're starting a new garden project or need to trim vegetation on a steep slope, then a strimmer will come in handy.

We put different types of strimmers through their paces by using them all over the garden - from long grass to tight corners - to see which performed best. We put these products to the test by giving them each a score. The ones that did the best were given BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buys. 

Our reviews are clear and include both positive and negative aspects of each product, as well as ratings for factors such as ease of use, handling, performance, and value for money. Only products that excelled in all areas made our list, so you can shop with peace of mind knowing you're getting a great strimmer.

What's a strimmer used for?

Strimmers are ideal for cutting lengthy grass and weeds that a mower can't reach - such as in close quarters around the base of trees, on sloped lawns, or in hard-to-reach places. According to their power and blade material, some strimmers can also take care of heavier growth like ivy, brambles, and stinging nettles. Most strimmers can be tilted to adjust the angle of the cutting head along the edges too.

What’s the difference between a strimmer and a trimmer?

There is no distinction between a "strimmer" and a "trimmer", they are one in the same tool. The term "strimmer" is an old trademark name that became popular, much like you might say "hoover" for any vacuum cleaner or "coke" for any cola beverage.

What’s the difference between a strimmer and a brush cutter?

A brush cutter is a powerful tool, usually with metal blades, that can handle thick vegetation, rough grass, and weeds. It's more often used by professional gardeners.

What are the types of a strimmer?

  • Electric corded trimmers are more suitable for smaller gardens because the power cable is only a certain length. If you need to extend the reach of the strimmer, you can use an extension lead. However, corded trimmers are more dangerous than cordless ones because there is always a risk of cutting through the power cable accidentally.
  • Petrol strimmers are a tool used to trim lawn edges and are powered by petrol. They typically have steer handles - which will be explained in more detail below - and a curved, angled shaft. Because they use fuel, they’re often more powerful than corded and cordless strimmers; however, petrol is polluting and messy to store and use. Petrol strimmers are also heavy, noisy, and need regular servicing. Thanks to the rise of cordless batteries, they’re less common nowadays - particularly for home use.
  • Line (or string) strimmers are trimmers that use a spinning plastic or nylon cord to cut. This cord wears down gradually over time and can be replaced automatically or by bumping the bottom of the strimmer on the ground. They come in single-line or double-line varieties, using one or two lines of cord respectively. Over time, the line will slowly wear down rather than break suddenly. If it gets caught on a rock and snaps, you can simply reel out more cord from the spool. However, these fragments of plastic aren’t good for the environment. Once you run out of cord, replacing the spools can be fiddly. Although effective on long grass and weeds, blade strimmers are stronger and better at cutting tough woody material.
  • Blade strimmers use two cutting blades, which are commonly made of plastic on domestic models. These types of trimmers work best with woodier materials than other line alternatives; however, if they catch on something like a rock or tough bark, the blades can snap and get lost in the grass. When this happens, it not only causes damage to the strimmer but also to your lawn mower the next time you go to cut your grass. Strimmers that have metal blades help avoid this problem; though they come at a higher price point and aren't as widely available as those with plastic ones.

Electric cordless strimmers are powered by lithium-ion batteries instead of mains electricity, Cordless trimmers have many benefits. You can use them anywhere in the garden without being restricted by a power cord. They also tend to be less powerful than their corded counterparts which makes them ideal for small trimming jobs. 

The only downside is that they might cost slightly more and the battery runtime isn’t as long as we would like it to be.

Always check for creatures big and small before you start strimming. A broom or rake can help sweep the grass to look for frogs, slow worms, hedgehogs, etc.

Can I use a strimmer to mow the lawn or trim hedges?

Although you could use a strimmer to cut your lawn, it would take an unreasonable amount of time. Strimmers are designed for tasks other than cutting lawns; they aren't as effective and it's harder to get an even cut with them. Additionally, their woody growth is too thick to be cut by plastic blades or nylon cord. Therefore, using a strimmer on hedges would be both ineffective and dangerous."

What are the key features to look out for?

Before you buy think about the following :

1 - The cutting head is the most important feature of a strimmer. Its purpose is to cut, so it should be adjustable to different angles to trim along the edges of paths and flowerbeds among other things. In many models, the head turns 90°. However, in the best models, the cutting head also has wheels attached for an easy guide along edges as well as support for the weight of the strimmer.

2 - The telescopic shaft on the best strimmers adjusts to your height, so you're always comfortable while using it. In some models, the shaft is angled rather than straight, making it easier for you to reach those tough-to-trim areas. And if you're short on storage space, look for a model that allows you to break down the shaft and cutting head after use.

3 - A blade strimmer that comes with spare blades is useful, so you can continue working if one breaks. You should be able to get a new spool of line for a line strimmer or replace the whole head. With both types, it's helpful if the spare blades or line can be stored on the tool.

4 - There are two types of strimmer handles. The most common is a round, circular handle on the shaft of the strimmer, called a loop handle. It makes the strimmer easy and comfortable to control, and on the best models, it can be slid up and down the shaft so you can adjust it to your height. In contrast, there are steer handles - two handles instead of one loop. Not only does this offer more control, but you can also use a comfortable scything motion when cutting. The downside is that they take up room and cost a little more money. They're far more prevalent on brush cutters and petrol strimmers than electric or cordless strimmers though, so you might not come across many domestic models with steer handles.

5 - The straps and safety harnesses are a lifesaver. They help support the weight of the tool so your arms don't get as tired, plus they keep the tool more balanced so you can have greater precision with your cuts.

Some strimmers have metal guards, called bump guards, which prevent the strimmer from cutting too deep. This protects your garden--for example, you won't accidentally nick a tree or piece of furniture--and also prevents your strimmer line or blades from breaking if they catch on a fence or wall. The best bump guards can be adjusted so that you control how close to the ground you cut.

Seven of the best electric strimmers

1 - Powerbase 550W Electric Grass Trimmer

We like:

  • It has a great cut.
  • The trimming and edging functions work well.
  • The machine has wheels to help with edging.
  • It is comfortable to use with a soft grip handle.
  • Comes with a spare spool and storage on the machine.
  • 30cm cutting width which is good value for the money spent. 

We don’t like:

  • The 10m black power cable is hard to see in the grass, making it difficult not to clip easily visible areas. 
  • The machine is also quite heavy to use so be prepared for an arm workout! 
  • Another drawback would be that switching modes between trimming and edging can be quite stiff at first but eases up after some time of using it.

The Corded Trimmer was voted the best budget strimmer by BBC Gardeners' World Magazine. A double-line trimmer, it gives an excellent cut and is especially good when edging due to wheels that help take the strain off of you, so you can achieve a precise cut. The soft-grip loop handles on its telescopic shaft are comfortable. 

There's a helpful loop for tucking the cable away when you're moving around. We love that this model has an automatic feed, and a storage compartment on the shaft for the spare spool- so it can be easily replaced when necessary. Although this strimmer is 3.1kg, which is heavy, it does have a great cut and comes with a three-year warranty. 

The only downside is that you may need an extension cord if you plan to stray far from the power source because the black power cable is only 10m long. Additionally, it can be difficult to see in the grass due largely in part to its color. Another possible inconvenience caused by this product is that it requires some heft to move between the strimming and edging modes as the mechanism controlling such movement is stiff.

2 - Stiga GT 500e Cordless Grass Trimmer

We like:

  • The shaft is telescopic, which means it can separate into two parts for easy storage.
  • It has both a strimming function and an edging function.
  • The mower has support wheels to make it easier to do a vertical edge cut.
  • 50 minute fast charge time.
  • Battery level indicator lights let you know when the battery needs to be charged.
  • Powerful performance compared to other cordless lawnmowers on the market.

We don’t like:

  • Some people may find this lawnmower heavy to use because of all of its features. 
  • The guard can also be an awkward attachment. 
  • Battery and charger must be bought separately, which could end up being costly in addition to buying just the mower.

This trimmer was awarded a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for performance. With a generous 30cm cutting width and durable nylon double-line automatic feed, it requires little effort to maintain consistent cuts. 

The head is easy to rotate, allowing it to be used as an edge trimmer, and the wheels help support the weight of the body. However, as it doesn’t come with a support strap, it’s eventually tiring to use. It requires a large 2Ah 48V lithium-ion battery for power, which along with the charger is sold separately; making this model significantly more expensive than other models available. In only 50 minutes, this device has a full charge and can run for 20 minutes straight, cutting through lawns quickly and easily. 

It excels at large patches of long grass or hard-to-reach areas and also cuts clean edges along sidewalks or driveways. The light indicators on the battery tell you approximately how much time you have left to finish before it needs to be recharged, the telescopic shaft collapses in two pieces so that it can fit into small spaces, and this product come with a 24-month warranty.

3 - Worx WG184E Dual Battery (x2 18V battery) Cordless Grass Trimmer

We like:

  • Telescopic shaft- great for easy storage
  • Can be used for both strimming and edging
  • Comfortable handle
  • Variable speeds
  • Support wheels for a vertical edge cut
  • Automatic feed
  • Battery level indicator on the shaft Part of the Worx 20V Powershare tool system Three-year warranty

We don’t like:

  • Weighs 3.9kg (the heaviest in the test) No support strap
  • The Worx WG184E grass trimmer is a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy for features. Its key features include:
  • Variable speed settings
  • An adjustable handle and shaft
  • Automatic feed
  • Wheels for easy maneuverability

Powered by two 20V lithium-ion batteries, it has a 20-minute run time from only one hour of charging! There's also no need to worry about running out of battery while in use--it has a battery level indicator on the shaft. The cutting head on this model rotates, which allows it to double as an edger. 

The wheels provide support and ensure a precision cut along any edge. We like the different speed settings because you can use more power for longer grass or conserve battery life by reducing the speed. With a 33cm cutting width, this is the widest model in our test group. 

Even though it is the heaviest strimmer in our test at 3.9kg, the telescopic shaft and adjustable loop handle help to balance this strimmer out and make it comfortable for you to hold onto and maneuver. It doesn't come with a strap for extra support, so after using it in strimmer mode for a while, it can become tiring. On the bright side, it comes with a very generous three-year warranty.

4 - Gtech Grass Trimmer GT50

We like:

  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Trimming and edging function with just one tool
  • Adjustable loop handle for comfortable grip
  • An ergonomic harness prevents fatigue during long use
  • Battery level indicator lets you know when it's time to recharge Safety switch keeps the user safe while in operation
  • Good value compared to similar products on the market

We don’t like:

  • Long charge time of four hours- but this is typical for most cordless trimmers/edgers
  • The battery is only compatible with 2 other Gtech tools

The Gtech grass trimmer GT50 was awarded a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy for ease of use. Its design includes a safety switch, an ergonomic harness, an adjustable loop handle, a swivel head to change from trimmer to edger, and easy-to-fit plastic blades. It's also the lightest in its group weighing 1.8kg with a cutting width of 23cm. 

The testing showed that it can handle long grass and thin woody weeds on uneven terrain, as well as leaving lawn edges looking neat. However, you’ll need to plan for strimming sessions as the 18V lithium-ion battery takes a lengthy four hours to charge to give 30 minutes of power. 

There are helpful indicator lights on the battery to keep track of how much time you have left. Even though this trimmer comes with a battery and charger, it's still cheaper than other cordless trimmers on the market. However, keep in mind that the battery is only compatible with two other Gtech cordless tools--the HT50 hedge trimmer and the SLM50 lawn mower. 

So if you're looking for value, there are better options out there. Additionally, this product comes with a two-year warranty.

5 - Makita DUR181RT 18V String Trimmer

We like:

  • Quietest on test at 88.5dB
  • Both trimming and edging function
  • Adjustable bump guard
  • Charges quickly
  • Includes shoulder strap
  • Rotating head
  • Battery compatible with more than 100 other Makita tools

We don’t like:

  • Loud charger, which can be annoying
  • No spare line included                     
  • No charging indicator on the battery

The Makita cordless trimmer is a single-line model that's easy to set up with clear instructions. It has multiple adjustable features, like the length of the shaft (115cm to 133cm), the angle of the trimmer head, and the rotating trimmed head around obstacles. 

Even the bump guard distance is adjustable with a screwdriver--so you can get it exactly right for your needs. The safety button needs to be engaged to power the device on, and at 88.5dB, this was the quietest strimmer of those tested--unlike Powerbase's strimmer which was jarringly loud at 95 dB. 

Even with a smaller cutting width of 26cm, this trimmer still manages to cut quickly and efficiently. Plus, it comes with its shoulder strap so that you can take it on the go without feeling weighed down; even though it is nearly 3 kg. Although the charger for the 18V, 5.0Ah lithium-ion battery emits a high-pitched noise, it would only be annoying if you had to charge it inside the house.

Another downside is that it doesn't come with any spare line, and unlike some of the other battery-powered strimmers, there is no indication of how much power is left as you work. On the bright side, like all Makita tools, it comes with a three-year warranty. Additionally, the battery is compatible with many other Makita garden and power tools

6 - MacAllister 18V LI 280mm Cordless Grass Trimmer

We like:

  • Lightweight design
  • Functionality for both strimming and edging
  • Cuts well overall
  • Comfortable to use when just trying to edge 

We don’t like:

  • A bit stiff to switch between modes
  • A stiff bump guard can get in the way 
  • Really loud compared to other models on the market. 
  • Part of a cordless system, but only 6 other tools are available.

This strimmer is lightweight and easy to move around the garden. It achieves a fast, efficient cut and is especially comfortable to hold when edging. It has a simple automatic feed and a relatively generous 28cm cutting width – the widest in the test was the Worx WG184E with 33cm. 

The 18V, 2.0Ah lithium-ion battery will charge in 75 minutes and can cover 250 square meters on a single charge; however, we found that all of its parts are stiff to adjust. The bump guard is difficult to lift up and down, it's hard to switch between the strimming and edging modes, and extending the telescopic shaft is also complicated. Furthermore, the noise level is one of the loudest at 96dB--and this noise is noticeably high-pitched. It has a two-year warranty but only six other tools are available as part of this cordless system.

7 - Vonhaus F-Series Cordless Grass Trimmer

We like:

  • Cuts quickly and cleanly
  • Affordable
  • Blade storage is convenient 

We don’t like:

  • Uncomfortable handles make extended use difficult
  • No edging function limits the machine's capabilities
  • Loudest model on the market

Although this strimmer's cutting width is a mere 21cm, it still manages to provide an excellent cut. The included plastic blades handle both grass and woodier material admirably, and the run time of 30 minutes is one of the longest in our test. 

Additionally, we like the storage feature under the handle for spare pink plastic blades; they're easy to spot if they snap off into the grass. Although this machine is quick, it's also quite loud at 98 dB. Furthermore, the handles on this model are not comfortable. The 12V battery is compatible with only three other Vonhaus tools - a hedge trimmer, garden saw, and handheld hedge and grass trimmer. 

If you purchase these additional items in the future, it could save you money. However, this is much more limited compared to other cordless systems such as Worx PowerShare which has Dozens of compatible tools. On the other hand, this model only takes 1 and a half hours to charge whereas Gtech's takes 4 hours. 

In comparison, Makita DUR181RT or Mac Allister 18V LI 18 models only take 45 minutes to charge. Unlike many other trimmers available, this one doesn't include an edging function; you'll need to find another tool if tidy lawn edges are your goal. The battery on this model is only 12V, which pales in comparison to some of the other options out there. However, it can still get the job done for small gardens and comes with a two-year warranty.

How we tested these strimmers

We put a variety of strimmers through their paces on lawn edges, sloped areas, and big and small gardens.

Before we began using the strimmers, we assessed how easy they were to assemble and if any extra tools were needed. We also considered how long it would take to charge the batteries and store the strimmers. After that, we looked at comfort, weight, balance, and grip while handling them. Additionally, we examined features like a safety button as well as noise levels and runtime.

  • Performance: We looked at factors such as blade shape and material, cutting width and efficiency, and smoothness and precision of cut. We also assessed power and any extra functionality.
  • Value for money: In addition to the performance criteria, we considered features, RRP, warranty, etc.
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