String Trimmer vs Edger
String trimmers and lawn edgers are the ideal tools for achieving a lawn that is tidier in appearance. Although a lawn mower will keep your grass at a reasonable length, it cannot prevent your grass from growing untidily over the edges of paths and walkways. This is the task for which string trimmers and edgers were created; we’ll look at this more in depth below.
Types Of String Trimmers
String trimmers come in 3 main types, each with its own advantages and disadvantages; these are the gas-powered string trimmer, corded-electric string trimmer and cordless-electric string trimmer. The device works by spinning several pieces of monofilament string at a very high RPM, which enables them to slice through blades of grass. Although this is technically the definition of a string trimmer, some people use the term to refer to all types of trimmers, even those that are blade-based.
According to Consumer Reports, gas-powered string trimmers are often favored for their sheer power; they are typically the most powerful machines amongst the bunch. However, they are also reasonably cumbersome, owing to the weight of the gasoline engine and fuel combined. What’s more, they also belch out some degree of fumes, creating air pollution and if you’re not careful, ground pollution, too.
Corded-electric string trimmers, on the other hand, have none of the same concerns around air or ground contamination, as they run on electricity using a cord which you plug into an outlet. Often, you can also get quite close to matching the same kind of power afforded by a gasoline model. However, you’ll be contending with a cord that limits the reach of the device, not to mention creating a cutting hazard.
Finally, you have the cordless-electric, or battery-powered model, which is very similar to the corded-electric variety, but typically heavier owing to the battery unit. Though you no longer have the restrictions of a cord, you do have a limited window in which to cut the lawn before the battery needs recharging.
Types Of Edgers
Like string trimmers, lawn edgers can come in gas- or electric-powered varieties, with the latter being available as a corded or battery-powered subtype. With electric-powered edgers, you'll have to consider the pros and cons of having a cable attached more carefully; however, the string trimmer operation is less encumbered by a cord, you're more likely to risk running over the cable with a lawn edger.
Additionally, in another comparable way to string trimmers, edgers can be picked up with a blade-based design or a monofilament design. According to DIY website Do It Yourself, the monofilament option is popular and avoids the same issues mentioned above, regarding air pollution and ground contaminants.
When To Use A String Trimmer
String trimmers tend to be less accurate and controlled than edgers, owing to the general design that uses flexible monofilament fibers, and the fact that they are suspended in the air at arm’s length. Whereas an edger uses fixed, solid blades that can achieve very neat and straight edges, a string trimmer will typically produce less tidy results.
As a result, trimmers are perfect for the main task that they were created for, which is for trimming around areas that a lawn mower couldn't reach, or where grass has grown too thick or tall to be tackled by your mower. They are essentially the contingency for mowing your lawn, where your regular mower has failed. Since they’re designed to be wielded suspended from the ground, they’re ideal for reaching irregularly-shaped areas where an edger cannot access. Read more on how to use one.
When To Use An Edger
Design-wise, these types of machines are typically a frame and engine housing mounted onto wheels, with a sharp, rotating blade mounted on one side. When steered alongside the edge of a lawn using the path or walkway, they take the rough, overgrown edges off the perimeter of the lawn, creating a neat finish between grass and concrete or asphalt. As a result, edgers achieve a much better outcome when it comes to creating a neat edge around walkways, asphalt, and concrete sidewalks.
If you were wondering whether you need a string trimmer or an edger, you might find that the answer is to own both machines. They are designed for different tasks, and although you could probably achieve some degree of success using a string trimmer to edge your lawns, the end result would be nowhere near as neat or attractive.