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Choosing A Petrol Strimmer


So if you are in the market for buying a petrol strimmer you can either sit in the comfort of your own home and browse the internet until you find what you are looking for or else you can go down to your nearest tool supplier. By going to a store you have the advantage of actually seeing the machine for real and any reputable store will also have a display. This means that you can actually hold the strimmer in your own hands to see how it feels.

Going “live” is a much better option we feel, though on the internet you will probably have access to many more examples. Anyway there are many models of the petrol strimmer on the market today with examples available in every budget range. They are not all manufactured to the same way and range in capabilities and performance levels greatly, so before shopping it is advisable to think about what you actually require. This will help you make a decision and save you a lot of time wasting where you could be looking at every model available. The criteria you should be concentrating upon in deciding the petrol strimmer you need are:




It is no good having a petrol trimmer that simply cannot cope with the work load you have planned for it. You must select a trimmer that gives you enough power. The larger the engine on the unit though, the more expensive it will probably be. If for example you have dense material and overgrowth to get through then you will definitely need one of the bigger engine varieties as opposed to a small engine version that is only really suitable for just trimming light grass borders. Also how often and for how long at a time will you be using the trimmer? If the answer is frequently and for long periods of time at one go then again you need to be looking at more powerful machines to ensure you get through the job without failing.


Cutting Radius


The cutting radius on the petrol strimmer is all important. If you have large areas to cover on a regular basis then you must look at trimmers with a large cutting radius. The larger the radius the quicker you will get through the job and also complete it more efficiently using less swings and even conserving on your fuel usage. And don’t worry if you have selected a unit with a large cutting radius and need to use it on small jobs. Providing that the machine is lightweight and easy to move around you will have no problems with the small jobs. The petrol strimmer can be a very versatile tool when it needs to be.


Not a Hedge Trimmer


When people maintain their gardens not only must they trim the lawn, straighten all grass edges and cut down any overgrowth. There also are usually hedges that need straightening or cutting back. Well the petrol strimmer is a powerful device and in most cases would be able to cut through hedge foliage and what not. However they are not designed to cut hedges and for this you really should get yourself a proper hedge trimmer. To cut a hedge properly you need to move and cut in a horizontal fashion, not just vertical. The strimmer is designed to be used vertically. So its really not a good idea to plan on using your strimmer on hedges.




The features of the petrol strimmer are usually the deciding factors in your choice of trimmer. As said earlier, models differ greatly and there is a huge range to select from. The shaft of the trimmer can either be straight or curved. If you are planning on using the device for a long period of time then the curved shaft is probably the one you should opt for. Such has been the development of gardening tools, the strimmer has been greatly improved over the last couple of decades. Many models now have great safety features such as automatic shut off. Now you can never have enough safety so check these safety features on the particular models you are looking at and decide which suits you best. And back to the engine. Look at the engine type and the power output of the unit. Power is crucial as is the fuel consumption.




When buying a petrol strimmer it is always wise to invest in quality. Look for brand names such as Ryobi, McCulloch and Stihl. Companies such as these have reputations to uphold and most of their business success comes purely from reputation. In order to uphold their reputations they must manufacture the best machines they can and offer great warranties. This can only benefit the likes of the consumer such as us. You may have to pay a little more, but in return you will receive a great machine that if it does unexpectedly fail to work or break, you have the warranty to fall back on. Buying cheap non quality goods is not cost effective in the long run.

Petrol Strimmer

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A petrol strimmer is also known as a strimmer, string trimmer, line strimmer, weedeater, weed whipper, garden strimmer or grass trimmer. Basically a petrol strimmer is a powered device that is held in the hand and uses a flexible monofilament line to cut your grass or weeds or other plants. It uses this monofilament line instead of a blade. The whole petrol strimmer unit consists of the cutting head which is at the end of a long shaft which has one or two handles and usually a shoulder strap attached to it. The petrol versions of the strimmer are powered from an internal combustion engine and this engine is located at the opposite end to the cutting head on the shaft. The electrical version of the strimmer tends to have the electric motor in the cutting head. It was George Ballas from Houston, Texas who first introduced the string trimmer to the world in the early 1970's. It was when he was sitting in his car whilst taking it through an automatic car wash that he was inspired by the revolving action of the cleaning brushes in this particular car wash.


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Once he got home he found himself some heavy duty fishing line and attached it to an empty popcorn can which he then bolted to an edger. He tried it out to some success and from this basic example he developed his string trimmer which he called the weed eater because of it’s effectiveness of chewing up grass and all the weeds in the vicinity. The petrol strimmer works on the basis that the line in the head of the unit is turned fast enough for it to be held out from the rotating wheel stiffly by the force known as centripetal force. The faster this line is made to spin the stiffer it becomes and hence more efficient as a cutter. Even round section nylon can be used in a strimmer to cut grass and other plants provided that it is powered strongly enough to make it stiff whilst rotating. On some of the more powered petrol strimmer the line itself could well have an extruded shape such as like a star.

This helps the line slash materials being cut and because of it’s effectiveness it can easily be used in tougher locations such as woods and forests to cut down large woody plants and small shrubs. At the least if it can’t cut them down it will at least ring bark them very effectively. These lines give you the options of not having to use disks with those tough jobs you encounter.

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When using the petrol strimmer, safety and commonsense should always be applied. Read more..  Petrol Strimmer Safety

To take care of your petrol strimmer and ensure that it has a long working life, regular maintenance should be performed. Read more... Petrol Strimmer Maintenance

Inevitably you will have to replace you used up trimmer nylon line and spool. Read more.. Replacement lines and heads

Replacing Trimmer Line And Spools

Petrol Strimmer Maintenance

Petrol Strimmer Safety

Petrol Strimmer Storage

An important part of strimmer maintenance is the storing of the device. Correct storage procedures are often overlooked. Read more.. Petrol Strimmer Storage

Getting Rid Of Stinging Nettles

Stinging nettles have a habit of appearing in the majority of British gardens and can be a real problem. Us the petrol strimmer to remove them for once and all. Read more.. Stinging Nettle Removal

Hedgehog Safety

The petrol strimmer can pose a serious threat to sleeping hedgehogs and cause severe injury. Please be observant. Read More.. Hedgehog Safety


Petrol Or Electric ?


The strimmer comes in both petrol and electric versions. The petrol versions are far superior to their electrical counterparts and we shall highlight how. For some reason many home gardeners when they go out to purchase tools seem to opt for electric versions. This has to be a price element thing because it cannot be a performance related decision. Just take for example any professional landscaper or garden contractor and you will hardly ever see one of them using an electric piece of equipment. The first choice for them is petrol. To which you must ask yourself why?

If you go over the whole spectrum of power tools for the garden from lawnmowers to hedge trimmers, quality petrol tools always completely outperform their electrical equivalents. On the lifespan of the tools, the petrol versions always outlive their electrical counterparts. And in using the tools, the petrol version is so much more convenient and versatile. There are no electrical cables to get in the way or cause any dangerous situations like tripping up or getting tangled up whilst in precarious positions.

Maybe it is fear of being lumbered with a huge maintenance bill when a petrol tool goes wrong and needs repairing. But this is not so. As long as you maintain your tool correctly and have it serviced once a year with an oil change, spark plug change and filter cleaning then the machine will remain fully operational for years to come. The only reason for buying an electrical strimmer is if the area you need to work on is tiny and you will only be doing he job once or twice a year. Then and only then can you justify buying the electrical version. So if you are going to acquire a strimmer then you really should buy yourself the petrol strimmer.

The Design Of The Petrol Strimmer


The petrol strimmer usually has a 21 cc displacement motor as minimum but can range to much bigger engines. The size is very important for the job in hand. The 21 cc engine is capable of turning a 2 mm line with no problems and some of them have nylon blades as accessories to the line reel. When you move up the power range with for example a 32 cc motor then you can easily use a 2.75 mm line and this has often metal blade accessories. The head at the bottom of the shaft has a safety shield on the side of the user for obvious reasons and a rotating hub.

These two parts can be called the head or spool. The petrol strimmer is heavier than it’s counterpart the electrical strimmer. It uses a petrol mix and when in use it can vibrate quite significantly. But on the plus side these units are so much more mobile and are definitely not limited in the power they can output. So if it is a tough job you are facing then the petrol version of the strimmer should be your first choice. In the case of a very large and powerful petrol strimmer you can strap them to your body and suspend them with a harness. These large versions are ideal for such jobs as roadside grass cutters or large over grown areas that need clearing.

The trimmers that use nylon or metal blades tend to have straight drive shafts as they need higher torque to turn the disk as well as having to deal with the shock loads that are transferred back from the blade to the drive shaft and gearbox. The smaller versions of the trimmers can have and usually do have curved drive shafts. This design is perfect for assisting in holding the cutting head at ground level and giving less stress to the person who is operating the unit.We cannot leave this section without giving you a little info on the alternative to the petrol strimmer which is the electric trimmer. These trimmers are very light to hold and easy to move around.

They are quite basic and hence user friendly when it comes to operating them. But the weakness of the electric strimmer is that the length of power cord limits them in use and they are as well a lot less powerful. The maximum diameter of nylon you can use with these units is 2.5 mm because of their maximum output levels.

There are also battery operated units out there which are better because you have no power cord to mess around with but batteries run out and need recharging and again the power level of these units are so inferior to that of the power output of the petrol strimmer.


General Information On Strimmers


Strimmers come in several varieties and what differentiates these varieties are the method of power, shaft design and the line feed design. Each particular strimmer can be designed using one or all of these features to provide a garden tool that can do a variety of trimming jobs. When looking to buy a petrol strimmer you will soon become aware of the many different options available to you. Each particular strimmer will have it’s own pros and cons.




The strimmer is available in 3 different power options. These options are petrol, electric or propane. The method of power that a trimmer uses will determine it’s overall workload capacity and usability.

Electric strimmers are not expensive to buy and generally are very easy to use and lightweight. Starting them up is a doddle when compared to some of their petrol counterparts. The electric strimmer is ideal for the average homeowner who does not have such a large work load to contend with. Basically all one does with one of these versions is to plug it in and off you go. They are cheap to buy and operate. However you can be limited by power and portability as they can only be used where the cable allows them to be.

Petrol strimmers are more expensive to buy yet have a more significant power capability. They are heavier and require constant maintenance. But for all of this you have a strimmer that is capable of a greater workload. The petrol strimmer will be powered by either a 2 stroke or 4 stroke engine.

The third option of the strimmer is the propane powered one. These are an eco-friendly option to the petrol strimmer. Propane is a cleaner fuel than petrol and a propane strimmer can easily match a petrol strimmer for power and workloads. Unfortunately though, propane has to be purchased in canisters and these canisters are not refillable. This can prove to be rather expensive over the long run.

Design Of The Line Feed


It doesn’t matter which type or size of trimmer line you use with your strimmer, it will wear down and break. This is an accepted inconvenience of a strimmer but changing or advancing a trimmer line can be awkward and time consuming. This is why many manufacturers have spent time and money in an attempt to provide a better design of line advancement and replacement. The 3 main designs for trimmer line advancement are bump feed, fixed head and automatic feed. When you are shopping for a trimmer you will become aware that many models don a bump feed system for their lines. The reason for this is that the system does prove to be extremely reliable and efficient. However this does not mean that you should dismiss the automatic feed and fixed head systems as an option.

With the bump feed system the line is wound around the spool of the trimmer until it is required. How the line is advanced is by bumping the bottom of the trimmer on the ground as you are working with the strimmer. When bumped, the spring system will depress and release a small length of line through the line outlet. This system is simple to employ and very dependable.

A fixed head system is where individual lines are loaded in to the trimmer when and if required. With this system you do not have to spool line in to the strimmer. However every time the line needs to be replaced you have to stop working with the trimmer. In general the fixed head system is more popular with the larger type of strimmer that uses thicker and tougher lines. By using a tougher and thicker line, the line will not wear and break at the same rate as a thinner line and hence require changing  less frequently.

Automatic feed systems use line spooling in the same way as bump systems. The difference being that the line is automatically passed through rather than being activated by bumping the strimmer. Some automatic feed systems are very good but many do pose problems. With poor design or bad line spooloing the automatic system can fail to operate properly.

Having worked strimmers with each feed system we are inclined to recommend the bump feed system as the most user friendly and efficient.

Design Of The Strimmer Shaft


Every strimmer has a shaft. There are 3 major shaft designs to choose from and each design will affect how a particular strimmer can be used. The 3 designs of shaft are curved, straight and split shaft.

The curved shaft on a strimmer gives the most comfort in use. This is especially so when you are working at ground level. A curved shaft will allow the used to adopt a comfortable standing position when using a trimmer. However when it comes to strimming under bushes and other obstacles the curved shaft is not so efficient and comfortable. Also a curved shaft can have an affect on the power of the strimmer.

The straight shaft offers a longer reach than a curved shaft. This makes it the ideal choice if you need to strim under bushes and such. You will also find that the most powerful of strimmers tend to have a straight shaft. Not as comfortable to work with as the curved shaft, they do offer better working advantages. Most brush cutters will have a straight shaft.

A split shaft design will allow the end of the trimmer shaft to be separated from the rest. With this system attachments can then be fitted on to the trimmer. This makes your trimmer a multi tool.The only advantage a split shaft has is that attachments can be used. So if you only want the strimmer for strimming a split shaft is not a consideration for you.

Strimmer Lines


Any strimmer that you look at will be rated for a specific size of trimmer line. All trimmer lines are measured by their diameters in inches. The measurement ranges go from 0.065 to 0.170. The type of line you will require is determined by your particular strimmer and the type of work you are carrying out.


0.065 - 0.085   Light/Medium work


0.085 - 0.110   Medium/Heavy work


0.110 +            Heavy work


The majority of trimmer lines are made out of nylon or some sort of monofilament material. But there are varieties out there made from tougher materials such as metal to make them tougher and more durable.

Shapes also vary on trimmer lines. There are rounded, twisted, square and even 5 sided lines to choose from. Depending upon the shape, these lines can have added cutting power and reduce any possible snagging problems. These days a lot of time and research has gone in to the strimmer line.

Strimmer Cutting Paths


Every strimmer is rated on it’s cutting path. The cutting path is the actual diameter of area that a strimmer’s cutting line will cover. In most cases this measurement will be in inches. So when it comes to matching a strimmer for a particular job, this measurement is very informative.


7 - 9       Very light work


10- 14    Light to medium work


15 - 16   Medium to heavy work


17 +       Heavy work