Trimming those hard-to-reach blades of grass hiding in every nook and cranny and behind all of the obstacles in your yard makes a huge difference in the appearance of your lawn. Nothing is worse than cutting the grass and then noticing some patches you missed along the house’s siding or behind a tree trunk after you’ve already put the tools away.
Trimming is a really important part of lawn care and there are a bunch of different ways to do it. String trimmers are by far the most common tool people use, but they’ve got some disadvantages. Noise, weight, and maintenance are a few of the big ones. Naturally, they aren’t for everybody. Luckily there are many alternatives to string trimmers that you can use to tailor your yard to perfection.
My Favorite Alternatives to the String Trimmer
My favorite alternatives to string trimmers are hand trimmers, brush cutters, and lawn shears. All three of these tools have their own strengths and weaknesses but they can all be used to give the edges of your lawn that crisp and clean look.
What You Can Use Instead of a String Trimmer (Top Alternatives)
Whether you’re sick of refilling the string on your weed whacker, or just want to do things the old-fashioned way, there are a couple of things to take into consideration when picking what you want to trim your lawn with. Each alternative to a string trimmer requires different use, but they sure beat major landscaping or (god forbid) spraying round-up around the edges of your lawn.
Hand trimmers (or cordless grass shears) have got to be my favorite of the string trimmer alternatives. Full disclosure, I grew up using a hand trimmer with my dad in our backyard so I may be a bit biased. Still, there is no debating the fact that they work great for anybody with a small or medium-sized yard. They are super lightweight, precise, and safe. Forget about bothering your neighbors with noise or kicking pebbles up into your shins or face like you might with a string trimmer. They’re also pretty cost-efficient and usually run for about 45 minutes per charge. The only downside to hand trimmers in my opinion is that you have to bend over to do the trimming. But if you have a smaller lawn you’ll be amazed how quickly you can get the job done with this tool.
If you’re not familiar with brush cutters, just imagine a string trimmer but with a saw blade on the end instead of string. As the name suggests, brush cutters can cut through small branches and shrubs as well as grass. This is really their main benefit as they’re super powerful and tend to be able to slice through whatever you throw at them. They can usually sneak into all the hard-to-reach places that your lawn mower might not be able to.
But, they can be a little bit more cumbersome and expensive than your average string trimmer. You might be well suited for one of these if you have a variety of tall grasses or tough volunteers that need clearing out regularly. If you’re just dealing with little patches of grass around your yard, a brush cutter would probably be overkill.
Looking for a green alternative to a string trimmer? Lawn shears run solely on muscle. About as traditional as it gets, using lawn shears to trim the edges of your lawn is a tried and true method.
Ever given your grass a bald spot or accidentally clipped the side of your house or garage with a string trimmer? You won’t have that problem with lawn shears. Operating like oversized scissors, the blades are super easy to sharpen and they’re built to last. If you have a garden along part of your lawn and you want to be careful not to damage plants, or if you just want a good forearm workout, lawn shears are a great option.
Like hand trimmers, you’ll have to get low to the grass to use these which can be a bit of a challenge. My only advice is to make sure you look for a pair of shears that have a nice comfortable grip.
Now that you’ve got a good idea of what alternatives to string trimmers are out there, it’s just a matter of deciding what best suits your needs. Think about the size of your lawn and where exactly it needs trimming. You’ll probably get pretty tired of bending over using hand trimmers or lawn shears if you’ve got quite a big area to cover. As far as upgrading to a brush cutter, be sure that you’ll actually be able to get the blade into all the tight spaces in your yard. Other than that you can’t really go wrong.