Trimmer line comes in a variety of shapes, like twisted, round, and square, but it’s not clear what the difference is just by looking at their packets. So, unless you know what you’re picking up in the store, you might end up with a product that doesn’t suit your weed eater, budget, or even the environment you want to work in. Let me give you a heads-up before you select which trimmer line to buy.
Twisted Trimmer Line vs. Round vs. Square (The Short Explanation)
Round trimmer line is the cheaper option and gives overall good results, but it can rip grass instead of cutting it. Square line is much better at cutting, but it is more expensive and demands more power. Twisted line sits between the round vs. square line when it comes to cutting, plus it doesn’t need so much power and makes a good cut.
The Pros + Cons of Round Trimmer Line
If you’re scratching your head trying to decide between twisted trimmer line vs round, let’s start off by taking a closer look at the round trimmer line. Round line tends to be the line that comes installed on a new weed eater or in a new weed eater’s head.
Simpler Manufacturing Process
A round trimmer line goes through a simpler and quicker manufacturing process, making the cost to purchase noticeably cheaper. That is probably why you usually find round line pre-installed on new heads and trimmers.
A Strong Line Design
Because the round line doesn’t have sharp edges like square or twisted trimmer lines, it doesn’t break so often. I’ve found that I can use a round line in my weed eater head for quite some time without having to reload it. So, if you’re not a fan of loading up a head, then this could be the option for you.
Round line not only cuts through the grass, but it also cuts through the air pretty well. Due to there being no flat surface on a round trimmer line, you’ll find that it doesn’t make too much noise. If you switch to a square or twisted line, you’ll really hear the noise of the line as the head spins at high speed. So, if you’re trying to be extra quiet while working, then a round trimmer line will help.
With all the benefits of the round design of weed eater line, there is one major drawback. The round weed eater line tends to tear the grass blades instead of cutting them. It’s more of a smashing action rather than a slicing action.
So, even though the round line is cheap, strong, and quiet, it’s not actually great at cutting—the one thing you really want it to do well. So, expect some brown tips on the grass.
Something else you will notice with the round line is that your weed eater will vibrate more than usual. The vibration happens because there is much more material in the round line than in square and twisted lines. So with the lack of aerodynamics in a round line, expect some vibrations, especially if you like to run your trimmer line longer than designed without a guard.
Works on Most Weed Eaters
One of the main differentiating factors between weed eaters is the amount of power that they have. So, if your weed eater is on the weaker side, then you’ll want to make sure that you have a line that will work. You don’t want to end up choosing a trimmer line that is going to make your weed eater struggle. While the round trimmer lines work with most weed eaters, thicker round lines can create issues, especially for weaker weed eaters.
The Pros + Cons of Square Trimmer Line
Now let’s take a look at the square trimmer line and see if this design is a better fit for your weed eater and your needs. You’ll commonly find this type of line made by manufacturers such as Echo and Stihl.
Sharper Edge Cuts
The first thing you’ll notice with a square trimmer line is that it cuts much better than a round line. This is because each corner of the square acts like a blade to cut the grass. So, you will get a better cut and have significantly less browning of the grass.
Another benefit of a square line vs a round line is that you will experience less vibration in the shaft of your weed eater. This is because a round line can cut through the air much better than a round line.
Breaks a Bit Easier
Unfortunately, the edge of the square shape can lead to premature snaping of your weed eater line. You’ll find that it catches onto things even though it’s traveling at a very high speed. So, be prepared to use up a square line much quicker than a round line.
The Pros + Cons of Twisted Trimmer Line
Last on the list is the twisted line, which by all accounts, is the choice of the professionals. Let’s take a look at why this is.
If you take a look at the profile of a twisted trimmer line, you’ll see that it’s a fairly flat line. This makes it great for cutting your lawn and will really take care of edging your flower beds.
With less material to make up the profile of the twisted line, you end up with a more lightweight product. Lightweight means you need less power to operate this type of line. Also, it’s the perfect line to use if you want to run a longer line.
If you have wondered how professionals run such long lines on their weed eaters, it’s usually down to a combination of twisted lines and bigger engines.
Works Under Lower Speed
You’ll find that a twisted line can straighten itself out at low speeds, which is definitely not something a round or square line is very good at. So, if you’re trying to be delicate, say, along a fence line or while you’re edging, then a twisted line will straighten itself out and still give you the full width of cutting ability the line is extended to.
Good Against Hard Surfaces
If you are like me, then you want to trim around some hard surfaces on your property. I trim pathways, the driveway, and even up against the brickwork of my home. Because you can slow your eater down using a twisted line, you won’t reach the melting point of the line as quickly as with other designs.
Melting point? Well, this is the temperature at which the line will melt and snap. If you watch a professional using a weed eater without a guard, it looks like they intentionally hit the concrete at full speed. Well, this is how professionals take advantage of the melting point to snap their lines to equal and desired lengths.
The twisted line is definitely the more expensive product out of the three trimmer line options. In my opinion, that is where the cons stop. But we need to look at the price closer because it is kind of misleading.
For example, if you use a round line on your weed eater, you’ll find that your trimmer has to work a lot harder. This extra work will basically reduce the lifespan of the engine. I think you already figured out where I’m going with this. So, you’ll save a few bucks in the short term, but you’ll spend more in the long term when it’s time to replace your trimmer.
Twisted vs Round vs Square Trimmer Line: Are Certain Lines Suited to Certain Scenarios?
Well, determining which line works best under certain scenarios really comes down to a few different factors like strength, weight, cutting ability, and of course, the cost. But would you benefit from having three spools loaded with three different trimmer lines? No, not really.
The best approach is to have the line that suits you and your weed eater. For me, it’s the line that performs the best in each category apart from the price because I know the more expensive twisted line actually protects my weed eater.