Gardening Articles: Landscaping :: Lawns, Ground Cover, & Wildflowers
Gas-Powered String Trimmers (page 3 of 4)
by Ken Morrison
The choice of attachments for your trimmer depends on the model you select. Generally, curved-shaft trimmers accept few, if any, attachments. Most straight-shaft models are more versatile, though you may need to buy extra components. If you plan on using a blade for some jobs, save money by choosing a model with a blade conversion kit. Several other attachments are available, such as fixed-line (non-advancing) heads with extra-heavy line; plastic blades; and a wide range of steel blades designed for cutting grass, brush, and wood. If you have a large or rural lot to maintain, the more accommodating straight-shaft model is the best choice.
Eye protection is a must, and ear protection is highly recommended. Gloves and heavy shoes are a good idea. If you buy a blade-capable model, your trimmer will come with bicycle-type or extended "J" handlebars and a harness. Never install a hard blade without the proper hardware.
Never use a string trimmer to cut grass around the base of a tree, especially thin-barked young trees, which can be damaged easily.
Some trimmers are more user friendly than others. For instance, a translucent fuel tank makes it easy to know when to refill, and then do it without spilling. On some engines the air cleaners or spark arrestors are buried or difficult to reach for maintenance.
It's hard to beat the national hardware and home center chains for bargain-priced trimmers and brush cutters. However, if you buy from such a place, be prepared to assemble the unit and diagnose for yourself any difficulties that arise.
In terms of value, a local servicing dealer may have the edge. Dealers offer a wider and often better range of equipment and can help you make the best choice. They have the technical know-how, parts, and accessories to custom-equip your trimmer and keep it running. As well, they'll set it up and adjust it, assuring easy starts and optimum performance right out of the box.