10 Steps: How To Use A String Trimmer

A string trimmer cutting through grass.

Most of us already know that string trimmers are without a doubt very useful and helpful tools. However, looking at how others use it may seem as easy as it is. But in reality, it is actually difficult to operate since there are several factors to consider when working with one such as the positioning, techniques, posture, and many more.

I myself bought a Makita String Trimmer, and I had little to almost no knowledge about how to use it all. Although there were instructions in the trimmer’s box packaging, it wasn’t much of a help since it mainly focused on how to assemble and start up the tool.

With the brand new string trimmer fueling my excitement, I directly went to my lawn and immediately tested it out. However, it went horribly wrong as I was not able to control the trimmer very well which gave me small cuts to my legs from the grass that was flying off of the trimmer.

Moreover, the result of my work led to uneven grass cuttings or an overall bad look to my garden. This is the main reason why I decided to learn first how to use a string trimmer before I ever work with one again. Not long after learning the right way to use it, I was finally able to operate the trimmer correctly!

So, to avoid going through the mistakes that I went through, I will guide you with the proper form and strategies throughout this article!


How To Properly Use A String Trimmer

Before we go through the steps on how to properly use a string trimmer, you must know first that trimmers are different from lawn edgers. Basically, lawn edgers are specifically designed to cut edges and make boundary lines. On the other hand, string trimmers are responsible for maintaining those boundary lines.


1) Wear Protective Gear

Like operating with any other gardening machinery, I highly recommend that you invest in protective gear to safeguard your eyes and skin from snapped debris like grass, rocks, or branches that might hit you, which can cause severe eye injury or open wounds to the skin.

I personally wear heavy-duty boots or shoes, long baggy pants, and a visor that provides full-face protection to keep me safe while working.

I strongly discourage you from wearing unsafe attire because when wearing shorts and slippers while operating a string trimmer will cause cuts and bruises from flying debris.

Furthermore, I suggest wearing ear muffs or headphones to protect your ears from hearing damage because some string trimmers can be too loud which can cause hearing damage after long exposure to the loud sounds the string trimmer produces.

A man wearing protective gear while using a string trimmer.
Image From: EMSC

2) Inspect Your Surroundings

By inspecting your surroundings, I basically mean EVERYTHING. This includes but is not limited to: rocks, glass, branches, etc.  Small debris like this can easily be caught by the line and turned into missiles.

Moreover, always check if there are people nearby because they are more likely to get hit by the debris than you. The reason behind this is because the debris from the trimmers travels on an upward trajectory, which means that it can easily hit someone’s body or head. The higher the ground, the more dangerous it is for people to be around you.

This is why I suggest waiting for people around you to move away because you might hit them from the flying debris your string trimmer is making.

A man trimming near the fence.
Image From: Green Industry Pros

3) Time The Weather

For obvious reasons, trimming on rainy weather or with wet soil is simply not effective. In fact, it will be more of a mess. If the grass or soil is wet, then just wait for it to dry out later or the next day.

A close up image of wet grass.
Image From: Backyard Gadget

4) Manage The Cable

If you are not using a cordless string trimmer, then take some time managing its cable before you start working, make sure that you are not hitting the cable because this might cut the cord or damage its insulation. Although electrical trimmers are less powerful compared to gas-powered ones, there is still a high chance of cord damage if it is in the way.


5) Proper Posture

Of course, proper posture must be observed because aside from the fact that this prevents back pain, it is also effective when you are trimming. During the operation, stand straight and hold the trimmer to your waist level (as long as it is able to reach the grass).


6) Hold It Firmly

Another important factor or method you should practice is holding the string trimmer properly. Do this with both hands on the right side of your body. This is to face away from the muffler. Furthermore, your dominant arm should be straight while your non-dominant hand is slightly bent.

Proper handling of a string trimmer.
Image From: Smugg Bugg

7) Correct Angle

When it comes to the angle of how you should position the string trimmer, to achieve precise trimmings around fences, shrubs, posts, trees, or any tight spaces, I recommend rotating the entire trimmer to cut the head at a 30-degree angle to the ground.

Proper angle of how to use a string trimmer.
Image From: Engledow

8) Right to Left Cuttings

In terms of how you should do your cuttings, you need to move slowly and steadily to get those equal cuttings. The direction of how you sway it should be from right to left and must be away from you.


9) Top to Bottom Cuttings

But what if you have tall grasses in your backyard? Then the direction of how you cut should be top to bottom because this is easier for the motor. Moreover, this will not scalp your lawn at all if done right. Just keep in mind that you should not force it. Let the tip of the line do its work while you do the top to bottom cuttings.


10) Be Cautious of the Line

The line may be very thin but remember that it is very capable of ruining your soil. This is why you should be careful while handling it because it might damage your plants and even your house! If you hit anything besides weeds and grass, stop the trimmer immediately and check the line if there is any damage on it or not.

If ever the line is damaged, you can still replace it, but to avoid going through that hassle just make sure that you will not stumble upon anything that can damage the line.


Final Thoughts On Operating A String Trimmer

Now that you know how to use a string trimmer correctly, I strongly encourage you to do your research first before making a purchase decision. You must choose the right string trimmer for you, and you can determine this by inspecting some important factors first like your lawn or garden size.

Basically, there are two types of string trimmers in the market. There are electric trimmers and gas-powered trimmers. Both of which have their advantages and disadvantages. Moreover, there are string trimmers with cords and without cords. So depending on which you prefer, choose one that is perfectly suitable for your area.

If you have any tips or suggestions you want to share, then feel free to write them in the comment section below! Also, if you have any questions or concerns about how to use a string trimmer, do not hesitate to write them down as well!

About Ador Flores

Greetings! My name is Ador Flores, and I have been in love with nature ever since I was young. I bet you can agree when I say that mother nature tends to astonish you as well. While I may not be able to create mountains, waterfalls, and other majestic landscapes in my backyard, one thing is that I can for sure mimic nature by having a beautiful garden at home. Just from this simple mindset, it did not take long for me to turn gardening into a passion - a passion that changed my life forever. With the experiences I have had with gardening throughout all these years, I can definitely assure you that gardening is for everyone and I would love to share with all of you guys how fulfilling it really is! With the help of Seasonal Preferences, let us all become better gardeners and continue to promote a green and clean environment!

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