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How to Use a String Trimmer Properly

Call it a string trimmer, weed eater, weed trimmer, weed whacker, weed whip or whatever name, this garden power tool is definitely better than hedge shears when it comes to edging and trimming. However, it is not the tool that matter but how you use it. You must know how to use it properly in order to achieve the best results.

Nevertheless, many people would choose to hire the services of a professional since they do not believe in themselves. Permit me to say that is the highest level of pessimism. You got to trust yourself that you can use a string trimmer just the same way a pro would do it. All you need to do is to arm yourself with the right knowledge. Here are some helpful tips on how to use this tool properly:

Mixing Fuel for Gas-Powered String Trimmers

Gas-powered weed eaters are the most powerful and perhaps the most popular. A good majority of these trimmers feature 2-stroke engines that do not feature an automatic lubrication. One of the most important things to do in order to use your string trimmer properly is to mix lubricating oil with gas before filling the tank.

Check the operator manual of the model you have so that you can be certain of the oil to gas ratio to use. Most models require 1:50 ratio to run smoothly but some manufacturers will recommend a ratio of 1:25. There are also in-betweens so you have to know what will work best for your commercial weed eater.

To ensure correct measurement, buy small bottles of 2-stroke oil that makeup about 5 liters (one gallon) of the mix in a can. If you have to buy larger bottles, then you can use graduated measuring cups or other calibrated container. Some people have the habit of mixing the gas and in the gas tank, which is a mistake. A good practice would be to premix the two in a container and whirl perfectly before filling it into the fuel tank.

Avoid using 4-stroke engine oil with a 2-stroke engine because it contains additives capable of contaminating the cylinder over time and it can tear up your trimmer’s piston. You cannot improve the efficiency and performance of a 2-stroke engine by using 4-stroke engine oil.

Choose the Right Type of Line to Use with Your Trimmer

Commercial string trimmers are designed to utilize monofilament nylon for its cutting mechanism. Often this line is available in rolls or spools of varying lengths for you cut into your desired size. Electric trimmers with low power are equipped to use fairly light gauge line about 1/16 inch thick. Such lines are ideal for light glass trimming.

More powerful gas weed eaters also utilize low gauge lines but for cutting grass that is a little bit thicker vegetation that is found in overgrown areas such as nettles, long grasses, docks as well as other weeds. However, heavier gauge lines are necessary to prevent tangling and breaking of line. Such lines can be as thick as 3/16 inches and require high cc gas powered trimmer models in order to spin effectively and fast without the engine struggling or slowing down on thick vegetation. It is always good to consult the manufacturer’s manual for recommendations.

Exercise Safety Precautions

An important part of string trimmer proper use is to exercise safety precautions. Without doing this, chances are that you may end up hurting yourself and not stopping that overgrown lawn on your backyard. Here are the most important safety precautions:

Every exposed part of your body is at risk of harm while you are using a gas trimmer. Consider what may the outcome if line snap or debris such as small stones or pebbles traveling at speeds in excess of 400 miles per hour hits your eyes. You might lose your vision.

This is why it is important to wear protective gear such goggles or a visor for full-face protection. Avoid wearing shorts and sandals; in fact, you need heavy trousers that can absorb the force of debris flying at high speeds. Wear heavy-duty shoes with steel cups and soles if possible.

It would be a mistake to pick you trimmer and head to your work area without first inspecting the ground. This is extremely important because it is the only way will identify objects such as metals, stones, bits of glass, pebbles, and bits of wood and small stones. The trimmer’s spinning line can catch up these objects and turn them into missiles to your own detriment.

Objects thrown at speed can hit glass windows of buildings and cars while trimming can chip paintwork or shutter glass altogether. Take into account the direction of where the debris or objects are thrown toward and direct them away safely from anything that could be damaged.

If you have an electric string trimmer then you have to be careful about the cables to that they do not tangle or pose danger to you and others around you. Avoid hitting the cable while you are using your trimmer. However, electric trimmers are unlikely to cut the cable but it may damage the insulation of the cable.

It is dangerous to have people standing near you as you work. They are more likely to be hurt than you because you are aware of the risks. Besides, flying objects from the trimmer will most likely take an upward trajectory and therefore reach the level of the eye of a bystander leading to nasty but avoidable accidents. Advise everyone whenever you intend to use the trimmer and pause every time someone passes by in case you are trimming close to a path.

In order to deliver professional results, you must use the right technique. Of the things to keep in mind are the cutting techniques including edging, tapering, scything, and screeding. Read carefully when each of these techniques represents and how to perform them. In most cases, you will find valuable information on these techniques if you read the operator’s manual provided by the manufacturer carefully.


Using a string trimmer is not a difficult thing if you have the right information. As you have learned in this post, it is about mixing fuel well if you have a gas powered weed eater, choosing the right string, exercising the safety precautions and using the right technique. Always remember to read the manual provided with your machine.

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