Trim and edge your outdoor space with the best strimmers and grass trimmers from £40
British homeowners take gardening seriously. In 2020, we collectively spent around £6.2 billion on tending to our personal open spaces, with the lawn at the heart of all the attention. In fact, achieving the perfect lawn has become a national obsession, and having the right tools is key.
A good-quality lawn mower is one such tool, but a grass trimmer – often called a strimmer – is also an essential piece of equipment. As well as hacking down long grass or scything through undergrowth, a grass trimmer allows you to get into those tight spaces that a mower can’t manage, such as around immovable garden furniture or toys, and around walls, raised flower beds and decking. Some can even be used for quick and effective edging. A versatile tool? You bet.
Whether it’s a small, lightweight model you’re after, or something more heavy-duty. Or if you want the reliability of mains power, portability of battery power, or the power of petrol – there’s a grass trimmer on the market that’s perfect for your needs. To help you find it, read our guide on how to choose the best grass trimmer for you, before you get to our pick of the best strimmers and grass trimmers on the market right now.
How to choose the best strimmer or grass trimmer for you
How much do I need to spend?
The amount you spend will largely depend on the size of your garden and how much you will likely use a grass trimmer. A cheap, lightweight strimmer should suffice for a small garden for getting into tight corners, and to trim and edge. Many such models are wieldy, compact for storing in the garden shed, and could cost less than £50.
For larger gardens, especially those with grass, or weeds that grow quickly, you might want a model with a bit more oomph. In addition, if you’re covering a lot of ground then battery or petrol-powered trimmers might be more suitable to avoid long cables and extension leads trailing across your garden.
What do the power ratings mean?
Every electric strimmer will have a rating of between 250W and 600W. The bottom line is that the higher the figure, the more punch it will pack. Some makers claim their products have complex gearing systems, or use clever processors to do more with less; but, really, if you’re going to ask a lot of your grass trimmer, then bigger is better. When it comes to battery-powered strimmers, it’s the voltage that makes a difference. You will see 12V, 18V or 24V on many boxes, and 60V or more for those used by the pros. Again, the higher the number, the more capable the trimmer will be.
And when it comes to petrol-powered strimmers, engine capacity – measured in cubic centimetres (cc) matters.
How important is a trimmer’s cutting width?
It’s no coincidence that the more powerful the trimmer, the wider the cutting width or swathe tends to be. The bigger the figure, the more grass you trim away with each sweeping move and – theoretically – the less time you will spend on the job. Trimmers generally range from 20cm up to 35cm, although the professional petrol models used by landscape gardeners can reach 42cm and beyond.
Generally speaking, the more power you have and the bigger the swathe, the heavier and more expensive the trimmer is going to be. However, the extra cost and weight might be worth it; you will be able to tackle a larger plot in much less time, using less electricity or fuel as you go. Don’t go overboard, though. Trimming is a tiring business, and the larger strimmers with heavier motors can be a strain to use for longer periods, even with a shoulder strap.
What kind of trimmer should I buy?
This really comes down to the size of your garden and overall convenience. Electric trimmers with a mains lead are the cheapest option, but in a big garden there are huge advantages to going wire-free.
Cordless trimmers are, on balance, the most convenient. Models with fast-charging, long-lasting lithium-ion batteries are now the norm, and trimming gets a whole lot easier when you don’t have to think about the cord – provided you remember to charge the battery before use. Just bear in mind that not all cordless trimmers come with a battery or a charger, so you could end up forking out more than you expect. Although, if you already have tools that are part of a battery ecosystem, then cordless can be cost-efficient.
Electric trimmers are still a good investment. They’re often cheap and easy to handle, and usually more powerful than all but the biggest cordless models. The only problem is the cord, which makes a lengthy extension cable a must-have in medium-sized and larger gardens. You need to take real care not to cut the cable, so make sure you’re using a circuit breaker – either integrated into the extension cable, or a standalone socket-type version.
Petrol trimmers are the best option for those with massive gardens and a lot of thick undergrowth – many will even double as a heavy-duty weed-whacker. However, they’re not exactly environmentally friendly, they’re usually noisy, and they’re bigger, heavier and harder to manage and maintain – not to mention temperamental when you try to start them up.
All three types have their pros and cons, but if you’re going to go cordless with just one of your garden tools, make it the strimmer. If you have a good-sized garden it’s a real plus not to have to worry about the cable. Charge up the battery, pull out the trimmer, and you can get to work.
What other features should I know about?
A trimmer’s cutting action usually relies on a line-and-spool mechanism, where a plastic line emerges from a covered reel and breaks off against the shield (the bit that stops you slicing into your foot) to reach the right length. After that, either a manual feed or auto-feed mechanism keeps the line coming as it’s steadily worn down or snapped off. As a rule of thumb, the thicker the line (usually 1.3mm to 2mm in diameter), the heavier the grass and the bigger the weeds it can cut through. However, some trimmers use plastic blades instead. They’re easier to replace than line, which has to be wound onto the spool, but you will generally have to replace them more often. The costs can soon mount up.
Some trimmers can also support a heavy-duty line or cartridge, ideal for tackling weeds, nettles, brambles, annoying saplings and daffodil leaves (though you should really leave them to die down naturally, right?).
Otherwise, trimmers can come with a range of useful features, including edging wheels to hold the trimmer in the right position for edging, wheeled decks that turn your trimmer into a lightweight mini-mower and plant protectors – usually thick, wire barriers that prevent you slicing into your prized perennials while you’re thinking about something else, surely one of the biggest pleasures of any garden job.
How we test grass trimmers
We assemble each strimmer then run it through a gauntlet of grass-trimming trials. First, we use it to trim and edge small areas of a flat lawn, then moving on to a larger, sloping lawn with patches of rough and uneven grass, thick weeds and even brambles. Here, we see how the trimmer performs with more challenging patches of green, assessing whether it’s up to some serious ground clearance. We also check how easy it is to adjust a tool’s handle, change the cutting angle, feed the line and replace the spool – and, with cordless models, we time how long the battery lasts during cutting, plus how long it takes to recharge.
READ NEXT: The best robot lawn mowers
The best strimmer and grass trimmers you can buy in 2023
1. Flymo Contour XT: Best budget trimmer for small gardens
Price when reviewed: £48 | Check price at Amazon If you just need a trimmer for some lightweight trimming and edging on one or two small-ish lawns, the Flymo Contour XT has you covered. With a 300W motor and a 25cm cutting width, it’s cheap and, at just 2.8kg, super-light and wieldy. It also has some nice practical features, such as the chunky wheel for edging, the quick swivel mechanism that takes you from trimming to edging in a few seconds, plus the plastic plant guard and the handy hooks built into the handle to wrap the 10m cable around for easy storage. It’s not the most powerful grass trimmer and certainly not built to take on larger gardens or tougher weeds, but it does a fine job of the basics and doesn’t cost the earth.
Key specs – Power: 300W motor; Cutting width: 25cm; Line: 1.5mm; Weight: 2.8kg
2. Flymo Contour 500E: Best budget trimmer
Price when reviewed: £50 | Check price at Amazon Add an adjustable handle and an extra 200W of power to the Flymo Contour XT and you get something like this step-up model. It’s slightly larger and less wieldy than its smaller sibling, but you get more cutting power to handle rougher grass and weedy areas, making this a better option if you have a larger garden. It doesn’t have the grunt of the Black + Decker GL7033 or the go-anywhere convenience of the cordless models, but if you want a great grass trimmer on a tight budget, this is your best bet.
Key specs – Power: 500W motor; Cutting width: 25cm; Line: 1.5mm; Mains cable: 10m; Weight: 3.1kg
3. Titan TTI821GGT: Best budget cordless trimmer
Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at Screwfix Available from Screwfix and B&Q, the TTI821GGT is a bargain, coming complete with battery and charger for less than most cordless trimmers sold solo. It’s not just cheap, however, but light and very easy to use. It’s well-balanced, with the battery acting as a counterweight on the handle, and very effective at cutting through thick grass and lighter weeds, although it doesn’t have the power or the thick cutting line to get through anything too fibrous or woody.
The battery takes just under an hour to charge and lasts for 30 to 40 minutes. It switches between trimming and edging modes when you push a catch and twist the shaft, while a pull-out guard protects tender stems and tree trunks from unintentional attacks. You will have to reload the spool with cable yourself and Screwfix doesn’t sell a spare spool if you break your first one. That means it’s better suited to lighter work – and less heavy-handed users. If you’re looking for a cheap trimmer for lawn work and the odd bit of light clearing, look no further.
Key specs – Power: 18V; Battery: 2Ah li-ion; Cutting width: 25cm; Line: 1.6mm; Weight: 2.2kg
4. Bosch UniversalGrassCut 18V-260: Best cordless trimmer for comfort
Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at Amazon It’s not hugely powerful and it doesn’t come cheap, but the Bosch UniversalGrassCut is easily the most ergonomic grass trimmer we’ve tested. The main pole is telescopic, so you can adjust it to the most comfortable height, while a second handle extends outwards from a pivot to help balance the weight of the cutting head. Meanwhile, the 18V battery slots into a spot at the top where your right elbow naturally rests while the machine is in use. This design minimises the 2.7kg weight of the strimmer so much that you can keep on trimming for hours. In fact, the 2.0Ah battery will run out of puff long before you do, lasting for around 40 minutes and taking just under 90 to charge.
This trimmer hasn’t got what it takes to battle heavy weeds or brambles, but it’s ideal for tackling lighter stuff and grass. It works quietly and reliably, while a pedal makes it easy to tilt the head for edging or cutting at an angle. Overall, a fantastic little strimmer.
Key specs – Power: 18V; Battery: 2.5Ah li-ion; Cutting width: 26cm; Line: 1.6mm; Weight: 2.7kg
5. Black & Decker GL7033: Best electric strimmer
Price when reviewed: £79 | Check price at Amazon
Black & Decker’s 700W strimmer is built to handle heavier workloads, with a 33cm cutting width that’s ideal for tackling medium-sized and larger gardens and 2mm line that can hack through longer grass. Black & Decker’s E-Drive tech is designed to make sure you get extra power if you need it, and when it’s time to break out the big guns, you can take out the main spool, slot in the one with the extra heavy-duty line, and teach thick weeds and nettles some respect. The weight gets tiring on the arms after a while, but the mid-mounted motor and curved shaft improve the strimmer’s balance and keep the business end away from your feet. What’s more, the wheel edging guide helps it do a decent job of edging, too. Overkill for smaller gardens, the GL7033 is brilliant for bigger, more unruly plots.
It’s built for a heavier workload than others, but that works to its advantage. You will find yourself stopping far less often to untangle the line – or to use another tool to cut a thick stem. With the motor at the top of the shaft, you also don’t have a heavy cutting end to wave about, providing precision and control.
Key specs – Power: 700W; Cutting width: 33cm; Line: 2mm plus heavy-duty lines; Weight: 3.2kg
6. Cobra GT3024V: Best cordless trimmer for mid-sized gardens
Price when reviewed: £86 | Check price at Amazon This Cobra cordless strimmer falls somewhere between the smaller, lighter grass trimmers and the larger heavy-duty models. With a 24V motor and a 30cm cutting width, it’s got the power and the range to tackle a larger plot. Combine its faster Turbo mode with the 1.65mm twisted line and it can slice through thick clumps of grass and weeds, although anything really tough or woody can still stop it in its tracks. And if you’re edging the lawn, the 90° rotating head and its built-in wheel make it easy to get a consistent line.
The battery takes a couple of hours to charge, and we only had around 25 minutes of use from it, although you could stretch that out further by avoiding Turbo mode. However, indicators on the membrane button control panel give you some idea when you’re running low. It’s a little heavier and harder on the shoulders than some models, but it’s also more solidly built than most trimmers at this price. All in all, it’s a good choice for mid-sized gardens and, with the battery and charger included, excellent value.
Key specs – Power: 24V; Battery: 2Ah li-ion; Cutting width: 30cm; Line: 1.65mm; Weight: 2.4kg
7. Bosch EasyGrassCut 18V 230: Best trimmer for ease-of-use
Price when reviewed: £65 (tool only), £105 (2A battery and charger) | Check price at Tooled-Up This lightweight Bosch trimmer makes trimming and edging a doddle. It comes in a surprisingly tiny box, with even the shaft requiring some assembly, but once you’ve fitted it together and charged the battery, you’re good to go. Bosch’s ultra-efficient motor does an impressive job of balancing motor power and battery life, giving you enough strength to slice through anything bar thicker brambles, chunky thistles and the like. There’s a wire guard on the front to protect your prized plants from inadvertent destruction, and you can switch from trimming to edging by pressing the orange button on the shaft and pivoting the head.
It’s not all plain sailing; the semi-auto line feed adds more line every time you release the trigger, so if you stop and start a lot you can run through a spool fairly quickly. However, we found the EasyGrassCut especially light and well-balanced, making it less tiring during long stretches of trimming, and while the bundled 2Ah battery only lasts 25 to 30 minutes, it only takes an hour to charge. What’s more, it’s the standard Power For All Alliance battery, so it’s easy to share batteries across multiple Bosch, Gardena and Flymo tools. It’s a little more expensive than the budget trimmers, but the extra is definitely worth it.
Key specs – Power: 18V; Battery: 2Ah li-ion; Cutting width: 23cm; Line: 1.6mm; Weight: 2.2kg
8. Stihl FS40: Best budget petrol trimmer
Price when reviewed: £228 | Check price at Travis Perkins Some gardens need a petrol trimmer, and the Stihl FS40 is a good, affordable example from one of the biggest names in the business. The two-stroke engine gives you plenty of power for even the toughest, most overgrown gardens, and if the 2mm line can’t get through the weeds, you can fit an optional three-tooth, poly-cut head to get through thicker undergrowth and brush. The FS40 is easy to handle, with a simple bump-feed mechanism where you bump the head on the ground to release more line. It’s easier to start than most petrol trimmers, too. However, at 2.9kg with the motor placed right at the end of the stalk, it’s not going to be manageable for everyone. Still, this is the kind of rock-solid, heavy-duty trimmer that will last for years.
Key specs – Engine: 2 stroke; Tank: 0.34l tank; Cutting width: 38cm; Line: 2mm; Weight: 2.9kg
9. Bosch AdvancedGrassCut 36: Best cordless trimmer for big gardens
Price when reviewed: £125 (tool only), £290 (4A battery and charger) | Check price at Tooled-Up
The replacement for the highly regarded Bosch ART 30-36Li is slightly lighter but no less powerful. If you have a larger, rougher garden but don’t want the hassle of a petrol trimmer, this model is a good bet. With a 36V battery, it has more power than your average cordless trimmer, and Bosch’s Syneon Chip technology intelligently delivers that power to suit the job at hand. With a 30cm cutting width, it can tackle a good-sized plot, and you will eke 40 minutes of cutting out of a charge.
A harness might have been a nice extra, particularly as most of the weight is distributed towards the cutting head, but the movable soft-grip handle and adjustable pole help make use slightly easier on the arms and shoulders. It’s a heavyweight trimmer for heavyweight jobs, and you will struggle to find a cordless model with more raw grass-cutting, weed-chopping power.
Key specs – Power: 36V; Battery: 2.6Ah; Cutting width: 30cm; Line: 1.6mm; Weight: 4kg
10. Worx WG184E: Best heavy-duty cordless trimmer
Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at ITS Think a cordless trimmer can’t handle the really rough stuff? Prepare for a shock with the Worx WG184E. With 40V of cutting power, a 33cm cutting width and a chunky 2mm line, this one can take on big lawns, weedy patches and just about anything else. We’ve been using it to tackle the kind of tasks we used to leave to a big electric trimmer with a special heavy-duty line. Even the heaviest patches of brambles, weeds and nettles couldn’t slow it down.
This kind of power comes with some drawbacks. It’s a heavy trimmer, but well balanced, with the weight of the batteries at the opposite end to the cutting head. The two batteries, meanwhile, last roughly 25 minutes before conking out, and you will really want the kit with the dual-battery charger rather than relying on an existing single-slot charger (the trimmer will work with any two batteries from Worx’s PowerShare 20V MAX range). However, with a tilting head and extending, rotating shaft it’s a more versatile trimmer than you might think, and we love the automatic line feed controls and chunky on/off trigger. It’s a fantastic option for any large, messy gardens in need of a little tough love.
Key specs – Power: 2x 20V 2.0Ah MAX Li-ion battery; Cutting width: 33cm; Line: 2mm; Dimensions (stored): 125 x 28 x 14.5cm; Weight: 3.9kg
11. Makita DUR181RT: Best cordless trimmer for sheer stamina
Price when reviewed: £194 | Check price at Screwfix Whether you go for the DUR181Z trimmer or the DUR181RT kit with battery and charger, you’re getting a solidly-built trimmer that’s designed to trim a massive lawn. In fact, choose the kit with the 5A battery and you will run out of puff before it does; it ran for nearly 50 minutes before the battery lost its charge – and that’s despite it chomping through patches of long, thick grass and some fairly chunky weeds in an overgrown corner of the garden. You won’t have to wait an age while it recharges, either, because Makita’s fan-assisted fast charger will do it in just 45 minutes.
The DUR1818 is heavier than some trimmers, and has a more modest 26cm cutting width than the Worx WG184E or the Bosch AdvancedGrassCut 36. Yet the design does a good job of reducing the workload on your shoulders, and Makita includes a strap for additional support. The shaft adjusts to give you a range of cutting heights and angles, and the only minor niggle is that the bump to activate the line feed doesn’t work the first time, every time. Still, if you’ve got a lot of grass to keep tidy, this versatile trimmer will comfortably do the job.
Key specs – Power: 18V; Battery: 5.0Ah Li-ion; Cutting width: 26cm; Line: 1.65mm; Weight: 3.1kg