Best grass strimmer 2020: the cutting tool of choice for trimming grass, borders and weeds

From urban oases to broad swards, these are the garden trimmers you really need

Best grass strimmer 2020

Zim zimmer, who's got the key to your best strimmer? Why, T3 does, of course. Strimmer is actually a 1970s portmanteau of “string” and “trimmer”, which gave us some fun new words to play with: he strims; she has strimmed; they are strimming; these are the best strimmers. 

Now that spring is here, and nobody wants to go out, what better time to purchase a new string trimmer and strim away the unruly growth in your garden? 

Best strimmer: buying guide

But which strimmer is best for you? There are two and a half kinds of strimmer: electric (corded or cordless) and petrol. 

The latter is best suited to people whose gardens are bigger than some towns, as they’re incredibly noisy: the bloke across the street from us uses one for his tiny lawn and the locals have pooled resources to hire a hitman. 

Corded electrics tend to be better than cordless for large gardens, but battery tech is getting better: today’s 36V models are good for surprisingly long periods between charges. And of course, there’s no limit to where you can roam as long as you’ve got power. 

Our top three choices are the ultra lightweight Gtech GT 3.0, the high-end, pro-spec Ego ST1510E-K1252 and the keenly-priced Cobra GT3024V, which comes with wheels for edging between borders and grass.

HELP, THE PRODUCT I WANT IS OUT OF STOCK

You may find some of our favourite gardening products have sold out due to the current situation. If you find a product we've reviewed that isn't available via the provided retail link, then try these retailers who usually stock some very good alternatives.

In the UK:

Amazon

B&Q

Waitrose Garden
Thompson Morgan
Crocus
Van Meuwen
Suttons
Dobies
Harrod Horticultural
Tooled UP

 In the US:

Walmart

Sears
Home Depot
Lowe's

The best strimmers, in order

Best grass strimmer 2020: Gtech GT 3.0

(Image credit: Gtech)

1. Gtech GT 3.0

Best cordless strimmer you can get without spending hundreds

Specifications
Power: 18v
Type: Cordless
Cutting area: 23cm
Edging?: Yes
Weight: 1.85kg
Reasons to buy
+Exceptionally light+Cordless convenience+Great cutting blade system
Reasons to avoid
-Slow to charge

Gtech, the home-grown brand behind the excellent AirRam Mk 2 carpet vac, the equally fab Cordless Lawnmower 2.0 lawnmower and the light and agile eBike City – anything with a battery, really – has pulled off another feat of cordless engineering with this superbly designed grass trimmer.

The first thing you notice here is just how light it is; we’re talking really light, as in ‘my, that’s incredibly light. What’s inside, helium?’. Nearly every cordless or petrol strimmer I’ve used in the past has given me aches and pains after 10 minutes of use. By contrast I could strim the neighbourhood with this model and still have enough energy to lift a Pimms. Actually, that may be a bit farfetched since the battery only lasts about 30 minutes. Nevertheless, from experience, 30 minutes is all it takes to trim the edges of even a moderately large lawn. On the downside, this one’s battery takes about four hours to juice itself up again.

It’s not just the weight that helps here, it’s the clever design of the GT 3.0’s adjustable handle and cutting assembly. The whole thing is so well dialed, ergonomically speaking, that it feels like an extension of your arms. That’s one good reason for consideration before we even touch on arguably the best bit – the cutting method.

•Buy the Gtech GT 3.0 from Amazon

Where most other grass trimmers use annoying ‘string’ spools that always, ALWAYS, either jam up or unravel, this one uses a single hover mower-style plastic blade that just clips on. Sure, the blade wears down and deforms at the tip when you get too close to the bordering brick wall, but it in all essence it cuts just as efficiently as a string-based model, only without the agro. Even better, when it’s time to change blades, simply clip on another – Gtech provides a large bunch of them with the product.

If you’re looking for an efficient, lightweight strimmer that doesn’t involve the faff of changing nylon string spools then this is the strimmer for you.

Best grass strimmer 2020: Ego ST1510E-K1252

(Image credit: Ego)

2. Ego ST1510E-K1252

Industrial strength cordless model with self-winding string spool

Specifications
Power: 56v
Type: Cordless
Cutting area: 38cm
Edging?: Yes
Weight: 3.2kg
Reasons to buy
+Exceptional build+Auto spooling line+Large cutting area+Well balanced+Great run time
Reasons to avoid
-A little bit weighty-Not cheap

•Buy the Ego ST1510E-K1252 directly from Ego

Is there anything more faffish than having to wind springy nylon line around a strimmer spindle? You know the scenario. For some unknown reason the line suddenly stops feeding through while you're trimming so you remove the lid on the line feeder and – zing – the whole lot springs out in one big tangled mess. You then spend the next 15 minutes trying to wind it back on the spool only to discover you didn’t wind it on as well as they did at the factory and now it’s worse than before. So you chuck the whole damn lot into the shed where it still resides to this day.

Ego feels your pain and has come up with the answer – a pro-spec cordless whipper snipper that self winds. Simply grab a decent length of Ego’s industrial strength 2.4mm nylon line, feed it through the head and hold the ‘Powerload’ button. Voila, the entire line is mechanically rolled up in just 10 seconds. This is groundbreaking stuff, dude.

•Read more about the Ego ST1510E-K1252

The strimmer itself is equally amazing. Although it’s quite heavy, it’s so well balanced that you don’t really notice the weight when using it. What you will notice is how superbly well it performs. Unlike most strimmers that have just one short line spinning around, this one has two and a combined cutting area of 38cm. This not only speeds up the process noticeably but it also makes it more efficient, which in turn leaves more time for important leisure activities like lobbing water bombs at the kids. Its small unassuming cutter head, meanwhile, features a brushless motor that will likely go on running longer than you will. 

Ego’s battery tech is among the very best and this strimmer can be used with a variety of the company’s 56v batteries. The 2.5Ah version provides about 30 minutes of trimming time while its 7.5Ah version goes on running for up to 90 minutes. 

If you have a large lawn and the financial wherewithal, then this is unequivocally the weed whacker for you. 

Best grass strimmer 2020: Cobra GT3024V

(Image credit: Cobra)

3. Cobra GT3024V

Great value cordless strimmer with edging wheels

Specifications
Power: 24v
Type: Cordless
Cutting area: 30cm
Edging?: Yes
Weight: 2.4kg
Reasons to buy
+Multi adjustable+Comes with edging wheels+Two speeds
Reasons to avoid
-Too easy to turn off mid strim

UK-based Cobra waltzes onto the lawn with a cracking strimmer that is both light in the hand and ergonomically styled for effortless strimming. It’s infinitely adjustable from shaft and handle to base and even comes with a pair of wheels for edging lawns to OCD perfection (simply twist the head 45˚).

This model features two cutting speeds: Eco and Turbo. To use, hold in the ‘on' button for a few seconds and it will default to Eco mode which is ample for most strimming needs. If the grass is really long or straw like, switch it to Turbo mode and it’ll slice through it like butter. 

Unfortunately, the ‘on’ button is quite easy to turn off accidentally with your thumb mid strim so bear that in mind should it suddenly cut out and you start panicking that it’s run out of juice. You can safely expect between 25 and 30 minutes of strimming time per charge and a charging time of around two hours. It comes with one 24v battery.

Cobra produces a wide range of great garden machinery and this model’s a case in point. Being of British origin, you should have no issue sourcing its products and spares.

•Buy the Cobra GT3024V from Amazon

4. Black & Decker ST5530-GB

Best budget corded strimmer (that doubles as a mower!)

Specifications
Power: 550W
Type: Corded
Cutting area: 30cm
Edging?: Yes
Weight: 2.5kg**
Reasons to buy
+Large cutting area+Turns into a mower
Reasons to avoid
-It’s corded-Strimming is boring

This corded strimmer comes equipped with a 550W motor, a 7500rpm cutting speed and an incredibly long cable. And at just 2.5kg, it isn’t a pain to use for long cutting sessions. 

The cutting head rotates for edging (and has a wheel guide for best results) and rather brilliantly transforms into a lawn mower via the separate CM100 Mower Deck, which is currently £46. 

This writer has used it as a strimmer to tackle really thick grass, weeds, shrubs, ivy and the neighbours’ cats, and it’s coped admirably with the lot: it’s light enough that I’ll often do the whole garden with it rather than go to the hassle of getting the mower out.  

Best grass strimmer 2020: Ryobi RLT1831H20 Hybrid

5. Ryobi RLT1831H20 Hybrid

Best strimmer for versatility

Specifications
Power: 18v & mains
Type: Cordless & corded
Cutting area: 25-30cm
Edging?: Yes
Weight: 3.2kg
Reasons to buy
+Runs on either battery or mains+Auto line feed+Ergonomic comfort
Reasons to avoid
-Nothing to grumble about

•Buy this Ryobi Hybrid trimmer from Amazon for £145.61 (a BIG 22p of RRP, deals fans!)

Ryobi has one of the best hot-swappable battery systems on the market but the reason this cordless hybrid trots straight to third spot in our list is primarily because it’s capable of running on either battery or mains power. As any cordless power tool owner will testify, it’s a right old palaver when you’re about to start a strimming session and you realise you’d forgotten to charge the blooming battery. With this one, you simply plug the supplied mains cable into the base of the handle and carry on strimming till the cows come home. 

Another cool thing in its favour is that it features automatic line spooling and that means no more tapping the head on the grass to release more line. After cutting, release the trigger and a new section of line is automatically fed from the spool in readiness to take out the next swathe of your partner’s prized Crocus collection.

The Ryobi Hybrid has a 25cm-30cm cutting diameter which is easily changed to accommodate your needs. It also has a brilliantly designed extendable handle, a three-position adjustable head and you can easily rotate the head by 180˚ for edging purposes. It’s fairly light but comfy in the hand, it strims and trims exceedingly well and there’s no ignoring the convenience of being able to use the mains when the need arises.

Best grass strimmer 2020: BLACK & DECKER 36V - GLC3630L20

6. BLACK & DECKER GLC3630L20

Best Black & Decker cordless strimmer

Specifications
Power: 36V
Type: cordless
Cutting area: 30cm
Edging?: Yes
Weight: 3.5kg
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic battery+Good cutting width
Reasons to avoid
-Turbo reduces battery life-Quite weighty

• Buy the Black & Decker GLC3630L20 from Amazon for £141

The big advantage of cordless strimmers - there’s no cable to limit your movement or accidentally cut - is often compromised by poor battery life. Not here: the 36V fade-free Lithium Ion battery in this Black & Decker can cut up to 3,750 linear metres before needing recharged. 

The 30cm cutting swathe is a good balance between size and portability, the telescopic tube means it’s easy to find a comfortable position and the single line feed system works well and isn’t prone to jamming if you keep the cutting area clean. The strimmer has two operating modes: ECO for normal cutting, and TURBO for maximum power of up to 8,500rpm. 

At 3.5kg it’s not especially light for a battery-powered strimmer but, if you’re been disappointed by cordless models in the past, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how long this one lasts between charges.

Best grass strimmer 2020: BOSCH ART 23 SL

7. BOSCH ART 23 SL

Best budget-priced electric mini strimmer

Specifications
Power: 280 watts
Type: Corded
Cutting area: 23cm
Edging?: No
Weight: 1.7kg
Reasons to buy
+Really cheap+Really light
Reasons to avoid
-Cord is only 2m long

• Buy from John Lewis for just £25

If you don’t have a huge garden to trim, this little Bosch is a little wonder: the 23cm cutting area isn’t as big as some rivals, but neither is the price tag. It weighs just 1.7kg and has a 100cm shaft that makes it particularly good for taller users, and while it doesn’t rotate for edging you can always tilt it to get at awkward bits.

The spool is a single line job with semi-automatic feeding and it’s fine for grass up to 15cm high, although the lack of a heavy-duty option means that’s about the only growing thing you’ll want to tackle. It’s very cheap, but you will probably have to factor in the cost of an extension cable, seeing as the cord is only 2 metres long.

Best grass strimmer 2020: STIHL FSA 56

8. Stihl FSA 56

Best high-end cordless strimmer

Specifications
Power: 36V
Type: Cordless
Cutting area: 28cm
Edging?: No
Weight: 2.5kg
Reasons to buy
+High powered sward trimming+Wide cutting area+Light in the hand+Stihl reliability
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive with battery/charger combo

Need to really Kick Ass in your jungle-like back yard? This Which? Best Buy model features a double-line spool. That's more efficient than a single line. Obviously.

The jury’s out on how long before something goes awry with the spooling system but it seems robust enough and reliable so far.

Its 28cm cutting diameter is perfect for larger lawns but you’d be better served with the larger and longer-lasting AK 20 battery (40 minutes) rather than the AK 10, which lasts for about 20 minutes. And speaking of which… This model doesn’t come with a battery or charger, so don’t forget to order one at the same time. Unless, of course, you happen to already own a cordless Stihl consumer product that uses the same battery (most of them do), in which case this strimmer is a no brainer.

The FSA 56 features a length adjustable shaft, an adjustable loop handle and a comfy trigger grip that feels secure in the hand. This grass trimmer is a tad heavier than the flyweight Gtech, but, hey, it trims superbly well and is reasonably priced for a cordless, especially if you already have a compatible battery for it.

Best grass strimmer 2020: Mountfield BK27E Brushcutter

(Image credit: Mountfield)

9. Mountfield BK27E Brushcutter

Best petrol strimmer for large gardens and maximum noise

Specifications
Power: 26.3cc
Type: Petrol 2-stroke
Cutting area: 30cm
Edging?: No
Weight: 5.8kg
Reasons to buy
+Petrol power goes on and on+It's got a Kawasaki engine!
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy in the hand-Makes a racket

•Buy the Mountfield BK27E from Mower Magic

Some of us dream of freedom. Freedom from the shackles of corded strimmers. Freedom from the limits of battery technology. Freedom to cut whatever we damn well please, wherever we want to damn well do it, while making a whole bunch of noise. 

And that means we dream of petrol-powered strimmers like this excellent all-rounder from Mountfield. From the 26.3cc Kawasaki two-stroke petrol engine with 0.5-litre fuel tank to the three-toothed metal cutting blade, Mountfield has built an auto-feed strimmer for serious work in big gardens. It’s pretty heavy at 5.8kg but then in this company, it's like a machine gun in a world of air rifles.