I’ve come across this scenario many times. Your lawn has been freshly mown, and you even broke out the string trimmer to take care of hard-to-reach corners where a mower can’t reach. Still, your lawn is looking haggard and unkempt. Why? You’ll know why when you learn about edger vs. trimmer.
A lawn can be tidied all around, but if the edges aren’t taken care of, then all your labor will be in vain because the scruffy look will still be there. A lawn edger is used to take care of the edges of your lawn and give it an excellent outline. While a string trimmer can be used to achieve a similar result, they’re not the same.
In your arsenal of lawn maintenance tools, you need both edger and trimmer, or at least a tool that accomplishes both of their works. It’s natural for you to be puzzled about these two tools because their applications are very similar. Let’s take a look at the lawn edger vs. string trimmer discussion.
Table of Contents
Before we go into comparison, let’s first learn about the two types of machinery. As the name suggests, String trimmers are used to trim longer grass, weeds, wayward edges of the lawn along the sidewalks and pathways, and tapering along curbs, fences, or trees. After a thorough mowing, you can apply the finishing touches with a string trimmer.
They are always motorized, using gas, electricity, or battery power to rotate the head and a nylon trimmer line along with that. The stiffness of the spinning line afforded by the centrifugal force is what makes trimming possible. There are mainly two types of string trimmers: electric and gas-powered.
If mobility and maneuverability are what you’re after, an electric string trimmer is what you should be getting. However, trying to find a power outlet near where you’re working will be a limiting factor. On the other hand, a gas trimmer has no such limitations. You can work it without worrying about an outlet or a power cord.
It will, however, stink up your lawn with smoke and be heavier than an electric-powered one and thus less maneuverable. There are also cordless, battery-powered string trimmers. However, they’re usually not too suitable for anything larger than a small or medium-sized lawn. They seldom pack any real weed whacking power and are more useful for very lightweight lawn maintenance.
Edger or Edge Trimmer
It sounds pretty similar to the string trimmer, doesn’t it? However, the working action of a trimmer and an edger varies fundamentally in the direction they work. A trimmer line works horizontally, while the blades of an edge trimmer work vertically. An edge trimmer could be anything capable of neatly trimming off grass along fences, walls, and garden beds.
There are manual edgers, which can be as simple as a spade-like tool, a pair of shears, or a rolling wheel with spikes and a handle attached. Speaking from experience, a manual edge trimmer will likely outlive the powered tools. They’re also very low-maintenance; you simply need to keep them oiled and free of rust. There’s no hassle of thinking of fuels and sensitive parts.
However, a manual edge trimmer would only go so far if you have a big lawn or garden. You’ll have to expend way too much effort to tidy up space. In the end, if the vegetation is too unruly, you might have to resort to a powered edge trimmer, anyway. Among the powered edge trimmers, there are 2 stroke and 4 stroke variations. Despite slight differences, you can deem both as useful for heavy lawn or garden maintenance.
They offer enough power for meticulous edging, are built to be robust and durable, and are perfectly capable of tackling a large yard. Aside from gas-powered edgers, corded and cordless edge trimmers have become quite popular lately. They’re slim and compact, and strike a balance between gas and manual edgers when it comes to efficiency and cost. Naturally, they’ve made their way into people’s garden sheds.
Can an Edger Be Used as a Trimmer?
Usually, it’s the other way around. Some line trimmers can be turned on their side to spin vertically. It can accomplish some of the more typical tasks that you’d use an edger for. In fact, some powered tools come as a combo of these two. You’ll find edger and trimmer combos that have different attachments, so you can use either the trimmer head or the edger head as and when needed.
They’re great if you like compact machines. With them, there’s no edger vs. trimmer debate. You can have both. However, to answer the initial question, you can’t use an edger as a trimmer reliably. You can’t use manual edgers to trim due to structural constraints. Gas edgers will be too heavy.
You might try your luck with electric edgers, but even then, it’ll be awkward and irritating at best. The opposite is certainly possible, as string trimmers tend to be quite versatile. But I’d suggest you don’t try using an edger as a trimmer.
Lawn Edger vs. Trimmer: How Do They Compare?
What is the difference between trimmer and edger? I daresay you can already tell a little from the individual descriptions. However, here’s a handy edger vs. trimmer table that will show you the differences more clearly.
|Use||Tidying up the lawn right after mowing by giving the grass a uniform look.||Defining crisp edges of the lawns and gardens along garden beds, walkways, and pathways.|
|Types||Gas (2 and 4 strokes) and electric powered (corded and cordless). There aren’t any manual versions.||Manual (Shear type, rotary type, spade type), Gas powered, and electric powered.|
|Weeding||Also known as weed eater or weed whacker as it is used often to tackle weed, more so in hard to reach places.||While you could technically take care of some weeds along the garden or lawn’s edges with this tool, that’s not one of its intended uses.|
|Sequence of use||Used right after mowing. If there’s grass growing on the edge of the lawn or garden, the trimmer may be used to clip them smaller before an edger is used.||Should be used after mowing and trimming.|
|Multipurpose usage||A string trimmer can, in some cases, double as an edger.||You can’t reliably use an edger as a trimmer.|
|Frequency of use||You might have to use a string trimmer quite often to keep the lawn leven and to keep the weed population in check.||You would only need to edge the lawn once in a while when it starts to lose form. A string trimmer can be used in between using an edger to keep up the shape and edge.|
Should I Buy An Edger Or A Trimmer?
The easy answer, in my opinion, is both. They’re both valuable tools for maintaining the exterior of your property. However, I do understand that not everyone is as invested in keeping their lawn in tip-top condition using the latest technology. So what to do if you want to decide on only one?
If you need to decide on an edger or trimmer due to budget or space-saving concerns, I’d say you go for a good-quality string trimmer. The reason behind my suggestion is simple, and I’ve already explained it once. You can use a string trimmer as an edger, but you can’t use an edger as a string trimmer.
However, make sure your string trimmer is lightweight and maneuverable so it can be turned on its side to use as an edger. Otherwise, it won’t serve the purpose. If budget isn’t a concern, then instead of one, you can just get both of them in the form of a combo. Nowadays, there are string trimmer and edger combo kits available. It’s the same machine; you just need to change the head appropriate for the task at hand.
Why settle for one when you can get both? However, even if you decide only to get a string trimmer, I’d urge you to get at least a manual edger. They’re small and don’t cost much. They can supplement the duties that even a string trimmer can’t take care of, and your lawn would look all the more beautiful after using both these tools.
Wrapping It Up
After reading so much about edger vs. trimmer, I hope you can see that they’re not enemies but complements of each other. An edger cleans up after a trimmer. A trimmer can also be used as an edger, and you can get a combo kit for convenience. No matter what you’re thinking of buying, a trimmer or an edger, keep in mind some basic factors like your needs, the dimensions of your garden, and your budget.
Don’t get a machine that you can’t maneuver, that’d be a waste of your money and space. At the end of the day, both of these tools are useful in their own places. You’ll need to learn exactly where to use a string trimmer and where to use an edger. Together, they’re a great team to clean up your lawn and make it look sharp.