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DIY basics: intro to string trimmers

A string trimmer is an essential and versatile piece of lawn maintenance equipment that helps give your yard a clean, professionally landscaped look in a short amount of time. 

Once you master the basics, you’ll find your grass trimmer to be both easy to use and indispensable. 

Before you start yard care 

Wearing the right protective gear and following the safety precautions that come with your equipment is vital when you use any kind of string trimmer or edger.  Wearing appropriate clothing will help keep you safe and comfortable. 

First, whenever you use your weed trimmer, always wear close-toed shoes or sneakers, long pants, and safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes. 

Second, follow all safety instructions described in your user manual, such as attaching the debris guard at the base of your trimmer. 

Choosing a string trimmer – key features 

When you select a string trimmer for your landscaping needs, there are a few key variables to consider. The first is line type. Most string trimmers come with a single line that feeds from a spool. Its whipping motion provides crisp cutting action to trim grass and weeds. Single-line trimmers like the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* EASYFEED™ String Trimmer/Edger make it easy to wind a new line and are typically the simplest trimmers to maintain. Dual-line grass trimmers have two lines spinning from the spool, requiring a little extra effort to wind. But they offer faster cutting than a single-line trimmer and can cut more easily through tough overgrowth. 

Another feature to consider is line thickness. String trimmers are designed to accommodate line ranging from .065mm (as on the 20V MAX* EASYFEED String Trimmer/Edger) to .08mm. 

The thicker the line, the tougher the cutting job it can handle. If you are simply trimming and edging your lawn most of the time, a thinner line will usually meet your needs. 

For comfort, weed trimmers typically feature adjustable handle positions and a tool-free telescoping arm you can set the right height. 

Finally, lawn trimmers like our 20V MAX* EASYFEED String Trimmer/Edger offer two-speed control, providing extra power when you need it or normal power to maximize runtime. 

Lawn care from trimming to edging and back 

Many yard trimmers are dual-purpose, including the 20V MAX* EASYFEED String Trimmer/Edger.  It can be used to trim grass and weeds around trees, shrubs, or anywhere your mower can’t reach, and it can also be used to create a nice crisp edge along beds, sidewalks, or patios. 

These combination trimmers/edgers let you easily flip the cutting head from a horizontal position to vertical for wheeled edging - then back again. Converting back and forth between trimming and edging takes just seconds, and you’ll appreciate the convenience of having both capabilities in your hand at all times. Plus, a 2in1 design saves storage space and the expense of a second piece of outdoor equipment. 


Cordless string trimmer or corded? 

Whether you choose a cordless, battery-powered string trimmer or a corded trimmer you plug into an electric outlet generally depends on where you want to use your trimmer. These different types of trimmers offer trade-offs in terms of reach, runtime, and maneuverability. 

Close to home, a corded trimmer like the 7.5 Amp 14 in. Trimmer/Edger will give you unlimited runtime. 

If you want the freedom to work anywhere, consider a cordless trimmer such as the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* EASYFEED String Trimmer/Edger. It enables you to work farther from home without being limited by the length of your power cord. Plus, it comes with two Lithium-Ion batteries, so you can keep a fresh battery charging while you work. 


How your line feeds 

As you use your trimmer/edger around the yard, the tip of the string gradually wears down, so additional string is periodically fed to keep the line at the right cutting length. Different trimmers feed the string in different ways, so you have options to suit your preference. 

With bump-feed trimmers, you have to tap the bottom of the trimmer on the ground to release more line as needed. These are older feed designs and can be a little tricky to operate. 

EASYFEED trimmers offer a more convenient feeding mechanism that lets you decide how much string you want released and then feed extra line with the push of a button. 

Auto-feed trimmers like the BLACK+DECKER 7.5 Amp 14 in. Trimmer/Edger feature the AFS Automatic Feed System™. They automatically sense when the line needs to be fed and do it all for you to provide uninterrupted operation. 

String trimmers: your go-to tool for a great-looking yard 

Choose the features that meet your needs and yard. Gear up for safety. Adjust the handle and string, and you’re ready to go with one of the most versatile and useful tools you can own for yard maintenance.  Your weed trimmer/edger keeps overgrowth at bay, lets you get an even and polished look on your entire lawn, and gives you those clean edges that are the key to a well-manicured yard. 

*Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. The nominal voltage is 18.