Your Guide to Choosing a Strimmer Engine Size

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Your Guide to Choosing a Strimmer Engine Size

A strimmer is a string trimmer, which is a garden tool that uses monofilament line instead of a blade for cutting grass and weeds. Also known as grass trimmers or brush cutters, these implements are typically used to finish the edges of a lawn after mowing, or to neaten the borders of flower beds. They are also used for maintaining areas not easy to reach with a standard lawn mower. For example, close to walls and fences or around trees and shrubs would normally be difficult to reach, but the design of a strimmer allows the housing of the machine to push right up against the obstacle while protecting the line from breaking. A strimmer can also be used to tackle longer grass or rough, uneven areas that may cause problems for a lawn mower. There are three types of power source available, and each of these can be chosen specifically for the size and regularity of the task planned.

Types of Strimmers

As with any product, there are always different types and variations, so it is good to know the basic differences in each.

Shaft Varieties

Before choosing a strimmer, it is important to match the size of the machine to the job required, and to ensure that the actual weight of the machine is suitable for the potential user. As a rule of thumb, it could be said that the harder the job, the heavier the machine required, but the location of the handles and the style of the shaft – or pole – is also important. The shaft is the metal bar that supports the engine and the housing. Shafts come in three basic styles: curved, split and straight.

Curved shaft

Basic to light trimming properties. Curved shafts allow an even path to be trimmed through grass or foliage.

Straight shaft

Basic to light trimming properties. Straight shafts allow for better access under bushes, hedges, shrubs and any low-lying impediment to trimming.

Split shaft

All trimming properties. Split shafts accommodate changeable attachments and blades.

As well as trimming capability differences, the shaft styles can also be indicative as to the physical effort required by the operator. For example, smaller strimmers have a curved shaft which makes the act of holding the cutting edge at ground level easy, with little strain on the user. Strimmers with a higher cutting capability will have heavier and hardier lines, and will probably require a straight shaft to handle the higher torque. This increased capability will, therefore, have an increased effect on the user as vibrations travel up the shaft. Larger strimmers, those that are petrol powered and can be used for cutting grass in large areas, are often heavy enough to require two hands to operate, and may even be fitted with a harness in order to more comfortably distribute the weight. In short, the heavier the strimmer, the more vibration will be carried through it, and both will significantly contribute to operator fatigue.

Power varieties

There are three types of power source available, and each of these can be chosen specifically for the size and regularity of the task planned.

Cordless Strimmers

Cordless grass trimmers are battery powered. Fitted with a rechargeable battery, they are flexible and versatile and benefit from easy mobility. As they are cordless, the distance from a power socket is unimportant, although the running time will be limited. This means that if the trimming required is light in nature but for a large garden or acreage, the battery will need to be recharged before the task can be completed. Spare batteries could be purchased to ensure continuous usage, and some brands provide interchangeable batteries. That is to say, the battery will fit any tool in the range.

Electric Strimmers

Electric strimmers come with a power cable and are mains-powered. They are flexible and versatile, although the power cord length will limit the range from the power socket and may prove cumbersome. If the trimming required is for a large garden or acreage, a corded strimmer will allow the task to be completed without any interruption to power. An extension lead suitable for outdoor use could be purchased to extend the reach of the strimmer, although any power source should be appropriate to the area it is to be used in.

Petrol Strimmers

Petrol strimmers are powered by a small engine and are suitable for lengthy, heavy duty, heavy volume jobs. As there is no battery or cord to restrict usage, they are more appropriate for large areas and overgrown foliage. By their very construction, petrol strimmers are also weightier, and will therefore be more prone to causing operator fatigue. Although very effective for cutting coarse growth or long grass, petrol strimmers require regular maintenance and upkeep, can be noisy, and will give off pungent fumes during use.

Engine Size

Every strimmer – irrespective of its power source – can be compared and considered for suitability by assessing its battery or engine size.


A manufacturer will rate battery powered strimmers according to amperage (amp) or volts (v). Both indicate the electrical power the strimmer produces. That is to say, strimmers with higher amperage or volts trim faster


As with battery powered strimmers, mains powered strimmers are rated according to amperage or volts. Again, trimmers with higher amperage or volts trim faster and are more powerful.


Petrol powered strimmers are rated by CCs. Short for cubic centimetres, CC refers to the engine chamber volume which is generally proportional to the power of the engine. The higher the CC, the more powerful the tool.

Petrol engines can also be described by ‘stroke’. Two stroke engines fire once every revolution, whereas four-stroke engines fire once every other revolution. Another difference between a two stroke and a four stroke engine is in the sound of the engine – a two stroke is higher pitched. A four stroke weighs more than a two stroke, but produces less smoke as a four stroke engine does not require oil to mix with gas to function. The advantages of each engine are thus:

2 Stroke

4 Stroke

No valves, simplifying construction.

Longer lasting due to a dedicated lubrication system.

Lighter in weight.

More fuel efficient.

Twice the power potential due to twice as many strokes per revolution.

Less pollution and smoke during use.

The ultimate deciding factor on choosing a strimmer engine size will be the scope of the job at hand. Whether it be a small garden needing a regular, light trim or a large plot of land with dense vegetation to clear, there will be a strimmer most suitable for the task.

Small garden; flower beds; around trees and shrubbery; small bushes

Cordless; Electric

Medium garden; small hedges

Cordless; Electric

Larger areas; heavy duty tasks


How to Buy Strimmers on eBay

To buy a strimmer, first go to the eBay homepage, opening the All Categories tab, then click on the link for Home & Garden. Next choose Garden, followed by Power Tools and Equipment from the drop down menu. Then click on Strimmers in the left hand menu. Available item listings will then be available for consideration. Alternatively, use the search bar at the top of any eBay page. For example, to find a cordless strimmer, key in “cordless strimmer”.


A strimmer can be a welcome addition to any tool shed. Useful for finishing lawn edges or flower beds and for trimming around trees and shrubs, they can also be used to neaten any growth against walls and fences. Strimmers come with a choice of three power sources (electric, battery or mains powered) and these sources will dictate how suitable each type may be for the planned task. A strimmer should be chosen to best suit the job planned, but the size of the machine should also be taken into consideration as a weighty machine, if improperly held, could cause muscle strain or minor injury. Nevertheless, a strimmer could be considered a vital tool for the maintenance and upkeep of any outdoor areas, and choosing the right power source and engine size will ensure that the task is effectively undertaken.

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