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I am planning to buy a weed eater/trimmer + edger but I am confused with the terms that are used. Is a weed eater the same as a trimmer? If not, what is the difference between the two?

Also, any insights as to what to look for when buying a weed eater/trimmer + edger would be very helpful.

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migrated from Jul 10 '12 at 16:49

This question came from our site for contractors and serious DIYers.

Weed Eater is the brand name of the first string trimmers. These days, people use Weed Eater and trimmer interchangeably the same way most people call facial tissue Kleenex (even though Kleenex is only one brand of facial tissue) or they say then need to Xerox something (even though Xerox is only a brand of copier).

As for insights into what to look for - it really depends on what you'll be using it for. Electric trimmers are usually lighter so they are easier to carry and maneuver but you are limited to the range of your extension cord (or the time of your battery charge if it's cordless). Gas trimmers usually have a bit more torque so you can use them on heavier foliage (and can also swap in saw blades, etc for doing shrubs and what not).

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If weight is an issue, you can get a shoulder-strap lanyard thing for about $10. – Scivitri Jul 10 '12 at 18:56
There are heavier-duty electrical (even cordless) power-heads, that allow using same interchangeable head attachments. – theUg Aug 8 '13 at 15:26

I'm by no means an expert, but having played with head replacement lately, I'll try some advice.

The main body of the trimmer will likely have options for larger engine sizes, which might limit the size of brush it can be used to cut. This will principally be a factor of the installed head, however. Also, different power source/fuel mixtures can be easier to work with. Personally, I'd like a 4-stroke engine so I can use the same gas tank as my lawn mower, but I've currently got a 2-stroke unit. Different 2-stroke engines require different fuel-oil ratios. I don't know that any engine functions significantly better, but things to take note of while looking.

There are many different types of head you can get for a trimmer. A string head works decently on small brush and heavy grasses, while a bladed head can cut thicker stalks. Heavier bladed heads can cut thicker brush. If you're planning to use this device for multiple purposes, look for something which can easily swap heads. If you're adding a bladed head, look for something in which blades can easily be replaced.

I've seen several bladed heads which say not to use them vertically. I'm not sure how much overlap their is between string trimmers and lawn edgers, but if you'd like to do both I'd definitely research carefully before purchasing.

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