I have a straight gas powered string trimmer that spins counterclockwise. There seems to be conflicting information on the internet regarding how to hold, orient and maneuver string trimmers. Some sources say to hold the handle with your left hand, trigger with your right hand, position the trimmer to your left and walk right to left. Some sources say the exact opposite and everything in between. From what I can gather, curved trimmers (no gearbox) spin clockwise and straight trimmer (gearbox) spin counterclockwise. Does the direction of the string's spin determine whether the direction you work from (left to right or right to left)? It seems like the debris are always flying at me. I just don't know the correct way to orient the trimmer and which way to walk when holding it.

For some reason I just don't get the physics of all this naturally and I am hoping someone can finally clear this up. Pictures would be extremely helpful but I understand that is time-consuming.


1 Answer 1


Basic rule of thumb is.. If head spins clockwise debris exits on the left and it's best to cut from the right. For counter-clockwise it's the opposite. You want debris to blow away from the area you're cutting and away from you. That will indicate which direction you walk to as you want to walk towards the uncut area.

Personally though I find that sometimes the spinning line blows down some blades of grass before cutting them and a back and forth motion works better. At least in some spots.

As to how to hold it.. First check your manual to see what it recommends but how to hold it I think is more what feels more comfortable and gives you the best control. I've only used curved shaft trimmers and I'm right handed so I naturally just hold the trigger with my right and the handle with my left because it's more comfortable and I haven't given it much thought. Certain parts of the motor get hotter than the other and by having the motor on my right I'm away from the hottest parts and the exhaust.

I have a Ryobi 4 Cycle power head with a curved trimmer attachment but it can also accept straight trimmer attachments. I just checked the manual and for either the straight or curved trimmer it indicates you should hold the trimmer the same way. Right hand on trigger, left on handle so the motor is to the right.

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