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Should I buy a petrol strimmer?

By Adele Dyer

Petrol strimmers are great for cutting long grass and tough weeds, but have some disadvantages. Find out whether they are right for your garden. 

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What do petrol strimmers offer?

Petrol strimmers are best for cutting down large areas of long grass and weeds. Most petrol strimmers can be turned into brushcutters for cutting brambles by swapping the line trimmer head for a metal blade. This is triangular and has three blades which rotate at huge speed to slice through woody vegetation. Find out what we think in our strimmer reviews

They are the most mobile option for working away from the house. All you need is a can of petrol and you can work for hours at a time, unlike cordless electric models whose batteries need recharging regularly. 

They’re ideal for clearing an allotment or overgrown patch well away from the house, or for cutting down a wildflower meadow. Don't expect it to do all strimming tasks, however. They are much too powerful and hard to control to edge the lawn or along path edges. 

Are petrol strimmers easy to use?

Petrol machinery has a reputation for being hard to start and tricky to maintain, and this is sometimes quite justified. However, some petrol strimmers have easy-start engines that simplify the start-up routine and don't need as much force to work the pull cord. 

Most petrol strimmers also have some kind of anti-vibration mechanism, although these tend to reduce vibration rather than eliminate it. And petrol engines are by their very nature noisy and give off exhaust fumes. They are usually heavier than most cordless electric strimmers, unless the cordless model has a large and heavy battery. 

Any petrol motor is heavy to carry around and you can expect most petrol strimmers to weigh at least 4kg. This is roughly similar to some powerful cordless strimmers, which are also designed for cutting long grass and weeds. However, petrol strimmers are also very noisy and give off exhaust fumes, unlike their cordless counterparts. 

How much do petrol strimmers cost?

Petrol strimmers are some of the most expensive strimmers available, typically costing from £100 for a basic model up to around £700 for a high-end professional model. 

We've tested petrol strimmers from six major brands including Honda, Ryobi and Stihl. Find out about these and other strimmer manufacturers with our strimmer brand guide

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