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2 October 2020

Which grass trimmer brand to buy in 2020

Find out which grass trimmer brands go the distance and the faults they're most likely to develop.
Grass trimmer head
AW
Alice Williams

The line feed malfunctioning is the most common fault you'll find on a grass trimmer, whether you own a corded, cordless or petrol model.

Otherwise, you'll likely find specific problems on the different types of trimmer, such as battery not holding charge on a cordless or the engine not starting or turning over on a petrol grass trimmer.

Knowing which brands develop the most faults, and how quickly, is vital when buying a new hedge trimmer. That’s why we asked 2,537 Which? members to tell us whether they're happy with their grass trimmers, or have experienced problems, in our unique reliability and customer satisfaction survey.

Our survey data takes into account the reported fault rates, the severity of these faults, and the speed with which they occurred. In our latest analysis, we've looked at the performance of the biggest grass trimmer manufacturers – including Bosch, Flymo, Ryobi and Stihl – and have calculated a reliability rating and customer score for each, so you know which brands to choose and which to avoid.

Best vs worst grass trimmer brands compared

We’ve found huge differences between how satisfied owners are with their grass trimmers.

Pick a Best Buy grass trimmer if you're after a top performer that's also easy to use.

The most reliable hedge trimmer brands

The table below summarises our latest reliability results. Brands are ranked by their customer score, which relates to whether their customers would recommend that brand. 

The higher the percentage score for reliability, the fewer the problems reported.

In the table below, onlylogged-inmembers can view which brands are the most and least reliable, and which ones members are most satisfied with. If you're not yet a member,join Which?to get instant access.

Petrol grass trimmers

Brand Reliability score Customer satisfaction score
Brand 1 87% 83%

Corded electric grass trimmers

Brand Reliability score Customer satisfaction score
Brand 2 85% 64%
Brand 3 85% 63%
Brand 4 87% 62%
Brand 5 82% 60%
Brand 6 83% 56%

Cordless grass trimmers

Brand Reliability score Customer satisfaction score
Brand 8 94% 84%
Brand 9 96% 80%
Brand 10 91% 75%
Brand 11 91% 69%
Brand 12 74% 65%
Table notes

The above data is based on a survey of 1,479 Which? members in January 2020.

Common grass trimmer problems

The line feed breaking is the most common problem across all three types. This is an annoying, rather than a devastating, issue and can be fixed on the spot.

Luckily, most of the top faults are also fixable, or at least won't result in the total breakdown of your trimmer.

Top three common corded hedge trimmer faults

Top three common cordless hedge trimmer faults

Top three common petrol hedge trimmer faults

For the best chance of buying a grass trimmer that doesn't break down, you should choose from one of the more reliable brands in the table below.

Which grass trimmer brand stays fault-free for longest?

The graph above shows how the brand that stays fault-free for longest compares with the worst brand, and the overall average across all three types of grass trimmer. Which? members can see how brands compare for faults over a six-year period (or five years for cordless grass trimmers) in the table below.

If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access. 

Corded grass trimmers

Brand name % fault-free after six years
Brand 1 81%
Brand 2 77%
Brand 3 77%
Brand 4 73%
Brand 5 72%

Cordless grass trimmers

Brand name % fault-free after five years
Brand 1 95%
Brand 2 95%
Brand 3 89%
Brand 4 88%
Brand 5 71%

Petrol grass trimmers

Brand name % fault-free after six years
Brand 1 79%
Table notes

Results based on feedback from 1,479 hedge trimmer owners surveyed in January 2020.

How long will my grass trimmer last?

We've found that on average, all types of grass trimmers last around the same amount of time: 7.4 years for petrol, 7.7 years for cordless and 7.8 years for corded electric.

This is based on the experiences of Which? members who told us how long they kept their previous appliance before they had to replace it, either because of a fault or because it wasn’t working as well as when they first bought it.

As you can see from the graph below, there’s a big difference between how long the best and the worst hedge trimmer brands last.

Which? members can log in to see which hedge trimmer brands last the longest before they need to be replaced. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

How we measure faults and reliability in grass trimmers

Our data takes into account minor, major and catastrophic faults:

  • Minor faults don't affect the grass trimmer's performance significantly, or only occur occasionally with minimal impact. The issue may be irritating or annoying, but isn't frequently problematic, and you can easily work around it. For example, the line feed breaking
  • Major faults have a noticeable effect on the grass trimmer's performance. They affect how you use it, and can be problematic. For example, the line head not rotating.
  • Catastrophic faults will render the hedge trimmer unusable, with the fault needing to be repaired or parts replaced before you can use it again. For example, an electric fault meaning it won't turn on.

Grass trimmer brands rated

Choose a brand from the list below to find out more about how good it is, including the number of Best Buys it’s received and the average score of its grass trimmers in our reviews.

Only logged-in members can view the hidden results in the tables below. If you’re not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Black and Decker grass trimmers overview table
Number tested7
Number of Best Buys
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Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
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Customer score
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Typical spend
Member icon
Table notesAverage test scores based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 1 June 2020).The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 119 corded and 87 cordless Black and Decker grass trimmer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated June 2020.
  • Find out if Black and Decker grass trimmers are more or less reliable than other brands.
  • See how Black and Decker owners rate their grass trimmers.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Bosch grass trimmers overview table
Number tested2
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Average test score
Member icon
Brand reliability rating
Member icon
Customer score
Member icon
Typical spend
Member icon
Table notesAverage test scores based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 1 June 2020). The customer scores and brand reliability ratings are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 176 corded and 129 cordless Bosch grass trimmer owners. The customer scores are based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated June 2020.
  • Find out how likely a Bosch grass trimmer is to develop a fault.
  • See how Bosch grass trimmers perform in our tests, and how many are Best Buys.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Flymo grass trimmers overview table
Number tested5
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
Member icon
Customer score
Member icon
Typical spend
Member icon
Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 1 June 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 149 Flymo corded grass trimmer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated June 2020.
  • Find out how likely a Flymo grass trimmer is to develop a fault.
  • See how Flymo grass trimmers perform in our tests, and how many are Best Buys.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Gtech grass trimmers overview table
Number tested0
Number of Best Buys
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Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
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Customer score
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Typical spend
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Table notesThe customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 97 Gtech cordless grass trimmer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated June 2020.
  • Find out how likely a Gtech grass trimmer is to develop a fault.
  • See how Gtech owners rate their grass trimmers.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Qualcast grass trimmers overview table
Number tested1
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
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Customer score
Member icon
Typical spend
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Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 1 June 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 36 Qualcast corded grass trimmer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated June 2020.
  • See how Qualcast owners rate their grass trimmers.
  • Find out how reliable Qualcast grass trimmers are compared with other brands.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Ryobi grass trimmers overview table
Number tested4
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
Member icon
Customer score
Member icon
Typical spend
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Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 1 June 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 65 corded and 39 cordless Ryobi grass trimmer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated June 2020.
  • Find out how likely a Ryobi grass trimmer is to develop a fault.
  • See how satisfied customers are with their Ryobi grass trimmers.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Stihl hedge trimmers overview table
Number tested10
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Average test score
Member icon
Brand reliability rating
Member icon
Customer score
Member icon
Typical spend
Member icon
Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 1 June 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 66 cordless and 95 petrol Stihl grass trimmer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated June 2020.
  • See how Stihl compares with other brands.
  • Find out which faults are most likely to affect Stihl grass trimmers.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Head to our hedge trimmer reviews

Know which hedge trimmer brand you want? Use the links to go straight to our reviews and find your ideal model:

How we calculate the best and worst brands

Which? has a wealth of information on the UK’s favourite garden-tool brands. Every two years, we ask Which? members to tell us about the garden products they own - from how likely they'd be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once you get them home. This year, almost 5,000 members told us about more than 11,000 products. We calculate a brand's reliability and its customer score based on the results of our biennial survey.

Our reliability surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best grass trimmer you should buy.

This data is crucial for our testing, too. If a brand falls far below the category average, we take away the manufacturer's Best Buy recommendations and won’t recommend any of its products unless it shows a marked improvement in reliability.

View all Grass trimmers and strimmers