How to Use a Weed Wacker


Although Weed Wacker was once a brand name for a string trimmer, today the name is generically used to refer to all string trimmers. A weed wacker is a type of lightweight trimmer used to cut soft straw such as grass or weeds in locations that a lawn mower cannot reach. Unlike trimmers with saw ends, a weed wacker uses a plastic, nylon or other monofilament line to cut the weeds. The flexible line becomes rigid due to gravitational forces as it turns on a rotating hub at the center of the trimmer's head.

Step 1

Put on protective clothing including closed-toe shoes, long pants that cover the tops of the shoes and eye protection. Your string trimmer can cause flying debris. These protective measures are the least required to maintain your safety while operating the string trimmer.

Step 2

Place the weed wacker flat on the ground and press the primer bulb on the back of the motor six times. Set the choke lever to full choke and hold in the throttle trigger.

Step 3

Pull the starter rope sharply outward. Release it and allow the device to pull the rope back into the engine again. Repeat until the engine splutters as if trying to start. Move the choke lever to the half choke position. Pull the rope sharply again until the engine starts. Do not pull the rope more than six times. If the engine will not start, set the lever to full choke, press the primer bulb six more times and pull the starter rope two more times. If the engine will not start, it is flooded.

Step 4

Grasp the trimmer firmly in your right hand by the grip located just in front of the motor. Place the index finger of your right hand over the throttle trigger. Grip the assist handle with your left hand.

Step 5

Advance your trimmer line by tapping the rotating head of the trimmer on the ground while running the engine at full throttle. Do not advance the line longer than the debris shield located on the trimmer head.

Step 6

Hold the trimmer at a level plane in front of you and sweep it before you in a fanning motion from your left to your right to cut grass. The tip of the line does the cutting. Never place the head of the trimmer right up against the cutting surface. To edge grass, turn your trimmer onto its side.

Step 7

Turn off the engine by pushing the engine on and stop lever to the stop position. The engine will cut off, the head will stop rotating and the lever will return to the on position.

Tips and Warnings

  • Read the owner's manual before operating a weed wacker to become familiar with the parts of your trimmer as well as safety warnings.

Things You'll Need

  • Trimmer manual
  • Protective clothing


  • Manuals Online: Weed Eater
  • Grounds Maintenance Magazine: Getting the Line on String Trimmers
  • Popular Mechanics: The Fastest (and Toughest) String Trimmers on the Market

Who Can Help

  • This Old House: Choosing and Using String Trimmers
Keywords: using string trimmers, Weed Eater, Weed Wacker

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."