How to Use a String Trimmer Properly


String trimmers are a useful tool for lawn and garden maintenance around the home. String trimmers can reach weeds and grass where mowers cannot, as well as edge along hard surfaces such as driveways and walkways. Even though string trimmers are easy to use, a string trimmer should be properly used according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Using basic steps and precautions will ensure that a string trimmer is used properly and will last for many seasons. String trimmers are a power tool with fast moving parts; because of this, items in the way of the trimmer can become flying objects that can cause serious injury. Precautions should be taken to avoid this from occurring.

Step 1

Prepare the area to be trimmed. Make sure the work area is cleared of debris, rocks or other items that can become projectiles when the string trimmer hits them. Take lawn decorations out of the yard to make it easier to trim grass or weeds.

Step 2

Inspect the trimmer to ensure it will function properly. Make sure the head and spool are tightly attached to the motor. Make sure the line is not tangled. Charge the battery if the string trimmer is battery-powered; fill the fuel reservoir with the proper fuel mix for gas trimmers. Make sure you have a long enough extension cord or enough fuel to complete the job.

Step 3

Start the string trimmer. Plug in an electric trimmer, keeping the cord behind you and the trimmer at all times. For a gas string trimmer, press the primer bulb six times to get fuel into the carburetor and fuel line. Pull the starter cord.

Step 4

Hold the string trimmer with the head parallel to the ground. Set the head just above the ground surface to allow the line to cut the grass or weeds low enough for your needs. Move the string trimmer in a side to side motion along the ground line you wish to trim. Keep an even pace to ensure an even cut along the line. Keep the string trimmer in front of you, moving forward to avoid tripping or cutting the power cord or other obstacles.

Step 5

Refresh the line. Use the bump feed feature to advance the line when you cannot cut properly. Look for the line to stop cutting or get tangled in grass or weeds as a sign that you need to advance the line of the string trimmer.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not cut poison ivy with a trimmer because there is too much risk of getting the oil from the plant on the trimmer and causing a rash if the oil is transferred to your skin. Do not cut thorny plants with a trimmer because the thorns can be torn off and cause damage to the trimmer and to you when you attempt to clean the trimmer.


  • Yardener: Using a String Trimmer
  • National Ag Safety Database: Using String Trimmers
Keywords: string trimmer, weed trimmer, using a trimmer

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a New York-based freelance writer who writes articles relating to business, personal finance, gardening, sustainable living and business management. Waverly is published on Pluck, Happy News and many other websites.