Close up of strimmer cutting grass

Common garden strimmer mistakes & how to avoid them

Published 6th January 2023
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A garden strimmer is a tool used to trim grass and weeds in gardens, yards, and other outdoor areas. It is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of tasks such as edging lawns, cutting back overgrown shrubs, and even creating decorative patterns in the grass.

However, using a garden strimmer can be dangerous if not done correctly. In this article, we will discuss some common mistakes to avoid when using a garden strimmer so you can use it safely and effectively.

Not wearing protective gear

One of the most important things to remember when using a garden strimmer is to wear protective gear. This includes safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris, long trousers and sleeves to protect your skin from scratches or cuts, sturdy shoes with good grip on the ground for stability, and ear protection.

Not minding the cord

If you've bought a corded electric strimmer, then ignore the power cable at your peril! For one, if you don't know where the cord is it poses a tripping hazard. The other danger is you accidentally running over the cord with the strimmer itself - this can easily strip the protective coating from the cable, making it dangerous to use, or sever it entirely!

You can avoid this by keeping track of your movement round the garden and therefore where the cord has been. Also, keep in mind the maximum length of your strimmer's power cord - going too far can yank the plug out of the outlet and damage your strimmer. If you need extra length, buy an extension lead certified for outdoor use.

Not refuelling a petrol strimmer properly

If you've bought a petrol strimmer, you don't need to worry about damaging your cord, but you do need to worry about refuelling it, and it can easily go wrong.

First, make sure you're using the right type of fuel, otherwise you'll damage the engine. Petrol strimmers don't actually use pure petrol as their fuel. Instead it's a mixture of petrol and engine oil. The ratio of petrol to engine oil depends on your strimmer's motor, so always follow the instructions that came with your strimmer.

Once you have the fuel ready, follow these steps to refuel your strimmer:

  • Turn off the strimmer and allow it to cool down before refuelling.
  • Locate the fuel tank on your strimmer. This is usually located near the handle or base.
  • Remove the fuel cap from the tank. Be careful not to lose the cap or any small parts that may be attached to it.
  • Pour the fuel into the tank. You can use a fuel funnel to stop the fuel from spilling. Most strimmers will have a mark on the tank indicating the maximum fill level. Do not overfill it.
  • Replace the fuel cap and make sure it is securely tightened.
  • Wipe up any spilled fuel using a cloth or paper towel.

Not knowing your strimmer's spin direction

A strimmer works by spinning a thin wire or blade in a circle at high speeds. The spin can be either clockwise or anticlockwise and this is what 'spin direction' refers to.

Spin direction is important because it determines the way that the grass is cut and which side of your strimmer grass clippings are thrown out from. If you're trying to keep grass off of a part, make sure your strimmer is throwing grass away from the path, not onto it - otherwise you'll have more cleaning to do!

Overloading your machine

Another common mistake people make when using a garden strimmer is overloading the machine with too much work at once. A good rule of thumb is to only trim small sections of grass or weeds at one time. This will help prevent the motor from overheating or becoming damaged due to excessive strain. Additionally, if you're tackling large areas of grass or weeds, take frequent breaks in order to give your machine time to cool down before continuing work again.

Follow these tips and you'll avoid damaging your strimmer or yourself. If you don't already own a garden strimmer and you're looking for advice on which one to purchase, take a look at our buyer's guide.

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