What is the Difference Between an Edge and String Trimmer?

Do you own both a lawn edger and a string trimmer for your garden? Have you ever wondered if you really need to have both?

Read on to find out what each tool does, why you need it and some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Then you’ll be able to decide if you need both of them, one or the other, or maybe even neither.


Edge or String Trimmers?

Lawn edgers are used to make nice, neat, definite edges around your lawn and especially for pathways, sidewalks, driveways, garden beds and other similar places. String trimmers, which are also known as line trimmers or weed whackers, are better used for cutting around obstacles in the grass. This includes trees, furniture, pillars, houses or even walkways.

What are the differences between them?

Each of these tools has a specific purpose for use, so we will look at them and let you know what is unique about each one.


These tools are used to make edges around those areas in your lawn that need to look neat and defined, such as flower beds, pathways, sidewalks and driveways.

It contains a blade that is used to cut any bits of grass or weeds that are overhanging. The neat edge is made by the distinct separation caused by the blade.

Manual and motorized lawn edgers are both available. The manual ones are slightly less expensive, but take a little longer to use, particularly if there are many edges that need trimming. The motorized ones are a little more expensive, but much quicker and easier to use.

String Trimmers

These tools are also called line trimmers or weed whackers and are used for cutting areas of grass that contain obstacles, such as trees, houses, furniture, pillars or walkways. It is possible to use them on edges, just like the lawn edger, but it doesn’t give as fine and neat an edge as the lawn edger does.

Trimmers contain a spinning line that cuts the grass as it spins and this flexibility makes them ideal for use in grass areas that are difficult to cut and hard to reach with other tools.

It is possible to buy gas and electric string trimmers. Either a gas or cordless electric trimmer is advisable if there is a large area to trim, as these allow much more maneuverability.

Bottom Line

The main difference between these two types of tools is their construction and why they are used. Edgers contain a blade and trimmers contain a flexible line. Edgers are used to make neat edges around different areas in your garden, whilst trimmers are used to trim grass around obstacles and hard-to-reach areas.

When should you use an edger?

You need to use an edger for the places in your lawn where you want to make a definite edge and where a lawn mower is not as effective. These are the places where weeds and grass tend to overhang, particularly paved areas like driveways and sidewalks.

A lawn edger is just the right tool for creating neat, crisp lines around the areas in your garden and this helps to keep the garden looking immaculate and professional. Edgers are not essential for the health of your lawn, but they certainly contribute to making it look that much nicer.

When should you use a string trimmer?

If you look around after you’ve mown the lawn, there are always those little areas that seem to have been missed. The string trimmer is just the tool you need to make sure that all of these hard-to-reach areas get cut, too, particularly around trees, plants, garden furniture, pillars and other such awkward areas.

Trimmers can also be used in a similar way to edgers around paved areas, although this will only cut the grass down and won’t give you nice, neat edges.

Our Top Tips

The string trimmer is best used to tidy up the areas of your lawn that the mower has not been able to access properly.

The advantages and disadvantages of edgers and string trimmers

Depending on what type of garden and lawn you have, you may decide that you need both edgers and a trimmer, but let’s look at all the advantages and disadvantages first so that you can make up your mind which is best for you.



  • Gives your garden a neat, aesthetically pleasing look.
  • Separates paving and foliage.
  • Less likelihood of invasion by weeds.
  • Choice of manual and motorized types.


  • If you have a large garden, manual edgers will take longer to use.
  • Motorized edgers cost more than manual.

String Trimmers


  • Can be used after mowing to get a really neat finish.
  • Can be used for all the really hard-to-reach places, such as round obstacles and along the edges.
  • Easy to use and store due to being lightweight and compact.
  • Greater maneuverability due to the availability of various cordless types.


  • Gas trimmers are available, but tend to be loud and give off fumes.
  • Cordless electric trimmers are very handy, but they need recharging often.

Can a string trimmer be used like an edger?

Yes! That’s the simple answer. It’s quite easy, but most people still prefer to have the two different tools. However, we’ll tell you exactly how to use the trimmer just like an edger.

  • Hold the trimmer at right angles to the lawn so that the line will be spinning up and down rather than sideways.
  • Lower it very slowly so that it makes contact with the grass. This is how the grass will be cut to make a neat edge.
  • Always make sure that the string is spinning away from you to avoid any flying debris.

Edger or trimmer: what’s the difference?

The edger will give you lovely distinct lines all around your garden’s paved areas and flower beds. It isn’t essential for the health of your lawn, but it does give everything a crisp, neatly finished look.

The string trimmer will allow you to cut the grass in all the really difficult areas where the lawn mower can’t reach. It’s ideal for using around garden obstacles like trees, pillars and furniture.

It is possible to use a trimmer in the same way as an edger, but much safer and more efficient to buy the two tools separately and use them for their intended purposes.

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