If you are on the lookout for a new weed eater, you will have noticed that there is a very large selection to pick from. To narrow the choice, you will probably be considering factors like power source, brand single or double string and many others.
Another question you might be asking is whether you should go for a straight trimmer or a curved one. What are the differences between the two and which model is best suited to your needs? Here, we will look at the straight vs curved trimmer debate to help you pick the best option for you.
The basic differences between Straight vs Curved Trimmer
Whether you choose a gas weed eater or a battery powered 4 Cycle String Trimmer, there are three main differences between straight and curved trimmers. The first is obviously the angled head itself; the second concerns the size and weight of the tool while the third has to do with the internal workings. Let’s have a look at these general points first.
· Size and weight
In general terms, straight trimmers are the larger and heavier models. This means they give you a longer reach, but since they weigh more, are more of a pain to carry around. Curved trimmers, on the other hand, tend to be smaller and lighter.
· Drive chain
The drive chain is what connects the motor to the head and causes the strings to spin. In a curved model, the drive chain needs to bend, which can have an adverse effect on durability, making straight models the longer-lasting of the two types.
· Curved head
The curve itself makes a curved version easier to manage and generally more comfortable to hold while working. However, they are more difficult to keep level, and a straight version is also better at reaching around or under obstacles like garden furniture.
The advantages and disadvantages of each type
Now let’s have a look in more detail at the advantages and disadvantages of straight vs curved trimmers.
Curved trimmers – what’s good
Curved trimmers are lighter, better balanced and easier to wield. They are simpler to use for general yard maintenance and are more suited for lighter work that requires more precision than power.
Since they are light and easy to manage, they are more suitable for jobs where you need to work for a long time since the unit itself doesn’t weigh as much and won’t give you sore arms or a stiff back.
Being smaller, they are easier to store and easier to transport, making them a better choice if space is limited or if you need to travel to different locations.
They also tend to be the less expensive choice, allowing you to save a bit of cash.
- Lighter, better balanced and easier to use
- Easier to transport and store
- In general, less expensive than straight trimmers
- Good for precision work
- Simple to use
Curved trimmers – what’s not so good
Due to the curved head and the need for the drive chain to bend, curved trimmers are likely to have a shorter lifespan than straight trimmers.
For the same reason, they also tend to have less torque and so deliver less power to the cutting strings. This makes them less suitable for more heavy-duty jobs.
They may be simpler to use, but in general, they are not compatible with accessories – you can’t attach a pole saw or and edger as you can with some straight models, for example.
Another disadvantage is that the curved head makes them more awkward for cutting around obstacles. If you need to trim underneath garden furniture, it will be more difficult with a curved trimmer.
Since they are generally shorter, they offer you less reach, and they are also more difficult to keep level. Taller people might also find themselves bending over a lot with a shorter tool.
- Less durable
- Less powerful
- Shorter reach
- More awkward when dealing with obstacles
Straight trimmers – what’s good
Straight trimmers are generally longer, giving you better reach while you are working. This will also mean less bending, something that is particularly important for taller gardeners.
Since the drive chain is straight, they also give you higher torque and deliver more power, making them more suitable for tougher, heavy-duty jobs.
Due to the fact that many straight trimmers can accept different attachments, they are more versatile than curved trimmers, which can only be used in one way.
The straight shaft also means the drive chain is under less stress since it doesn’t need to bend, which also tends to mean straight trimmers last longer.
- More power
- More versatility due to accessories
- Better suited to heavy-duty jobs
- Tend to have longer lifespans
- Longer reach and less bending
Straight trimmers – what’s not so good
Straight trimmers also have their drawbacks. For a start, they are heavier and more difficult to control, especially for smaller gardeners or those who don’t have the strength to wield a larger tool. They are also less well balanced than their curved counterparts.
In general, they are the more expensive option so might not be the right pick if you are looking to save money.
Finally, due to the angle, they also tend to kick up cuttings and debris much more than curved trimmers – you’ll need to wear the right clothing and protective equipment.
- Less well balanced
- Kick up debris
- More expensive
Which one to choose?
There is no “best” option, just one that is most suited to your needs. Now let’s have a look at which one you should choose.
Who should buy a curved trimmer?
Curved trimmers are ideal for people who have smaller yards to take care of and who need a trimmer for more infrequent use. If you only need to use the tool once every week or two, a curved trimmer might be best.
They are suited to light-duty work, so if you only need to deal with easy-to-cut grass or weeds, a curved model will be sufficient.
They are more appropriate for smaller or shorter people and are squarely aimed at the casual home user rather than the professional or semi-professional gardener of landscaper.
Who should buy a straight trimmer?
Straight trimmers are better if you need to deal with more heavy-duty tasks involving thicker weeds and undergrowth. They are also more suitable for people who use need to use the tool every day since they will last longer and provide more power.
They are better for taller people since it will save them having to stoop to use their trimmer, and in general, straight trimmers are the go-to choice for commercial-grade users.
Both great tools – but choose appropriately
We can’t say that one type of trimmer is better than the other – all we can say is that each is better suited to certain situations. When choosing between the two types, think carefully about the jobs you need to use it for as well as your own physical capabilities and you are sure to pick the right one for you.
My name is Peter Weeks, Writer of The Daily Gardener. Gardening has always been my passion, nothing gives me quite the satisfaction that feeling the soil sift through my fingers does. Give me a spade, a shovel, and a rake, and I can happily while away the day transforming a patch of land into a beautiful oasis. To me, gardening is life. It’s not a career. It’s not a job. It’s something that I truly love doing. It’s a way of life, a passion that I’ve no intention of ever giving up.