How we test line trimmers


Our experts cut through acres of grass to get at the truth.

How well does a line trimmer trim?


Line trimmers (aka whipper snippers or lawn trimmers) are handy for keeping long grass and garden edges under control. But you can't always tell in store which ones are best at the job. We put them to the test to weed out any poor performers – here's how we go about it.

See our line trimmer reviews to find out which brands and models we recommend.

Our expert testers

CHOICE maintains a highly professional NATA-accredited laboratory and the vast majority of our product testing is done in-house. Our testers are qualified and well-experienced in testing a wide range of products, and many sit on Standards committees and belong to other professional and expert bodies.

For some products there are Australian or international standards, which usually form the basis of our testing for those products. In other cases, such as with line trimmers, our testers and content producers work together to devise our own test methods based on the key aspects that matter to consumers.

How we choose what we review

With so many to choose from, what makes us choose one line trimmer to test over another? Like with most of our product testing, our aim is to test the popular brands and models on the market and what you are most likely to see in the retailers.

We survey manufacturers to find out about their range of models, we check market sales information and we also check for any member requests to test specific models. From this information we put together a final list that goes to our buyers. They then head out to the retailers and purchase each product, just as a normal consumer would. We do this so we can be sure they are the same as any consumer would find them and not tweaked in any way.

How we test

Performance

We test the line trimmers on a large semi-rural property with plenty of long grass and lawn edges.

Our tester tests:

  • horizontal trimming along fences and walls and on areas of lawn
  • vertical trimming (with the cutting head perpendicular to the ground) along the edges of paths and garden borders
  • cutting long grass.

If the trimmer is supplied with other cutting options (e.g. a brush-cutting blade that can be mounted instead of the line head) these are also assessed and commented on, but not included in the score.

Ease of use

The tester assesses:

  • how comfortable the trimmers are to use, taking into account their weight, balance, handles, shaft length, and visibility while edging (the angle of the cutting head)
  • respooling the line into the head
  • using the controls
  • starting the line trimmer
  • using the line feed
  • the amount of vibration.

Test criteria explained

The overall score is made up of:

  • performance (50%)
  • ease of use (50%)

The performance score is made up of:

  • horizontal trimming (40%)
  • vertical trimming (40%)
  • cutting long grass (20%)

The ease of use score is made up of the following, all weighted equally:

  • comfort (weight, balance, handles, shaft length, and visibility while edging)
  • respooling the line into the head
  • using the controls
  • starting the line trimmer
  • using the line feed
  • the amount of vibration.

Our test lab

We maintain a climate-controlled lab that is up to date with the latest reference machines and calibrated measurement tools for our testers to bring you the right results. For tests of outdoor equipment such as line trimmers, most of the actual testing is done "in the field".

Ready to buy?

Check out our latest line trimmer reviews, and see our buying guide for information on the different types and features to look for.


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