String Trimmer vs. Lawn Mower: What’s the Difference?

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String trimmers and lawn mowers are both popular outdoor tools that are designed to make your lawn look great again time after time. But is there a place for “versus”? Actually, not, as both types are designed for different operations, and they do them really well. Still, it’s important to understand the difference between these gardening instruments if you want to make the most out of them in your garden. This guide by will help you to figure it out. 

riding mower

So What Are Lawn Mowers?

These machines are designed for cutting the grass on your lawn and keeping it at the needed height. It’s a great tool if you want the grass to be thick and healthy all year long. There are 2 types of mowers: push and riding. Both of them have rotating blades on the underside. The mechanism can be fuel-powered or electric, but the action doesn’t depend on that. The main difference is that push mowers are more suitable for the needs of smaller yards while riding models look like tractors and do the job quickly in large areas. Some people use them for relatively small lawns just because they can, but there’s no practical sense in that. 


What Are String Trimmers?

The initial purpose of string trimmers is to give the mowed lawn a neat polish in spots where mowers are helpless. Similar to the previous type, they come with gasoline and electric engines, but the cutting force is created by a rapidly rotating string. It reaches an extremely high speed and cuts grass like a razor. Unlike mowers, you have to wear them on a strap and carry them all the time. It can be tiresome, but the maneuverability is really worth that. If you want to achieve maximum mobility, choose gas-powered tools. If you don’t want to inhale exhaust fumes and there’s no problem with access to electricity, take a corded device, and you won’t regret it as it will be much quieter and simpler to maintain. 


But what are they for? Trimmers are used to polish the areas around trees, fences, edges of structures, and shrubs. Besides, many use them to smash weeds, which is also a good idea. 

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Now, let’s figure out what’s similar and different between these gardening instruments. The main question is whether you can interplace one with another efficiently or not. Read on, and you’ll see. 



This one is simple. These tools are designed to do the same job of cutting grass. Each of them does it fast and reduces your efforts. Professional gardeners always use these two machines to achieve commercially-acceptable results. They also provide excellent aeration to the turf, making it less attractive for insects and other nuisance wildlife to dwell. 



You should understand that lawn mowers are more powerful and efficient when it comes to cutting grass in large areas. If you try to make your lawn with a trimmer, you will get tired too quickly and spend significantly more time. Besides, the quality of the finish will hardly be eye-pleasing. Mowers provide a smooth finish as the rotating blades are fixed on the same height all the time, and you don’t have to balance the tool with your hands. Just push it forward and enjoy your work! There’s no need to qualify for that. 


Another benefit of push and riding mowers is that you can purchase a model that gathers all the clippings into a bag or a container. That’s extremely convenient and lets you skip the gathering phase almost completely. Trimmers can’t boast with such a killer feature and make you rake the area after trimming. 


Mowers aren’t perfect, though. They can do their job perfectly well on large flat areas but become useless when a tree, fence, or hedge occurs on their way. That’s where the trimmers come in handy. A string cutter is flexible and compact, which makes it possible to cut all those weeds and grass around the trunks, along the fenceline, hedges, and walls. They’re not as easy to operate as mowers, though. Yes, they look compact and lightweight, but the truth is that you need to be fit to move the instrument evenly above the ground and to keep it from damage. Even the bulkiest mowers that take so much space in your garage are a lot less tiresome to push around.

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That’s why experts recommend trying weed whackers in a store before purchasing. Take the tool and try to walk around and wave it from side to side gently. Try different gas-powered and electric models to see which one is actually movable for you. Don’t forget that gas-powered models will weigh more when you fill the tanks with gasoline and oil. If it feels too heavy, don’t overstrain your back. Your lawn isn’t worth that, so hire a pro if you need that so much. 


The One You Need

Mowers can do what whackers do bad and vice versa. However, the first type can be considered essential, while the second is not necessarily for everyone. Whackers are a sort of a luxury accessory, and you have to be confident to purchase it for your gardening works. Not every garden has those hard-to-reach areas that are visible and may spoil the image of your yard with spots of overgrown grass and weeds. That’s why an average mower is enough in most cases. You can also consider hiring a trimmer operator to process all those spots to see how often you should repeat the procedure. If the weeds don’t spring here and there soon and grass along the fences doesn’t store the view, you can save time and money and keep hiring the professional time after time. 


Team Them Up!

Finally, you know all the differences between lawn mowers and string trimmers. In some cases, one of the tools is more than enough, but the best solution is to team them up and boost your efficiency to the maximum. Take a mower to achieve the even grass level across the entire garden at a relatively high pace and without pain in your back. Then take a trimmer and manicure all the spots that are left unreachable for the big brother. This will give your lawn a nice polished look in the shortest time possible. What will be your choice? Share your considerations in the comments!