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8 best grass trimmers for perfecting your lawn edges

A decent cordless strimmer can be a real game changer – tackling everything from intricate garden borders, to tough patches of weeds on our neglected allotment (iStock/The Independent)
A decent cordless strimmer can be a real game changer – tackling everything from intricate garden borders, to tough patches of weeds on our neglected allotment (iStock/The Independent)

A decent cordless grass strimmer can be a real game changer. Especially for gardeners wishing to dispatch large areas of long grass without being reigned in and curtailed by a trailing power cord or resorting to messy, petrol powered means.

Petrol strimmers tend to be more capable of slicing through tougher grass and twisted thickets, but they can be both heavy to use and noisy, and the resulting carbon emissions do the environment no favours.

While some earlier battery-powered strimmers suffered from lack of performance and power, today’s cordless models are much better equipped for the task in hand, and high-end machines often match the performance of their petrol-guzzling brethren.

The majority of the strimmers we tested below are aimed at use in small-to-medium-sized gardens, but we’ve also included a couple of big hitters that will help to tame large areas of undergrowth.

We tested them on a variety of jobs, from intricate garden borders, to tough patches of weeds down on our neglected allotment.

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Most of the strimmer brands reviewed below have interchangeable batteries that will work across a number of power tools within their respective brands’s cordless range. Lithium ion rechargeable batteries (also known as Li-ion) and their accompanying chargers tend to be rather pricey, so this may sway your choice if you already own cordless tools.

Gird your Li-ions, here are eight of the best cordless grass strimmers currently on the market.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Stihl FSA 86 R brushcutter

Stihl’s FSA 86 R strimmer is “a new for 2021” addition to its impressive lineup of powerful brushcutters for larger gardens. It’s a lovely tool to wield, featuring an ergonomic, soft-grip handle and an intuitive trigger and safety switch. It’s also disarmingly quiet, disguising the fact that it packs a real punch and is perfect for robust work on an allotment or for when you need to engage in tough brush-cutting duties.

That said, we also found it equally at home in a less demanding garden setting, where its ergonomics and balance make it a pleasure to use. From a 45-minute charge using the AL 500 quick charger (£120, Stihl.co.uk), the AP 200 battery (£140, Stihl.co.uk) will give you around 25 minutes of strimming pleasure using a nylon line mowing head.

It’s also worth noting that the FSA 86 R can also be fitted with a variety of cutting tools, and swapping to a Stihl 6-2 polycut mowing head will increase the runtime to around 60 minutes.

Buy now £259.00, Stihl.co.uk

Mountfield freedon 500 MTR 50 li cordless grass strimmer

The freedom 500 strimmer forms part of Mountfield’s nippy cordless range, new for 2021. It’s a tool primarily aimed at medium-sized gardens, although we found that this light, well-balanced machine was nimble enough to use in smaller environments and also fared well battling against the omnipresent nettle patch down on our allotment. Its telescopic, locking shaft was easy to adjust, and the twisting cutting head performed well when tasked with edging duties.

The 2Ah battery that fits this machine will give you a max running time of up to 20 minutes, but we’d recommend upgrading to a 5Ah for just under an hours worth of sweet strimming pleasure. This, like the Toro model, has a bit of construction required before use, so have an allen key and a phillips screwdriver to hand when unboxing.

Buy now £109.00, Johnlewis.com

Bosch grass strimmer

This nippy piece of kit from Bosch’s 18v range is designed to take the back-breaking strain out of strimming. Its distinctive, v-shaped frame is ergonomically designed to keep your back straight while you work, and can be telescopically extended or reduced to suit the user.

A neat pedal situated on the cutting head enables you to swap between upright position, tilt mode (for accessing long grass under drooping foliage/deck chairs you can’t be bothered to move), and a 90-degree mode for edging work. Regarding the latter, we found it quite tricky to perform an accurate cut and felt that the attached guide wheel was a tad flimsy, but nevertheless it got the tedious job of lawn edging done in a speedy manner. Besides, if you are looking for a super-precise finish on a manicured lawn, a pair of edging shears are probably the order of the day no matter which strimmer you choose.

We thought that the twin-bar design gave this strimmer a slightly geriatric, walking frame vibe, but there’s no doubt it’s comfy to use. We also applaud the joystick-style trigger handle, which made us feel like we were doing something way cooler than just cutting grass.

Buy now £114.95, Amazon.co.uk

Gtech cordless grass trimmer GT4.0

Gtech has designed its range of cordless garden tools with an aesthetic that takes the lead from sleek indoor appliances rather than rudimentary outdoor tools, and the GT 4.0 strimmer certainly has a Dyson-esque feel to it. It’s a slick, stylish strimmer that sports a plastic cutting blade, rotating cutting head (for edging work) and a multi-position handle. The unit is powered by a grenade-shaped battery that grants around 30 minutes of cutting time from a four-hour charge.

We found that the cutting head is quite small when compared with other strimmers, but this does mean you can venture into more inaccessible areas of your garden where larger models might struggle. In use, the unit is lightweight and well-balanced – yes, it struggles with thick patches of long grass, and the cutting blades wear down quickly when they come up against anything hard and heavy (watch out when working close to paving slabs and stony borders) but for whipping around a small garden it’s difficult to fault.

The non-standard trimmer blades will attract and put off some folk in equal measure, but they are super-easy to fit and £3.99 will buy you a bag of 50, which will see you right for the summer.

Buy now £129.99, Gtech.co.uk

Flymo simplitrim cordless grass trimmer

This lightweight strimmer from Flymo sports an integrated battery that boasts 40 minutes of runtime from a 200 minute charge – a decent pay-off for a cordless strimmer at this price. It also shuns the more traditional spool and wire cutting mechanism in favour of easy-fit plastic blades, which should please folks who have ever had trouble replacing unruly spools of snaking wire to a depleted strimmer.

In use, the Fymo runs quietly and effectively – there’s a fair bit of vibration, and the rotating hub takes an age to stop spinning once you’ve taken your finger off the trigger, but this is certainly not a deal breaker. Although the integrated battery means you’ve got less parts to get lost in your shed, you’ll have to plug the entire strimmer into the power source for charging. That’s fine if you’ve got an outdoor power supply or extension cable, but not so great if you need to plug your filthy Flymo into a kitchen wall socket.

If you are prepared to forgive the relatively meek slicing power and understand that it’s not really cut out to tackle knee-high, knotty undergrowth, this strimmer is a top low-cost cordless option for keeping small gardens neat and tidy.

Buy now £74.97, Appliancesdirect.co.uk

Toro flex-force 51835T

The first thing to note is that this robust strimmer from Toro comes packing a chunky 2.4 mm cutting line. This, powered by the hefty 60v battery (£49.99, Lawnmowers-uk.co.uk) makes it a capable machine for chewing through brush and thicker undergrowth, so it’s a good knockabout choice for allotment taming.

In use, it absolutely flies – in fact it took us longer to attach the handle to the shaft than it did to whizz over the grassy paths we tasked it on. From a 60-minute charge you’ll get up to 45 minutes of cutting time depending on the demands of your job in hand.

Strimmer line is easy to replace – there are no spools so you just thread the replacement line directly into the cutting head, reducing the chances of a sweary exchange between man and machine. Unlike the Cobra (£64.99, Cobragarden.co.uk), there’s no plant guard rail to prevent collateral damage – this bullish strimmer has no time for sentimentality.

Buy now £114.98, Lawnmowers-uk.co.uk

Cobra GT3240VZ

This cordless wonder from Cobra comes decked out with a Ferrari-red paint job – perfect for racing around an unkempt lawn on a hot summer’s day. On unboxing, you’ll need to engage in a spot of minor assembly before you can unleash it, but this does mean you can fix the handle in the perfect position to suit your strimming stance.

In use, the Cobra will give you quite a wild ride – there’s a fair bit of vibration to contend with and it runs quite loud and raspy, but it certainly makes short work of long grass, offering up a large cutting arc for speedy strimming. The cutting head rotates 90 degrees for edging duties, and comes packing a plant bumper guard to protect your precious perennials.

It’s a decent piece of kit for the money, especially if you already own tools from the Cobra cordless range and can share batteries and charger to cut down the upfront expenditure. A 90-minute charge will give you an impressive 80 minutes of run-time, depending on how overgrown you’ve let your garden grow.

Buy now £64.99, Justlawnmowers.co.uk

Husqvarna 520iLX cordless trimmer

Husqvarna’s high-performance, professional strimmer is packed with top-end features with a price to match. It’s not the lightest machine we had on test, which was mostly down to the whopping BLli200 battery (£189.22, Worldofpower.co.uk) we were using, but it did mean we could squeeze around 60-70 minutes of power from a 1-hour charge.

A neat feature is that the cutting head direction can be reversed to prevent cut grass being flung onto walkways and paths. Depending on your strimming requirements, you can also set the machine (via the trigger mounted keypad) to maximise run-time or to maximise power.

If we were being hyper-critical, the pincer-style power trigger and lock system seems slightly lo-fi on a machine of this spec, but we can’t really fault it otherwise.

Buy now £277.15, Worldofpower.co.uk

The verdict: Grass trimmers

If you’ve a large garden or plot to tackle and have the necessary funds, then we’d go for the Stihl FSA 86 R brushcutter every time. Whereas for taming small to medium gardens quietly and efficiently, you can’t go wrong with the Mountfield freedon 500 MTR cordless grass strimmer.

Make sure you’ve invested in these essential garden tools that will help you get green-fingered this spring

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