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Trimmer vs. Edger: Do You Need Both Tools?

Perhaps one of the most falsely interchangeable terms is a trimmer and an edger. Many people use these terms as synonyms when, in fact, they refer to significantly different outdoor tools. They each bring in their own benefits, and that’s exactly what we strive to convey to you in this Trimmer vs. Edger analysis.

Wondering which of these tools to purchase to maintain your lawn? Rest assured, we’ll reveal the answers throughout this article.


What is a trimmer?

Greenworks 24V 12" Cordless String Trimmer / Edger, 2.0Ah Battery and Charger Included

A trimmer, or string trimmer, is a gardening and lawn tool used to cut grass and weeds that your lawn mower can’t reach. These tight spots may include edges and other areas. This includes along a fence, under a porch, or around delicate flowers and plants.

String trimmers come in all shapes and sizes, including 2-cycle and 4-cycle gas-powered string trimmers and straight and curved shaft trimmers.


What is an edger?

WORX WG896 12 Amp 7.5" Electric Lawn Edger & Trencher

An edger is also known as a lawn edger or edge trimmer. It is a tool specifically designed for cutting grass along the edges of your lawn where the grass meets the concrete.

Unlike the string trimmer, which uses two wires or “strings” that move rapidly to cut, lawn edgers use a vertical spinning blade. Edgers typically come in two forms. the cost-efficient manual edgers or the motorized gas-powered edgers (also comes as electric or battery-powered).


How are they different?

BLACK+DECKER String Trimmer with Auto Feed, Electric, 6.5-Amp, 14-Inch (BESTA510)

The primary difference between a string trimmer and a lawn edger is the blades each uses to cut grass and weeds. Essentially, the lawn edger comes with a vertical spinning blade. This makes it great for creating boundary lines around your lawn.

On the other hand, the string trimmer uses a flexible line made of monofilament nylon. It specializes in cutting grass in more complex areas such as under decks and around protected flowers.

Other notable differences include the mobility and weight of each tool. You should note that string trimmers are significantly more lightweight than lawn edgers. Additionally, edgers often come with adjustable blade lengths, meaning it is easier to customize your edges the way you like them.

On the other hand, string trimmers are a little more challenging to get the exact look you want with your edges. However, its versatility in functions makes it easier to maintain the overall appearance of your lawn with a single tool.


How are they similar?

Greenworks 12 Amp Electric Corded Edger 27032

The main commonality between lawn edgers and string trimmers is that both are viable options for your edges. Both are primarily used for cutting grass. Ultimately, the major similarity between the two is that they can both cut edges, though this is not true in reverse. An edger is not suited for cutting around tight spots in the same way that the trimmer can.

Furthermore, edgers and string trimmers are similar in that they are both handheld devices designed for cutting overhanging grass.

Other similarities between these two grass-cutting tools include the availability of gas-powered, electric-powered, and battery-powered options. A gas-powered string trimmer typically gets the job done the fastest. It is the most powerful of the three options, and the same goes for gas-powered lawn edgers too.

Similarly, electric lawn edgers and string trimmers are alike in that they both help save costs and reduce pollution. You’ll also find a variety of battery-powered string trimmers that offer cordless options as well.


What’s better about a trimmer?

Makita XRU15PT 36V (18V X2) LXT® Brushless String Trimmer Kit (5.0Ah)

The great thing about a string trimmer is that it can perform a greater variety of tasks that stretch beyond the realm of edges. For example, you can trim grass in all sorts of places and get into those tight hidden spots. This is especially true if you have a cordless trimmer that runs on a battery pack.

Also, cordless string trimmers are significantly more lightweight than edgers, making them more appealing to a broader spectrum of homeowners.

In addition to maintaining your front and back lawns, a trimmer is also an excellent option for maintaining garden beds where precious flowers and pot plants reside. Due to its ability to clean up overgrown bits of grass and leaves, trimmers have gotten the term “weed eater,” and rightfully so (1).

Thus, a string trimmer is a great add-on to your lawn mower tasks, as it provides the perfect top-up to your completed lawn mowing job. In addition, it adds the finishing touches in spots unreachable by an edger.


What’s better about an edger?

DEWALT DCED472X1 Edger, Yellow/Black

While it may be true that a trimmer can do more than an edger in the grand scheme of maintaining your garden and lawn. However, the edger is a specialist in the singular area of perfecting the edge. In particular, manual edgers, essentially motorized edgers that work like spade tools, are ideal for achieving that flawless line across the border of your lawn.

Built with a stronger metal blade and a horizontally rotating head, these heavy-duty tools can easily cut through thick grass far better than weed whackers.

One of the main advantages of edgers over trimmers is that they can accommodate varying thicknesses of grass. So you can more accurately curate your lawn how you like it.

In addition, these manual tools produce more power than a weed wacker. They can cut through long grass with their rotating blade for a clean edge that cannot be achieved with trimmers or lawn mowers.

Edgers may not be a replacement for the solutions that trimmers offer. However, a trimmer should not replace them for their specialized edge management tasks.


Who should get a trimmer?

Greenworks 40V 13" Cordless String Trimmer / Edger, 2.0Ah Battery and Charger Included

Not all string trimmers are made equal, but you can undoubtedly derive equal benefits no matter your type of trimmer. So whether you go for a gas-powered or electric string trimmer, you’ll find plenty of use for it in your lawn care.

While we don’t recommend this mindset, many homeowners also opt to use their trimmer for lawn edges. So this tool could also suit you if you care very little about perfecting the look of your lawn’s borders.


Who should get an edger?

BLACK+DECKER Edger & Trencher, 2-in-1, 12-Amp (LE750)

A motorized edger is the best tool for maintaining your edges and providing the finishing touches to your lawn’s border after a lawn mowing job.

Unlike the trimmer, edgers provide an actual rotating blade that spins in a vertical direction for a perfectly symmetrical cut. This makes it easier and more productive to maintain the outskirts of your lawn. As such, an edger would suit anybody who seeks a flawless finish to their lawn’s border where the grass does not hinder the surrounding concrete.




Cutting tools

Craftsman 25B-E30-793 30cc 4-Cycle Gas Powered Lawn Edger, Liberty Red

It is often surprising how much a string trimmer can achieve with just two wires spinning rapidly as opposed to the industrial blades offered by edgers. Nevertheless, most people gravitate towards the string trimmers for their ability to tackle more lawn tasks using less power and arguably less effort.

On that note, one should remember that edgers also come in the form of push edgers. These typically incorporate a wheel covered in spikes that similarly cut through the grass to the typical manual lawn edger.

Whether you go for a corded electric string trimmer or a gas-powered string trimmer, they all use the same wire or string-style of cutting grass. These can only get you so far with edges.

On the other hand, motorized lawn edgers excel in cutting down heavy grass and can essentially “continue” the job set forth by a lawn mower. It delivers the same level of power and offers various cutting heights.

Due to its ability to cover a large lawn and cut down more challenging surfaces, edgers outdo the string trimmer pros in this regard. However, their greater power output and industrial strength blades make it the clear winner when comparing its respective cutting tools.

Winner: Edger



BLACK+DECKER 2-in-1 String Trimmer / Edger and Trencher, 12 -Amp (LE760FF)

When analyzing the edger vs the string trimmer, we must discuss each performance, which extends beyond cutting grass. In terms of durability, the steel blades of the edger are certainly stronger than the monofilament strings of the trimmer (2). Thus making it the longer lasting option.

However, the lightweight nature of trimmers does help the user get more out of them. This includes reaching tricky areas around your outdoor area, which is also something to consider.

The gas-powered edger is the most powerful among all garden tools as it offers a high-performing engine with greater power output. While louder than an electric-powered lawn edger, there is no denying its greater cutting ability.

Despite its shortcomings, the edger is once again the victor when considering performance alone. Although, trimmers are certainly the more versatile option.

Winner: Edger



Greenworks 24V 12" Cordless String Trimmer / Edger, 2.0Ah Battery and Charger Included

Both lawn edgers and string trimmers offer a range of options that help to promote cost-efficiency, from the flat price tag to the long-term savings you could acquire. For instance, electric-powered lawn edgers allow you to save on gas, as the required electricity for operation is far less than what you would pay for fuel costs.

This is the same case for manual lawn edgers that operate on electricity. It offers a cheaper operation solution at the cost of reduced power output.

As far as price tags go, you’ll find a manual edger and a string trimmer typically cost around the same price point. In addition, you can access a full spectrum of low to high-end brands. These offer more quality, perks, and warranties as per their individual guidelines.

Ultimately, trimming grass with a string trimmer is a sure-fire way to save money in the long run. This is because of its greater versatility in functionality. In addition, its widely agreed upon that it can even be used as an edger.

Thus, while a trimmer can be used in replacement of an edger for many people, the same cannot be said in the reverse. So, the trimmer takes the win on this occasion.

Winner: Trimmer


Trimmer vs Edger FAQ


Can a trimmer be used as an edger?

The general consensus is that a trimmer can be used as an edger, but you should not expect the best results. Edgers offer better perfection around the boundary lines of your lawn than can be achieved with gas or electric-powered trimmers.


Which is better edger or trimmer?

Gas, batter, or corded electric string trimmers offer a greater range of functionality that allows for more flexible use across your lawn. On the other hand, edgers specialize in creating the perfect boundary lines around where your lawn meets the concrete footpath.


Do you need an edger and trimmer?

Ideally, you will want an edger and a trimmer for the perfect finish to your lawn mowing job. This will ensure a smooth lawn with no weeds and a flawless outline around your grass area.


Is it worth buying an edger?

Buying an edger could be a worthwhile investment, particularly for homeowners who seek the “complete” look for their lawn rather than the “good enough” look. For best results, one should incorporate the use of a string trimmer in conjunction with an edger for the perfect-looking lawn and garden area.

Greenworks 24V 12" Cordless String Trimmer / Edger, 2.0Ah Battery and Charger Included


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