You already have a ton of features to think about when shopping for a string trimmer: curved and straight shafts, gas power or electric power, and more.
But quite possibly the most important option to consider is the part of the trimmer that actually trims: the head. There are different kinds of string trimmer heads, and they can make or break your yard work experience.
You might come across some models where the trimmer head has a trademarked brand name that reflects its new technical innovations. The best example we have is the quick-loading Oregon Gator SpeedLoad Head.
But at the core of the matter, there are only three line-feed designs:
Fixed head (or fixed line)
Bump Feed Systems
In bump feed systems, varied lengths of line are wound around the spool of the trimmer with two equal lengths fed through openings in the trimmer head.
These systems work by lightly tapping or “bumping” the bottom of the trimmer on the ground while you're trimming. The line advances when the spring system releases the line through the line outlets.
Bump feeds are easy-to-use and dependable, so they tend to be the most popular feed system.
Pros of bump feed systems: You have more control over how much line you use. The bump feed is a more simplified method of string advancement. If it stops working, you can make repairs quickly and easily.
Cons of bump feed systems: If your bump ever turns into a slam, you may damage the spool or spring. With continuous use, the spring in the head will wear and will need to be replaced.
Automatic Feed Systems
Many trimmers use automatic feed systems. Similar to bump feed systems, auto feed systems use a line-spooling motor, with no effort required while the trimmer is in use.
Pros of auto feed systems: You can take the attention away from your line and put it right where your property line and your neighborʼs award-winning azaleas meet. Since you don't have to tap the head on the ground, you can finish trimming faster.
Cons of auto feed systems: As with any machine that has moving parts, the motor may malfunction at some point. If the motor still works but it doesn't feed line properly, you may spend your trimming time fixing a line nightmare. Repairing or replacing the line spool motor on the automatic feed may be more of a headache than replacing the trimmer.
Fixed Head or Fixed Line Systems
Fixed head systems use individual lengths of line that are loaded or threaded into the trimmer one at a time as needed. This avoids some of the hassles of winding line onto trimmer heads and makes the overall process of dealing with trimmer line less cumbersome.
Pros of fixed head systems: Fixed head systems tend to be best suited to larger, more commercial trimmers that use, thick, tougher string. The increased diameter line decreases wear and breaks, making pauses between work fewer and further between.
Cons of fixed head systems: The trimmer must be stopped each time the line needs to be replaced.
A string trimmer is a versatile tool that lets you finish all kinds of lawn care chores quickly and conveniently. With different types of trimmer heads to choose from, it's easy to turn your trimmer into a personalized piece of equipment that works right for you.