Alternatives to a String Trimmer [5 Best Options]

If you want to edge your lawn without using a string trimmer, the best option is a stringless weed trimmer. These tools have metal or composite blades that last longer than trimmer line. Additionally, cordless grass shears with a long handle work more precisely than string trimmers. For heavy-duty work, invest in a metal-bladed brush cutter. You can also use hand tools to edge your lawn. In a pinch, a square shovel is a good option. Lawn shears also work well.

A string trimmer laying in a yard.

5 Alternatives to String Trimmers for Edging Your Lawn

Operating a string trimmer can be a hassle. The line can damage fences and siding. Plus, putting a new line into a string trimmer can be a long process. In order to avoid all this trouble, use one of these string trimmer alternatives.

Stringless Weed Trimmer

The top replacement for a string trimmer is a trimmer that cuts grass with a blade instead of a string. The best models use safe, high-quality blades made from composite materials. These blades last much longer than trimmer line and are far less expensive to replace than metal blades.

  • This stringless weed trimmer with self-sharpening blades is an excellent choice.
  • Stringless weed trimmers require less work to maintain than string trimmers.
  • You’ll save money by switching from a gas-powered string trimmer to a battery-powered stringless model.

My favorite thing about stringless weed trimmers is how easy blade changes are. You can take off an old blade and put a new one in place in seconds. I recommend these tools to anyone who’s unfamiliar with replacing a trimmer line. It’s a much more convenient tool that requires less upkeep.

Man changing the string in a string trimmer.
Changing the string in your string trimmer can sometimes be a difficult process.

Cordless Grass Shears

A long-handled, battery-powered set of grass shears can easily replace a string trimmer in your toolshed. Grass shears are lightweight and easy to maneuver, which makes them great for precision work. You won’t have to worry about cutting into your fence or siding with grass shears. This gives them a huge benefit over string trimmers.

  • Grass shears are a much more precise tool that can replace your string trimmer.
  • To prevent string trimmer damage to your fence and home, use these grass shears.
  • Unlike string trimmers, grass shears can also be used to trim shrubs and trees.

A good set of grass shears will come with both short blades (for trimming grass) and long blades. The long blades are great for trimming bushes, hedges, and small trees. So, you’ll essentially get two tools in one. Since trimmer line typically breaks if you try to trim larger plants, battery-powered shears have much more versatility.

Brush Cutter

If your problem is that string trimmers can’t deal with thick grass, ivy, and brush in your yard, upgrade to a brush cutter. The metal blade of a brush cutter can chew through overgrown grass and woody plants where a string trimmer will fail. Gasoline-powered brush cutters are the most powerful, but newer battery-powered models are nearly as effective.

  • This brush cutter is a more powerful alternative to string trimmers.
  • Brush cutters are best used for cutting through growth that string trimmers can’t handle.
  • A brush cutter is not as precise as a stringless trimmer or cordless grass shears.

Brush cutters are not recommended for detailed work close to your home and fence. The high power and metal blade mean they can cut into fences and homes. So, if you don’t need a powerful brush cutter, choose one of the previous options on this list.

Long-Handled Lawn Shears

The most effective hand tool that can replace your string trimmer is a set of long-handled lawn shears. This tool effectively acts as a set of long-bladed scissors that can be operated while standing. The blades can be swiveled horizontally to cut tall grass or vertically to trim along the edges of your lawn. I personally use long-handled lawn shears to cut grass between two internet boxes in my yard where my string trimmer won’t fit.

A man cutting tall grass using long-handled shears.
I use my long-handled shears to cut grass between two internet boxes in my yard where my string trimmer won’t fit.
  • These long-handled lawn shears can be used as a manual replacement for a string trimmer.
  • Lawn shears can be used for all the same tasks as a string trimmer.
  • Lawn shears are good for small yards, but can be slow to trim grass in a large yard.

Like other hand tools, manual lawn shears are best for small yards only. If you have an average or large lawn, choose a power tool instead. For small yards, long-handled shears will get the job done just as quickly as a string trimmer. Plus, they’re far more precise.

Square Shovel

If your string trimmer is causing you trouble, you can use a square shovel to edge your lawn. Simply line up the shovel with the desired edge and drive it firmly downward. This will cut off excess grass along the edge of your yard. It’s more work than the previous options on this list, but it’s very precise and effective.

  • You can use this square shovel to edge a lawn without power tools.
  • Line up the shovel blade with the desired edge of the lawn, then step onto the shovel to trim the grass.
  • This is best used for small yards only.
A Fiskars square spade shovel laying in a mulch garden bed.

I would only recommend using a shovel to edge your lawn if your yard is small. Edging large yards with a shovel can be tough, time-consuming work. Plus, the shovel doesn’t have the ability to trim tall grass that your mower can’t reach. So, it’s more limited than the other tools on our list.

Is There a Grass Trimmer That Doesn’t Use String?

The best stringless tools for trimming grass at the edges of your yard are:

  • Stringless weed trimmers.
  • Long-handled, cordless grass shears.
  • Metal-bladed brush cutters.
  • Handheld lawn shears.
  • A square shovel.

The first three options on this list are powered by a battery or a gasoline engine, which means they work just as quickly as string trimmers. The last two options are hand tools, so they may not be as efficient for trimming grass in large yards. However, each of these options are string-free.

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