If you’re assembling your first set of outdoor tools or looking to replace an aging string trimmer, you may be wondering whether a straight or curved shaft is best for you. While these two tools have the same basic function, you’re likely to find that one is better for your needs than the other.
Today, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about these two types of trimmers, as we put them head to head in our straight vs curved trimmer showdown.
Table of contents
- Similarities Between Straight & Curved Trimmers
- Differences Between Straight & Curved Trimmers
- Who is a Curved Shaft Trimmer Best For?
- Who is a Straight Shaft Trimmer Best For?
- Straight vs Curved Trimmer: Head to Head Battle
Both types of trimmer will allow you to trim grass around your landscaping features, under trees, bushes, and plants, and any other area you can’t reach with your lawnmower. Straight and curved trimmers both feature a motor attached to the top of a long pole that’s fitted with a spinning blade mechanism. Both gas, electric, and battery-powered models are available regardless of whether the shaft is straight or curved.
As the name entails, a straight trimmer features a straight shaft, whereas a curved trimmer has a pronounced curve about ⅔ of the way down the shaft. At first, all string trimmers features a straight shaft, and later, curved trimmers were available to address some of the inherent drawbacks associated with straight trimmers.
For many DIY landscapers, straight shaft trimmers proved too long and difficult to control. Fatigue is also an issue associated with straight trimmers. Their curved counterparts are a bit easier to control and maneuver, and the curved shaft may create less stress for the user, making it more comfortable to use than a straight shaft trimmer.
While curved trimmers do a great job of addressing the needs of the average homeowner, the addition of the curved shaft creates a few new problems. For one, since the shaft is curved, the drive cable of the trimmer must curve as well. Over time, it’s easier for a curved drive cable to wear out, so curved trimmers typically don’t last as long as straight models. The curved drive cable also isn’t capable of generating as much torque as a straight cable, so curved trimmers aren’t usually as powerful as a straight model.
The curved shaft of these trimmers offers great balance and maneuverability, particularly for people who are under six feet tall. Many people find them to be more comfortable than a straight trimmer. For the average homeowner who needs to use their string trimmer once a week or every few weeks, a curved shaft trimmer may be your best bet.
Meanwhile, straight trimmers tend to be the preferred weapon of choice for taller people, anyone looking for the most power possible, or professionals who need the most durable trimmer they can find.
As a bonus, many straight shaft trimmers feature removable heads that can be replaced with a range of different add-on accessories, like pole saws, hedge trimmers, edgers or cultivators.
This added feature makes straight trimmers popular with homeowners who are looking to make their tools more useful. You’ll also be able to save space in your shed or garage since the attachments are much smaller than the size of a full version of the tool.
Now that we’ve covered the differences let’s look closer at two of the most popular straight and curved trimmer models available in our straight vs curved trimmer battle.
Straight Trimmer: Husqvarna 129LK
It features a powerful 27.6cc engine that generates 1.1 horsepower. This engine reaches an impressive 7,200 RPM and features a cutting width as wide as 17 inches. Despite the engine’s size, it only weighs in at 10.3 pounds, which helps generate less fatigue with extended use.
The 129LK has intuitive features such as ergonomically located controls, an auto-stop return switch, and Smart Start technology which helps the engine to start quickly and easily with less effort.
Perhaps best of all, this trimmer is compatible with a full range of Husqvarna accessories that allow you to change the trimmer head out for other tools, greatly maximizing what you’re able to do with a single tool.
- Easy to start
- Compatible with Husqvarna accessories
- Plenty of power
- Idles a bit rough until it’s been running for a while
- Only has a two-year warranty
Curved Trimmer: Echo GT-225
The GT-225 from Echo is a comfortable and well-balanced trimmer, making it one of the most popular choices for DIYers. While this trimmer is considerably smaller than the straight trimmer above, it still packs a punch with a 21.22cc engine that powers the 48” curved shaft. This trimmer has a cutting width of 16 inches.
The i-30 ignition system helps this trimmer start quickly and reliably with just a few pulls of the starter. An impressive five-year warranty covers you should anything go wrong with your trimmer. While this trimmer doesn’t offer the power or adaptability of a straight trimmer, it’s exceptionally comfortable to use, particularly for shorter people.
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Easy to start
- Great warranty
- Not as powerful as straight options
- Not compatible with add-on accessories
When it comes to the question of straight vs curved trimmer, the only person who can decide which model is best is you. If you’re looking for an easy to use trimmer that can easily tackle occasional landscaping tasks, a curved trimmer may be the best option for you. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for power, durability, or the ability to use your trimmer with other attachments, you may find that a straight trimmer is the better option for you. What trimmer will you choose? Tell us in the comments.