String trimmers are one of the most efficient and versatile tools in the tool shed for both homeowners and professionals. Sometimes though you may find that your regular plastic trimmer line is not up to the tougher jobs so you may be asking yourself if you can put metal wire in your string trimmer.
Using metal wire in your string trimmer can pose a significant risk to the tool, the user, and the people around the area. Unless recommended by the manufacturer, it’s safest to avoid this practice and use heavy-duty plastic line instead.
As this question comes up a lot, I decided to write this article where I’ll be discussing the potential hazards and drawbacks of using metal wire in a string trimmer and the benefits of using different types of thick nylon line as an alternative.
So if you’re thinking about trying this, make sure you read this post first!
The Risks of Using Metal Wire in Your String Trimmer
Some users make the mistake of swapping their string with metal wire, assuming that it can handle challenging jobs better than regular trimmer lines. However, this is a very dangerous thing to do, particularly if it goes against the manufacturer’s guidelines for your machine.
There are three main areas of risk when using a steel wire instead of a nylon line.
Physical Harm to the User
One of the most significant hazards of using wire in your string trimmer is the risk of physical injuries to the user. Compared to string trimmer lines, steel wires are more rigid and prone to breakage, making them more likely to fling debris out in all directions.
When the wire breaks or snaps, it can cause small pieces of metal to fly out toward the user or bystanders, causing cuts, bruises, or even more serious injuries.
The wire can also wrap around objects like metal posts causing the weed eater to be torn from your hands. If you’re using a really powerful petrol model then you could even end up on the floor through the twisting force of the snagged power tool.
String trimmers in general can be really dangerous if not handled properly. They can even cut through your skin with their normal nylon lines (I wrote about this in more detail here) so you can probably imagine what they are capable of with a metal wire.
Damage to the Trimmer
Another concern with using steel as a trimmer line is the damage it can cause to your weed whacker. String trimmers are designed to work with lines made of specific materials, and using the wrong type of line can put tremendous strain on the equipment’s moving parts.
Metal wire is much heavier than the recommended plastic trimmer lines, and so can cause excessive wear and tear on the motor, which ultimately decreases the lifespan of the machine.
The high-speed rotation of the spinning head can also cause the steel cable to break up and become dangerous projectiles, posing a severe safety risk.
Damage To Property
There is also a significant risk of damage to fences, wooden posts, lawn edging, trees, etc. when using wire in your weed whacker.
These tools are made to go right up to the boundaries of your yard, with the more flexible plastic string not causing any issues to any hard objects it comes up against.
A metal wire spinning around at fast speeds on the other hand will cut into any wooden and softer objects it comes up against, marking or even destroying them.
Benefits of Using Heavy-Duty Plastic Line
Using a robust plastic line of 0.095-inch thickness or above is a much safer and more effective alternative compared to metal wire. Heavy-duty nylon trimmer string is incredibly durable and can handle even the most challenging trimming tasks.
Plastic lines are also more flexible, reducing the risk of harm to the user and bystanders when hitting obstacles or moving in different directions.
Also, even the thickest plastic line is easier to install and replace, making it a perfect choice for busy professionals or homeowners. You can quickly reload the spool without having to tear down the trimmer head, saving significant amounts of time and effort.
Types Of Heavy-Duty Plastic Line
If you’re considering using the thicker, more hardwearing types of plastic lines in your string trimmer, it’s crucial to make sure your model can take them and to choose the right type for your needs. Always check your user manual for manufacturer recommendations first.
Below are some common types of heavy-duty nylon lines that are particularly reliable and effective:
- Round Line – Round line is a traditional type of trimmer line that’s perfect for basic trimming jobs. It’s easy to use, less prone to breakage, and offers excellent flexibility when cutting around obstacles.
- Twisted Line – Twisted lines are more durable compared to the round type and can handle heavier and more challenging trimming tasks. They have a twisted shape that enhances cutting power, making them ideal for cutting through thick weeds and bushes.
- Square Line – Square line is one of the most durable types of trimmer string, perfect for handling the most demanding trimming jobs. It’s incredibly resistant to wear and tear and can cut untidy areas with ease.
I have found one type of heavy-duty 0.095″ plastic line that contains a steel core commercially available and comes with some positive reviews (you can buy it on Amazon). If you’re convinced that some type of metal wire would be best for your needs then this is a safer option than using bare wire.
If you are unsure about what type of trimmer line you should be using in the first place, check out this article.
Final Thoughts Around Using Wire In Your String Trimmer
I hope by now you will have realized that using metal wire in your string trimmer poses significant risks to the user, bystanders, and the tool itself. Not only can it cause physical harm, but it can also damage the tool’s internal components.
On the other hand, heavy-duty plastic string is a much safer and more effective alternative, offering greater flexibility, durability, and ease of use.
When selecting a thicker nylon line for your weed eater, be sure to choose a good quality brand that is reliable and suitable for your trimming needs.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to tackle even the toughest jobs without compromising safety.