Can You Use a String Trimmer Without a Guard?

Not everyone is an avid gardener. It’s not necessarily because it’s time-consuming or complicated, but because setting up your equipment first and getting your machine ready can be tedious for a lot of people. Sometimes while putting the guard on your trimmer, you might wonder if it’s even necessary to use one at all.

It’s always best to use a guard on your string trimmer as you may be at risk if you remove it.  Leaving the trimmer guard in place is preferable for safety reasons and for maintaining the trimmer’s functionality. However, some lawn care specialists believe removing the trimmer guard may allow them to operate more quickly and effectively.

The issue is a hot topic amongst lawn care enthusiasts, but since many people prefer using their string trimmers without a guard in place, I’ll discuss both sides. I’ll also discuss and share the pros and cons of using a guard so you can make the right choice. 

4 Reasons to Always Use the Guard on Your String Trimmer

In short, the guard is essential for the operator’s safety and the protection of others around the trimmer. It shields the user from flying debris. 

But let’s look at the problem in greater detail: 

1. Keeps Trimmer Length Constant

A trimmer guard also aims to maintain the trimmer line at a predetermined length or the recommended range for the trimmer. 

Your trimmer’s guard has a tiny razor blade along the length of it. The guard’s edge will cut any extra line when you drive the trimmer down into the soil to feed the line out, maintaining your trimmer line at the proper length.

If you take out the blade, the trimmer line can become excessively long and tangled in the guard. Additionally, the friction on the motor can increase when the string is wound around the guard, which results in the engine losing power and RPMs.

2. Avoids Excessive Strain

Using a guard protects the trimmer against unnecessary strain and prolongs its life. 

When you remove the guard, the trimmer may run for a longer period. Now, this might seem like a good thing when you’re doing the job, but you’re ultimately putting more strain on the engine, which raises engine temperature and lowers engine RPM. 

More stress on the engine results in a less effective performance. 

3. Avoids Permanent Harm

You risk permanently harming the device if you don’t have a guard on your trimmer. By using your trimmer with a guard on, you can avoid the additional stress and strain that may result in increased engine wear and harm to the shaft, gears, and other essential engine parts.

In addition to being risky, operating without the safety guard intact can void the trimmer’s warranty.

4. Prevents Debris From Flying Around

Debris can quickly spread without the guard. Guards have a purpose, other than to snip the string and regulate its length. They are also designed to manage trash like pebbles and grass. 

A guard will also somewhat slow down the debris when it is sprayed, decreasing its potential for harm by reducing its momentum, like hurling a rock at your window.

If the guard protection is not in place, you may need to wear thick jeans since pebbles are far more likely to graze your legs. 

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use a Guard on Your Strimmer 

On the other hand, it’s only natural for people to be worried about flying debris because it might still hit you even with your guard on. However, in reality, the chances of it occurring is extremely low; thus, some experts don’t think the guard is necessary. 

You just need to pay attention to which direction the pebbles and debris are moving and wear protective equipment such as safety glasses or even a protective helmet. 

Here are three reasons that support not using a guard for your trimmer:

1. Extended String

You can use a trimmer with a longer string by using it without the guard. Although removing the guard won’t make your line more durable, you’ll be able to use your trimmer to cover more ground as quickly as possible. 

Since you don’t have a wide guard, you don’t need to give extra attention to the trimmer line’s length.

2. Improved Sight

You can observe your progress more clearly. The guard blocks your line of sight, especially once you turn it over and are edging. 

Being able to observe the trimmer line from all directions allows for more precise maneuvers and cuts, which is why many landscaping experts prefer to use it this way. 

3. Efficiency

From the effectiveness standpoint, you can squeeze the trimmer head into smaller areas by removing the guard. 

If your trimmer has protection, you cannot squeeze the head through such openings, which may be beside an air conditioning unit or near a lot of vegetation.


How Does Removing a Guard Affect a Trimmer Line Length?

If the guard is taken off, the trimmer will lose its capacity to keep the line length constant. You must entirely remove the guard if you want to run the trimmer line longer than the manufacturer intended.

Final Thoughts

Except for edging and broader area cuts, a well-functioning trimmer with a guard cover should provide you with a superior cut. With a guard in place, you have more protection and safety for yourself and the machine. If you feel you work better without a guard, it might just be a question of your taste and not how effectively the equipment works with or without the guard. 

And – I can’t stress this enough – for most people, I do not recommend taking the guard off at all. If you don’t know what you are doing, it can easily lead to serious injury.

Peter Toth

Hi! I'm Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I've created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

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