How To Choose a Trimmer String [Buying Guide]

Whether you got a new trimmer or your current one isn’t cutting properly, you’ll need a good set of trimmer strings. Choosing the trimmer string that suits you well from hundreds of options can be challenging. The market is saturated with options, so how do you choose your trimmer string?

When choosing a trimmer string, know that every string trimmer has a line width recommended by the manufacturer. You should use one within this given range. All factors, such as width, shape, and materials, change the cut the trimmer will give. Additionally, you should get a string that suits your trimming purposes. 

If you understand how the trimmer’s line affects its performance, you can judge lines based on that. In this article, you’ll get a detailed rundown of all the factors of trimmer strings. Understanding these will help you choose the right line for your trimmer. 

Can You Use Any Line for Your Trimmer?

As a rule of thumb, you should use the line recommended by the manufacturer, whether it’s the suggested line size or company. 

You can find many cheap options online or in-store, but they’ll cost you in the long run. You’ll run through them faster and have to repurchase multiple reels in one season. 

Renowned companies have high-quality string materials and durable builds that will last you longer. 

Generally, the heavier the job, the thicker the string size is recommended. That’s because it’s more resistant to contact with thicker vegetation and hard surfaces. However, it won’t spin or cut properly if it’s not compatible with your trimmer. 

If you get a thinner line that goes too narrow, the string won’t cut and may unwind from the spool.

So don’t blindly trust any line you find. Search for online reviews or videos by everyday consumers with similar trimmer models as yours. Or you can search for lines suggested according to the nature of the job you’re going to be doing.  

Why Does Trimmer Line Matter?

The trimmer line is what gets the job done. It gives your trimmer its specialties, such as trimming edges, large bushes, and detailing with the power of a mower. Even with a high-power trimmer, the wrong string will lower its performance. 

In a nutshell, you could buy the best string trimmer out there, but it won’t give you the expected results if the string is unsuited.

Here are a few reasons why your trimmer line matters.

1. Quality of Cut

If you get a cheap or low-quality string, it won’t give you the neat results you want. You’ll get patchy work, where some weeds might get cut, but the taller or thicker vegetation will remain. 

You can go over the area multiple times, but it will still have an uneven look. You might think your trimmer doesn’t have enough power for it, but that’s not always the case.

When using the correct string, your yard should look uniform with no areas popping out greens. Even if the grass is longer or thicker, a suitable string will be able to work evenly.

2. Efficiency

You won’t have to work too hard with a good trimmer and string. They’ll work in harmony. 

However, with an incompatible string, it’s a different ball game. When you try to add force, it’ll exhaust your trimmer and use up too much of the power source. You might have to give it a break often if it runs for too long and doesn’t get the job done. 

You could be out working for 2-3 hours when it usually would take an hour. The additional power usage and the extra string will add to your cost.

3. Trimmer Maintenance

With a poor-performing line, you might be spending a lot of time fixing up your trimmer. 

On top of that, you’ll be re-adding the line more often than you’d like. The strings will break off, snap, or become so weak that they won’t cut anything. You’ll run out of line faster and repurchase it more than you should.

You might face problems like weeds getting wrapped around the head, your trimmer overheating, or other repairs.

Note: Even a good-quality string that doesn’t suit your trimmer can create problems.

Different Types of Trimmer Line

Strings come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. 

Each factor influences how durable the line is and how effectively it will work. The manufacturer also makes a difference. Many companies will produce heavy-duty lines, but they won’t be the same quality. 

So be sure to understand the following features of trimmer strings, to understand what they do:

Line Thickness

The main difference in strings is the thickness. Each size is useful for a different purpose.

Thickness Category
0.05 to 0.08 inches Lightweight-medium
0.08 to 0.105 inches Medium-heavy 
Above 0.105 inches Very heavy-duty

Thinner lines are best for regular use. They can easily cut down small weeds and maintain an already well-kept area. 

Medium thickness is suitable if you’re starting the season and there’s some outgrowth you need to control. 

Heavy-duty thickness is what’ll work for you if you need something to work on land that requires extra power.

Remember: Most trimmers don’t support all thicknesses. So you’ll have to check what thickness your tool is compatible with.

The Shape of the String

Each shape of the string provides a different result. There isn’t a rule on which one is better than the rest. However, round lines are used the most because of their durability. 

Tip: You can keep two different types on hand to switch between, depending on the state of the vegetation where you work. 

Let’s discuss the most common trimmer line shapes.

1. Round Shape Strings

The most common string used is round. 

Round trimmer line
The round trimmer line is the most commonly used version out there.

Its lack of edges helps you rip weeds out rather than cutting them so that you can clear an area faster. 

Since it’s smooth, it doesn’t break as easily and is resistant to impact with hard surfaces. You’ll go through fewer lines, to begin with, but it’s the easiest to replace because it’s readily available. 

It’s recommended to use it in your average to small side lawn with a low number of weeds. It helps trim edges and work on the length of your property. 

A product name you can look for is Oregon Magnum Gator Line (buy on Amazon).

2. Multi-Edged Strings

All of the Star, Square, and Pentagon-shaped lines come under the multi-edged category. 

Their edges help cut through grass rather than ripping it out, so the cut looks even. You’ll get a cleaner cut in a small amount of time. The only downside is that they easily break when they come into contact with concrete, trees, stones, and other firm material. 

So, it’s better for larger yards and thicker greens. If you have a more extensive lawn or an area without solid structures, you should opt for it. 

You can try out Arnold Trimline Maxi Edge (buy on Amazon)

3. Serrated Strings

This is one of the most underrated string shapes. It has “teeth-like” edges made, which makes it sharper and helps it trim through heavier weeds. 

As it’s for heavy-duty use, mostly commercial trimmers or professionals go for it. This isn’t for average users and may not work in all trimmers. You will also need a high-power string trimmer.

Areas that haven’t been cleared in a while may need this shape. It’ll save time and get the job done well.

Oregon Flexiblade (buy on Amazon) is an excellent option to try.

4. Twisted Strings

This shape can be considered the updated version of a round line. 

The twisted build helps improve efficiency, makes it more durable, and lowers noise. So it’s the best of both worlds, where it’s durable and can get through tough weeds. It might also improve your trimming experience since it reduces trimmer vibrations and sounds. 

It’s a versatile option that you can use for light or heavyweight work. You can get away with going in on dense growth since it’s meant for rugged commercial use. 

If you want to give it a try, you should check the Oregon Platinum Gatorline (buy on Amazon).

Are String Lines Color Coded? 

There isn’t necessarily a universal color code for trimmer strings, but the general idea is mentioned in the table below.  

Color Code Line Diameter
Green 0.80 Inch
Orange  0.95 Inch
Red 0.105 Inch
Black  0.130 Inch
Yellow  0.155 Inch

You’ll be able to identify the thickness of a trimmer line by its color. However, not all shapes use color coding, and not all manufacturers follow this convention. 

From the consumer’s perspective, the most popular string is green. It is usually round and thin, so it comes in handy for daily use and is durable. You can use a green string as your first line before trying other colors. 

Best Materials for Trimmer Lines 

Trimmer lines are made with an interesting combination. They’re tough enough to cut through dense vegetation but delicate enough to break in contact with concrete or wood. 

They’re primarily produced with nylon, and their variations include a mixture of materials. Newer trimmer lines are also produced with titanium. 

Standard Lines

Industry-standard lines (which are the ones primarily used) contain hardened monofilament nylon. This nylon is malleable enough to come out in different shapes and thicknesses. The credit for cutting goes to the string, but the trimmer needs to have enough power to rotate each line thickness properly. 

Over time newer versions of the original nylon line have emerged. Each of them comes with the goal of being more durable and long-lasting. They are created by mixing nylon with a specific ratio of another material, such as aluminum or reinforced nylon. These have proven to perform better in some cases. 

Titanium Strings

The latest addition to trimmer lines is titanium strings. They’re becoming popular because of their strength and efficient performance. They also provide faster acceleration and lower noise, which attracts many users. You can try it out. 

Trimmer line material isn’t something you need to think about too hard. 

To summarize everything, lines are made with nylon, reinforced nylon, or titanium. The quality of nylon can vary between different manufacturers. So if you use a heavy-duty, serrated line made of nylon that snaps often, it might be made of cheaper materials.

Trimmer Lines and Their Best Usage

It can be challenging to take in so much information all at once. You may remember most of what you’ve read in this article, but you may not be able to apply it when buying a line yourself. 

Since lines were individually explained, you should now learn to judge an area and choose based on it.

To simplify the process of selecting the most suitable string, here is a breakdown of which line works best for what area.

Small Areas and Less Vegetation

Strings measuring 0.05 – 0.08 inches will be appropriate in this situation. 

These are ideal for soft grass and young weeds. You can use these in your lawn, driveway, and other small sections around your house. The shape doesn’t necessarily make a difference, but round and twisted lines will be more durable.

Here are the top 3 lines you can try out: 

#1 Oregon Gatorline 0.08”

The Gatorline is a bestseller everywhere. 

It’s a round line which is impressive for most users. You’ll see that it’s durable enough to last some time, but you’ll get through enough to use up the reel. 

It can fit in most trimmers and is made of fortified nylon co-polymers, so the material is high quality. 

You can buy it on Amazon

#2 Maxpower 0.08”

Maxpower is known for its high-quality lines. 

This model is made of commercial-grade premium co-polymer resins, which help avoid breakage. It’s also twisted, giving you more efficiency and a clean cut. 

The biggest plus may be the comfort it brings to your ears since it reduces noise by quite a lot.

You can buy it on Amazon

#3 Arnold Maxi-Edge 0.08”

Arnold is a crowd favorite. 

It’s a highly-rated line that can fit most curved and straight trimmers. It has a star shape, so it cuts through weeds easily, but it’s not sharp enough to damage your prized rose bushes. You’ll get clean results in a reasonable amount of time.

You can buy it on Amazon.

Large Areas and Dense Vegetation 

Anything above 0.08 inches can handle most of what residential lawns grow. 

Even in dense patches, you can get rid of thick-stemmed weeds and other greens. Strings numbered above 0.110 inches are mainly for out-of-control areas or commercial use. 

Many people prefer heavy lines in their daily yard work, but it can be too much.

Here are three options you can choose from.

#1 Arnold Maxi Edge 0.095”

The Arnold Maxi Edge is the medium-heavy version of its star-shaped line. It’s essentially the big brother of the .08″ Arnold I linked to above. 

It can fit most gas trimmers because of its universal fit, but you can always check with the manufacturer if it works in your specific trimmer model. 

It claims to cut up to 3 times more than the average economy lines, backed by the high quality of this string.

#2 Pulverizer Weed Warrior 0.105”

Pulverizer manufacturers used years of research to come up with this durable line. It is made of professional-grade nylon resins, which are held to a high standard. 

The line has been developed to fit most trimmers but is ideal for gas trimmers. It’s compatible with premium trimmer brands such as Echo, Stihl, Black and Decker, etc. 

You can buy it on Amazon.

#3 Anleolife Steel Heavy Duty 0.120”

Anleolife delivers quality every time. 

This line has a Nylon 66 copolymer-coated steel-core wire, which is a tricky way of saying it’s a steel wire covered with nylon. This makes it safer than alloy trimmer blades but more effective than the average trimmer string. 

Its round shape helps with breakage resistance as well, making it last.

Like most lines mentioned before, you can also buy this one on Amazon.

Should You Use a Trimmer String or a Blade?

If you’ve invested in a versatile trimmer, you have two options. You can use a spool and string or put on metal blades (most brands have a blade attachment available). 

Both options are good enough to get the job done, but it comes down to personal preference.

Overview of Trimmer Lines

Trimmer lines have tons of variety. There are three sizes: lightweight, medium, and heavy-duty. Strings are produced in multiple shapes, such as round, twisted, multi-edged, or serrated. You can pick lines by mixing the features you like. 

There is a trimmer line available for each level of weed growth. 

Overview of Blades

On the other hand, there are metal blades. 

These brush-cutting heads are made of hardened alloy. They are strong and offer more power. 

Trimmer with blade attachment
An example of how such a blade can look like

You can cut through all kinds of weeds, from sparse, thin, and fresh to dense, thick, and dry. The performance is consistent, and you don’t have to stress over going too hard.

A blade is attractive to users because of its easy usage. You just put the blade on and forget about it. 

No need to worry about releasing a line or wrapping a fresh one around the spool every time you run out of it. Having the convenience of simply cleaning off the blade every time you’re done sounds like a luxury.

On the other hand, these blades need to be sharpened from time to time, especially if you hit something hard with it by accident such as concrete, metal fence posts, etc. 

Safety Aspects

One important consideration with both types of cutters is safety. 

A trimmer with string is safer. A blade can not only cut through the human body, but it can damage fences, patios, or other solid structures where you work. 

Contact with hard surfaces can also deform it or cause other problems.

The Toughest Trimmer Lines on the Market

Finding an unbreakable trimmer line is impossible. If you can’t use a blade, you probably want something close enough. To help curb your frustration of adding a line every 10 minutes, you can choose a heavy-duty one.

Remember that just because you’re saving string in one season doesn’t mean you’ll get to use it in another. 

It would be best if you always started with a new line reel every summer because older lines can become brittle and snap off easily. The same can happen to even the thickest of strings.

Note: Heavy lines won’t spin properly if your trimmer doesn’t have enough power. Use the widest width the manufacturer has recommended.

I have already written about the toughest trimmer lines available in this article.


Are Twisted Lines Better Than Round Lines?

Round and twisted lines are both the best in durability. However, twisted lines are more versatile and do have higher resistance. So if you’re buying only one string, you should opt for the twisted line.

Is a Thicker String More Useful Than a Thinner One?

Users do believe that a thicker string is better than a thin one overall. But It all comes down to where you’re working. A thicker line will last longer and give better results if the weeds are dense and tall. But you don’t need the extra strength if there are light greens. 

What Material Line Should You Buy?

All lines are mainly made out of nylon or titanium. Some nylon lines have slight variations that have aluminum or reinforced nylon added for strength. Both types of lines work fine, but titanium lines are considered stronger and long-lasting. 

Is a Trimmer Blade Dangerous?

Since trimmer blades are made out of metal, they’re more dangerous. They spin faster and are sharp enough to cut through solid material. It would be best if you always were extra cautious when working with a blade attachment. 

Final Thought

Trimmer string makes a great difference in your yard work experience. Finding the right fit for your trimmer and area will make everything a breeze. However, if you’re using a random line, you will struggle often and get frustrated. So, do yourself a favor and take the time to figure out which trimmer line gives you optimal results.

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!

Recent Posts