Is there really a difference between a line trimmer and a whipper snipper?

Line Trimmer

When it comes to keeping a neat yard and edges, having the right tools is essential. While your lawn mower will ensure your yard is nice and tidy, edging gives it all that perfect finish that your neighbours will end up turning green with envy for.

Some people will buy a line trimmer to carry out their edges, while some often choose a brush cutter or a whipper snipper to get the job done. But is there a need to get both? Are there enough differences between the two to justify having one of each in your shed?

The differences between line trimmers and whipper snippers

There are several key features that vary between line trimmers and whipper snippers that make them different from each other and suited for certain jobs. While both will be effective for light edging, there are specific tasks where you will need a specific tool. Ultimately, it all comes down to:

  • The shaft: You will find that most whipper snippers will have a straight shaft while line trimmers will be bent. This is about more than just aesthetics, as the long, straight shaft of a whipper snipper is designed for more heavy-duty slashing applications and also so you can attach longer blades while remaining safe. This means whipper snippers are better for yards that have areas inaccessible by lawn mowers or where there is long grass or scrub that needs slashing. A line trimmer is more suited to domestic, residential edging.
  • The power source: While there are petrol and electric versions of both, you are going to find that line trimmers will predominantly be electric while the higher-powered whipper snippers are petrol. Electric options are perfect for residential maintenance, but landscapers and rural residents will want a powerful, petrol whipper snipper to take care of longer, thicker grass across wider areas.
  • The cutting device: As suggested in the name, line trimmers use nylon line that quickly slices through short grass and is easily spooled as you work so you don’t run out. But there are some jobs that require metal blades to cut through thick scrub, weeds, vines, or more. Whipper Snippers are available in electric options with nylon spools, but for the really heavy-duty work, you would need a brush cutter fitted with steel blades.

How do you know when to use a trimmer?

If you are a professional landscaper, live on a rural property, need to slash through really tall and/or dense grass and you are looking at using your tool most days, a whipper snipper is the best solution for you. If you just want to keep your house and yards looking great, a line trimmer will provide all of the power you need.

Should you mow or whipper snip first?

To save you extra work, it is best to trim first and mow second. That is because if you mow your yard and then trim, the debris is going to be left on your freshly cut yard. If you mow second, you will run over that debris and tidy it all up on the fly.