Comparing edging shears with strimmers for a neat grass border

Getting your lawn looking just right takes a lot more than just running over it with a good lawnmower or throwing down a bit of lawn feed every now and then.

To really get your lawn looking that lush green colour, you need to install a decent irrigation system, or at least be very busy with a garden hose, and then when the grass is growing nicely, you can start to think about putting stripes on it.

Once this is done, there are still the finishing touches to add to really make that lawn of yours perfect, and that means tidying up those edges so that they look like they’ve been precision cut with a laser.

There are a few ways to go about this, just like there are most things. For example, using a good pair of garden shears can help. However, the two best options for really getting that ideal finish are edging shears and strimmers. But which should you use?

This article is dedicated to comparing edging shears and strimmers for creating a nice, neat, lawn border. So, without any more stalling, let’s take a look a what they are and what they do best, and then yoou’ll be all set to make your own edges look as neat as this-

What are edging shears?

Edging shears are basically scissor-like blades that are connected to long handles that run perpendicular to those blades. However, there have been modifications to this classic design, and now you can find variations that have different names but are basically the same thing- shears for cutting lawn edges.

Some people get edging sears mixed up with other types of shears like topiary shears, but they are all designed for different jobs, so make sure you are buying the right type from the right task.

Although edging shears are relatively simple in design, they are still very effective and are widely used by gardeners all over the world, and just like spades and trowels, they have been used for generations and generations. So, You know what they say- if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

What is a strimmer?

The correct term for a strimmer is actually a grass trimmer, but strimmer is more commonly used to refer to these power tools.

Available in electric, cordless, and petrol versions, grass strimmers are a common sight in UK gardeners’ tool sheds and are praised by many as a great labour and time saver.

The classic design of a strimmer is a cutting head that spins a spool of nylon wire at great speeds and this cuts the grass very quickly and effectively. Recently, some modern strimmers have started using clip-on nylon blades instead of the wire, but the effect is pretty much the same.

There are also brush cutters that look like strimmers. the difference between them is that a brush cutter has a multi-toothed metal cutting blade and can handle thicker vegetation than a strimmer.

Comparing edging shears with strimmers- pros and cons

Time to take a look at both of these gardening tools to see how they compare to each other in price, durability, and more. We‘ve tried to keep things as brief as possible, while still offering up the must-know information.

If you’re trying to save money, or you just can’t justify spending a lot on your garden tools, then a pair of edging shears is probably the right choice. Manual edging shears are the cheapest version, and you can pick up a decent pair for about 20 quid, which is about the same price as an edging iron– another handy tool for your lawn. Electric edging shears are a little more expensive and a Bosch model costs about 40 pounds.

Strimmers vary in price quite significantly, and how much you will need to pay will depend on whether you go for an electric, cordless, or petrol strimmer. If you want to know more about how these different types of strimmer compare to each other, you can check out our article on that very subject. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere between 30 and 80 pounds for an electric strimmer, slightly more (60-80 quid) than that for a cordless model, and quite a lot more (100-400 pounds) for a petrol-powered strimmer.

if you’re a little short on cash, but still want that expensive petrol striimmer, you could always have a go at this 😂-

Without a doubt, a strimmer of any kind will save you a lot of time and effort when compared with edging shears, especially if you have a large lawn and a lot of edging to do.

However, you do have to think about things such as battery life when dealing with cordless strimmers, and filling up the fuel tank of petrol strimers. Then there is the fact that nylon cutting line has a habit of breaking and getting jammed, and you have to stop and sort this out before continuing.

Manual edging shears won’t get the job done anywhere near as fast as a strimmer, but the only thing that will make you stop what you’re doing is how tired you feel, and not some malfunction of the machine, so there is that to think about. I have to say though, that I wouldn’t tackle a large lawn with a pair of shears and would definitely reach for a strimmer or even a multi-tool in those situations.

Both of these tools will do a great job of getting your edges to look neat and tidy. A strimmer will do it faster, but you might have problems getting the head of the tool in smaller spaces. Edging shears give you more control over the cut, and will get in tighter areas, but it will take longer to get the job done.

Here’s a video of a petrol strimmer in action. it’s quite a powerful machine and might be too much for smaller gardeing jobs.

Ease of use and maintenance
Being hand tools, edging shears are much easier to use than strimmers. There’s really nothing to it, you just move the handles and the blades cut the grass. They are usually quite lightweight and this makes them easy to control too. As for maintenance, you just need to sharpen the blade every now and then and give them a coating of oil, and you’re good to go. A well-maintained pair of edging shears should last you for years without any problems.

Electric edging shears don’t really much maintenance either and will have minimal controls to get your head around. Weight-wise, they are lighter than strimmers and more agile too.

Electric strimmers, and even cordless strimmers, are designed to be user-friendly, and apart from changing the cutting line spool when it needs replacing, there isn’t much you need to know. Strimmers are heavier than edging shears, and this makes it more difficult to be very precise with the cuts, but most people will have no problem.

Petrol strimmers are a different beast entirely, and you will need to learn how to maintain them to get your money’s worth. Thankfully, servicing a petrol strimmer isn’t that hard but you will need some basic tools, and to read articles, or watch videos, on how to do it if you’ve never tried before. Petrol strimmers weigh a lot more than other types, and so they might not be the best match for everyone, although you can buy accessories like a good harness to help.

The most annoying thing about strimmers is that the cutting line can break if it comes into contact with anything that is hard such as stones, garden bench, or the edge of a garden path. The frequency of this can be reduced by buying some higher quality line, but it will still break if you’re not careful.

Strimmers of all types are mechanical machines, and so they will eventually start to break down, even with some maintenance, but if you buy a trusted brand like Makita or Stihl, and take care of it, your strimmer, or any other power tool; like a hedge trimmer, should last for years.

Good hand edging shears just need sharpening and oiling and they will no doubt last at least as long as any strimmer. There are no real mechanical parts to take care of, and that makes them very durable too, but please keep your toes away from the blades as they aren’t quite as robust-


At the end of the day, if you have a large lawn to deal with, you really need a strimmer or at the very least- some electric edging shears. Please bear in mind though, that with electric edging shears you will probably end up spending a lot of time on your knees so get yourself some knee pads or a garden kneeler to ease the pain.

If you don’t like the noise and extra weight of a strimmer, and you only have a small area to trim, edging shears should do you just fine, and will probably save you a few quid at the same time.

Personally, I use a combination of both of these tools. I attack the edges with a strimmer first, and then I use edging sears to really tidy them up. I find that this gives me the results I’m looking for.

About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message:

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