Whether you prefer to use the gas or electric weed whackers, you will still need to decide whether to go for the straight or curved models.
The two weed trimmer styles will differ in much more than their aesthetic appeal. While many users already have specific preferences, a huge chunk of potential buyers often gen confused between the two.
The good news is that both trimmers still do a great job trimming and will hence be very handy to have around. But while personal comfort and the kind of trimming you want to do should help you decide what to buy, you also need to understand their differences.
Below we provide an overview of the two popular trimmer styles and also highlight their few but key differences to make your buying decision easier.
Straight Trimmer Overview
Straight shaft trimmers are the more regular weed whacker design, and they have been around a little longer than the curved types which should explain why they are more popular.
These trimmers will feature a straight shaft design, and the shaft will also often be longer than what you get on the curved models. The longer shaft provides more reach and also makes the trimmer more comfortable to use with minimal bending even for taller individuals.
Because these trimmers can easily tackle huge jobs and can also trim effortlessly under different obstacles, they are often the preferred option for commercial use. And they are generally often the more durable of the two types.
In many instances, the straight shaft trimmers will be fitted with more powerful 4-cycle engines to ensure they can handle almost any job. However, this makes them bulkier and is one of the reasons why they tend to be harder to balance and control than the curved models.
But the many good features that you get with the straight shaft trimmer come at a price because, in most instances, they will be more expensive than the curved shaft trimmers.
- Long and precise reach
- Often more heavy duty
- Accommodates more accessories for increased versatility
- Longer lifespan
- Heavier in weight
- Relatively more expensive
Curved Trimmer Overview
Curved trimmers are built for users looking for a weed whacker that is easy to control and also offers more balance. They will be perfect for anyone looking for a lighter string trimmer.
As their name suggests, these are the trimmers that will feature a curved shaft design on the lower end which is what gives them then fantastic balance. And they are generally smaller and more compact to allow for easier storage and carrying.
The curved trimmers are ideal for small to medium yard trimming tasks as they can get the job done fast and with minimal fatigue for the user. Also, the relatively simpler structure means they will give you an easier time when it comes to maintenance. And most will have smaller and less complicated 2-cycle engines.
While the curved trimmers might give you an easier time with balance and control, they sacrifice the reach. Their shorter shaft will not provide a long reach like the straight shaft models, and because they have smaller engines, they will also not be very ideal for heavy-duty trimming jobs.
- More lightweight
- Easier to store and carry
- Often more affordable
- Shorter reach
- Hard to get under brushes
- Less powerful
Straighter with no bend
Trimming under obstacles and rockscapes
Trimming borders and hard to reach places
Not very versatile
Straight vs. Curved Trimmer
Whether you buy the curved or straight trimmer, it will be up to your preferences and some professionals will even prefer to have both as they are ideal for different situations. But, if you have to pick just one, here are their key differences to keep in mind.
The most visible difference between the straight and curved weed trimmers is their design. One has a distinctive curve while the other is straight.
As the name implies, the straight trimmer will be straight all through from the hand to the cutting head, and it has been built for maximum reach ability. The straight shaft trimmers are either powered by a 2 or 4-cycle engine, but the latter is the more popular option as these trimmers generally require more power.
With the curved trimmers, on the other hand, there will be a distinctive bend at the far end of the shaft just before the cutting head. This bend is designed to improve control and make the trimmer easier to balance.
The curved weed eater will typically have a 2-cycle engine which provides enough power while also helping to keep the overall weight down. And the overall design makes it relatively more comfortable to operate.
2. Drive Chain
The drive chain is one of the most crucial components of the trimmer because it is what transfers power from the engine to the cutting head. For maximum cutting efficiency, the drive chain has to perform well.
With the straight and curved trimmers, there is no much difference in the drive chain that you get because the quality and design of the drive chain are more depended on the brand.
However, given the curved shaft design of the curved trimmers, the drive chain on the trimmers is also bent as a straight one is not feasible for this design. This bend might not affect the performance of the drive chain, but it has a significant impact on its durability.
For the straight weed trimmers, there will be no bend on the drive chain and hence you can be confident you will not need to replace it any time soon as it will last longer.
3. Shaft Length
Besides the distinctive bend in the curved trimmers, another visible difference between these two trimmers is the length of the shaft.
Straight trimmers are built to provide a longer reach and to cut easily around obstacles, and so they will typically come with significantly longer shafts. The actual shaft lengths will, however, depend on the model and brand you are buying, but most will be around 60 inches long.
With the curved trimmers, you get a relatively shorter shaft because they are designed to offer more control and balance and not for a long and precise reach. These trimmers will typically come with shafts that are under 50 inches long which for most users is still good enough.
4. Best Uses
While the two trimmers are designed for more of the same applications, the differences in features and design make them excel in different applications.
The straight trimmers will be perfect when you want to trim under obstacles or around rockscapes, and they also work well enough when trimming edges on lawns.
A curved trimmer will be perfect when trimming weeds along the border but can also work for some hard to reach places.
Also, note that the straight trimmer will be able to do everything a curved model can do equally well if not better, but the opposite is not true.
For simple, light-duty trimming tasks at home, the cheaper and easier to control curved trimmers is the best choice while the straight shaft trimmers will be perfect for heavy-duty commercial use.
When it comes to versatility, it should be obvious that the straight trimmers will be the more versatile option since they can do everything that you can do with a curved trimmer.
However, what truly makes the straight weed whackers more versatile is that they have been designed to accommodate various accessories which means you can use them for different purposes.
Most straight trimmers and this is more so the pricier top tier models will come with several of these accessories such as interchangeable heads. Also, the straight design allows you to hold the trimmer in different angles for other uses such as hedging.
The curved trimmer will still do a good job trimming and can work for a variety of situations, but the curved designed limits its versatility. Hence, you will hardly be able to use it for anything else besides regular trimming applications.
The versatility and extra reach that you get with the straight shaft trimmers also comes with a cost as you will need to bear with more weight.
This extra weight mostly comes from the fact that the straight trimmers will use the larger and heavier 4-cycle engines. The extra inches you get for the shaft add some ounces to the overall weight of the trimmer. And the biggest disadvantage with this is that it makes the trimmer harder to balance and control.
Curved trimmers are almost always lightweight as they will have smaller engines and shorter shafts. But, what makes them amazing is that the weight feels more evenly distributed which makes the trimmer more balanced.
Although the actual weight depends on the specific brand and model you are buying, a typical straight trimmer will often weigh around 10 to 20 pounds while most curved models will hardly be more than 8 to 10 pounds. The smaller weight makes the curved trimmers more ideal for extended use.
7. Average Price
What you will end up paying for your curved or straight trimmer mostly depends on the brand you are buying. But many home tools manufacturers will have their products in different models and at different prices to suit all kinds of customers.
Generally, the straight trimmers tend to be significantly more expensive than the curved trimmers given their more powerful performance and heavy-duty construction.
Some straight trimmers will often cost more than double of what you would pay for a curved trimmer model from the same brand. But, on average, straight trimmers will be at least $100 more expensive.
Buying a curved or straight trimmer is all a matter of personal preferences because different people have varying opinions on what works best for them. If you have already tried out both the better as you will be able to make a more informed choice.
But for the huge chunk of homeowners and professional landscapers out there that do not have experience with both, understanding how they differ should help you make an informed choice.
Our comparison above highlights the main points of departure between the two trimmers. And from these differences, it is clear the straight trimmers will be perfect for anyone looking for something more versatile for heavy-duty use. Curved trimmers, on the other hand, are more ideal for those looking for something more affordable for light trimming applications.