What Are the Different Types of Lawn Clippers?

Dan Cavallari

Lawn clippers are devices used to cut grass, usually around the edge of the lawn or near objects that will prevent a mower from cutting the grass. Sometimes known as weed whackers, lawn sheers, or lawn trimmers, lawn clippers come in two general varieties: gas powered clippers and electric clippers. Both varieties feature a similar design: along handle features a finger control at one end and a cutting mechanism at the other. On a gas-powered clipper, the motor will be mounted to the top of the handle near the finger trigger.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

If no motor is necessary, as is the case with electric lawn clippers, the plug socket that will accept an extension cord will be situated in the position normally reserved for the motor. The handle itself is usually designed for comfort and control, and a second hand grip will be located about halfway down the long handle to further increase stability during use. The handle can be made of plastic or metal; higher-end models will feature metal parts for strength. The handle itself is usually bent to orient the cutting head of the lawn clippers more parallel to the ground during cutting.

Some lawn clippers feature plastic or composite line that is wound around the cutting head. The head will rotate rapidly, and the plastic line will swing outward, thereby cutting the grass it comes in contact with. Other lawn clippers use plastic cutting teeth that tend to be more durable than the plastic line, but replacement costs for such blades will be more expensive should they break. The blades can also unintentionally do damage to items they come in contact with, such as tree trunks or siding on a home. The plastic line generally won't be strong enough to do permanent damage, though it can break some types of siding or damage tree trunks.

When the plastic line breaks or wears out, it must be fed out from the cutting head. This can be done in several ways, but the most common and convenient way to do it is to buy lawn clippers with a bump feed head. When the line is cut, the operator will simply bump the cutting head on the ground and more line will be fed out. This is convenient, quick, and easy, but bump head clippers will be more expensive than other types of clippers that require manual feeding of the cutting line.

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