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Gardening

How to Stop Weed Eater String From Breaking! Plus How to Change It on Your Own With Ease

Strimmer and weed wacker tips and tricks that every gardener needs to know for easy at-home repair

As lawn and garden equipment goes, none seems to have as many names as the noble weed trimmer — aka weed wacker, weed eater, weed cutter, string trimmer, strimmer or, in some circles, brush trimmer (whew!). Whatever you call it, the tool works the same: a plastic string is attached to a motor that spins it at a high speed, the force of which neatly slices off any weeds, grass or other plant material it comes into contact with. Nothing is as frustrating, however, when your weed eater string breaks and needs replacing, leaving many wondering what to do and how to change it.

“It is a great tool for edging, cutting down small weeds and grass around trees or other obstacles and for clearing non-wooded plant material in areas of your property your mower can’t reach,” says Marco Picano, owner of Picano Landscaping.

If you’ve used one of these landscaping tools, you’ve almost certainly experienced how annoying it can be when the string that cuts the weeds keeps breaking off prematurely. Here, the experts explain how to keep weed eater string from breaking and keep your trimmer in top shape all season long — no professional help needed!

Why does weed eater string break?

how to make your weed trimmer string last longer: String trimmer cleaning after cutting the grass, workflow
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Simply put, the string that does all the work is, at the end of the day, only made from plastic.

“Even experienced landscapers can accidentally hit hard surfaces like rocks, fence posts and pavement when using a trimmer, and when that happens, the plastic can snap off, especially if it’s older, dried out or brittle,” says Scott McLeod is the owner of McLeod Landscaping Inc. “Even if it doesn’t snap entirely, over time, contact with surfaces will wear the string down until it’s not long enough to work effectively.”

Why do these machines use plastic wire rather than, say, metal that wouldn’t break as easily? Safety: metal wire is more likely to wrap around an object it can’t break — like, say, a fence pole — which in addition to dangerously pulling the entire trimmer out of your hands, could wind up breaking the machine’s motor, not to mention severely damage whatever item the cord gets wrapped around. The fact that plastic breaks more easily is actually part of its design.

How to keep weed eater string from breaking

So now that you know why the string breaks, here are some of the best methods for preventing it.

1. Choose a more durable plastic for your weed eater string

First, consult your trimmer’s user manual to see which thickness and length of plastic cord it recommends to use with your particular model. Then choose a brand the experts swear by.

“There are several high-quality, durable string options available. For example, the Husqvarna Titanium Force High Efficiency Trimmer Line is known for its longevity and durability,” says McLeod. “It’s more resistant to breakage compared to standard strings.”

Picano seconds the recommendation for the Husqvarna line, and also recommends Oregon Magnum Gatorline as an alternate option. Both options can be found in hardware stores, and on Amazon.

2. Keep weed eater string loose to avoid breaking

how to make your weed trimmer string last longer: Gardening. Cutting the lawn with cordless grass trimmer, edger, close-up.
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When it comes time to replace the string, McLeod cautions against winding it too tightly around the spool. “This puts extra stress on the cord, which can cause premature breakage.”

3. Does soaking weed eater string in water make it last longer?

Yes. As plastic ages, it tends to dry out and become brittle. “So if you’re not using your trimmer for a bit, it can help to remove the string and store it in a container where it can stay submersed in water,” says McLeod. “That will keep it supple and less prone to snapping next time you use it.”

How to replace weed eater string on your own

Don’t fear, the good thing about trimmers is it’s often very quick and easy to add fresh string when yours gets too short or breaks. The first step is to ensure the machine won’t be able to turn on while you’re replacing it — to do this you may need to pull out a spark plug wire, remove the battery or just put the device on a certain setting, but that will depend on your particular model.

You’ll, of course, want to consult the manual for the actual string replacement process, as well, but as a general instruction video on how to do it, watch the video below.

What is the best weed eater string?

The biggest decision you’ll need to make is whether you want a gas-powered or electric/rechargeable model.

“For the most part, the decision here is simple — if you have a lot of land you need to maintain, you’re better off using the gas-powered version, which can be more pricey and are a little less user-friendly, but can run for a lot longer and tackle tougher jobs,” says Sal Musto of SalCorp Landscaping & Construction. “If you have a small plot, rechargeable versions can be easier to use and maintain.”

If you need a more heavy-duty trimmer for a one-time project — say you’re clearing out a thick patch of weeds to start a new flower bed — you can also always rent a commercial-grade trimmer from Home Depot or Lowes.

For a more in-depth look at the differences, you can check out this video, here:

How to use a weed eater for best results

When using a weed trimmer to edge along your lawn and flower beds or to clean up plants growing near an obstacle, you want to hold it so the string spins vertically, then just walk it along the edge you’re trying to neaten up, making sure the string is hitting low enough to cut the plants away, but not so low that the string is constantly hitting the ground.

When using the trimmer to clear out a wide patch of grass or weeds, you can hold it so the string is more horizontal, at whichever height you want to trim the plant material to, then move it in a “U” shape curving away from you until the patch is clear.

“It’s best to tip it at a very slight angle here, and not just hold it totally flat, since that will help you avoid hitting rocks and other debris,” says Musto.


For more gardening tips, click through the links below!

How to Repel Wasps: Pest Pros Recommend the Plants + Household Products That Work Best

4 Easy Ways to Prep Your Yard for Spring — And They Save You Money Too!

How to Sharpen Your Lawn Mower Blades on Your Own to Save Time And Money: Pro Landscapers Weigh In

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