If your edges are looking a little messy or your fence line needs trimming, these whipper snippers can take care of it.
It's easy to get lost in the grass when you start looking to buy a whipper snipper, but you're in luck. We've narrowed down the best of the best so all you have to do is pick the model that best suits you. Whether you're a professional or just getting started, this guide has your back.
What do you use a whipper snipper for?
Whipper snippers (otherwise known as weed whackers, line trimmers and edge trimmers) are handy machines that make lawn maintenance quick and simple. Whether you've got unruly edges or you just want to tidy up your yard perimeter, you can use a whipper snipper to trim down the grass.
For those of us who are particularly lawn-conscious, only have a small amount of area to maintain or live in a complex that requires you to keep your grass to a certain length, a whipper snipper can make your life a lot easier. They take up less space in your garage than a mower, and you'd be surprised how easy they can be to use.
How to use a whipper snipper:
- Hold the whipper snipper with your left hand on the handle and your right hand on the throttle. This is the easiest position to control the machine if you are whipping from left to right. Feel free to alternate if it's more comfortable.
- Hold the whipper snipper at an angle between 45 and 90 degrees depending on how you're standing
- Walk forward, half a metre to a metre away from where you are whipping.
- Either move the device from left to right as you progress, or hold it firm and move yourself from left to right
- Note: Moving yourself gives you more control over the area being whipped
Which is the best whipper snipper for small yards?
In a small yard, you don't want to go for anything that's too intense – unless you've got particularly long grass. Opt for a model that can reliably do your edging, but also serve as a makeshift mower if the need arises. In smaller yards you could get away with using a four-stroke whipper snipper with a single cord head, as you should be able to get all the maintenance done without having to replace the cord each time (as each cord generally lasts between 100 to 200 metres). The added weight of the four-stroke won't be an issue: you won't have to pre-mix your fuel and it'll have the power needed to get the job done.
Our recommendation is the Honda UMS425 Bent Shaft. It has a four-stroke engine with a one-pull starting mechanism, and is actually Honda's highest-selling product (above motorbikes and vehicles!).
Which whipper snipper is easiest to use?
If you're new to whipper snipping or lawn maintenance in general, starting out can be confusing and overwhelming. To make matters easier, you're going to want to purchase a machine that's easy to run, easy to operate and won't break the bank when it comes to costs. For simplicity's sake, it's best to go with a two-stroke whipper snipper with a straight shaft and single cord head. The straight shaft will make it less likely that you injure yourself.
Our recommendation is the Victa Tornado Trimmer (Straight Split Shaft). This is a reliable engine, with an anti-vibration system built in to ensure you can keep edging for longer. It also has a built-in clutch and an ergonomic handle design, so you'll be able to whip comfortably.
Which is the best whipper snipper on a budget?
Whipper snippers can quickly become quite expensive when you factor in attachments, oil, cord and maintenance, but they don't have to completely decimate your bank account. Look for straightforward models without unnecessary attachments – a basic whipper snipper can still get the job done. If you're looking to cut costs, a two-stroke whipper snipper will work better for you as you won't have to change the oil as often as you would with a four-stroke.
Our recommendation is the Victa Swift Start Bent Split Shaft Trimmer. It comes with two different heads (easy feed Bumphead or Victa Easy Change Alloy Head) so you can adapt to whatever situation you're facing, as well as having a built-in auto-choke and soft pull-start system.
Which is the best whipper snipper for professionals?
If you want to step up the game, getting a more professional model can really make a difference to your lawn. With the understanding that you'll have to pay a bit more and will likely need a more rigorous maintenance routine for the model, purchasing a more heavy-duty machine is just a question of identifying your specific needs. Your best bet is to get a four-stroke whipper snipper with changeable attachments, straight shaft and a loop handle. This will enable you to switch it up as necessary to achieve the best results, and have greater control over the machine.
Our recommendation is the Shindaiwa 2 Stroke Petrol Whipper Snipper. With a lightweight body and large fuel tank, this model is able to handle larger areas efficiently and comfortably. It's suitable for residential users and professional users alike!
Which is the best electric whipper snipper?
Electric whipper snippers are an easy alternative to standard two-stroke or four-stroke models. With both cordless and corded options available, you can find a model that will work for you. Electric whipper snippers are very easy to start, with a simple switch function that enables you to get going as quickly as possible. If your electric whipper snipper is corded, it simply runs via the electricity from your powerpoint. If cordless, you have the option of using external chargers while not in use.
Our recommendation is the EGO Electric Whipper Snipper with Battery and Charger (38cm). It's lightweight and comes with a 2.5 Ah 56-volt lithium-ion battery that can run for up to 30 minutes. The line replacement system is simple and straightforward, so you won't waste your time fiddling when you could be whipping.
What to look for in a whipper snipper
When buying your first whipper snipper, the descriptions and options available can seem very confusing. Some of the terminology may be perplexing if you're a newbie to the lawn maintenance world, so we've compiled a handy glossary to keep you in the know:
- Two-stroke: An engine that only has two internal processes to function (intake and exhaust).
- Four-stroke: An engine with four internal processes to function (intake, compression, power and exhaust).
- Head type: You can find whipper snippers with single cord, bump or auto-feed heads.
- Single cord head: Uses a single cord that is cut to size and reaches approximately 100-200m.
- Bump head: Enables you to increase the cord length with a simple bump to the snipper head, releasing some of the wound cord.
- Auto-feed head: When the head's spin reaches a certain velocity, it senses if there's enough tension and releases more cord.
- Shaft: You can find whipper snippers with bent shafts or straight shafts.
- Bent shaft: the head is angled closer to the ground, meaning you can hold it in position more naturally.
- Straight shaft: the head is further away from your feet on a straight angle, meaning lower leg injury is less likely.
- cc: This acronym means "cubic centimetre". The higher the cc, the more power a whipper snipper produces. In theory a higher cc will spin the head faster and cut the grass more easily, but they're also generally louder machines.
- Kilowatts: Another measurement of power, kilowatts measures engine output
- Sump: A small hollow where the fuel is deposited within four-stroke engines. If a whipper snipper has a sump, it cannot be turned upside down otherwise the fuel will leak into the machine.
How do you use a whipper snipper safely?
Safety when operating machinery is paramount, and whipper snippers are no different. There are the obvious dangers, such as accidentally injuring your legs and feet with the head of the whipper snipper, but there are also unseen dangers as well. Ensure that whenever you use your machine, you are properly outfitted.
The minimum requirements for operating a whipper snipper should be ear muffs for hearing protection, glasses for eye protection, closed-in shoes (steel cap boots preferred) and high coverage clothing. While you don't have to wear the neon green or orange that tradies wear, it's also recommended that you wear a noticeable colour if you're working along the curb, to ensure that passing cars can see you clearly as they go by.
What is the difference between four-stroke and two-stroke engines?
The chief difference between four-stroke and two-stroke machines is the structure of the engine itself. The number of strokes refers to the number of steps a piston takes along the cylinder to turn the engine's crankshaft in the process of running the machine.
Two-stroke: In a standard two-stroke engine, the components are comprised of the intake and the exhaust. This means that within the cylinder, the pistons complete two strokes (one up and one down) to complete the power cycle. The first stroke is the compression stroke and the second is the exhaust stroke. As the oil and fuel are mixed, there is no need for an oil sump. This means you can turn the whipper snipper upside down without fear of leakage.
Four-stroke: The makeup of a four-stroke engine is slightly more involved, with the pistons needed to complete four strokes (up, down, up, down) within the cylinder to complete a full cycle. The strokes are comprised of intake, compression, ignition and exhaust. As the oil does not mix with the fuel and instead gets burned off, there is a sump on the inside of the engine. This means that the whipper snipper cannot be turned upside down without spilling.
Outside the engine, the main differences lie in the noise level, speed and capacity.