Lawn Edger vs Weed Wacker: What’s The Difference?

If you’ve ever wandered through the lawn department at a home improvement store, you may be wondering, what exactly are all these tools? And, more importantly, how many of them do I need? Lawn edgers and string trimmers are two commonly purchased and confused lawn care tools.

There is a difference between a lawn edger and a weed wacker! They each have a distinct design and purpose to help your yard look its best. We’ll look at the differences between the tools and help you determine the right tools for your yard.

What is the difference between a lawn edger and a weed wacker?

Lawn edgers and weed wackers do look a lot alike! It is easy to see why they often get confused. Even though they look alike, they have very different purposes.

A lawn edger is designed to create distinct boundary lines in a yard. It has a vertical blade designed to slice through grass and turf. A weed wacker uses a string to trim areas that can’t be reached with a bulky lawn mower.

What is a lawn edger?

What is a lawn edger

A lawn edger is also sometimes called an edge trimmer. While it looks very similar to a weed eater, it does a different job.


An edger can help you achieve those nice, crisp boundary lines between the sidewalks, flowerbeds, and your lawn! Over time, grass will grow over boundaries and look untidy. Regular edging gives the yard a tidy look.


A lawn edger is made up of a vertical spinning blade attached to a handle. The rotating blade moves along the edges of the grass to trim away overgrown thatch. There is usually a guiding wheel next to the blade.


An edger is not necessary for the health of your lawn, but it can definitely make your yard look great! Use an edger to clean up the grass lines along the borders of the driveway, walkways, patios, and flower beds.

If your model has a guide wheel, place it along the edge you want to trim. Run the edger down the boundary line. Sweep up the trimmed grass afterward. You now have a neat-looking edge to your lawn!

Types of edgers

As with most lawn tools, there are a lot of available options when you’re shopping for an edger. Think about how many edges you have in your yard. If you have a lot of work to do, consider investing in a heavy-duty, gas-powered edger.

Manual edger

A manual edger is the least expensive option! While you may be spending less money, you will also be working up more of a sweat with a manual model. These are best for small areas. Manual edgers come in a step edger style or a rotary style.

Electric edger

A corded edger is powered by electricity via an electrical cord. Cordless edgers are also available and are powered off of rechargeable battery packs. An electric edger won’t take as much muscle power as a manual model, is easy to use and charge.

An electric edger does require either cords or a battery pack. It may be a hassle to run cords across the yard to power your edger. Battery packs can run out of charge in mid trim, as well.

Gas edger

If you have a large yard with a lot of landscaping, a gas edger may be the right choice for you! A gas edger will keep edging much longer than an electric model. This is the most powerful option available. Handheld gas edgers can be heavy to carry around.

Check out this powerful walk behind gas edger!

What is a weed wacker?

What is a weed wacker

A weed wacker is known by many names! You may hear this handy tool referred to as a string trimmer, trimmer, or weed eater. They are all the same thing!


A weed wacker is great to use in tight spaces! A regular lawn mower can’t reach every nook and cranny of the yard. Weed wackers are designed to trim away grass around fences, rocks, edges of buildings, and trees.


A string trimmer has a rotating head with a piece of string line that runs through it. As the head rapidly spins, the string spins and cuts through grass and weeds. The head of the trimmer is connected to a shaft with a handle.


Weed wackers are simple to use! Take some important safety precautions before you start it up. The string spins at an extremely high velocity, so long pants and sturdy, close-toed shoes are recommended. Protective eyewear can help keep your eyes safe from flying grass and particles. If you have breathing issues, a mask can keep the dust from your airways.

Make sure the trimmer is full of trimmer line. Many weed eaters have a self-feeding mechanism that lets out fresh trimmer line as it wears out. Start the trimmer, and use it after mowing on all the grassy areas the mower can’t reach.

Types of trimmers/weed wackers

Electric string trimmer

Electric trimmers are lightweight and perfect for small lawns. Corded weed wackers are usually inexpensive, but they are not always convenient! You may need several extension cords to reach the whole yard.

A battery-operated weed wacker is an excellent option if you don’t want to lug cords all over your lawn. The batteries may run out of charge, so it is helpful to have an extra battery. Electric weed wackers are easy to store and use.

Gas powered string trimmer

If you need a little more power for your trimming job, a gas powered trimmer is the way to go. These weed wackers are a little more heavy and durable and have a longer life than an electric trimmer. Gas-powered trimmers also typically have a wider cutting swath, making them ideal for large yards.

Electric string trimmer

Is there an edger and trimmer in one?

Combination tools are a great alternative to save space and sometimes money! This string trimmer and edger combo tool has an edger attachment and a string trimmer attachment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about lawn edgers and weed wackers.

Is a weed wacker the same as an edger?

No, a weed wacker and an edger are different tools designed to do different jobs. A lawn edger cuts through overgrown grass to create neat boundary lines. A weed wacker trims long grass that can’t be reached with the mower.

Which is better: edger or trimmer?

If you have to pick just one lawn tool, pick a trimmer. It is possible to edge your lawn with a shovel or other tool. A trimmer, however, is invaluable to make sure that all your grass gets cut, even in hard to reach areas. And, as you can see in the next question, it is possible to use a trimmer as an edger.

Can I use a string trimmer as an edger?

Yes, you can use a string trimmer as an edger! Rotate the head of the trimmer so that the guard is facing up towards you. The trimmer head should be close to a right angle above the ground. Slowly move the trimmer along the edge you want to trim. Easy does it! If you move too quickly, the grass can look mangled.

Do you really need an edger?

Many homeowners do not own a lawn edger. However, an edger is a great tool to have on hand if you own a large or corner lot with a lot of walkways. Even though it is possible to edge with a string trimmer, an edger will do the job quicker and with better precision.

Final thoughts

String Trimmer

Weed wackers and lawn edgers are not interchangeable tools. While a string trimmer can be used to edge a yard, it may become tedious to do many edges this way. Evaluate your yard care needs to see if you need both tools in order to keep your yard looking its best!