HealthyHandyman is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

Brush Cutter vs String Trimmer: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated on May 20, 2020

Brush Cutter vs String Trimmer

If you are in the market for a cutter to touch up those areas where your lawnmower can’t reach, then you may be considering a string trimmer or a brush cutter. These two pieces of equipment look similar but there are some important differences to note.

You may be wondering what exactly these differences are, so we’ll jump in and explain this for you, providing details which will help you to decide which device is right for you. We’ll also look at the price point of each type of cutter and talk about some important safety considerations.

String Trimmer

hedge trimmers

String Trimmers, Credit: Your best digs, Flickr

String trimmers can either be gas-powered or electric. They use a nylon string for cutting as opposed to the metal blade use with a brush cutter. They are lighter than brush cutters and can be lifted and transported much more easily. Electric models are usually less powerful and come in corded and cordless varieties. If you are looking for a little more power—go for a gas model.

String trimmers can tackle weeds and brush that can’t be reached with a lawnmower, but they won’t be able to hack through thicker vegetation like saplings. String trimmers can start at around $50 or less and are an affordable option for taking care of unwanted vegetation.

String trimmers are much easier to haul around than brush cutters and can generally be operated easily by anyone.

If you just need to tackle routine weeds and brush then a string trimmer is definitely the way to of you.

Brush Cutter

brush cutter

Brush Cutter, Credit: Wikipedia

Brush cutters are typically heftier than string trimmers and should be used with a harness. This is necessary to ensure that they can be operated more easily and safely due to increased weight as compared to a string trimmer.

They are usually gas-powered and use a metal blade to cut brush rather than a string. Brush cutters are more powerful than string trimmers and can cut down thicker brush, including saplings.

You should always wear protective eyewear, long-sleeved shirts, gloves, and long pants when operating either a brush cutter or string trimer in order to protect yourself from harm. Since a brush cutter is more powerful than a string trimmer, the importance of protective gear is magnified. Additionally, you should always operate a brush cutter with a handlebar, as it helps you to control the cutter and also shields you in the event that the machine is knocked out of your hands.

Brush cutters are more powerful pieces of machinery and this is reflected in their price. An entry-level brush cutter is significantly more expensive than an entry-level string trimmer.


Brush cutters are significantly more expensive than string trimmers so you will want to make sure that you know the difference before making a purchase.

Thankfully, pretty clear-cut. If you will be cutting routine grass and weeds, then the less powerful string trimmer is for you. If you need to tackle things like saplings, then you will need the heftier brush cutter.

Featured image credit: ArtisticOperations, Pixabay

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!