Ideally, you need both a lawn mower and a grass trimmer to keep your lawn in perfect shape. However, many homeowners with smaller lawns (even some with mid-sized gardens) have found that they can make do with just a grass trimmer. Today, you can find three main types of grass trimmer - cordless, electricity-powered and gas-powered. Unfortunately, commercially-produced batteries still do not last very long, so cordless grass trimmers are only useful for homeowners who also have a lawn mower. So of the remaining two types, which is better for maintaining your lawn - the electric grass trimmer or the gas-powered grass trimmer? To find out, we will compare the most popular model of each type, the Black & Decker ST1000 and the Poulan Pro PP125.

Black & Decker ST1000 Electric Grass Trimmer

The Black & Decker grass trimmer is an entry level offering. Although it is a bit under-powered with only a 1.8-amp electric motor, it is nevertheless very popular due to its low price ($20 to $40, depending or retailer). Like any electric grass trimmer, its motor is relatively quiet.

The Black & Decker ST1000 cuts 9-inch swathes of grass, which makes it more suitable for smaller lawns. However, this also makes more precise trimming possible. Larger grass trimmer at 12 inches, 14 inches or even larger can be much harder to control. This grass trimmer is very light-weight, only weighing around 3 pounds. Just hold it in a balance grip, and swing it back and forth lightly, and your grass is cut.

As an electric grass trimmer, you need to plug it into a power point and drag the power cord around. If you have a lot of plants, shrubbery or other obstacles in your garden, this can be a serious problem. Many retailers sell this grass trimmer without the power cord, so you need to buy a standard outdoor extension cord separately. Depending on your lawn size, this could be anywhere from 50 feet to 100 feet. Any longer probably would not be practical.

This grass trimmer has the usual good quality of Black & Decker products. However, its low-powered electric motor means that cutting tougher weeds needs some skill as well as the right selection of string. Still, this should not be a problem for most small lawns.

Poulan Pro PP125 Gas Powered Grass Trimmer

Poulan is another well-known brand which makes good quality gas-powered gardening tools. The Poulan Pro PP125 is yet another good offering from them, falling somewhere in between entry-level and professional/commercial grade grass trimmers. It has a 17-inch cutting width, which lets it handle both mid-sized and large yards with ease (3 acres). The 25cc engine is powerful enough to cut not only grass, but most weeds as well. However, those who also need to cut shrubbery may want to look for a grass trimmer with a larger engine.

For a gas-powered grass trimmer, this Poulan Pro is modestly priced at around $100 to $160. Although you can probably find the best prices on Amazon, you may still want to buy it from a regular walk-in store because Amazon does not accept returns for gas-powered tools (at the time of writing).

While no gas-powered grass trimmer can be as quiet as an electric grass trimmer, the Poulan Pro PP125 has a quiet 2-stroke engine compared to rival models from other brands. This does not mean you do not need to wear ear protection when cutting your grass and trimming your lawn, but at least you do not have to worry about hearing loss.

One problem of the quieter engine on this grass trimmer is that it is rather fussy about its fuel. While the manufacturer recommends a 40:1 ratio of gas to oil, some customers have complained that they actually needed to use a 42:1 or 44:1 ratio to get it to work reliably. Some have speculated that it is due to the quality of the gas they used, although it is just as likely to be deviations in manufacturing quality. Another option for those with a mechanical bent is to make some minor alterations to the carburetor. If you are someone who wonders what this 40:1 ratio means, or what a carburetor, a clutch or choke or throttle means, you should not be using this gas-powered grass trimmer.

This Poulan Pro grass trimmer weighs in at 13 pound, more or less. While not a heavy-weight for a gas-powered grass trimmer, it is still heavier than many electric grass trimmers. Those who are tired of dragging an electric cord behind them and want the greater freedom of a gas-powered motor should take this into consideration.

One common complaint from owners of this grass trimmer is that there is no shoulder strap. This can be very tiring especially when cutting the grass in a large garden, which is what this is designed to do with its 17-inch cutting width. However, this is easily remedied by making your own shoulder strap.


If you have a small yard, use an electric grass trimmer like the Black & Decker ST1000. It is good, it is light in weight, easy to use and easy to maintain. It is also cheap enough that you will not mind breaking it if you make a mistake - that is why it is an entry-level offering. If you have never used a grass trimmer to mow your own lawn in the past, you will make mistakes.

Those with large yards definitely need a gas powered grass trimmer. The Poulan Pro PP125 is a good choice for now. There may be cheaper rivals, there may be better rivals, but for a homeowner who is not selling grass-cutting services, the Poulan Pro PP125 offers above average performance for a below average price. Like any other gas powered grass trimmer, there is a substantial learning curve, so it is not really suitable for the beginner unless you can find someone to help you learn how to operate it correctly.