String Trimmer Head Buyers Guide

Ah, the sting trimmer head.  It can be a real pleasure when it works correctly or a real pain in the rear when it does not. Pleasure is really subjective.  I don’t know many people who actually enjoy trimming their lawn.

There are a number of options to chose from when selecting a string trimmer head for your trimmer.

Some trimmer heads have fancy names created by marketing experts but essentially there are 3 types of trimmer heads to choose from.

  1. Bump Feed
  2. Automatic Feed
  3. Fixed Line Head



Shindaiwa Bump Head

With bump feed trimmer heads, trimmer line is wound around the spool and fed through the opening(s) of the trimmer head. Typically this is one or two openings but can be as many as four.

Trimmer line is advanced by gently bumping (tapping) the bottom of the trimmer on the ground while trimming. Bumping the trimmer head releases the spring activated release mechanism.

Bump feed heads are typically very dependable, easy to use and are the most popular.

Types: Gator Speedload, Speed-Feed, Tap Advance, Bump Feed, Mini Bump Feed, Pro Bump Feed.

Pros: You have more control over how much line you are using and you don’t have to stop and re-feed trimmer line all the time. The bump feed is a very simple method of string advancement which is why it’s so popular. If it stops working, you can make repairs quickly and easily.

Cons: If you slam instead of bumping the trimmer head you could damage the spool or spring.  Due to constantly being bumped on the ground spools and bump knobs tend to wear out faster than the trimmer. Over time the spring inside the trimmer head will wear and need to be replaced.




Tanaka Brain Trimmer Head

Similar to bump feed trimmer heads, trimmer line is wound around the spool and fed through the opening(s) of the trimmer head.  Typically this is one or two openings but can be as many as four.

Automatic feed trimmer heads use a spooling motor in lieu of a bump head and require no effort while using the trimmer.

Types: Brain

Pros: Requires no effort while trimming except reloading trimmer line.

Cons: The more moving parts you have the greater chance you have for failure. Automatic feed trimmer heads require more time and attention to keep them working properly.  Repairing or replacing the spool motor maybe be more of a headache than replacing the entire trimmer.  Automatic trimmer heads tend to be the most expensive trimmer heads.




Shindaiwa Fixed Line Head

Fixed line trimmer heads use pre-cut lengths of trimmer line inserted or threaded onto the trimmer head one at a time. This avoids some of the hassle of winding line onto the trimmer spool and makes the overall process of dealing with trimmer line less cumbersome.

Types: Twist Feed, Jet-Fit, Kwik-Loader and Pivot Trim

Pros: Fixed line trimmer heads tend to be more popular with large commercial trimmers that use, thicker, tougher gauge trimmer line. The increased diameter line decreases wear and breaks, making stoppages between work fewer and further between.

Cons: Trimmer line needs to be manually re-fed when it becomes too short. With certain models of trimmers this will require shutting off the trimmer and restarting it once new trimmer line is installed.


Do you have questions or comments about the various types of string trimmer heads?  Please feel free to contact us via email, phone or the comments section below.


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String Trimmer Head Buyers Guide
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String Trimmer Head Buyers Guide
This article covers the different types of string trimmer heads. Pros, cons and much more.
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Jack Hayes

Jack Hayes is the Head of Internet Marketing at LawnMowerPros and the editor of this blog. You can often find him creating featured articles, DIY guides, custom graphics and much more.