Does Your String Trimmer Guard Matter?

Does Your String Trimmer Guard Matter

An important question for homeowners and Pros

Do I really need that irritating guard on my string trimmer? Both readers and my neighbors have asked me this question, and it’s a good one. The abbreviated answer is, yes, it’s important. Of course, the point of this article is to help you understand precisely why that’s the case.

The primary reason centers around the length of your string trimmer line and its relation to the guard itself. Now, a lot of users remove the latter. For one, it greatly improves visibility, and many Pros also like that it enables them to cut wider swaths. Admittedly, I’ve been guilty of it, primarily to see better.

However, this thing is for a lot more than blocking debris. Actually, I don’t think it does all that good a job of that, anyway.

The matter we’re concerned with in this article is the guard’s role in keeping string trimmer line length consistent. To better understand why it matters, let’s explore what happens when you over-extend your line.

How String Trimmer Guards Protect the Tool

why your string trimmer guard matters

As I mentioned, the guard is more than a safety feature. Flip it over and take a look. Situated in the front corner, you’ll find a piece of metal with a sharpened edge. (It vaguely resembles a box cutter.) Well, when you extend fresh line, this blade kicks into action.

As you rev up the trimmer, the edge of the guard will slice off the excess line, keeping your string trimmer line at the length that the manufacturer recommends. If you remove the guard, this blade goes with it. Inevitably, the line length will be too long.

Again, many Pros would say, “That’s the whole idea.” For instance, removing the guard can turn a 17-inch string trimmer into a 22-inch unit. Nearly an extra half a foot will do more to reduce work time than you might think.

string trimmer line length

The trouble here is that it makes the engine (or motor on battery-powered trimmers) work harder than it should. A longer string trimmer line also means a lower rpm because you’re spinning more weight. This, in turn, causes the engine to pull less air through the cooling system. Now, you’re running at the wrong length, the wrong speed, and the wrong temperature (too hot).

Be sure to check out our Best String Trimmer Reviews list!

The Takeaway

So, yes, your string trimmer’s guard matters. Indeed, removing it will result in a chain of problems – one causing another. And, ultimately, you’ll wind up buying a full replacement on a comparatively regular basis. Your wallet will not be happy.

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