Cordless strimmers are handy for light work but there’s a definite limit to what they can do.  If you need a strimmer to chomp its way through serious vegetation, then you need a petrol strimmer.  Petrol strimmers are definitely more expensive than cordless strimmers but we’ve picked out five of them which we think are great value, so if you just want a recommendation as to which are the best petrol strimmers in the UK, just head straight down to our petrol strimmer review section.

If you want to know a bit more about petrol strimmers, then keep reading.

Petrol Strimmer

The Basics of Petrol Strimmers

Here is a brief guide to the basic features of petrol strimmers and what they mean in practice.

Cutting power

Most petrol strimmers can use both cutting lines and blades.  A very few only use lines, this tends to be at the budget end of the market.  As with electric strimmers, you’ll want to know the cutting width.

The engine

There are two values which really matter, CC and Watts or Horsepower.  CC stands for Cylinder Capacity, which is measured in Cubic Centimeters.  Higher cc means bigger cylinders, which means more power, but it also means higher fuel usage.  Wattage describes the rate at which energy is consumed and again higher numbers mean more power but also more fuel consumption.  Some petrol strimmers give HP or horsepower instead of watts, it’s basically the same idea but a different way of measuring it.

In principle, it is better to run a powerful engine at low capacity than a low-powered engine at maximum capacity.  In practice, you can have too much of a good thing.  Higher-powered engines don’t just mean higher prices for the tool, they also mean higher fuel consumption and higher weight.


Speaking of weight, it’s probably the single, biggest influence on usability.  Harnesses can help a lot, but the simple fact of the matter is that most of the weight is going to be on your back.  Features such as handlebars may help to make the petrol strimmer feel more comfortable (although this is a matter of taste) but at the end of the day, weight is weight and there’s not a lot you can do about it.

make things easy

Some facts of life about petrol strimmers

Petrol strimmers aren’t exactly hard to use but they are different to electric strimmers.  Here are some key points of which you should be aware.

The practicalities of two-stroke engines.

All the petrol strimmers we’ve seen have had two-stroke engines and there is a knack to starting these.  Resist any temptation to pull the cord vigorously.  Instead pull it slowly and gently until you start to feel resistance.  That’s a sign that the engine is at the top of its stroke.  At that point, release the pull cord, let it retract into the recoil housing.  Then give a firm pull and the engine will turn over.

On a separate, but related note, all petrol strimmers will have a fuel:oil ratio.  It’s really important to follow this otherwise you could seriously damage the engine and this is unlikely to be covered by the engine.  Also, remember to use two-stroke oil (unless otherwise stated).

Talking about vibrations

Vibrations are a fact of life with strimmers in general and petrol strimmers in particular, because they are so powerful as compared to electric strimmers.  Having said that there is a limit to them and you should still be able to hold a petrol strimmer safely and fairly comfortably when wearing proper work gloves.  If you can’t then either you have not assembled the machine correctly or there is a fault with it (or you’ve picked a poor model of petrol strimmer).

Safety needs to be taken seriously

We’re aware that the words “health and safety” can make people’s eyes roll, but when you’re dealing with powerful tools which have sharp blades, you really do need to take it seriously.  This means safety glasses, ear defenders, proper work gloves and in most cases a harness.  You may find the occasional petrol strimmer which is light enough to be used safely without a harness, but these are the exception rather than the rule.

Petrol Strimmer

Petrol Strimmer Review

We’ve picked these petrol strimmers based on a combination of functionality, performance, ease-of-use and price, so essentially all-round value for money.

BU-KO 52cc Long Reach Petrol Multi Functional Garden Tool

BU-KO 52cc Long Reach Petrol Multi

Strictly speaking, this is a 5 in 1 multitool, which just happens to have a strimmer function.  The other functions are hedge trimmer, chainsaw, pruning saw and brush cutter.  As a petrol strimmer it has a cutting with of about 20cm.  It also has a high-performance, 52cc 3HP 2 stroke petrol engine, a fuel-tank capacity of 1.2L and an extension pole of 1.05M in length.  As a strimmer it can strim with a dual cutting-line or with a choice of blades.

The build quality is robust and this manufacturer has a reputation for providing outstanding service in the event of any problems.  Our one gripe about this product is that the manual leaves a lot to be desired, to put it mildly.  To be fair, however, the product is pretty straightforward to put together and use as long as you have a grasp of basic mechanics/DIY skills, which is probably a fair bet given the likely user base for this product.

COSTWAY Gasoline Grass Trimmer

COSTWAY Gasoline Grass Trimmer

The Costway petrol strimmer is basic (for a petrol strimmer) but very effective.  It has a storming 43cm cutting width and a very decent 25cc, 800 watt (about 1HP), 2 stroke engine with an 0.5L fuel tank.  Its basic specifications keep its weight down to a very reasonable 5.4Kg so you don’t need to mess about with harnesses.  Please note, however, that this is a string trimmer, in other words, it uses a cutting line rather than blades.  It will have a whole lot more power than an electric strimmer, but it’s still going to be more limited than a strimmer with blades.

ParkerBrand 52cc Petrol Garden Brush Cutter Grass Trimmer

ParkerBrand 52cc Petrol Garden

The ParkerBrand petrol strimmer is another very basic option and it certainly has its quirks, but its budget-friendly price could make them easier to live with.  The cutting width is a very decent 40cm and you can use a cutting line or a blade.  Standard advice is to try the line first and if that doesn’t work, switch to the blade and lower the revs.  The engine is 52cc, 2.2KW (about 3HP), 2 stroke and its weight is about 10.7Kg so most people will need to use a harness (included).

It has to be said that the build quality on this petrol strimmer is definitely not the best.  You might well want to replace some of the hardware with better-quality components.  You may also need a bit of practice to open the strumming spool.

Unless you have thumbs like iron, use a screwdriver, put it in the slot under the arrows, where the line comes out and push down gently.  Repeat on the other side.  Use a bit of washing-up liquid if you need lubrication, but go gently as there is a spring and two washers inside and you want them to stay where they are.  The good news is that the first time is the worst time and that after that it should be fairly easy to open.

Last but by no means least, the documentation sometimes says that the fuel:oil ratio is 40:1 and sometimes 25:1.  According to customer support, it’s 25:1 although from what we’ve heard, using 40:1 doesn’t seem to do any harm (although we’re not recommending it).  In any case, you do get a measuring bottle.

As you may have guessed from the previous comments, the instructions aren’t up to much but assembling and using this petrol strimmer is basically a matter of common sense.

Ryobi 25.4CC 2-in-1 Petrol Full Crank Grass Brush Cutter

Ryobi 25.4CC 2-in-1 Petrol Full Crank Grass

This is classed as a 2-in-1 tool but essentially it’s a cutting tool, which just happens to have the strength to deal with brush as well as grass.  The cutting width is 46cm and there is a choice between cutting line and blade.  The engine is 25.4cc, 750 Watt (about 1HP) 2-stroke.  Apparently there is clean-engine technology, although we’ve no idea how to do the science to measure what effect this has in the real world.

The assembly instructions are pretty dire, but there is a YouTube video shows how it’s done.  You will need a torque wrench, but other than that, everything is pretty standard and straightforward.  Once you get everything together, this petrol strimmer is a breeze to use.

We were pretty surprised to discover that Ryobi also do petrol tools, but based on this petrol strimmer, we’d say that the quality is every bit as good as the cordless, battery-powered tools for which they are known.

Trueshopping® 43cc Petrol Grass Garden Trimmer

The Trueshopping petrol strimmer has a 41 cm cutting width and can use a line or a blade.  The engine is 43cc, 1.25KW, (1.7HP), 2-stroke and the weight is 7.4Kg.  The build quality of the petrol strimmer is excellent, shame about the build quality of the tools which come with it.  Frankly we’d prefer if manufacturers just didn’t bother and simply gave you a list of what tools you needed, which most people are probably going to have anyway.  On the plus side, the manual is actually pretty decent, although we’d say the pictures could do with being bigger.

Once you get this petrol strimmer assembled, it’s very straightforward to use and can do a very impressive job with “just” the line.  With the blades it’s even tougher.

Petrol Strimmer Review

So, now that we’ve given our picks it’s time to say what we think is the best petrol strimmer overall and in various categories.

Best Petrol Strimmer UK

Best petrol strimmer overall

The Ryobi, it only has one function (technically two) and it’s not the most budget-friendly, but it has great build-quality and should deliver a reliably, excellent performance year after year.

Best heavy-duty petrol strimmer

We’d say the Trueshopping petrol strimmer just takes it from the Ryobi although the Ryobi is certainly up to some seriously heavy-duty work.

Best cheap petrol strimmer

We’d say this one was a toss up between the Bu-Ko and the Costway.  Essentially if you’re going to use all the functionality of the Bu-Ko then it’s a great deal and does a very good job as a straightforward petrol strimmer.  If you’re not, however, then the Costway is much more affordable and does a very good job as a basic petrol strimmer.

Best petrol strimmer under £100

If you can get the Costway for under £100, then certainly take it, but if you can’t or you’re looking to spend as little as possible, then the ParkerBrand is the way to go.