Few items of gardening equipment are as essential to the Australian yard as the whipper snipper! Ideal for everything from trimming lawn edging to cutting back overgrown brush and long grass, a whipper snipper completes tough gardening jobs quickly and efficiently.
Like any piece of hardworking gardening equipment, it’s important to invest in a product that is well-made, durable and has the right features for the jobs you’re going to tackle.
It usually means spending a bit more – but it pays off in reliable performance over the years.
If you’re looking for the best whipper snipper on the market in 2020, this guide is for you – complete with insights into the different types of whipper snipper, how to use your whipper snipper safely, and how to maintain it properly to make sure it lasts.
What is the Difference Between a Whipper Snipper and a Line Trimmer?
These are two similar pieces of equipment with a couple of important differences. Line trimmers, or grass trimmers, usually have bent shafts to make trimming the edges of lawns quick and easy.
Whipper snippers, or brush cutters, have straight shafts that are more suited to heavy duty work like clearing brush and overgrown areas.
They can also come with an attachment to trim large areas of grass that aren’t accessible to your mower.
Different Types of Whipper Snipper
There are many different types of whipper snipper on the market, and the main difference is in how they are powered.
Petrol Whipper Snipper
These are the most powerful engines and are best-suited to demanding jobs or landscaping contractor work, although they are still used in many gardens.
They are fully portable, which makes working on larger properties easy, and fuelling them is inexpensive. They do require some maintenance however, and 2-stroke models require you to mix the fuel yourself.
They are also noisy and emit fumes.
Battery Whipper Snipper
These tend to have less power than petrol engines, but are still well-suited to average garden use. Because they have a battery, they have to be charged in advance and then recharged again when the battery gets low, so they are not ideal for very time-consuming tasks.
Again, they have enough capacity and power to do a typical garden in one charge, although having a spare battery is highly recommended just for convenience’s sake.
The big advantage with the battery is that it is fully portable, emits no fumes, requires no maintenance and fairly quiet to operate, so it’s a great choice for smaller gardens in quiet neighbourhoods.
Corded Whipper Snipper
Electric corded models are also available, giving you the benefits of quiet operation, no maintenance and zero emissions without the hassle of charging and recharging a battery.
Of course, the downside is that you have to drag a cord around with you and add an extension cord for working in more remote spots.
As a result, they are best-suited to smaller gardens. The most popular options on the market are the petrol and battery-powered whipper snippers.
2-Stroke or 4-Stroke?
If you are buying a petrol whipper snipper, you’ll need to decide between a 2-stroke and 4-stroke engine.
2-stroke engines tend to be more powerful, but they do require you to mix oil and petrol in a very specific ratio each time you want to use it.
It’s a simple engine, which means it’s usually cheaper to buy and lighter to carry, and it’s less maintenance than a 4-stroke.
4-stroke engines tend to be less powerful, but still offer plenty of performance capacity for clearing brush. Unlike 2-stroke engines, you can put the same fuel in as you do your car – no need to mix oil and petrol.
They need a bit more maintenance and tend to be a bit heavier and more expensive than 2-stroke options, but they do tend to have a longer lifespan.
What are the Best Whipper Snipper Brands?
When looking for a whipper snipper, it’s a good idea to focus on established brands. The best whipper snippers include:
How Much Does a Good Whipper Snipper Cost?
Since there’s a wide range in terms of quality, the cost of a whipper snipper can be as little as $60 and as much as $900. What you want to aim for is something around $200-$300, so that you get quality that lasts and features that suit your garden’s needs.
Features to Look for in a Whipper Snipper
Here are some key features that are good to have in any whipper snipper.
- Accessories – Some whipper snippers have a wide range of accessories to make them as multi-use and functional as possible, including brush-cutting blades, edging heads, and lawn attachments.
- Safety guard – This is a mount that sits at the rear of the cutting head to deflect debris that flies up while cutting.
While they can limit your view a bit, they are important for preventing injuries from flying stones and plant matter.
- Cutting diameter – If you are spending the majority of your time cutting wide open spaces, a wide cutting diameter will allow you to cut more grass and brush at a faster rate.
Smaller cutting diameters are better suited to everyday gardening.
- Line feed system – Also called a bump feed system, this is a simple system that feeds more lines to the cutting head when you gently bump the cutting head on the ground.
Some whipper snippers have an automatic line feed for additional convenience, no bump required!
- Shoulder harness – Although most whipper snippers are designed to be lightweight, holding one in position while you work is no easy job.
The shoulder strap, which is often an optional extra, takes the weight of the unit and makes this gardening task easier.
- Line length-limiting blade – If your whipper snipper uses a line rather than blades, then the safety guard should have a small blade that trims the line to the correct length to prevent overloading the engine.
- Rotating head – This is a really simple feature that makes all the difference if you are cutting vertically as well as horizontally.
The rotating head allows you to change cutting direction easily, rather than having to tilt the entire machine.
- Cutting lines – Twin cutting lines usually offer better performance but can make re-spooling the line a bit frustrating.
Single cutting lines are easier to manage, but may struggle with more dense growth.
- Edging guide – If you are regularly edging flower beds, paving and driveways, this is an essential feature. It allows you to make super straight, neat edges easily.
- Adjustable handles – Handles should be easily adjusted for vertical or horizontal trimming.
Safety Tips for Using Your Whipper Snipper
When using a whipper snipper, be sure to follow these safety guidelines:
- Always wear thick gardening gloves and safety glasses, closed shoes (preferably heavy work boots with toe protection), and thick long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
- Use ear protection if you are using a petrol whipper snipper, especially for long periods of time.
- Make sure that small children and pets are not nearby.
- Check the line to ensure they are in good shape and replace if needed
- If you have an electric corded model, check the cord and do not use if it’s damaged or if it is very wet outside
- Remember to mix oil and petrol in the right ratio if you have a 2-stroke petrol model
- Use slow, even movements while watching your feet and avoiding any large objects like rocks or plant containers
- Clean your whipper snipper well before storing it, removing debris and soil as well as wiping it down
The Best Whipper Snippers of 2020
Makita is well-known for high quality products, and this cordless line trimmer is no exception. With Makita 18v Brushless Technology, this electric, battery powered unit offers high-performance power and good run time along with quiet operation and zero maintenance.
It is well-built with eXtreme Protection Technology to manage harsh outdoor environments, and lightweight at 2.8kgs.
- Cutting Width 11-3/4 (300 mm)
- Low vibration level of 2.5 m/s2
- Lightweight at 2.8kgs
- Battery protection system
- Front-mounted controls for easy functionality
- Automatic torque drive technology to adjust motor speed and torque automatically for optimal efficiency and performance
- Quiet operation
- Limited run-time to about 30-45 minutes per battery charge
- Not powerful enough for commercial or heavy duty use
Another reputable brand offering durable, high-quality whipper snippers, Bosch’s cordless line trimmer is a versatile, functional piece of equipment ideal for garden use, even with bigger lawns.
Quiet and efficient with zero emissions, it’s dual line cutting system offers great performance.
- 30cm cutting diameter
- Powerful 36V system
- Adjustable handle (angle and length)
- Semi-automatic line feed
- Battery charge lasts around 70 minutes
- Good build quality with rubber handles
- 3 year warranty
- Heavier at 4.1kgs
- More expensive than many competitors
This 4-stroke petrol whipper snipper offers power and comfort with a 29cc engine and a balanced design. It has plenty of attachments, making it a very versatile piece of gardening equipment.
It can take on tough jobs quickly and efficiently thanks to its 43cm cutting diameter.
- Powerful engine for clearing brush
- 4-stroke engine – no need to mix fuel
- SpeedSpool 2 bump head for easy line feed
- Can power 10 different types of attachment
- SpringAssist and JumpStart capability for easy starting
- Low maintenance
- Noisy and emits fumes
- Heavy at 5.44kgs
Another great cordless option this Easy Grass Cut 18 from Bosch. With a powerful motor, ergonomic design and good battery life, it’s a quiet option that can take on weeds, grass and undergrowth with ease.
It has a semi-automatic line feed for convenience, emits no fumes and is maintenance-free.
- 26cm cutting diameter
- Balanced ergonomic design for comfort
- Exceptionally lightweight at 2.7kgs
- Easy engagement of edging function
- 2 year warranty plus additional 1 year via online registration at MyBosch
- Powerful 18V battery lasting about 84 minutes
- Adjustable handle
- Relatively basic whipper snipper
- No/few attachments
Another good cordless electric option is this 36V whipper snipper. Larger and more powerful than other electric cordless options, this offers a large 30cm cutting diameter that’s ideal for larger gardens.
The 8500RPM speed can even take on tougher brush with relative ease and no clogging. It’s a great option that combines the low noise and eco-friendly benefits of electric models with power and performance comparative to petrol options.
- Up to 3750 linear meters of cutting power on one charge
- 30cm cutting diameter
- Maximise run time with ECO mode or maximise power with TURBO mode
- High-torque gear system for tougher growth
- Ergonomic design
- Automatic single line feed system
- Holds its charge for up to 18 months
- Relatively quiet at 80 decibels
- Lightweight at 3.5kgs
- Heavier than competitors
This petrol-powered Honda whipper snipper has a lot to offer, with a high-quality 4-stroke engine that is built to last as well as provide superior performance.
For a petrol engine, it is fairly quiet, although it is nosier than electric options.
- Good noise control for a petrol engine
- Lightweight at 2.8kgs when fuelled
- Well-balanced with shock absorption technology
- Easy to start
- Auto bump line feed
- 43cm cutting diameter
- Noisier than electric competitors
- Much more expensive than competitors
- Not very fuel-efficient - 48 minute approximate run time until refuel
A less well-known but quality whipper snipper is the Einhell Agillo, a cordless electric model that comes with some great features.
This includes trimmer and brush cutter head assemblies, ergonomic design, and a brushless motor for improved performance and lifespan.
- Powerful 2x 18V batteries
- Adjustable handle
- Electronic speed control
- High-quality 3-tooth blade
- Spindle lock system
- Split shaft for compact storage
- More expensive than other cordless models
- Heavy at just over 6kgs
- Build quality is not as good as competitors
Buy the Best Whipper Snipper of 2020
By following our guide, you’ll have all the information you need to buy the best whipper snipper for your garden and your budget.
Remember that it’s worth paying a bit more for quality equipment that has the features you need to get the job done right.
Petrol options are the preferred choice for heavy duty and contractor work, while battery whipper snippers have the power and performance for everyday garden use.
They are more eco-friendly and low-maintenance whipper snippers too!