Grass whips are a massively underrated tool, especially if you have a small yard, a budget, or kids. A grass whip is a manual alternative to gas weed eaters and lawn mowers. This means they cut virtually silently, so you don’t disturb children or pets. They also cost a lot less than any string trimmer or lawn mower.
Grass whips are much safer to use around children, too. There’s no risk of high speed debris and rocks flying, no need to wear safety goggles, and no cans of fuel or large batteries to keep. Your child may even see you working and want to help!
Grass whips can be surprisingly effective, especially when you keep them sharp. Even with dull blades, they are still an affordable, effective way to cut down weeds and trim up small yards.
This guide breaks down the various types of grass whips so you can make an informed, confident decision and select the best grass whip for your needs.
What is a grass whip?
A grass whip, also called a sling blade, basically looks like a comb on a long stick. They can have a single blade or double-edged blades attached to a handle. The handle can be at one end, like a scythe, or the blade could be attached in the middle.
Most grass whips have a wooden handle. Wood handle tools are great because it’s typically easy to replace wood handles instead of buying completely new products.
The Ames grass whip is a popular, commonly available model. It has the handle attached at an angle. This makes skimming the ground with the blade easier. This is one of two grass whips we own and it is our favorite one to use.
Grass whips are great for clearing weeds off trails and paths. They’re also silent (except for the noise of grass being cut), which means you can do yard work without terrifying your kids and dog. Yet another bonus: they cost a lot less than powered weed eaters.
Grass whips work surprisingly well, especially if you sharpen them. Check out this quick clip showing how quick and effective the grass whip can be at clearing weeds:
The best grass whips
The AMES Double Blade Weed Grass Cutter with Hardwood Handle is a classic grass whip. In spite of its simplicity, the tool is very effective and fun to use.
This tool is effective at removing weeds. The metal head has serrated ridges which grip weeds and remove them. If you swing hard, you can also cut grass. Mowing your whole yard with a grass whip would get pretty tiring, but it’s a great choice for small areas.
Here’s a closer look at the blade of the Ames grass whip:
You are obviously not going to mow a whole field with this tool. However, it is very useful for clearing paths and weeding your yard. It can handle high grass and overgrown weeds without the noise, expense, and hassle of a gas trimmer. The grass whip’s long handle is easy to hold and it is light so you can take it on a hike to clear the way for your family.
I recommend wearing gloves to protect your hands if you’re clearing weeds for more than a few minutes. The smooth wood handle can become sweaty and make your hands raw, or even raise blisters, after extended use if you’re not accustomed to working with your grass whip.
- DOUBLE-EDGED SERRATED BLADES cut through weeds and grass
- STRONG & DURABLE North American hardwood handle
- TEMPERED STEEL BRACES for strength and durability
Nisaku Garden Weeders are not grass whips, but I decided to include this tool because it is 1) awesome 2) serves a similar function and 3) is very child friendly. With these weeders, you use a serrated blade to remove weeds by combing them out of the ground.
This is a great tool for children to use. It is silent and doesn’t even involve vigorous swinging. There is also a shorter version that’s usually under 10 bucks and is perfect for kids.
Weeds that grow between the cracks in your driveways can be a huge pain to remove. This weeder makes removing these annoying driveway weeds much easier. You’ll also avoid the nuisance of using a weed eater and ruining the trimmer line because the concrete eats up trimmer line so quickly.
Because of how the blade is constructed, you can cut weeds off and remove moss growing between your driveway cracks and patio bricks. I don’t know of anything more effective for getting rid of driveway moss. Please stop pouring bleach and vinegar on your moss to kill it – just use a Nisaku weeder, instead!
Conveniently, the hand tool model has replacement blades available so you don’t have to spend your time sharpening.
The True Temper Grass Whip is another easy to find classic. The bent neck on the shaft is easy to cut the grass level. The blade is serrated. It will start by cutting whatever it can grip on to first, like thick weeds. The harder you swing, the finer the material it will catch and cut, such as grass.
This Amazon customer loves his grass whip: “Oh yeah, the True Temper Deluxe Weed Whacker. I love this thing. There are times when bringing along a gas powered trimmer is too much effort. I find the weed whacker has no problem on ferns and generic weeds. Huckleberry … can be a show stopper, depending upon how thick it’s gotten.” Read the full review here.
- SERRATED GRASS WHIP: Serrated steel blade edges cut tall grass and overgrown weeds in wide areas like ditches, forests and fields
- EFFICIENT GRASS REMOVAL TOOL: Double-edge blade serration increases efficiency by cutting tall growth with each swing
- HARDWOOD HANDLE: 38-Inch hardwood handle for wide reach with each swing
The Truper Tru Tough Grass Hook is not exactly a grass whip, but it is closely related . One major difference is the blade style. This grass hook is a straight blade, not a serrated one. This means it is meant for cutting, not tearing like with a serrated blade.
This tool works well for clearing weeds and over grown areas of paths and trails. The lightweight design allows you to take it into the woods without too much trouble. However, it may need sharpening a bit more often.
- 36-inch north american ash, lacquered handle for strength and durability
- Grass hook for knocking down tall grass
- Clear-coated gray-steel finished heads
How to sharpen a grass whip
Sharpening your garden tools helps them stay effective. To keep it working well, sharpen your grass whip periodically. If you have a lot of trouble cutting through tall weeds or grass, it’s probably time to sharpen.
You can sharpen your grass whip with a Dremel tool or file. No matter how you sharpen it, you’ll probably want to remove the head from the handle for sharpening. This video shows you how to sharpen the blade with a triangular file. I’ve marked it to the place where he actually starts filing.
Reasons to use a grass whip
They are quiet and family friendly
My daughter is absolutely terrified of our weed eater. If you have children or pets, a grass whip is a great choice. They don’t make noise like gas powered tools do and you can stop at any moment and tend to your kids.
Additionally, grass whips are much safer for kids to (attempt to) use. The Japanese weeding tool is particularly child-friendly, as long as your child is tall enough.
Grass whips are great for hikes
Grass whips are portable. Just pick it up and carry the grass whip with you into the forest to clear some trails. Since most of these weigh about 2 pounds, they’re easy to carry. They’re a great way to keep your kiddos from being bogged down in tall grass while out on an “explore.”
Grass whips are easy to maintain
Even the best weed whackers need maintenance. Gas power tools have a spark plug that can go bad, fuel filters, and fuel that needs mixing. Battery-powered trimmers frequently can’t handle trough weeds and they need expensive batteries or long extension cords. Sometimes batteries catch fire while charging and extension cords can be a hazard for your kids playing in teh yard.
There are no oil changes and no gas refills with sling blades. The most you’ll need to do is wipe it down after use and sharpen it occasionally.
Grass whips are an easy, fun, and green way of keeping your yard grass down. Remember to keep good care of your tools by cleaning and storing in a dry place after using.
I hope you enjoyed this look at the best grass whips and that it helps you make an informed decision.