Why Does My Whipper Snipper Cord Keep Breaking?

Written By:
Scott Carroll
Published On:
August 28, 2023
Broken whipper snipper cord

It’s a common frustration for Aussie gardeners: you’re tidying up your yard when the whipper snipper cord suddenly snaps. This recurring issue is more than an annoyance; it disrupts our gardening flow and can lead to increased costs over time. 

Understanding why this happens is crucial for those of us dedicated to maintaining our outdoor spaces. By pinpointing the causes, we can take steps to prevent it and ensure our gardening sessions run smoothly. Let’s explore the reasons behind this common setback.

Whipper snipper cords: Quality vs quantity

When it comes to whipper snipper cords, there’s a clear distinction between quality and quantity. Not all trimmer lines are created equal, and the differences can significantly impact durability and performance.

High-quality cords are typically made from robust materials, often with a multi-layered design or a reinforced core. These lines are designed to withstand the rigours of tough Australian vegetation, from thick grass to stubborn weeds. While they might come with a slightly higher price tag, their durability often means fewer replacements, saving time and money in the long run.

On the other hand, bulkier, lower-quality cords might seem like a bargain initially. However, they tend to wear out faster and can break more easily, especially when faced with challenging landscaping tasks.

Investing in a quality whipper snipper cord can lead to better performance, fewer interruptions, and overall better value for money. It’s a classic case of “you get what you pay for” in the world of gardening.

6 reasons why whipper snipper cord keeps breaking

There are 5 key reasons why your whipper snipper could be breaking repeatedly; these include: 

  1. Low-quality trimmer line
  2. Drying out and aging of the cord
  3. Incorrect line thickness
  4. Proximity to hard surfaces
  5. Improper line winding
  6. Poor storage solutions

Understanding and addressing these common issues ensures your whipper snipper cord remains in top condition, making your gardening sessions more efficient and enjoyable.

Why whipper snipper cord keeps breaking

1. Low-quality trimmer line

Opting for cheaper, low-quality trimmer lines might seem cost-effective initially, but they often come with pitfalls. These lines are more prone to breakage due to inferior materials and subpar manufacturing processes. 

Manufacturer specifications and user reviews consistently highlight the longevity and performance of premium lines compared to their cheaper counterparts.

To avoid this, we recommend investing in premium trimmer lines. While this may be slightly more expensive, they offer better longevity and performance. Check out our guide on the best whipper snipper cords if you need assistance. 

2. Drying out and aging of the cord

Over time, trimmer lines can lose their flexibility, becoming brittle. This deterioration is especially pronounced if the cords are stored improperly or exposed to harsh conditions. 

Storage guidelines and user testimonials underscore the importance of proper care to maintain line integrity. However, if you store your trimmer line in a cool place and avoid leaving it out in direct sunlight, you will avoid this issue coming to fruition again. 

3. Incorrect line thickness 

Using a line that’s either too thin or too thick for your specific trimmer model can lead to problems. In other words, the wrong thickness can cause inefficiencies and increased wear. 

The fix for this is simple; you only need to follow your manufacturer’s guidelines on the recommended thickness for your whipper snipper model. If unsure, reach out to a local professional or contact us here

4. Proximity to hard surfaces

Regularly trimming near hard surfaces like pavements, driveways, or fences can lead to premature breakage. The constant impact wears down the line faster than usual. 

We recommend the correct technique when using a whipper snipper and maintaining a slight distance from hard surfaces when trimming. Alternatively, consider a guard attachment, but these accessories can sometimes be costly.  

5. Improper line winding 

Correctly winding the trimmer line is more than a routine task; it’s essential for optimal performance. It can result in tangles, uneven wear, and increased breakage if done incorrectly. 

If you find this a consistent issue, take the time to learn the correct winding technique with our guide on how to put a whipper snipper cord on

As there are different types of whipper snipper heads, you can also look to online tutorials or manufacturer guidelines for model-specific information. 

6. Poor storage solutions

The way you store your whipper snipper cord can significantly impact its lifespan. Keeping it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, is vital. Exposure to moisture, extreme heat, or cold can degrade the cord’s durability. 

We find that storing your whipper snipper cord in its original packaging or in a sealed container, away from sunlight offers the best results. You can find out more information on whipper snipper storage solutions here

How to stop whipper snipper cord from breaking

Ensuring the longevity of your whipper snipper cord isn’t just about choosing the right product; it’s also about adopting preventive measures and regular maintenance routines. Here are some best practices to keep your cord in top shape:

  • Regular inspection: Before each use, inspect the cord for signs of wear, brittleness, or damage. Replace it if necessary.
  • Proper storage: Store the cord in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This prevents it from becoming brittle or degraded.
  • Correct winding technique: Ensure the cord is wound tightly and evenly around the spool, preventing tangles and ensuring smooth operation.
  • Use the right thickness: Always use the recommended line thickness for your specific trimmer model. This ensures optimal performance and reduces the risk of breakage.
  • Avoid hard surfaces: While trimming, try to keep a safe distance from hard surfaces like pavements or fences. Using a guard attachment can also help.
  • Regular cleaning: After each use, clean the trimmer head and remove debris or grass clippings. This ensures smoother operation during the next use.

What is the best whipper snipper cord?

Whipper snipper cords come in various types, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a comparison:

Round trimmer line 

  • Pros: Durable and suitable for light to medium tasks. Less likely to break upon contact with hard objects.
  • Cons: It might be less effective for heavy-duty tasks or dense vegetation.

Square or multi-sided trimmer line

  • Pros: Offers a cleaner cut and is effective for medium to heavy tasks.
  • Cons: It can wear out faster when used against hard surfaces.

Twisted trimmer line

  • Pros: Reduces noise and offers a cleaner cut. Suitable for more substantial tasks.
  • Cons: It might be overkill for simple, light tasks.

Serrated trimmer line

  • Pros: Ideal for thick weeds and heavy vegetation due to its cutting power.
  • Cons: It can wear out quickly if used on hard surfaces or for tasks it’s not designed for.

We find that a round trimmer line is often sufficient for general gardening tasks. However, if you’re dealing with thicker vegetation or more substantial tasks, a twisted or serrated trimmer line might be more suitable. Always consider the specific needs of your garden and the recommendations of your trimmer’s manufacturer when choosing a cord.

What can you use instead of whipper snipper cord?

If you’re continually facing the frustration of broken whipper snipper cords, it might be time to consider some alternatives. 

While the traditional cord is popular for a reason, some other materials and tools can be just as effective, depending on your gardening needs. Let’s explore some of these alternatives:

1. Metal or plastic blades

  • Description: Some whipper snippers can attach metal or plastic blades instead of the traditional cord. These blades are more durable and can handle thicker vegetation.
  • Efficiency: Highly efficient for dense areas and less likely to break.
  • Suitability: Best for larger areas with tough vegetation. However, they can be dangerous if used incorrectly, so always follow safety guidelines.

2. Chain links

  • Description: These are heavy-duty alternatives made of small chain links. They’re designed for the toughest gardening tasks.
  • Efficiency: Extremely durable and can cut through almost anything.
  • Suitability: Ideal for professional landscapers or those with large, rugged terrains.

3. Nylon tapes

  • Description: Thicker than traditional cords, nylon tapes are flat and provide a wider cutting area.
  • Efficiency: They offer a clean cut and are less prone to breaking.
  • Suitability: Suitable for medium to heavy tasks, especially for larger areas.

While these alternatives can be effective, choosing the one that best fits your specific needs is essential. A manual tool might suffice if you’re dealing with a small garden. 

However, blades or chain links might be more appropriate for larger areas or tougher vegetation. Always consult gardening forums, expert blogs, and manufacturer guidelines to ensure safety and efficiency when considering a switch.


Navigating the intricacies of whipper snipper cords can seem daunting, but understanding the nuances can make a difference in your gardening experience. The quality and type of cord you choose and proper maintenance play pivotal roles in ensuring optimal performance and longevity. While alternatives exist, the traditional whipper snipper cord remains a favourite for many Aussie gardeners, provided it’s used correctly.

Remember, it’s not just about selecting the right cord but also understanding its care and potential pitfalls. Investing in a quality cord, storing it properly, and using it as recommended can significantly reduce breakages and interruptions. And if you ever find yourself continually facing issues, don’t hesitate to explore alternative materials or tools. 

After all, the goal is a smooth and efficient gardening session, and the right tools and knowledge can make that a reality.


How long should your whipper snipper cord last with regular use?

With regular use, a whipper snipper cord typically lasts between 5 to 7 sessions, depending on the size of the area being trimmed. However, the lifespan can vary based on the quality of the cord, frequency of use, and maintenance practices. 

Manufacturer guidelines and user experiences often emphasise the importance of using high-quality cords and proper storage to extend their life.

Can I repair a frequently breaking whipper snipper cord or should I replace it?

While minor repairs might temporarily fix a whipper snipper cord, frequent breakages are often a sign that the cord is nearing the end of its lifespan. 

Gardening forums, expert blogs, and manufacturer recommendations generally advise replacing the cord once it starts breaking regularly to ensure optimal performance and safety.

Is a thicker whipper snipper cord better?

A thicker whipper snipper cord can offer increased durability and is often suitable for cutting denser vegetation. However, it’s essential to ensure that the cord is compatible with the trimmer model. 

While they might last longer, thicker cords can strain some trimmers and might not be as effective for lighter tasks.

Should you soak whipper snipper cord in water?

Soaking whipper snipper cords in water can help restore flexibility, especially if they’ve become brittle over time. This practice can extend the cord’s life and improve performance. 

Gardening forums, expert blogs, and user testimonials recommend soaking the cord for 24 hours in water before use to achieve the best results.