drumbo: “Who leaves the string trimmer guards on? Why? Who takes them off? Why?”

IN2MOWN: “I take them off. I just can’t get enough string out with them on.”

cgaengineer: “I leave mine on so that it will still cut the string and remain balanced. It doesn’t bother me that a small amount of the string is all that is let out.”

Jason Rose: “Off. Once I tried this years back, I can now never go back to using them with the guards on. It’s a lot easier to trim around things without the guard, and with the guard on, the line is really too short. I don’t run mine crazy long, but just enough to get the job done. I feel that I use less line over time, because with a guard I was always bumping the head to feed more and it would already be out almost to the cutter, so that’s about an inch of wasted line each time I’d do that. Adds up, too. If I bump out too much without the guard on, there’s always something close by to wear it down a little.”

OhioBobcat125: “Always take them off.”

ProCutLawnCare&Landscape: “Most of ours are guard off.

“Guard off benefits: Float the line better over turf, more finesse, better visibility, length of line controlled by operator, productivity, better end results in my opinion.

“Guard on benefits: Safety of operator, less line out, engine life (less stress on engine when amount of line out is controlled by guard), cuts line for you, warranty.

“Personal preference, but most pros I know use no guard, as I do.”

yungman: “On. Don’t you really shorten the life of the clutch and engine if you take the guard off?”

xdevil_07x: “On. We buy aftermarket guards that allow us to run the string long with the guard still in place.”

lawnboyoung: “On. I don’t get grass on me; better balance; but the guard string issue does annoy me.”

Lawn-Sharks: “Guards off for ditch work.”

Lawdog302: “Off. Faster, easier trimming, and the guards never let you have enough string.”

JimmyStew: “I leave them on. In fact, I never considered taking them off. Seems to me like the trimmer works just fine with it on, so why bother?”

jbell36: “On. Trimming 90 degrees on a road/sidewalk with a lot of sand is annoying, and the guard will also block bigger rocks that would fly into your damn eye; that’s painful.

“We have one trimmer with the guard off, but that’s definitely used for other purposes, like field trimming.”

Richard Martin: “Off. I find trimmers easier to use and lighter without the guards on. Been running this way for 10 years.”

Charles: “I have tried both ways and find I have more power with them on.”

packey: “If you work for me and even try to take the guard off, you need to just turn in your uniform and go home. The guard is on the weedeater for a reason, or really several reasons:

“1. Safety.

“2. Engine balance.

“3. Safety.

“4. To keep from slinging debris all over everything.

“5. Safety.

“I am surprised educated, experienced lawn pros would even consider taking the guards off, especially on things like ditches where you have to deal with a lot of debris.

“As far as performance, the engine is built to run the string a certain length. When you have too much string, you seriously undermine the performance of the weedeater.”

davidcentralflorida: “I do. Off with the guards – added weight to the end of a 5-foot leverage bar. After all, you only get those tell-tale beat-up shins if you have taken the guards off.”

des1477: “Always off. Cut more grass.”

lostmdboy: “I put mine back on after just a little while. The machine just seems to work better, and I got tired of being pelted by rocks.”

Mimowerman: “So far, it’s been all personal preference. What is the legality of the issue? Does OSHA have any standard about this? Obviously they would say keep the OEM guard in place. My trimmers have no guards on them, guys wear pants, safety glasses and hearing protection at all times.”

whoopassonthebluegrass: “Hmmm, do we really need government to ‘protect us’ here? I mean, if somebody’s stupid, that’s their problem. We don’t’ need any more government intervention than we already have.”

Sammy: “Leave ’em on.”

Frue: “Off, because it’s quicker and lighter. Never been hit in the eye or gotten more grass on me from having the guards off.”

J&R Landscaping: “I have one trimmer with the guard on, one with it off. I usually use the trimmer without a guard. … No problems and not too much kicked up, but I usually wear long pants anyhow.”

Uranus: “On, but, I move the guard up the shaft. … I move mine up the shaft high enough so that the line will not hit the guard. I think it works pretty well. I can have a guard and have a longer line while working. Being solo, I try to be as safe as I can. I’d hate to lose a day or two because I took a rock to the eye because I took the guard off. If I was unable to move the guard up like on some models, I would toss that POS in the trash the day I got it.”

Grassmechanic: “I leave mine on. My insurance carrier made it quite clear they would not cover any claim if safety equipment was tampered with.”

“In Your Own Words” is contributed from the lawn care and landscape forum at www.lawnsite.com, which has been named one of 10 Great Media Sites by Media Business magazine and has been chosen as a winner of the Most Engaged Media Brands for 2010 by min, a firm that tracks the media industry. Visit them, and join in the discussions.