One of a landscapers favorite tools, string trimmers are essential for proper lawn care.There are 3 different types of trimmers – gas-engine powered, electric edge trimmers with power cords, and battery-powered weed eaters which are typically recharged after each use.It’s important to examine the different makes and models of cordless trimmers available since a wrong choice might lead to lawn damage, injury, or expensive battery replacement. This article will compare and evaluate 5 of the best models of battery powered trimmers available in the marketplace today.
Quick look: the best battery powered weed eaters to buy:
- BLACK+DECKER LST136W: best for general homeowner use
- DEWALT DCST970X1: best for larger yards
- WORX 32-Volt GT2.0: best combo string trimmer and edger
- GreenWorks Pro ST80L210: best for commercial type applications
- BLACK+DECKER LSTE523: best for smaller yards / lighter work
How to Use a Cordless String Trimmer
The first thing to remember about using a cordless string trimmer is spin direction. If your trimmer spins clockwise, it throws out material from the right side of the machine and cuts the best with the left side. If you’re walking along a low fence, curb, or walkway, the left side of your body should be kept closer to the work, so the tool head will be able to both cut and eject toward the right. Naturally, if you have a trimmer that spins counter clockwise, it will discharge materials from the left-hand side of the tool and will cut best with its right side.
There are several different cutting techniques to remember – scything, screeding, edging, and tapering. Keep in mind one important fact – the cutting power is located at the end of the string. Scything is used when you’re working up against something that you either can’t walk easily along or whenever you’re working in some tall grass. Bring your trimmer out of and into the work using a slight shallow U motion. Overlap this scythe motion to even out the cut.
Screeding is used for weeds and grass that are growing in paths, driveways, and sidewalk cracks. Tip your cordless trimmer so that its string-tips are lightly bouncing off the pavement; next, cut flush into the hard surface of the weed’s base. Remember that if your cutting angle is too shallow, you won’t be cutting effectively. If your cutting angle is too sharp, the string won’t be able to cut the plant base evenly.
For edging, turn your cordless trimmer so that the string is vertical, and walk the tool directly into the just cut path. The tool will pull up debris, rocks, and dirt doing this, but this is expected in a yard that hasn’t been edged before. Then, on a weekly basis, slowly ‘sneak up’ on the exact edge that you want, and it will be easy to maintain after that.
Tapering, or holding the tool, so it hits the grass at a very slight angle, is preferred when you’re working along a fence, retaining wall, curb, or tree. You will be cutting less grass with the tapering method, and leaving a tight edge which will blend into the height of the grass you’ve just mowed for a nice, clean look.
How to Determine the Best Cordless Weed Whacker to Buy
There are many considerations when deciding on which cordless weed whacker is the best purchase for you:
- First of all, you should consider the weight of the trimmer since you’re the one who’s going to be carrying it around. Look for a lighter weight model that offers excellent maneuverability.
- Second, look for a trimmer that has a decent-sized safety guard to protect you against flying debris (of course you should always wear goggles when whacking to protect your eyes against flying grass and rocks).
- Third, look for a weed whacker that has a trigger lock to prevent it accidentally running when not in use. The switch should be easy to reach.
- Fourth, decide whether or not you want to have an automatic feed system or a bump feed system. Either one works well, so it’s just a matter of your personal preference. More expensive trimmers will usually feature a spool that you’ll be able to load quickly with new lines.
- Fifth, look for durable construction (but remember that even the costliest models use a few plastic details to reduce their weight).
How Much Should I Expect to Pay?
Usually, the finest cordless string trimmers on the market will cost more than your typical gas-powered model. Of course, with a stringless trimmer you won’t have any of the expenses of oil or gas costs or engine maintenance, so your initial cost is most often offset by a gas trimmer’s ongoing expenses. A good cordless trimmer will cost anywhere from about $125 to $250. Online reviewers state that buying a cordless trimmer if a cost effective way to trim and edge your yard, and they are very pleased with the amount of power these trimmers provide.
Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Models
What is the difference between cheap string trimmers and more expensive models? There are a number of points to consider:
- Cheap string trimmers will need to be babied – i.e., handle with extreme care. If you want a machine that’s sturdy and won’t fall apart at a glance, then opt for a more expensive model
- More expensive models will be more powerful, last longer, and will usually come with a longer warranty
- If you have a small yard and minimal landscaping tasks, a cheap string trimmer might be everything you need. If you do extensive landscaping work, edging, trimming and mowing, and you have a lower tolerance for noise, you will want to purchase a more expensive model
- More expensive models of string trimmers will have their weight evenly distributed. Their controls will be easy to reach and will work smoothly. Cheaper models may have a design flaw that allows weeds and tall grasses to wrap themselves around the cutting head and either stall or slow down the trimmer
Do I Need a Gas Trimmer Instead?
If you have a large yard and need 16-18 inches of cutting swath, and don’t mind the louder noise, heavier weight, air pollution, and the necessity of keeping both oil and gas on hand, then a gas-powered model might be the right choice to make. For a larger yard, you’ll need to look for a two-cycle machine with a separate choke, primer, and throttle controls. If you’re looking to tame a jungle, a four-cycle engine trimmer will be necessary (they’re easier to start, pollute less, are much quieter, and don’t need an oil-gas mix).
You might want to look at a gas trimmer instead of a cordless string trimmer if you have experienced problems with string trimmers before.
Is RPM Important?
A general rule – For cordless trimmers, the higher the battery voltage, the more RPMs that device can achieve. The higher revolutions per minute that your weed whacker produces will give you increased cutting power. An 80V battery, for instance, will produce an equal amount of power as a 32cc gas engine.
How Much Power Do I Need?
The cordless trimmers being reviewed here today all have lithium-ion batteries, which are the most popular kind of rechargeable batteries on the market today. These batteries are a lightweight alternative to heavier Ni-cad batteries, and the newest ones are so much improved that they’ll give a tank of gas a run for its money.
Lithium-ion batteries come in several different voltages – from 18 volts all the way up to 82 volts. A 40V MAX 4.0Ah battery will provide you with 120 watt-hours of energy. The cordless trimmers reviewed here today range from a 20V battery providing 7,200 RPM to an 80V battery. A 20V battery is sufficient for most trimming requirements of a small to medium-sized yard (approximately 20-30 minutes of actual cutting). A 40V battery with a PowerCommand dial allows the operator to choose between maximum power for tackling thick weeds (8,500 RPM) and maximum runtime (6,500 RPM) to increase the life of the battery. An 80V battery will provide about 45 minutes of run time, which is good for larger yards.
How to Maintain Your String Trimmer
All string trimmers will have to have the trimmer line replaced at some point. The way to replace the line will depend on whether the trimmer is a single-line model or a dual-line model, and if you wind the line(s) yourself, use a spool that is pre-wound, or use pre-cut pieces of line. In all cases follow the instructions from the manufacturer carefully and use the trimmer line that is specified.
While you are replacing the line, make sure to clean the area circling the trimmer head and the cutting shield. Inspect the machine for wear and tear. Make sure only to use approved replacement parts.
Before storage, allow your trimmer to cool, brush off any debris or clippings, and apply any necessary lubrication. All metal surfaces can be sprayed with a light oil to prevent rust. Store it in a dry, well-ventilated area, out of children’s reach.
Cordless Trimmer Reviews
1) BLACK+DECKER LST136W 40V MAX Lithium Ion String Trimmer
- PowerCommand dial allows users to choose between MAX runtime and MAX power, and its automatic feed spool provides steady, uninterrupted work without bumping
- 40-Volt MAX lithium battery and strong PowerDrive transmission
- Converts easily from edger to trimmer with just one rapid turn of the shaft
- Battery life is not the best – Heavy users should consider purchasing a backup battery
- Auto-feed works but doesn’t let the string out far enough
The Black & Decker 40V MAX Lithium String Trimmer is specially designed for cordless convenience and cutting efficiency. This 13-inch cordless LST136W edger and trimmer provides extra power from the motor to cutting string so any job will get done faster.
This tool’s PowerDrive transmission allows operators to trim grass in the hardest-to-reach areas, while at the same time maintaining a very neat edging along most hard surfaces. Its 40-V battery provides longer battery life and longer runtime year after year (it recharges in approximately 1 hour).
The Black & Decker LST136W has tool free height and handle adjustment. Its head may be rotated 180 degrees to switch quickly between edging and cutting tasks. This machine provides B & D’s AFS (Automatic Feed Spool) system, which utilizes centrifugal force to be able to dispense more line whenever needed for added dependability and predictability (and no bumping is required).
Choose 8,500 RPM on the PowerCommand dial for maximum power for tackling thick weeds, or select 6,500 RPM for maximum runtime that increases battery life. The PowerDrive transmission allows users more than enough cutting force to be able to cut two times the amount of grass at the same time.
Online reviewers are highly satisfied with this cordless trimmer. They praise its ability to power through tall, densely packed reedy grasses and thick blackberry vines, its ability to make very precise cuts that come in handy when working around flowers, vegetable bushes, and small trees, and the availability of pre-wound spools which alleviates worries about crossed or knotted lines.
Reviewers also stated that this model of cordless trimmer easily rivaled gas-powered models. They recommend always recharging the battery after each use and keeping a close eye on the battery’s power meter while using. They particularly like the 6 power control settings which allow you to use exactly the amount of power that you need. Most operators use power setting 1 for regular trimming, power setting 3 for edging, and power settings 4-6 only for the toughest of jobs.
2) DEWALT DCST970X1 FLEXVOLT 60V MAX String Trimmer
- High-proficiency brushless motor that maximizes motor life and runtime
- Lightweight (12 pounds) and features an ergonomic design that minimizes arm stress and maximizes control
- Has a 15-inch cutting swath with either 0.080 or 0.095 line and includes charger and auxiliary handle
- Debris shield is on the small side (safety glasses are recommended)
- A shoulder strap would be nice to help with fatigue
The Dewalt DCST970X1 60-Volt MAX String Trimmer features a 3.0AH battery, a bump feed, 2 lines, and 2 speeds, and has a 3-year limited warranty. It provides immense torque and instant throttle response even at the lowest speed and is compatible with lots of other Dewalt tools.
This machine is strong enough for cutting small saplings and large weeds. It is easy to charge, easy to use, and easy to assemble. Online reviewers like the fact that there’s no vibration when letting go of the trigger, no smoke, and no idling. They love the perfect balance of this tool and its quiet maneuverability, which doesn’t disturb the neighbors or the dogs. Reviewers also liked the ribbed, rubberized coating on the power trigger handle and the auxiliary handle.
Operators report that this tool gives them more power than their older gas trimmers, and they praised this tool’s 2 speeds and extra battery power. They liked that this cordless trimmer is in the Flexvolt System, which guarantees that this tool is compatible with a wide array of other Dewalt tools. They also were very impressed with the power of the 60-volt battery, the ease of reloading the head, and its ability to cut through weeds like a knife through butter.
The Dewalt DCSt970X1 MAX String Trimmer has a cutting circle diameter of 15 inches, which means that a lot of grass is cut at one time. To prevent accidental starts, it has a safety lock off lever which must be depressed at the same time as the variable speed trigger. The ‘low’ speed setting conserves battery power but still provides ample power. All in all, this is a powerful top grade professional tool.
3) WORX 32-Volt GT2.0 String Trimmer/Edger/Mini-Mower with Tilting Head
- 3-in-1 facility of dual-position inline wheels for edging, mowing, and grass trimming. No tools are needed to convert from in-line edger to trimmer in seconds flat
- Rapid release lever for quick telescopic height adjustments and a 90-degree tilting head
- Cutting diameter of 12 inches with an automatic 100% single-line feed. No bumps ever!
- Charger is slow
- Not ideal for edging tougher weeds
The Worx GT2.0 32V String Trimmer / Mini-Mower / Edger is equipped to go with a charger, 3 trimmer spools, and a 32V MAX lithium battery. This powerful, lightweight machine (6.2 pounds) has a cutting diameter of 12″, a cutting line length of 10″, a no-load speed of 7,600 RPM, and a charging time of 3 hours. Its inline wheels can be utilized as a ‘mowing-like’ feature for doing detailed trimming in hard to reach areas of the landscape.
This hard-working machine features tool-free adjustments which make it a snap to use for anyone. The full 90-degree head tilt allows quick and easy trimming in difficult areas, and it’s equipped with 100% single line feed. This string trimmer has an adjustable spacer guard which protects flowers, garden furniture, and plants from any damage while trimming, and it ensures that no accidental cutting will be done in areas where you didn’t mean to cut!
Online reviewers liked its front auxiliary handle with seven locking adjustments for complete comfort while mowing, edging, or trimming, as well as its ability to cut through wet, thick, tall wild grass. One user stated that their front and back yards needed about 350 linear feet of edging. They were able to completely edge their property three times before having to charge the battery. It is easy to assemble, has a long battery life, weed whacks with the best of them, and it’s easy to refill. Lifetime free spools are available when registering this product.
4) GreenWorks Pro ST80L210 80V 16-Inch Cordless String Trimmer
- More reliable brushless motor delivers an equivalent performance to a 32cc gas engine
- Provides 45 minutes of run-time – Charger and 2.0AH battery included
- Environmentally friendly (uses no gas or oil) and doesn’t require ear plugs to use it
- Some users found this machine to be a bit on the heavy side, and some shorter people have found this machine to be too long
- The shield is too small to protect from flying debris
The Greenworks Pro ST80L210 80V Cordless String Trimmer weighs 9.8 pounds, and features a versatile front motor mount. This string trimmer offers a 14/16″ cutting path, a variable speed-trigger for power-on-demand, a die-cast gearbox for durability, and a .080 line-diameter bump feed. It includes a 2AH battery which charges up within thirty minutes and a 4AH battery which charges up within an hour.
Some online reviewers state that this is the best weed wacker they’ve ever purchased and that its battery allows them to complete 3/4 of an acre of edging and trimming without recharging. The unit is well constructed, it’s well balanced and powerful, and its battery charges quickly. At high speeds, it tears through thick weeds with ease, and with lower speeds, it zooms through wet leaves and light weeds.
This unit is said to run stronger than either gas or electric string trimmers in the same price range. The bump head works very well, and its overall balance, weight, and build quality are outstanding. No time is wasted attempting to start it – just pull its trigger and watch it go! One recommendation by several users is to replace the string it comes with, with a thicker spool of line.
The Greenworks Pro ST80L210 80V Cordless String Trimmer is a weed shredding beast, but at the same time, it provides a decent edging without tearing up the surrounding area. The wheels on this unit are useful for doing a clean job in grassy areas that aren’t suitable for a lawn mower. It has complete angularity adjustability and can be used while the operator rides an electric scooter.
5) BLACK+DECKER LSTE523 20V Max Lithium POWERCOMMAND Easy Feed String Trimmer/Edger
- Converts easily from a trimmer to a wheeled edger
- Power drive transmission gives increased torque for additional cutting power, and a two-speed control allows you to choose extended runtime or more power
- EASYFEED allows line advancement with a simple button push, and no bumping is required
- Lock points on the handle occasionally come loose and will sometimes vibrate out of one lock and slip into another
- Charger that comes with this machine is low quality
The Black & Decker LSTE523 POWERCOMMAND Easy Feed String Trimmer is specially designed to trim overgrown areas after mowing. Also, it is the perfect edger for borders, flower beds, and sidewalks. This trimmer plus edger features a superior micro-textured soft grip which provides maximum control and comfort, as well as an adjustable handle and height for optimal user comfort. It weighs 6.3 pounds, has a 12-inch cutting swath, and a 20-volt maximum initial battery voltage.
This is a high-quality weed whacker with simple to replace pre-loaded heads that click easily into place. The handle ‘safety’ is very conveniently placed – just hold it down with one side of the thumb before pulling the trigger. Online reviewers find this weed whacker and trimmer capable of handling extremely thick weeds and overgrown grass, as well as delicate grass. They cite this machine’s relatively quiet operation and its light weight as pluses.
Buyers are given the choice of purchasing either two smaller batteries or one larger battery. This tool works well for taking down robust roots and edging alongside concrete and brick without breaking the line off everywhere. Users find this trimmer/weed whacker much superior to gas operated or corded electrical units.
The Black & Decker LSTE523 20V Max Lithium Easy-Feed-String Trimmer and Edger offers two battery modes – battery life and power. Use power mode when you need more cutting power (using up more battery life) or use battery life to extend your cutting time (while using up more power). The battery is small (fits comfortably in one hand), the line comes out smoothly, and users report that this is a perfect tool for both small and medium sized yards.
After evaluating a large number of cordless trimmers, our recommendation is the Black & Decker LST135W 40V Max Lithium Ion String Trimmer. A majority of reviewers favored this tool above all other cordless trimmers for a variety of reasons. They cited its powerful, long-lasting battery, the excellent feed mechanism, its light weight, and its ability to chew up light weeds and grass QUIETLY. Reviewers also liked its PowerDrive transmission, its PowerCommand dial, its automatic feed spool, and its easy convertibility from trimmer to edger.