Brushless String Trimmer Shootout! DeWALT, Toro, STIHL, Troy-Bilt. DeWALT cordless string trimmers
Buying guide for best DeWALT weed eaters
A well-manicured lawn requires proper effort, planning, and the right tools for a job. Grass, roots, leaves, and flowers need to be tended to regularly so that they’re all growing — or not growing, in some cases — in their respective spaces.
A weed eater is a useful tool that can serve you throughout the season. Also known as a string trimmer, a weed eater eliminates weeds and helps you maintain boundaries throughout your lawn. You can use a weed eater to keep grass off your driveway, path, or sidewalk, as well as to prevent unwanted plants from encroaching on your beds and gardens.
DeWALT is one of the most popular names in home tools and hardware, and the company produces a selection of outdoor equipment, including weed eaters, that cater to most homeowner lifestyles. The products are light, efficient, and trustworthy. Our guide will take you through DeWALT’s weed eater offerings, explain how they differ from competitors, and show you why a DeWALT weed eater could be the best choice for you.
Register your product online with DeWALT upon purchase. You’ll be able to access the warranty and browse any necessary guides or instructions.
Weed eaters vs. string trimmers
Terminology matters when shopping for lawn care equipment because often, several names exist for the same or similar items. What’s more, not everyone uses the same term for the same thing.
Concerning DeWALT, and indeed most companies, the terms “weed eater” and “string trimmer” are used interchangeably. An alternative to the string trimmer is the bladed trimmer, which offers more power and durability but also requires more power and a higher degree of maintenance and energy to use. Bladed trimmers can also serve as edgers, which are designed to create boundaries. Some weed eaters can do this job, too, though they don’t have the same power or effectiveness on tough jobs.
Weed eaters may be gas-powered, electric, or manual. DeWALT, however, only makes electric weed eaters powered by battery. These are better for the environment and create less air and noise pollution than gas-powered weed eaters. They are lighter, smaller, and easier to store and transport. However, they aren’t ideal for large plots and may struggle with tough, dense weeds.
Notably, you will need to invest in a DeWALT battery and charger. The lithium ion battery can be used across various DeWALT products, provided the charge is the same.
Weed eaters are designed to help maintain boundaries in certain areas of your lawn and garden. However, they are not necessarily designed to manufacture those boundaries. That’s the job of an edger, which can dig several inches into the soil to create a barrier. While some companies offer dual trimmer-edger tools, DeWALT currently does not. That said, there are some hacks you can use, which we touch on elsewhere in this buying guide.
DeWALT’s weed eaters are two-handed pieces of equipment that are best used to cut back weeds and grass from flower beds, sidewalks, and driveways. They are useful in areas where a bulky lawn mower may not be able to reach, such as around mailboxes and under bushes.
Weed eaters trim grass with a nylon string that is housed in a spool at the base of the device. You can toggle how much of the string is exposed in order to adjust how much grass is cut. The nylon string will wear down over time and require a replacement spool. DeWALT offers a Quickload replacement spool designed for fast, easy use. DeWALT spools also extend, or “bump” the feed line as necessary when in use.
Most DeWALT string trimmers feature a cutting swath of 12 to 15 inches. While that may not seem like a big range, every inch makes a difference when it comes to tending your lawn. Shorter lengths offer a bit more control and precision. Longer lengths may offer more protection and distance from encroaching weeds.
One of the perks of DeWALT weed eaters is portability. Generally, these tools weigh under 10 pounds and are easy to hold and wield with two hands. Keep in mind that bigger jobs will require more energy and creating precision boundaries will call for steady handling of the machine.
While some companies offer a choice of a straight or curved shaft, DeWALT’s weed eaters only feature a straight shaft. Straight shafts generally offer more flexibility on the job and the ability to access hard-to-reach places. Curved shafts generally offer more precision and control, but they may have difficulty accessing hard-to-reach places.
Battery power is an important consideration when evaluating DeWALT weed eaters. We find out how long it takes to fully charge batteries as well as how long the machines can work before batteries must be recharged.
When shortlisting products, we factor in the weight of the weed eater to determine how easy it is to maneuver while trimming.
The ease with which the nylon string feeds off the spool determines how effective each DeWALT weed eater is at trimming. We explore this performance in our research.
We consider whether a battery and charger are included with purchase. Some DeWALT models include both, whereas others require the consumer to buy them separately.
Battery voltage is a key factor we keep in mind when recommending DeWALT weed eaters. These tools are available in 20-, 40-, and 60-volt models. The higher the voltage, the more powerful the weed eater.
We look at the speed settings offered by the tool. Some DeWALT models have various speeds for different trimming needs
DeWALT offers 60-volt batteries that are backward compatible and can work on devices using 20-volt batteries. This is especially useful if you need a powerful weed eater but own other DeWALT items that only require 20-volt batteries.
DeWALT weed eaters are battery operated, but not all units come with the battery. You may want to purchase a bundle that includes a battery and charger. Buying these items together should be cheaper than buying them separately. That said, you may want to forgo the bundle if you already have a battery and charger for another DeWALT device.
Select models of DeWALT weed eaters feature a folding shaft. The shaft locks into place when in use without sacrificing durability, but it can also be folded for easy storage and transport.
“Consider the weather when you’re working outside. You may want to wear a hat, sunscreen, and UV-protective clothing. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.”
Lawn mower: Greenworks 20-Inch Corded Electric Lawn MowerThe first step to creating a beautifully manicured lawn is cutting the grass. We like this environmentally friendly electric lawn mower from Greenworks.
Hedge trimmer: BLACKDECKER 40V Hedge TrimmerWhile string trimmers keep grass and weeds at bay, hedge trimmers maintain the shape and appearance of your bushes. We recommend his battery-powered option from BLACKDECKER.
Electric tiller: BLACKDECKER Bare Max Garden CultivatorFor those ready to garden, a tiller and cultivator will help create the proper soil condition for growth. This BLACKDECKER option is versatile while easy to use and store.
Leaf blower: Worx Corded Electric Leaf BlowerTaking care of your lawn in the fall will lead to a healthy spring season. Clear away leaves with this relatively quiet and lightweight blower from Worx.
DeWALT weed eater prices
Inexpensive: The least-expensive weed eaters from DeWALT start around 100. These tools have smaller cutting swaths and are best for small areas.
Mid-range: For between 100 and 150, you can find DeWALT weed eaters with more power. These tools are suitable for small and medium-size jobs.
Expensive: For 150 and up, you’ll be able to buy bundles or kits that include the DeWALT weed eater as well as a battery, charger, and even additional string spools.
If the soil is soft, you can turn the weed eater on its side and work it as an edger, digging straight down. Hold the device securely and make sure you’re not hitting anything hard or rocky under the surface.
Q. How do I best maintain my weed eater?A. After using your weed eater, remove dirt, soil, and other debris from the head so it doesn’t harden and disrupt future use. Store the weed eater in a cool, dry place away from moisture and heat. The battery and charger should be kept in a similar space. Over time, you will need to replace the spool, but otherwise, a DeWALT electric weed eater should require little to no maintenance.
Q. How safe are weed eaters to use?A. Like most outdoor tools, weed eaters are relatively safe provided you understand how they work and take proper precautions. Even with a guard on the head, however, they can still fling dirt, pebbles, and other debris. Protect your eyes, hands, wrists, feet, and ankles, as these are the most sensitive or vulnerable areas of the body. Gloves, in particular, can help prevent your hands from getting sore.
As DeWALT weed eaters are battery-powered, you needn’t worry about cords tangling up, but it’s best to keep pets and children away while you’re working.
Q. What are the best ways to prolong battery life?A. DeWALT advises you to avoid running the battery down completely. Turn off your device when you notice it weakening. You can leave the battery in the charger indefinitely, as the charger’s maintenance mode prevents damage from occurring. However, you should avoid charging the battery if it is warm or hot. Instead, leave it at room temperature for an hour or so first.
Prior to the off-season, fully charge your DeWALT weed eater battery before storing it. Once the battery is dead, it can be recycled.
Brushless String Trimmer Shootout! DeWALT, Toro, STIHL, Troy-Bilt
This article is a review of four of the best cordless string trimmers available right now. The Toro Power Plex, STIHL FSA 90 R, Troy-Bilt C.O.R.E., DeWALT Flex-Volt. I also talk about the new EGO carbon fiber shaft trimmer.
I’ll admit it – I’m one of the people who would love to see all small lawn garden gas engines disappear. In particular the cheap homeowner string trimmers, blowers, hedge trimmers and even chainsaws. I’ve owned way to many of them over the years and they have always been notoriously hard to start, noisy and don’t last long. In the last 15 years even if you do find one that is better than most – the engines have been regulated to the point where they have no power for all but basic tasks. Because of that, I’ve spent the last five years watching the cordless, battery-powered string trimmer market come of age. As homeowners, we are finally getting quality trimmers, blowers, hedge trimmers and other equipment for our normal suburban lawns that will do the job better than the small gas engines. In my opinion, there are now a few on the market that will tackle any of your tasks and last for years.
Right to left: STIHL, Toro, Troy-Bilt, DeWALT, Husqvarna Gas for comparison.
I purchased these brushless trimmers myself. I’m not sponsored by any of the brands so it helps me to stay completely objective in my reviews.
There are well over 75 different cordless string trimmers on the market right now and after reading all the specifications and reviews I purchased 4 models for this article. The models I purchased are the Toro Power Plex, STIHL FSA 90 R, Troy-Bilt C.O.R.E., DeWALT Flex-Volt. All of these are designed to replace your gas trimmer. All use the latest high tech brushless motors to give you the most power and battery efficiency. I’ll keep this article simple and only go over what I like and don’t like about these trimmers.
Most of the links in this article will take you to Amazon. My readers and I have been having just the best luck buying cordless string trimmers from Amazon. If a model is available directly from Amazon or a reputable seller on Amazon I will offer you a buy link. Amazon literally is the best place to buy anything online. The delivery is swift, and if there are any issues with the shipping or the item Amazon takes care of it immediately. Buy at Amazon
By the way, Just assume that if I send you to a website to “read more and buy” I’ll make a small commission from the sale. (That’s how I make the money to operate this site)
The Best Trimmer Line? I like this trimmer line for all string trimmers:
If you don’t have a lot of experience using string trimmers or you have weak wrists I suggest buying the round line. I use round line myself.
The trimmer line below is edged and cuts the best but the edges can “catch” and cause your trimmer to stray into areas you don’t want to be trimmed.
Number One – Toro PowerPlex Brushless String Trimmer Review
Buy Here: Toro PowerPlex 51482 Brushless 40V Lithium-Ion 14″ Cordless String Trimmer, 2.5 Ah Battery Charger Included
Of the 4 trimmers, I bought the Toro is the one I grab the most often.
Toro has been fairly slow to come out with a competitive cordless string trimmer. Why? Because they never jump on the latest trend without spending hundreds of hours researching and testing their prototypes. You can be assured that the item they offer is good, reliable and ready to last you a long, long time.
The Toro 14 inch brushless is different from the rest. It’s designed for a suburban homeowner who needs a well built, easy to operate, lightweight trimmer. Many homeowners just want a good trimmer that is very easy to use, is lightweight, trims their lawn well and can cut down the occasional 3-foot weed they missed. With the battery, it is less than 9 lbs. They don’t need a 14 lb monster trimmer to go out in the back 40 and knock down an acre of horseweeds.
What I really like about the Toro
- Extremely efficient brushless motor. The speed is controlled with a trigger just like your older gas powered trimmer so you can trim around delicate areas. This trimmer is very quiet.
- Lighter than all the other trimmers I handled. The quick adjust handle will let both short and tall people use this trimmer any time. You will not need to use a carry strap for extended use. It is balanced very well with just enough weight in the head so it’s very easy to trim accurately around delicate plants and landscaping.
- Heavy duty dual line head for efficient cutting. It uses the standard.080 line and can accept the rounded, twisted and edged varieties. You can wind your own or buy pre-wound spools.
- Excellent quality. Toro has engineered every part of this trimmer to last.
- Foldable for transport in your car trunk. The only straight shaft trimmer on the market that easily folds up.
- At least 45 minutes run time. I can trim my entire one acre landscaped yard twice on one charge. Included T90 battery charges in just an hour.
- This trimmer is part of a system that includes a 480 CFM 150 MPH leaf blower, 24-inch hedge trimmer, 13-inch single line trimmer, 14-inch chainsaw, and double capacity T180 battery.
The Elephant In The Room: Toro’s Battery Size.
From Justin: I am concerned about battery life which is my only hesitation the Toro’s low watt-hour T90 battery.
How to Restring DeWalt DCST970 60 Volt Flexvolt Cordless Weed Trimmer with a Quickload Head.
My Answer: The Toro is very efficient and I can get 40 minutes or more of run time out of the T90 battery. Remember you don’t need to leave it running like you do with a gas model when you walk from one area to the next to trim. It also trims very well at half-throttle so the battery can last even longer.
If it takes you longer than that to trim just slap the battery on the charger and have a cup of coffee. You don’t have to charge the lithium battery fully each time you use it. Plus when you are done you can leave the battery on the charger. It won’t hurt the battery at all.
Justin: You know, I hadn’t considered that the unit is not running at all times. You have completely changed my view on what 40 minutes of battery life actually means!
- So, the T90 battery is great for a string trimmer and hedge trimmer but the T180 (5 AH) is a better choice for the leaf blower and chainsaw. I would like to see a purchase option for the blower and chainsaw with the T180 Battery.
Batteries: DeWALT FlexVolt, Troy-Bilt 40v, Toro Power Plex, STIHL AP300
Number Two – STIHL FSA 90 R Brushless String Trimmer Review
STIHL makes four cordless string trimmers with removable batteries. In addition, they make two separate battery series. The AK series is designed for homeowners. The AP series is designed for large acreages and commercial operators. The FSA 90 R I choose for this test is the top-of-the-line commercial version. I purchased it with the AP300 battery/charger.
Why? Because I needed one “standard” to judge all the others by. In addition, I’ve used the commercial gas series STIHL trimmers for years and think I the trimmer head they use is one of the best on the market.
What I really like about the STIHL
- With the AP100 battery, it weighs just a few ounces more than the Toro PowerPlex.
- Has many battery options ranging from a 100 WH for homeowners to a huge backpack battery for all-day commercial use.
- Uses the same commercial trimmer head the gas engine models use. It will last the life of the trimmer and then some.
- It has a speed limiter dial on the handle. You can dial down the top speed and it will trim your weekly work well and the battery will last all day. Most reviewers don’t get the dial is for economy and/or speed control around delicate plants.
- Tremendous cutting power. Even when cutting 8-foot prairie grass I could not get this trimmer to slow down. It also does an excellent job of not wrapping around the head when cutting tall grass.
- This trimmer is part of a system that includes other trimmers, chainsaws, blowers, hedge trimmers and steel-deck walk-behind mowers.
No, this is not a “quick load” head. You will have to read the instructions to load new line on it the first time. Take your time to learn how to load it and it will be easy after that. BUT! It always works and never acts up. Remember, this head is their commercial head and even in the worst conditions and abuse, it will last.
Here is a video showing you how to load the head. FYI – you don’t need a screwdriver to push in the buttons. The buttons are designed for your thumbs.
What I don’t like about the STIHL
- Most expensive cordless trimmer on the market.
- You must go to a local dealer to purchase.
- There is no suggested pricing online so you don’t know if you are getting a good deal from your local store. STIHL MAKES you shop different dealers to make sure you are getting a fair price.
Intermission: Is a brushless string trimmer right for you?
Before I discuss the remaining trimmers I want to say: The best brushless string trimmer right now for most people is the Toro Power Plex and the best brushless string trimmer on the market is the STIHL FSA 90 R but it may not be the best trimmer for you.
If you just need a trimmer for weekly mowing tasks I actually suggest getting a trimmer to match your cordless drill batteries. For about 100-150 you can get a bare tool DeWALT 20 volt, Ryobi 18 volt, or Milwaukee 18 volt. These are all quality, brushless motor string trimmers and they will do the job well for you. Don’t fall for the hype of having to have a separate high voltage battery for your yard tools.
Number Three – EGO Power Carbon Fiber Shaft Trimmer
What about EGO Power ? I’m going to go through the EGO in the video below. EGO gave everyone on YouTube with a thousand subscribers or more a free one over the last three years so the older models have been covered to death. For 2018 they have introduced two completely new lines of trimmers …again… and I just finished this video on the new EGO carbon fiber shaft trimmer.
The EGO is not my first choice for most homeowners but if you want a complete system – walk-behind, trimmer, blower, chainsaw, edger, etc they are worth comparing to the other models in this article. EGO Power at The Home Depot
Number Four – DeWALT Flex-Volt Brushless String Trimmer Review
DeWALT currently makes 3 string trimmers. a 20-volt MAX, 40 volt commercial and 60 volt. I’ve used all three and I decided the 60 volt Flex-Volt was the one I should buy for this test.
What I really like about the DeWALT Flex-Volt
- I like that it uses the same batteries as the FlexVolt tools. If you already have the batteries you can save 100 and just buy the bare tool.
- It has the most power of the three DeWALT string trimmers. power than the Toro PowerPlex and a little less power than the STIHL FSA 90 R. It has plenty of power to cut down tall weeds.
- Conventional – dual line head.
- It’s balanced well. It’s about 4 lbs heavier than the Toro PowerPlex but for most people, you can trim your entire lawn without it getting too tiring to use.
- The head accepts both.080 and.095
- This trimmer is part of a system that uses the same Flex-Volt battery for both hand tools and lawn tools. At this time it does NOT include a walk-behind mower.
What I don’t like about the DeWALT Flex-Volt
- It’s noisy. DeWALT has chosen to use a brushless motor and a gear reducer. The gears are noisy compared to the other brushless trimmers I tested here.
- The trimmer head works very well but winding new line takes practice. Sticking the line through the holes in the housing can be a pain. I wish it had the drop in slots like the STIHL.
- All the other brands use a sealed aluminum housing for the motor on the trimmer head. The aluminum dissipates the heat during use, The aluminum design is very rugged and you can use it under any conditions. For some unknown reason, DeWALT decided to use a steel housing and use air vents to cool the motor. Yes, that’s how they make all their hand tools but what made them think that was a good idea on a string trimmer! What. I know DeWALT uses vents and fans on all their hand tools to cool the motor. But this really doesn’t make sense on a string trimmer. You have to clean air vents on the trimmer head every time you use it and DeWALT also states “Do Not Get the Head Wet!”
Number Five – Troy-Bilt C.O.R.E Brushless String Trimmer Review
I am a big fan of the CORE Technology electric motor so when MTD purchased the company a few years ago I was hoping they would take it to the next level and design a complete line of cordless tools around the motor.
C.O.R.E. is an actual technology not just some advertising lingo that sounds good.
- The battery life is phenomenal. The CORE uses load sensing electronics to keep the trimmer running at an optimum speed. When you are trimming weekly growth it uses very little power but get into the high weeds and it automatically senses the extra load and supplies more current to the motor.
- It’s heavier than the Toro PowerPlex or STIHL FAS 90 R, but comes with a built-in snap ring for a harness.
- The trimmer head is built very strong. I’d guess that it’s the toughest residential head on the market. It is an easy load head (more on that later)
- This trimmer is part of a system that includes a self-propelled steel deck mower, blower, and hedge trimmer.
- I personally didn’t get along with the trimmer head. It’s a quick load head but for some reason, I could not get it wound correctly and I always ended up with a bird’s nest. I don’t see any reviews with the same problem though – maybe it’s just me.
- With great power – comes greater weight. This trimmer was the heaviest of the bunch but it also has the longest run times and the battery can also power a self-propelled walk-behind motor. No need to buy additional higher capacity batteries for the mower.
- It’s balanced like a gas trimmer. There is more weight on the rear than on the head. so when you are walking from one landscape bed to another using one hand the head pops up. Although it’s like your gas trimmer it’s not as efficient because you have to push the head down each time you start to use it. Is that really a problem? Maybe it’s just me….
The trimmer head and I didn’t always get along
Load sensing panel with the boost button
As expected the entire cordless trimmer market is a mess and full of advertising hype and misinformation. Many of the reviewers don’t understand the terminology of battery tech so they are mistakenly using max voltage or amps as their deciding factor in which models to promote. It’s not volts or amps – it’s Watt-Hours.
Other reviewers are sponsored by a brand or getting free stuff to review and that is skewing the results. Here are two articles that explain what is important to know about the batteries.
DeWALT Flexvolt String Trimmer Review
As soon as it was released I picked up the DeWALT Flexvolt 60 volt cordless trimmer to replace my 2 stroke gas powered, attachment capable, Toro. Now into its third season, the DeWALT is holding up very well.
This is embarrassing, seeing how this is a tool review website, but I just assumed the split shaft meant this trimmer was attachment capable. Nope. Not only that, but DeWALT recommends not even hauling it around in half to avoid damage, which is how I do haul it around.
And as you can see here, the inner wire casing is starting to fray from the sharp edges of the shaft. Regardless, it’s the only way it will fit in the cab of my truck and not get stolen. C’est la vie, no?
Cordless Trimmer Power
This cordless weed trimmer has as much power as my 2 stroke gas powered Toro. a 15” cutting swath, and a variable speed tigger that’s easy to cruise at different speeds.
However, it also has two speed settings making it easy to run full blast, high or low, without having two feather the trigger. Low works well for most weeds, saving battery life and reducing the noise level.
The trimmer takes 0.08 to 0.095 line. I use the.095 because it cuts better and last longer. And I haven’t noticed the.095 line causing the DeWALT trimmer to bog down in thick weeds any more than on my gas powered 2 stroke Toro.
The trimmer is well balanced with the brushless motor at the front and the battery at the rear. I really like the battery guard which lets you to stand the trimmer on end without damaging the battery or terminals. And there is a hook underneath to hang it on the wall.
The bump feed works well on this but the line does get bound up in the spool, a lot. This could just be user error. Maybe I’m not winding the line correctly or smacking the bump feed on the ground too hard.
In any case, DeWALT has released a new quick-feed replacement spool head that is currently pictured on the 60 volt trimmer bare tool. So it looks like they are phasing this one out.
Edging and Guard
The DeWALT guard is much smaller than my Toro gas trimmer guard and not much protection from plant splatter and rocks. Probably why DeWALT says not to use the trimmer for edging, which of course I do.
But no worries because DeWALT offers a larger guard for this unit, part #N512929, which I have. It’s cheap, branded, and it works great.
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For a non attachment capable trimmer I think DeWALT has done a really good job. I like how they pack 60 volt power into a single small battery, compared to the other 36, 40, and 54 volt trimmers on the market that either use two batteries or one huge battery.
I think the new quick-feed replacement spool will be a welcome improvement. This trimmer is comfortable, powerful, well-balanced, and has very little vibration. If you get one I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. See ya.
As a stand alone, non attachment capable, trimmer this unit deserves five stars. Being able to ditch the gas trimmer gives high value for money. However, with Makita and Milwaukee offering attachment capable cordless trimmers, the DeWALT’s value for money is low relative to the competition.
gardening tool manufacturers are opting for battery power over fuel or electric, and today’s string trimmers are a case in point. We tested these eco-friendly yard maintenance devices to help consumers make the right purchase for their property.
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Handy outdoor power tools make quick work of tackling overgrown weeds and grass, giving the yard a tidy look and trimming hedges and shrubs. We put battery-powered trimmers through their paces on several grass or weed types to see how well they ran and cut, ultimately arriving at this list of the best battery trimmers.
For ensuring a polished look to a lawn, the best string trimmer is a great investment. These yard-care tools spin a cutting head loaded with nylon string (instead of a fixed blade) to cleanly trim the grass at the edge of a lawn or mow down weedy areas. Though gas and electric models once dominated, new and improved battery-powered versions don’t require mixing fuel or storing gasoline like gas string trimmers do, nor are they limited by the length of an extension cord, like corded electric string trimmers are.
Some battery trimmers are better suited to different-size yards, users, and budgets. So we could help consumers make the right choice, we tested some of the most popular string trimmers to find out how they perform under real-world conditions. To qualify as a top pick, a string trimmer should be durable, powerful, and easy to operate. The string line should exit the reel easily with no need for the user to constantly remove the reel cover and untangle the line.
The following battery-powered string trimmers are at the top of their class. Anyone looking to invest in a trimmer is likely to find one here to fit their landscaping needs.
- BEST OVERALL:STIHL FSA 60 R 36V Battery Trimmer
- RUNNER-UP:Ego ST1511T Power 15-Inch Powerload String Trimmer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:BlackDecker LST300 LBXR2020-OPE 20V String Trimmer
- UPGRADE PICK:Makita XRU15PT1 36V LXT Brushless String Trimmer Kit
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY:DeWALT DCST972X1 60V MAX 17-Inch String Trimmer Kit
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT:BlackDecker LSTE525 20V MAX String Trimmer/Edger
- BEST FOR LARGE YARDS:Echo DSRM-2100 eFORCE 56V 16-Inch Battery Trimmer
- BEST FOR SMALL YARDS:Worx WG163 20V Power Share GT 3.0 String Trimmer
- BEST DUAL DIRECTION:Husqvarna 320iL 40V Battery String Trimmer
- BEST TRIMMER/EDGER COMBO:Worx WG170 20V Power Share Revolution String Trimmer
- MOST VERSATILE:Greenworks Pro 80V 16-Inch Cordless String Trimmer
How We Tested the Best Battery Trimmers
To truly test these battery-powered string trimmers, we started by assembling the tools and charging the batteries. Most trimmers arrived with the batteries about 25 percent charged right out of the box, but a full charge allowed us to gauge runtime at full power. Although some of the trimmers offer lower power settings that could extend runtime, we found that the lower settings simply made them less capable when it came to coarse weeds, so we ran them at full power for testing.
We put each trimmer through its paces in a variety of real-world scenarios: “clean” lawn grass, weedy grass, and natural areas featuring coarse, weedy seedlings and vines. To earn a spot in our lineup, the lightweight 20-volt (V) trimmers had to deliver a clean, crisp cut in both clean and weedy grass sections. In addition to trimming the grass zones, we used the 36V, 56V, and 80V models to cut through woody, viny growth in natural areas. Along with cutting power, we tested for battery runtime, maneuverability, and operator comfort and determined the best battery trimmer by category.
Our Top Picks
These reviews describe the key features of each cordless string trimmer and how the models performed in our backyard tests.
STIHL FSA 60 R 36V Battery Trimmer
It makes sense that the STIHL FSA 60 R would be a top performer in this test group. It comes from a brand with a long history of industry-leading outdoor power equipment. This string trimmer measures just over 66 inches long, weighs less than 10 pounds with the battery installed, and works for about 25 minutes per charge. The 36V 3.9 amp hours (Ah) battery charges in a little more than 2 hours.
The tough polymer material used for the motor housing and debris shield help keep the weight down. A few other standout features include a variable-speed throttle trigger, trigger interlock, battery retainer latch, EasySpool cutting head, bump guard, and hang loop. The trigger interlock and battery retainer latch prevent accidental startup. The variable trigger and EasySpool head improve operating efficiency by saving battery life and minimizing the time it takes to reload, respectively. The bump guard protects sensitive surfaces during close trimming, and the hang loop offers a convenient way to store the tool when not in use.
This is a great all-around pick for quarter- to a half-acre yards. The relatively short runtime of the STIHL FSA 60 R belies a very capable trimmer. In our tests it easily and cleanly sliced through all kinds of grass and weeds, including tough tree saplings up to about ¼ inch thick. The shorter runtime actually mattered less because the trimmer cut so well, and we moved at a faster pace than with some of the other trimmers with longer runtimes.
The other thing we noted here was the amazing level of operating comfort. The trimmer was fairly lightweight to begin with, but the weight was so well balanced—with just enough weight forward of the front handle to keep the head near ground level—that using it required significantly less effort than what was required of some of the other trimmers that weighed about the same. Also, vibration was minimal, so after trimming we had plenty of energy to keep working.
- Weighs less than 10 pounds but easily powers through tough weeds
- 25-minute runtime per charge for about 5,000 linear feet of trimming
- Excellent balance to keep the head at ground level
- EasySpool head, bump guard, variable-speed throttle, and accidental start protection
- Smallish 13.8-inch cutting swath is on the small side for open spaces
- 2-hour recharge time for battery is longer than that of some competitors
Get the STIHL battery trimmer at Ace Hardware or Blain’s Farm Fleet.
Ego ST1511T Power 15-Inch Powerload String Trimmer
Ego Power has made a name for itself in the outdoor power-equipment category by building an affordable battery-powered tool line that competes favorably against old-fashioned 2-cycle gas-powered equipment. The ST1511T 15-inch string trimmer proved to be powerful, clean, and quiet in testing. The 56V 2.5Ah lithium-ion battery delivers up to 45 minutes of runtime, with a recharging time of just 50 minutes. The bump-feed trimmer head comes preloaded with 0.095-inch trimmer line for more cutting force and less noise. Taller users will appreciate the straight shaft design, and the unit weighs in at just over 10 pounds.
In our tests, the Ego trimmer showed ample power to cut through everything in its path, including overgrown, weedy grass; privet seedlings; and honeysuckle vines. Its well-balanced design, with the heavy battery in back offset by the long, straight shaft, made it comfortable to work with and more agile than others we tested. Our only caveat: For seasonal yard cleanup or maintaining larger landscapes, the 45-minute maximum runtime may not be quite enough.
- Auto-loading trimmer head reduces downtime while working
- Adjustable telescoping straight shaft provides a custom fit for different users
- Excellent power and runtime value at a moderate price point
- Heavier than some with less forward weight to keep head down
- Battery is bulkier than others, making the tool tiring to use over an extended period
Get the Ego Power battery trimmer at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Lowe’s.
BlackDecker LST300 LBXR2020-OPE 20V String Trimmer
To give the yard a polished look without breaking the bank, consider the BlackDecker cordless string trimmer. It features a 12-inch cutting swath to cut down the corners and clean up the edges of small- to medium-size yards. An automatic feed spool means no more stopping to bump the tool when new string is needed. Two 20V lithium-ion batteries are included.
In our tests, this trimmer performed very well in weed-free grass and in weedy lawn areas. With a light weight of just 5.7 pounds, this trimmer is easy to handle without causing arm and shoulder fatigue. The short, straight shaft design is most comfortable for users under 5 feet 9 inches tall. We also liked that with a quick adjustment to the head, the trimmer becomes an edger to neaten up the grass along sidewalks and driveways. In all, we found this affordable tool a solid pick for small obstacle-free landscapes.
- Pack includes 2 batteries for more runtime, less downtime
- Automatic feed spool
- Money- and space-saving design that both trims and edges
- Battery recharges in just 45 minutes
Get the BlackDecker battery string trimmer at Amazon (with extra battery) or The Home Depot.
Stihl Gas VS Dewalt Weed Whacker 20v Max
Makita XRU15PT1 36V LXT Brushless String Trimmer Kit
The Makita XRU15PT1 string trimmer is a premium option to keep the lawn and garden under control. It can handle large yards with enough power to tackle dense weed growth. This cordless string trimmer comes with four 18V 5.0Ah batteries so you’ll never run out of power. Shoppers can purchase this model as a kit that includes a dual battery charger and two sets of batteries, or as a “tool only” for those who already have items from the Makita 18V tool platform.
With a long, straight shaft and high-power cutting head, this 10.4-pound trimmer feels like a pro-quality tool. It was well balanced and articulate while trimming around shrubs and between obstacles. It had plenty of power to cut through tough vegetation. In our tests, it made nice clean cuts and crisp edges in the grassy areas and tore through weedy privet seedlings and honeysuckle vines without hesitation. It’s an excellent candidate to replace gas equipment for medium to large landscapes, though the price may be high for budget-minded shoppers.
- Runtime is longer than charge time for ready-to-go fresh batteries
- Includes a second set of batteries for extended work
- Gas-like power and performance for tough trimming jobs
- Expensive trimmer due to the high cost of batteries
- Small debris guard allows some material close to operator
- Stiff bump head required a hard strike to let out line
Get the Makita battery trimmer at Amazon or Mowers Direct.
DeWALT DCST972X1 60V MAX 17-Inch String Trimmer Kit
When an established leader in pro-grade cordless hand tools enters the lawn-care category, shoppers will want to take note. The DeWALT 60V battery trimmer packs a heavy-duty brushless motor powered by a 60V 3Ah FlexVolt lithium battery that lets it tear through all kinds of tough weeds for at least 40 minutes per charge.
This attachment-capable trimmer comes equipped with a straight shaft and Rapid- loading adjustable spool. It uses.080-inch trimmer line to cut either a 15-inch or 17-inch swath. A safety switch in the grip prevents accidental starts. Users can select high or low power, depending on the project, and control the trimming RPM with a variable-speed trigger. The universal attachment feature lets owners replace the trimmer attachment with a variety of other tool heads, including an edger, hedge trimmer, pole saw, and more.
The DeWALT battery trimmer was one of the heaviest we tested, but also the most powerful. With the standard.080-inch trimmer line that came pre-spooled, this tool had no trouble cutting anything from grass to thin tree seedlings and even tough blackberry canes. In low-power mode it offered more cutting force than the high- power setting of most others we tested. In high range it beat all but the STIHL, which was about an even match in terms of pure power. To be honest, high power was too much for many of our applications, so we also tested thoroughly in low range. It ran about 40 minutes on high, and about 60 on low.
Other than the heavy weight, the only negative point we have to offer is the noise. The trimmer is loud to begin with, and when initially triggering or feathering the trigger it makes an even louder whine/whistle sound. Still, it’s a very impressive tool at a fair price for the power and runtime and a good choice for large properties or cleaning up overgrown areas.
- Battery type: 60V 3Ah FlexVolt lithium ion
- Runtime: 40 minutes
- Weight: 12.95 pounds
- Outstanding power for clearing overgrown weeds and brush
- Works with.080-inch or.095-inch trimmer line for normal or heavy trimming
- Excellent runtime of up to an hour for average grass trimming
- Power head can run other landscaping tool attachments
- Heavy weight of just under 13 pounds, but no shoulder strap
- Longer battery charge time at 135 minutes
- Noisy operation, especially when initially triggering
Get the DeWALT battery trimmer at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or The Home Depot.
BlackDecker LSTE525 20V MAX String Trimmer/Edger
Weighing just 8.8 pounds, this string trimmer is easy to carry, maneuver, and control with an adjustable handle and a safety trigger switch to prevent accidental starts. The 12-inch trimming radius is suitable for keeping the lawn properly maintained without damaging fencing, decks, trees, or other common yard obstacles.
This cordless string trimmer operates with a 20V battery that can last for up to 20 minutes, and a spare battery is included. For edging, simply turn the head and use the built-in wheel to balance as the trimmer string handles the task.
When we used the tool to trim weedy lawn grass patches and edge the curb and driveway, it made nice clean cuts and tracked well to make good straight edges. The shaft and handle adjusted to comfortably fit our 6-foot user. The tool is amazingly lightweight for the amount of power it offers, but the weight is mostly balanced to the front of the handle, and having to manually counterbalance it while working fatigued our tester. Though not built for heavily weed-infested yards, it has ample power and runtime to clean up curb lines, driveway edges, and otherwise maintain a smaller landscape.
- Very lightweight and easy to carry
- Handle is customizable to fit the size of user
- Trimmer doubles as an edger with a simple turn of the head
- Battery provides limited runtime, although a spare is included
- Not enough power to tackle coarse, woody weeds
- Weighted toward the front, which may cause user fatigue
Get the BlackDecker MAX battery trimmer/edger at The Home Depot or Tractor Supply Co.
Echo DSRM-2100 eFORCE 56V 16-Inch Battery Trimmer
A wide cutting swath, extended runtime, and powerful trimming ability make the Echo DSRM-2100 eFORCE battery trimmer an excellent choice for large yards. The straight-shaft trimmer is powered by a brushless motor and 56V 2.5Ah lithium battery for up to 56 minutes of powerful performance that rivals traditional 2-cycle trimmers. It cuts a 16-inch-wide swath to get the job done efficiently.
This battery trimmer weighs in at a comfortable 9.75 pounds, making it a relatively lightweight choice at this level of capability. It features battery-saving low/high power settings for different cutting conditions, a variable-speed trigger, and a cushioned handle grip for comfort. The Speed-Feed cutting head comes preloaded with.095 trimmer line and reloads quickly without disassembly.
The Echo eForce battery trimmer is an excellent value for large-property maintenance. In our tests, the cutting power seemed to be slightly less than that of the DeWALT and STIHL trimmers, but it was still very capable. In high-power mode we trimmed for about 40 minutes. But the better-than-average power and wider swath meant that in 40 minutes with the Echo, we were able to complete work that other trimmers would need an hour to accomplish. The noise level was good, and reloading was fast and easy.
This trimmer could have scored higher with improved balance. Although it is a lightweight trimmer overall, most of the weight is in the working end. The heavy cutting head forces the operator to compensate by lifting upward on the front handle and pushing downward on the rear handle while working. We tested with the 2.5Ah battery that comes standard. Working with the available 5Ah battery (sold separately) would rebalance the trimmer to some degree while doubling runtime and increasing overall weight.
- Excellent price for this combination of power and runtime
- Wide cutting swath and power performance for large properties
- Rapid charging system charges the battery in less than 40 minutes
Get the Echo battery trimmer at The Home Depot or Acme Tools.
Worx WG163 20V Power Share GT 3.0 String Trimmer
Owners of small yards may find this lightweight string trimmer an excellent option. It weighs just 5.5 pounds and easily converts from a trimmer to an edging tool; a built-in wheel helps balance the tool while edging. A push-button feed system gives the ability to extend the trimmer string without bumping the 12-inch trimmer head or manually pulling additional string from the trimmer. It comes with two 20V batteries and a charger, and the battery lasts for up to 20 minutes on a full charge.
This Worx string trimmer tackled our grassy areas with ease, both the weedy and weed-free zones, but it wasn’t as capable on rough areas. We were particularly impressed by the edger function, which we found comfortable and well balanced thanks to the 90-degree shaft-rotation capability. The adjustable trimmer head and upper handle let us customize the working angle, but the process of doing so proved clunky. We had to reach down and turn a rather stiff knob at the connection point between the shaft and cutting head to unlock and relock the angle for each adjustment.
- Battery provides limited runtime, although a second battery is included
- Head-tilt adjustment is somewhat awkward and clunky
- Relatively long 60-minute charging time for 20 minutes of runtime
Husqvarna 320iL 40V Battery String Trimmer
One limiting factor of most string trimmers is the cutting head’s direction of rotation; it matters more than one might think. The direction of rotation determines where the clippings will go, and in some situations, how the user should grip the trimmer. The Husqvarna 320iL 40V battery trimmer offers a solution, thanks to its dual-direction cutting head. At the touch of a button, we could change from clockwise to counterclockwise rotation and back, without changing grip on the handles.
This straight-shaft trimmer is powered by an efficient brushless motor and 40V 4Ah battery that drives about 45 minutes of runtime per charge. It features a Rapid-load cutting head that comes prespooled with.080 trimmer line and cuts a 16-inch swath. Low-vibration technology improves operator comfort, and the machine weighs in at just over 10 pounds with the battery.
Anyone not interested in going off the beaten path might still do well to consider this trimmer. Its balance is impeccable, rivaling the STIHL in comfort even though it’s a fraction of a pound heavier. And for quiet operation, this one takes the gold medal. The only real question regarding comfort and control was, why so many buttons? Its four thumb-operated buttons control on/off, high/low power, clockwise rotation, and counterclockwise rotation.
- Dual-direction trimmer head leaves clippings where desired
- Excellent balance for comfortable extended use and less fatigue
- Among the quietest of the trimmers we tested
Get the Husqvarna battery trimmer at Lowe’s.
Worx WG170 20V Power Share Revolution String Trimmer
While plenty of string trimmers also function as edgers, we found this model to have the best dual-function design. At the push of a button, the trimming head on the Worx WG170 Revolution trimmer converts to an edger that rolls easily along the edge of a sidewalk or driveway. The head tilts up to 90 degrees, so it is easy to reach weeds on slopes while standing comfortably.
The trimmer comes with two batteries plus a charger and three extra spools of trimmer line. The string trimmer also boasts a handy spacer guard that keeps it from bumping into plants, and the shaft adjusts to suit taller or shorter users. It cuts a 12-inch swath and operates on a 20V lithium-ion battery. We tested the tool with the 2Ah battery, but it also comes with a 4Ah battery at some retailers.
In our yard, this trimmer cut through and created a crisp edge on both weedless and weedy lawn areas. We really liked the easy adjustable feature on the trimmer head: A twist lock holds it in just the right position, up to 90 degrees, for a customized working angle for users of different heights. Also, the batteries are interchangeable with those of many other Worx 20V cordless tools.
- Adjustable upper handle to accommodate users of different sizes
- Trimmer head converts to an edger for use along sidewalks or driveways
- Comes with 2 batteries to make up for shorter runtime
- Requires a relatively long charging time
- Trimmer feels underpowered for tackling coarse, heavy weeds
- Only 20 minutes of runtime per charge
Get the Worx WG170 GT battery trimmer at Amazon or Target.
Greenworks Pro 80V 16-Inch Cordless String Trimmer
The Greenworks Pro 80V trimmer is a quality tool that adapts to a variety of other functions with attachments such as a brush cutter. (However, attachments are sold separately.) The 2Ah battery provides up to 45 minutes of runtime and recharges in just 30 minutes. The brushless electric motor is efficient and quiet, providing plenty of torque to cut through heavy weeds without the noise and smell of a gas-powered unit.
In our test areas, the Greenworks Pro trimmer was powerful enough to cut through the toughest weeds and vines with ease. The heavy battery weighs the machine down toward the rear, but the included adjustable shoulder strap makes operation more comfortable. The battery is compatible with other Greenworks 80V tools. Just don’t get too excited about the variable-speed trigger: Although it’s intended to allow a gradual increase from “off” to “high” speed, we found the range of movement between the two to be minuscule; in effect, the trimmer is either “off” or “on.”
- Battery type: 80V 2Ah lithium ion
- Runtime: 45 minutes
- Weight: 10.6 pounds without battery
- Trimmer has a quiet, efficient brushless motor
- The recharging time is only 30 minutes; runtime is 45 minutes
- Gas-like power and performance without the noise and smell
- Slight lag time between triggering and full power
- The trimmer’s adjustable speed feature is difficult to use
- Weight is balanced toward the rear, but shoulder strap helps
Get the Greenworks Pro battery trimmer at Amazon.
What to Consider When Choosing a Battery Trimmer
When shopping for string trimmers, also known as weed eaters, keep in mind yard size, how often the tool will be used, and the height and strength of the primary user. The following key considerations will help in selection.
Trim width, also called swath width, indicates how wide a path the trimmer will cut through weeds in a single pass. Many models on the market today feature swath widths of 10 to 18 inches. The wider the width, the more power the trimmer must have, which often means the tool will be heavier because it will require a larger, more powerful battery.
Running a string trimmer requires a hefty dose of power. Though most of today’s trimmers run on rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, a few accept nickel cadmium (NiCad) batteries. Li-ion batteries are more powerful, but NiCad batteries are less expensive (an average of 70 to 125 less). Li-ion batteries also are smaller, hold a charge longer, and provide full power throughout the discharge cycle.
NiCad batteries suffer from “memory effect,” meaning if the battery is used before it has fully charged—or if it’s recharged before its power depletes—it will “remember” the earlier charge level and won’t hold a longer charge in the future. If choosing a trimmer that has a NiCad battery, let it charge fully before use and drain completely before charging. For most users, a string trimmer with a Li-ion battery will be the best choice.
Along with battery type, consider how much operating power the battery has, which is measured in volts. Today’s rechargeable string trimmer batteries average from 18 volts up to an average of 60 volts of power. powerful batteries at the high end often are intended for commercial use and can cost 200 or more per battery.
Some string trimmers in this category sell without a battery (or battery charger), which the user must purchase separately. This could be a cost-saving benefit for those who are adding to a same-brand, battery-compatible cordless tool collection, since the same battery will power multiple tools. However, it can be more convenient to purchase a kit with multiple batteries to have one on the charger while the other is in use.
The “feed” of a string trimmer indicates how the trimmer head releases additional trimmer line as it becomes frayed and broken during use. The standby is a bump feed where the user bumps the bottom of the trimmer (the area where the spool attaches) on the ground to release a few inches of fresh line.
Some newer models feature an auto-feed sensor that gauges the length of the strings and releases more when needed. Still others have a push button to release more line. Auto and button feeds eliminate the need to bump the spool, which can reduce the risk of damage if bumped too hard, but many commercial-type trimmers still use bump feed because it’s quick and easy.
Curved vs. Straight Shaft
Some string trimmers feature a straight shaft that runs from the handle to the cutting head, while other models feature a distinct curve in the lower shaft about two-thirds of the way down. Some users find curved-shaft trimmers to be easier to operate since the spool end already rests at a handy angle for weed whacking.
Straight-shaft trimmers often accommodate interchangeable tools, such as a tree trimmer head, which can be swapped out depending on the task at hand. In general, straight-shaft trimmers work better for users at least 6 feet tall, while shorter users will appreciate curved-shaft trimmers.
Battery-powered string trimmers have a distinct advantage over gas-powered trimmers when it comes to noise pollution. Gas-powered trimmers are moderately loud, emitting an average of 90 decibels (about as loud as a motorcycle passing by from 25 feet away). By contrast, a cordless string trimmer emits approximately 77 decibels, which is comparable to casual conversation.
Those who are still unsure about how to use a battery string trimmer may find the following answers to common questions about these tools helpful.
Q. Can a string trimmer cut weeds?
A string trimmer is used to cut and control weed growth around the home and garden. However, light-duty trimmers may have issues with very dense weed growth.
Q. Can you use a string trimmer to cut grass?
A string trimmer can be used to cut grass, though you need to be careful not to cut the grass too short while trying to keep the trimmer balanced. It isn’t the easiest way to cut the grass, but it is possible.
Q. Can you edge with a string trimmer?
Yes, a string trimmer can be used for edging the garden, driveway, walkway, or sidewalk. If you have a large yard, it may be better to invest in a separate edging tool.
Q. How many volts should be in a trimmer?
String trimmer batteries average from 18 volts up to 80 volts. Typically, the higher the voltage, the longer the battery life.
Q. How do you edge a lawn with a string trimmer?
Hold the string trimmer perpendicular to the lawn to keep the cut even. Position the head about 4 inches off the soil so the string has space to rotate. The string should rotate and cut through the grass and dirt. As you move along the desired borders, keep the head balanced and even. Clean up the cut grass and dirt to finish the job.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.
Meet the Tester
Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with a background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn-care products, and other outdoor-living goods.
Additional research provided by Glenda Taylor.