Makita Cordless String Trimmer Review. Makita 18v string trimmer

Makita Cordless String Trimmer Review

When it comes to Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE), you wouldn’t expect a power tool company to be a leading OPE manufacturer. In fact, Makita is one of the leading cordless OPE companies in the marketplace. Makita was one of the first, if not the first power tool manufacturer to introduce OPE products to their line up. While they offer a gas solution, their cordless OPE technology has been leading the way forcing other companies to play catch up. So let’s check out our Makita cordless string trimmer review.

Makita Cordless String Trimmer Review – Features

When you look around at most string trimmers, they are pretty much the same. They have a variable trigger and that’s pretty much it. Well the Makita XRU09Z is a little different.

First, Makita started with a brushless motor and designed it to run off two 18V Makita batteries. Not only does this provide more run time, torque and speed, but it doesn’t force you to buy into a new battery platform.

There is an easy access button to select between two different speeds, high and low. On high, the head will have a 6,500 rpm while on low it will produce 5,000 rpm. If you equip this with two 5Ah batteries, you will get about 60 minutes of run time on low. You will also notice a push button to engage the reverse feature. The reverse feature is beneficial to help remove weeds and other items that may get stuck on the head.

The trimmer uses a bump and feed style which means just bump the head on the ground and the line will advance.

The direct drive motor is mounted directly on the trimmer head for improved balance and great efficiency. Also, a user can enjoy a 13-3/4″ cutting swath.

The string trimmer has a built-in feature which is a constant speed control which minimizes the reduction in rotation under load. So it will attempt to keep the same speed.

Makita Cordless String Trimmer Review – Performance

When it comes to OPE, I have to admit, I am an EGO fan mainly because they also have a mower and snow blower which means I have one battery platform. However, when it comes to string trimmers, I think this is the best cordless string trimmer on the market.

The trimmer is powerful, easy to control and has a great balance so I don’t feel like I am fighting the tool.

It really doesn’t matter if I am trimming shorter grass or thick tall grass, this unit powers through everything I have thrown at it.

Makita Cordless String Trimmer Review – Value

For me, I think this is a great value. While it’s a little more expensive than some of the other string trimmers on the market, it falls in line with string trimmers of this caliber. Considering it is one of the most powerful trimmers in its class and all the power tools you can get into with the Makita battery platform, the Makita string trimmer is a great value. The trimmer offers some great features for the price.

As of this article, it looks like The Home Depot has a better price on the bare tool compared to Amazon.

Makita Cordless String Trimmer Review – Final Thoughts

Overall this is a great string trimmer and one of my favorite trimmers. I love the two speed along with the reverse feature. The trimmer is well balanced with the two battery system. There is plenty of power and more than enough run time to perform some serious work. I am 6′ tall and I don’t feel like I have to bend over to perform string trimmer tasks. So for me, this is a must have especially for those who already own or are looking into the Makita platform.

DUR192 18V LXT BL Cordless String Trimmer

Makita is known to have one of the best cordless OPE lineups. Th XRU09 doesn’t disappoint. With two speeds and a reverse, this is one powerful and feature packed trimmers. The 2-18V batteries mean you get a long run time and higher performance to match a 36V trimmer.

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.

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

Makita 18v String Trimmer/Whipper Snipper. Quick Unboxing and Review

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.

The Husqvarna 320iL ranked near the top of the test group in terms of user comfort and quiet operation, but its power was somewhat underwhelming after the big showing from the STIHL and DeWALT trimmers. We were super impressed with the dual-direction feature. It allowed us to use the trimmer right- or left-handed, and we could safely trim curb lines from either direction without standing in the street. On high-power mode the trimmer performed lawn-trimming duty superbly, but in heavy weeds and natural areas it could not keep up with the more powerful trimmers.

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

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.

Battery Type

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.

Feed Type

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.

The best strimmers in 2023

Need a new strimmer? Tackle long grass and tricky corners with our pick of the very best cordless and corded models.

Strimmers are a great tool for tidying up straggly grass, as well as areas a lawn mower can’t reach, such as path and flower bed edges, and around the base of trees. They can also help clear overgrowth if you’re starting a new garden, and trim vegetation on steep slopes.

We put a range of strimmers to the test, using them in different areas of the garden to see how they coped with trimming long grass and awkward areas. As we evaluated each one, we assigned them scores, and the models that topped the test were awarded BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buys. Each review has a detailed list of pros and cons for clarity and has been rated according to ease of use, handling, performance, and value for money. Only the stand-out strimmers have made our list, so you can buy with confidence.

Best strimmers at a glance

  • Best Buy for budget:Powerbase 550W Electric Grass Trimmer, 30cm
  • Best Buy for performance:Stiga GT 500e Cordless Grass Trimmer
  • Best Buy for features:WORX WG184E Dual Battery (x2 18V battery) Cordless Grass Trimmer
  • Best Buy for ease of use:Gtech Grass Trimmer GT50
  • Makita DUR181RT 18V String Trimmer
  • Mac Allister 18V LI 18V 280mm Cordless Grass Trimmer
  • Vonhaus F-Series Cordless Grass Trimmer

In every review we award outstanding products our coveted Best Buy award. To see these and the others we recommend, browse our pick of the best strimmers below.

For more lawn tool reviews, check out our reviews of the best lawn mowers, particularly our tests of the best cordless lawn mowers. For more cutting, trimming, or pruning help, see our reviews of the best garden shears, the best hedge trimmers, the best secateurs and the best loppers.

What’s a strimmer used for?

Strimmers cut the long grass and weeds that a mower can’t reach. They’re great for cutting in tricky places, such as around the base of a tree, the corner of a lawn, or on steep slopes. Depending on their power and their blade material, they can also tackle woodier growth like ivy, brambles, and stinging nettles. Many strimmers can also be used to tidy up along the edges of a lawn by adjusting the angle of the cutting head.

What’s the difference between a strimmer and a trimmer?

There’s no difference between a ‘strimmer’ and a ‘trimmer’, they’re the same tool. ‘Strimmer’ is an old trademark name that caught on, as you might say ‘hoover’ for any vacuum cleaner or ‘coke’ for any cola.

What’s the difference between a strimmer and a brush cutter?

A brush cutter is a more powerful tool, usually with metal blades, designed to tackle thick vegetation, rough grass, and weeds. It’s more commonly used by professional gardeners.

What are the types of strimmer?

The key thing is to always check before you strim. Use a broom or rake to sweep the grass before you start, taking care to look out for small critters like frogs and slow worms, but also larger animals like hedgehogs.

Can I use a strimmer to mow the lawn or trim hedges?

Hypothetically, you could use a strimmer to cut a lawn, but it would take a long time. Strimmers are much less efficient at this task than lawn mowers, and it’s more difficult to get an even cut.

Strimmers aren’t designed to trim hedges, as their woody growth is too thick to be cut with plastic blades or nylon cord, and it would be very dangerous. Instead, use a hedge trimmer, or for more precise work, shears, a pruning saw, or pair of secateurs.

What are the key features to look out for?

Before you buy think about the following :

  • Cutting head. The cutting head is the most important feature on a strimmer. It should be adjustable, so you can change the angle of the cut to cope with inclines and fiddly jobs. In most models, the head turns 90°, so you can trim along the edges of paths and flowerbeds. In the very best models, the cutting head also has wheels to help guide along edges and support the weight of the strimmer.
  • Adjustable shaft. The best strimmers have a telescopic shaft, so you change the height to suit you. In some models, the shaft is angled rather than straight to help you manoeuvre into tricky spots. If space is an issue, it’s also helpful if you can break down the shaft and cutting head after use for storage.
  • Line feed and blade replacements. It’s useful if a blade strimmer comes with spare blades, so you don’t run out if one breaks in the middle of a job. You should be able to get a new spool of line for a line strimmer or replace the whole head. With both types it’s helpful if the spare blades or line can be stored on the tool.
  • Handle types. There are two types of strimmer handles. The most common is a round, circular handle on the shaft of the strimmer, called a loop handle. It makes the strimmer easy and comfortable to control, and on the best models, it can be slid up and down the shaft, so you can adjust it to your height. Alternatively, there are ‘steer’ handles. two handles rather than a loop. These offer more control and let you use a comfortable scything motion when you cut, but they take up room, and can be a little more expensive. They’re also far more common on brushcutters and petrol strimmers than electric or cordless strimmers, so you might not find steer handles on many domestic models.
  • Straps and safety harnesses. A shoulder strap or safety harness is an excellent bonus feature. It takes some of the weight of the tool, making it more comfortable to use, and also helps balance it, for better manoeuvrability and a more precise cut.
  • Bump guard. Some strimmers have metal guards on the head, called bump guards, which prevent the strimmer from cutting beyond a certain point. This protects your garden, as it stops you from nicking a tree or garden furniture but it also protects your strimmer line or blades by preventing them from catching on a fence or wall and breaking. The best bump guards can be adjusted, so you can control how closely you cut.

Buying a strimmer. video

Kate’s Wildlife Warning

Our wildlife editor, Kate Bradbury, has some advice on using a strimmer responsibly.

“The key thing is to always​ check before you strim. Use a broom or rake to sweep the grass before you start, taking care to look out for small critters like frogs and slow worms, but also larger animals like hedgehogs. Hedgehogs frequently sleep in long grass during the day and can suffer terribly from strimmer injuries, so it pays to check before you strim.”

Best Buy strimmers

Powerbase 550W Electric Grass Trimmer

  • Great cut
  • Both trimming and edging function
  • Wheels to help edging
  • Comfortable, soft-grip handle
  • Spare spool and storage on the machine
  • 30cm cutting width
  • Good value

This corded trimmer won a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy award for the best budget strimmer. A double line trimmer, it gives a fantastic cut, and thanks to its generous 30cm cutting width, tackles the job quickly and efficiently. It’s particularly good when edging due to wheels that help take the strain, so you can achieve a precise cut. The soft-grip loop handles on its telescopic shaft are comfortable and there’s a helpful loop for tucking the cable away when you’re moving around. It has an automatic feed and we love that there’s a storage compartment on the shaft for the spare spool, so it’s close-at-hand when it needs replacing. However, gardeners with limited mobility should note that this strimmer weighs 3.1kg, which is over a kilo more than the lightest machine on test, the Gtech GT50, and it doesn’t come with a strap to help take the weight. The black power cable is only 10m, so you’ll need an extension cord if you plan to strim further from a power source, and it’s tricky to see it in the grass. It also requires some heft to move between the strimming and edging modes as the mechanism is stiff. That said, it’s good value, gives a great cut, and comes with a generous three-year warranty.

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Buy the Powerbase 550W Electric Grass Trimmer from Homebase

Stiga GT 500e Cordless Grass Trimmer

RRP: £139 (£301 including battery and charger)

  • Telescopic shaft, which separates in two for storage
  • Both strimming and edging function
  • Support wheels for vertical edge cut
  • 50 minute fast charge
  • Battery level indicator lights
  • Powerful performance
  • Part of the Stiga ePower cordless range

Awarded a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for performance, this trimmer has a generous 30cm cutting width, and the durable nylon double line automatic feed keeps working, so you don’t have to bump line out. The head is easy to rotate for use as an edge trimmer and the wheels help to support the weight of the body, ensuring it cuts at a consistent height. However, as it doesn’t come with a support strap, it’s eventually tiring to use. It’s powered by a large 2Ah 48V lithium-ion battery, which along with the charger is sold separately, making this significantly more expensive than other models in the test. That said, after a fast 50 minute charge it runs for 20 minutes, cutting powerfully and efficiently. It copes well with large patches of long grass, as well as hard to reach areas, and cuts lawn edges cleanly. Light indicators on the battery let you know how much time you have left to finish the job, the telescopic shaft separates in two for easy storage and it comes with a two year warranty.

Buy the Stiga GT 500e Cordless Grass Trimmer from Stiga

Worx WG184E Dual Battery (x2 18V battery) Cordless Grass Trimmer

RRP: £199.99 (including battery and charger)

  • Telescopic shaft, which separates in two for storage
  • Both strimming and edging function
  • Comfortable handle
  • Variable speeds
  • Support wheels for vertical edge cut
  • Automatic feed
  • Battery level indicator on the shaft
  • Part of the Worx 20V Powershare tool system
  • Three year warranty

Awarded a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for features, the Worx WG184E grass trimmer includes variable speed settings, an adjustable handle and shaft, an automatic feed and wheels. Powered by two 20V lithium-ion batteries, it has a 20-minute run time from a one hour charge, and there’s a battery level indicator on the shaft, so you can see how much power you have while you’re using the strimmer. The cutting head rotates to convert to an edger, and the wheels provide support and ensure a neat, consistent cut along an edge. We like the different speed settings, so you can boost power for longer grass, or reduce it to conserve the battery life if you’re just neatening up edges. The 33cm cutting width makes this the widest model in the test. That said, at 3.9kg it’s also the heaviest in our test, but the telescopic shaft and adjustable loop handle help to balance this strimmer and make it comfortable to hold and manoeuvre. However, it doesn’t come with a strap for additional support and becomes tiring after use in the strimmer mode. It comes with a generous three year warranty.

Gtech Grass Trimmer GT50

RRP: £129.99 (including battery and charger)

  • Lightweight
  • Both trimming and edging function
  • Adjustable loop handle
  • Ergonomic harness
  • Battery level indicator
  • Safety switch
  • Good value
makita, cordless, string, trimmer, review

Awarded a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for ease of use, the Gtech grass trimmer GT50 is a well-designed tool. It includes a safety switch, an ergonomic harness, an adjustable loop handle, a swivel head to change from trimmer to edger, and easy-to-fit plastic blades. Weighing just 1.8kg, it’s the lightest in the group we tested, but has a relatively narrow 23cm cutting width, so it takes longer to cover ground than the Worx, with its generous 33cm head. On test it tackled long grass and thin woody weeds on uneven terrain, as well as leaving lawn edges looking neat. However, you’ll need to plan ahead for strimming sessions as the 18V lithium-ion battery takes a lengthy four hours to charge to give 30 minutes of power, though there are helpful indicator lights on the battery to keep track of how much time you have left. As it includes a battery and charger, it’s comparatively cheaper than some other cordless trimmers, but the battery is only compatible with two other Gtech cordless tools, the HT50 hedge trimmer and SLM50 lawn mower. which doesn’t represent the best value for money. Other cordless systems have more battery-sharing tools available. It comes with a two year warranty.

The best of the rest

Although some models didn’t quite achieve a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy award, they still have great features that make them worth recommending. Browse our pick of the best of the rest on test.

Makita DUR181RT 18V String Trimmer

RRP: £178.00 (including battery and charger)

Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

  • Quietest on test at 88.5dB
  • Both trimming and edging function
  • Adjustable bump guard
  • Charges quickly
  • Includes shoulder strap
  • Rotating head
  • Battery compatible with more than 100 other Makita tools

This single-line cordless model from Makita is easy to set up thanks to clear instructions. It has several adjustable features, so you can alter the length of the shaft from 115 to 133cm, change the angle of the trimmer head, and rotate this head to trim the edges of the lawn. Even the bump guard is adjustable with a screwdriver, so if you have a variety of obstacles to trim around you can get the distance exactly right. There’s a safety button, which must be pressed to turn it on, and at 88.5dB this was the quietest strimmer on test, compared to the Powerbase strimmer, which was the loudest at 95dB. It cuts quickly and efficiently despite a small cutting width of 26cm, and comes with a shoulder strap, so it feels light and manoeuvrable despite weighing nearly 3kg. However, the charger for the 18V, 5.0Ah lithium-ion battery emits a high pitched whine, which would be annoying if you have to charge it in the house, rather than in the garage or shed. It also doesn’t come with any spare line, and unlike some of other battery powered strimmers, there is no indication of the battery level as you work. As with all Makita tools, it comes with a generous three-year warranty, and the battery is compatible with a wide range of other Makita garden and power tools.

Mac Allister 18V LI 280mm Cordless Grass Trimmer

RRP: £79.99 (includes battery and charger)

At just under 2kg, this strimmer feels lightweight and easy to move around the garden and it achieves a fast, efficient cut. It’s especially comfortable to hold when edging, has a simple automatic feed, and a relatively generous 28cm cutting width – the widest in the test was the Worx WG184E with 33cm. The 18V, 2.0Ah lithium-ion battery charges in 75 minutes and covers 250 square meters on a single charge. However, we found all its parts stiff to adjust. particularly lifting the bump guard up and down. and it’s fiddly to switch between the strimming and edging modes and to extend the telescopic shaft. Furthermore, the noise level is one of the loudest at 96dB, and this noise is noticeably high-pitched. It has a two-year warranty, and though it’s part of a cordless system, only six other tools are available.

Buy the Mac Allister 18V LI 280mm Cordless Grass Trimmer from eBay

Vonhaus F-Series Cordless Grass Trimmer

Despite its narrow 21cm cutting width, this strimmer gives an excellent cut. The plastic blades tackle grass and woodier material well, and the 30-minute run time is one of the longest in our test. We like the storage feature under the handle for the included spare plastic blades, which are bright pink and easy to spot if they snap off into the grass. However, while it’s efficient, this machine is the loudest on the test at 98dB, and the handles are uncomfortable too. It also takes an hour and a half to charge, which though less than the 4 hours of the Gtech model, is much longer than the 45 minutes of the Makita DUR181RT and Mac Allister 18V LI 18V 280mm. The 12V, 2.0Ah F-Series lithium-ion battery is compatible with just three other Vonhaus tools. a hedge trimmer, garden saw, and handheld hedge and grass trimmer. which can save you money if you buy these in the future, but is limited compared to other cordless systems such as the dozens of compatible tools in the Worx PowerShare cordless system. Crucially, this strimmer also has no edging function, so if you’re after neat lawn edges you should look elsewhere. Because it’s just 12V, the battery is less powerful than others on test, but if you need to tidy up a small garden on a budget, it will do the job well, and comes with a two-year warranty.

Buy the Vonhaus F-Series Grass Trimmer from Amazon and Vonhaus

How We Tested

We tested a range of strimmers, putting them through their paces on lawn edges, sloped areas and big and small gardens. They were assessed according to the following criteria with equal marks attributed to each:

  • Preparation. Assessed how easy the strimmers were to assemble, how long this took and if any extra tools were needed, and how easy the instructions are to use. We also looked at how easy and quick it was to charge the batteries and store the strimmers.
  • Handling. Looked at comfort, weight, balance and grip, including features like a safety button, the runtime, and noise.
  • Performance. Focused on blade shape and material, cutting width and efficiency, and smoothness and precision of cut. We also assessed power and any extra functionality.
  • Value for Money. Considered all of the above plus any special features, RRP and warranty.

For more information on our testing process, see How We Review.

This review was last updated in April 2022. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.

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Home » Latest Tool Reviews » Lawn Garden » Makita LXT X2 String Trimmer XRU15 Review

Makita LXT X2 String Trimmer XRU15 Review

Makita LXT X2 String Trimmer XRU15

Manufacturer: Makita Model number: XRU15 Price: 389 Power source: Cordless Motor size: 36 Volt Weight: 10.4 lbs (with batteries)

Makita’s LXT X2 line of tools is expanding rapidly. Taking on tasks that just a few years ago were solidly the domain of corded or gas powered tools. In that vein the XRU15 is Makita’s latest offering in string trimmers. When I was growing up I would take on the task of “Weed Whacking”, so called because of the amusing alliteration and the fact that the tool my family owned for this task was a “Weed Eater” this was your typical string trimmer, with a 2 stroke engine, oil and gas mix, smelly, hard to start, and would vibrate your hands to numbness and rattle the fillings out of your teeth after 30 minutes of use. Turns out 20 years can make a HUGE difference in a tool.

Makita LXT X2 XRU15 String Trimmer

  • Up to 1-1/2 hours of run time with 18V LXT 5.0Ah batteries
  • Makita-built Outer Rotor BL Brushless Motor direct-drive
  • Automatic Torque Drive Technology mode automatically shifts from 3,500-6,500 RPM for extended run time or added power
  • 3 speed options (Low: 3,500 RPM, Medium: 5,300 RPM, High: 6,500 RPM)
  • 15″ cutting swath
  • Includes bump and feed trimmer head loaded with 0.080″ twisted quiet line

Battery Powered Advantages

The Makita XRU15 is battery powered so there’s no gas fumes, no popping your shoulder out of it’s socket trying to start it. Plus the motor is right at the head of the tool. There’s no coupler or drive rod and no 2-stroke engine hammering away so it is significantly quieter and vibrates so much less than a gas powered trimmer it’s almost unbelievable. Plus, there’s no burning hot muffler just waiting for a good opportunity to give you a hard-to-explain-the-location-of burn on your upper arm or elbow.

Basically the Makita XRU15 allows you to have all the pleasant experiences of using a string trimmer and almost none of the unpleasantness. Ok so we’ve established that it’s cleaner, safer, more user friendly, but how well does it work? It works awesome. At 6,500 RPM this trimmer gets the job done. A 15” cutting swath allows the user to get into pretty tight spots and work around obstacles but is also big enough to make short work of larger jobs. The bump feed head can be dis-assembled to reload without tools. The bump feed mechanism works very well, consistently feeding the trimmer line to get back to max length with a few quick bumps.

In Use

I used the XRU15 to trim the grass around my house and around some of the septic treatment buildings and infrastructure for my condo development. I trimmed around tanks, pipes, buildings, stone walls, and edged around walkways, gardens, access hatches, and man-hole covers set at grade level. The XRU15 had plenty of power for the task and only bogged down when I hit bittersweet vines that were around ⅜” thick! I did manage to get the head wound up with vines once but the on-board allen key acts as an arbor lock so the auto-feed head can be removed. I quickly had the jam cleared and was right back to trimming.

All in all I trimmed or edged around a dozen or so hatches, a couple of small out-buildings, my own house, and my neighbors house. I also did some edging around the sidewalk and garden beds in my yard. I was running two freshly charged 5.0 Ah batteries but still had about 50% power left when I was done with the above tasks. Pretty impressive run-time!

makita, cordless, string, trimmer, review

What We Like

Lightweight and easy to handle. The XRU15 has a low operating weight of 10.4 lbs with batteries. The motor being at the head keeps vibration down and gives the tool almost perfect balance. During my testing I had to take a ¼ mile walk to get to some of the grass that I needed to trim. During my ¼ mile walk it was easy to carry one handed, with excellent balance and minimal fatigue. I only had to switch hands once for comfort.

Auto feed, bump auto feed has been around for a while and this one works well. It’s a little finicky to reload but the disassembly and winding doesn’t require tools. Main thing to remember is to keep tension on the line when re-installing the spool.

Excellent User Comfort

The motor being at the head provides lower vibration due to the lack of a drive rod and other mechanical pieces needed to keep the trimmer head spinning. Also the front loop handle attaches to the shaft of the tool via a rubber sleeve which cuts down on high frequency vibration for the user.

The harness just has a rubber pad on it, but because of the low weight it really doesn’t need any more than that. The tool can also spin freely on the harness allowing for easy transitions from trimming to edging. I found myself flipping the tool around quickly and easily while performing these tasks back to back and the trigger and trigger lock work almost as easily upside down as they do right side up.

The trigger and trigger lock have a really light pull so there’s no fatigue from fighting an overly aggressive trigger spring. A squeeze on the handle depresses both the trigger lock on top of the handle and the trigger itself.

All in all I found this to be one of those tools that I don’t really need to think about using. The balance, handles, and trigger were all so intuitive and well laid out that I could FOCUS on the work at hand. In an ideal world this is how tools should be.

18 volt platform: The Makita LXT X2 platform is a great way to get good power for a lot of different tools while still using readily available Makita LXT 18 volt batteries. This is a great way to ease entry into the expanding world of cordless tools and outdoor power equipment like the XRU15. If you’re already on the Makita platform this trimmer is a no brainer! If you’re trying to decide what platform to get on, well, the Makita LXT/LXT X2 platform is a pretty solid bet.

What Could Use Improvement

The shoulder harness is just a bit short for me. I’m not a small guy (6’2”, 275 lbs) but anyone much bigger than me could have some issues with this. Another 6 to 12 inches of strap would be great.

The buttons for the reverse function, power/speed select are small and not super easy to use with gloves. However once you have the buttons pressed and things set how you want the trigger and trigger lock are large and easy to use.

Loading the auto-feed head is a little finicky. Getting the trimmer line wound, winding it in the correct direction, making sure that you have the correct amount of line sticking out, and keeping it from coming unwound while loading it back into the machine is a bit of a challenge.

A simpler auto-feed setup would be nice. Another issue with this is the direction of wind. If you don’t wind it in the correct direction the auto-feed won’t work. The auto-feed head requires a left hand wind. But the auto-feed spool has notes for both left and right hand wind and the only place where the correct direction is mentioned is in the manual. Also the manual specifies a specific amount of trimmer line and that the two ends be off-set by 3-⅛” or so. Some better markings on the tool would be good here. I’m going to take a paint marker and circle the correct orientation, and draw two lines 3-⅛” apart somewhere unobtrusive. That way when I get this bad boy out next spring I won’t have to dig up the manual to figure out how to load the reel.

The line breaks pretty frequently. I’ve been using gas trimmers with the super thick, pre-cut line that you weave into the trimmer head. The auto feed line is much thinner and can break pretty frequently when encountering rough stuff. But when used for normal grass trimming and edging the line held up much better. Also the thinner line makes a cleaner cut than the super-thick pre-cut stuff.

Options in the Makita Line

The XRU15 is also compatible with Makita’s new PDC01 battery backpack system doubling the run time!

Makita also offers the XRU18 which is the big brother to the XRU15. The XRU18 has a wider cutting swath and overall larger size. Might be worth taking a look at if you have larger areas to trim or edge. But for smaller scale and detail work the XRU15 is perfect.

Final Verdict

This is a solid tool with excellent ergonomics and surprisingly good performance. There are some minor issues with set-up but in use this is an absolutely great machine. If you need a string trimmer you can’t go wrong with the Makita XRU15.