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I hate using string trimmers of any kind, but there are two things I hate worse: maintaining crappy little two-cycles and dragging around 100′ of extension cord.  And that’s assuming I don’t accidentally cut the cord because — as I mentioned — I hate using string trimmers.

Have any of you tried the new cordless models, like this one from Black & Decker?  Besides the fact that it’s cordless, it looks pretty much like other string trimmers.  Does the battery actually run long enough to make it worthwhile, and is it any lighter than a gas model?  Let us know in comments.

18V 12″ Cordless Grasshog Trimmer/Edger [Black & Decker]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s this?]

 

23 Responses to Hot or Not? Cordless Electric String Trimmers

  1. Eric G. says:

    NOT. when I have to drag out the string trimmer there’s usually something woody that will be in the mix somewhere in the yard, even cord powered electrics have been really bad at that. I finally bought a stihl gas powered trimmer and it works like a dream.

  2. KMc says:

    I have the previous model from the one pictured and I can’t say loudly enough how NOT hot it is. Rather than the standard 18v battery pack on this one, mine has a 5-pound integrated handle/battery that is almost impossible to connect/disconnect and creates a weight imbalance that literally put my wife in to physical therapy the only time she used it.

    Ergonomics aside, I find that I get about 15-20 minutes of use on a charge, which is enough for one of my yards. I find it powerful enough for light-duty trimming, although not so much for edging or thick stems.

    I’m actually planning to switch to a corded electric — I find gas trimmers to be extremely unpleasant to use, harder to maintain than electrics, and I have and use a corded electric steel-blade edger, so I’m already hauling cord on days when I do edging anyway and don’t mind it too much.

  3. John Laur says:

    These things suck hard. At least when your gas trimmer runs out of fuel you can start it again after pouring some more in. When this bad boy runs out of juice you have to wait for an hour or so (if the battery is even cool enough to charge) … or you could buy another battery for more than a gas powered trimmer even costs!

    If you really hate 2 cycles that much you actually can get 4 cycle string trimmers, but if you really want to know what’s really hot in trimmers these days it’s INTERCHANGABLE TOOLS. You can’t beat the edger, hedge trimmer and pole saw attachments and even the tiller and blower attachments aren’t half bad if you have no dedicated alternative. The best part is that as far as I’ve seen most brands of attachment universally fit even other brands’ trimmers. It’s quite amaznig if you think about it but I’m sure the trend won’t last — manufacturers will probably want to lock you into their line of accessories…

  4. Erik Ordway says:

    NOT for the above reasons but the
    14″ Grass Hog XP Trimmer/Edger electric is HOT. It works as well as my old gas one, smells a lot better, and does not make my hands want shake off. It has a cord big deal it’s nice and light and electric is cheaper than gas. With the battery ones you are wasting juice converting it back to DC to charge the battery with and those little wall warts are not the efficient they are just cheap to make.

  5. G1ZM0 says:

    I have that exact model and it works great for me. It came with two batteries and I’ve never had to swap the battery more than once when I did my trimming. It’s also a lot quieter than a gas powered trimmer. I think it’s a good solution for someone who doesn’t have a lot of heavy trimming to do.

  6. JamesBrauer66 says:

    My Ryobi was hot till the battery stopped holding a charge, my B&D was junk from day one. With a full charge it would bog down on a couple of inches of grass. Since I don’t have much to trim where I am at now, I invested in a good made in USA handheld clipper.

  7. Yuppers says:

    NOT – When I was growing up, my parents had tried a gas weed wacker, but it was always hard to start or did not start. But I hated the corded electric ones (heavy on the wrong end and the dang cord). So I got a gas one with my first home and as long as I kept fuel stabilizer in the gas can, I always have easy starts even after sitting up for the winter. So phooey on the electric ones until they make one that will trim a big yard on one charge and put the motor up closer to your hands for balance.

  8. Pete Hartman says:

    I’ve never met a B&D string trimmer I liked. Really. They all suck.

    BUT

    Last year I bought an American Gardner Yardstick that has been great with one exception. If you’re not careful when using it as an edger, it’s far too easy to get the line broken off inside the cup, which then has to be taken apart and fooled with to re-string the line. Not hard, but a bit of a hassle.

    But for edging? Fuggedaboutit. Beats the hell out of any other edger, corded or not, that I’ve ever owned. Has a good balance (haven’t looked recently, not sure if the whole motor is up in the handle, or just a big-ass battery), and does the job. To be fair, I don’t have a huge yard, so I can’t speak to its staying power.

  9. Pete Hartman says:

    er, revise previous post: excellent for trimming, not edging. normal use just to cut grass around poles and trees and such where the mower won’t go.

  10. PutnamEco says:

    Not Hot! Give me a gas trimmer any day. I can go through twice as much, twice as fast with my Stihl. If you’re not wanting to waste time weed whipping, gas is the only way to go.
    My recommendations
    Sthil FS 110
    http://www.stihlusa.com/trimmers/FS110R.html
    or Red Max BC 3401
    http://catalog.redmax.com/MyCart/ProductDetails/54/BC3401_DL_Brushcutter.aspx

  11. James says:

    I have a B&D 12V, which is very light, but doesn’t last very long, especially since I put heavy duty line in it. As long as I work quickly, I can usually get everything I need done.

    At some point I’ll have to get a better one. I’ll probably get a Yardworks one since I have their 24V mower which rocks.

  12. Evan N. says:

    These trimmers are NOT hot.

    Weedwhacking is an energy intensive operation; I don’t think you can make a trimmer with a good enough battery. Growing up I remember the B&D Versapack string trimmer which to compensate for its weenyish little battery let you pay out a whopping 2″ of line. At that point it only worked for about 15 minutes anyway.

    I don’t mind plug in ones, they could be fine (and should be all the rage with the carbon footprint reduction contingent) but I think the best cordless weedwhacker is a gas one. How come nobody’s made a 4 cycle one yet? Perhaps 350 Chevy powered? 🙂

  13. Mel says:

    I finally bought a Troy-Bilt 4-cycle trimmer last year. Why did I wait so long!?! Starts first or second pull every time. BTW, re: John Laur’s comment about interchangeability of attachments, all those different brands are made by the same company – MTD

  14. Bryan Brown says:

    Not. I’ve found electric trimmers too weak for the most part. I’ve grown weary of charging and waiting for batteries to charge.

    Plus like the author, I to hate weed whackers. When the cord on mine doesn’t feed I like to smash the hell out of the bumper head on the sidewalk. It does nothing for the weed whacker, but wonders for me!

  15. Kelley Nelson says:

    Cordless – not hot. I don’t want to have to worry about charging up yard tools every week and I have enough area to cover that I will run a battery out of charge.

    I use one of the new 4-mix trimmers. It burns mixed oil and gas, but uses a 4-stroke combustion cycle. Its more fuel efficient, has more torque, is quieter and cleaner than a straight 2-stroke. It’ll also fell small trees if needed 🙂
    http://www.stihlusa.com/trimmers/FS90R.html

  16. Rick says:

    I love mine. I have a smaller lot and it works wonders. I leave it on the charger and have had no problems in the 3 + years I have been using it now.

  17. benjamen says:

    Cordless Electric Trimmer – NOT

    I’ve had a simple weed eater brand gas string trimmer for 5 years now that cost me $65 bucks. I really don’t get why people think taking care of small two cycle engines are such a pain. I just run it out of gas at the end of the season, pull the plug, put some Seafoam in the cylinder, and put the plug back in. In the spring I put gas back in it and pull like 6-7 times, it smokes for a few minutes, then it’s ready for another year. If it didn’t start I wouldn’t spend a ton of time on it because I’ve got less than $15 a year into it.

    As for keeping many cans of mixed gas, I just have 3-1 gallon gas cans, I buy a gallon for each can in the spring, mix each one to the ratio of 1:32 1:40, and 1:50. I have to refill each can maybe once a season (I also have a 2 gallon can I mix with just stable. My lawnmower and snow blower use that one). Then in the fall I dump what is remaining in my truck.

    Back to my small gas weed eater, I have used it to cut down 10 sq ft of hay in my garden and it’s barely working hard. I hardly ever pull the trigger when I’m just trimming, as idle normally has enough power to do the job. I’d like to see any cordless electric perform as well.

  18. Gerard says:

    Tired of crappy 2 cycles? Thats simple, don’t buy crappy two cycles. Seriously a good commercial Echo will outlast any Sears, Poulan, Weed Tickler, etc…. by months if not years especially if it is well maintained.

  19. Pencilneck says:

    Less than hot, more of a pretty warm. It has it’s limits and it isn’t going to replace a gas powered trimmer. My wife purchased on a few years ago and has been pleased with it for the most part. It can eat the batteries, but for light duty work, along a fence and around some rock beds, it does a pretty good job. She doesn’t have to deal with gassing anything up (or one that sat all winter without fuel treatment).

    If you understand it’s limits and know you can work within said limits, then it actually is a nice tool since it is very easy to use.

  20. Chetter Hummin says:

    I have this exact model, too, and I’m very happy with it. I got the whole set – brush trimmer, string trimmer, and leaf blower. The leaf blower isn’t as powerful or long-lasting as I’d like, but it cleans the driveway just fine. (We have very wet falls here with heavy leaves – even corded leaf blowers aren’t strong enough for me, so I stuck with gas for that.)

    Whoever was whining about the cost of extra batteries is full of it. New ones only cost $35, and I got enough batteries with my tools that I haven’t even had to get another. And what I’m saving in gas, spark plugs, 2-stroke oil, air filters, carb maintenance, and just the overall hassle, etc. etc. is WELL worth it.

  21. Kevin Pace says:

    Stay away from the Worx 18 volt. It is a piece of junk. Every one I’ve sold this season has come back usually for flimsy construction or a motor burnout.

  22. ToolMaster says:

    Most people have the wrong expectations of cordless trimmers regardless of type. Gas Trimmers are a pain. They polute, smell, vibrate, are noisy and leave you smelling like their exhaust. The electrics lack power and depending on size of lot used on, battery charge longevity is an issue. Further, in the past, due to voltage limitations, the electrics lacked power. That is until now. Black and Decker now has a 36 Volt Trimmer (that I recently purchased) that has adjustability for handle positioning, a strap to help support and distribute the product weight and with the combination of their 36 volt power pack and gear-driven mechanism, there are few “trimmer” jobs that it cannot handle. One of the main issues with any of these trimers gas or electric is the poor design for the line feed, both during use and during the attempt to do the re-stringing installation. Being a design engineer I recognize this as a problem for which there is a solution but for some reason none of the companies that offer these trimmer products have focused on solving this problem and do not want to accept the solutions offered to them by 3rd party designs (no, I’m not one of these who have offered a solution..yet). The other key problem, is the “conditioning” of the Battery Pack during the charging process. This B&D unit, like many before it, has a NiCad Battery Pack. It requires a complete deep charge to start, then a complete discharge before recharging and so on. An improper charge cycle will result in very poor operating time before another charge is required. The best choice for a large yard, requiring significant operating time is to have multiple battery packs. Yes, these Packs are not cheap but they far outweigh the screwing around with gas and oil, and plug fouling, and difficulty in starting and on and on. Soon these devices will be converting to the Lithium Ion packs that are now becoming common in hand-held tools. One more item, just because a product has 12 vdc or 18 vdc power does not necessarily imply “not as good” or “better”. It depends on the efficiency of the motor being used, the method of applying that motor power to the working head and the construction of the battery pack itself.

  23. Tom says:

    Hot. Well here in 2015 anyway, 8 years after the original poster asked the question. I bought an echo 58v trimmer, and set my stihl fs85x down because it works so well. One word about the batteries though. EGO makes the best battery design I have seen so far and since the is the brians of the motor you better pay attention. The EGO, which I do not own btw, has not only sealed the circuit boards to waterproof them, they have also gone to the trouble of putting thermal control material coatings on each cell inside their battery pack. This directly affects temperature and therefore the consistentcy of output. This will have an impact on the lifespan and usefulness of the battery. However, since they cost 200.00 and the other high volt designs are as low as half that at 100.00 from some vendors, it may not be that big of a trade off.

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