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A quality string trimmer is essential for proper lawn care. A cordless trimmer is lightweight, easy to use and better for the environment.
I researched hundreds of brands and models and put together what I feel are the best cordless trimmers to buy.
Quick look: the best battery powered weed eaters to buy:
- DEWALT DCST970X1: my pick for the best cordless string trimmer, very powerful 60V brushless motor & long lasting charge
- Makita XRU09PT: commercial grade build quality (but expensive), 2 batteries provide long run time,
- EGO ST1502SF: very well known cordless brand, 15″ for
widecutting path, long warranty
- Milwaukee M18: extremely highly rated by owners, super quick to full throttle, pro head
- Worx WG163 GT 3.0: super simple to use, very versatile, lightweight & reliable
- Husqvarna 115iL: telescoping shafts makes it easy to adjust the length, save mode extends battery life
- Greenworks ST80L210: wide swath, great power, and rapid recharge
- Toro PowerPlex 51482: folding shaft makes storing easy, durable aluminum head, Toro namesake
How to Use a Cordless String Trimmer
The first thing to remember about using a cordless string trimmer is spin direction. If your trimmer spins clockwise, it throws out material from the right side of the machine and cuts the best with the left side. If you’re walking along a low fence, curb, or walkway, the left side of your body should be kept closer to the work, so the tool head will be able to both cut and eject toward the right. Naturally, if you have a trimmer that spins counter clockwise, it will discharge materials from the left-hand side of the tool and will cut best with its right side.
There are several different cutting techniques to remember – scything, screeding, edging, and tapering. Keep in mind one important fact – the cutting power is located at the end of the string. Scything is used when you’re working up against something that you either can’t walk easily along or whenever you’re working in some tall grass. Bring your trimmer out of and into the work using a slight shallow U motion. Overlap this scythe motion to even out the cut.
Screeding is used for weeds and grass that are growing in paths, driveways, and sidewalk cracks. Tip your cordless trimmer so that its string-tips are lightly bouncing off the pavement; next, cut flush into the hard surface of the weed’s base. Remember that if your cutting angle is too shallow, you won’t be cutting effectively. If your cutting angle is too sharp, the string won’t be able to cut the plant base evenly.
For edging, turn your cordless trimmer so that the string is vertical, and walk the tool directly into the just cut path. The tool will pull up debris, rocks, and dirt doing this, but this is expected in a yard that hasn’t been edged before. Then, on a weekly basis, slowly ‘sneak up’ on the exact edge that you want, and it will be easy to maintain after that.
Tapering, or holding the tool, so it hits the grass at a very slight angle, is preferred when you’re working along a fence, retaining wall, curb, or tree. You will be cutting less grass with the tapering method, and leaving a tight edge which will blend into the height of the grass you’ve just mowed for a nice, clean look.
How to Determine the Best Cordless Weed Whacker to Buy
There are many considerations when deciding on which cordless weed whacker is the best purchase for you:
- First of all, you should consider the weight of the trimmer since you’re the one who’s going to be carrying it around. Look for a lighter weight model that offers excellent maneuverability.
- Second, look for a trimmer that has a decent-sized safety guard to protect you against flying debris (of course you should always wear goggles when whacking to protect your eyes against flying grass and rocks).
- Third, look for a weed whacker that has a trigger lock to prevent it accidentally running when not in use. The switch should be easy to reach.
- Fourth, decide whether or not you want to have an automatic feed system or a bump feed system. Either one works well, so it’s just a matter of your personal preference. More expensive trimmers will usually feature a spool that you’ll be able to load quickly with new lines.
- Fifth, look for durable construction (but remember that even the costliest models use a few plastic details to reduce their weight).
How Much Should I Expect to Pay?
Usually, the finest cordless string trimmers on the market will cost more than your typical gas-powered model. Of course, with a stringless trimmer you won’t have any of the expenses of oil or gas costs or engine maintenance, so your initial cost is most often offset by a gas trimmer’s ongoing expenses. A good cordless trimmer will cost anywhere from about $125 to $250. Online reviewers state that buying a cordless trimmer if a cost effective way to trim and edge your yard, and they are very pleased with the amount of power these trimmers provide.
Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Models
What is the difference between cheap string trimmers and more expensive models? There are a number of points to consider:
- Cheap string trimmers will need to be babied – i.e., handle with extreme care. If you want a machine that’s sturdy and won’t fall apart at a glance, then opt for a more expensive model
- More expensive models will be more powerful, last longer, and will usually come with a longer warranty
- If you have a small yard and minimal landscaping tasks, a cheap string trimmer might be everything you need. If you do extensive landscaping work, edging, trimming and mowing, and you have a lower tolerance for noise, you will want to purchase a more expensive model
- More expensive models of string trimmers will have their weight evenly distributed. Their controls will be easy to reach and will work smoothly. Cheaper models may have a design flaw that allows weeds and tall grasses to wrap themselves around the cutting head and either stall or slow down the trimmer
Do I Need a Gas Trimmer Instead?
If you have a large yard and need 16-18 inches of cutting swath, and don’t mind the louder noise, heavier weight, air pollution, and the necessity of keeping both oil and gas on hand, then a gas-powered model might be the right choice to make. For a larger yard, you’ll need to look for a two-cycle machine with a separate choke, primer, and throttle controls. If you’re looking to tame a jungle, a four-cycle engine trimmer will be necessary (they’re easier to start, pollute less, are much quieter, and don’t need an oil-gas mix).
You might want to look at a gas trimmer instead of a cordless string trimmer if you have experienced problems with string trimmers before.
Is RPM Important?
A general rule – For cordless trimmers, the higher the battery voltage, the more RPMs that device can achieve. The higher revolutions per minute that your weed whacker produces will give you increased cutting power. An 80V battery, for instance, will produce an equal amount of power as a 32cc gas engine.
How Much Power Do I Need?
The cordless trimmers being reviewed here today all have lithium-ion batteries, which are the most popular kind of rechargeable batteries on the market today. These batteries are a lightweight alternative to heavier Ni-cad batteries, and the newest ones are so much improved that they’ll give a tank of gas a run for its money.
Lithium-ion batteries come in several different voltages – from 18 volts all the way up to 82 volts. A 40V MAX 4.0Ah battery will provide you with 120 watt-hours of energy. The cordless trimmers reviewed here today range from a 20V battery providing 7,200 RPM to an 80V battery. A 20V battery is sufficient for most trimming requirements of a small to medium-sized yard (approximately 20-30 minutes of actual cutting). A 40V battery with a PowerCommand dial allows the operator to choose between maximum power for tackling thick weeds (8,500 RPM) and maximum runtime (6,500 RPM) to increase the life of the battery. An 80V battery will provide about 45 minutes of run time, which is good for larger yards.
How to Maintain Your String Trimmer
All string trimmers will have to have the trimmer line replaced at some point. The way to replace the line will depend on whether the trimmer is a single-line model or a dual-line model, and if you wind the line(s) yourself, use a spool that is pre-wound, or use pre-cut pieces of line. In all cases follow the instructions from the manufacturer carefully and use the trimmer line that is specified.
While you are replacing the line, make sure to clean the area circling the trimmer head and the cutting shield. Inspect the machine for wear and tear. Make sure only to use approved replacement parts.
Before storage, allow your trimmer to cool, brush off any debris or clippings, and apply any necessary lubrication. All metal surfaces can be sprayed with a light oil to prevent rust. Store it in a dry, well-ventilated area, out of children’s reach.
Cordless Trimmer Reviews
1) DEWALT DCST970X1 FLEXVOLT 60V String Trimmer
- Brushless motor provides great power and smooth operation
- Lightweight (12 pounds) and features an ergonomic design that minimizes arm stress and maximizes control
- 60V FlexVolt Battery is long lasting
- A larger defector would offer better protection
- String that comes standard could be thicker
The DEWALT DCST970X1 features a 60 Volt 3.0AH battery, a bump feed, 2 lines, 2 speeds, and has a 3-year limited warranty.
I love the fact that the batteries are backwards compatible. Meaning you can the 60V battery in your other DEWALT 20V and 120V tools. Great idea!
It was hard to find a downfall for this tool. The only thing I could come up with is the deflector guard is too small. You will get covered in debris as you weed whack, so it’s very important to wear safety goggles.
I own this model and use it almost every time I cut my grass. It’s a great tool!
2) Makita XRU09PT Brushless Lithium-Ion Trimmer
- Powerful, commercial like build quality
- 2 lines for added cutting power with bump feed
- Up to 60 minute run time
- Shaft on the shorter side – not ideal for tall people
The Makita XRU09PT is about as close to a commercial grade weed whacker as you are going to get with a battery powered model. It is extremely well built with just the right amount of functions to limit repairs.
It’s 2 battery system is great and provides plenty of power and long run time. It also charges fairly quickly.
The bump head works well and the line provided is strong enough for most homeowners.
It is on the expensive side which may steer some people away from it, but if you are looking for a tank link product, you should consider this one.
3) EGO ST1502SF Brushless Weed Whacker
- Great for taller people with a 49″ shaft
- Wide, 15″ cutting swath
- 56 Volt brushless motor runs with 5 year warranty
- Brand needs better customer service
- Difficult to reload string in some instances
EGO has been making quality cordless products for a long time now. They were some of the first to start to use high voltage batteries. The ST1502SF is another excellent product.
I am tall (6’4″), so I can really appreciate the longer shaft at 49″. It is much easier on my back when I’m using this tool for extended periods of time.
The 56 Volt battery in combination with the 15″ swath and brushless motor are close to as powerful as gas models. It’s plenty for most homeowners.
I have heard (but not experienced personally) that EGO needs to improve response time from their customer service team. They offer a great warranty (5 years), which lets you know they stand behind their products.
4) Milwaukee M18 2725-21HD Cordless String Trimmer
- Reaches full power in under 1 second
- Pro bump head accepts 0.080″ & 0.095″ line
- Battery works across all M18 models
- Would prefer more powerful battery
- A few customers have complained about quality issues
If you know tools, you know Milwaukee. The company has a long history of making high quality tools. The 2725 M18 is no exception.
It gets to full power so fast, it’s almost too fast. You need to be ready to use it as soon as you pull the trigger because it will be roaring to go.
I do wish they would have put a more powerful battery in this unit. The 18 volt battery is a bit under powered compared to its competitors. Although it is the perfect match if you have other M18 tools.
It has a rock solid head, shaft and motor, but it is a little expensive for a 18 Volt trimmer in my opinion.
5) Worx WG163 GT 3.0 Battery Powered Trimmer & Edger
- 2-in-1 wheels for edging & trimming
- Quick telescopic height adjustments and a 90-degree tilting head
- Automatic 100% single-line feed. No bumps ever!
- Not for heavy use – lacks power
- Short battery life
The Worx WG163 is perfect for light use around small yards and gardens. It is simple to use, lightweight and very versatile. It’s priced right, that you could really own this as a secondary trimmer to a more heavy duty model for larger jobs.
I love how easy it is to switch between trimming & edging. Worx has the 2 in 1 tool system down to a science.
Don’t expect the WG163 to provide the same cutting power as a gas weed whacker or a more powerful cordless model. It’s not made or priced to compete with those models, but it does do an excellent job for a lightweight, everyday trimmer.
6) Husqvarna 115iL:
- Priced very competitively, below average in most cases
- Telescopic shaft makes it easy to adjust the length
- Power save mode helps to increase run time
- Hard to get replacement parts if something goes wrong
- Head has too much plastic
I am a big fan of Husqvarna products. They provide good value for your money plus I love the orange color.
The 115iL should probably be higher up on my list, but Husqvarna is still fairly new at making battery operated products. They have an excellent history with
The Husqvarna 115iL is powered by a brushless motor and has a 40 volt battery. If has a good power to run time ratio. I really like the telescoping shafts easy adjustability.
I do feel like Husqvarna should offer a longer consumer warranty (it’s on 2 years). I am also not a fan of the plastic head – it just seems prone to breaking after heavy use.
7) GreenWorks Pro ST80L210 80V Cordless String Trimmer
- Very reliable brushless motor
- Provides 60 minutes of runtime
- 16″ cutting swath cuts quickly
- It’s a bit on the heavy side
- The shield is too small
I’m a big fan of the ST80L210’s wide, 16″ cutting swath, dual line and 80V battery. The weed whacker will make quick work of most homeowners trimming needs. It is powerful and well built from a company that has been making cordless tools for a long time.
The steel shaft splits so storage is simple. It also has a front motor mount which helps with balance and fatigue.
There is also a big brother to this tool that has an attachment shaft for things like a brush cutter or an edger.
I have read that some people find this trimmer to be too heavy and not good for extended use. There have also been complaints that the guard is too small as well and doesn’t protect from flying debris very well.
8) Toro PowerPlex 51482:
- Toro brand quality
- Decent run time – up to 40 minutes
- Foldable for simple storage
- Feels underpowered
- Plastic feels cheap to me
Toro has been making high quality lawn products for a long time. They are one of the most popular commercial lines used to maintain golf courses – so they know how to make a great product!
The PowerPlex 51482 is another high quality product. It is lightweight, has a solid engine and my favorite part is it is foldable.
I don’t about you, but I am always looking for a better way to store my lawn care tools and having a foldable shaft is awesome!
I am a bit disappointed in the power and quality of the materials. The plastic housings feel cheap to me compared to similar priced products. I am not sure how long it will last with weekly (or more) use.
After looking at hundreds of cordless trimmers, I can confidently say that my favorite is the DEWALT DCST970X1.
It may not be the best choice for you, so please read through my buyers guide carefully to help choose one that fits your needs.
If you need more help, please contact me or leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!