Cordless String Trimmers have come a long way in the last few years. If you using a string trimmer every time you mow there are now many good cordless string trimmers that easily replace and last longer than the $100-$150 smelly, temperamental gas engine models you used to need. There are also cordless models that use the stronger trimming line needed for heavy grass and weeds.
String trimmers come in five basic styles: corded electric trimmers, cordless electric trimmers, gas-powered trimmers, wheeled trimmers and brush cutters. This article will give you a quick explanation of which type will work best for you but the main focus will be cordless string trimmers to replace your gas unit. Once you decide on the style and quality level, I’ll post a link to good string trimmers for that style and quality.
I strongly suggest that you stay far away from any brand that you do not recognize. There are many low quality or poorly supported cordless string trimmers on the market for sale at all the major box/retail stores including Amazon. Please stick with the brands listed on this page for 2017.
Remember, my goal is to help you find the best string trimmer for you. Just because some review site rates a particular model as the best I strongly suggest you look at other factors that will help you make the decision. For example, voltage is not a true measurement of performance. There are many 40 volt trimmers that are more powerful than a 56 or 82 volt. It’s the motor size, current availability and RPM that all factor into the toughest or best for you.
One Acre or Less – Trim every time you mow
Lithium-ion string trimmers that uses the same batteries as your cordless drill .065-.080 line. These cordless string trimmers are designed to replace your low-cost gas-powered trimmers with a trimmer that is more durable and easier of use.
One feature really nice about this class is most of the popular tool brands now have lawn & garden tools that also fit the cordless drill batteries. For example the Dewalt DCST920P1R 20V MAX uses the same batteries as their entire 20 volt MAX tool line. If you already have plenty of batteries most brands offer the bare tool only which means you can get a very capable string trimmer for $99-$149. Depending on the brand these trimmers will replace your current gas-powered string trimmer and will have comparable power and the same run time as a tank of fuel as your old temperamental gas trimmer. DeWalt, Ryobi, Black & Decker, Milwaukee and Makita all have compatible string trimmers to their tool line. If you don’t want to match batteries to your tools there are many other brands like Works and EGO that have cordless string trimmers in this range. Below is a list of cordless string trimmers for one acre or less here. Click on the links below to read more and purchase.
- Milwaukee M18 FUEL at The Home Depot
- DeWalt 20 v MAX at The Home Depot
- DEWALT FLEXVOLT 60V MAX String Trimmer at Amazon NEW! This is the one I am going to buy for my one acre because I have DeWalt tools. It uses both 20 volt MAX and the new FlexVolt batteries.
- Black & Decker 20 Volt at Sears
- Ryobi One+ at The Home Depot
- Makita 18 volt LXT at The Home Depot
- All Are Available at Amazon!
How do these compare to gas-powered models? These are intended to replace the typical gas-powered model you find at your local WalMart, Home Depot and Lowes. i.e. $100-$199 residential gas string trimmers that use .080-.110 line.
I actually have a hard time discussing this area/price range of gas string trimmers. Tens of thousands of people buy these cheap gas string trimmers every year and hate them. Personally, I wish this class of gas trimmers would go the way of 8-track tapes. Simply stated, cordless battery-powered string trimmers are now good enough in both performance and durability that you don’t need one of these cheap gas trimmers anymore. Yes, I know there is that old guy down the street who has kept his WeedWacker running for 26 years but the rest of us are usually looking for something that will start and stay running within a few years. Yes, this still a huge market and all the brands are constantly pushing these – but seriously look at the cordless trimmers instead.
Note: The only reason you may want a curved shaft gas string trimmer is because you are 5 ft 5 in or less. For everyone else the curved shaft models will leave you with a backache. Beside the straight shaft models keep the debris farther from your feet and you can reach into and under bushes and fences easier.
One-Three Acres – Trim every time you mow
40-82 volt Lithium-ion residential string trimmer that uses .080-.110 line. Cordless string trimmers have come a long way in the last 5 years and there are now many offered that have the performance of gas without all the hassles. These units are capable of doing your weekly string trimming and also cutting down that ragweed “bush” you missed out behind the woodshed. Just remember, battery voltage is not a true measure of performance with this class of trimmers. A 40 volt system can be just a powerful as a 56 or 82 volt. Troy-Bilt CORE, Dewalt 40 volt, EGO Power +, M18 FUEL™ HIGH DEMAND, just to name a few. These trimmers are extremely quiet and weigh less than their comparable gas models. Most of these string trimmers are part of a dedicated cordless platform that includes trimmers, blowers, chain saws, hedge trimmers and even walk-behind mowers. One battery for all of your lawn & garden needs.
NOTE: Many of the review sites are saying the EGO Power+ is the best. But, most sites are not testing all the units. While it is a good unit if I were buying a dedicated cordless platform for my lawn & garden needs today I would put the Troy-Bilt CORE at the top of my list and compare all the others to it. Why? Because the motor technology in the CORE units is a solid step above anything else on the market. The patented CORE motor is the strongest brushless electric motor for its size and has battery conservation second to none. The Troy-Bilt CORE is actually a commercial unit in residential packaging. If you want/need a trimmer, blower, hedge trimmer and self-propelled walk-behind mower seriously look at the Troy-Bilt CORE Please click on the links below to read more or purchase.
- Troy-Bilt CORE TB4200 40V 16-Inch Straight Shaft Cordless String Trimmer Kit at Amazon Commercial Grade CR Rank 2
- EGO ST1501-S String Trimmer at The Home Depot CR Rank 1
- Makita XRU07Z LXT at The Home Depot 18V X2 String Trimmer CR Rank Untested
- Stihl FSA 90 R 36V String Trimmer Dealer Only CR Rank Untested
- Greenworks GST80321 80V String Trimmer at Amazon CR Rank Untested
- Craftsman 24 volt Max at Sears CR Rank Untested
- Oregon ST-275-A6 40V String Trimmer at Amazon Commercial Grade CR Rank 7
- DeWalt DCST990 40V Commercial Grade String Trimmer at Amazon CR Rank Untested
- Echo 58V CST-58V4AH Commercial Grade String Trimmer at The Home Depot CR Rank 9
- Ryobi RY40220 40V String Trimmer at The Home Depot CR Rank 3
- Worx WG191 56V String Trimmer at The Home Depot CR Rank Untested
- BLACK+DECKER LST560C 60V MAX at Sears CR Rank Untested
$199-$359 residential gas string trimmer. If you are the type who judges a string trimmer by how large of weeds it will mow down then cordless electric string trimmers are not for you. The trimmers on the above list all will whack down that occasional errant weed that’s taller than your 3-year-old they are not designed to mow down the old horse pen that you let get away on you. In that case you need a quality gas-powered trimmer.
When you pay more than $300 for a 2-cycle gas-powered string trimmer you step into a much higher level of performance and power than the cheaper “stuff.” They will easily handle thick grass, long grass and even that mess of weeds and orchard grass you forgot out behind the chicken coop. You just pull the throttle and cut. When you pull the throttle lever on these better gas units they rev up quickly and you can feel the power ready to work. On weekly trimming they are almost relaxing to use compared to the “big sale” item at the local box store. When you get into this price range you also get better starting features and reliability. Ten years ago you had to find a lawn equipment dealer to find this higher quality product but today many farm supply stores, hardware stores and rural lifestyle dealerships now carry this better line of gas trimmers. Echo, Husqvarna and Stihl are popular brands at these stores.
Over Three Acres
Commercial grade Lithium-ion string trimmer. Commercial grade cordless string trimmers are a solid step above the residential models. The battery voltage as listed appears the same as the residential models but voltage is not the true measurement of performance. These models have larger capacity batteries that allow higher current draw for very powerful brushless geared motors. DeWalt 40 volt, Husqvarna 36 volt, Stihl, Oregon just to name a few. Husqvarna even offers a 26 AH battery backpack for all day use. The majority of these trimmers are dealer only so I am not going to cover them here.
- Husqvarna 115iL and 536LiLX 36V Commercial Grade String Trimmer Dealer Only
Commercial grade gas string trimmer. I’m not going to spend a lot of time discussing commercial gas string trimmers. These are powerful enough to cut down tall grass without the grass wrapping around the head. Some models are so strong they require bicycle handlebars to hang on to them. Most start at $350 or more and the more expensive ones will last you 15-20 years and cut down anything quickly and efficiently.
They don’t break and always start. Just walk into your favorite commercial lawn equipment dealer and let them show you what they have to offer. Be aware he may show you brands you have never heard of like Dolmar, Tanaka, Stihl, RedMax, Efco, Shindawa, Echo, OREGON and of course Husqvarna. The commercial market is much larger and robust than the residential trimmer market so there are many more brands available.
Farm with Fences
Trimming a half-mile or more of woven wire fence is going to take more time and power than the current cordless string trimmers are capable of. Most farmer I know only trim once or twice a year so it requires thick, strong line and lots of power. Efficiently only a commercial stick trimmer or wheeled walk-behind gas trimmers are the best choice.
- Commercial grade gas string trimmer
- Wheeled gas trimmer. The trimmers listed below are better trimmers than you will find at your local big box store.
- Swisher Easy Glide STP67522BS 6.75 Gross Torque 22-Inch Self-Propelled String Trimmer
- Swisher Trim Max STD67522BS 6.75 Gross Torque 22-Inch Deluxe String Trimmer
- ARIENS COMPANY 946154 22″ Walk Behind Trimmer
- Generac 22″ Gas Powered Trimmer Mower
- Swisher STS67522BS 22″ Trim-N-Mow Plus String Trimmer
Brush up to 1/2 inch in diameter and/or steep slopes you trim a few times a season.
- There are no cordless units that fall into this category at the moment although Husqvarna will have a brush cutter soon that works with their battery backpack.
- Commercial grade solid shaft gas string trimmer with brush cutting head. Over $400. The major commercial brands like Husqvarna, Stihl, Echo, and others all make dedicated gas brush cutters designed for heavy commercial forestry work.
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