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 thicker trimming line needed for heavy grass and weeds.
String trimmers come in six basic styles: corded electric trimmers, cheap cordless electric trimmers, cordless electric trimmers to replace your gas unit, gas-powered trimmers, wheeled trimmers and brush cutters. This article will focus on cordless string trimmers to replace your gas unit.
How do Lithium-ion string trimmers compare to gas-powered models? Depending on the brand these trimmers will replace your current residential gas-powered string trimmer. They will have comparable power and about the same runtime on one battery as a tank of fuel as your old temperamental gas trimmer. These are intended to replace the typical gas-powered model you find at your local WalMart, Sears, Home Depot and Lowes. i.e. $100-$250 residential gas string trimmers that use .080-.110 line.
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 now.
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 – Two Acres – Trim every time you mow
My favorite cordless string trimmer for most people is the Toro PowerPlex 14 inch.
Last summer I bought 5 of the top rated cordless string trimmers for review. Of the 5 trimmers, I bought the Toro PowerPlex is the one I grab the most often.
Buy Here: Toro PowerPlex 51482 Brushless 40V Lithium-Ion 14″ Cordless String Trimmer, 2.5 Ah Battery & Charger Included
Toro has been fairly slow to come out with a competitive cordless string trimmer. Why? Because they never jump on the latest trend without spending hundreds of hours researching and testing their prototypes. You can be assured that the item they offer is good, reliable and ready to last you a long, long time.
Many homeowners just want a good trimmer that is very easy to use, is lightweight, trims their lawn well and can cut down the occasional 3-foot weed they missed. The Toro 14 inch brushless is different from the rest. It’s designed for a suburban homeowner who needs a well built, easy to operate, lightweight trimmer. They don’t need a 14 lb monster trimmer to go out in the back 40 and knock down an acre of horseweeds. With the battery, the Toro Powerplex is less than 9 lbs.
What I really like about the Toro
- Extremely efficient brushless motor. Great battery life for a lightweight trimmer.
- The speed is controlled with a trigger just like your older gas powered trimmer so you can trim around delicate areas. This trimmer is very quiet.
- Lighter than all the other trimmers I handled. The quick adjust handle will let both short and tall people use this trimmer any time. You will not need to use a carry strap for extended use. It is balanced very well with just enough weight in the head so it’s very easy to trim accurately around delicate plants and landscaping.
- Heavy duty dual line head for efficient cutting. It uses the standard .080 line and can accept the rounded, twisted and edged varieties. You can wind your own or buy pre-wound spools.
- Excellent quality. Toro has engineered every part of this trimmer to last.
- Foldable for transport in your car trunk. The only straight shaft trimmer on the market that easily folds up.
- At least 45 minutes run time. I can trim my entire one acre landscaped yard twice on one charge. Included T90 battery charges in just an hour.
- This trimmer is part of a system that includes a 480 CFM 150 MPH leaf blower, 24-inch hedge trimmer, 13-inch single line trimmer, 14-inch chainsaw, and double capacity T180 battery.
The Elephant In The Room: Toro’s Battery Size.
From Justin: I am concerned about battery life which is my only hesitation the Toro’s 90 watt-hour T90 battery.
My Answer: The Toro is very efficient and I can get 40 minutes or more of run time out of the T90 battery. Remember you don’t need to leave it running like you do with a gas model when you walk from one area to the next to trim. It also trims very well at half-throttle so the battery can last even longer. Being very efficient you actually get a longer run-time from this lightweight battery than other brands get with larger batteries.
If it takes you longer than that to trim just slap the battery on the charger and have a cup of coffee. You don’t have to charge the lithium battery fully each time you use it. Plus when you are done you can leave the battery on the charger. It won’t hurt the battery at all.
Justin: You know, I hadn’t considered that the unit is not running at all times. You have completely changed my view on what 40 minutes of battery life actually means!
Lithium-ion string trimmers that use the same batteries as your cordless drill.
Most of the popular tool brands now have lawn & garden tools that also fit the cordless drill batteries you already have. 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 without a battery and charger which means you can get a very capable string trimmer for $99-$149. The brands I’ve listed here will have comparable power as the Toro PowerPlex I like so well. 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.
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. The highly rated Toro Powerplex is easily adjusted for short and tall people. Toro PowerPlex.
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, the 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, chainsaws, hedge trimmers and even walk-behind mowers. One battery for all of your lawn & garden needs.
These models are designed to replace your $200-$350 Commercial Gas Trimmer.
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 design 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 56-Volt Lith-ion Cordless Electric 15 in. Powerload String Trimmer with Carbon Fiber Shaft Kit at The Home Depot CR Rank 1
- Makita 18-Volt X2 (36-Volt) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless String Trimmer Kit with (2) Batteries 5.0Ah and Charger 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
- 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 58-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless String Trimmer – 2.0 Ah Battery and Charger Included at The Home Depot CR Rank 9
- Ryobi 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Attachment Capable String Trimmer – 2.6 Ah Battery and Charger Included at The Home Depot CR Rank 3
- Worx 13 in. 56-Volt Max Lithium-Ion Cordless Grass Trimmer Edger at The Home Depot CR Rank Untested
Over Three Acres – Commercial String Trimmers
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 and Stihl offer a backpack battery for all day use. The majority of these trimmers are dealer only so I am only going to cover them one.
Number Two – Stihl FSA 90 R Brushless String Trimmer Review
Stihl makes four cordless string trimmers with removable batteries. In addition, they make two separate battery series. The AK series is designed for homeowners. The AP series is designed for large acreages and commercial operators. The FSA 90 R I choose for this test is the top-of-the-line commercial version. I purchased it with the AP300 battery/charger.
Why? Because I needed one “standard” to judge all the others by. In addition, I’ve used the commercial gas series Stihl trimmers for years and think I the trimmer head they use is one of the best on the market.
What I really like about the Stihl
- With the AP100 battery, it weighs just a few ounces more than the Toro PowerPlex.
- Has many battery options ranging from a 100 WH for homeowners to a huge backpack battery for all-day commercial use.
- Uses the same commercial trimmer head the gas engine models use. It will last the life of the trimmer and then some.
- It has a speed limiter dial on the handle. You can dial down the top speed and it will trim your weekly work well and the battery will last all day. Most reviewers don’t get that the dial is for economy and/or speed control around delicate plants.
- Tremendous cutting power. Even when cutting 8-foot prairie grass I could not get this trimmer to slow down. It also does an excellent job of not wrapping around the head when cutting tall grass.
- This trimmer is part of a system that includes other trimmers, chainsaws, blowers, hedge trimmers and steel-deck walk-behind mowers.
The Trimmer Head
No, this is not a “quick load” head. You will have to read the instructions to load new line on it the first time. Take your time to learn how to load it and it will be easy after that. BUT! It always works and never acts up. Remember, this head is the same commercial head they use on the gas models and even in the worst conditions and abuse, it will last.
Here is a video showing you how to load the head. FYI – you don’t need a screwdriver to push in the buttons. The buttons are designed for your thumbs.
What I don’t like about the Stihl
- Most expensive cordless trimmer on the market.
- You must go to a local dealer to purchase.
- There is no suggested pricing online so you don’t know if you are getting a good deal from your local store. Stihl MAKES you shop different dealers to make sure you are getting a fair price.
If would you like to buy from your local dealer or store that I don’t link to but still want to support My CountryAcre just click on the following link and buy anything you need. I’ll make a small commission from the sale. Buy at Amazon. MyCountryAcre.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and we get a commission on purchases made through our links.