Last Updated: March 2019
Mowing the garden is a little like shaving. I remember before I was a house-owner I used to have quite a romantic view of the process. I’d be standing in my front yard, waving at the neighbours, soaking up the sun with a beer and enjoying tending to my land. It would feel grown up, it would be fun and it would be rewarding.
And it was! The first time anyway.
The second time it was a bit too hot and I was tired, but it was getting embarrassingly overgrown out there so I had to do it anyway. I still had a smile of satisfaction when the job was done.
The third time I couldn’t have cared less, And so it continued. Funny how quickly a job gets old when you need to keep doing it.
That’s why it’s such a good idea to invest in something that will make life easier for you. A string trimmer is a tool for cutting your grass that allows you to make light work of it. These are cutters attached to long, upright handles – a bit like a vacuum cleaner, and like vacuum cleaners, they also come in a cordless variety.
Now you’re talking, Instead of carrying a gigantic lawn mower through your shed, you can instead grab something light and easy. Instead of having to run a power cord through your home and keep the door open, you can instead just pick up and go. Instead of pushing something heavy and cumbersome around and struggling to reach the grass around your pathways, you can instead use something light, nimble and agile.
Such is the wonder of the string trimmer! But of course they have draw backs too. Even the best string trimmer will not be suitable for a huge garden and as your lawn gets larger, you’ll need a more powerful and larger trimmer. In some cases, you might use a string trimmer simply as an edge cutter – for getting to those hard to reach areas while allowing your lawnmower to do the bulk of the lawn. But in that case, you’ll need something altogether different again.
In this post then, we’ll be looking at some of the best string trimmers on the market, to help you make your choice.
Black and Decker is one of the best-known brands when it comes to tools and that means you can buy with relative confidence. But how does this particular trimmer stack up? What features does it have? And is it good value overall compared with the competition?
This is a cordless string trimmer, which right away means that you can move freely around your garden. It comes with three battery sizes:
Which one is right for you is going to depend on the size of your lawn.
It offers very powerful cutting which allows it to be used for the main lawn and the edge trimming. Two speed control provides the option of choosing between more power, or more cutting time without draining the battery. EASYFEED means you can enhance your line with a simple button push.
In general, this is a powerful tool thanks to Power Drive Transmission which increases the torque.
This string trimmer has a lot going for it. It is light but very powerful – even being capable of taking on thick weeds. It looks good, is ergonomic and easy to use and will be suitable for a large range of different applications.
There is little to dislike here. The string trimmer is of course not as powerful as a full lawnmower and the only real complaints is that there are some scenarios where it isn’t going to cut the mustard.
This product has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon, which is taken from 1,001 reviews. That’s a very promising sign.
One reviewer said:
“I have only used this once but it handled everything in my yard, including some patches of thick viney weeds. A few times I used power level 2 but most of it was doable at level 1. The battery had a few minutes of extra juice left when I finished. I purchased this model in order to get the better battery, LBXR2520. From what I can tell, the included battery is the only difference in the various models of this trimmer and I’ve posted a chart of the available batteries to save you some time”
Overall, this is a great product that can make life a lot easier for users. It is also very affordable.
BLACK+DECKER LST136W 40V MAX Lithium Ion String Trimmer, 13″
That last string trimmer got us off to a good start, but wait! If you liked that one, then you might just like this one even more: it’s the same overall product from Black and Decker, only this time with even more power.
Like the previous Black and Decker, this string trimmer provides a combination of power and convenience. It has the same PowerDrive Transmission for delivering even more cutting power but this time it is 136W and powered by a 40V battery. That means you can make short work of weeds or anything else that gets in your way.
You also get the same well-known brand, the same sturdy build quality and the same comfortable and user-friendly ergonomic design. The handle houses the trigger which is easy to place pressure on, while there is a second handle down the neck of the device, which gives you better fine control over your movements and a little more elbow grease for those moments when you need it.
Automatic feed spool ensures that you can continue to work easily without bumping, while it only takes a simple twist of the shaft to go from trimmer to edger.
This string trimmer has everything you could really want from a device of this nature. You’ll be unlikely to find something more powerful unless you look for a wired device and that means that you can cut through longer, thicker grass, as well as weeds, plants and anything else you might need to tackle.
The previous model only rarely seemed to fall short in the power department for users, so it’s unlikely that most people will ever have an issue with this one. It’s also nice to see a designated edger mode. The tool is also very convenient to empty.
While you get more power this time around, it’s also, of course, going to be a little bit heavier. It’s also a shame that you don’t have the option to turn down the power in order to conserve battery life. The battery life is long enough that this isn’t often a problem either though.
Obviously, it’s also a little more expensive, but it’s still very affordable and reasonable.
This product has even more impressive user ratings. With 3,974 customer reviews, it manages to average 4.5 stars out of 5. That’s a lot of happy customers and it demonstrates a great combination of power and price.
One reviewer said:
“This 40v lithium battery works wonders and I can do my entire yard on one charge. It also recharges the battery in < an hour if you need to do more. The edging feature is nice although i’ve only used it a couple of times in the 5 weeks I’ve been using the strimmer (you can press a button to rotate the head 90 degrees and flip down the edging guide).”
Overall, this is a fantastic product that provides power, convenience and comfort in a single product. For those looking to make mowing easier, this is a good choice.
This string trimmer from DEWALT is another strong showing from a well known brand. But how does black and yellow do against black and decker?
This system uses a brushless motor, capable of maximizing efficiency for durability and charge time.
The cordless design is light and convenient to use. It comes with a 20V 5.0Ah battery and charger and also features variable speed control.
This is another string trimmer from another reputed brand. Once again, it is light and easy to use, while still offering a good amount of power. The variable speed control is very nice and this is easily accessed right from the trigger.
Unfortunately, build quality seems to be something of a minor issue here. Several users report their product failing after several uses and some state that it can be heavy work.
One of the unfortunate design choices is that the second handle is up the top of the tool. While it weighs just over 8lbs, that strange balancing means that it can feel a lot heavier and actually be quite difficult to use. Considering that string trimmers are designed at least in part to make life easier for you, this is a big disappointment.
This product averages 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon, based on 866 reviews. That’s not bad by any stretch, but it is inferior to the Black and Decker.
One reviewer said:
“Overall if you are the “average American” (have a yard of roughly an acre or less, trim around the house, fence, kids swing set, etc…) this weed eater should be fine for you. I have my yard set up so I don’t have to do a ton of trimming so it doesn’t get heavy use and I think a lot of people might fall into that category. I can throw the battery in and go, not messing with gas, choking, priming, smelling like fuel, etc…
If you’re going to be clearing large areas of heavy weeds and grass, on a regular basis, or you spend more than 30 minutes trimming every time you mow then I’d look elsewhere. This will be capable of doing the occasionally big job but I don’t think it would hold up over the long haul.”
This pretty much sums up the majority of opinions. It’s a good choice if you will be using it for the occasional smaller job, but perhaps isn’t up to being a real work-horse.
BLACK+DECKER GH900 6.5-Amp String Trimmer/Edger, 14-Inch
Let’s return to Black and Decker for a moment.
This is their most affordable option on this list yet and makes investing in a string trimmer much more appealing for those that already have a lawn mower and just want something for tackling weeds and edges.
But how does it compare with its bigger brothers?
In terms of looks and design, this string trimmer is identical to its siblings. That’s good news, as it means you are once again getting something that is easy to control, that is ergonomic and that looks well-made and premium. That’s always the nice thing about getting a ‘lite’ version of a more expensive product – it often retains the same premium design!
Otherwise, you get a 6.5 amp motor, which does have the same high torque transmission.
Unfortunately though, this is a corded trimmer, which right away removes a lot of the convenience that you would normally get from a product like this.
This is a great trimmer for its price and will be great for getting rid of weeds and the occasional patch of long grass. It is powerful on the whole, convenient to use and has a great design.
Unfortunately, while this is a great trimmer, it is not quite as effective as an edger. The tool can occasionally make it difficult to reach into corners or along the edge of walls and this means you might end up wanting more than one device… which kind of undermines the convenience.
And what also undermines the convenience is the simple fact that this is a corded device. That means you’ll take longer to get it out and be constantly working around yourself. Not a deal breaker, but it’s something to consider if you plan on using this a lot.
This product has a 4 star rating on Amazon based on 1,205 reviews. That’s not as impressive as the other two Black and Decker models.
One reviewer said:
“I’ve only used it once so far, but I can honestly say I’m very happy with my choice. It was the first mow of the season so the lawn was a bit scraggly and overgrown, so it was a good test of performance. I removed the edging wheel because I have a separate B&D edger for that purpose and I figured why not reduce some weight. The trimming power is perfect and since I mainly use it along my fence I wouldn’t want it to be any stronger because this one easily has enough power to damage the 8 year old wood fence if I’m not careful.”
But they went on to reiterate that this isn’t the best model for edging.
Overall, this is a good trimmer but not the best edger. It’s a shame that it’s corded too. But if you’re okay with those things, then this is still a great design that’s largely pleasant to use.
Greenworks 13-Inch 40V Cordless String Trimmer/Edger, 2.0 AH Battery Included
Finally, let’s take a look at a model from a slightly less well-known brand. This Greenworks trimmer is lime green which is not going to be to everyone’s tastes but sure does stand out from the crowd.
More importantly though, how does it perform?
This is a cordless string trimmer which is always good news right from the start! Otherwise, it uses essentially the same design we see again and again in string trimmers. It has the control at the end where the trigger is and a long arm for reaching around yourself.
One nice additional feature here though is a pivoting head for edging and trimming. We’d like to see more of those!
The battery and charger are included but this product is also compatible with countless other products from the company. That’s great if you’re a fan!
The pivoting head on this trimmer is a nice touch that makes getting into difficult-to-reach areas that much easier. The design is nice in general and there is adequate power here for trimming edges and chomping through weeds.
As we will see in a moment there is one glaring fault that prevents this from being an easy recommendation. That’s a shame. It’s also not quite as powerful as our top pick from B&D.
This product has 3.5 stars on Amazon out of 792 reviews. That’s not the best and unfortunately it seems that one thing in particular lets the model down: the line.
“The unit works great once I replaced the trimmer line that came with it. I’m using RINO-TUFF .065″ Universal Trimmer Line I picked up at Home Depot. The problem with the supplied line is it was fused together in multiple places on the spool (it’s like it was wound on the spool before it cooled – basically a manufacturing defect) so there are a bunch of places where it gets stuck and can’t feed off the spool. Making things worse is even if you unwind the entire line and then rewind the entire spool in an attempt to fix this problem, the places where the line was fused to an adjacent winding are weakened so they just break way too easily. So, I just pitched the line that came with it and instead used the RINO-TUFF line which I already had for use on my previous trimmer that finally died after decades of use.”
Many more reviews say the same thing and it seems that this is the real glaring error.
Overall, if you are willing to replace the line yourself then this is a good buy – and the pivoting head is a very nice touch. This might be worth the hassle if you have other products that use the same batteries. Otherwise, consider a B&D model instead.
Weight and Size
Important for the inexperienced is to choose something a little lighter. This is going to mean that you’re getting something slightly less powerful but if it means you have more control, then that’s an important trade-off. A heavy string trimmer when you’re holding it up for an hour and it’s vibrating forcefully in your hand can really make the job hard work, so make sure that you know what weight the string trimmer is before you buy.