Cordless Yard Trimmer Options
May 12, 2009 8:18 AM   Subscribe

YardFilter: My mom wants a new weed whacker/trimmer, preferably electric cordless. Are there any good models out there?

My mom is a woman in her early 50's, and she's in decent shape, but she doesn't like the noise, weight, smell, or environmental damage of a gas-powered weed whacker. She used a Black and Decker corded Grass Hog for a while, but when it died, she wanted to switch to a cordless option for convenience. We tried this Cordless Black and Decker, but we were pretty disappointed. It had a very short battery life, around 10 minutes, and weak power. It may have been the batteries it came with, though, so if anyone has found replacements to work better, that would be good to know. I think I remember reading there were lithium ion batteries available for it, and I wonder if those would have held a charge for a longer amount of time.

Are there any good cordless weed whackers that can handle the occasional big weed and generally handle grass in the corners? Are there any models that can also run from a cord when the battery runs out or you want more force? Specific model numbers would be appreciated. Easy loading of line is also a big plus. Our budget is probably somewhere between $80 and $350.

A lightweight, easy to use gas trimmer is also a possibility, if there is one that works well. It's entirely possible cordless isn't an option for our yard, which is fairly big (not sure of the acreage, maybe a half?).
posted by mccarty.tim to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have never used any of these, but I do have a Consumer Reports subscription. According to their ratings, the cordless trimmers all basically suck though the Black & Decker Grass Hog NST2018 was the best of the worst. For corded models, the recommend the Black & Decker GH1000 or the Stihl FSE 60. For gas power, they liked the Stihl HomeScaper Series FS 45 best. The gas and corded models scored similarly; the cordless model was scored about one half as highly. Hopefully this will give you a starting point to look.
posted by procrastination at 8:32 AM on May 12, 2009

I bought the top-of-the-line Black and Decker model procrastination mentions above, and returned it to Amazon the next day. It's significantly larger and heavier than the one your Mom tried, and the battery still only lasts 15 minutes. My suggestion is to get Mom the lightest, highest-quality corded model you can find, with a really long outdoor-rated cord. (The Grass Hogs are junk, though they've redesigned their low-end models recently.)

Because whacking weeds is all about torque -- you need more for big weeds -- a gas-powered trimmer is always best. The new gas models (at least in CA) are more environmentally friendly than they used to be, and don't require mixing oil and gas anymore. Ask at your local big-box home center -- if Mom doesn't mind pouring gas once in a while, this may be her best option.
posted by turducken at 8:46 AM on May 12, 2009

I had a "Toro" cordless electric and it was shit -- the battery lasted ok (maybe 40 minutes) but it had absolutely no "grunt" whatsoever and could be brought to a standstill if a blade of grass displayed even a scintilla of attitude.
posted by Rumple at 10:05 AM on May 12, 2009

I love my old electric corded Weedeater. They make a gas model, but I don't know good they are in comparison. You can also get different thickness of string, so if you have to do a bunch of harder stuff you can change out the string for something tougher.
posted by fiercekitten at 10:36 AM on May 12, 2009

I just bought a Worx GT cordless trimmer over the weekend at Sears for around $100. I used it on our .4 acre lot with lots of fence line and it worked great. The instructions say that it will run for 30 minutes on one charge. I probably used it for pretty close to the full 30 minutes without any problems. I actually prefer it to the gas trimmers I've used in the past because it is quite a bit lighter and quieter. The battery is just like the ones from cordless drills and slides out of the top for charging. I imagine it would be fairly easy to get a spare battery if the battery life is an issue.
posted by ttrendel at 10:37 AM on May 12, 2009

I was just going to recommend the cordless Black & Decker Grass Hog! We had battery issues too: they had to be charged overnight the night before we wanted to use them; after a while, one no longer charged at all; and the other would only hold a charge for a few minutes. It turned out to be a problem with the charger it came with. We bought a new Black & Decker 9.6V - 18V Fast Charger, and now both batteries charge quickly and completely, and hold their charge. After reading reviews of the cordless Grass Hog, it sounds like lots of other people had this battery charger issue. So I'd pick up a new charger and give it another try.
posted by LolaGeek at 11:30 AM on May 12, 2009

I have a B&D Grass Hog as well and on my 1/4 acre it'll do most of the edging before giving out (or spinning so slowly that it won't cut). I bought a powerful corded model but have used a friend's 4-stroke gas powered trimmer from Honda. It is amazing and quiet and lightweight and balanced and no oil/gas mixing and it's not that expensive.

When it is time for me to buy another trimmer, it'll be that Honda.
posted by bz at 11:43 AM on May 12, 2009

« Older Have you lost weight using a low GI/GL diet?   |   How do we plan a high school reunion without... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.