Thoughts on cordless electric weedeaters?
September 16, 2017 3:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking at getting a cordless electric weedeater, but reviews are pretty mixed on all the ones I've looked at. I'm hoping to keep it around or less than $100, since I wouldn't use one very often even if I liked it. Anyone have any recent experiences, good or bad, or recommendations?

I looked through older questions but didn't see anything in the past few years, and battery technology seems to change fast. I have had a corded electric weedeater for six years now, but I hate the thing and current cordless versions are lighter. My yard is pretty small but I would like to be able to edge and cut some patches of weeds. I really do not want a gas weedeater at all because I hate the noise.
posted by dilettante to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This is what I bought earlier this year.

I use it for about 15-20 minutes once a week. It gets the job done, is not overly heavy, and it slides shorter when you need to store it. It's been perfect and I have no current complaints.
posted by selfnoise at 3:29 PM on September 16, 2017

Best answer: We have a RYOBI One+ and it has held up fairly well. We don't have a huge yard, but it gets use a fair bit on summer months. The batteries do tend to fail under heavy use (I mean, I use them in a lot of different tools, some daily, not I do a lot of weedwhacking), but for intermittent weedwhacking I'm sure you'd see much longer life out of them. I think my mom's version has a cord/battery option which is also handy.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 3:30 PM on September 16, 2017

I have one that I bought about four years ago. It uses the same battery as my cordless drill which means I have two chargers (and like 3-4 batteries). I found that two batteries will last me 20 minutes or so, enough for me at one go. I'm just using them for light trimming though- where I can't reach readily with a lawnmower. I'm not using them to clear major brush.
posted by noloveforned at 3:39 PM on September 16, 2017

We have the Ryobi. Get 2 batteries so you can swap them out if one dies before you're finished with the job.
posted by matildaben at 4:04 PM on September 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I switched to a Ryobi from a Stihl heavy weed eater. I love the battery power. I will cut weeds/grass for over an hour on one charge. One of my favorite tools.
posted by JayRwv at 4:08 PM on September 16, 2017

EGO. Terrible name, great products (I have the string trimmer, the hedge clipper, a blower and the lawn mower) with a good battery platform. If I put the clipper battery on the mower charger (ok to do) it charges in no time. Conversely if I use the mower battery on the clipper it will run for freaking ever.

They also make a trimmer with a hinged arm make sure you get the style you want.
posted by aramaic at 5:27 PM on September 16, 2017

Best answer: I have had many weedeaters and the Ryobi I have now is better than any of them. It works better than my friend's $200 "professional" weedeater. And is half the weight. I have two batteries - same reason as matildaben.
posted by cda at 6:26 PM on September 16, 2017

Best answer: We have the same Black and Decker one as Selfnoise. We chose that one in particular because we already have compatible batteries from my various other Black and Decker battery operated tools. For what it's worth, I've had the cordless drill for nearly a decade and there's no sign of them abandoning this particular battery style.

The weed eater works well for our purposes, which I would characterize as light suburban trimming and edging. Honestly, I wouldn't expect any other brand of battery-operated trimmer to be any better or worse, so my recommendation is to go with one that's compatible with any other cordless tools you have, or if you don't have any then pick one that fits with a cordless tool set you might want to expand into some day.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 10:03 PM on September 16, 2017

Another vote for the EGO. Note they have a not-exactly-exclusive relationship with Home Depot so that will be the easiest and fastest way to get one if they have the particular model you want in stock. (Some models are available on Amazon, but I believe for any warranty service you're supposed to take your item to Home Depot, even if you didn't buy there).

They also make a trimmer with a hinged arm make sure you get the style you want.

So, they say the only difference is that the split shaft is cheaper to ship (and therefore the retail price is also cheaper). Some people think the one-piece shaft is stiffer or gives them more freedom to locate the second handle, but I bought the split shaft version and I have no complaints with stiffness or handle placement (and I'm 6'2" with monkey arms).

The other confusing thing with EGO is that they sell the same trimmer with multiple battery options (I think you could get a 2 Amp Hour battery, a 2.5 AH, a 5 AH, or no battery at all) and at least one bundle includes a higher power charger that will charge any of their batteries faster. I get close to an hour of nearly continuous runtime out of the 2.5 AH battery with the string trimmer. I also have the hedge trimmer, so if I have to do both jobs the same day I'll top off the battery while I do other yard work. (We don't have a mower; I just use the string trimmer on our tiny plot of weeds, I mean lawn).
posted by fedward at 10:54 PM on September 16, 2017

Best answer: I bought a Ryobi about a year and a half ago and it's been absolutely awful. The original battery died forever about a month after we bought it; online complaints made it clear that their expensive lithium batteries are prone to early death and the company doesn't care, so I bought a NiCad battery as a replacement at the recommendation of several reviewers. This battery has held up better but it's much bulkier, and run time is all over the place. The battery could show full charge on the charger base and die, no exaggeration, 90 seconds later, or it could give you as much as 7-8 minutes if you're lucky. Our yard is really small and I've still never come close to finishing it on one charge, either with the old lithium or the new NiCad batteries. I'll never buy a Ryobi product again.
posted by saladin at 5:37 AM on September 17, 2017

Black & Decker
posted by patnok at 11:16 AM on September 17, 2017

Cordless electric is great for edging, but won't hold up for a patch of grass (though granted, my data is 5 years old) In my urbanish close-packed-houses neightborhood, my back yard is about half again the size of my living room. According to how long we expected it to take us to trim, we should be able to do that on one battery pack. That was almost true the first year, so long as we didn't waste any time being picky, and after about 3 years, we couldn't get through the whole yard on 2 full charged batteries, so we gave up and bought a corded version, it's much better fit for what we need. If all I needed to do was edge the perimeter and then go back with a mower to get the area, cordless would have been fine. It seemed that the batteries lasted longer if you were doing it in bursts rather than continuous, so edging would be a much better fit anyway (the way I do it involves 5-second pauses while I open/close the gate, move a pot out of the way and put it back, etc.)
posted by aimedwander at 4:05 PM on September 17, 2017

Another vote for EGO. We were in the same position recently, and I am glad I followed the SweetHome/Cordcutter recommendations, although honestly I remember only paying about $150 for our model from Home Depot. We have had three weed wackers in the last five years and this is by far the best one, and looks like it is actually going to last more than two seasons, which I can't say about the crap ones we bought before.
posted by seasparrow at 10:18 PM on September 18, 2017

Response by poster: I got the Black and Decker recommended above (well, the newer model of it, anyway) because it looks like Ryobi is only sold through Home Depot here and I was concerned about how easy it would or would not be to get new spools. So far I like it pretty well and it has done what I needed, although I haven't really pushed the limits of the batteries. Much better than my old corded Craftsman!
posted by dilettante at 12:05 PM on October 1, 2017

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