Finding a Good Cordless Electric Grass Trimmer That Works
It's starting again: that season where the sun shines and the grass grows like crazy. In the battle for control over your lawn, the right tools make all the difference.
Having spent the better part of my teenage years wrestling with a stubborn gas trimmer (non-voluntarily, I might add), I can tell you that we live in a golden age of lawn care. Nowadays there are many excellent quality cordless grass trimmers that will make you forget all about the dreaded pull cord.
The best cordless electric string trimmers have a distinct advantage over both gas and corded alternative of the past: they're light, portable, affordable to run, and easy to take to each and every corner of your garden. There is no gas or oil to mix and pour, and carburetors to clean out. They also differ from their counterparts in a few ways.
This article will be taking a close look at a handful of top-notch cordless weed trimmers, giving the pros and cons of each model and hopefully helping you identify a few brands to check out. I'm aiming it towards someone who knows very little about trimmers in general, so hopefully, you'll find it helpful! Let's get going.
Pros and Cons of Cordless Weed Eaters
Cordless grass trimmers are technically quite similar to conventional gas or electric versions, but there are a few differences. The primary one is that a cordless weed eater runs on electricity, and it doesn't require a power cable to be plugged in. It runs on batteries alone, which might be modular or integrated depending on the model.
- The best cordless grass trimmers review well for a reason: they're convenient. A huge pro of the style is that you don't need to rely on gas. That means no more trips to the station to fill up, and no need to mix gas and oil to the right percentage. There are no noxious fumes because it doesn't rely on internal combustion to run. They don't require as much routine maintenance or cleaning as a gas powered version.
- Another great advantage is the portability. Most electric cordless weed trimmers are light in weight, and they aren't restricted by an electric plug, so you can take them anywhere in the yard.
- Cordless battery grass trimmers aren't nearly as loud. In fact, most models don't require the ear protection during use, and they don't vibrate as much, so it's easier on your body to operate.
- Unless you choose a high enough voltage model, you might not have as much power as you would with a gas powered grass trimmer. What's more, battery-powered weed eaters can only run as long as the battery has a charge. When it runs out, you have to put it back on the charger for a while.
- Most of the time, the best cordless string trimmers will cost more than a standard gas-powered model, so price is a consideration.
1) B&D: Among the Best Cordless String Trimmers Around
Unless you're living under a rock, you've probably heard of Black & Decker. They're well known in the power tool realm, and they've got a good quality line of garden and lawn maintenance tools on offer now, all electric.
This Black & Decker beauty is a powerful little cordless weed eater with tons of flexibility and compatibility to boot. The whole thing runs on a 20-volt lithium-ion battery pack, which is easily removable for easy charging. That also means you can have multiple battery packs and swap them out for continuous use.
The whole unit is fairly light in weight and well balanced, so using it isn't a huge chore. It has a trigger handle at the end where you can control the power, and a loop handle about a third of the way down the shaft. The reach is excellent.
A nice feature of this powerful cordless grass trimmer is the ability to vary the power output. You can range from 6,500 RPM for simple grass cutting, up to 8,500 RPM for stubborn weeds and tougher vegetation. This is controlled on the handle. Note: keep in mind that higher RPMs means a shorter battery life.
There are a few other excellent convenience features too. The head can be rotated 180 degrees, turning the trimmer into an edger (it literally turns the head sideways, so your string spins vertically). The unit comes with an "easy feed" button, meaning you don't need to bump it on the ground all the time for extra string.
Another bonus? The battery is compatible with Black & Decker's line of other cordless garden tools, like hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, and lawn mowers.
This trimmer is really powerful, outdoing many similarly-sized two-stroke models. I would suggest getting an extra battery if your garden or lawn is on the bigger side, or if you plan on collecting other compatible B&D tools.
With a proven brand name and tons of positive reviews, this is among the best cordless string trimmers for your dollar.
- High capacity 20v battery
- Can swap batteries to other B&D appliances
- More affordable than its competitors
- Neck extends (nice for taller users)
- Not quite as powerful as others on this list
2) GreenWorks: Versatile, Capable, Battery Powered Grass Trimmer
Another big name in the cordless lawn tool business, GreenWorks has a very capable line of trimmers, and of that line, I think this 40-volt unit (entitle G-MAX) is one of the very best. It's a capable and powerful trimmer with a lot of user-friendly features and fantastic upside.
It has a number of great features that make it stand out. First and foremost is the telescopic shaft. Too many trimmers are 'one size fits all.' As a taller guy, I appreciate the ability to adjust the length of the shaft; it makes trimming much easier. The length is up to 67 inches.
It also features the pivoting head, which quickly and easily transforms this from a grass trimmer to an edger, perfect for defining the edge of your driveway or getting weeds in tough to reach spots. It even has a handy wheel which allows you to rest it on the ground while edging.
Despite the fact that the head spins at an impressive 9,000 RPM, this is a very quiet cordless string trimmer, and it is just as powerful as similarly priced gas equivalents. It can rip through stubborn grass and tough weeds without issue.
The battery lasts a long time, particularly the 4AH version. You can get up to 50 minutes of continuous use out of it, and the fast charger gets you back to work quickly. It weighs in at a manageable 8.5 pounds, and with the counterweight of the battery, it's a pretty comfortable trimmer to use.
Like the Black & Decker line, GreenWorks has a number of other electric landscaping tools that use the same battery, a really nice feature if you have other chores in your routine. This is a powerful cordless string trimmer with some of the best reviews in the business.
- Extremely quiet operation even at 9,000 RPM
- Long neck and plenty of reach
- Huge battery life with up to 50 minutes of continuous use
- String that comes with it isn't the greatest
3) Toro Powerplex: Need Power? Check Out this Cordless Weed Eater
If you're finding that too many of the cordless electric weed trimmers lack power, you should definitely take a look at this powerful option from Toro.
Toro isn't as big a name as some of the others reviewed here, but that doesn't mean they lack a reputation. Toro is a name to turn to for power, efficiency, and performance. This PowerPlex trimmer is no exception to that rule, and it has as much juice than any other weed eater reviewed here today.
It features 40 volts in a lithium-ion battery pack. That's double the power of most standard trimmers you'll find, which rarely exceed 20v. Tough weeds don't stand a chance.
Though the battery is sleek, it is a bigger unit and heavier than many others. Luckily, this weed eater is nicely balanced and feels great and maneuverable in use. The body and construction are of such high quality that you feel very little vibration, despite the extra juice.
It features variable speed control, and you can increase or decrease your RPMs just by feathering the trigger while you work. The assist handle can be moved up or down the trimmer shaft without the use of tools. Depending on how much you're gunning it, you should get roughly 45 minutes of use per charge.
The head is cast aluminum, giving it a lot of durability, and the head auto feeds, so you don't have to bump it on the ground to get more string.
If you're concerned about power, Toro is one of the best cordless grass trimmers around, with excellent customer reviews to boot.
- It's powerful enough to chew through tough weeds and tall grass
- Long battery life means 45 minutes of use
- Well balanced and vibration dampening, which reduces fatigue
- Heavier unit
- It's pricier than some competitors
4) Core: Pro-Quality, 'Gasless' Grass Trimmer, Long Battery Life
Core is another brand you might be less familiar with, and that's because they aren't always found in your typical garden store. This CGT400 is one of my favourite electric string trimmers because it's really built to take a beating.
I'd qualify them as a more professional grade cordless weed trimmer, and they're built to last in several ways.
This trimmer has two modes. The first is meant for standard grass trimming, and it has the head spinning at 7,000 RPM. This allows you to cut through tall grass like there's no tomorrow, but it eats up the battery power slightly faster. The other mode runs at 5,000 RPM but offers more torque. This is better for conserving battery life and ripping out tough weeds like thistles.
The power cell on this trimmer is top of the class, offering up to 70 minutes of continuous use. If you have a larger lawn or garden space and you need a super long-lasting battery pack, this is absolutely the option to go for.
The head is a 'dual line' version, meaning you feed in two different spools. The line is fed in the standard 'bump' method, and the head is really well built. It comes with a five-year warranty for residential use, and a two year for commercial. That's phenomenal coverage.
With its CORE electric engine technology, this trimmer offers excellent power efficiency and torque, making it one of the best cordless garden trimmers for both personal and commercial use.
- Top of the line battery life
- Durable build and long warranty span
- Dual power mode to conserve battery life
- It's expensive compared to bigger brand alternatives
What About Battery Life and Accessories?
If you're planning to replace a gas-powered trimmer, I'd say you should be aware of the battery life of these things. They typically last between 30 and 60 minutes of continuous use, and the batteries will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to charge up (depending on if you have a fast charger or not).
For that reason (and especially if you're using a trimmer for commercial use), I'd invest in an extra battery or two, so you don't have to wait.
Be aware that lithium-ion batteries will slowly discharge, especially if left on the device they're intended to power (even if it's off). To make it last longer, remove it from the trimmer when not in use and bring it inside. If you haven't charged the battery in a couple of weeks, you'll need to charge it up again. Luckily, lithium-ion batteries don't have a 'memory.'
All of the systems reviewed above have batteries that are compatible with other cordless devices, like leaf blowers. I'm not going to review any of those peripherals in this article, but you might want to do a bit of research and replace all your garden maintenance tools at once.
In any event, when buying a cordless weed trimmer, your best bet is to read lots of personal customer reviews and get a feel for what to expect. Thanks for reading, good luck!
© 2014 Garden Boy
John A Bird on July 06, 2018:
I started out using Black & Decker 20 V weed Wacker and after purchasing 3 models in the past 3 years I can tell you they are for light duty only.
Greenworks 40V with a 4 amp hour battery is a beast and the motor is guaranteed for 4 years. The difference between B&D and the Greenworks is where the motor is placed and the materials used to transfer the power to the cutting head. B&D motor is at the cutting head and they use cheap plastic parts. Greenworks motor is in the handle so it does not suck up dust and debris while cutting. They also use superior parts to transfer power to the cutting head. If you don't like their cutting head, it can be replaced easily and it's made so that it cam become many other tools by just buying accessories. Do your homework before any purchase.
David on May 27, 2017:
I got a 60 volt snapper at walmart.
I love it.
Jim Lapetina on May 23, 2017:
I have a model - that needs no bump to get line but you have to shut off the weeder and wait 2 seconds then 1/4 of inch will come out. So every time I stop the weeded it will extend the line. could that be right?
Francis P Canali on May 02, 2017:
Does the Greenworks 21332-GMax have one or two strings and do you have to bump head to feed line? Thanks
Bryon on October 20, 2016:
Black and Decker cordless 20V trimmer (model#LST300) broke when I bumped the trimmer on the ground. I bought a replacement and the second trimmer broke. These trimmers cannot be fixed and they break too easily. The 40V model has a similar design and might break just as easily. After my bad experience with 20V model breakage, I don't want to buy the more expensive model with the similar fragile design.
Bill on June 16, 2016:
How easy to add new cord?
Daren on June 03, 2016:
Aren't there cordless electric trimmers that incorporate regeneration? For example, design a small generator below the handle motor to either recharge the battery while in use or charge a separate battery next to it.
John on May 06, 2016:
A lithium battery will not discharge if left on the tool with the power off. Off means off. Please stop spreading bad information.
Percy on April 13, 2016:
you rank the black&decker tops but you dont tell which model of b&d???
Garden Boy (author) from Canada on June 13, 2014:
Hi Travis: I haven't heard of that kind! I will do some research...
Travis Wakeman on May 20, 2014:
1. Poll should have an "all of the above option"
2. I'm not sure what it's called, but what about the type of weed eater head where you precut the cord and just stick it in on an individual basis without a feeder system? I'd swear by that one. Simple and straightforward.
OSBERT JOEL C from CHENNAI on May 16, 2014:
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on May 06, 2014:
I didn't even know they made weed eaters with batteries. I have been struggling with this issue, thanks so much! Great review complete with pros and cons!
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on May 05, 2014:
Sounds great; I have an electric corded one and of course it is limited to where I can go and making sure I don't trip. Maybe next summer!