Created in the 1970’s, the weed wacker or string trimmer has becomes a ubiquitous feature in yards across the country. Using a simple physics principle of motion and density, the string trimmer easily cuts through plant material while leaving denser materials virtually untouched.
This makes it ideal for removing tall grasses and weeds from hard to reach areas of the yard. The fact that the rotating head is located at the end of a long or curved shaft makes getting into and under areas easier. Also it is versatile, in that it can edge and, depending on the accessories, can aerate, cultivate and more. The string trimmer is an essential tool for modern yard work.
The modern string trimmer comes with the choice of three different power sources; Gas, electric and cordless or battery powered. Over the years, cordless has gained in popularity because it has the power of electric without the hassle of a trailing cord. This is primarily due to changes in battery technology that has allowed for more power and longer run times. The cordless string trimmers are also typically lighter than their gas powered brothers and therefore has the advantages of an electric trimmer but without the disadvantages of gas powered trimmers.
It Is Not the Voltage That Matters
When purchasing a string trimmer, the voltage of the battery or unit is usually what is shown to indicate power. However, it is not the voltage that provides the power to get the job done, it is the amperage. When comparing string trimmers, it is helpful to research the specific amperage of the trimmer that you are considering purchasing to determine how powerful the trimmer will be.
Voltage is a good secondary indication and easier to understand, which is why it is used on the box. However if power is important to you, look to the amperage but consider that more amps does not mean a longer run time.
Five Top Cordless String Trimmers
Best Trimmer and Edger to Buy
This 12 inch trimmer uses an automatic feed so there is no bumping to advance the line. The Black & Decker Model #LST300 Trimmer uses a 2.0 amp battery for a good balance between power and performance. The lithium ion batter provides a good run time and is capable of being recharged over and over again with no battery memory or degrading the battery.
It has a pivot handle to go from trimming to edging quickly and the shaft is adjustable for height. It is light weight and contoured to be comfortable to use. A great trimmer for light to medium sized yards.
Best Trimmer for the Price
A trimmer with a little more performance than the 300 series, this trimmer has approximately a 1 hour run time with the 2.0 amp battery. The Black & Decker Model #LST400 Trimmer has two operating modes, one for power and the other for run time. It uses a special drive transmission to get the right amount of torque to the single exit head.
It has a side wheel for easy edging and the shaft is height adjustable. The battery can be used on other tools in the 20 MAX line from Black and Decker. This is a great trimmer for medium to larger yards.
Top Rated Cordless String Trimmer
This 24 Volt, 2.0 amp trimmer is a versatile tool designed for a range of applications. The Toro Model #51487 Trimmer can change from 12 inch to 10 inch cutting swath to adjust for maximum run time and the motor has switchable speeds to extend the run time further or go for maximum power. It has an automatic feed, so there is no bumping to extend the line. It has a guide wheel for simple and easy edging and the shaft is adjustable for height.
This is for either comfort or to get into hard to reach places. The battery has a charge indicator so you know when the battery is getting low. Overall, an excellent series of trimmers for a range of yard sizes.
Top Battery Operated Weed Wacker
This model is a 48 volt, 2.0 amp trimmer that has a longer run time and more features than the 487 above. The Toro Model #51488 Trimmer has an aluminum motor housing to make the unit very durable and it has a 13 inch cutting swath. It has a variable transmission that can be switched for either maximum power or maximum run time.
It has a dual exit head with automatic feed so there is no bumping. It is light weight and the 48 volts offers approximately 20 percent more run time over the 40 volt systems. This is a great trimmer for any size yard and it is designed to be a workhorse, season after season.
Best Cordless Weed Wacker to Buy
DeWalt is a leading manufacturer of power tools and power equipment and this trimmer is built to the same exacting standards. The DEWALT Model #DCST990H1 Trimmer is a 40 Volt, 6 amp hour trimmer with a 15 inch cutting swath. The shaft is adjustable for height and comfort and to reach hard to get into spaces. The gear drive is enclosed in a metal housing for extra durability and the head is dual exit.
It does use the bump and go extend method for extending the line. It has a full variable trigger so you control the speed and the noise. This is a great yard trimmer that will handle any size yard and has the power and performance for the really tough jobs.
Always read and follow the operator’s manual as each tool is different and make sure to wear the appropriate safety gear when using the tool. Always be aware of your surroundings during operation for your safety and that of others.