Mowing the lawn is important and all, but the job isn’t really done until you’ve trimmed around the edges and landscaping. You don’t want to ruin the beautiful look of a manicured lawn with tall weedy borders. For this you’ll need the best battery powered weed eater that matches up with the requirements of your space.
There are several different types of edge trimmer, but we are going to talk about battery powered models. Battery life used to be prohibitively short in these tools, but new technology is making them a nice option. There is no cord to drag around or heavy gas tank to lug. The batteries themselves are small and lightweight, and they take only a few hours to fully charge. Their eco-footprint is clearly superior as well.
Stay with us for a brief overview of the various types of weed eater, followed by reviews of five top rated brands of battery operated grass trimmer available right now. Finally, we’ll give you some tips for faster, more efficient weed whacking and the all-important Dos and Don’ts of rechargeable batteries. Let’s get started!!
For this list, our personal pick for best battery-powered weed-eater is the BLACK+DECKER LST136. Whether it be edging or trimming, you’re sure to get the best out of weed-whacking with this lovely contraption. With its nifty power-level adjuster, you can do positively magical things to the shrubbery around your home.
Want to sculpt your yard? Go ahead!
Want to kill all the weeds? Go ahead!
- Types of Weed Eater
- Best Battery Powered Weed Eater Reviews 2020 - Comparison Table
- Top 6 Battery Powered Weed Eaters On The Market Reviews:
- 1 BLACK+DECKER LST136 40V MAX Lithium String Trimmer
- 2 Makita XRU09Z 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless String Trimmer
- 3 Worx WG170 GT Revolution 20V 12" Grass Trimmer/Edger/Mini-Mower 2 Batteries & Charger Included, Black and Orange
- 4 DEWALT DCST990M1 40V MAX 4.0 Ah Lithium Ion XR String Trimmer
- 5 BLACK+DECKER LST522 20V MAX Lithium 2-Speed String Trimmer/Edger, 12"
- 6 Greenworks PRO 16-Inch 80V Cordless String Trimmer, 2.0 AH Battery Included ST80L210
- Tips and Tricks
- Dos & Don’ts of Rechargeable Batteries
Types of Weed Eater
Weed eaters are commonly available in three types: battery, gas, and electric. We are going to focus mostly on battery powered weed eaters, which have the benefit of being much quieter and usually lighter in weight than the other types. So you can compare, we’ll also briefly describe gas and electric models.
A battery powered weed eater is the eco-friendly choice, and it can be really convenient because you don’t need to drag an electrical cord (it’s annoying enough on the vacuum cleaner). You don’t need to have special ethanol-free gasoline available, nor breathe in exhaust as you work.
Recent advances in battery technology make the run time of a battery operated weed trimmer a bit longer than in the past, but it still hovers around 30-60 minutes of continuous operation. For smaller yards, this could be plenty. For larger spaces, you can still use a battery model but will want a second battery to swap out in the middle of your job.
Battery weed whackers make much less noise, so they are a lot more comfortable to use for that reason alone. They also have a lower maintenance cost than either of the other two types. Make sure that when you buy a battery powered weed eater, the battery and recharger comes with it! Some models don’t, and the last thing you want is to get your tool and head out to the yard only to discover that you have more shopping to do.
The benefit of gas weed eaters is that they are quite powerful. However, they require a mixture of ethanol-free gas and oil, which can be difficult to acquire depending on where you live. If you run out in the middle of a job, you’ll have to go get some, whereas with a battery powered model you just put the battery back on the charger.
Gas powered weed eaters allow you to move freely about your yard without needing to stay near an outlet, but they are heavy. The environmental impact of gas tools is also higher than battery-powered ones, and they can be difficult to start up, control, and maintain in good shape. The noise level of these weed eaters is substantial as well.
People who choose an electric weed eater typically have a small yard or a lot of extension cords. You’ll need to have an easily accessible outdoor outlet to make it work, and then you’ll need to be extremely careful about maneuvering around it. Striking the power cord with the cutting line can both destroy the tool and give you a nasty shock. It’s also dangerous to string too many extension cords together, so it’s best to choose another model if you have a large space to cover.
The basic shape of a weed eater is pretty consistent. There is a long shaft with a grip at the top end and a rotating head at the bottom. The weeds are typically cut by a rapidly spinning plastic line, but some weed eaters have metal cutting blades as an option.
There are some bells and whistles that might be available, though, to make using your new tool a bit easier. These are a few examples.
Before you focus on the extras, though, make sure the weed eater you choose has a cutting width sufficient for your needs. You’ll also want to look at the battery life, its voltage, and the overall weight of the tool.
Best Battery Powered Weed Eater Reviews 2020 - Comparison Table
|BLACK"DECKER (LST136) 40V Max String Trimmer / Edger, 13-Inch||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Makita XRU09Z 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless String Trimmer||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|WORX WG170 GT Revolution 20V 12" Grass Trimmer||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|DEWALT DCST990M1 40V MAX 4.0 Ah Lithium Ion XR String Trimmer||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|BLACK"DECKER LST522 20V MAX Lithium 2-Speed String Trimmer/Edger||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Greenworks 16-Inch 80V String Trimmer, 2.0Ah Battery & Charger Included ST80L210||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
Top 6 Battery Powered Weed Eaters On The Market Reviews:
1 BLACK+DECKER LST136 40V MAX Lithium String Trimmer
Number one on our list is none other than the BLACK+DECKER LST136. This beauty is a force to be reckoned with, as it arguably provides the most freedom to its users. This weed-whacker has a built in power-level adjuster, which allows you to control the amount of force being applied to your bushes and weeds. This is insanely convenient for those of us who regularly sculpt our yard for aesthetic purposes. With one quick adjustment, you can go from lightly trimming your hedges to completely annihilating your unwanted weeds.
The BLACK+DECKER LST136 is incredibly light, weighing only 7.8 lbs. This is a massive improvement when you compare it to the Makita XRU09Z or the DEWALT DCST990M1, which are both incredibly heavy weed-eaters. If you’re going to be carrying this thing around your yard all morning, you want something that won’t throw your back out. After all, weed-eating is a job that needs to be done and you shouldn’t be punished for doing it!
The cutting width of the BLACK+DECKER LST136 is just under the Makita XRU09Z’s 13 ¾ width, landing it in the mid-point of weed-eater cutting capacities. This is the perfect width to do this kind of cutting with, as you aren’t risking overshooting or undershooting any unwanted weeds. And with the super quiet motor running in this baby, you’ll not only cut your grass to perfection, but you’ll do it without annoying your neighbors. Can’t say no to that!
There is only one major downside to the BLACK+DECKER LST136’s capabilities. In comparison to the other weed-eaters on this list, this one has the shortest battery life. It can go 20 to 30 minutes before it needs to recharge, while the other entrants can usually go an hour before needing to cool down. Thankfully, its 40V lithium-ion battery can be recharged completely within an hour, which is much quicker than most batteries on the market!
46.5 x 13.5 x 11 inches
Three year warranty
- Very quiet
- Adjustable power level
- Short battery life
2 Makita XRU09Z 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless String Trimmer
The Makita XRU09Z has some really cool features that earn it top marks. For one, it’s got one of the longest run times per charge at 60 minutes, which is achieved by the use of two 18V batteries at once. It also uses a BL Brushless motor that is electronically controlled to optimize battery energy use.
However, on the downside, the batteries are sold separately. You’ll need to purchase up to four BL1850 batteries if you want to have a spare set. There are more expensive “kit” versions of this weed eater that come with the charger and batteries, or with charger, batteries, and bonus grinding tool to shred woody stems.
Still, we think you’ll appreciate the high power and increased torque offered by this weed eater, as well as the 2-speed option that allows you to match the speed to the lawn conditions. With a 13 ¾” cutting width, the Makita falls in the midrange for this measure. The bump and feed trimmer head rotates counterclockwise (which is standard) and the tool uses standard spindles in case you ever need to replace them.
The Makita has no carbon brushes, which means that the motor runs a bit cooler and more efficiently than other models, and that translates into a longer overall life. Its longevity is also supported by something called Makita Extreme Protection Technology (XPT), which is basically a protective seal inside the weed eater that channels water and dust away from the internal components. Though Makita offers a relatively short one year warranty, you shouldn’t have to worry about this unit for many, many years.
7.4 x 73.3 x 8.4 inches
One year warranty
- Long battery life
- Very quiet operation
- Powerful and efficient with two speeds
- String jams in dense foliage
- May be uncomfortable for very tall people
- Smaller spool holds less line
The beauty in the Worx WG170 is its flexibility. It features 7 different handle positions and 6 rotating head positions so that you can hold it and aim it any way you need to get the job done. It also has a telescopic shaft to support custom use by people of any height. The spacer guard is adjustable so that you can protect flowers and landscaping. And contributing to the ease-of-use, it has a rubberized twin wheel set to support and guide the edger.
One of the more frustrating elements of weed whacking can be dealing with the cutting line. A Worx weed eater makes this easy, too, with automatic line feeding plus an extra on-board spool holder for virtually no down time when it’s time to add a new spool. Three total spools are included with your purchase. The 12” cutting width is on the smaller side, but so is the weight at less than six pounds, so you won’t get exhausted while using it. In fact, this Worx is the most lightweight weed eater on our list.
The unit is powered by a 20V battery, and it comes with two so that you can always swap out when you need to. Charging takes less than three hours, and you don’t have to worry about self-discharge when the extra battery is not installed. With a nice three year warranty, the Worx is a safe and reliable choice that offers excellent value for money.
55.2 x 5.5 x 7.5 inches
Three year warranty
- Comes with two batteries
-Very quiet operation
- Many different configurations of handle and head for ergonomic use
- Trimmer line spools are relatively small
- Wheels can be tricky to seat properly
- Learning curve due to multiple configuration options
4 DEWALT DCST990M1 40V MAX 4.0 Ah Lithium Ion XR String Trimmer
This Dewalt model jumps out in front in terms of power, with a 40V battery and patented gear drive, housed in a metal gear case, which provides more torque to maintain the cut speed under load. It is the model you want if your edging job is routinely fraught with thick undergrowth. It also features a dual line bump feed, meaning that two lines are cutting all the time and the user has control over how fast new line feeds out.
The Dewalt edge trimmer also has a variable speed trigger to support precise speed control. This can be very useful when moving into and out of thick vegetation. The 15” cutting width is toward the high end of what can be expected in a battery powered weed eater, so you can get the job done as quickly as possible. This unit comes with one lithium ion battery, a charger, one prewound spool of line, and an auxiliary handle and cutting guard.
The tradeoff comes in terms of the weight. This weed eater is a beast at 21.6 pounds. Users have noted that they become tired while using it, but admitted that the performance is quite impressive. Your purchase is supported by a three year warranty.
77.8 x 8.9 x 11.1 inches
Three year warranty
- As powerful as a gas model
- Ergonomic despite its weight
- Substantial battery life
- Very heavy
- Guard is a bit too narrow
- Line is tricky to reload
5 BLACK+DECKER LST522 20V MAX Lithium 2-Speed String Trimmer/Edger, 12"
The Black + Decker company makes a nice edge trimmer that has a good number of features in a lightweight and easy to use package. It runs on a 20V battery that can go for at least an hour on low power. It features a relatively small 12” cutting swath, but at less than 6 pounds, you won’t get tired using it. This tool also converts easily between trimmer and wheeled edger to handle various landscaping challenges.
The Power Drive Transmission allows for two speed settings. High mode provides more torque when you need it, while Low preserves battery life. Users report that the Black + Decker is powerful enough to handle even vines on the low level, so high power is likely only needed for woody stems.
This weed eater makes the job easy and is great for folks who aren’t lawn care experts. The cutting line spools out automatically as needed from the Automatic Feed Spool, so no bumping is required. The handle is ergonomic with a premium micro texture soft grip to improve comfort and control during use. The handle can also be positioned exactly where you need it depending on your height and preferred posture as you work.
9.2 x 41.3 x 5.7 inches
Two year warranty
- Long battery life
- Lightweight and quiet
- Easy to hold and maneuver
- Auto spool may run through line more quickly
- Full charge takes up to 5 hours
- Smaller cutting swath
6 Greenworks PRO 16-Inch 80V Cordless String Trimmer, 2.0 AH Battery Included ST80L210
The Greenworks Pro is an excellent choice for people who need to do a lot of edge trimming, as it features boosted stats on most measures. The cutting width, for example, is an ample 16” yet you can choose to narrow that to 14” in tight spaces. And there is a variable speed trigger that makes it easy to toggle between high and low speed settings.
The battery is a powerful 80V model that can run up to 60 minutes per charge. The tool also comes with a rapid charger that juices up the battery in just 30 minutes. The bump feed head is dual line for superior cutting action. Everything about this tool is designed for durability.
In terms of ergonomics, the Greenworks weed eater has a front mount design to balance the unit for easy maneuverability. When it’s time to store it, the split shaft can be folded in two for a compact shape it’s easy to find the room for. All in all, this model is designed to work for professionals but can make life a lot easier for regular homeowners as well.
65 x 7.5 x 9.2 inches
Four year warranty
- Powerful battery that holds a charge when not in use
- Ergonomic handling
- Charges in just half an hour
- Guard is too narrow to shield user from flying grass
- Does not take accessory attachments
- Clips that hold the spool are plastic and can break after repeated use
Tips and Tricks
Battery powered weed eaters are quite a bit easier to operate than gas powered ones, which you have to fill with the right ratio of ethanol-free gasoline and oil, start with a pull cord, and then let warm up for a few minutes before you even start working. A battery powered weed whacker, on the other hand, just need to be flipped on and you can get right to work.
Still, there are some tips and tricks that can help you use lawn trimmers safely and efficiently. Here are the most important things to remember.
Wear Protective Clothing
Debris and clippings tend to fly everywhere when you’re weed whacking, so it’s important to cover your skin as best as possible. Wear a long sleeved shirt and long denim pants. Eye protection is absolutely critical, which can be achieved with a basic pair of safety glasses or a full-face visor. We also recommend wearing gloves to protect your hands from that flying debris as well as the intense vibration coming through the shaft to the handle.
Be Prepared with Extra Parts
If you’ve chosen a battery-powered weed eater, an extra battery can be a lifesaver if you run out of charge in the middle of a job. Your weed eater will also most likely use nylon or plastic line to cut – this will need to be replaced every so often as well. Keeping an extra spool or two of line on hand can keep you going if you run out mid-job.
Protect Your Landscaping
The purpose of a weed eater, otherwise known as an edge trimmer, is to trim tightly around landscaping. This can include trees, shrubs, and flowers. But if the cutting line of your weed eater hits any of these items, it can cause permanent damage.
One good way to protect your landscaping is to mulch around it so that you only need to edge up to the mulch. Another option is to mow as close as you can to the landscaping and then hand trim around it. This option is obviously prohibitively time consuming if you have a lot of landscaping.
Pay Attention to Conditions
The best time to edge trim your yard is when the grass and ground are dry. Wet trimmings stick to the rotor and can jam up your machine pretty quickly. You may also slip and fall while trying to wield the thing in wet grass. To avoid excess wear and tear on your weed eater and your body, wait unit the morning dew has dried.
Weed eaters employ a rotating head that spins a line fast enough to cut through grass and weed stems. And most of the time, this head runs in a counterclockwise direction. If that is true for yours, you will cut most effectively when you sweep the weed whacker from right to left across the ground. But if the head on your edge trimmer runs clockwise, sweep from left to right for best results.
Attack it Twice
We know that you want to get the job done as quickly as possible, but the way to do that may actually involve making two passes across each patch of ground. First cut through the tops of your vegetation and then go down to the ground level. The reason this helps is that trying to cut everything in one pass is likely to jam your weed whacker. Having to repeatedly stop, turn off the machine, and detangle stuck cuttings will slow you down way more.
Battery powered trimmers are not as bad as gas powered ones for vibrations, but they still produce some while in operation. These vibrations travel through your hands and wrists and can cause tingling and numbness after awhile. If you notice that your hands hurt or that they’re numb, take a break until they feel normal again. Ignoring the issue can lead to permanent nerve damage, and it’s totally not worth it.
Dos & Don’ts of Rechargeable Batteries
There are some important strategies to employ if you want your rechargeable battery to last as long as possible.
Keep Battery Charged
In the past, we were instructed to completely drain our rechargeable batteries before plugging them back in. But newer batteries actually last longer if you begin to recharge after draining just 70% of the charge. NiCd batteries have something called the “memory effect” that indicates what full capacity should be, but these batteries only need to be completely discharged once a month or so to retain the charge memory.
Use Battery Regularly
The longer a battery sits unused, the more likely it is to have diminished battery life. So turn on your weed eater at least once a week even if you aren’t going to do a full job. Make sure that if you are going to store a battery over the winter, it is not sitting in the charger all that time. You’ll need to do a full fresh charge when you’re ready to get back out there.
Charge Battery Completely
You don’t need to discharge your battery completely before plugging it in, but it’s best to charge to full capacity when you do. Your charger will probably have an indicator light that lets you know when charging is complete.
Keep Battery Cool and Dry
You don’t necessarily need to keep batteries you aren’t using in the freezer, but aim for a dry, climate controlled area. Too much humidity or wild fluctuations in temperature will damage them.
Store Battery Properly
Most of the time, your rechargeable batteries will come in a carrying case or cushioned bag. When you’re going to store it for a time, be sure to replace the plastic cap that came with the battery – this protects the terminals from moisture or breakage, as well as helps prevent short circuiting.
Adjust Tool Settings
To get the most from your battery, it’s important to learn all the functions of your weed whacker so that you can run it at the lowest speed that will do the job. Higher torque settings will deplete your battery much faster, but of course, it’s nice to have the option when you need it. Just don’t forget to turn the torque back down when you get to a sparser area so that you’ll have enough battery power to complete the job.
Run Battery All the Way Down
It’s not great to deep drain your battery on a regular basis, though we understand that sometimes you just want to get the job finished. Doing this all the time can damage the battery’s poles and shorten its life. Instead, recharge your battery as soon as you notice that your weed eater is slowing down. The exception to this deep drain rule is NiCd batteries – they will eventually show a decreased capacity due to the memory effect. Use them as above until this occurs, and then deep drain them once.
Leave Battery on Charger
Overcharging a battery can damage it and shorten its life. Some chargers are able to turn off when the battery reaches full power, but most don’t. Pay attention to the indicator light that lets you know when you have reached full charge, and pull the battery off the charger even if you aren’t going to use it right away.
Batteries can overheat simply from being stored in a hot attic or car. When a battery gets too hot, it has the potential to explode, which is obviously extremely dangerous to anyone nearby. If you notice that your battery is hot to the touch, move it to a cooler area and don’t attempt to use it until it has cooled off.
Get Battery Wet
Water and electricity in any form do not mix! If your battery gets wet, immediately wipe it dry and don’t use again until all moisture has evaporated.
So now there is nothing left to do but order your best battery powered weed eater and get to work! Battery models offer both range and power, so don’t bother messing with gas or electric models unless your yard is especially big; in that case gas might be a better choice.
We wouldn’t choose an electric model unless the yard was very small, because staying connected to an outlet and dragging around an extension cord gets complicated otherwise. And, battery powered models perform extremely well in small to medium-sized yards.
You can’t go wrong with any of the weed eaters on our list, and the results will be totally worth the effort. Go whack those weeds!
Sarah Eberle qualified and became a member of the Landscape Institute in 1980. Over the last 26 years she has practised landscape architecture and garden design, running her own business in Devon.
During the 1990s, Sarah joined Hillier Landscapes as Design Director, where she is still a shareholder but also runs her own practice in Hampshire.
Sarah has an esteemed record in RHS shows, having won eight Gold medals, Best in Show and the George Cook award for innovation twice at Hampton Court. Sarah has also exhibited at Tatton Park and BBC Gardeners’ World Live.