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Best Cordless Weed Eater

By: Carl Laron on April 02, 2018

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Best Reviewed

Best cordless grass trimmer

EGO ST1502SF

Cordless weed whackers beef up

Cordless weed whackers bring a lot of positives to the job of trimming grass -- push-button start, no emissions, no engine maintenance and (relatively) quiet operation. Their run time is limited, but the best models can keep going long enough to handle a typical suburban plot. If you need more than that, you can keep a charged spare battery on hand, but for larger properties, a gas-powered string trimmer might be a better choice. Of course, run time isn't an issue with a corded electric string trimmer, but your range is limited by the need to be able to reach an AC outlet with your extension cord. Corded electric weed eaters are lighter and cheaper than cordless models, and those are certainly pluses, but tend not to do as well in reviews -- both expert and user.

Because of some changes among cordless weed whacker offerings, finding a consensus among experts and owner regarding which model was tops was a little tougher this year than last, but on balance, we feel pretty good about granting Best Reviewed status to the EGO ST1502SF (Est. $180).

This straight shaft trimmer is one of a pair of nearly identical models. Its companion is the EGO ST1502F (Est. $200). The only difference between the two is that the ST1502F has a one piece shaft while the ST1052SF has a hinged shaft that allows for smaller packaging. Once the unit is unboxed, and the shaft is snapped in place on the hinged-shaft model, company reps and user feedback says that there is no difference between the two -- aside from the fact that the ST1502SF is around $20 cheaper. Still, if the ST1502SF is not available, or the ST1502F is on sale, the fixed shaft version is every bit as good of a choice.

The only expert that's directly reviewed the newest EGO string trimmers is Your Best Digs, which names the EGO ST1502SF the best choice for heavy-duty weed whacking. "With enough grunt to keep up with gas-powered weed wackers, the Ego is a great choice for anyone who needs to cut through heavy overgrowth," Daniel Jackson reports. Wirecutter names the Ego ST1502F, as the best string trimmer, period, though that's largely based on its test of this trimmer's predecessor, the EGO ST1502S. The key difference between the new and old versions is that the current ones feature EGO's rapid reload head, which simplifies the task of loading new string onto the trimmer (there's no need to disassemble the cutting head, for example), and user feedback indicates that it's a hit.

Speaking of users, owners seem like a largely happy bunch. The EGO ST1502SF draws nearly 1,000 reviews at Home Depot, and a solid 4.5 star rating. It's companion model, the EGO ST1502F draws less feedback, though still around 370 reviews, and scores even a couple of ticks higher at 4.7 stars. Feedback on a bare tool version (minus the battery and charger), and one with a larger battery also total into the hundreds, and users express similar satisfaction; both of those options are discussed below.

If there's one potential drawback, it's that the stock battery doesn't provide that much run time. Your Best Digs gets 36 minutes in its test. In the real world, that seems to be about par -- though some users report shorter run times, others say that they got more. Wirecutter, on the other hand, doesn't provide run time in minutes but finds that the EGO ST1502S it tests (as noted, similar to the current models in all regards save for the new cutting head) offers better run times than competing machines. "On a single battery charge, the Ego cut down about 3,400 square feet of dense field grass, weeds, and stalky shrubs (an area nearly 60 by 60 feet)," Doug Mahoney reports, adding that the next best string trimmer tested cut 40 percent less, and most could only cover half as much turf.

A 56 volt, 2.5 Ah battery and charger are included with the EGO ST1502SF. If you already have other EGO Power+ tools, you can use that battery instead and opt for this weed eater as a bare tool, the EGO ST1500SF (Est. $130), which has the hinged shaft, or as the EGO ST1500F (Est. $130), which has the one-piece shaft. Spare batteries, such as the 2.5 Ah EGO BA1400 (Est. $145), are available, too. You can also find configurations with higher capacity batteries, such as the EGO ST1504F (Est. $320), which ships with a 5 Ah battery. These EGO string trimmers are covered by a limited five-year warranty (three years for the battery and charger) for home use, and one-year for professional use.

The Ryobi RY40220 (Est. $150) is an interesting alternative to the EGO. In expert testing, it proves to be just as adept in trimming, edging and even in handling tall grass as the EGO. In a free article at Consumer Reports, Ed Perratore says that in limited testing, it rivaled the power of mid-level gas weed whackers. It's also more versatile -- the line can be set to between 13 inches and 15 inches -- and can accept attachments (including a blower, cultivator and edger) that let it do more than just trim grass. It's less expensive than the EGO, too (though prices can go up quickly if you opt for some of the extra gardening tools), which helps it earn Best Buy honors from Consumer Reports.

Wirecutter likes it as well, but that's based on value and versatility rather than performance. "This is a solid trimmer, but it can't power through the tall stuff like our main pick," Mahoney says in naming it a runner up to the EGO ST1502F.

User satisfaction is strong, too, albeit a few ticks below that of the EGO. While most owners are pleased, we saw more negative feedback regarding units that failed than with the EGO -- leading to a 4.3 star rating at Home Depot based on more than 3,400 reviews. Like the EGO, this Ryoboi weed eater features a straight shaft. It's covered by a five year warranty for residential use, but only 90 days for commercial use.

For even less, the Black & Decker LST420 (Est. $100) gets pretty decent feedback, at least among users that are realistic in their expectations. This trimmer has a relatively narrow clearing path of 12 inches, and just a single trim line, so it's really only suitable for light duty work, and that's borne out in reviews that say that things can be quite a slog when faced with tall grass or weeds. Battery run times are modest, just 20 to 25 minutes, owners say, but the trimmer comes with two 2 Ah batteries, so as long as everything is charged up in advance, you still should have sufficient run time to deal with a typical urban or smaller suburban property -- at least one that's not overgrown.

Overall, most users are pleased with this straight-shaft model. It earns a 4.4 star rating at Amazon based on more than 1,850 reviews -- though some of that feedback is mixed with that of a similar model, the Black & Decker LST400 (Est. $100), which comes with a single 4 Ah battery instead of the dual batteries. That said, feedback for the LST400 is similar -- around 4.3 stars based on more than 230 reviews at Home Depot, for example, and 4.5 stars at Walmart, though that's based on only just under 50 reviews..

These weed eaters are part of the Black & Decker 20 volt Max system, so they can accept batteries from other tools in the system, and conversely, its batteries can be used in compatible tools. The LST420/LST400 is covered by a two year residential-use only warranty.

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