If you’ve lugged around a heavy, bulky gas-powered weed eater, you’ve probably longed for something that wasn’t as cumbersome, especially if you only need to clear a small area. While battery-powered weed eaters have been around for many years, there’s never been a better time than right now to buy, given that the price has lowered, and the performance has gone up significantly in recent years.
If you’re in the market for a new battery-powered weed eater, you might not be sure which model is right for you. There’s a lot of information to sort through, and it’s not always clear what’s useful information and what’s marketing fluff.
We assembled this list of reviews of the best battery powered weed eaters to help you find one that meets your need and comes in at or under budget. We also assembled a buyer’s guide, so you can learn everything you need to know about these tools before you buy.
|Ryobi RY40204 2016||40V||4.0/5|
The BLACK+DECKER LST136 is a great choice for anyone who wants a powerful battery powered weed eater but doesn’t want to sacrifice performance to get it. This model with all the power you’ll need to do small or medium-sized weed-eating tasks in your yard. You can also turn the head on this device to transform it from a weed eater into an edger, which could allow you to replace two different tools in your garage. You also have the option of setting this dual edger/trimmer to one of six power levels, which allows you to extend the battery life, or raise the power for tough spots.
It comes with an automatic feed spool, which makes replacing the trimmer line easy and fast. That lets you get back to work faster and saves you time. Depending on power level, you can expect to get 30 minutes to an hour of runtime, which is good. The battery only takes about an hour to charge, which is also good. We’d always like to see more runtime, but this model has enough to take care of most small or medium yards on one charge. Overall, this is a great choice for almost anyone.
The DEWALT DCST920P1 is another good choice for those who want the convenience of a battery-powered weed either but want to make sure that they don’t lose too much power when switching from a gas-powered model. This model uses batteries from DEWALT’s 20V battery system, which means that if you already own tools from this line, you’ll be able to use their batteries to go longer without recharging. This model comes with a 13” clear range, which is good overall, and great for an electric weed eater.
The battery that comes with it lasts upwards of half an hour on the high power setting, and you can typically get more than an hour on the low setting without running out of juice, which is excellent longevity. What ultimately keeps it out of first place is its quality control problems. Many units work just fine and last forever, but there are too many lemons in this line. While you can always return a malfunctioning unit, that’s a pain you shouldn’t have to deal with. For the price, this is a decent model, but you get even better value if you already use tools on the DEWALT 20V line.
The Worx WG163 is a great choice for the cost-conscious shopper. It has one of the lowest prices on our list, which makes it a good deal on that factor alone. However, like the top model on our list, this machine is a dual edger/trimmer, which means you’re getting two machines for the price of one. It comes with a telescoping handle, which means that you can adjust the height, which is an extra-useful feature if you’re tall or short.
It uses the Worx 20V battery system, which while not as prolific as the competing DEWALT system, brings the same basic plusses. If you own any other Worx 20V tools, you can use their batteries to extend how long you can run this machine without recharging. The only problem with this model is that it comes with small wire spools, and its trimming line wears down quickly. Those two factors combined mean that you’ll be replacing the line too often, and that raises the cost of operation in the long-term. However, some of that long-term cost is offset by the low initial price, and that makes this model a steal for anyone looking to save money.
Greenworks also boasts an equipment line that focuses on interchangeable batteries. The Greenworks 2101602 uses a 40V battery that is common to most of their equipment that uses batteries, which should, in theory, give you the same options that you get with other brands that use interchangeable batteries. It comes with a variable speed trigger, which allows you to boost the power output when you reach a tough spot, which is a nice feature.
However, the batteries in this line don’t last as long as they should. You can expect a half hour at most out of this weed eater, which is a shame. Some users report runtimes as little as 20 minutes, which means you might not be able to do even a small yard in a single charge, which is a massive pain. There are also some quality control problems with the batteries that lead to rapid degradation and sometimes leads to them dying altogether, even if used lightly. If this model were cheaper, we might be able to rank it higher on our list as a discount model, but as it is, we can place it no higher than fourth on our list.
The Ryobi RY40204 2016 model is a disappointing unit. The first problem with this model is that it doesn’t come with a battery or a charger, which means you’re going to need to own them already or shell out more money to use this unit. It is the lowest-priced model on our list, but it isn’t that much cheaper than most of the other units, which come with batteries and chargers. Given what it doesn’t include, it would need to be far cheaper to be good value.
It also has a short total string length, and the thin gauge it uses doesn’t last that long, which means you’re going to be changing it out all of the time. That is if you don’t have problems with the motor burning out which is a commonly-reported problem, even when the weed eater is new. That’s a shame, and Ryobi isn’t always good about honoring the warranties on this model, so buyer beware. Even if you wanted to save some money, this model probably isn’t the right choice for you. If you do get it, expect to be in for a frustrating experience.
We hope that our reviews already have you thinking about the features that you might want in your next battery powered weed eater. If you’re still not sure which model is right for you, be sure to check out this buyer’s guide. It’s packed full of good general information about these devices, so it’s a good read for you if you’re a beginner, or a good refresher course if you haven’t bought one of these tools in a long time.
One of the best things about buying a battery-powered weed eater is that they tend to be much lighter than their gas-powered counterparts. Sometimes, you can find models that weigh less than ten pounds, which makes work easy and means you won’t be as worn out when you’re done. Consequently, you want to make sure that you’re getting this benefit when you buy a battery powered model.
Poor design sometimes means that battery-powered models don’t end up being lighter, which is a shame given how possible it is. Motors in these models weigh less than gas-powered ones, so too much weight is an indication that the manufacturer may have cut corners and substituted in heavier, but cheaper materials.
It could also mean that they’re using old battery technology. Lithium-ion batteries have a much higher energy density than previous battery types, which means they can pack the same power into a smaller, lighter package. That’s part of the reason that they’re so common in mobile phones and tools today. They work well, so you should make sure that you get a battery powered weed eater that uses one of these batteries.
Nickel-cadmium batteries are common and cheap, but they’re far heavier, and you’ll experience a huge drop-off in power when they get low on charge relative to a lithium-ion battery. If they’re the same size, the nickel-cadmium batteries will store less power and will wear out far sooner than the other variety.
One of the biggest concerns that people have when switching from a gas-powered weed eater to an electric one is power. After all, it’s always seemed like electric tools don’t pack the same punch. While we’re not quite to total parity between the two kinds of tools, electric models are now much closer to gas in terms of power.
A good general rule of thumb is that if you’re looking to do yard work on an industrial scale, you need to go with a gas-powered model. This isn’t because electric models aren’t up to the task, but because you’ll have to recharge or change out batteries part of the way through an electric model, whereas with gas you could power through on a single tank.
However, if you’re just taking care of your home lawn and have a lot that’s an acre or less in size, there’s no real reason to not go with an electric model. You’re not going to need top-end power in most instances. And, even below-average weed eaters can run for half an hour. The best models can run for more than an hour on a single battery, especially if you’re using them at lower power levels.
With electric models, the power is measured in volts. You’ll commonly see 20V and 40V models. The 40V are more powerful, but the tradeoff is that they drain the battery faster, too. This can be offset by getting a bigger battery, or by having a backup battery charged and ready to go. Battery sizes are measured in ampere-hours or amp-hours, and the best ones found in battery powered weed eaters will have about 5 amp-hours of power inside them. Note that you’ll be using significantly more than an amp during weed eating operations, so you can’t expect to get 5 hours of use out of a single charge.
While getting lithium-ion batteries is a good first step towards getting a model that is both lightweight and lasts for a good amount of time on a single charge, they are not always sufficient on their own. The easiest way to fix this problem if you have a large or particularly demanding yard is to get backup batteries. As long as you have another charged battery ready to go, you don’t have to stop working.
Of course, this sounds like an expensive way to go about your business, and that’s a reasonable concern. However, many tool companies have made it easy to get many batteries at affordable costs. The typical method is to create a line of tools that all use the same voltage, and thus can all use the same batteries. So, you may have a battery-powered drill, chainsaw, and weed eater, all made by DEWALT, and if you buy each with a battery included, you’ll have three batteries.
It’s unlikely that you’ll be using all three tools in quick succession, so what you actually have is three batteries for each project that you do, as long as you make sure to recharge them when not in use. You might not be buying other tools in the same battery series right now, but you may consider them before you make your decision on a battery-powered weed eater. If you’re torn between two battery-powered weed eaters, the quality of other tools compatible with their batteries might be a good tiebreaker.
The guard is an underrated part of the weed eater. If you don’t like have bits of plant, as well as small rocks or other debris launched at your legs, you’re going to want a weed eater with a high-quality guard. Of course, you’re supposed to wear jeans while weed eating, but if you live in a place that’s especially hot or humid, that might not be a good option. If you’re a regular shorts-wearer, having a good guard can protect you from discomfort and cuts on your legs.
However, there’s a tradeoff. Bigger guards protect you better, but they also weigh more. That means if you’re looking to have a very light weed eater, you’re probably going to have to settle for a smaller guard. If you’re willing to buy a model that’s a bit heavier, then you should be able to get a larger and more effective guard.
One of the cooler features that you can get on a battery powered weed eater is the ability to switch between weed eating and edging modes. However, the guard that comes with these models tends to not be the greatest, as it’s designed to work at two different angles, but fails to do a great job at either angle.
No matter what kind of weed eater you get, you’re going to need to replace the trimmer line at some point. This can be an inconvenient task or a simple one, depending on which model you choose. Keep in mind that thicker trimmer line gauges hold up better and need to be replaced less often. However, they are heavier and require more power to use, which decreases how long the model lasts relative to competitors with the same battery size.
Some models include an automatic feed, which extends more trimmer line as it detects its needed. This is a really useful feature, and greatly decreases the frequency that you have to replace trimmer line. The next best variety features a bump mechanism. By tapping the spinning head on the ground while you work, you can release more trimmer line as needed.
Other models release trimmer line when they are turned off. While it’s weird to be turning your weed eater on and off while you work, startup is nearly instantaneous on electric models and doesn’t require priming or pulling a cord repeatedly, so it’s not as big of a deal as it sounds.
Finally, some models require you to feed the wire and set the length by hand. These are the most inconvenient, and you can typically get models with a better system for the same price, so you can greatly increase your value by investing in one of those instead.
There’s a lot to consider when you’re buying a battery-powered weed eater, but you don’t need to feel overwhelmed. The best thing you can do before you even start is to figure out how long it would take you to clear weeds from your yard. If you already own a gas-powered model, all you have to do is measure how long it takes to finish the task.
Once you know that, you’ll know roughly the kind of power and battery life that you’ll need to clean up your yard. Those numbers greatly reduce the number of models that you’ll need to consider. Once you have that short list, research the price of replaceable batteries or the quality of the other tools that use the same batteries. While not vital to operating your weed eater, they can potentially make it a more valuable investment in the future if you buy other products from that line.
Once you have thought through those features, you should have a very short list with a few options on it. Then, it’s safe to buy the cheapest remaining model, as it has all of the features that you need and will give you very good value. Or, you could spend a bit more, and get some features that you don’t need, but might like to have.
The BLACK+DECKER LST136 is our top choice among battery powered weed eaters, due to its dual trimming and edging modes, the option to maximize power or runtime or choose something in-between, and its excellent battery longevity. The DEWALT DCST920P is another good choice that uses batters on DEWALT’s 20V battery platform, a large, 13-inch clear range, and good battery life, only losing out on first place due to quality control issues. The Worx WG163 is our choice for best for the money, coming with dual trimming and edging modes, and a telescoping handle for length adjustment. The Greenworks 2101602 features a 40V battery, and a variable speed trigger, but has poor runtime and suffers from quality control problems. The Ryobi RY40204 2016 is cheap but doesn’t include a battery or charger and suffers from serious burnout problems.
We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you learn about battery powered weed eaters. Armed with information, you should be able to find a model that works for you.
Relevant weed eater pages you may be interested in:
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!