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Old 04-20-2010, 09:33 AM   #1
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


This is the first year in my new home where I will be doing the landscaping. I just got my lawnmower and now need to get a string trimmer.

I have been researching all the different types but can't seem to decide on what type to get - I know gas models allow for easier movement but I am not sure if they are worth the money since I am using it for residential use. The corded electric trimmers seem great but my biggest concern is that I live on a corner lot that has demensions to the street of 92x92x145x70. Getting the cord all the way down to the grass past the sidewalk on the two sides that face the street may be an issue or require a much longer cord than the 100 foot extension I already have.
The last option of a battery powered electric seems to be a great option especially with some of the higher power units but I am concerned about battery life.

The other "Bonus" with the electric models is that most are both a trimmer and the head turns so it can be used as an edger - does the edging on these work well or is it just a gimmick?

As of right now I am leaning towards the Black and Decker edge hog XP which has two 18v batteries. I did see in consumer reports that it tested well for electric. If I go with a gas trimmer it would most likely be an echo or sthil.

It is all very confusing to me so I wanted to ask the awesome DIY community for opinions on what to do and what brands/modes everyone likes based on your experiences.

Thanks in advance
J

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Old 04-20-2010, 08:38 PM   #2
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


Quote:
Originally Posted by whataboutj View Post
This is the first year in my new home where I will be doing the landscaping. I just got my lawnmower and now need to get a string trimmer.

I have been researching all the different types but can't seem to decide on what type to get - I know gas models allow for easier movement but I am not sure if they are worth the money since I am using it for residential use. The corded electric trimmers seem great but my biggest concern is that I live on a corner lot that has demensions to the street of 92x92x145x70. Getting the cord all the way down to the grass past the sidewalk on the two sides that face the street may be an issue or require a much longer cord than the 100 foot extension I already have.
The last option of a battery powered electric seems to be a great option especially with some of the higher power units but I am concerned about battery life.

The other "Bonus" with the electric models is that most are both a trimmer and the head turns so it can be used as an edger - does the edging on these work well or is it just a gimmick?

As of right now I am leaning towards the Black and Decker edge hog XP which has two 18v batteries. I did see in consumer reports that it tested well for electric. If I go with a gas trimmer it would most likely be an echo or sthil.

It is all very confusing to me so I wanted to ask the awesome DIY community for opinions on what to do and what brands/modes everyone likes based on your experiences.

Thanks in advance
J
With electric and especially battery power, you'll eventually be let down.

You don't want your tools to quit on you when you need them the most.

Go with at least 2 cycle gas, and buy a nice one.

I'd recommend a Husqvarna or a Stihl.

I have a straight shaft Husqvarna and it's been reliable for me for 7 years. Get a big spool of line.

Also, I recommend avoiding the tools that have all these extra attachments.

Buy tools that have a dedicated use.

http://www.husqvarna.com/us/homeowne...trimmers/128l/

Here are some other essential tools that you'll need as a homeowner:

* Gas Mower (I have a Honda)
* Gas Blower (I have a Stihl)
* Wheelbarrow (I have a Jackson)
* Shovel and rake
* Nice gloves with gel pads
* Ear muffs
* Safety glasses


Last edited by handy man88; 04-20-2010 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:01 PM   #3
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


I edged everything that borders the lawn & no longer use my trimmer (gas)
If you do buy one wear safety glasses for sure
Also long pants & boots when using it
I prefer to minimize the amount of time required to cut the lawn

Never owned a blower, never will
I don't have a single battery operated tool
MIL has an electric mower, has owned it for years - unsure of model
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:04 PM   #4
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


Some of the many considerations mentioned in the link below may be important to you
http://www.galttech.com/research/hou...ng-trimmer.php
Please post back with what you decided on and how you decided.

With a 5A current draw for the corded models you can probably go with 16 gauge cable up to 125', more if your house voltage is on the high side.

The price range seems pretty wide for things that basically all do the same thing - maybe reliability is the reason.

I have a Craftsman 2 cycle from 2002. Leaving it out in the sunlight makes it easier to start.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 04-20-2010 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 04-20-2010, 10:29 PM   #5
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


I've used gas and electric, and TBH I prefer electric. With gas you have to fight more with the choke and what not, and the speed is never constant, and it's heavier. Guess this varies, I'm sure some are better then others.

With electric, you hit the button, it goes. The only downside is having to drag that super long extension cord all over the place. I've never tried the battery ones, maybe those are decent too. You don't really need much power to spin a small line around, so I'm sure the batteries last long enough.
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Old 04-21-2010, 06:16 AM   #6
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


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Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
You don't really need much power to spin a small line around, so I'm sure the batteries last long enough.
LOL!

Saying a tool has too much power is like saying a TV is too big.
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Old 04-21-2010, 09:59 AM   #7
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


Thanks everyone. Lots of good info on this topic -- this is why I love this forum and have been spending a lot more time here than other forums I am on


Quote:
Originally Posted by handy man88 View Post

I'd recommend a Husqvarna or a Stihl.
I have been looking at the the Stihl home scaper FS45 if I decide to go with a gas model which I am fairly certain is the way I will go. It was rated #1 gas trimmer by Consumer reports again this year. The only trepidation I have is that there are a lot of user reviews stating that it is hard to start and after 1 season quit working. Further research has others stating the issues are because people aren't using 90 octane unleaded gas, have bad gas:oil mixtures, and are leaving the gas/oil in the unit during the winter. Also the manual states you shouldn't run it at full throttle until you have run 4-5 cycles of gas:oil through the unit - in other words it needs to be broken in correctly. It seems like a lot of "Babying" for a power tool but in talking with another DYIr friend of mine who likes higher end tools he loves all of his Stihl products and says if treated correctly it will last a lifetime.


Quote:
Originally Posted by handy man88 View Post
Here are some other essential tools that you'll need as a homeowner:

* Gas Mower (I have a Honda)
* Gas Blower (I have a Stihl)
* Wheelbarrow (I have a Jackson)
* Shovel and rake
* Nice gloves with gel pads
* Ear muffs
* Safety glasses
I appreciate that info - I have most of the tools above.
-My new Honda HRX217HXA mower was delivered yesterday
- I bought fiberglass handled spade and square shovels, garden rake and hoe from the local hard ware store on sale for $5 each last weekend
-I have gel knee pads from a previous project I did, as well as leather gloves, and safety glasses.
-I don't have a wheel barrow but there is a really heavy duty one at Costco for the same price as medium quality ones at the orange and blue stores.

I didn't think about ear muffs as I plan on using good earphones with my i-pod but I will definitely look into ear muffs.

Thanks again -- please feel free to add to this info. The more the merrier
J
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Old 04-21-2010, 10:10 AM   #8
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
I edged everything that borders the lawn & no longer use my trimmer (gas)
If you do buy one wear safety glasses for sure
Also long pants & boots when using it
I prefer to minimize the amount of time required to cut the lawn

Never owned a blower, never will
I don't have a single battery operated tool
MIL has an electric mower, has owned it for years - unsure of model
Why did you stop using a string trimmer? Is your edger a manual, electric, or gas? I am looking at the trimmer due to some areas I don't think I will be able to get to with the mower - I guess I will find out as soon as I mow for the first time in this house this weekend

I appreciate the heads up on long pants when using the trimmer - I did read about people covered in grass clippings and flying debris which would suck if wearing shorts.

I have an electric blower/mulcher that I used last fall for leaves. It was really fun to use and as an added bonus my kids lover it when I used it on the leaves to make piles for them to play in
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Old 04-21-2010, 10:34 AM   #9
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


Quote:
Originally Posted by whataboutj View Post
a lot of user reviews stating that it is hard to start and after 1 season quit working. Further research has others stating the issues are because people aren't using 90 octane unleaded gas, have bad gas:oil mixtures,. . .

It seems like a lot of "Babying" for a power tool but in talking with another DYIr friend of mine who likes higher end tools he loves all of his Stihl products and says if treated correctly it will last a lifetime.
I'd think someone makes a quality tool that is not so touchy.

I have a Stihl leaf blower and they don't like DIY'ers; no parts list available, no factory manual available, to those not in the trade.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:02 AM   #10
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


Quote:
Originally Posted by whataboutj View Post
Why did you stop using a string trimmer? Is your edger a manual, electric, or gas? I am looking at the trimmer due to some areas I don't think I will be able to get to with the mower - I guess I will find out as soon as I mow for the first time in this house this weekend
I edged everywhere with free bricks I picked up off craigslist
I put one wheel of the lawnmower on the bricks & cut the edges that way
So no trimming needed
I like my lawn, but the easier it is to mow the better
I still have a couple hundred bricks left
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Old 04-21-2010, 12:56 PM   #11
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


I started out with an electric trimmer, and its just a pain in the rear dealing with the cable. Dragging it around, having to relocate it to do different sections of the yard, coming loose from the trimmer, etc.

I went gas and haven't looked back. you can have my electric trimmer. Most of the mechanical problems you read about with gas trimmers are most likely from improper maintentance/storage.
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:14 PM   #12
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


I buy Echo equipment and ONLY echo on this small stuff.

I have an Echo gas trimmer. Works great, fires right up. I left gas in it this past winter, no problems. I took it out, pumped the bulb a few times, choked it, within 3 pulls I was cutting.
I cans witch the actual string head for a saw blade made for it and cut down shrubs and limba tree.

I have an Echo blower now, works great.

I'll be getting a chain saw and a gas hedge trimmer, only Echo.

Try trimming hedges with an electric and see how quickly you cut the cord in half?

Dragging a cord SUCKS. I'll only do gas and ONLY 2 cycle and ONLY Echo.

Did you realize the 4 cycle trimmers don't produce the torque of a 2cycle? They only have power on the stroke ever 4 trips through the cylinder whereas 2 cycle is on a power stroke every other trip.
Faster to rev up and more torque.
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:36 PM   #13
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


Quote:
Originally Posted by whataboutj View Post
Thanks everyone. Lots of good info on this topic -- this is why I love this forum and have been spending a lot more time here than other forums I am on

I have been looking at the the Stihl home scaper FS45 if I decide to go with a gas model which I am fairly certain is the way I will go. It was rated #1 gas trimmer by Consumer reports again this year. The only trepidation I have is that there are a lot of user reviews stating that it is hard to start and after 1 season quit working. Further research has others stating the issues are because people aren't using 90 octane unleaded gas, have bad gas:oil mixtures, and are leaving the gas/oil in the unit during the winter. Also the manual states you shouldn't run it at full throttle until you have run 4-5 cycles of gas:oil through the unit - in other words it needs to be broken in correctly. It seems like a lot of "Babying" for a power tool but in talking with another DYIr friend of mine who likes higher end tools he loves all of his Stihl products and says if treated correctly it will last a lifetime.
I agree that I was told to use fresh 93 octane (BP preferred). I'm currently using 90 octane and have no problems

I was also told about the break in period.

This "babying" or "broken in" comment is no different than driving below 55mph with a new car.

Stihl is reliable and powerful when you get it going. Only issue I see is that they are very thirsty machines.

I do admit that my Stihl blower does not start as easily as my Husqvarna trimmer. Therefore, you may want to consider Husqvarna tools if you don't want to baby them. Lowe's carries this brand.

Also, for all your gas tools, I recommend you running the tank dry in order to winterize it, if you live in a cold climate area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whataboutj View Post
I appreciate that info - I have most of the tools above.
-My new Honda HRX217HXA mower was delivered yesterday
- I bought fiberglass handled spade and square shovels, garden rake and hoe from the local hard ware store on sale for $5 each last weekend
-I have gel knee pads from a previous project I did, as well as leather gloves, and safety glasses.
-I don't have a wheel barrow but there is a really heavy duty one at Costco for the same price as medium quality ones at the orange and blue stores.

I didn't think about ear muffs as I plan on using good earphones with my i-pod but I will definitely look into ear muffs.

Thanks again -- please feel free to add to this info. The more the merrier
J
A wheelbarrow is a gardener's best friend. It'll save your back from a lot of strain with dirt and mulch and transplanting plants. You'll be more efficient with your yard work. I also use it to cart snow away from the foundation.

I've seen Costco's version and my only opinion is that with all that steel, it'll just make the wheelbarrow more heavy.

The key to a good wheelbarrow is cross bracing under the bucket and light weight. I also prefer steel over plastic buckets, as steel adds to the rigidity and durability. Wet dirt is very heavy.
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:40 PM   #14
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


Quote:
Originally Posted by whataboutj View Post
Why did you stop using a string trimmer? Is your edger a manual, electric, or gas? I am looking at the trimmer due to some areas I don't think I will be able to get to with the mower - I guess I will find out as soon as I mow for the first time in this house this weekend

I appreciate the heads up on long pants when using the trimmer - I did read about people covered in grass clippings and flying debris which would suck if wearing shorts.

I have an electric blower/mulcher that I used last fall for leaves. It was really fun to use and as an added bonus my kids lover it when I used it on the leaves to make piles for them to play in
Interesting...I wear shorts when I do yard work. I mean...why damage good pants and why wear long pants on a hot, muggy day when doing sweaty yard work?

To protect my legs, I picked up some shin/lower leg guards at Harbor Freight a long time ago. They look like soccer shin guards, but are made with fabric. I don't think they carry these anymore though.
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Old 04-21-2010, 08:45 PM   #15
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String trimmers - gas, corded electric, or battery electric - which one??


A battery string trimmer; I laugh for ten minutes every time I see these things advertised. Like John Stossel would say, "Give me a break!"

Electric is ok for a small yard or patio home, but for the real thing , get gas.

I have a Stihl. Yeah, they cost more than the big box stuff, but they last more than two summers and you can get them repaired when something does go wrong. Just walk into a repair shop with a Poulon, Ryobi, Homelite, etc.... they just shake their head and laugh as they tell you that this stuff is manufactured to be throw away, usually the only repair parts are cheap imported after market, and the reputable shops are not willing to ruin their reputation with these pats that break in a few months.

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