“a consumer reports for the cheap” — the new york times

Weed Eaters Performance

Low-Cost Weed Eaters Trimming Ability.

Although cheap weed eaters don't earn unanimously glowing reviews, some perform better than others. The Black & Decker NST2018 (starting at $89) stands out here, and weed eater reviewers on Ace Hardware say it cuts straight borders and does an excellent job on grass and weeds growing around uneven rocks, although one reviewer grouses about its ability to chow down extremely thick grass.
The Black & Decker GH600 (starting at $50) weed eater also gets a nod for its trimming ability in weed eaters reviews on the Walmart site, where users comment that it works especially well around edges and with tall, 12-inch weeds, but add that the string feed occasionally gets tangled. An expert weed eaters review of the Black and Decker ST1000 on HowStuffWorks says it's fine for light-duty trimming but doesn't advise using it on thick grass or brush. There are only a handful of weed eaters reviews for the Weed Eater FeatherLite SST25 (starting at $130), and those we found are either ambivalent or totally dismissive. Weed eaters reviews on Amazon indicate that users are very dissatisfied with this cheap gas-powered weed eater, so much so that they barely comment on its cutting ability because most report they had a hard time getting it started and keeping it running long enough to use.

Cheap Weed Eaters Ease of Use.

Ease of use, especially the starting mechanism, is important to consumers. In their weed eaters reviews, many are quick to complain if starting the unit takes several tries. This is one performance factor that earns the Black & Decker NST2018 solid reviews at Sears, where one user who was frustrated with trying to start gas weed eaters decided to try the NST2018 and writes about how easily it gets going. Some weed eaters reviews of the NST2018 gripe about the relatively short battery life, but this doesn't seem to bother others. (Remember that these batteries need to be charged overnight, and since the machine is designed for small suburban yards, don't expect your cheap weed eater to conquer a full or even half-acre yard without a recharge.) Weed eaters reviews on the Target website comment appreciatively on the Black & Decker NST2018's light weight, automatic feed, and the absence of power cords or gas fuel; one user reports that an overnight charge for the battery is sufficient to trim his entire yard, and several other users say the battery life is OK. Over at Toro 51467 (starting at $45); one user who posted a weed eater review on Amazon compared the Toro 51467 to the Black & Decker NST2018 and concludes that the Toro model has a better battery and holds its charge longer, but the does a better trim job, weighs less, and is easier to use.

Another Black & Decker model that users like for ease of use is the corded Black & Decker GH600. Consumers posting weed eater reviews on Epinions have positive things to say about the Black & Decker GH600, and particularly note its light weight and automatic feed. One user review on Epinions reports that start up is simple (once you've figured out the plug guard), and it's nice not to have to worry about messing with gasoline.

Review continues below

The best thing about the Black & Decker ST1000 (starting at $20), according to string trimmer reviews on Amazon, is its size. Most users comment that it's so lightweight and small, anyone can use it -- and, it fits into hard-to-reach areas. The main gripe against the Black & Decker ST1000 is the time it takes to get used to the bump feed, but once you get the hang of it, consumers find this very cheap model is a very good deal.

Weed eaters reviews on Buzzillions are down on the Weed Eater FeatherLite SST25; one user reports that the first time he tapped it on the ground it turned off and wouldn't start back up.

Cheap Weed Eaters Durability.

Most affordable weed eaters come with a two-year warranty, while the pricy Echo SRM225 features a five-year consumer warranty and a two-year commercial warranty. Regardless, users expect their cheap weed eaters to last a while. At Target, one weed eaters review comments that the Black & Decker NST2018 may seem as though it's made with low-cost plastic but it's actually quite durable. A weed eaters reviewer on Epinions notes that his two-year old Black & Decker NST2018 is still going strong after two years. The durability of the Black & Decker GH600 also merits a shout out, according to a weed eaters review on Amazon, where a user writes that she bought this cheap weed eater after her husband passed away because it seemed so easy to use, and it's handily trimmed her three-plus acre lot, including heavy, thick weeds and roots, for more than two years.

Review continues below

On the other hand, durability seems to be a problem with the Weed Eater FeatherLite SST25. Users posting weed eaters reviews on Walmart say that it's poorly constructed and doesn't last long (several claim that it died just a few minutes out of the box), and some report the shaft doesn't stay connected and the head stopped spinning after a short time in use.

Falling in the middle of the two extremes is the Black & Decker ST1000 9-Inch. Weed eaters reviews posted on the Ace Hardware site are mixed, with one user reporting durability of three seasons and another saying it died after 15 minutes, although he was willing to try a replacement (no word on how the replacement worked for him). But as one consumer points out in a weed eaters review on Amazon, given the super-cheap price, you don't care so much about this model's durability.

email Sign up for our
Free Newsletter
Cheapism.com on Facebook