Switching from Gas to Battery is Easier with the Latest Generation of Battery-Powered String Trimmers
Even if you’re not quite ready to pull the trigger on an electric lawn mower, cordless string trimmers are a much easier jump for most homeowners to make. Even Pro lawn care crews have legitimate options to replace gas models. What’s the best battery-powered string trimmer for your needs? We got our team together to determine top picks for a range of priorities.
Want to see our top overall string trimmer picks, including gas models? Check out this article!
Best Battery-Powered String Trimmer Overall
Best for Professionals: Husqvarna 520iLX Battery-Powered String Trimmer
When we’re talking about the best all-day, everyday professional string trimmer for residential crews, we love Husqvarna’s 520iLX. What helps it rise above other solid picks from Stihl, EGO, and Greenworks Commercial is its combination of lighter weight, extremely low vibration, and thoughtful feature set in conjunction with excellent performance. Other professional brands hit several of the same elements, but none of them put them together as completely as Husqvarna.
Price: $299.99 bare tool
Best for Homeowners: EGO PowerLoad String Trimmer with Line IQ ST1623T
EGO started back in the day with surprisingly strong performance for a cordless string trimmer with eye-opening vibration control. Since then, it’s only gotten better as battery and motor technology have improved. Add to that, automatic line loading with EGO’s PowerLoad feature makes string trimmers with it the easiest to load we’ve ever used. For 2022, automatic line feeding takes it to another level, setting the bar very high for any other brand hoping to compete for the title of the best battery-powered string trimmer.
Price: Price: $299 with 4.0Ah battery and charger
Best Battery-Powered String Trimmer Power
Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Whisper Series Carbon Fiber Shaft String Trimmer RY402110VNM
In case you haven’t noticed, Ryobi has been absolutely unleashed in the last year. The 40V HP Brushless lineup has been impressive, taking the Home Depot-exclusive brand to a whole new level in OPE. For the latest flagship string trimmer, that means impressive cutting power.
The combination of advanced battery and brushless motor tech lets you spin line up to 0.105-inch with a 17-inch cutting swath. It’s fantastic when you’re reclaiming overgrown areas or simply have a lot of lawn to maintain. It gets even better, though, because this model is also part of the Whisper Series, boasting 60% quieter operation than a comparable gas model thanks to specifically focusing on the pitch of the sound.
Price: $329 with 6.0Ah battery and rapid charger
Best Lightweight Battery-Powered String Trimmer
Makita ConnectX String Trimmer CRU03
Makita packs 30cc gas power equivalence into a sub-10-pound package with the ConnectX string trimmer. By shifting the weight of the battery off of the tool and putting it on a harness, you also get incredible runtime thanks to the 1200Wh of capacity you’re wearing. Makita isn’t the only brand to offer a backpack battery, but this combination of weight and performance is special.
Price: $419 bare tool
Best Attachment-Capable Battery-Powered String Trimmer
When we tested cordless attachment systems, none of them had the overall performance that Sithl’s 36V KombiSystem did. It was the closest one to using a gas powerhead. Now it’s even better with the launch of the KMA 135 R powerhead.
Even though Stihl doesn’t use a universal attachment mechanism, the brand’s list of available attachments is deeper than we’ve seen from any other. Plus, there’s Stihl’s extensive dealer and service network to support you after the sale.
Price: $359.99 powerhead only
Best Budget Battery-Powered String Trimmer
This year, we set a price limit on our best budget battery-powered string trimmer recommendation. Capped at $160 for the entire kit, we looked for something powerful that also included the battery and charger. The powerful Skil 40V PWRCore Brushless string trimmer really impressed us with its value.
This battery-powered trimmer really fills a need for a capable weed eater that doesn’t go overboard on weight or price. With more power than 18V/20V models, it’s a good fit for budget-minded individuals. It also carries a 5-year limited warranty.
Price: $159 with 2.5Ah battery and charger.
Best Line for Battery-Powered String Trimmers
Echo Black Diamond 0.095-Inch Trimmer Line
Echo Black Diamond trimmer line is denser than others and has sharper cutting edges in its design. For battery-powered string trimmers, you can use Black Diamond 0.095-inch line that cuts like it’s thicker without killing your runtime. There’s some reduction because of the increase in mass, but not as much as when it combines with the increased air resistance of thicker lines. It’s the line we prefer on our gas trimmers and with cordless models being as capable as they are today, we’re able to on those as well.
Price: $14.99 1-pound package (253 feet)
More Battery-Powered String Trimmer Options from Brands We Trust
DeWalt sports an impressive 17-inch cutting swath on its latest 60V Max brushless string trimmer. It’s a 2-speed attachment-capable trimmer using a universal connection system, opening up more options beyond DeWalt attachments. With 5800 RPM on the top end (4650 in low), there’s plenty of speed and you can swap out the 0.080-inch line that comes pre-spooled with 0.095-inch.
It’s a little beefier than some models with the 3.0Ah 60V battery pushing the total weight over 11 pounds. The trigger grip section is also a bit thicker than most, so you might not care for it if you have smaller hands. On the plus side, there are three points for the attachment detent to lock into, making it simple to convert the trimmer head into a string edger.
Price: $249 bare tool, $299 with 3.0Ah battery and charger
There’s a reason we picked EGO’s Line IQ trimmer as our best overall for homeowners. It’s so easy to use with excellent performance and smooth operation, that it can make one of the worst tasks enjoyable.
Price: $299.00 with 4.0Ah battery and charger
Greenworks’ Pro 60V line has a few options and we like the ST60L04 as the best overall balance of performance and price for trimming. It’s a smooth-operating trimmer with an easy-loading Load N’ Go head that uses 0.095-inch line and runs for more than half an hour on its 2.5Ah battery.
Price: $199.99 with 2.5Ah battery and charger
Best HART Battery-Powered String Trimmer: HLST051VNM
HART stepped up big time this year and now has a brushless 15-inch carbon fiber shaft model for its 40V line. It’s another attachment-capable option using a universal connection and is capable to whipping 0.095-inch line. Thanks to its carbon fiber shaft, the weight comes down a bit without sacrificing the strength you need for the job.
Price: $248 with 4.0Ah battery and rapid charger
Best Husqvarna Battery-Powered String Trimmer: 520iLX
From its lighter weight and smoother operation to its excellent performance, Husqvarna’s 520iLX is our pick as the best overall battery-powered string trimmer for professionals.
Best Makita Battery-Powered String Trimmer: GRU01
We realize not everyone is in a place to jump onto Makita’s ConnectX system. If you want high performance with wider OPE and power tool compatibility, give the 40V max XGT GRU01 a look. It has three speeds and tops out with a blistering 6500 RPM. Plus, there’s an Automatic Torque Drive feature that auto-adjusts the speed to match what you’re cutting. Even better, this one is just 10.4 pounds with a 4.0Ah battery, giving it an excellent blend of performance and weight.
Price: $289 bare, $439 with 4.0Ah battery and rapid charger
Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel Quik-Lok attachment system still holds the top spot for the best Milwaukee string trimmer in our books. Its 2-speed brushless design does an excellent job on a wide range of grasses. Even though it doesn’t use a universal connection, the available attachments have done a fantastic job over several years of service with our crew.
Now that there’s a new commercial lawn mower, whispers of further Milwaukee OPE expansion are in the wind, so keep your eyes open in case something new in the string trimmer department shows up.
Price: $229 powerhead and string trimmer attachment, $299 string trimmer kit with 8.0Ah High Output battery and rapid charger
Best Ryobi Battery-Powered String Trimmer RY402110VNM
For all the reasons we already stated and more, Ryobi’s 40V HP Brushless 17-inch string trimmer is something special.
Price: $329 with 6.0Ah battery and rapid charger
It’s tough to find a brushless string trimmer under $150 that includes a battery and charger. Skil is one option and it’s a compelling high-value pick. It’s capable of using 0.080-inch line and we whacked down some pretty tall grass in Josh’s backyard when we decided to reclaim it. It’s also a good pick if you’re looking for a lightweight trimmer—it’s just 9.3 pounds with a 2.5Ah battery.
Price: $149.00 with 2.5Ah battery and rapid charger
Stihl was already doing a great job in the professional battery-powered lawn care department, but the 135 line takes it a step further with even better performance and durability. Comparable to the power the FS 91 offers, it’s matching up with one of Stihl’s workhorse gas models. The trimmer works best with 0.095-inch line and has a 16.5-inch cutting swath. It also comes in both standard and bike handle models, giving you a great option for clearing large areas.
Best Battery-Powered String Trimmer Buying Guide | What We Look For
Three primary factors go into cutting power: line speed, line thickness/mass, and motor torque.
The faster the line whips around, the better the tips cut grass. Most battery-powered string trimmers are fine in this category. As long as you’re getting at least 5000 RPM, you should be in good shape. The top models are capable of hitting 6500 RPM and there is a significant difference in how fast you can complete your trimming duties at higher rotational speeds.
Shifting the focus to the line thickness, the higher the line mass, the more force it’s able to cut through thicker grass with. It’s like the difference between getting hit by a 175-pound safety and a 225-pound linebacker at the same speed. More mass equals more cutting power.
Most cordless string trimmers take 0.080-inch line at a minimum. We recommend 0.095-inch for the best all-around performance. If you have tougher grass or deal with overgrowth frequently, a string trimmer with 0.105-inch line lets you power through even better. Just keep in mind that line diameter has a direct effect on runtime—thicker line takes more power to run.
Finally, a motor with higher torque helps the trimmer resist slowing down as the going gets tougher. Even though trimming grass seems like a low-demand task, grass does push back against the line, causing it to bend back and eventually start to bog the motor. Higher torque holds keeps the head spinning better in tough cutting situations, even when its highest RPMs are lower than low-torque gearing.
Having a large cutting swath helps you clear large areas faster or gives you a more generous border for your mower. You need more power to run wider, though, and runtime is always a consideration. That said, in the past couple of years, we’ve seen the technology come together to give us solid options. Look for a 15-inch cutting diameter for most situations. Recent 16- and 17-inch models are a great choice when you have larger areas to cut.
The average homeowner on a 1/4-acre lot only needs about 15 minutes of consistent trigger time to cover trimming. Most cordless string trimmers are able to hit that at high speed without too much trouble.
Professional lawn care crews need much more, though. So do homeowners with large properties and farm/ranch acreage.
If your runtime needs are greater, look for a string trimmer that balances the efficiency of a brushless motor, uses 0.095-inch line, and possibly comes with a higher-capacity battery. Of course, you can always carry multiple batteries.
Also, consider learning how to trim at low speed when the grass isn’t as thick. Even though you have to slow down a bit, you’ll cut a significantly larger area.
We highly value low-vibration string trimmers. We already have enough work to do managing the weight of such a long tool without vibration adding additional fatigue. The harmonics in some of today’s models are so good that hardly any vibration makes it up the handle… and they are a joy to use!
Weight and Balance
If you’re working all day on a lawn crew or even just putting the finishing touches on your own lawn, you want the lightest weight you can get without sacrificing the power you need. Bare weight isn’t everything—the battery can add a lot. If you can get a fully-loaded battery-powered string trimmer that meets your performance needs and comes in under 10 pounds, that’s a big win.
Balance is a consideration and the trimmers that have the best typically mount the motor on the trimmer head to counter the battery weight on the back. Many models also let you adjust the front handle to help dial in your fit.
If you’re after an attachment-capable model, you’re stuck with the motor in the back, and the balance shifts back. For those and trimmers that are simply heavier by nature, consider adding a shoulder strap to help you out.
Low noise is one of the major benefits of moving away from gas power. Cordless string trimmers we’ve tested range from decibels in the low 80s to the upper 90s (measured at our operator’s ear). Even at the top end, it’s an improvement over the majority of gas trimmers.
Your line selection plays a bigger part than it does on gas trimmers. Sometimes, switching the line you use can reduce the overall noise level or change the tone to a less irritating pitch.
When you have to change the line, it can be an easy or frustrating process. Manual loading is largely a thing of the past, though some trimmers still have manual heads. To make the process easier, look for models that have some type of fast-loading system (SpeedFeed, Rapid Load, etc). With these, you thread the line through the head to the middle, turn the head to load it, and go get on with the work.
Regardless of what comes on the trimmer, you can upgrade most to a quick-load head.
The best on the market right now is EGO’s PowerLoad design. It takes the fast-load concept and adds automatic winding and gives us the easiest, quickest line changes we’ve ever had.
Pro lawn crews typically have dedicated machines for string trimming, edging, and hedge trimming, but homeowners can save a lot of money by using interchangeable heads and tools that cover everything from blowing to brush cutting.
As we mentioned earlier, attachment systems require a top-mounted motor that affects the balance. It’s a trade-off you have to make for the convenience you gain.
One thing to keep an eye on is the attachment connection style. Models with a “universal” connection can use attachments from other brands, opening up far more choices. Recent multi-head systems including EGO, Milwaukee, and Stihl aren’t compatible with others, so you need to make sure they have everything you need before investing.