Black+Decker LST136 Review
Pros: Inexpensive, quiet
Cons: Not the most powerful
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|Pros||Inexpensive, quiet||Quiet, lightweight, easy to control||Lightweight, relatively quiet, easy to service||Fantastic at weed eating, easy to use||Relatively inexpensive, exceptionally powerful|
|Cons||Not the most powerful||Pricey, short reach||Not super powerful, short battery life||Requires additional motorized head, decently loud||Loud, throws debris everywhere|
|Bottom Line||If you are shopping on a budget and don't need an extra powerful tool, then this is the string trimmer for you||This is a fantastic all-around string trimmer that especially excels at maintaining large vegetated areas||If you need a string trimmer in your tool arsenal but don't have much money to spend, this one is the one to buy||This versatile tool takes out dense vegetation with ease||If you don't mind sacrificing some comfort in order to save some cash, this is a good value option|
|Rating Categories||Black+Decker LST136||Husqvarna 115iL||Craftsman V20 Weedw...||Ego Power+ STA1500...||Ryobi 40V Expand-It|
|Weed Eating (30%)|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Specs||Black+Decker LST136||Husqvarna 115iL||Craftsman V20 Weedw...||Ego Power+ STA1500...||Ryobi 40V Expand-It|
|Line Feed Mechanism||Auto||Bump||Button||Bump||Bump|
|Cutting Path (in.)||13||14||15||15||13-15|
|Shoulder Strap Attachment||No||No||No||No||No|
|Measured Sound Level from 36" Away||85.9 dBa||95 dBa||84 dBa||104.6 dBa||105 dBa|
|Measured No-Load Runtime||43 min.||92 min.||35 min.||21 min.||43 min.|
|Number of Speed Settings||6||2||2||2||1|
|Measured Weight||7.8 lb||10.0 lb||7.0 lb||12.4 lb||12.1 lb|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We did find that the Black+Decker LST136 can get a little overburdened when cutting through dense vegetation so it might not be the best cordless yard tool around if you have heavy-duty lawn maintenance tasks ahead of you.
Our most important rating metric for these cordless tools is how effectively and easily they cleared weeds and other nuisance plants. We compared and scored the weed-eating efficiency of each product, how much power they have, and how easy it is to make precision cuts around fragile plants or objects. The Black+Decker LST136 isn't the most powerful or heavy-duty option by any means but it still scored quite well compared to the rest of the tools in the group.
We found the Black+Decker LST136 to have plenty of power for most jobs but it will start to slow down when cutting through very thick stems or burly weeds. We did find it to be very effective when cutting through grasses and weeds using a side-to-side motion.
However, we did find that the guard can get in the way a bit when clearing particularly tall grass and it can get caught up and tangled if you move it in a straight line and don't sweep it side-to-side. We did find that the guard can act as a nice guide when cutting close to the ground.
We also found it pretty easy to make detailed cuts with this string trimmer, especially since it has a low-speed setting and you can pivot the head to the side to make precise cuts.
We found that the relatively large guard can get in the way for certain cuts, especially in more confined spaces around your yard.
Ease of Use
Next, we rated and ranked how user-friendly and convenient each cordless string trimmer is to operate, looking at the difficulty of replacing the line, the comfort and ergonomics, and the weight of each tool, as well as the effectiveness of the guard. The
Black+Decker LST136 again did quite well, finishing just behind the top models.
The Black+Decker LST136 has an automatic feed to dispense more line, making it an exceptionally easy process. It also is very easy to replace, with a simple and straightforward design with only a single spinning string.
We found this cordless tool to be very lightweight and extremely easy to handle, making it one of the least cumbersome string trimmers to operate.
It's a very comfortable tool to hold with a grippy texture on the handle that allows you to securely hold the Black+Decker LST136 for both weed eating and edging. This trimmer is very maneuverable due to its lower weight and it's easy to reach the speed controls with your thumb without letting off the trigger.
However, it is a bit on the shorter side compared to other models, so taller users will need to either hunch over a bit or trim a little closer to your feet. This trimmer's guard is also decently effective at stopping debris from getting thrown back at you but it tends to get in the way a bit. This model also lacks a shoulder strap.
Our next round of tests dealt with how long each of these tools could last on a single charge. We timed how long each trimmer could last running freely on a fully charged battery for the majority of the score, as well as awarding points for different operating modes that let you balance power and battery life. The Black+Decker LST136 did fairly well, scoring in the upper portion of the group overall.
The Black+Decker LST136 has a slightly above average runtime, lasting for just under 45 minutes when using the stock battery — about half the time of the top trimmers.
The Black+Decker LST136 does offer plenty of adjustability — almost to the point of overkill. It has six different settings, providing plenty of ability to balance power and battery life for whatever your weed-eating application is.
The last series of tests looked at how loud the Black+Decker LST136 and the other cordless string trimmers are. We used an SPL meter to measure the sound levels for the operator when holding the trimmer at an arm's length away. The Black+Decker LST136 scored very highly, as it's one of the quietest models we have tested.
This string trimmer measured at 85.9 dBa for the operator on our meter — around 20 dBa quieter than the loudest model we have tested.
It does have a little bit of a higher-pitched whine but it isn't too bad.
This string trimmer is a great value, making it very attractive to anyone shopping on a budget. It holds its own against other models that cost quite a bit more.
If you are shopping for a new string trimmer on a budget, then we can't recommend the Black+Decker LST136 highly enough. It's decently effective at clearing all but the toughest plants and vegetation. It's very lightweight and easy to handle and is a great bargain option if you don't want to pay top dollar for a high-end trimmer that probably won't be all that much better.
— David Wise and Michelle Powell
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