Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Cordless String Trimmer of 2021

We tested cordless string trimmers from Makita, Husqvarna, Black+Decker, EGO, and others to find the best weed eaters
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
By Michelle Powell and David Wise  ⋅  Aug 17, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
After researching 60 different cordless string trimmers, we bought the 9 best models on the market in 2021 and tested them head-to-head to find out which ones eat up weeds best. We tested their weed slashing performance in a series of comparative tests, cutting through dense patches of grass and burly weeds, and making precision cuts around obstacles. We also measured how noisy each model is, as well as maximum runtime, plus ergonomics and ease of use. To find out which weed eater cut through the competition, which is your best bet on a budget, and which models will work with your existing cordless tool batteries, check out the rest of the review below.

Top 9 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 9
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $389 List
$389.00 at Amazon
$195 List
Check Price at Amazon
$129 List
$129.00 at Amazon
$120 List
$119.00 at Amazon
$230 List
Overall Score
91
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62
71
Star Rating
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Pros Easy to use, great battery life, low noiseInexpensive, quietLightweight, relatively quiet, easy to serviceFantastic at weed eating, easy to useQuiet, lightweight, easy to control
Cons Not the lightest tool around, priceyNot the most powerfulNot super powerful, short battery lifeRequires additional motorized head, decently loudPricey, short reach
Bottom Line Ergonomic and easy to use, this is one of our all-time favorite cordless yard tools to use when clearing weedsIf you are shopping on a budget and don't need an extra powerful tool, then this is the string trimmer for youIf you need a string trimmer in your tool arsenal but don't have much money to spend, this one is the one to buyThis versatile tool takes out dense vegetation with easeThis is a fantastic all-around string trimmer that especially excels at maintaining large vegetated areas
Rating Categories Makita XRU15PT 36V Black+Decker LST136 Craftsman V20 Weedw... Ego Power+ STA1500... Husqvarna 115iL
Weed Eating (30%)
9.0
7.0
7.0
8.6
7.0
Ease Of Use (30%) Sort Icon
9.2
7.4
7.4
6.7
6.1
Battery (25%)
9.0
6.8
5.5
3.5
8.5
Noise (15%)
9.0
8.0
7.8
5.0
6.8
Specs Makita XRU15PT 36V Black+Decker LST136 Craftsman V20 Weedw... Ego Power+ STA1500... Husqvarna 115iL
Line Feed Mechanism Bump Auto Button Bump Bump
Cutting Path (in.) 15 13 15 15 14
Shoulder Strap Attachment Yes No No No No
Measured Sound Level from 36" Away 85 dBa 85.9 dBa 84 dBa 104.6 dBa 95 dBa
Measured No-Load Runtime 88 min. 43 min. 35 min. 21 min. 92 min.
Number of Speed Settings 3 6 2 2 2
Measured Weight 10.4 lb 7.8 lb 7.0 lb 12.4 lb 10.0 lb
Nominal Voltage 36 36 20 56 40
Tested Amp-hours 5 2 4 2.5 4

Why You Should Trust Us


To say we put each string trimmer through their paces would be an understatement. We implemented 72 individual tests between the 9 trimmers in the review, running each through the same 8 tests to comparatively assess aspects ranging from weed-eating power to noise levels. This allows us to rank each in accordance with its performance in each metric and make special recommendations for the specific needs of homeowners or anyone looking to improve their yard. We paid the full retail price for each model to ensure a completely unbiased assessment of these string trimmers.

We spent dozens and dozens of hours testing these products...
We spent dozens and dozens of hours testing these products side-by-side.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Our expert string trimmer testing and review team is lead by Michelle Powell and David Wise. Michelle has made a career of evaluating products side-by-side, comprehensively testing, and scoring the smallest details, and differentiating factors on everything from coffee grinders to cordless power tools. Additionally, she also brings extensive lawn care experience to the table. David has formal training as a mechanical engineer with extensive experience in lithium batteries and electrical power systems, which he gained from working on electric vehicles and underwater robots.

We took each string trimmer to various locations to test them on all...
We took each string trimmer to various locations to test them on all kinds of grasses (short and tall), shrubs, and bushes. The Ego STA1500 was able to cut just about everything we pointed it at.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

In addition to string trimmers, our team can be seen in the field testing cordless leaf blowers and cordless lawn mowers, among many other electric tools. We've tested over 135 electric power tools over the last several years. This gives us unique insight into performance over an entire line of electric tools, so if you're enticed by the performance of a Makita string trimmer you can check out how a Makita Cordless Circular Saw stacks up before you commit to a brand and its batteries.

Editors note: This review was updated August 17, 2021, to reflect the latest in our testing process and update our charts and product specifications information. We also added the Ego Power+ 15-Inch String Trimmer with Powerload and the Craftsman V20 Weedwacker to our comparative testing line-up.


Best Overall Cordless String Trimmer


Makita XRU15PT 36V


91
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weed Eating 9
  • Ease of Use 9.2
  • Battery 9
  • Noise 9
Feed Type: Bump | Weight: 10 lb 6 oz
Phenomenal weed-eating performance
Excellent battery life
Very easy to use
Expensive

For the cordless string trimmer that does it all exceptionally well, look no further than the Makita XRU15PT 36V. This trimmer impressed us with lots of strength and showed us that it could manipulate even the most resistant weeds and plants. Equally impressive, this machine handles detailed work with ease, helping to straighten lawn edges quickly and effectively. Cycling through the three speed settings helps the user operate the trimmer at its ideal speed for the job at hand. It's easy to use and comfortable to wield, thanks to its ergonomic grip. In addition, it has a long runtime and isn't overly loud compared to some other contenders.

Our gripes with this model are minor. We needed to reference the instructions to figure out how to replace the line after it had run out, but once we figured it out, the process is about as easy as it could be. Also, there is more weight to handle on this trimmer, but since that weight is so well-balanced with the ergonomic grip, we didn't find this to be a problem. If you want a robust cordless trimmer that can handle all of your weed-eating needs, we wholeheartedly recommend the Makita XRU15PT 36V.

Read Review: Makita XRU15PT 36V

Best Bang for Your Buck


Black+Decker LST136


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weed Eating 7
  • Ease of Use 7.4
  • Battery 6.8
  • Noise 8
Feed Type: Automatic| Weight: 7 lb 13 oz
Lower price
Good weed-eating capabilities
Relatively quiet and lightweight
Struggles with dense weeds
Large guard can be obstructive

If you're looking to stretch your dollar with a string trimmer purchase, check out the Black+Decker LST 136. We were impressed with this small machine's abilities as its work stood up to considerably more expensive models that we tested. It's one of the lightest and easiest to handle, all while running much quieter than some of the top trimmers. The six different operating modes help meet a variety of weed trimming scenarios, and it boasts a healthy runtime.

Unfortunately, this trimmer did get a little overwhelmed when working through very thick weed patches or tough-stemmed plants. It also has one of the larger guards, which can get in the way when making detailed cuts — though it is quite effective at stopping plant and weed debris from getting thrown back at you. Ultimately, if you don't need a serious beast of a weed-eater, this is one of our favorite budget options for a cordless trimmer.

Read Review: Black+Decker LST136

Another Great Bargain Option


Craftsman V20 Weedwacker


69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weed Eating 7
  • Ease of Use 7.4
  • Battery 5.5
  • Noise 7.8
Feed Type: Button | Weight: 7 lbs
Lightweight
Precise for edge work
Relatively quiet
Not powerful enough for thick weeds and shrubs
Large guard can get in the way
Shorter battery life

The Craftsman V20 Weedwacker is an excellent, effective tool for keeping your small or medium-sized yard looking great, as well as light-duty brush clearing. It's lightweight and easy to break out for quick jobs or cleaning up what your mower missed and replacing the spring when it runs out is a simple and easy process. The spool head will receive a lot of abuse as it's dragged and bumped against the ground, and Craftsman even offers a very affordable replacement.

This light, relatively quiet model is underpowered for bigger jobs where thick grasses and brush have really taken over, making the V20 Weedwhacker a better option for maintaining your yard than transforming it. The battery life averaged only 35 minutes in our tests, which isn't very long but should suffice for edging along the smaller lawns this tool is designed for. We also found the guard, while effective at shielding us from debris, a little too large for detailed work. There are certainly more powerful models with even longer battery life, but we feel this model is the best choice for the average homeowner on a budget.

Read Review: Craftsman V20 Weedwacker

Best for Large Areas


Husqvarna 115iL


71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weed Eating 7
  • Ease of Use 6.1
  • Battery 8.5
  • Noise 6.8
Feed Type: Bump | Weight: 10 lbs
Exceptionally long measured runtime
Offers lots of control
Sound isn't too annoying
Shorter neck
Guard didn't do the best at blocking debris

If you need to clear large areas of vegetation, then the Husqvarna 115iL is a great option to consider. This string trimmer had one of the longest runtimes of all the products we have tested to date, cutting weeds and plants long after other models needed to stop and recharge. The Husqvarna 115iL also offers a slow and fast mode to provide you with an awesome amount of control, whether cutting around delicate objects or clearing wide swathes of grass. It isn't particularly loud and supplies a decent amount of power when cutting through tougher plants with thicker stems.

On the downside, the Husqvarna can be a bit more cumbersome to use than some of the other products. It has a shorter neck that forced our testers to stand closer to the cutting head than they would have liked. It can also be a pain to hold vertically. The guard is on the smaller side, which is nice when making precise cuts since it doesn't obstruct your view, but it's far less effective at stopping flying debris than other products. Despite these flaws, it's hard to beat the Husqvarna if you have tons of weeds and plants to clear and don't want to buy extra batteries to get the job done.

Read Review: Husqvarna 115iL

Best for Dense Vegetation


Ego Power+ STA1500 Attachment


62
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weed Eating 8.6
  • Ease of Use 6.7
  • Battery 3.5
  • Noise 5
Feed Type: Bump | Weight: 12 lb 6 oz
Cuts through the toughest weeds with ease
Relatively inexpensive if you already have the Power Head
Very loud
Short battery life

If you need a string trimmer that can handle dense plants and grass without a struggle, then it's worth checking out the Ego Power+ STA1500 string trimming attachment for the Ego Power+ Power Head. It is easily one of the most powerful string trimmers of the group and sliced through dense weeds and tall grass without difficulty. It can clear areas that would have stopped other products dead in their tracks. We also think it's fairly comfortable to use and a compact way to add a cordless string trimmer to your arsenal if you have the aforementioned Power Head.

However, it can be quite a pricey purchase if you don't already have the Power Head and this trimmer can feel like it has too much power for average yards. The guard didn't prevent freshly-cut weeds from getting flung back at us, and precision work can be quite difficult. It's hard to avoid cutting trenches, and the Ego Power+ STA1500 can be brutal on things like birdbaths, outdoor lights, or the side of your house if you aren't careful when using it. It's not for everyone, but it's a great option if you need heavy-duty string trimming capabilities and plan to get other Ego cordless tools.

Read Review: Ego Power+ STA1500 Attachment

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price Our Take
91
$389
Editors' Choice Award
If you are looking for the best of the best when it comes to cordless weed eaters, we think it's hard to beat this top-tier tool
72
$195
Best Buy Award
Costing a fraction of the top-tier models, this yard tool does a decent job of holding its own against much more expensive offerings
71
$230
Top Pick Award
This is a great all-around model with excellent battery life, but it has a shorter reach
69
$129
Best Buy Award
For folks desiring a trimmed yard while sticking to a budget, this model is up to the task
62
$120
Top Pick Award
If you already use EGO tools and just want a string trimmer attachment, the STA1500 won't disappoint
59
$249
Scoring close to the bottom of the pack, we weren't huge fans of the Greenworks
57
$229
This model is great for plowing through thick stands of weeds but lacks a lower speed setting for more precise applications
55
$185
If you are shopping for a string trimmer on a tight budget and don't mind making some sacrifices in performance, the Expand-It by Ryobi is a great bet
55
$300
The Snapper XD is heavy and hard to hold, making it one of our least favorite weed eaters

Analysis and Test Results


In total, we conducted a dozen distinct tests that we divided among four weighted rating metrics. Each of these metrics — Weed Eating, Ease of Use, Battery Life, and Noise — are weighted proportional to their importance to overall string trimmer performance. The score for each metric is determined by the performance of each trimmer in the tests composing each metric.

In addition to being very powerful, the Makita is also one of the...
In addition to being very powerful, the Makita is also one of the quieter models out there.
Credit: Laura Casner


Which Cordless String Trimmer Offers the Better Value?


If you're shopping for a bargain weed eater, then two models stand out: the Black+Decker LST136 and the Craftsmen V20 Weedwacker. These typically cost about half as much — or even a little less — than our top-scoring model, the Makita XRU15PT, and both are solid string trimmers, costing about the same. The Black+Decker model is a bit more powerful than the Craftsman, and it also has longer battery life. Deciding between the two will likely come down to the size of your yard. Both are lightweight and great for quick clean-up tasks. While neither is up to snuff for professional operations, both are worthy of consideration for the average homeowner.

The Craftsman V20 Weedwhacker suffices for basic string trimmer...
The Craftsman V20 Weedwhacker suffices for basic string trimmer needs of most lawns, helping you save money while getting the job done.
Credit: Laura Casner

Which String Trimmer Cuts Weeds the Best?


Weed-eating performance composes the greatest share of a product's overall score. To rank and compare the weed eating skills of each string trimmer, we looked at the effectiveness of each model when it came to clearing weeds from an area and how each handled dense and hard-to-cut vegetation, as well as how much precision you have for trimming edges and cleaning up small areas.


A pair of trimmers tied for the top spot when it came to eating weeds; namely, the Makita XRU15PT 36V and the Ego Power+ STA1500 Attachment. Both are exceptionally effective at eliminating weeds, cutting through pretty much any grasses, weeds, shrubs, and bushes we pitted them against smoothly and effectively. They both tackled tall grass and dense weeds with ease, even cutting through burly stalks and stems without showing any sign of a struggle.

The Makita sliced through dense patches of weeds with ease.
The Makita sliced through dense patches of weeds with ease.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Ego Power+ STA1500 has just a bit more power than the Makita XRU15PT — almost to the point where the Ego Power+ STA1500 might be overkill for typical lawn care. While this extra power is handy for the toughest of weeds, it can be difficult to edge or trim precisely. You can angle the head to get into small spaces, but it can be hard to cut near anything delicate without damaging it or cutting inadvertent trenches into your lawn. This excessive power is made much worse by the Ego Power+ STA1500's sensitive trigger, making it difficult to maintain a consistent speed.

The trigger on the STA1500 is extremely sensitive and controls the...
The trigger on the STA1500 is extremely sensitive and controls the speed of the head. If you have the world's steadiest hand this may be great, but for us, it made it difficult to maintain a steady cutting speed.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Although the Makita XRU15PT can't quite match the Ego Power+ STA1500 when it comes to raw power, it is superior in close quarters. It has a slow setting and feels very nimble to control, allowing you to make carefully angled cuts or clear areas around sprinklers, lawn ornaments, and other items without damaging them.

We liked that this tool has plenty of power to cut lots of plants at...
We liked that this tool has plenty of power to cut lots of plants at once, as well as a slow speed for more precise use.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Husqvarna 115iL and the Black+Decker LST136 both performed decently for their string trimming performance. The Husqvarna 115iL was easily sliced through most patches of weeds and grasses, but it occasionally stalled when we tried to tackle dense vegetation clusters.

The Craftsman V20 Weedwacker isn&#039;t the most powerful model, but it...
The Craftsman V20 Weedwacker isn't the most powerful model, but it performs well enough for lighter duty jobs around the yard.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Husqvarna 115iL has a comparatively small guard and is lightweight, making it one of the more maneuverable models when it comes to removing weeds from tight spaces. However, it doesn't have a very long reach, so you need to get fairly close to the end to see exactly what you are trimming.

The Black+Decker LST136 doesn't have quite as much power as some of the top models, but it can cut through most weeds and plants without issue. It can stall when cutting through the thickest stems and plants, but we rarely found this to be an issue with typical yards.

The rubberized grip of the Black+Decker LST136 is easy to hold, and...
The rubberized grip of the Black+Decker LST136 is easy to hold, and you can easily rotate through the six speed settings by thumb to dial in the speed needed for the plants you're trying to cut.
Credit: Laura Casner

The lower speed setting also works great for making detailed cuts, but we found that it works better when used in a sweeping side-to-side motion rather than cutting in a straight line. We also like that it is one of the easiest models to replace the cutting line on.

The Black+Decker LST136 is one of the quietest and easiest trimmers...
The Black+Decker LST136 is one of the quietest and easiest trimmers to handle.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Use


Like the Weed Eating metric, Ease of Use also constitutes 30% of the total score for each cordless string trimmer. Here we compared the weight and guard design of each trimmer, as well as how comfortable and balanced they are to hold. We also compared the ease of replacing and feeding the line and noted if there was a shoulder strap attachment.


The Makita XRU15PT 36V again earned the top score in this metric. It is exceptionally well balanced, with the battery end of the trimmer only slightly heavier than the head, making it easy to carry one-handed and to wield through fields of grass. The molded, ergonomic grip makes it easy to keep a good grip without working too hard. We also liked the guard on this model because it doesn't detract from your ability to do precise cuts while maintaining an equivalent degree of protection. The Makita XRU15PT includes a shoulder strap attachment as well.

We found the Makita XRU15PT string trimmer to be exceptionally...
We found the Makita XRU15PT string trimmer to be exceptionally well-balanced and easy to use.
Credit: Laura Casner

This trimmer employs a bump feed to dispense more string, but it's a little more difficult to replace the string than some of the other models. There aren't alignment indicators on the spool, which forced us to consult a manual, but it was straightforward once we became familiar with it. This minor drawback should only be an issue once or twice, after which you'll get the hang of it.

It took us a little bit of effort to figure out how to swap the...
It took us a little bit of effort to figure out how to swap the string on the Makita model the first time.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Power+ STA1500 Attachment by Ego, Craftsman V20 Weedwacker, and the Black+Decker LST136 all scored well regarding convenience and ease of use. The Ego Power+ STA1500 has a very straightforward mechanism for adding more line. The line threads into the part you remove, so you don't need to be as careful about making sure everything lines up properly when you reassemble the head.

It&#039;s much harder changing the line on some of these string trimmers...
It's much harder changing the line on some of these string trimmers than others -- a third hand would have been much appreciated for some.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Ego Power+ STA1500 has a bump feed to dispense more line, and we found it quite comfortable to carry. It has a cushy handle and is very well-balanced, but the guard didn't seem to be as effective as other models, with debris flying back at us on a semi-regular basis depending on the type of cut. However, this model does not have a shoulder strap attachment.

The padded grip makes it easy to securely hold on to the Ego while...
The padded grip makes it easy to securely hold on to the Ego while still being comfortable to grab.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Black+Decker LST136 and Craftsman V20 Weedwacker are both very simple to pick up and use right away, scoring quite equally in their user-friendliness. Both are very lightweight, making them easiest to handle and finesse in tight areas around obstacles. They're fairly comfortable to use for long periods, even without a shoulder strap, and their grips are easy to hold. Line replacement is also very straightforward.

The ergonomic telescoping pole, handle, and the fact that the...
The ergonomic telescoping pole, handle, and the fact that the Craftsman V20 tool only weighs 7 pounds make it easy to handle.
Credit: Laura Casner

Battery Life


Our next metric focused on the battery system of each string trimmer, and this accounts for 25% of each product's final score. We based the bulk of this score on the maximum runtime for each product and awarded extra points to models with different speed settings because it allows you to maximize the battery life by throttling down when extra speed is unnecessary. We measured the runtime for these weed eaters when they weren't actually eating weeds, so you'll probably get lower numbers if you're chewing through dense vegetation or particularly stubborn weeds.


The Greenworks 14-Inch 40V, the Makita XRU15PT , and the Husqvarna 115iL all tied for the first place position in this test. These all lasted for around 90 minutes before the batteries gave out, and they each have a series of different speed settings.

You have three different speeds to choose from with the Makita...
You have three different speeds to choose from with the Makita XRU15PT, which allows you to save battery power for the thick brush jobs that need it.
Credit: Laura Casner

Performance dropped a bit with the remaining trimmers. The Snapper XD clocked in at 48 minutes of runtime and has two operating modes, but we didn't notice a huge difference between the two modes except for the amount of noise produced. The low power mode still seems plenty powerful to chew through pretty much anything with the line we used. However, the difference between the two modes might be more noticeable with a different line.

The mode selection switch on the STA1500 lets you choose between a...
The mode selection switch on the STA1500 lets you choose between a high and low power operating mode.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Noise


Our final metric focused on the amount of noise that each cordless string trimmer generated while in use. To determine scores, we used a sound level meter to measure the noise from each cordless string trimmer at a distance of 3 feet and had a panel of judges rate how annoying the sounds were at the same distance and from 50 feet away.


The Makita XRU15PT took home the top spot in this metric. Our meter recorded 85 decibels when this model was in use. We noticed, however, that it has a particularly high-pitched whine on startup that is rather irritating. The Craftsman V20 Weedwacker registered 84 decibels, but also suffered from an annoying, high-pitched whine.

We used our sound meter to measure how loud each of these string...
We used our sound meter to measure how loud each of these string trimmers are.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Black+Decker LST136 trimmer registered sound levels of 85.9 decibels on our meter when it was placed about 3 feet away, though we did find that it has a bit of a high-pitched whine.

The Husqvarna and the Snapper both followed. We recorded sound levels of 88.5 decibels for the Snapper XD. The Husqvarna is very loud on startup, registering 105 decibels, but this quickly drops to around 95 decibels while operating the string trimmer. The Snapper has a whine that can be quite grating, while our judges believe the Husqvarna's sound is one of the least annoying; it's just loud.

Whether you are shopping for a light-duty model that won&#039;t break the...
Whether you are shopping for a light-duty model that won't break the bank or a heavy-duty trimmer to tackle the toughest weeds, we've tested all the top products out there to help you find the perfect one.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


Whether you need a powerhouse trimmer to tackle the toughest weeds or a lightweight budget model for some minor yard maintenance, we hope this analysis and review has helped you find the perfect cordless string trimmer to match

Michelle Powell and David Wise