Black & Decker NST2018 Grass Hog Review

From $89 Best

The Black & Decker NST2018 Grass Hog is battery-operated and comes with two 18-volt rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. It weighs 6.8 pounds, cuts as 12-inch swath, is automatic feed, and has an adjustable handle with an easy-start trigger. This is an affordable and well-reviewed weed eater; about the only complaints we found concerned the limited battery life, but this doesn't interfere with its ability to trim a small suburban yard.

Black & Decker Grass Hog NST2018 reviews enthusiastically praise the features and performance of this cheap, battery-powered string trimmer. Some of the descriptive words and phrases used in reviews on Amazon include fantastic, easy to use, lightweight, and powerful; of more than 600 user reviews of the Black & Decker Grass Hog stretching back to 2004, three-quarters award it four or five stars. Reviews at Sears are similarly laudatory, commenting on its easy start, user-friendly automatic string-feed system, and the results (i.e., a well-trimmed and -edged yard). Some users, however, air a few gripes in reviews, mostly having to do with the short battery life (10 minutes max, they report, even after 18 hours of charging) and too much wasted line; unhappy consumers say they've had to keep multiple batteries charged just to finish their yards in one day.

The Black & Decker Grass Hog NST2018 (starting at $89) has a lot of features going for it, including automatic feed, instant start trigger, adjustable handle, 12-inch cutting path, and ability to edge borders and clip grass. It comes with two rechargeable 18-volt batteries and a battery charger. The Black & Decker Grass Hog weighs 6.8 pounds, is Energy Star Certified, and carries a two-year manufacturer's warranty.

Aside from some complaints about the limited battery life and grousing about rapidly disappearing string, users have only good things to say in Black & Decker Grass Hog NST2018 reviews. The backup battery included with this cheap weed eater is a plus, as is the dual functionality (just flip the head to go from edging to trimming). Our take on the battery situation: this cheap weed eater is meant for small yards. If that limitation suits you, the Black & Decker Grass Hog is a worthy buy.

Black & Decker ST1000 Review

From $20 Good

A very basic and super-cheap weed eater, the Black & Decker ST1000 9-inch impresses users with its performance-to-price ratio. This bump-feed, corded electric model weighs only 3.2 pounds and trims a nine-inch swath, but it gets the job done for a very, very low price.

This is the absolute cheapest string trimmer we found, and Black & Decker ST1000 9-Inch 1.8-AMP Electric Grass Trimmer reviews are mixed. Users posting reviews at Ace Hardware are evenly split: half are quite satisfied, noting it cuts through heavy weeds, tackles large areas, and is easy enough for a child to operate; half aren't thrilled and say it's underpowered, might suffice for a small yard, and is prone to cutting out. Four out of five users give it a favorable rating in grass trimmer reviews on Amazon. These reviews concede it's not the most powerful string trimmer around but say it does a good job for the price.

The Black & Decker ST1000 (starting at $20, Amazon) cuts a nine-inch swath with a 1.8-amp motor; you'll need access to an electric outlet. Unlike other Black & Decker models on our list, this cheap weed eater uses a bump-feed system, which requires a light knock on the ground to feed more cutting line. It weighs only 3.2 pounds, features a cord locking system, and comes with a two-year warranty.

You can't beat the price of this cheap weed eater. Despite the small motor and a few critical Black & Decker ST1000 reviews, most users like the end results and user-friendly light weight. The Black & Decker ST1000 it is an entry-level model that only trims grass; it does not edge around borders like more expensive Black & Decker string trimmers. But if you want ultra-low price and have a small yard that's not overgrown with heavy weeds, this cheap weed eater may be for you.

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Black & Decker GH600 Grass Hog Review

From $50 Good

An electric, automatic feed weed eater with a 14-inch cutting swath, the Black & Decker GH600 must be plugged in and is best suited for small lots. . Consumers generally like the cheap weed eater, saying it's especially good at edging and easy to use; indeed, it comes with an edging guide, cord lock, and adjustable handle.

The Black & Decker GH600 (starting at $50) is another good Black & Decker product, according to Black & Decker GH600 reviews. This cheap weed eater plugs in, so you have less freedom to roam than with battery-powered trimmers but don't fret about the battery dying before your work is done. Reviews at Walmart assign high marks for the GH600's cutting and edging ability and power. Most users posting Black & Decker GH600 reviews indicate that it far exceeds their expectations: the Black & Decker GH600 delivers value -- a big job at a little price. Black & Decker GH600 reviews on Epinions also praise the quality, noting the light weight, durability, and comfort; users also say the automatic feed is a huge convenience.

As a brand known for producing high quality products, the Black & Decker GH600 doesn't disappoint. It's powered by a 4.8-amp motor and features a 14-inch cutting swath, a lock for the extension cord, an adjustable handle, and ergonomic grips. It weighs only 5.2 pounds and comes with a two-year warranty.

At a cost of less than $50, it's hard to beat the Black & Decker GH600. It edges and trims without fuss and is light enough for most any adult to manage. We like the total package and consider it a good choice for a cheap string trimmer if you don't mind a trailing cord.

Weed Eater FeatherLite SST25 Review

From $55 Think Twice

The Weed Eater FeatherLite SST25 is definitely not a favorite with consumers. In the few reviews we found, users complain that it only works for a few minutes and falls apart easily. This is about the only gas weed eater we found in the Cheapism price range (for refurbished units, at that), which may indicate you'll just have to pay more for a good gas trimmer. The Weed Eater SST25 weighs 9.8 pounds and boasts a 17-inch cutting swath and a bump-feed operation.

Weed Eater FeatherLite SST25 reviews pan this cheap weed eater. Users posting reviews on Amazon, which is currently selling reconditioned units, report this cord-pull model is hard to start, has no durability, and the fuel lines rot during between-season storage. Most reviews on Walmart are equally critical, with users complaining about the engine cutting out midstream, the need for constant care and attention, a short life span, small gas tank, and poor design. A few consumers, however, like this cheap weed eater and say in reviews that it's plenty powerful and starts right up.

The Weed Eater FeatherLite SST25 (starting at $130) string trimmer is the only gas-powered model we found in the Cheapism niche. It features a 25cc engine, weighs 9.8 pounds, and cuts a 16-inch swath. This is a bump-feed (tap the head on the ground to get more string) string trimmer that's less versatile than the best string trimmers on our list -- the Weed Eater FeatherLite SST25 only trims weeds and grass, it doesn't edge. Like other cheap weed eaters, the Weed Eater FeatherLite SST25 comes with a two-year warranty.

As the only gas-powered model in the cheap end of the market, we wonder if this has something to do with the negative reviews. We found too many critical Weed Eater FeatherLite SST25 reviews and too few positive reviews to add this to our list. If you want a reliable gas-powered string trimmer, you'll have to spend more. Alternatively, stick with a cheap string trimmer that gets its juice from a battery or electric outlet.

Where to buy

Buying Guide

Choosing a Weed Eater

A string trimmer or weed whacker -- perhaps best known as a "weed eater," after the company that pioneered it in the 1970s -- cuts grass and weeds where a lawn mower won't reach and helps keep driveways, walkways, fencing, and flower beds looking tidy. Weed Eater is still a player, but these days Black & Decker dominates the market for both commercial and residential string trimmers. Toro is another brand that stands out in the inexpensive price range. At the upper end of the market, Echo, Craftsman, and Honda are popular choices. High-end trimmers cost upward of $300, but for less than $100, you can find a cheap weed eater that will do your yard proud.

Commercial trimmers are more durable than consumer models, with solid steel drive shafts and engines that can tolerate thicker, taller grass and brush. Cheap weed eaters have weaker engines made of plastic and pressed steel parts that are best suited for grass. They also tend to vibrate more than pricey models.

There are two main types of string trimmers: electric and gas. Your choice will depend on your needs. Experts recommend more powerful and costly gas trimmers for large, rural yards with rough terrain. Cheaper electric weed eaters with cords or batteries are best suited for smaller yards and lots.

Gas Weed Eaters.

Gas models come with either a two-cycle or four-cycle engine. Two-cycle engines run on a gas/oil mix; four-cycle engines run on gas only. The latter are quieter and easier to start, and run more smoothly. String trimmers with two-cycle engines carry price tags up to about $200, and trimmers with four-cycle engines generally cost more than $300. Both are much more expensive than electric trimmers but able to clean up much larger yards. They also cut a wider path.

Electric Weed Eaters.

There are lots of advantages to using a small electric trimmer versus a large gas one. Not only do electric weed eaters cost significantly less, they are easily portable, lightweight, and fairly quiet. The downside is you have to deal with a cord (oftentimes an extension cord, as well) or short battery life. Cheap electric trimmers also can't handle large swaths of unruly vegetation and thick brush, but they work very well on small suburban yards. According to our research, cordless weed eaters generally cost more than comparable corded electric models. A hidden cost of battery-powered trimmers: You have to replace or charge the batteries after each use. Don't expect a cheap cordless weed eater to conquer even a half-acre yard without having to be recharged overnight.

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Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table

Weed Eater Reviews: What We Considered

Expert reviews of string trimmers are scarce; weed eater reviews come primarily from consumers. However, users are tough critics, and no cheap weed eater receives unanimously glowing reviews. That said, some perform better than others. In general, the best cheap weed eaters are fine for light-duty trimming but often not up to the task of chowing through tall, thick grass or brush.

Trimmer Line.

A string trimmer cuts whatever crosses its path with a fast-moving plastic string that rotates along the tip; hence the name "string" trimmer. Trimmers with automatic line feed continuously release the string as soon as the unit is turned on. This design tends to eat the line faster but is more convenient because it immediately jumps into action. With a bump feed, you first turn on the machine and then bump the head against the ground to get the string moving. This type of feed uses slightly less string, but you have to put more effort into the job. Additionally, problems often arise with bump-feed weed eaters because the constant thwacking causes the string to jam. It can take some time to get the hang of it.

The string diminishes with use, which means you'll need to wind new line or replace the spool periodically, at about $10 to $15 a pop (or, if using a model with a fixed-line head, thread new pieces of pre-cut line). Higher-end gas string trimmers also come with a blade for cutting thick brush and trimming trees.

Weight.

The weight of a string trimmer matters because you must be able to carry and maneuver the machine with ease. Some pricier models come with shoulder straps, a helpful aid, but cheap weed eaters are generally light enough that this is unnecessary. Battery-operated string trimmers are heavier than corded electric models, and gas weed eaters are generally the heaviest.

Cutting Path.

The cutting path refers to the width that can be cut with one pass of the machine. Generally gas-powered weed eaters cut a swath ranging from 16 to 18 inches while electric weed eaters cut a smaller 12 to 15 inches.

Convenience Features.

There are several additional features that make cheap weed eaters easier to use, such as an adjustable handle and a debris guard. In an electric trimmer, look for a cord locking system or a battery charger. On gas models, reviewers appreciate easy-start options, such as an instant start trigger or recoil starter. Many consumers are quick to complain in reviews if it takes several tries to start a string trimmer.

Durability.

Most inexpensive string trimmers come with a two-year warranty. Regardless, users expect even a cheap weed eater to last a while. Although some of our picks are made with low-cost plastic, reviews indicate they're actually quite durable. We looked for string trimmers that were reportedly still going strong after two years or more.

Additional Products We Considered

Toro 51467 Review

From $45

Users seem moderately pleased with the Toro 51467 8-inch Cordless Trimmer (starting at $45, Amazon), according to Toro 51467 string trimmer reviews. Favorable reviews posted on Amazon comment on the good battery life (up to 45 minutes, says one string trimmer review), light weight, suitability for small yards, low price, and good results. Negative reviews on the same site grumble about the build quality, the limited battery life (less than 20 minutes), difficulty with the string feed, and a design that's too short for taller users. Reviews on Epinions are also mediocre, with one user expressing disappointment with its performance on heavy grass and another grousing about the battery life. Still, users seem to agree that this cheap weed eater is OK for small yards.

The Toro 51467 runs on a rechargeable 12-volt battery that the product description says will last 35 minutes. This is another cheap grass trimmer with a bump feed (bump the head lightly on the ground to get more line) and it cuts an eight-inch path; it does not double as an edger. The Toro 51467 weighs 6.4 pounds and comes with a two-year warranty.

This seems like a decent cheap string trimmer -- lightweight and acceptable run-time on the battery. The cutting swath is narrower than the best and good models on our list, but that makes it easier to maneuver for some users. We didn't find any major complaints about the Toro 51467, so if you prefer a cordless bump feed, this one belongs on your list.

Where to buy

Black & Decker ST7700 Review

From $45

There are pros and cons for this cheap weed eater and edger, according to Black & Decker ST7700 reviews. On the one hand, it's considered a strong machine that trims and edges just fine, according to some reviews on Amazon; on the other hand, users grumble about durability problems and string that runs out fast because of the continuous feed. The Black & Decker ST7700 (starting at $45, Amazon) also finds critics among users posting reviews at Ace Hardware; some rave about its power, light weight, and ease of use while others point to the same issues that irk the consumers who posted reviews on Amazon.

Yet another cheap dual-purpose (edge and trim) string trimmer from Black & Decker, the Black & Decker ST7700 draws power from an electric outlet to feed its 4.4-amp motor. It cuts a relatively wide 13-inch swath and weighs a light 4.5 pounds. The string feed is automatic and the Black & Decker ST7700 carries the typical two-year warranty.

Based on the mixed Black & Decker ST7700 reviews this model receives, it doesn't seem like the best Black & Decker string trimmer for your money, despite the relatively cheap price. We have some concerns about the rate at which string reportedly disappears and about durability. There's nothing special about this model and we think you'd be better served with a different choice.