Note from the hosts:  I know we are getting down to the end of lawn maintenance/grass cutting season for most of the country, but as Jeremy and I went back and forth we landed on this.  You see, it seems he was at the end of the line . . . and who am I to stop a man (< pun).  Maybe more from him in the future, but for now . . . “One Man and his String Trimmer.”  Enjoy! ~jb


Hard to Start String Trimmer

Ever get tired of fighting with your gas line trimmer aka weed eater to get it started? I know I do! A couple of Saturdays ago I reached a crossroads with mine and after replacing the air filter, fuel filter, fuel lines, and spark plug I was still fighting to get my 5yr old Homelite started. Throwing out my shoulder again in the process, I had had it!

One of the problems with gas powered equipment is the ethanol additives they are putting in our gasoline. They seem to be corroding plastic or rubber parts faster and although I am no chemist, two stroke engines like the ones in small lawn equipment where you have to mix the oil with the gas seem to have big problems. (I can only imagine what this is doing to the engines in our cars.)

But back to my weed eater issue…  I have never been interested in toting around an electrical cord while I do yard work and I also couldn’t believe that electric could do as good of a job as my trusted old gas jobber could, or could it?

Today, many people have solar-powered something. Hybrid vehicles and other types of alternative energy are popping up every day, so why couldn’t an electric line trimmer be just as good and in a small way help lower our dependency on gas?  All this is going through my head as I’m sitting on my couch just after mowing my lawn, with long grass still around my house and fence line and with said Homelite still sitting in the middle of the garage. Then, the next thing I see is Black & Decker‘s commercial for their complete line of battery-powered lawn equipment.

Great timing, I know!

My thought shifts to our tools at work. We use battery-powered sawzalls, screw guns, and circular saws. Honestly I don’t think there are many power tools out there that you can’t get in a battery-powered version. This might work. Two weeks pass and I headed off to the home improvement store to pick up my new weed eater. Certainly an 18 volt battery powered weed eater should be able to do the job, but would the battery last through the whole lawn? Would it do as good of a job? What other draw backs would I find?  The box said 30-day risk free trial. Ah yes, the guarantee that makes us consumers feel comfortable. So off I went with my new Grasshog Line Trimmer, and here is what I found out.

PVC Fenced Lawn Bradenton Florida

First… a word about my lawn. We live in a suburb of Tampa in one of those neighborhoods where the houses are stacked on top of one another and you can spit out your window and hit your neighbor’s house. Our “starter” home has become our “for the foreseeable future” home thanks to the lovely housing market. The property is just about a third of an acre, and due to homeowners’ association’s guidelines, is complete with a white picket fence. Throw in a play ground, sand box, and the usual flowers and landscaping and you get the idea of how much I will be using the Grasshog.

String Trimmer Review :: Black and Decker Grasshog

The Grasshog is about the same size as my old weed eater but slightly lighter due to not having an engine. The batteries initially take 9 hours to charge, so plan accordingly. The maximum line thickness is .065 inches which is far thinner than the gas powered models and only uses one line where gas powered uses two. The Grasshog had good power and did a fine job cutting, although I was required to move slower and go over with an extra pass or two.

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String Trimmer Review :: Black and Decker compared to gas string trimmer

My first big problem was that stupid safety guard. The size of the safety guard made it hard to get in tight spaces so it had to go. Bye bye warranty!

String Trimmer Review :: Battery Pack Black and Decker Grasshog

The battery barely made it through half my yard so it’s a good thing it comes with two. With the second battery I was able to finish my yard and even do a little bit of edging before the second battery was finished. But I had a neatly trimmed yard ready to be mowed and in less time than it would have taken me to get the other one started and maybe do the front of my lawn.

String Trimmer Review :: Black and Decker Grasshog in action

To summarize, the Grasshog is a capable replacement for a traditional line trimmer, but for small yard purposes. If I had 5 acres of land this would not be my tool of choice. The edging feature works better than some gas models I have used. All in all, I am happy with my purchase. Black & Decker also makes hedge trimmers, blowers, pole saws and various other lawn and garden tools. They all come with their own batteries and are interchangeable between equipment. The next time you need a new piece of equipment, don’t rule out electric or battery-powered. You might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.


Additional Photo Credit: Jeremy Parcels’ lovely wife Maria.


Another Note from the hosts:  I met Jeremy in June on our excursion to GE’s Appliance Park, Kentucky.  While I have learned a lot about Jeremy along the way … I think I am most impressed, through talking with him, by his knowledge of design principles.  And while I am absolutely happy “to get” his honest assessment (100% unsolicited) of B&D battery-powered trimmer, I’d love to have him back doing something on Design & Construction.  ‘… Come on, help me out folks.  Let’s here it . . . .’  Jeremy can be found on twitter @rjmcontractors.  Thanks J. and happy weekend all.  ~jb