I have used many gas-powered weed-eaters (string-trimmers) over the years. Most of them work on a oil-gas mixture, come with a couple attachments, and are very powerful and what they do. So how does a battery-powered model match up? Let’s take a look.
Milwaukee sent me an entire kit, full with all of the different attachments that this thing can transform into. I was blown away at the sheer amount of boxes on my porch. The options for this to be a string-trimmer, edger, hedge-trimmer, and chainsaw really took my by surprise. Then I noticed that there’s a 5 foot extension attachment that makes all of the tools 5-feet longer was awesome. So essentially, with the chainsaw attachment and depending on your height, you could stand on the ground and trim branches that are 15 ft in the air! And it’s battery-powered? I was stoked to try this beast out.
Most string-trimmers require you to prime the motor, pull a handle 10 times, change a carb setting, pull a handle a few more times, change the carb setting again, and eventually the motor kicks on. Then you typically have to hold down the trigger for 30-60 seconds to let the motor warm up. This has always seemed like a big pain in the ass really.
The benefit of having a battery-powered rig is that you don’t need to worry about start-up. Start up of most lawn-equipment is always the least fun part of lawn-care. If you don’t use fuel-stabilizer and you let old gas sit in a mower or trimmer, the gas will gunk-up the carburetor and you won’t be able to start the motor without taking the carb apart. Or sometimes you have to clean the air intake out, or the oil or gas needs to be replaced, spark-plugs, and on and on. So with battery-power the most-difficult part of start-up is making sure your batteries are charged.
This kit uses the 18-volt M18 Lithium-Ion system, so for those of you who have lots of other tools on that system you’re in luck. All of your M18 batteries, no-matter which type you have, will work in this tool.
I started out with the string trimmer. I’d just mowed my lawn and I needed to take care of all the weeds around the house, trees, and mail-box. I put in the string-trimmer attachment, slapped a 5ah battery in, pulled the trigger, and was off to the races…literally NO issues getting to the job at hand. The power is not as strong as a gas-powered string-trimmer, but it still got the job done. I didn’t see any issues that made me feel like the tool couldn’t hack it.
After I took care of all the weeds, I took out the string-trimmer attachment and put in the edging attachment. I edged the driveway and sidewalk and everything worked smoothly. I did have a little difficulty snapping this extension in and finding the right spot that engaged the blade fully. But once I found it, everything worked great.
Next I tried out the chain-saw extension, and this really worked similar to the Milwaukee M18 Chainsaw, as far as power and efficiency. No problems getting through material, and no need to keep up with gas or oil. It was able to chop down branches from 1-inch to 3-inches in diameter. I even put the 5-foot extension on, which allowed me to reach branches up to roughly 15-17 feet from the ground. Much cooler than pulling out a ladder or climbing up in the tree with a chainsaw.
The only part of the tool that I have no use for is the hedge-trimmer. I don’t have any hedges, or thick bushes to shape/trim so unfortunately I cannot speak to the effectiveness of this attachment but from the looks of it, it seems like a very rugged and durable tool.
Info From HomeDepot.com
The M18 FUEL String Trimmer with QUIK-LOK has the power to clear thick brush, reaches full throttle in under 1-second and delivers up to 1-hour of run-time per charge. The String Trimmer is made up of 2 components the M18 FUEL Power Head and QUIK-LOK String Trimmer Attachment. Part of the QUIK-LOK Attachment System, the Power Head is compatible with multiple attachments such as an Edger, a Hedge Trimmer and a Pole Saw. The ability to quickly swap out attachments on a single Power Head delivers ultimate versatility and a lower cost of ownership. Designed to meet the needs of professional landscape maintenance, the POWERSTATE Brushless Motor is positioned in the rear of the trimmer to provide the best combination of power, balance and maneuverability. The motor delivers up to 6,200 RPM with up to a 16 in. cutting swath and has the power to maintain its speed in demanding applications without bogging down. The REDLINK PLUS intelligence ensures maximum performance and protection from overload, overheating and over discharge. The advanced electronic package also delivers instantaneous throttle response, high and low speeds and a variable speed trigger for ultimate control over the power range. The Easy Load Trimmer Head delivers an easy line loading experience and allows users to load up to 25 ft. of trimmer line in under 30-seconds. Includes M18 FUEL 8 in. Edger Attachment for Milwaukee QUIK-LOK Attachment System.
Part of the QUIK-LOK attachment system
Features the Milwaukee easy load trimmer head
RPM: (0 RPM to 4900 RPM) to (0 RPM to 6200 RPM)
Cutting swath: 14 in. to 16 in.
Line diameter: 0.080 in./0.095 in.
Trigger: variable speed
Weight: 12.3 lbs.
Includes: M18 FUEL power head (2825-20), string trimmer attachment (49-16-2717), M18 REDLITHIUM HD 9.0 Ah battery (48-11-1890) and M18 and M12 rapid charger (48-59-1808), M18 FUEL 8 in. edger attachment for Milwaukee QUIK-LOK attachment system
Includes M18 FUEL 8 in. edger attachment for Milwaukee QUIK-LOK attachment system
I was seriously blown away at the effectiveness and strength of this kit. I’ve used electric lawn tools in the past, mostly cord-and-plug tools, which always seem to be ridiculous and underpowered. I’ve used a lot of gas-powered lawn tools as well, so I have a great spectrum of experiences to compare to, and without a doubt I will no longer use my gas-powered stuff. Not unless I get a 100-acre plot of land and need something that will last much longer. The battery life on these tools does tend to wear down rather quickly. Most tools that Milwaukee makes are meant for short-term intermittent use, meaning you pull the trigger for 10-30 seconds then give the tool a break, maybe do that one or two times, give it another break - then eventually you give the tool a long break. This helps the battery last all day. However with a string trimmer, edger, and chainsaw you’re really hammering down on those batteries for a long time, a lot of time without rest. So they tend to go quicker than they would on the average drill or sawzall. All that aside I still give this kit 5-stars. I don’t have a massive yard, something like this is perfect for me. This will change how well and often I take care of my yard. Now only if there were a battery powered lawn mower to go with it. Hmmmm…