Should I buy a cordless strimmer?
By Adele Dyer
Not sure whether you should choose a cordless strimmer instead of a corded electric or petrol one? We give you the facts to help you choose.
Cordless strimmers let you carry out jobs around the garden and the allotment without being restricted by where the nearest electrical socket is. Look at our strimmer reviews to find one that’s right for you.
How do cordless, electric corded and petrol strimmers compare?
Cordless strimmers are very similar to electric corded ones, but they come with a rechargeable battery so you don’t have to worry about untangling power cables and extension leads. This makes them easier to manoeuvre during use, and you can use them anywhere.
They combine the go-anywhere convenience of a petrol strimmer with the delicate touch of a corded electric strimmer.
There are two sorts of cordless strimmers. Those for light tasks around the garden range in price from around £60 to £150, and you can expect to pay around £90 or more for a good one. Discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl also sell cordless strimmers for a few weeks each year.
These have many features that make it easy for you to complete simple trimming jobs around the garden. Look for a shaft that can be extended and a front handle that adjusts easily to help you find the right working position for your height and build. A rotating head is useful when edging the grass, and many strimmers also have a wheel on the guard that helps to support and balance the strimmer when edging the lawn, as well as holding it at the same height.
Cordless strimmers are at the other end of the range, for professional gardeners or those with large gardens. These tend to be alternatives to petrol strimmers, designed for cutting down large areas of long grass and weeds. You can expect to pay around £200 and up for this kind of strimmer. If this is what you’re looking for, find our recommendations of the best heavy-duty strimmers.
Batteries for cordless strimmers
Cordless strimmers come with a range of battery sizes. Cheaper, less-powerful models often have a 12V lithium-ion battery. Older models have NiCd (nickel-cadmium) batteries.
Newer cordless models have lithium-ion batteries with voltages from 36V upwards. Some of these are pitched at home gardeners, for tidying bits of long and short grass.
Others have batteries with much higher voltages of 72V or more. These look and feel much more like petrol strimmers, with a long shaft and the head further away from your feet, so you’re less likely to cut yourself as you strim. These make short work of tough jobs.
Many batteries state both the voltage and the amp hour (Ah) rating. The higher the voltage, the more powerful the battery will be; the higher the Ah rating, the longer the battery will last before it needs to be recharged. Ratings are generally from around 1.3Ah through to 6Ah. Batteries with high Ah ratings tend to be very large and heavy, and so are often less suited to strimmers, as these make the whole tool too heavy to carry round and use.
A good battery should last around 15-20 minutes per charge. Some brands offer batteries that can be used in other power tools in the same range – find out which in our strimmer brand guide.
Battery recharge times
Look for a short recharge time when choosing a cordless strimmer. These can vary from around 30 minutes up to almost four hours. If you can’t manage all your trimming on one battery charge, you will have to wait for your battery to recharge before you can carry on with the job, so a long wait may be frustrating.
Alternatively, it’s worth considering if you need to buy a second battery when you buy your strimmer. These are costly, but the price is generally lower when you buy it as a package with the strimmer rather than separately at a later date.
Bear in mind as well that rechargable batteries do not last forever and that they may start to develop problems, such as not holding their charge. In this instance, you will need to pay to replace the batteries yourself if they’re no longer under guarantee.
Battery and charger costs
Manufacturers often have one or two standard batteries and chargers that can be used with a wide range of tools. Before you buy, check to see if any of your existing tools have a battery and charger that can be used with the tool you are planning to purchase, as this could save you a considerable amount of money.
As some people may already own a compatible battery and charger, these are sometimes not included in the price quoted for your tool, so check the small print before you buy.
Alternatively, you may see it as a good chance to buy a second battery for your tools. Batteries are sometimes cheaper when bought with a tool, and it’s often useful to have a second one charged and ready to go when you’re carrying out jobs that will take some time to finish.