The Best Corded Electric Weed Eater – 2018 5/5 (1)

Corded Electric String Trimmer

A corded-electric weed eater can save you a lot of money in comparison to a pricier gasoline-powered model, not only on the upfront purchase costs, but also in terms of ongoing maintenance and refueling. In addition, electric string trimmers come without many of the drawbacks associated with gasoline models.

If you don't have a huge yard, and don't want the noise, hassle, maintenance, weight and expense of a gasoline string trimmer, you should consider a corded electric weed eater.

You will need a power outlet within a reasonable distance of your yard if you decide on a corded electric weed eater - if you don't have one, have a look at our cordless weed eater review or our gas weed eater review (coming soon).

Spoiler alert - our favorite corded weed eater is the Greenworks 21142 - it's available at a reasonable price (though more expensive than the other contenders here), easy to assemble, reasonably lightweight given the performance, and capable of handling most yards.

You should always use a GFCI power outlet for any corded electrical equipment being used outdoors, including weed eaters.

If you're on a budget, the Black+Decker ST8600 may be worth considering - it's both lighter and cheaper than our #1 pick, and is quite a bit less powerful, but it's surprisingly capable for such an affordable machine.

Below, we’ve listed 5 of the best models available, from a 13" budget model to an 18" beast which is comparable to some gasoline trimmers.

The Best Corded Electric Weed Eater In 2018 - Comparison

#

Make

Model

Motor (Amps)

Cost

#1

Greenworks

10.0

$$$

#2

BLACK&DECKER

5.0

$

#3

Greenworks

4.0

$

#4

BLACK&DECKER

6.5

$

#5

WORX

5.5

$

#1 - Greenworks 18" 10 Amp Corded String Trimmer 21142 - Our Choice

The 21142 is the best corded electric weed eater we have seen. It's powerful, reasonably priced, and versatile.

Greenworks 18-Inch 10 Amp Corded String Trimmer (Attachment Capable) 21142

  • 10-Amp (1200-watt) motor
  • 18" cutting path
  • .080" dual line bump-feed head
  • Variable trigger speed
  • Top-mounted motor
  • Universal coupling for attachments
  • Weight: 9.4lb
  • Warranty: 4 years

The Greenworks 21142 is the most expensive & heaviest trimmer in our list. However, it's also the most powerful (1200W) and has the widest cutting path (18").

A 1200-watt electric motor is comparable to some gas string trimmers. 1200 watts is the same output as a 1.6hp gas engine, however the characteristics of an electric motor means it performs more like a 2hp gas trimmer, without the noise and smoke, or hassle of mixing oil and gas.

You'll find this trimmer is also a lot quieter than any gas trimmer, which helps reduce fatigue when you're using it for a long time, as well as making you more popular with the neighbors!

One feature of this trimmer which is well worth having is the bump-feed, for extending the trimming line as it gets worn down. There are 2 main methods of extending trimming line:

  • Bump-feed, as seen here, where you extend the line whenever you need to, by bumping the base of the trimmer against any hard surface
  • Auto-feed, as used on cheaper trimmers, where the line automatically gets extended (typically it extends the line every time you take your hand off the trigger and let the trimmer stop, though some manufacturers claim to use more sophisticated methods - on $30 trimmers I'd question just how sophisticated these methods are).

The advantage of bump-feed is that you control exactly how much line you use. The (cheaper) auto-feed trimmers are notorious for using up trimming line very quickly.

The 21142 features variable speed controlled by the trigger, so you don't constantly have to run the machine flat-out.

Finally, this trimmer is incredibly versatile, due to its universal connector, which allows you to swap the trimming head for many other attachments - both from Greenworks and from other manufacturers. Greenworks offer a variety of blowers and hedge trimmers as swappable attachments (purchased separately from the trimmer), and other manufacturers offer a wide range of attachments which are also compatible.

Who Are Greenworks?

Greenworks was established in 2007, by parent company Globe Tools group. Their mission is to deliver the best electric tools available, both corded and cordless - they don't manufacture any gasoline tools.

Greenworks and Kobalt are manufactured by the same company - in some cases, identical tools (except for the color) are available from different retailers.

What Are Others Saying?

Here are a selection of comments from around the internet, from users of the 21142:

"I couldn't be happier"

"I like the extra power"

"The trigger is too stiff"

"I love how it connects to attachments"

Warranty

This string trimmer comes with a 4 year warranty from the manufacturer.

Manual

Click here to download the user manual.

Video

The video below demonstrates the 21142:

Minor Issues

As with all electric yard tools, there are some disadvantages to be aware of:


The main issue users are reporting with this weed eater is the stiffness of the trigger. Holding it in the "on" position for extended periods of time can be quite uncomfortable. The reason seems to be the stiffness of the spring Greenworks selected to return the trigger to the "off" position when released. We don't recommend any modifications that defeat a safety feature, but some users have reported using velcro straps and other similar solutions, for a home-brewed "cruise control" feature, when using this trimmer for an extended time.

This trimmer is one of the heavier corded-electric models available. Though it's not disastrously heavy, this may be a factor for the less physically strong. In my opinion, balance is more important than weight with this type of tool, and the motor being placed in the handle, as it is here, makes it a well-balanced machine.

Some users have suggested the included .80" line is undersized for the (considerable) power of this machine, though not everyone reports a problem. There are heavier-duty trimmer line refills available, should this be a problem for you.

The included instruction manual is not the best. Though assembly is straightforward, and can be easily achieved in spite of the manual, some users have reported difficulty finding out how to replace the trimming line once it's used up. The video below details the procedure:

WE LIKE:

  • Powerful
  • Bump feed - better than auto feed
  • Accessory capable

WE DON'T LIKE:

  • Trigger is stiff
  • Heavy
  • Manual not great

#2 - BLACK+DECKER ST8600 5 Amp 13" String Trimmer/Edger - Best Budget Weed Eater

If you have a smaller yard, are on a budget, or want a lighter trimmer, the ST8600 may be for you

  • 5-Amp (600-watt) motor
  • 13" cutting path
  • .065" auto-feed spool
  • Telescoping handle
  • Edger feature
  • Weight: 5.35lb
  • Warranty: 2 years

The Black+Decker ST8600 is a smaller, lighter, less expensive corded electric weed eater. If you have a smaller yard, this may be ideal for you.

BLACK+DECKER ST8600 5 Amp 13' String Trimmer/Edger

Although it's less powerful than our #1 pick - at 600 watts, it only puts out half the power of the Greenworks 21142 - it's still more than capable of cutting through grass and weeds.

For it's size, the ST8600 actually seems surprisingly powerful. The lighter weight (the lightest trimmer here at 5.35lb) is welcome, and helps to reduce fatigue.

The telescoping pole allows you to set the trimmer up to suit your height.

One other bonus with this trimmer is the lawn edger feature - you can swivel the head through 180 degrees to use the same tool to edge your lawn. This saves the expense of having 2 tools, though be warned, the trimmer will use a lot of trimming line when used as an edger.

Minor Issues

There are a few minor issues with this trimmer. The biggest concern is the amount of line it consumes - similar to all the budget trimmers with auto-feed spools, it can appear to go through an unnecessary amount of trimmer line. It helps if you minimise the number of times you allow the motor to stop or slow down (as the auto-feed is triggered when the motor drops to a low speed). However it's not just the auto-feed causing the problem, the .065" line wears down quickly compared to larger line sizes. While it is feasible to re-wind the spool with thicker line, Black+Decker do not recommend this, specifically warning against it in the user manual.

There are a couple of build quality questions too, mainly concerning the handle, which seems to come loose to easily, and the plastic guard protecting you from flying debris, which doesn't take a lot of punishment before breaking.

Finally, some owners have reported that not all extension cords will fit in the cord receptacle on the trimmer. The ST8600 requires an extension cord with a polarized plug, i.e. 1 blade of the plug is wider than the other.

Warranty

This string trimmer comes with a 2 year warranty from the manufacturer.

Manual

Click here to download the user manual (you'll need to click on the PDF icon at the linked website)

Video

The video below from Black+Decker shows you how to assemble a similar trimmer to the ST8600:

WE LIKE:

  • Light weight
  • Telescoping handle
  • Edger feature

WE DON'T LIKE:

  • Handle comes loose
  • Uses a lot of trimmer line
  • Doesn't fit every power cord

#3 - Greenworks 13" 4 Amp Corded String Trimmer 21212

Similar performance to our #2 choice, with a better warranty

GreenWorks Corded String Trimmer

  • 4-Amp (480-watt) motor
  • 13" cutting path
  • .065" dual line auto-feed spool
  • Rotating trimmer shaft for edging
  • Adjustable telescoping shaft to fit the user's height
  • Weight: 7.0lb
  • Warranty: 4 years

The  Greenworks 21212 is another small, lightweight, budget-friendly corded electric weed eater. Similar to our #2 choice, it has a 13" head and auto-feed spool with .065" line.

Another similarity to the Black+Decker product is the telescopic shaft, to allow you to adjust it to suit your height.

There is also the ability to rotate the head, to use this weed eater as a lawn edger.

Like the ST8600, not all extension cords will be compatible with this model. As well as the requirement to use an extension cord with a polarized plug, this trimmer seems to have been designed with a small receptacle for the plug. Most extension cords should fit, but some will not.

While this trimmer is comparable to the ST8600, it does have some disadvantages:

  • Less powerful
  • Heavier
  • The weight distribution feels a little "off"

However, the Greenworks 21212 does have the advantage of a 4-year warranty, compared to the 2 years offered by Black+Decker.

Manual

Click here to download the user manual.

Video

The video below demonstrates the 21212:

WE LIKE:

  • Easy to use
  • Light weight
  • Edger feature

WE DON'T LIKE:

  • Auto feed causes problems / wastes line
  • Weight distribution not great
  • Noisy

#4 - BLACK+DECKER GH900 String Trimmer

A more powerful "budget" trimmer, let down by poor ergonomics and a huge appetite for trimmer line

  • 6.5-Amp (780-watt) motor
  • 14" cutting path
  • .065" single line auto-feed spool
  • Rotating trimmer shaft & wheel for edging
  • Adjustable telescoping shaft to fit the user's height
  • Weight: 7.04lb
  • Warranty: 2 years

Black & Decker GH900 Gh900 String Trimmer,

The Black+Decker GH900 is the most powerful of the budget weed eaters in our list - at 780 watts, it's comparable to a 1.25hp gas trimmer. 

The feature list is similar to our #2 and #3 picks, with the only notable difference being the wheel, for when you're using the trimmer as an edger by rotating the head.

Like the other budget trimmers, it uses 0.65" line with auto-feed. This will be good enough for light duty, but when the going gets tough you'd want thicker, stronger line, to avoid replacing it all the time.

The shaft can be adjusted to accommodate shorter or taller users, however even at it's longest setting, taller users can find this model to short to use comfortably for long periods.

The weight is reasonable at 7lb, and the warranty is Black+Decker's usual 2 years.

Manual

Click here to download the user manual.

Video

The video below demonstrates the GH900:

WE LIKE:

  • Light
  • Edger feature with wheel
  • Good for shorter users

WE DON'T LIKE:

  • Chews through trimmer line
  • May be too short for taller users
  • Adjustable handle can come loose

#5 - Worx WG119 15" Grass Trimmer with Tilting Shaft

Good value and mid-sized, but the base-mounted motor can be problematic

Worx Electric Grass Trimmer and Edger

  • 5.5-Amp (660-watt) motor
  • 15" cutting path
  • .065" dual line auto-feed spool
  • Base-mounted motor
  • Adjustable telescoping shaft to fit the user's height
  • Weight: 6.0lb
  • Warranty: 3 years

The WORX WG119 is yet another extremely inexpensive corded string trimmer. The spec sheet looks very similar to most of the other budget trimmers available, however there are a few notable differences with this model.

As well as the telescopic shaft found on several other trimmers, this model also has a tilting head, so most users should be able to find a comfortable set-up.

The 660-watt motor is mid-range in this company, but should be sufficient for light duty.

Although WORX calls it auto-feed, in this case you extend the line by pressing a button on the spool, while pulling lightly on the ends of the trimmer line. I'm not sure how automatic this actually is, however it does allow you to control the amount of line used, unlike some auto-feed implementations (more details in the video below).

Being a budget tool, it suffers from some of the same issues as the other lower-end trimmers, such as thin .065" line which doesn't last as long as the thicker line used by more serious tools.

The biggest drawback with this model is the placement of the motor - unlike the other trimmers here, WORX has placed the motor in the base of the machine, next to the spool. This makes it somewhat unbalanced, as all the weight is at the opposite end from the handle. However, the bigger problem with a base-mounted motor is that it tends to suck in weeds and debris - this can easily clog the cooling slots in the motor housing, and may eventually cause the motor to overheat and fail. Regular cleaning can help avoid this problem, but ultimately it's a problem you don't have with most other trimmers.

Warranty

WORX backs the WG119 with a 3-year warranty.

Manual

Click here to download the user manual.

Video

The video below demonstrates the WG119:

WE LIKE:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Extendable shaft
  • Light

WE DON'T LIKE:

  • Motor at base - ends up sucking in debris & overheating
  • Too short for taller users
  • Trimmer line can fuse to itself

Electric Weed Eaters - Advantages

Why should you buy a corded electric weed eater?

Electric weed eaters have most of the same advantages as cordless models. They are lighter (than both cordless and gas weed eaters) and quieter (significantly quieter than gas weed eaters).

Maintenance

There shouldn't be any expensive ongoing maintenance. Compared to gas trimmers in particular, annual engine maintenance & problems caused by ethanol in the gasoline will be a thing of the past.

Limited Run Time

Electric string trimmers don't have the same limited run time between charges that all cordless trimmers suffer from.

Value For Money

Dollar for dollar, electric weed eaters deliver more power than most cordless versions in a similar price range – if you’re like most domestic users, a corded electric model can be more than adequate for maintaining your yard.

Storage

You don’t have to worry about storing, charging and replacing expensive Lithium-Ion batteries after a couple of years (or worse, having to replace a perfectly good trimmer because the manufacturer has changed the battery style and no longer supports your model!).

Storing the trimmer for the winter is also less of an issue than with a gasoline model - there's no gas tank to empty, and no fuel stabilisers to worry about.

Starting

Starting an electric weed eater is easy - just pull the trigger and you're away - no tiring yourself out, pulling the starting cord of a gas engine!

Cost

Finally, they are the least expensive type of trimmer to buy, offering outrageous value in some cases.

Electric Weed Eaters - Disdvantages

Why wouldn't you buy a corded electric weed eater?

Cord

The main downside of a corded weed eater is the power cord. If you have a large yard, you may not be able to reach the farthest extents, even with a 100’ extension cord (100’ is normally the longest recommended extension cord).

Also, the cord gets in the way & if you’re not careful, you'll find yourself constantly flicking it out of the way - not a huge problem, more of an annoyance.

One final word about extension cords - make sure the cord you buy is the correct rating. Particularly if you're going for one of the more powerful string trimmers, any existing extension cords you have may not be capable of supplying the high power requirements - for example, Greenworks recommends a 10 gauge extension lead for their 21142 model.

Power

The other disadvantage of an electric weed eater (both cordless & corded) is the lack of power & cutting ability compared to gas weed eaters. If you have a large area to clear you should consider a gas weed eater.

What Makes A Good Corded Weed Eater?

Here are a few pointers to help you decide:

If you’ve already made the decision to pick up a corded-electric trimmer, then you’ve already made one of the toughest choices; whether to invest in a corded design or a battery-powered design. There are also some other choices to make:

Cutting path size

Consider the cutting width of your prospective weed eater; this is typically given in inches. The wider the cutting path, the fewer passes you will need to make. Typically weed eaters are available in widths from 12"-18".

Power

Usually a more powerful trimmer will be better than a less powerful one, however extra power comes at a cost - the more powerful machines are more expensive & use more electricity. In addition, the more powerful trimmers are usually heavier. Carefully consider how powerful a weed eater you need.

Adjustable Pole Length

Telescopic pole length adjustment is offered by many manufacturers, and allows you to adjust your trimmer to the ideal length for your height, and for the task at hand.

Lawn Edger feature

Many weed eaters are available with a feature that allows you to twist the pole through 180 degrees, to use the tool as a lawn edger. Be aware that lawn edging uses up the trimming line much faster than weed trimming.

Auto-Feed or Bump-Feed?

Bump-feed is a better option than auto-feed, as in most cases auto-feed will use more trimmer line than is absolutely necessary, so you'll spend more time and money replacing the line than you need to. In some cases the extra cost of a bump-feed trimmer can pay for itself in a short time, as replacement trimmer line can be surprisingly expensive.

Maintenance / Cleaning

How to look after your weed eater, so it lasts as long as possible

Very little maintenance is needed. Usually you'll just need to remove any debris from the trimmer head with a stiff brush. Don't use solvents or water to clean these devices - some solvents can attack the plastic housing, and these tools are not usually protected against moisture.

The best time to conduct regular cleaning and maintenance on your weed eater is immediately following a job, before the weeds and debris are baked on. Firstly, ensure that your trimmer is off and unplugged from the power outlet.

One trick (if you also own a leaf blower or air compressor) is to use the blower to blow away any debris attached to your trimmer. Give it a chance to dry before you do this - you'll find most of the debris attaches quite firmly to the trimmer, as it's wet initially. A quick blast with the blower followed by brushing the remnants off should keep your trimmer in top condition.

A little silicone spray on the plastic parts of the head should help to stop the debris from sticking.

It's also important to regularly inspect your power cord for signs of damage. Do not use a damaged cord or attempt to repair it - it's better to buy a new one than risk your safety.

Be sure to read the user manual for any additional tips specific to your trimmer.

Recalls

Occasionally faults are discovered after a product has gone on sale, usually requiring the product to be recalled by the manufacturer.

There were no recalls listed for any of the weed eaters mentioned here at the time of writing (August 2018). However, it's always a good idea to check the latest information at the Consumer Product Safety Commission website before buying any large, expensive or potentially dangerous product.

Do you own any of the string trimmers mentioned here? Did you choose a different one? Let us know in the comments!

Did you like this article? Rate it here:

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: