If you live up north, you're likely thinking more about snow blowers and generators than string trimmers. But for readers in warmer climes, the yard work never ends so we've just added 15 new string trimmers to our Ratings. One especially notable entry is the first battery-powered electric we've seen with the power of a two-cycle gas trimmer.
Core Outdoor Power, based in Montana, recently came to our attention for its alternative to the usual wire-wound motors of electric gear. What its relatively compact motor has instead is a multi-layered circuit board that works with magnets to produce torque in a new way. The Core CGT400, $250, we tested is one of the first products of a line expected to include a hedge trimmer, leaf blower, and self-propelled lawn mover as well as the straight-shaft trimmer in our Ratings. All are or will be available at outdoor power equipment dealers you can find on Core's website.
The CGT400 indeed matched gasoline models for power and aggression, and where it stood out most was in its top-notch score for slicing away tall grass and weeds. Among electric models, the only other trimmer to match the Core's score in this test was the corded-electric GreenWorks 21142, $90.
Due to the Core's 11.7-pound weight and vibration, however, we found it hard to rotate the unit and hold it steady for edging, which accounts for its mediocre score in that test. We found it harder than others to control, in fact, even for general trimming and sometimes scarred the turf. The bottom line? The unit seems patterned after commercial, straight-shaft gas units that also are more suited to chopping away tall grass and weeds than, say, trimming around a flower bed.
For a similarly powerful unit that's easier to control, we recommend the curved-shaft Echo GT-225, which at $160 is also cheaper. This unit's fixed-line head comes with 0.08-inch line, but for a gentler touch around fragile plants, it's easy to instead use lengths of 0.065-inch line. Since it runs on gasoline, you'll also have significantly more run time to do tall growth than the half hour the Core provides before its three-hour recharge.
Whether you're in the market now for a string trimmer or can't think about it till the spring, check out our buying advice, which includes a video on how we test, before you check the updated Ratings.