As you know Milwaukee introduced three new OPE products, the string trimmer, the hedger and the blower. So today, we are going to jump into the string trimmer. Since we started TIA, I can’t say I have been too impressed by many battery operated string trimmers. As of today the only ones I found that I really like are the Ego and the Makita. So how does the Milwaukee stack up?
For Milwaukee’s first shot at a string trimmer, I think they did a great job. As you know with a tool like this, balance is extremely important to prevent user fatigue. The first thing that always takes me out of the game is my back. The length of some of this trimmers are made for 5′ guys. With the Milwauke, it’s nice and long so even someone like me who is 6′ talk doesn’t have to worry about bending over and feeling the ache in my back. The trimmer is designed with a brushless motor which means you get better performance. Couple the motor with the 9Ah battery and you will get about an hour of run time.
A couple cool features to this trimmer are the speed selector which you can select high or low depending upon your application. I also like the fact you can either use .080 or .095″ line. If you have .095″ line, the unit will hold about 20′ so you will not be having to replace the line every hour. When you do replace it, it’s simple and not time consuming. Another note you can adjust the cutting swath from 14″ or 16″, which every you prefer.
I have to say this will rip through even some tough grass and thick places. The best thing about this is the ramp up time. As you know some cordless trimmers take a couple of seconds to ramp up. With the Milwaukee it ramps up quickly to a speed of 5,800 rpm in about a second, one of the quickest we have seen for batteries.
For their first release of a cordless string trimmer, they did an awesome job. The tool is well balances and extremely powerful.
I have been using this trimmer almost the this entire year and it is great. I am coming from a Stihl and this thing has plenty of power and even in fairly thick weeds. It does has two issues that I am shocked made it through to the production model.
First is the speed button. It has a weak light indicator which is rather useless on an outdoor item meant for use in sun light. Unless it is a cloudy day there is no way to see which speed you are in without shading the selector a little with your hand. A physical switch of some sort would be much better. That said it is not a big deal as the speed difference between the two speeds is obvious enough you know what you have it on with a quick pull of the trigger.
Second is the metal disc on the head. Bump feeding on solid surfaces is a very common practice to avoid put circles in yards. By placing the metal disc on the head Milwaukee is extending the life of the bump but is also creating a situation where damage to property will occur. Personally I do not want mini-grinder disc on the bottom of my trimmer head spinning at 5800 rpm making contact to concrete or other solid surfaces. Bump feed systems have been around for a long time and the bump mechanisms themselves last a very long time (almost the life of the product for a residential user). There is no need to solve a problem that does not exist with a solution that will cause a much bigger problem. Talking to Milwaukee confirmed that they only tested the functionality of the head on solid surfaces, not what it would do to those surfaces. I have since heard (unconfirmed) that people are being told that it is suggested to not bump feed on solid surfaces. Fortunately the head can be replaced with other brands.
Good points and thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the review. How would you compare this to the Ago or the Stihl offerings? I already have Stihl and Milwaukee battery tools, and it would be good to stay with the same system, but the Milwaukee costs HEAPS, while the Ego is affordable. I have quite thick and heavy weeds to cut and would really rather not have to use my stinky 2 stroke trimmer if I can avoid it. So, which of the 3 would you suggest will have the best combination of power and run time?
I haven’t had much experience with the battery powered Stihl. From what I hear, it’s pretty nice. While I like the Milwaukee I still think the Ego is the top pick. Plenty of power, great battery platform, but love how you can own the whole OPE line in one battery platform.