Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Grass Be Trimmed! (Weeds, Too)


The folks over at Troy-Bilt asked me to test their new lithium-ion battery-powered string trimmer (Model TB57). Now I am not the one who does the grass stuff around here, so I had Romie put it through its paces. His first reaction? "Hey, you should come try this. I think you'll like it."

Hmmm...
like trimming grass? Me? Well, there's a first time for everything, I guess.

I have never used a grass trimmer in my life, but this thing was fun. It worked well, too. I tried to temper my reaction so as to not seem too willing to take on the task of doing the trim work around here. But I'll let you in on a secret: If I'm pressed into service, I want to use
this trimmer.

The trimmer
we've Romie's used for years is a gas one and I can tell you it's very noisy and smelly. The Troy-Bilt Lithium Ion Battery String Trimmer, on the other hand, is relatively quiet and all you smell is the freshly cut grass. Mmmm...

If I were to critique a string trimmer, I'd judge it on the following points:

  • Weight - is it heavy to carry around?
    The TB57 is lighter than the gas trimmer, but not a whole lot. The battery is fairly heavy and is only a little lighter than the gas-powered motor on our other one. Still, I'd much rather carry this one around because somehow the weight feels more balanced.

  • Comfort - is it something that you can hold in position for a long time, as you make your way around the yard?
    Even though the TB57 has a telescoping handle and adjustable support, Romie and I both felt that if the upper part of the trimmer were positioned at more of an angle, it would be more comfortable to use for a longer period of time. As you can see in the photo above, the battery compartment hits Romie's arm, causing him to shift his shoulder to keep his arm out of the way. Angling the cutting head a little more might eliminate the problem, too.

  • Battery life - does it last as long "in the field" as a gas-powered trimmer?
    For us, yes. Romie did the entire yard on one charge and it was still going strong. That's saying something, because we live on an acre that has LOTS of trimming (thanks to me and my gardening endeavors). If you do run it down in one use (not likely), the battery takes only four hours to recharge.

  • Power level - can it cut thick grass or weeds and can it maintain that power until the job is done?
    It takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Errrr...trimming.

There's one more thing. The button/lever mechanism is a bit awkward. You have to push in a button before you can squeeze the trigger to engage the trimmer. I'm not sure how this could be improved upon, but there must be a better way.

In spite of the problems we encountered, the TB57 is a great trimmer. It's light enough and easy enough to use, I just might be convinced to help out with the trimming now and then.

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Check out the Troy-Bilt Lithium Ion Battery String Trimmer TB57 on Troy-Bilt's website.

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The product or merchandise being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for testing and reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine, with no suggestions whatsoever by the manufacturer or distributor. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that, too.



2 comments:

Garden tips said...

Im buying a trimmer soon so this was a great help, thanks.

Larry said...

Hello,
I purchased a TB57 the other day and was impressed with the quick charge time of 4 hrs. But the thrill was short lived as after just a few minutes the units short-commings became apparent. The trigger is poorly designed and/or calibrated,
after 15 - 30 mins of maintaining a grip your hand will begin to protest verily so. Also, the shaft does not telescope to an adequate length...so most of us will wind up stooping over, and after a half hour or so of that your back will begin to curse at the wicked fools who rushed this device into the market without adequate field testing & tweaking. Also...you must make 5-7 passes over an area that would only take 1-2 swipes with a gas powered trimmer to get the same results. So.... on one hand you have a great battery/charger, hassle free start up, fairly lightweight and fume free trimmer with ample charge/use time..
and on the other ....you have to endure a greater degree of discomfort in order to accomplish the same task that a hard to start smelly noisey gas trimmer can do. At 1st i was inclined to return the TB57....but i now think i will try to "iron out" the two major issues with this device, that being the terrible trigger & short shaft. I intend to fashion a shaft insert that will give me the reach i need,
and tinker with the trigger until it works without making me work to make it work lol. If i succeed in this i believe the TB57 will then be a welcome addition to my arsenal of weed whacking weapons. I think this aditional expendeture of time/effort in calibrating this contraption is well warrented as it IS very nice to be able to "grab n go", the TB57 is an instant action accessory that has earned my respect & admiration in that there are no start up hassles that will delay....you just grab your TB57, jump into the fray & start whackin away. Both the gas & electric trimmers will compliment each other nicely...the gas for the heavy stuff & the electric to maintain the yard once it has been "tamed" by the gas unit.

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