For power tools, battery technology seems to be making inroads and moving an increasing number of products into the realm of emissions-free, cordless technology. Yard tools have been understandably delayed, since the bettery power and sustained use periods make it difficult to transition over to a reliable, rechargeable solution. The Black and Decker 18V String Trimmer and Edger NST2018 (Model NST2018) that eliminates gas in favor of NiCd batteries. While clearly more convenient than a corded string trimmer, the real question is whether or not the power and usability will cause anyone not paranoid about emissions to switch to the new technology. Our guess is that it may take a few more product iterations before mainstream users pick up these new cordless outdoor power tools over their more traditional gas-powered counterparts.
Black and Decker 18V String Trimmer and Edger NST2018 Features
The Black and Decker 18V String Trimmer is quick to set up, and certainly simple to clean and put away. Being cordless, it won’t force you to drag a line behind you or deal with mixed gas & oil. In addition, its simple design means that maintenance is minimized, though with NiCd technology, this will likely result in a battery replacement every two years or so.
The new 18V trimmer from Black & Decker has a new patented gear drive Technology and an ample 12-inch diameter cutting swath that is smaller than most gas trimmers we’ve seen, but more ideal for the type of combination edger/trimmer Black & Decker has produced here. Since there is no gas, there is also no starting cord, and pulling a simple trigger begins the motor with no effort on the part of the user. While a corded model will be lighter for those looking to completely simplify the power-to-weight ratio, this is still a decent option for those who want freedom and need to leave behind the hassle of starting gas trimmers.
Editor’s Note: Other excellent options for those looking to leave behind tougher pul starts are the new easy-pull systems from several manufacturers which reduce the required torque by as much as 75 percent. There are also several models on the market which have battery-assisted starters that eliminate pull-starts while still providing the power and torque of a gas product.
The Black and Decker 18V String Trimmer NST2018 is reasonably lightweight at just 7 pounds, and you can also adjust the tool length and handle to match your size, a feature that will endear this product to people who often find it difficult to “fit” into many average-sized tools.
Rather than a bump head, the 18V trimmer/edger uses an automatic feed spool helps that automatically releases more string as needed through centrifugal force. The system automatically senses when additional cutting string is needed to fill the full 12-inch cutting space. In practice we’re not certain if this efficiency won’t result in greater string use over time compared to a standard bump head (which we find very convenient when correctly implemented).
Since this tool also bills itself as an edger, we investigated this alternate mode and found that the Groom ‘N’ Edge features a simple flip-down edge guide which allows you to rotate the tool and trim along sidewalks and driveways for a nice, finished look. While it works, we think it’s a sort of “dummy” feature for those not used to edging with a trimmer. Since ti’s clearly not meant for pros, we find that most consumers – at least those with a larger amount of edging work – will opt for a more traditional whell-based system that takes the weight off the edger during use.
Overall the Black and Decker NST2018 Cordless String Trimmer is a promising tool, and one that will likely get more mainstream acceptance as battery technology advances and more professional features can be added and sustained with the technology.