Bell and Howell Bionic Trimmer: What We Know
Using Zip Ties for Line, is the Bell and Howell Bionic Trimmer Too Good to Be True? Yes.
While getting my daily dose of the Tour de France (hey, don’t judge!), I was bombarded by ads for the Bell and Howell Bionic Trimmer. I couldn’t help myself, so I decided to head over to their website and find out more.
The basic idea is to make a lightweight, extendable weed eater that uses zip ties instead of standard trimmer line to eliminate frustrating line changes. It uses an internal lithium-ion battery that you can recharge.
The motor spins up to 10,000 RPM, though Bell and Howell declines to let you know the voltage. For that matter, they don’t tell you what the battery capacity is, either.
Aside from its light weight, it’s appealing for the same reason all cordless string trimmers are: no emissions, low noise, and no dragging around an extension cord. With a price tag of $29.95 and free shipping (and just $7.95 for a second one!), it’s enough to make you wonder.
It’s Not All Sunshine and Daisies
A quick look at Amazon and their notoriously over-inflated reviews put the Bell and Howell Bionic Trimmer at an underwhelming 2 stars. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned.
Without any voltage and battery capacity data to work with, it’s almost impossible to know what kind of power and runtime to expect. Even the most basic of DIY cordless string trimmers provide that information, so its omission is telling.
They also don’t tell us the length of the zip ties. It looks like the cutting swath is only about 8″ or 10″ and I’m not convinced it has much power.
The trimmer appears very short, even for the lady that’s happily trimming along. It might work for your 10-year old, but chances are the rest of us will have to bend over to trim.
On the plus side, it does look very light and Amazon lists the item weight at just 1.95 pounds. That’s not enough to overcome its apparent performance and other design shortcomings, though.
The Bottom Line
The Bell and Howell Bionic Trimmer is destined for the “As Seen on TV” section at Wal-Mart and a long list of returns. If you just can’t help yourself, save the packaging so you can give it away at this year’s White Elephant Christmas party.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive battery-powered weed eater, you’ll be better off with one of the 18V/20V Max options from Ryobi or Black and Decker.