The best battery powered electric weed eater. Period.

Black & Decker NST2036 Heavy Duty 36-Volt Cordless Electric Weed EaterI hate yard work. I enjoy planting, mulching, and gardening, but the actual mowing of the grass and weed eating that goes along with it sucks. What has made it suck even harder in recent years is the under-powered electric lawn equipment I’ve tried to use in an effort to make my yard work a bit greener.

Is anyone with me?

This year I did a ton of research on battery powered electric weed eaters as I set out on my quest to find the biggest, baddest, most powerful electric weed eater on the planet…and one that gets reviews to back up its claims.

Enter the Black & Decker NST2036 Heavy-Duty 36-Volt cordless electric weed eater.

What makes this Black & Decker 36-Volt weed eater so wonderful?

For starters it’s 36-volts! The next most powerful cordless electric weed eater is 24-volt…and doesn’t even compare.

The problem I’ve had with cordless electric weed eaters in the past is twofold:

  • They’re grossly under-powered
  • They lose their charge very quickly

When I first saw that Black & Decker claimed that the 36-volt weed eating beast is not only comparable to, but outperforms many of its gas powered brethren, I was quite skeptical.

Why do home owners love gas powered weed eaters?

Until I tried the heavy-duty 36-volt weed eater from Black & Decker, I was convinced that no electric string trimmer could give me the things I missed about my old gas powered weed eater. I doubt that those things on my list differ little from any other home owner’s.

  • Power. Plain and simple.
  • Variable speed (the trimmer head spins faster the harder you squeeze the trigger, and vice versa)
  • The ability to get the job done in one go-around
  • Convenience of starting the job when you want to without having to wait for a battery to charge

The first two items on the list are no doubt the most important things people want from weed eaters…and that is exactly what gas powered versions give you.

I bought one…

…and did NOT return it. And no, this isn’t one of those posts where I review a product that a company was kind enough to send me. I actually put up my own money for this thing, and I’m so glad I did.

This Black & Decker 36-volt cordless electric weed eater gave me everything from the above list except the last item, obviously. Sure you have to charge the battery, but just pop it on the charger the night before you’re going to tackle your yard work and you’re good to go by morning.

The trimmer is DEFINITELY powerful. Seriously, you will NOT be disappointed if you get one. The variable speed trigger feels and responds just like that of a gas powered weed eater.

Here are the official specs:

  • 36-volt, 14-inch cordless string trimmer/edger–ideal for heavy-duty weed clearing and cutting
  • Long-lasting 36V battery with performance that rivals gas string trimmers
  • 14-inch cut path for more area per charge than any other cordless trimmer
  • Patented gear drive transmission amplifies motor torque for increased cutting power and performance
  • Includes trimmer, 1 battery, and charger; weighs 11.9 pounds; 2-year warranty
  • ENERGY STAR qualified

Some reviews say that the trimmer died after 15-20 minutes, but as other reviewers have mentioned, that is most likely due to the fact that they are almost certainly using the unit at full speed the entire time. Do that with a gas powered weed eater and it will scream through a tank of gas as well. I have been consistently getting around 40 minutes worth of trimming done all spring…and I only stop because I’m finished, not because I ran out of battery.

The only down side

This trimmer may be lighter than most of its gas powered cousins, but it feels like it weighs 40 pounds. I think the battery pack would have been much better situated behind the trigger, not in between it and the fore grip handle. By positioning the battery pack where it is, there is no counter weight on the back of the trimmer (as there is from the small motor of a gas powered weed eater).

This makes it feel like the weed eater is “head heavy”.

It does come with a nice shoulder strap which makes handling the weed eater MUCH easier and will probably be a must for some daintier yard workers.

I bought mine from Amazon for $149, but (at the time of this writing) the price is $153…and it’s Prime eligible. So if you’re an Amazon Prime member that means you can pick one today and have it in time for weekend yard work with your free 2-day shipping.

Check out a few more pics of the 36-volt Black & Decker weed eater:

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About Jeffrey Davis

Yo, I'm Jeffrey, founder of and editor in chief here at Eco-Snobbery Sucks. I live in Nashville, TN and am a writer, personal trainer, web designer, and wookie hugger. I hang out on Twitter some but you can find me more active on Facebook. Enjoy the site!

  • http://www.highwaterfilters.com Highwaterfilters1

    Hey thanks for this tip. I am heading out to try to find one of these right now!

  • Pingback: Electric weedeaters | Greenegardner

  • http://www.weedeater-reviews.com/ Alan

    Good review. I haven’t used this one, but it’s one of the next on my list to try out. Seems like it will be kind of awkward to hold compared to others, but I guess I will find out. 

    • http://www.EcoSnobberySucks.com Jeffrey Davis

      Thanks Alan. Glad you liked the review. I tried to address all of the questions I know I personally had while shopping for the best batter powered electric weed eater.

      As far as how awkward it is to hold, I touched on that in the post. Did you see it? The unit feels REALLY head heavy and it could be a struggle for a smaller/weaker person to use it for a long period of time (but I guess that’s why it comes with a supplied shoulder strap).

      I think if the battery pack were moved behind your back hand (the one that controls the speed of the trimmer head), it would give it a much better balance. Not sure why B&B placed the battery pack where the did.

      Either way, this is the best battery electric weed eater I have used…which is why I titled it that. Lol.

      • http://www.weedeater-reviews.com/ Alan

        Yea, I understand what you were talking about in regards to the weight distribution, which does seem like it would be an issue. But, what I was referring to was the back handle placement. I have never used a weed eater with that type of arrangement. I think it probably would be better if it had the battery pack behind the back hand, as you stated.  Looking forward to trying it out.

        • http://www.EcoSnobberySucks.com Jeffrey Davis

          Ah, gotcha. Actually, the back handle position surprisingly isn’t awkward at all…just the weight distribution. I’d love to hear what ya think if you get one and try it out. Please share some quick thoughts if you do.

  • Dave

    Hey Jeffrey.  I am sick and tired of trying to get my gas wacker to work so I’m looking into chordless.  But I read in an earlier review that the battery develops a memory and will not fully charge unless it’s fully drained.  That’s a pain in the ass, I was planning on leaving it on the charger between cuts and never draining it all the way.

    Is this still the case or are the new batteries memory free?

    thanks
    Dave

    • http://www.EcoSnobberySucks.com Jeffrey Davis

      Hey Dave. Thanks for commenting, and great question! The 36v battery that Black & Decker uses for this trimmer is a NiCad battery. Wikipedia’s NiCad page says this in the “memory and lazy battery” section:

      “NiCd batteries may suffer from a ‘memory effect’ if they are discharged and recharged to the same state of charge hundreds of times. The apparent symptom is that the battery ‘remembers’
      the point in its charge cycle where recharging began and during
      subsequent use suffers a sudden drop in voltage at that point, as if the
      battery had been discharged. The capacity of the battery is not
      actually reduced substantially. Some electronics designed to be powered
      by NiCds are able to withstand this reduced voltage long enough for the
      voltage to return to normal.”

      Based on that information, it seems safe to say you SHOULD be safe to leave the battery on the charger in between charges. That said, it’s not recommended to do that for ANY rechargeable device…be it a cell phone or battery powered trimmer.

      Doing so will always shorten the life of the battery by some margin.

      But with replacement batteries for this charger coming in at about $120, it wouldn’t be a terrible replacement cost after 100′s of recharges. That’d be MANY mowing seasons.

      Does that help?

      • Dave

        Yeah that was a great help. thanks.  But I don’t want to have to remember to charge the battery the night before.  So even though I will use the unit weekly in the summer you are not recommending that I leave it on the charger after I’m done?   Although I have a big property it’s mostly field.  I’d say I wack 10-15 minutes per lawn cut, the bulk is about a 4 foot slope at the front of the house that is maybe 30 yards long.  This area  is a real hassle and I dread cutting it every time.  Because of this I’m concerned that this one may be too heavy.   

        With that said are you recommending that I simply leave the battery uncharged in between uses?  At 10-15 minutes a use it sounds like it may be a few weeks before I need to charge it again. 

        • http://www.EcoSnobberySucks.com Jeffrey Davis

          I’m not recommending that you leave it on the charger in the same way that I would recommend not leaving your cell phone on the charger once it’s fully charged too (or putting it on the charger before it’s totally depleted).

          Even though you “shouldn’t” do that to any rechargeable battery, most people still do.

          That’s why I said even though you “shouldn’t”, you would most likely be fine for 100′s of charges even if you did. Follow me?

          • Dave

            Yep, follow you perfectly.  Guess what?  I put my cell phone on it’s charger every night.  LOL

            Last question:  If I only cut 15 minutes or so a cut do I really need a Lithioum (spell) battery?  Or will nickle be fine? 

            • http://www.EcoSnobberySucks.com Jeffrey Davis

              Ha ha. Your cell phone battery will most definitely feel the effects of the improper charging MUCH faster than the weed eater battery…so no worries there. ;-)

              As far as NiCad vs Lithium-Ion batteries go, I would personally LOVE to see a 36 volt (or at least similar power) Li-Ion weed eater.

              Why?

              Li-Ion batteries are smaller and lighter (at the same charge as other batteries), don’t “self-discharge” nearly as fast (meaning they don’t lose their charge by just sitting idle — Li-Ion self discharge at 5-10% per month, NiCad’s self discharge at 1-5% per DAY), no memory effect (which harkens back to your original question), and are much more eco-friendly in every way.

              That said, at the time I wrote this article (and to current date), I haven’t seen a Li-Ion rechargeable battery powered weed eater that can hold a candle to this 36 volt black and decker.

              Hopefully we’ll see one in the next year or two.

  • Dave

    OK thought I was done but here I am again.  I’ve got it figured out that the slope I need won’t require a 32 v batter.  24 or even 18 will be fine.   I’m leaning towards the B&D 24 volt because I can get it cheap.  However I have read where the batteries do not last that long. 
     
    I have several B&D tools so I have quite a few 18 V B&D batteries around.  If I’m using my 24 volt wacker and the battery dies minutes before completion can I simply substitute my 18 V battery?  I know this is probably a really dumb question but i did a few searches and really didn’t find an answer.
     
    Thanks  Jeffrey
     

    • http://www.EcoSnobberySucks.com Jeffrey Davis

      Thanks a ton for dropping back by with an update Dave! Can you drop a link (or at least model numbers) to the B&D 24 and 18v models you’re looking at?

      As far as your question goes, I do not believe your 18v batteries will be interchangeable with the 24v weed wacker. For several reasons: circuitry, battery housing fit, and amperage inconsistencies, are the ones that jump to mind immediately.

      That said, I’m not an electrician, just a DIYer and electronics tinkerer. Have you double checked with B&D customer service to see what they say about it?

  • Dave

    Hey again Jeff.  You may be intersted to read this:

    The NST1024 can accept either 18 volt or 24 volt ni-cad outdoor product batteries. There will not be a difference in run time between the different battery voltages, but you may notice a slight drop in performance when using an 18 volt battery.

    http://www.blackanddecker.com/Product-FAQs.aspx?mode=contact

    • http://www.EcoSnobberySucks.com Jeffrey Davis

      Awesome Dave! Thanks for sharing! Lemme know how you like the NST1024. I’ve not used an 18 or 24 volt weed eater/trimmer that suited my power and performance needs, but I’m interested to here how that one works for you, if you end up giving it a shot!

  • PC

    It costs $299 on Amazon now.  I guess your review has increased sales.  Do you recommend any other battery powered weed eaters that are not so expensive? 

    BTW, Great Review!!

    • http://www.EcoSnobberySucks.com Jeffrey Davis

      Bummer for the increase, PC! Glad you liked the review though. As I stated in this post, I did the homework, research, and purchased the B&D 36volt trimmer with my own money (as in, it was not sent to my by B&D, for free OR discount, to review).

      BUT, I have been contacted by Stihl, who just started making a 36volt trimmer (and entire line of lawncare products, actually), many of which they’re sending me for a few weeks to test. So stay tuned for that review. It’ll be late April though. Is that ok?

      Want me to email you when I get that review up?

  • Chanks0035

    I got this one yesterday at Lowe’s for $169, and it comes with a Li-ion battery now. It worked really well. I used it on the lowest setting and had no problem having enough battery to do my whole yard. The battery lasted almost an hour and ran out just as I was getting done. So right now I’m very impressed and I’m glad I came across your blog before I wasted my money on a cheaper, crappier model. Thanks

    • http://www.EcoSnobberySucks.com Jeffrey Davis

      Interesting Chanks! Thanks for sharing. I’ll call Black & Decker and find out some more details on that one vs the one here in this post. How do you like the Li-Ion version so far?

  • Handson404

    Hi I’m back again to give you some feedback.  I found the B&D 18 volt on sale at Sears for around $80, the store was closing.  The reason I went this route was the cost and the fact that I have several other tools that take the same battery so I’ve literally got like 5 of them.

    To be honest the power on a fresh charge was surprisingly strong.  I have a slope on the front that is about 3 feet high and about 90 feet accross,  The trimmer has enough juice to do the slope, and a few other spots in the front, and then it’s time for a new battery.  If you can live with hassle then the unit is fine. 

    Next I went to my neighbor’s house to wack away at very thick grass under a swing set  that had not been cut all year (I’m in Maryland and am on cut #4 on my lawn now).  Although the cutting went better than expected it taxed the wacker, I could smell the motor overheating and I had to slow down. 

    Bottom line for me is if you do not have any more heavy trimming than I discussed then the 18 V B&D is a very economical way to go.  Just keep 2 batteries charged. 

  • Dave

    Well what do you know, I’m back with another review.  The B&D 18 volt worked great on my slope.  However when I was asked to cut the jungle that passes for a front yard at the neighbors the until struggled.  I was trimming heavy grass under a swing set and I could smell the motor burning.  So I shut it down to cool it off.   Same thing happened a week later, then the motor stopped.  Dead. 

    The 18 vold is fine for light trimming.  But if you have anything heavy not only is it underpowered but it dies under the strain.

    Damn…..

    • http://www.EcoSnobberySucks.com Jeffrey Davis

       Hey Dave. Thanks so much for the continued updates! Bummer to hear about your 18 Volt trimmer burn out. That sucks. I feel your pain though, that’s what led me to search out the 36 volt trimmer, pull the trigger on it, and give it a try.

      What’s the plan for your next trimmer?

      • Dave

        So I go back to my gas Poulan (spell?) and it has trouble starting, the EXACT reason I turned to the battery models.  My mower guy says it needs a carb. a $90 fix for a unit worth $85.  But he then hooks me up with a used wacker that an retired couple dumped on him as they moved to a retirement home.  Sold me a Troy Built gas for $50.  Got it home and couldn’t get it started.  Screw this.

        So I returned it (they know me and gave me my money back), sucked it up and dropped some coin on a new Echo gas wacker.  It’s been awesome.  Started every time, even the first time, and when running you can just tell it’s well made. 

        I just didn’t want to go to another battery powered one and have to replace the batteries.   

        • http://www.EcoSnobberySucks.com Jeffrey Davis

          Thanks for weighing back in Dave. What model of Echo trimmer did u get? Mind if i ask how much it set you back?

  • Sandra

    Jeff, on the 36 volt B&D can you restring it or do you have to buy a new pack when it runs out?