DeWALT DCST972X1 string trimmer review: power and flexibility
This powerful string trimmer is big on features for those that want more control over their trimming. The real benefit though is the DeWALT system, which allows you to swap batteries across devices and swap the head on this trimmer to perform more gardening tasks.
- Adjustable cut width makes for flexibility
- String trimmer head can be swapped with other devices
- Variable control
- Easy to store
Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
All the best features, news, tips and great deals to help you live a better life through technology
Thank you for signing up to T3. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
The DeWALT DCST972X1 string trimmer is a powerful, adjustable string trimmer that offers several neat features for the more discerning gardener. It can also be converted into a range of other gardening tools, so it’s a great pick if you want one device for multiple jobs.
DeWALT DCST972X1 string trimmer review: design and build quality
The DCST972X1 feels very solidly constructed, with the familiar yellow and black styling of all DeWALT devices. As you would expect from a brand with a background in power tools, it feels like it could stand up to heavy used and rough treatment without problems. It is a rather heavy device at 15lbs (6.8kg), including the battery, and most of this weight is at the top of the device. This makes it a little harder to maneuver than some, as you have to move the adjustable handle further back to balance the weight. However, once you get used to the weight and balance, it is easy to use.
Best Dewalt weed eaters 2023
A safety switch on the top of the control handle must be pressed down before the variable speed controller on the bottom of the handle works. This has a latch that locks it into the safety position, which is a nice safety feature if you have kids that might pick it up and try it out. The variable control is light and responsive, providing good control over the speed of the trimmer.
Another switch on the top of the control handle sets the power level: low for trimming grass and light vegetation, and high for trimming heavier foliage. The cutting width can also be adjusted between 15 and 17 inches, which is very useful for doing both smaller areas where the smaller cutting width provides more control, and larger areas where the wider cutting width means quicker cutting.
Most of the string trimmers that I have tested put the motor in the base of the device, but the DCST972X1 has it built into the head, below the battery. This means you can remove the string trimmer part and replace it with an edge trimmer, brush cutter, pole saw, blower, or hedge trimmer – all of which can be driven by the motor and connected through the Universal Attachment Connector in the middle of the stem. I only tested the string trimmer attachment, but it was easy to install and remove. Plus, being able to easily break the device into two parts makes it easier to store when not in use.
The motor is powered by a DeWALT 9.5 Ah 20V/60V MAX battery, which uses their FLEXVOLT system. What all of that upper case stuff means is that the battery can output either 20 Volts or 60 Volts, depending on what the device needs. DeWALT’s battery naming is somewhat confusing, but this battery can work with any of their current devices that are labeled FLEXVOLT, from leaf blowers to heavy-duty power tools. That’s a big plus if you are stocking up your tool shed, as it means that you can save some money by buying tools without batteries and share the batteries you have between them. A 2-set of spare batteries will cost you about 250.
DeWALT DCST972X1 string trimmer review: performance and accessories
I found that the big 9Ah battery provided plenty of trimming time: running in the low power mode, it managed about 45 minutes of trimming on light vegetation. That’s long enough for most jobs. Higher capacity batteries are available if you are working all day, or have a large area to cover.
Reloading the string line is fairly easy: you take a 20-foot length of line, feed it through the powerhead until it is equal on both sides, then turn the head counter-clockwise to wind the line onto the spool. It’s a fairly simple process but takes a while and involves a lot of manual turning: much longer than the Powerload feature of the Ego.
As I noted earlier, this device can be converted into a number of other garden tools: by replacing the string trimmer head, you can convert it into an edge trimmer, brush cutter, pole saw, leaf blower, or hedge trimmer. These cost between 99 and 300, so it is cheaper than buying a separate tool.
DeWALT DCST972X1 string trimmer review: verdict
The DeWALT DCST972X1 shares the same design ethic as the power tools that the company produces: serious devices for a serious job. It has plenty of cutting power on offer and is easy to use and maneuver. It can also be converted into other related tools, including a bush cutter that can handle heavier growth. That could be extremely useful if you are clearing an abandoned yard, or just need more cutting power. The fact that the batteries are also compatible with many DeWALT power tools is a big plus if you already have some of them. If you aren’t already committed to one battery system, this trimmer is a great pick against options like the Ego.
DeWALT Flexvolt String Trimmer Review
As soon as it was released I picked up the DeWALT Flexvolt 60 volt cordless trimmer to replace my 2 stroke gas powered, attachment capable, Toro. Now into its third season, the DeWALT is holding up very well.
This is embarrassing, seeing how this is a tool review website, but I just assumed the split shaft meant this trimmer was attachment capable. Nope. Not only that, but DeWALT recommends not even hauling it around in half to avoid damage, which is how I do haul it around.
And as you can see here, the inner wire casing is starting to fray from the sharp edges of the shaft. Regardless, it’s the only way it will fit in the cab of my truck and not get stolen. C’est la vie, no?
Cordless Trimmer Power
This cordless weed trimmer has as much power as my 2 stroke gas powered Toro. a 15” cutting swath, and a variable speed tigger that’s easy to cruise at different speeds.
However, it also has two speed settings making it easy to run full blast, high or low, without having two feather the trigger. Low works well for most weeds, saving battery life and reducing the noise level.
The trimmer takes 0.08 to 0.095 line. I use the.095 because it cuts better and last longer. And I haven’t noticed the.095 line causing the DeWALT trimmer to bog down in thick weeds any more than on my gas powered 2 stroke Toro.
The trimmer is well balanced with the brushless motor at the front and the battery at the rear. I really like the battery guard which lets you to stand the trimmer on end without damaging the battery or terminals. And there is a hook underneath to hang it on the wall.
The bump feed works well on this but the line does get bound up in the spool, a lot. This could just be user error. Maybe I’m not winding the line correctly or smacking the bump feed on the ground too hard.
In any case, DeWALT has released a new quick-feed replacement spool head that is currently pictured on the 60 volt trimmer bare tool. So it looks like they are phasing this one out.
Edging and Guard
The DeWALT guard is much smaller than my Toro gas trimmer guard and not much protection from plant splatter and rocks. Probably why DeWALT says not to use the trimmer for edging, which of course I do.
But no worries because DeWALT offers a larger guard for this unit, part #N512929, which I have. It’s cheap, branded, and it works great.
ToolRev earns commissions on purchases made through out links.
For a non attachment capable trimmer I think DeWALT has done a really good job. I like how they pack 60 volt power into a single small battery, compared to the other 36, 40, and 54 volt trimmers on the market that either use two batteries or one huge battery.
I think the new quick-feed replacement spool will be a welcome improvement. This trimmer is comfortable, powerful, well-balanced, and has very little vibration. If you get one I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. See ya.
As a stand alone, non attachment capable, trimmer this unit deserves five stars. Being able to ditch the gas trimmer gives high value for money. However, with Makita and Milwaukee offering attachment capable cordless trimmers, the DeWALT’s value for money is low relative to the competition.
DeWALT FlexVolt String Trimmer Review
I realize that the DeWALT FlexVolt String Trimmer is technically the homeowner model, but I prefer it over the 40V Max model targeting commercial crews.
When we first introduced the DeWALT FlexVolt OPE line, it begged the question of who it’s targeting as a user base. DeWALT confirms that their 40V platform is their FOCUS for commercial landscaping and lawn care crews. They also tell us that FlexVolt is their homeowner line – but think Prosumer with some land to care for rather than the average DIYer. The DeWALT FlexVolt String Trimmer is first up in our look at the line.
What’s curious is the battery platform itself. DeWALT FlexVolt tools are clearly targeting Pro users trying to completely cut the cord on the jobsite. But turn around and the FlexVolt OPE line is for the homeowner.
I’m working under the impression that DeWALT’s development of FlexVolt handed them a more powerful battery platform at 60V. Why limit yourself to 20V Max when you’ve got a higher voltage that allows you to avoid confusion with the commercial 40V Max line?
That’s my thinking, anyway. Still, there are some real benefits here. Being on the FlexVolt battery platform means the DeWALT FlexVolt String Trimmer and its colleagues use batteries that power both 20V Max and FlexVolt tools. Since there’s a good chance you’re not a DeWALT first timer if you’re jumping into the line, it complements the Pro tools you have and possibly opens up the FlexVolt line for you.
But we’re here to talk about a string trimmer, not battery platform theory…
The DeWALT FlexVolt String Trimmer has a split shaft design that makes packaging and shipping easier. You don’t need any tools to put it together, though you will need to loosen 4 bolts if an adjustment to the guide handle is in your future. The split shaft design doesn’t open up attachments, though.
The tool itself is long, standing about as tall as me at 74 inches. To help balance out the weight of the 60V, 3.0 AH battery, the motor is down at the trimmer head. This offers a more direct connection to the spool rather than losing energy by turning a long rod inside the shaft.
One nice touch is a protective foot below the battery housing. Like we see on the blower, it allows you to set the trimmer on the ground without setting the battery and wiring in the dirt and cuttings.
Holding the string trimmer by the guide handle, there’s a backward lean thanks to the weight of the battery. Normally that’s a bad thing for an OPE tool that needs to be down to work. But when you put your trigger hand on the grip, it becomes a very neutral balance that I find easy to work with.
The trigger handle offers a secure grip. I’d like to see DeWALT’s hand-contouring handle from their drills and drivers, but it’s comfortable enough with the overmold. The trigger mechanism requires you to push down to defeat the safety before pulling up on the trigger. Of the string trimmer trigger safeties currently out there, this is the one I prefer thanks to the ease of operation.
The guide handle is a standard D-shape that gives you plenty of gripping options if you want to turn it to edge. I don’t find this to be as natural a balance as I’d like, so I leave the edging to the edger. The handle itself has a nice thick rubber overmold that’s substantial enough to really absorb vibration but has a solid core so it’s not too rubbery.
The trimmer weighs in at 12 pounds. It doesn’t feel like it’s that heavy thanks to the neutral balance, but there are lighter options available.
Like most string trimmers in this class, there are two speeds available. The difference is DeWALT gives you 5600 RPM in low and 6600 RPM in high. You can legitimately do the majority of your trimming in low without compromise and turn to high for only the high, thick stuff.
In both speeds, I was pleased to find very little vibration. This was an issue our Pros noted on the 40V Max model during our best string trimmer head-to-head review. With neutral balance, little vibration, and plenty of power for grass cutting, trimming has been a breeze.
Like the defunct 40V Max model, the DeWALT FlexVolt String Trimmer give you 15 inches of cutting swath. Prespooled with square 0.080″ line, it does very well for property maintenance. I’d go ahead and use that line up before making the change to 0.095″ rather than switching immediately.
If 15 inches is too much for some reason, you can flip the cutter around and bring it closer to 13 inches. I don’t know why you’d want to since there’s power to spare, but you can.
The cutting guard is a bit small for my liking. Be sure to pay attention to the direction of rotation to push the grass away from you. You’ll probably want to wear long pants so your legs aren’t exposed.
There’s not much help in the line change department. You’ll need to wind both lines separately, but there are holding slots to help keep it from going nuts while you’re putting the head back together.
The Bottom Line
I realize that the DeWALT FlexVolt String Trimmer is technically the homeowner model, but I prefer it over the 40V Max model targeting commercial crews. Granted, I’m not mowing 20 lawns a day, so that might change if I offer to trim the whole neighborhood next weekend. With solid ergonomics, power to spare, and very little vibration, it’s a great experience for the lithium-ion category.
The trimmer could use some help in the weight department, but that’s mainly due to the heavy FlexVolt battery. I’m not sure there’s much more that can be done there. I’d like to see some sort of Speed-Feed style head down the road. With that and a wider guard, I think we’ll be looking at a very fine string trimmer. As it stands, I really enjoy using it – I just need to wear jeans or work pants rather than shorts. That’s a sacrifice since it’s 95 degrees in the shade here today.
On the cost side, the kit with a 3.0AH FlexVolt battery (20V Max, 9.0 AH equivalent) comes at a darn fine price considering it comes with a 199 battery pack.
DeWALT FlexVolt String Trimmer Key Features
DeWALT FlexVolt String Trimmer Specifications
- Model: DeWALT DCST970X1
- System: FlexVolt 60V MAX
- Power Source: Lithium Ion
- Amp Hour: 3.0 Ah
- RPM: 0-5,600/ 0-6,600 RPM
- Batteries Included: 1
- Cutting Swath: 15″
- Feed Type: Bump feed
- Line Diameter: 0.080/.095″
- Weight: 12 lbs
- Includes: 60V MAX 3Ah Lithium-Ion Battery, Charger, Auxiliary handle, 0.080″ prewound in the spool
- Warranty: 3 years limited
- Price: 299
The 5 best string trimmers and weed wackers in 2021
Email icon An envelope. It indicates the ability to send an email.
Email icon An envelope. It indicates the ability to send an email.
Email icon A stylized bird with an open mouth, tweeting.
Flipboard icon The letter “P” styled to look like a thumbtack pin.
Link icon An image of a chain link. It symobilizes a website link url.
- A string trimmer can cut crisp lines near fences, trees, and edge beds and obliterate weeds.
- We’ve included battery- and gas-powered string trimmers, so you can select your preference.
- Our top pick fromDeWALT is lightweight and electric but as powerful as many gas-powered trimmers.
Sign up for our newsletter to get honest reviews on top products services — delivered weekly to your inbox.
Over the years, I’ve used more than a half dozen different brands of string trimmers, and I’m known as a pretty good edger in some parts. The primary value of a trimmer is the precision it offers. With a reliable weed- and lawn-trimming tool in your hands, you can make short work of all sorts of weeds and can even eradicate brambles, thorns, ivy, and other tougher types of flora.
You can also use your trimmer to mow swaths of lawn with ease, cutting near fences, around tree trunks and bushes, and even near flowers and edible plants, removing only the grass you want without damaging any other plant life or property around your yard.
We’ve included different string trimmers that run on batteries or gasoline, so you can choose which is best for your needs. One final bit of advice before you buy one of our picks: always wear safety glasses or some kind of protective eyewear when you use your string trimmer.
The best string trimmers and weed wackers in 2021
Updated on 3/26/2021 by Jen Gushue: We removed our pick for the best battery-powered trimmer because our best overall pick is already battery-powered. We added a new pick for the best lightweight string trimmer and updated our pick for the best upgrade string trimmer.
The best string trimmer overall
The DeWALT 20V Max Lithium Ion XR String Trimmer powers through thick, tough weeds and overgrown grass with as much force as many gasoline-fueled trimmers, but it has a battery and weighs less than nine pounds.
Pros: Light but powerful, dual speed operation, long battery life, lasts for years, batteries are interchangeable with other 20V DeWALT tools
Cons: Small guard can cause clippings to fly
The sheer power of the DeWALT 20V Max Lithium Ion XR String Trimmer is reason enough to buy this tool, but the fact that you can count on it to last for years sure helps justify the rather high price. I’ve owned many DeWALT tools and they are still kicking to this day.
This trimmer is powered by a 20-volt, five-amp lithium-ion battery that packs plenty of punch, whirling the dual cutting lines around in a 13-inch swath that will easily clear grass, weeds, thorns, and more. And if you own other tools in the DeWALT 20V line, you can use the same rechargeable batteries.
The tool can be operated at a high-speed, full-power setting for cutting tougher materials or it can be run at a lower speed for lighter work and for better battery life. As we recommended above, you’ll want to wear eye protection while using any string trimmer, but the DeWALT has a tendency to throw even more grass around due to its small guard above the strings — not a dealbreaker if you wear proper protection.
The best budget string trimmer
The BlackDecker Corded Electric String Trimmer is all you’ll need for most residential trimming needs, so for light work, there’s no need to spend big.
Pros: Great low price, lightweight and nimble, easily converts from trimmer to edger
Cons: Not suitable for tougher jobs, limited by the length of your extension cord
I’ve used a BlackDecker trimmer for years, and every time I have light to moderate trimming or edging needs that are within the reach of an extension cord, it’s the tool I choose.
While this trimmer isn’t the best choice for seriously overgrown yards or for clearing dense underbrush, for edging lawns, clearing common weeds, and cutting grass near flowers, trees, fences, or in those patches the mower can’t reach, it’s a fine choice. It’s also a trimmer that’s amazingly affordable.
A plug-in trimmer has one distinct disadvantage, which is, of course, the simple fact that you need to be connected via an extension cord to a power outlet. That means less freedom of motion and less convenience of use, as you can’t use the tool where you can’t plug it in.
However, the fact that you don’t need to lug around a battery or a gasoline motor significantly reduces the weight of the tool, making the 5-pound BlackDecker String Trimmer a great choice for anyone who just doesn’t want to lug around a heavy trimmer.
The best gas-powered string trimmer
The Ryobi 2-Cycle Gas Straight Shaft String Trimmer is quite powerful and relatively affordable, which are both things most DIYers will appreciate in a tool.
Pros: Good price for good tool, plenty of power for most jobs, wide cutting swath, accommodates string up to 0.095-inch line thickness
Cons: Heavy at more than 12 pounds, has added fuel costs, not eco-friendly
The Ryobi 2-Cycle Gas Straight Shaft String Trimmer probably isn’t the ideal trimming tool for a professional gardener or landscaper, but for casual DIY property care, it’s an ideal choice. With a two-stroke, 25 cubic centimeter engine, this capable trimmer delivers more than enough power to slash through thick grass, pernicious weeds, and to cut edges down into turf, mulch, or packed soil.
A proprietary “zip start” carburetor makes firing up this tool quick and easy without a lot of repeated yanking on a starter line, and an easy-to-load head makes replacing broken trimmer line fast and simple, too. As for the line, it can accommodate a thick and durable 0.095-inch line thickness, whereas many similar tools max out at 0.08. This trimmer is pretty loud when operating, but it’s also a reliable tool that’s more than worth its price.
Of course, there are downsides to a gas-powered trimmer. While it is powerful, you will have to purchase fuel and it makes a lot of noise. And because of emissions, it’s not a choice for the environmentally-conscious or people sensitive to pollution.
DeWalt’s New 60v MAX [DCST972] Cordless Brushless String Trimmer Multi-Tool (Multiple ATTACHMENTS)
The best lightweight string trimmer
Weighing just four pounds, the Earthwise Cordless String Trimmer has an ergonomic handle for comfortable use.
Pros: Lightweight, adjustable handle and telescopic pole, cordless, ergonomic handle, auto-feed line is also easy to load
Cons: Limited battery life
I purchased the Earthwise Cordless String Trimmer for my three-acre property, and have been pleasantly surprised by its performance over the past two years. I was drawn to the unit because of its light weight; I have some injuries to my hands and wrists that make supporting a heavier unit difficult. Not only does this string trimmer weigh just four pounds (plus the weight of the battery), but its adjustable support-handle and ergonomic grip on the main handle further maximize my comfort.
This trimmer’s telescopic pole is easy to adjust and requires no tools. The auto-feed feature works well, and it’s relatively easy to load the spool. The cut-head can adjust to three different positions, and a flip-down steel-edge guard is ideal for edging work.
This trimmer comes with a 20-volt lithium battery and charger, and I found I was able to use the trimmer for about a half-hour on a single charge. The battery charges quickly, so I often did other yard work while the battery was recharging. The Earthwise battery is compatible with other Earthwise equipment. — Paige Cerulli
The best upgrade string trimmer
When it comes to durability and power, the EGO Power Cordless Electric 15-Inch Powerload String Trimmer offers an ideal combination of both.
Pros: Cordless, brushless motor for longer run-time, durable carbon-fiber shaft, easy line loading, variable speed control
Cons: Battery and charger not included
The EGO Power Cordless Electric 15 in. Powerload String Trimmer may cost more than the other string trimmers on this list, but its features and design justify the higher price. This trimmer is equipped with a high-efficiency brushless motor, allowing for longer run-time on battery power. The trimmer is also equipped with variable speed control, so you can choose the appropriate setting for each job.
Replacing and loading the line is quick and easy; just load, push a button, and you’re ready to go. There’s no threading and maneuvering line like other trimmers require.
This string trimmer is more durable than other models, and while it doesn’t quite have the power of a gas trimmer, its 56-volt motor is plenty powerful for most jobs. The carbon-fiber shaft is designed for years of use, and while it doesn’t come with a battery or charger, EGO batteries are interchangeable between devices, so this trimmer may be an ideal purchase if you already have other EGO products, like its lawn mower we also love. Batteries are available in various capacities, so you can balance cost against run-time to find the option that’s right for you. — Paige Cerulli