Earlier this spring I was given the Troy-Bilt TB57 Lithium Ion string trimmer to review. This spring Troy-Bilt also sponsored Chicago Spring Fling, a garden blogger symposium, which I was part of organizing. I mention this just so that you know from the start that the good will shown to me and other garden bloggers by Troy-Bilt may have influenced my thoughts on it. I don't think it has but I think as a reader of this blog you deserve to know this information.
Some other things you should know about me; I'm a frugal gardener (read poor), a wuss when it comes to things that can potentially blow up in my face and not good at following assembly instructions (I don't read them). I'll explain why that's important below.
When I got the Lithium ion garden trimmer in the mail it came un-assembled and I let it sit around for a couple of weeks because the last thing I want to do it put together something that comes with an instruction book. I finally gave in and decided to tackle the assembly of the trimmer and managed to do it within a couple of minutes. I wished I'd done it earlier because it was so easy to do. Imagine my surprise when I lifted up the lightweight trimmer and it didn't fall apart like my computer desk did. Just out of the box and this trimmer by Troy-Bilt was already looking pretty good.
Here is the lithium ion battery that comes in the box, along with a charger. For the first time in my life I managed to follow the directions and allow the battery to charge fully before I used it. The battery itself is isn't very heavy and slides in and out of the holster easily.
The TB57 has a 20-volt battery, which I'm not sure is suppose to incredible or not. Math and science make my head all hurty. I do know that using it was an experience, it was like riding a motorcycle for the first time. All of the garden tools I've ever owned have been manual. I've bought everything either at a garage sale, thrift store or found it in an alley. After the first use of the garden trimmer I got those ghost "vibrations" in my hand and arm, it felt like the trimmer was still in my hand and on. "Wow," I thought to myself. "This must be what an Amish gardener feels like during Rumspringa."
A couple of years ago I almost ruined Thanksgiving when I pitched a fit because my BIL was going to deep fry a turkey for the first time. For weeks I'd been watching the news hearing about homes going down in flames or people getting hurt frying turkeys. I don't like things that can blow up or burn down a house. Call me crazy, but it doesn't seem like fun. Gardeners and homeowners who are eco-concious will love that the TB57 has ZERO emissions and is pretty safe for the environment. Me, I like that it isn't powered by propane and I don't have to worry about my hand getting blown off. Or I don't have to worry about pulling around an extension cord that could get cut or electrocute me.
I charged the battery once in May and I'm writing this in August and trimmer still works like the first time I used it. I've used it in my garden and around the neighborhood cutting down herbaceous weeds that grow in the cracks of the sidewalks.
See for yourself:
Some of these are pretty tough and have stems that are as thick as pencils and the TB57 has taken them all down with little effort.
I've never owned a trimmer like this before, but I've seen many landscapers using simmer trimmers and noticed how they are always tapping it against the ground to release the string in the trimmer. The TB57 feeds the string by itself and there is even a small blade in the shield that keeps it cut at the right length. Just to feel like a real landscaper sometimes I'll tap in a couple of times on the floor, like a baseball player coming up to bat.
Four months later and I'm still on the same string cartridge (and same batter charge) that it came with. As you can see from the video I'm not really careful when using it and will really let it fly against the concrete. That's one of the benefits of using something you didn't have to pay for and you want to see how far you can push it before you break it.
Every gardener knows how satisfying it is to pull some weeds in the garden. What I never experienced before in the garden is just how wonderful it feels to cut them down like this. Leaves, stems and dirt are being kicked up and splattering your shoes and clothes and you can almost hear the weeds crying; "Please stop! We're sorry we grew here. We won't do it again," over the buzzing sound of the TB57.
My one complaint about the TB57 is that it doesn't have a plant guard around the trimmer. The first day I used it I cut down a couple of my Oriental lilies because I didn't gauge just how far out the string reaches. Oops. Nothing like cutting down plants you've been waiting a couple of years to bloom to make you stop and think about what you're doing.
If I were looking to purchase a garden trimmer I'd buy the TB57 from Troy-Bilt, it is lightweight, durable, easy to use, safe for the environment and won't blow your hand off.