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Troy-Bilt Lithium Ion Garden Trimmer

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.


  1. I absolutely adored this review. It's dead on (and reminds me that I also need to review my trimmer which I've had the same experience with).

    Having now met you, it was even more hilarious to imagine you reading this post aloud and seeing the comments you made on the video. Me and Chris lol'd.

  2. This thing sounds like a dream come true on just about every level...I may have to buy one for my husband. Great review...and thanks!

  3. Very nice review! (thanks for the comic relief too - hope your lip is ok - didn't mean to laugh at your expense.)

    We have an electric trimmer but it's really a pain dragging out a very long extension cord in order to reach all the spots that need trimming. We got a battery-operated leaf blower this spring after the plug-in one died, and it's wonderful. The Troy-Bilt trimmer looks like a good gift option for the Lawn Man. After trying the leaf blower he's wondering what other corded devices we can replace with battery-operated ones. Personally I'd love a battery-powered hedge trimmer. . . guess I'll be on the lookout for one of those too.

    Thanks for the trimmer review. It's very tempting!

  4. My yard is so big that I don't personally like string trimmer because even though I have enough extension cords, they always get tangled. Plus, I don't have a sidewalk that needs edges trimmed. I do have an old string trimmer I got at a yard sale because it's GREAT for shredding dried leaves (placed in a garbage can) for use in the compost bin. Protective eye wear is important though I hate wearing it. Maybe you needed an extra lip protector!

  5. Great review! I like being made to laugh. I get all my tools from garage sales, too. I have an electric lawn mower that I paid $20 for about six years ago.

  6. Great review and post, I have a large area so I have to use a gas powered trimmer.


  7. @katie,

    Glad you liked it and had a laugh. You haven't done your review yet? I guess I don't feel so bad for being late with mine.


    Thanks for the comment. Your husband would be lucky to get one, I really enjoy mine.


    Go ahead and laugh, I laugh at my self all the time. My lip should be ok, although it seems to get the brunt of my ignorance. I still have a scar on my bottom lip from when I was playing with fireworks as a kid. You should add the trimmer to possible Christmas gifts for the Lawn Man.

    @Monica the Garden Faerie,

    That's a great idea about using something like the trimmer for shredding dried leaves, may have to do to that with it or shred some paper for composting. Thanks. I think I need one of those helmets the riot police use.


    I don't have the space for a lawn mower but a few years ago I used to help a neighbor mow her lawn with a push mower I found. It was a HUGE yard, by city standards, and seriously tried to get her to buy a gas powered one or an electric one.


    Hi Cathy! Glad you liked the post.

  8. we call those things
    'viper snipers'
    where we come from...

  9. @India,

    What do you call 'viper snipers' in your area? Garden trimmers?

    Just took a quick glance at your tinctoria australis blog, what an awesome idea. I'm going to go back and do some reading after I post this reply.

  10. We reviewed this trimmer too, earlier this year. We liked how it worked, it just wasn't ergonomically designed for either of us. I'm 5' 4" and my husband is 6' 1" and we both felt some stress in various places after using it. Did you notice that at all?

  11. @ Kylee,

    Can't say I noticed any stress when using it, but I'll pay closer attention next time I use it and let you know if I do.

  12. How easy was it to load the string, and is the string a standard spool, or is it specific to that model? Had to stop with garden trimmer #1 when I put in a supposedly "standard" spool that jammed it because you were supposed to use only the brand name (that was in the instructions, which I'm sure I held in my hand at some point). #2 got garage-saled when the manufacturer went to a new model and stopped making the spools for our model. You're right, those things are great, and I love that it's cordless, but I've got to be guaranteed access to the string spool! (sign me "fooled me TWICE!")

  13. @Xan,

    Loading the string is really easy. It is circular and you just thread it. I'll ask about it being specific for the model and get back to you. I'll also take a pic of it and post it to my Flickr feed so you can see see it for yourself.

  14. Don't forget that there are other, non-lithium based cordless trimmers out there. Nicad batteries won't hold a charge as well, but they're usually much cheaper. It's a nice middle ground between corded trimmers and lithium-ion cordless ones.

  15. @ Xan, I finally got word that the spool is standard. I took a pic and uploaded it to my flickr album in the hopes that you see this comment or see the pic. Sorry for the lat reply.

    @Micah, Hey! Nice to see you around these parts. Thanks for the comment because I wouldn't have thought to bring up your point about the Nicad batteries.

  16. Anonymous7:16 PM

    Great to find your review. I've had my new trimmer about 3 weeks - unboxed but still unassembled. But I am waiting for other Troy Bilt items to test all at once. I ordered their complete 20-volt lithium setup - chainsaw, pole saw, blower and hedge-trimmer. But these are yet to arrive and I wanted to try them all out during the same day.

    So have you tried any of these other items (or are you waiting for one to be dropped at your door?) :-)

    Thanks again for the fun and informative review.

  17. Hi Anon,

    Sounds like you are a Troy-Bilt fanatic. Unfortunately, I only own this one tool but would love the chainsaw (even though I have no trees) and blower (no trees, means no leafs) some day. I'm definitely waiting for Santa to drop these off at my door. I think you also commented on the video on YouTube, thanks!



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