"I'm so excited for yard care season to begin!"
- Nobody, never
That is, until me, today! I got to try out Milwaukee's M18 cordless string trimmer kit (which is waaaay more than just a weed whacker - read on for that), and it has me itching to go out and get my yard whipped into shape. In fact, I got so carried away testing out these new tools, that I've been putting off writing up this blog post all morning! Read on to see what I'm so psyched about, and how you can win the same toolkit for yourself!
Ok, let's establish some baseline assumptions here: yard maintenance, for the most part, consists of stopping things from growing and taking over your space. Sure, you expert gardeners might disagree (although even gardening includes its fair share of killing things ... weeds and bugs, mainly), but for most of us, keeping our outside spaces livable requires a constant vigilance against the encroachment of mother nature.
So that means tools for cutting, trimming, pruning, shaving ... you get the idea. In my earlier days I combined all these functions into one tool, the lawn mower. I'd just run that thing around the property line (over grass, yes, but also dandelions and garlic mustard and buckthorn and old leaves and fallen sticks) until I'd achieved a more or less even elevation. If I could've, I'd have run it over the bushes too, to trim them every spring. But obviously, that's not the right way to do it.
Instead, you actually need a whole host of specialized cutting tools. And that's exactly what I'm showing you today (and what you can win, in the giveaway, down below). Let's take look at this gaggle of gadgetry, and see how it can make your yard maintenance anxiety a thing of the past.
Whew! That is a mouthful, I'll concede. Fortunately, you don't have to say it very often. This is what you probably know, colloquially, as a weed whacker/wacker/eater/whatever-you-want-to-call-it.
I've used dozens of 'em over the years, from underpowered battery-operated ones, to cord-length-limited plug-ins, to heavy, loud, smelly gas-powered ones.
This one blows all of those away. To start with, the minute I put it together I could tell it was built like a tank. This is a pro-level tool - meant to be used hard and last a long time. When I put it on, using the (much recommended) shoulder strap, it was almost weightless. Seriously - super comfortable to carry around and balanced just right.
I popped a battery in and went outside to try to cut some stuff down. It's just barely spring here, so there wasn't much to go at, except a few tall stalks and shoots. Normally those are too think for a string trimmer, but I figured I'd try anyway, and ... HOLY CRAP! This thing is crazy powerful.
I won't bore you too much with the technical specs, but, for those who like that sort of thing:
- The POWERSTATE Brushless Motor is purposely built for the M18 FUEL Power Head to generate more power and performance
- The tool optimizes performance and protects from overload damage with the REDLINK plus intelligence system
- Includes the REDLITHIUM HD9.0 Battery Pack for incredible run-time (up to 1 hr per charge), power, and longer life
- Cutting Swath: 14" - 16"
- Line Diameter: 0.080" / 0.095"
- Trigger: Variable Speed
- Weight: 12.3 lbs
Honestly, I had a big grin on my face the moment I hit the trigger to start this tool up. Sadly, I quickly ran out of stuff to cut down in my yard, but I'll definitely put it through its paces again this summer and report back.
Next up, I swapped in the ...
"Wait!" I said to myself. "I don't have any hedges!"
Not to worry - ignore the overly-specific tool name here. The hedge trimmer works great for all kinds of trimming. Pretty much any small-twigged (limbed? what's the word?) bush, brush, or tree will happily fall victim to its razor-sharp chompers.
Officially, it's meant to cut anything under 1" in diameter, but I didn't exactly get up on a ladder and measure. What I can tell you, though, is that I wasn't able to find anything I wanted to trim, but couldn't.
This thing was amazing. The articulating head is really easy to adjust, making it a breeze to get the trimmer into just the right position. And I was able to reach the tops of my tallest lilac bushes (around 15-feet or so) without needing the 3-ft QUIK-LOK extension pole (although that came in handy later on).
I know I sound like an idiot, gushing about a hedge trimmer, but trust me, it was really a blast to use, and I got all my bushes and small, bushy trees cleaned up in no time. Of course, hauling all the waste to the compost dump ... that's another story.
Next, I got out the ...
Ok, so a pole-saw is really not something most people need in their lives. But regular trimming is pretty important, both to keep your trees healthy, and to keep squirrels away from your house. So a pole-saw is a nice way to avoid paying someone way too much money to come out and cut off a few small branches every year.
Like all the QUIK-LOK attachments, this one went on with no trouble. I put a little chain oil in the automatic oiler receptacle and I was off to the races. This time, I also used the extension pole attachment, and went around snipping off tree branches to my heart's content (note: different tree species need different care, and not all trees can be trimmed in the spring time, so if you're unsure, please check with an arborist before attempting to trim your trees).
So that took care of the weeds, bushes, and branches, but what about those annoying, fast growing trees (we call them 'suckers') that can quickly take over when you're not paying attention?
For those, it was time for the ...
It's a battery-powered chainsaw, people. I used to have a plug-in chainsaw, as well as a gas-powered one. And I hated both of them. The plug in was wimpy and poorly-built. The gas-powered one was a beast, and probably great for a professional tree-cutter-person, but overkill for me, and hard to use.
This Milwaukee chainsaw worked great. It uses the same battery system as the string trimmer (Milwaukee's M18 platform, which I also use on a bunch of my power tools), and starting it up is as simple and pressing a button (unlike a gas-powered saw).
Again, I filled up the automatic oiler and was cutting in seconds. It had more than enough power for my purposes, and felt lightweight and comfortable to handle. I'll admit, I'm not an expert with a chainsaw, so I can't say how this one would hold up for a heavy user, but if you just need to have something around to clear small trees/branches/shrubs with, this should do the trick.
One quibble: I left the tool sitting on a bench and came back later to find it had leaked some oil (blegh). Not sure if that's a defect, or if I had just failed to close the receptacle tightly, but still, kind of annoying.
Finally, the ...
I really, truly, have no grass anywhere around me right now, so I couldn't try out this tool. It connects to the powerful string-trimmer base, and looks solidly built, so I'm excited to give it a go later this summer, when my yard once again commences creeping up and over all of our sidewalks. My previous battery-powered trimmer had a feature where you could flip the head around and use the string as an 'edger', but it didn't really work. This one has an 8" blade, a metal guard and mud flaps to keep the dirt and clippings from flying up at you. Plus it has an adjustable guide wheel so you can set your edging depth. I'll report back after I'm able to test it out.
Enter To Win a Milwaukee String Trimmer with QUIK-LOK Attachments!
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I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the ProSpective2018 Campaign. As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.