Reviewed by Keith Ashworth
The weather we have had of late has been absolutely fabulous for the garden – we have had glorious, hot sunshine interspersed with torrential downpours and the odd day of hot and humid with showers. This means that my hanging baskets are looking fabulous, the borders are bright and vibrant and the grass is growing like wildfire! I’m not as young or fit as I was, so I have gardeners who spend a few hours a week with me in the garden and one of the things that they do is mow the lawns. I just can’t manage the petrol lawnmower anymore and I’m finding my trusty strimmer is getting heavy too, and the power cable seems to get in the way, making the whole job a bit more awkward.
Family members have been telling me recently how fantastic the Gtech vacuum cleaners are and how impressed they have been with the design and quality of manufacture, so it was a massive treat when I was given one of their garden products to try out – the Gtech ST20 Grass Trimmer. Because of the grass-friendly weather we have had of late, even the weekly gardeners’ visits haven’t been quite enough to keep on top of the lawn, so I was hoping that I would be able to use the ST20 as a solution for in-between their visits to keep at least the front garden looking tidy and trim.
The first thing I noticed when I received the package is just how light the whole thing was – even with the box and all the packaging. At this point, I was torn between being worried that something of this weight would not be strong or substantial enough to do the job, and being relieved that it might be something that I would be able to use and handle.
The ST20 does require some assembly, but not much at all – it is just a case of clipping all of the component parts together. Before I started assembly, I plugged the battery on to charge. This takes 4 hours and should give around 30 minutes of runtime. The lights on the battery indicate the level of charge. Contained in the box is: The pole/handle, the trimmer head, the trimmer shroud, a battery, battery charger, a bag of blades and the instructions. Assembly is really easy and it’s just a matter of attaching the shroud to the trimmer head, then sliding the handle in. The charged battery and blade then clip in and it’s assembled and ready to use.
The most noticeable difference with this machine compared to the other strimmers that I have previously owned is that it doesn’t use strimmer wire to cut the grass – it takes little plastic trimmer blades instead. I thought this was great as I have always found installing a new wire into a strimmer to be tricky, even more so as my hands don’t move as well as they used to. These little blades just hook over the pin, then are pulled to secure into place – so much easier than anything I have used previously! They are also quite inexpensive at £3.99 for 50 from the Gtech website.
So, the big question is does it work? Well, the short answer is a resounding YES! I really do love it. The machine itself really is very light, and not only that, it holds and balances very well in your hands, so you don’t actually have to support all of the weight – it leans against your arm as you use it. The pole isn’t adjustable for the height of the user, but the strimmer head and handle are very adjustable so it’s just a case of altering those – people of different heights might use it at a slightly different angle but once you find the right angle and grip for you, it’s perfect. This adjustability and lightness mean you can actually trim or cut anywhere and at any height – even above you head, which would be useful for hanging baskets or creepers.
As well as using as a general grass trimmer, the ST20 also has an edging mode too. To use this, you just rotate the trimmer head by 180 degrees, so the blade is pointing away from you, and it is ready to go. Switching between the two functions couldn’t be simpler, and again, even people with less nimble hands can do it easily.
The trimmer is operated via a trigger on the handle. This trigger has to be pressed in to use, it can’t just be locked into place, but this isn’t an issue as it seems to be quite ergonomically placed so it doesn’t feel uncomfortable at all to have the trigger pressed inwards. There is also a safety lock on the handle to stop young children from accidentally engaging the trimmer. At first, I thought this had to be permanently pressed inwards when in use like the trigger, but it doesn’t – once the machine is running you can release the safety lock and the machine will continue to run.
I found that this cut really, really well – it made short work of the grass and the edges of the lawn but also coped really well with thicker bits of shrubbery and some wiry creepers and brambles. I am absolutely converted to the plastic blades over the wire – they are so much easier to fit and I reckon they break lot less too. The runtime of the machine is around half an hour on a full charge, and the indicator on the machine lets you know how full the battery is at all times. The only slight issue that I have with it is the short runtime and long charge time, but I think that given the machine only weighs 1.75kg including the battery, which suggests the battery is a light one. I am more than happy with the runtime being slightly compromised to get the light weight as it has given me the ability to keep on top of my garden again. And you can buy spare batteries from Gtech for £39.99, which I think I might do, just to give me that bit of extra flexibility.
The ST20 is a resounding 5/5 for me – it’s light, high quality, flexible, safe and adaptable – what more could you want from a product?
For more information or to buy online visit www.gtech.co.uk.