Weed Trimmers

Black & Decker LSTE523 Review: Affordable Cordless Weed Eater

Black & Decker LSTE523 Review

Photo: Black & Decker

What We Like

  • Affordable
  • 2-speed control with PowerDrive transmission
  • Easy button feed
  • 2-in-1 trimmer and wheeled edger
  • Telescopic shaft

What We Don’t Like

  • Lacks a spacer guard

Bottom Line

With an affordable price tag, Black & Decker’s LSTE523 still packs in all the essential features, and this makes it ideal for those looking for a quality weed eater at a budget.

Introduction

You don’t have to break your bank to acquire a weed eater. Some models are quite affordable and still have the high-performance features required for effective and efficient trimming.

Black & Decker’s LSTE523 is the perfect example of this. Let’s get right into the review below to see what you get for an amazing price.

Black & Decker LSTE523 Review

Black & Decker LSTE523

Photo: Black & Decker

Performance: 2 Versatile Cutting Speeds

While most grass trimmers only have a single cutting speed, Black & Decker’s LSTE523 has two-speed settings that make it very versatile. Selection is done using a switch, which is indicated as 1 on the rear and 2 on the front.

Pushing it back to speed 1 slows down the rotation to 5500 RPM and this mode is designed to conserve the battery for extended runtime. Ideally, you should use this setting when cutting thin grass growth so that you can cover a wider area on a full battery charge.

On the other hand, pushing the switch forward to speed 2 raises the RPM to 7200, which delivers enough power to cut through heavier grass growth. However, this consumes more battery power and therefore, you get a shorter runtime.

In addition to this, the tool is equipped with PowerDrive transmission, which increases the string’s cutting torque for easier cutting of thick growth.

Aside from that, cutting is done using a nylon string in an AFS spool. The tool has an easy feed mechanism that only requires you to press a button to advance the string on the spool. This eliminates bumping, which is not as convenient.

That said, AFS stands for Automatic Feed Spool, which means it advances a small length of string on every start to replace the worn-out tips. On top of this, the automatic line feeding mechanism senses when more cutting line is required and advances it to the correct length.

Therefore, the easy-feed button should only be used if the AFS has not released enough string.

Design: Ergonomic and Adjustable

The LSTE523 is equipped with an ergonomic micro-texture soft-grip handle that gives you a comfortable hold as you use the trimmer. It also has a large auxiliary front handle that allows you to hold the trimmer using both hands for comfortable use.

This front handle is adjustable at the press of a button, which enables you to set it to your most comfortable holding position. The shaft is also adjustable and this comes in very handy when short and tall users are operating the tool.

Other than that, there is an integrated flip-to-edge feature that allows you to convert the trimmer to an edger and back. As an edger, the tool utilizes a built-in wheel for guided cutting so that you can create very straight lines along sidewalks, walkways or gardens.

This wheel also takes the weight off your hands because you get to push the edger as opposed to carrying it.

On the other hand, as a trimmer, the tool utilizes its wide 12-inch cutting diameter to cover large lawns and gardens in no time. However, you have to be careful when cutting around flowers and garden ornaments because there is no spacer guard to put some distance from the string.

Portability: Relatively Lightweight

With the battery attached, Black & Decker’s LSTE523 weighs 6.3 lbs., which is not that heavy. This weight is easily manageable, especially considering that in the edger mode, the wheel takes over this load.

Apart from that, being a cordless battery-powered weed eater, this model is very portable as it can be used almost anywhere, provided that the battery is charged. You also get a telescopic shaft that enables you to compact the tool to a small size for easy carrying.

Noise Level: Very Quiet 

The cordless battery-powered design plays a big role in determining the noise factor. That said, the tool runs very quietly because there is no engine noise. Additionally, the motor spins very quietly and no bumping is required to release the string.

Even though the sound level is not given (in decibels), you should only expect to hear noise from the string hitting and cutting the grass/weeds.  

Battery: Complete Set

Black & Decker’s LSTE523 comes as a complete set with a 20V battery and a charger, and therefore, you don’t need to buy any extras to get started.

That said, this battery is part of the manufacturer’s 20V lithium battery system, which means you can use it in any tool from the Black & Decker family, provided that it is cordless and has a 20V electrical system.

As for the charger, it has a smart charging system that detects problems with the battery or power source. It also has an LED light that flashes in different patterns to indicate these problems.

If it detects a weak or damaged battery, the LED flashes red in a certain indicated pattern and if you spot this, a replacement is due. For clean disposal, take the damaged battery to a collection site or service center for recycling.

If the charger detects that the battery is extremely hot or cold, it delays the charging process until the temperatures have normalized. If this happens, the red LED flashes in the pattern indicated on the pack for this issue.

This delay is meant to protect the battery from internal damages because such extreme temperatures minimize its lifespan.

These delays can cause inconveniences but you can leave the battery in the charger. Once full, the LED will light up in green and the battery will be kept fully charged.

Note: You should not discharge the battery fully or keep it discharged for a long time. This may diminish its lifespan. Always charge it as soon as possible and we recommend recharging after each use.

Price: Pocket Friendly   

One of the main highlights of this LSTE523 is that it is very affordable because it costs less than $100. Despite this, you get a complete set, which gives you value for your money.

In comparison, the manufacturer produces many other cordless trimmers but the ones that come close to the LSTE523 in terms of performance are the LST136 and the LST540.

Both are more expensive than the LSTE523 but have a wider 13-inch cutting diameter and a more powerful 40V electrical system.

However, the LST540 is the most expensive option and this is because it has a powerful and more efficient brushless motor, and a spacer guard for keeping flowers and lawn ornaments away from the spinning string.

Verdict

An affordable and versatile weed eater with all the basic high-performance cutting features that are ideal for those who are a bit short on cash.

Though very affordable, Black & Decker’s LSTE523 is still a very practical tool. It has 2-speed settings plus a convertible trimmer-and-wheeled-edger design, which makes it very versatile.

Therefore, if you are looking for a high-quality weed eater and you are on a tight budget, this is the best tool for you.

Specs

  • Product Name: Black & Decker LSTE523
  • Product Brand: Black & Decker
  • Power: 20V (cordless)
  • Speed: 2 Speeds (5500-7200 RPM)
  • Cutting Swath: 12 inches
  • Shaft: Telescopic (length not given)
  • Weight: 6.3 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2-year limited

Key Features

  • 2-speed settings for extended runtime or more power.
  • High torque PowerDrive transmission.
  • Trimmer and wheeled edger in one.
  • Easy button line-feed mechanism.
  • Adjustable shaft and handle.
  • Ergonomic micro-texture soft grip.
  • Includes a 20V battery, charger, spool, and guard.
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