Help With String Trimmer Choice

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Having never owned a string trimmer, I'm having trouble understanding which features are important and which really are not.

For example, the "rapid reload" looks pretty simple, so I'm not sure what advantage the "powerload" head brings to the table.  How often does one load line, anyway (weekly, seasonally, etc.)?  Can anyone elaborate on this?

Comments have been made regarding lighter weight having an advantage, but it turns out that the carbon fiber models are only a few ounces lighter which I believe is insignificant.  One has to purchase carbon fiber to get the "powerload" feature, however.  2 pounds of weight can be saved by going with the 2.5A battery instead of the 5.0A battery.  Is the two pound weight saving significant enough to choose a model with the smaller battery?

I'm planning on getting the pole saw attachment, so I could go with the interchangeable head model (with 5A battery) and add the pole saw attachment, or I could get the "basic" string trimmer (with 2.5A battery) and add the pole saw attachment and interchangeable handle.  Both of these packages would be about the same price -- one would give me the lighter 2.5A battery.  I could also opt for the carbon fiber if the "powerload" feature is indeed significant.

I see this as the beginning of a system to eventually include lawn mower and a blower or two.

Thanks very much for any comments and recommendations!
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Tom

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Posted 3 months ago

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Oregon Mike, Champion

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I have the original 15" split shaft string trimmer. Since I already had it I saw no need to upgrade to the rapid reload head. Not too hard to replace string in mine. Granted, not as easy as the rapid reload. The Powerload head gives you power from the machine to do essentially what the manual rapid reload does. I really like that. The Powerload was recently on sale for $179, same as rapid reload so watch prices if that helps to make a decision.
I've gone back and forth on the multi-head system. My concern is if the powered part of the system goes down, you now have how many tools you can't use until you get a replacement or get it fixed. If the idea is to have 2 of those heads so you always have a backup I guess I think why not just have 2 stand alone tools? Or all stand alone tools. Is the pole saw the only non-stand alone tool?
I use the 2.5 ah battery on my string trimmer. I think it balances out the trimmer pretty nicely. I'd think my 5 ah battery might make the back end a bit heavier and affect the balance too much. Use of a shoulder strap could help minimize some of that though.
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Having the small 2.5Ah battery is a nice option to keep weight down on the handheld tools.

In my opinion, the Powerload Head makes sense if you go through enough string to require reloading every time you use the trimmer (which would be a lot of trimming). For most people the Rapid Reload would be just fine.

If you are just trimming a regular sized yard the regular trimmers will work great. The Powerhead with string trimmer attachment leans more towards heavy duty trimming.
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Tom

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Wow!  Quick responses.

About how often do you all have to reload the string?

It sounds like the 2.5A battery is a nice option to have.  I can either buy the "basic" trimmer with the 2.5A battery (on sale now for $20 off) and later add the multi tool handle + pole saw, or get the multi tool string trimmer with 5A battery and pick up a 2.5A battery with another purchase (probably a blower).  I'm leaning towards the former but we'll see.

Thanks for the help!
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I don't replace mine all that often. Maybe once a season. I just think the Powerload is way cool. Especially once you've seen it in action in person. 
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A thought and a question. What benefit does the powered pole saw give over a manual one? All I've ever had are manual ones with the reverse cut blade (where you pull to cut instead of push) and built in lopper. I've had the ones that extend waaayy the heck up there. Just one of those random thoughts that popped up thinking about this thread.
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This from the guy who thinks the power string winding is the coolest thing. :)  Not picking on you Mike just making a point.  (I have the power load CF and it is cool) The difference is power v manual.  If you do enough of it the power becomes very useful.  If you only clip a few limbs during a once a year clean up, then you are probably good with the manual. (and that describes me - no need for the power with that tool).
At least that is the only difference in my view.  Never had a power pole saw so I guess I really do not know what I am missing.
(Edited)
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Ah, that 'splains it. I haven't found the power saw cool enough yet. LOL
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I’d imagine the pole chainsaw would be totally worth it if limbing larger branches, say 6” or more. For smaller smaller stuff the manual saw would work well, and would be easier to use on longer extensions (the power saw is weighty once you add the extension pole to the system).
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OK looks like the ST1502 is the way to go for now.

Thanks for all of the help!
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40mmrrsmith

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The power load feature is great and fun to use. I got it because of the sale. Otherwise wouldn't miss it. I have trimmed my yard and a large lot four times each. I used the original line the first time. I changed to a different line and have not had the pleasure of using the power load again. If you have a lot of trimming to do, you will need two batteries or go for the 5ah. I have a few flower beds and trees to trim around. And a large lot plus fences. I use low to med speed but can't get it done on one charge.
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szwoopp, Champion

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A review so nice you should post it twice
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40mm, how long would you say the 2.5Ah is lasting you? I usually tell people it’s good for about a half hour of fairly steady trimming, plus or minus depending on how hard it’s being worked, but it’s always good to hear directly from someone who trims a larger property.
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40mmrrsmith

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I never timed it properly. I can do both in an hour twenty minutes now that they are under control. It takes one full charge. And since there's no fuel gauge I'm not sure how much is left after finishing.
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40mmrrsmith

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The power load feature is great and fun to use. I got it because of the sale. Otherwise wouldn't miss it. I have trimmed my yard and a large lot four times each. I used the original line the first time. I changed to a different line and have not had the pleasure of using the power load again. If you have a lot of trimming to do, you will need two batteries or go for the 5ah. I have a few flower beds and trees to trim around. And a large lot plus fences. I use low to med speed but can't get it done on one charge.