The Black + Decker LSTE525 is a lightweight, user-friendly lawn trimmer built to do a great job trimming long grass and relatively soft weeds in small-to-medium lawns and yards. An equivalent model called the Black + Decker STC1820PC cordless lawn trimmer is sold in the UK – so, British readers, this review is relevant to you, too.
Other names for this type of tool include ‘line trimmer,’ ‘string trimmer,’ and ‘strimmer.’ Whichever term you prefer, the tool does the same job: cutting long grasses using a rapidly spinning trimming line tucked away behind the guard on its trimming head. Lawn trimmers are essentially the modern equivalent of a scythe – but with less arm-ache and rustic vibes.
The LSTE525 is a cordless lawn trimmer running off an 18V lithium-ion battery. A compatible 2.0Ah Black + Decker battery is bundled in with the trimmer, and a charger plugs straight into a household power socket. The tool’s cordless design is great for convenient handling but not for reliable runtime. To increase the duration of your trimming sessions, you could always purchase an additional Black + Decker 18V battery whenever the other battery runs out. (Customers in the United States get this second battery bundled in at no extra cost.)
Thanks to its auxiliary handle and edging wheel, the LSTE525 can easily be used for vertical trimming – i.e., lawn edging – and horizontally cutting grass. In a nutshell, this tool gives you all the capabilities you need to keep hard-to-reach parts of your garden tidy.
Black + Decker LSTE525: Key specs
- Type: multi-grip grass trimmer/edger
- Battery type: Black + Decker 18V lithium-ion battery
- Battery capacity: 2.0 Ah
- Telescopic length: 315 mm
- Weight: 2.6 kg
- Cutting width: 28 cm
- Line diameter: 1.65 mm
- Cordless?: yes
- Warranty: up to 2 years (may vary based on location)
Black + Decker LSTE525: Pricing & availability
$116 / £148
The Black + Decker LSTE525 is a moderately priced line trimmer – more affordable than some premium cordless and petrol-powered models but costlier than others from the Black + Decker range.
Considering that you get a lithium-ion battery and charger bundled in with the trimmer (plus another bonus battery if you’re in the United States), we believe the LSTE525 offers very good value for money. The lithium-ion battery and charger can be used with other compatible products from Black + Decker’s range, which includes drills, sanders, vacuum cleaners, and many other products for the home and garden.
Black + Decker LSTE525: First impressions
As soon as we took the Black + Decker LSTE525 out of its packaging (which is almost 100% recyclable), we got a sense that this is a high-quality, thoughtfully designed line trimmer.
When you pick it up, you’ll notice how lightweight the tool is. At just 2.6 kg, the LSTE525 would be a superb choice of line trimmer for users who prefer not to haul heavy equipment around their gardens.
This being a Black + Decker product, it’s no surprise that the LSTE525 comes in the brand’s classic orange-and-black colorway. Most of the trimmer’s components are tough, lightweight plastic – although the brushed-metal shaft is one exception.
Before using the LSTE525, you must charge its lithium-ion battery. We’ve got to say this is a slow process, taking over four hours to charge the 2.0Ah battery from empty to full. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to charge the battery overnight, ready for days when you plan on doing some lawn trimming. Thankfully, after charging, the lithium-ion battery had more than enough runtime to power comprehensive trimming sessions in our reviewer’s garden.
Setting up the trimmer is exceptionally simple. Initial assembly consists of a single task: attaching the guard to protect your legs and feet from the trimming line. To attach the guard, you use a crosshead screwdriver (not included) to detach a small screw from the guard, then screw the guard back around the trimming head.
With the guard in place, you can configure the trimmer to suit your needs. For instance, you might want to extend the shaft to make the strimmer longer. This is a must for taller users, as it’ll ensure you don’t need to stoop while you trim.
You’ll also want to click the auxiliary handle into a position that suits your grip using the orange lock button at the left-hand side of the handle. There are several angles to choose from.
Black + Decker LSTE525: Design
Overall, this string trimmer is a pleasure to use. The ergonomics are on-point – especially on the handle and trigger, which are molded from soft, somewhat rubbery, textured plastic.
When you’ve adjusted the length of the telescopic shaft, make sure that you’ve properly locked it into place. Otherwise, it may slide up and down while you carry the trimmer around the garden.
Remember that it’s recommended to hold the LSTE525 at an angle of 5-10° during trimming. A steeper angle will likely cause the trimming line to strike the ground dangerously.
You’ll notice that the LSTE525 has a wheel on the top of its trimmer head. This is an edging wheel that's purpose is to guide the trimmer steadily while you vertically trim the edge of the lawn. To switch the trimmer into its edging orientation, you push and twist the ‘flip to edge collar’ on the shaft. This turns the trimming head so the guide wheel will run along the ground, enabling accurate, reduced-risk edging. It’s a great feature for users who need to trim overhanging grass around the edges of their lawn.
There is a choice of two trimming speeds: a faster, more powerful ‘turbo’ mode and a slower ‘eco’ mode, which is all about conserving battery power. You can conveniently toggle between the two speeds using a switch at the top of the tool’s handle.
Black + Decker LSTE525: Performance
In our hands-on testing, the Black + Decker LSTE525’s first task was to trim some weeds sprouting up in cracks between paving around the yard. The trimmer made light work of cutting most weeds – although, for very thick weeds, we would’ve been better off using a trimmer with a heavy-duty line (HDL) attachment, such as the Black + Decker GH3000. The compact trimming head of the LSTE525 made it easy to target individual weeds in hard-to-reach places.
The LSTE525 shone when we used it to trim wider areas of long grass and weeds. In one such patch, around the base of a tree, the trimmer successfully cut down a large proportion of grass and weeds, leaving the area looking much smarter and less overgrown. Using the trimmer’s guard as a guide, we were able to trim close to obstacles such as trees, fencing, and lawn boundaries.
At 28 cm, this trimmer’s cutting width is not especially great, but we still found that we could strim wide areas (about 5 x 5 meters) in one or two minutes. And in fact, having that narrower cutting width makes it easier to safely control the trimmer while trimming over slightly uneven terrain.
During our testing, the LSTE525 performed comfortably below the advertised noise limit of 96 dB. In both speed settings – ‘eco’ and ‘turbo’ – the trimmer operated at around 88 dB, around the same volume as the sound of heavy traffic. The sound quality isn’t too off-putting, especially when using turbo mode, which produces a higher sound frequency.
Regarding storage, you couldn’t hope for a more convenient and compact line trimmer than the LSTE525. With the telescopic shaft retracted to its shortest extent, the tool takes up very little space in the garage or garden shed. And since there’s no power cord, there’s no risk of the tool getting tangled up with other pieces of equipment.
During use, grass clippings will gather on some parts of the tool (especially the inside of the guard). After trimming, removing debris’s a good idea, reducing the risk of blockages and rusting. This simple practice could prolong the lifespan and high performance of the trimmer. With the same objectives, you should never use this strimmer in wet conditions.
The LSTE525 comes pre-loaded with a reel of trimming line. The line naturally wears down during use, so you may need to release more line from the spool housing. And occasionally, you’ll need to fit a new 1.65 mm trimmer line spool.
Black + Decker LSTE525: What the experts say
Joe Handley, an Outdoor Product Marketing Manager at Black + Decker, recommends the LSTE525 cordless lawn trimmer as best suited for customers who have a smaller or medium-sized garden where the area that needs trimming is manageable.
“The ability to move around the garden without the restriction of cords is great for users with numerous obstacles such as trees, shrubs, flower beds, or structures,” said Handley.
“The trimmer’s maneuverability and lack of cords make it easier to navigate around these obstacles and reach areas that may be challenging to access with a corded strimmer,” he added.
How does the Black + Decker LSTE525 compare to competing models?
It may be a small and friendly tool, but the LSTE525 is just as effective as most higher-powered, premium line trimmers – provided you use it for modest tasks around a domestic garden.
Another Black + Decker trimmer you might want to consider is the GH3000 33 cm Lawn Trimmer 700 W, a powerful, corded model that runs off household electricity. If you have a large garden to maintain or dislike the uncertain runtime of a cordless trimmer, then the GH3000 might be a better option for you.
Alternatively, you can benefit from cordless operation plus more reliable runtime with the petrol-powered Troy-Bilt TB25C Curved Shaft String Trimmer. We awarded that particular trimmer a prestigious 4.5/5 rating.
Should you buy the Black + Decker LSTE525?
|Price & availability
|Widely stocked; moderately high price point; battery set included
|Great ergonomics; useful choice of settings; suitable for small-medium yards
|Very good trimming performance; adequate battery life for most yards; convenient storage
We can enthusiastically endorse the Black + Decker LSTE525 Cordless Lawn Trimmer for use around relatively small and manageable gardens.
This is a simple, user-friendly trimmer that’s capable of doing pretty much everything that most users will need it to do. It cuts effectively – although not quite as powerfully as some competing models do – and demands very little specialist skill or knowledge of the user.
With all that said, if you have a very large garden to take care of and want to tackle lots of thick weeds, you should consider buying a heavier-duty trimmer to meet those needs. And if you’re a professional gardener, you should look for a more formidable tool.
As with all line trimmers, proper caution should be taken while using the LSTE525. It should only be used for trimming grasses and soft weeds, and wearing goggles during trimming is important. Obviously, children and pets should be kept well away from the area.
How we tested the Black + Decker LSTE525
Our reviewer received and assembled a Black + Decker LSTE525 unit and then used it to perform a comprehensive range of trimming tasks around his garden lawns and paving.
In particular, Pete used the trimmer to trim isolated weeds, tidy up patches of long grass around his main garden lawn, and cut long grass and weeds that had grown up around a tree on a separate lawn area. In the process, Pete tested the trimmer’s full range of features and use cases.
See more about how we test.