Way back on September 8th, 2008, I wrote a review about the Black & Decker Grasshog Weed whacker. I’ve used it so many times that it hasn’t felt like it’s been that long ago. The Grasshog is still being sold, and it’s still over $50 in most places. It was a decent trimmer , but, over the time, I have 2 main complaints against it.
Recommend this product?
#1 The cap that holds the line in has spring clips too small to fully secure the line dispenser and over time, it started to fall off. It’s fallen off, during light use, numerous times recently.
#2 There is a space in between the rotor and the unit which can easily become tangled with thick weeds or the line itself. This tended to happen if I accidentally brushed up against metal fences or weeds that weren’t easily cut.
Unfortunately, The Grasshog’s internal bearings broke recently after I allowed one of my neighbors to use it…which necessitated a replacement.
To replace the Grasshog, my neighbor went over to Home Depot and picked up a brand new Homelite “UT41120” 5Amp electric trimmer for about $40.
WHO IS HOMELITE?
Like numerous products I’m seeing on store shelves nowadays, the HOMELITE UT41120 Hedge Trimmer is MADE IN CHINA even though the company was founded by Charles Ferguson - a resident of New York under the title: HOME ELECTRIC LIGHTING COMPANY. Techtronic INDS (stock exchange TTNDY.pk) includes RYOBI, Hoover and Dirt Devil. The Build quality pales in comparison to Dirt Devil, but it is right around that of Ryobi, albeit a bit cheaper with a different color scheme.
This trimmer is the second Homelight product I’ve owned. The first was a Homelite 17" Electric Hedge Trimmer “UT44110”. At first, it did its job well, cutting down hedges, but, it was damaged very easily by overly thick branches which caused the blades to bend. It lasted about a year and I ended up tossing it in the trash.
At first, I was worried that the cheaper Homelite Weed Whacker wouldn’t be as good as the more expensive Grasshog, but, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many elements of the trimmer were actually considerably better than those of the Grasshog.
The Homelight Whacker comes out of the box ready to use. The only assembly necessary is a single screw to attach the line guard which protects you from rocks being kicked backwards by the powerful 5Amp motor, but, if you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to.
Like most other whackers, this trimmer has a centrifugal dispenser which dispenses the dual cutting lines as you are using the device. The guard has a small, semi-sharp razor to cut down the line as it spins to keep it at a certain length.
I was also anxious to analyze the dispenser. It’s just like the Grasshog’s, which means that if you run out of line, you can purchase more line and add more yourself. However, centrifugal dispensers are very difficult to wind, and make work properly if you don’t know how to do it right. For some of us, it may be easier to just dispense a single line instead of two.
I also liked the fact that the trimmer’s dispenser cap is higher in quality and has a tighter fit. This means that it is highly unlikely, even after long term use, that this cap will have problems staying attached.
The next good point is that there is no space between the rotor and the unit body to tangle up – like what was happening to my Grasshog. This weed whacker is definitely designed intelligently.
USING THE HOMELIGHT WHACKER
The Homelight Whacker weighs about 7.5 pounds. It has two handles – with one being adjustable – and is fairly easy to hold straight for precision cutting. The height of the unit is also adjustable at the neck to make it more comfortable for people who are 6 feet tall rather than 5 feet tall. For the most part, the device’s design makes it a pleasure to use. Like the typical whacker, it also has a place to tie up your extension cord on the handle and is fairly easy to keep untangled.
There are some disappointments, I already have with the Whacker which may grow over time.
#1 the power handle is smooth plastic and doesn’t offer any rubberized gripping sections. This handle is made similar to the hedge trimmer’s and if you have sweaty hands and need to use this a lot, you may end up getting friction blisters.
#2 There is no safety switch for the trimmer. I don’t have kids so I needn’t worry about a child activating this by accident, but, it would be nice to have a disengageable safety for those of us who do have children walking around.
If you aren't good at winding your own line, Home Depot sells extra, prewound line dispensers for this model at just $15.97 for a 3 pack. This trimmer uses 0.065in line, so if you do want to simply buy more line, you can get a huge generic spool of extra line for around $10.
Home Depot sells two Electric Homelite Whackers. This is the 14” inch model for $39.99 with the 5 Amp motor, but, there is a cheaper model ( UT41110) 13” with a 4 Amp motor for $10 less.
These are good prices compared to the far more powerful gas trimmers which retail for more than $69 and are less eco friendly/ convenient, but, all these cheap imported products offer me no hope at long term reliability and I can only wonder if this model will last as long as my Black and Decker did. Only time will tell.
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