Pros: No extension cord, plenty of power
Cons: Loud, requires multiple pulls to start
After mowing my lawn for the first time, and trying to maneuver my mower around all the trees, shrubs, and hedges I have in my yard, I discovered that I was in dire need of a string trimmer. There is nothing more disheartening to a first time homeowner, after mowing your new yard for the first time, to find that there are still numerous patches of unsightly grass that stick out like a sore thumb. I have a lawn of approximately 5000 sq. ft. with a quite a lot of landscaping, so I concluded that a new trimmer was desperately needed to keep my lawn in acceptable condition
Gas vs. Electric a key decision
Research into whether to get a gas powered trimmer or an electricity-powered trimmer is a key decision in the string trimmer purchasing process. I chose gas powered because gives you more freedom to easily move around your yard, and because it provides more power (in most cases). The downside to gas powered is that you have to mix the oil and gas yourself, the gas engine creates emissions, the gas engine is noisier (in most cases) and gas engines require some maintenance. For me, these drawbacks were minor because:
- If you buy a 1 gallon gas canister, mixing the oil with the gas is very easy
- This gas engine is a low-emission model when compared to other gas-powered trimmers
- I will just perform the needed maintenance whenever I perform the maintenance on my mower, so that I can get it all done at once
Setup and Preparation for Use
After purchasing this Ryobi CS30 (RY30000 manufacturer model number), the trimmer required some minor assembly out of the box before it was ready for use. The engine, shaft, handle and grass shield were all in separate pieces. Assembly required about 15 minutes and was not difficult, but I would have preferred it be ready to use right out of the box. The 2-cycle engine oil was included in the box as well, so adding that to the 1-gallon of gas and mixing was also required prior to use. This only required a few minutes, but can become messy if you are not careful and end up spilling any of the gas or oil.
Use of the trimmer, Advantages and Disadvantages
So far Ive used the trimmer about a dozen times. Each time you are ready to start it up, you need to prime the engine 7-8 times. At first I was a bit annoyed at having to do this each time I started it up, but when I thought about it and compared it to the amount of time it would take to unroll and plug in an extension cord if I was using an electric trimmer I find it to be quite reasonable. However, the trimmer has always required 3-5 pulls of the starter cord before it actually starts up, which is also annoying to me. The Zipstart feature, which is unique to Ryobi trimmers, does not seem to work as well as advertised.
The weight of this unit is just over 10 lbs. (without gas), so it is average in terms of weight when compared to similar gas powered string trimmers. The weight distribution is more heavily weighted toward the engine, which I found to be the case in all of the trimmers I looked at and have used in the past. This weight distribution does not cause any difficulties when using the trimmer.
The dual-line works great and makes very quick work of cutting grass and weeds. The 30cc engine has plenty of power and provides a clean cut to grass. One pass through of the area that is to be trimmed is all that is needed. On the downside, the engine is quite noisy, so be ready to deal with a loud buzzing noise whenever you are doing trimming.
The anti-vibration handle works fairly well. I usually need between 10-20 minutes to complete my trimming, and I really dont notice the vibration or suffer any discomfort from it. I think, though, that if I had a larger yard that required 30 minutes of continuous use, the vibration would become a problem.
The bumping system works adequately, and is no different than any other trimmer Ive seen or used. I have found that the line included with this trimmer is quite durable. I have only had to bump out more line once so far, which should mean the included line will last me for a very long time.
Lastly, I should mention that Ryobi models are equipped with a feature called Expand-It that allows it to be used as various other tools. The attachments must be purchased separately and the list of available attachments includes a Pruner, Edger, Blower and Tiller. I have not purchased any of these separate attachments, so I cannot comment on this feature.
Overall, I am mostly satisfied with the Ryobi CS30 gas powered string trimmer because it has met my expectations. It is fairly easy to start, has performed reliably in the dozen or so times I have used it, and allows quick trimming of the leftover grass patches after mowing.