Redback 120vRX Lithium-Ion Cordless String Trimmer: Product Review
Redback does it again with this lightweight yet powerful offering.
Available on Amazon
This year I’ve been blessed with the offering of two cordless string trimmers, this one from Redback, a company that I’ve found offers excellent performance in every tool I’ve used. But since my wife has me on a strict “new tool-in, old tool-out” regimen, the question is…
…will the Redback line trimmer remain in my collection after the testing is done? Keep reading to find out!
|Weight:||Approximately 10.35 lbs. (weight without battery)|
|Motor:||120v DC Brushless|
|Power:||120v Samsung™ lithium-ion battery (1 battery included)|
|Charger:||2 Ah (1 charger included)|
|Charge/Run Time:||To fully charge the battery, about 40 minutes; run time approximately 70 minutes.|
|Battery Capacity:||2.5 Ah / 240 Watt hours|
|Trimmer Head:||Bump feed, tool-less line replacement|
|Line Diameter:||0.095 inches|
|Cutting Edges:||2 strings|
|Cutting Swath:||16 inches|
|Cutting RPMs:||6,000 RPM’s (no load)|
|Extras:||Shoulder harness, brush guard|
|Warranty:||5-year limited warranty on trimmer only; 3-year on battery pack and charger.|
The box arrived in good shape, and the tool was neatly nestled in brown wrapping paper inside an additional box for extra measure.
Laying out the contents, I didn’t see the shoulder harness that should have been in the box. Everything else came as promised.
Charging the Battery
If you’re not familiar with the battery charging process, it’s a no-brainer. Take the charger out of the box, and attach the connector end of the plug to the side of the charger. Plug the other end into a standard wall outlet. Finally, unpack the battery and slide it along the charger grooves until you hear it “click” into place.
Charging takes about 40 minutes. The battery is charged fully when the green blinking light turns to a solid green light. At any time, you can check the battery charge by pushing the battery indicator light button located at the rear of the battery. Four lights tell you that it’s charged.
If one of the LED lights on the battery flashes while using the string trimmer, it means the battery needs to be recharged.
If you run the string trimmer nonstop, you can expect it to work for around 70 minutes.
Assembling the String Trimmer
Once I got the battery charging, I took out the trimmer and plant guards.
Flipping the unit upside down made it easy to access the screws and align them to the bottom of the shaft.
Next, I attached the plant guard. It doesn’t require any tools.
Finally, attach the handle by screwing it into the base on the shaft. Use the supplied tool that is part screwdriver, part Allen wrench. By loosening and repositioning the handle, you can find the customized fit based on your arm length.
That’s it. Once you slide the fully charged battery into the battery compartment and hear a click, you are ready to roll!
SAFETY (FOR YOU AND THE UNIT)
I’m sure the lawyers that helped Redback write the “Important Safety Information” were paid by the word. Instead of reproducing those pages of the manual, I would encourage you to read it before using.
To the standard safety information, I would add wearing long pants to prevent any flying shrapnel from ripping into your tender flesh.
FIRE IN THE HOLE!
Before starting the motor up, I cleared away trigs, rocks, pine cones and other potentially dangerous flying objects from the areas in which I planned to operate.
Starting the Redback is as easy as grabbing it around the rear handle. Your palm and thumb will naturally depress the safety and throttle on the shaft.
As simple as that, the unit roars to life. Actually, it’s more like an insistent buzz than a roar, thanks to the greatly-reduced sound generated by this cordless unit as compared to its gas-powered cousins.
I loved the simplicity of squeeze-and-go instead of testing for the right RPMs for the job. If you give me 5 power levels, I’m going to feel the need to try them all. But let’s be honest. Aren’t we all a little like Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor in a quest for more power? The Redback takes the stationary nylon trimmer line from 0 to 6,000 RPMs in nothing flat.
To stop the unit, release the trigger. In a moment, the trimmer head stops.
PUTTING THE REDBACK TO THE TEST
I tested the Redback String Trimmer on three applications: trimming grass abutting the road, tall weeds, and around trees and landscaping.
Trimming Grass Against a Paved Walkway
I have no sidewalks, but I do have about 100 feet of street frontage. Since I used to sit on the board of my Home Owners Association, I know more than I care to about how little it takes for some people to file complaints against other neighbors for having an unsightly yard. So after I cut my grass, I do a quick little clean up of the grass hanging over the road.
Setting the head of the unit on the pavement, I turned the string trimmer on and slid it adjacent to the lawn. Once the nylon string made contact with the grass, I continued pushing it down the street to create a uniform, “sightly” look.
And since I own the Redback cordless blower (you can read my Redback blower review here), I quickly cleaned up the grass clippings once I finished trimming the edges.
Trimming Long Grass and Weeds
The instructions suggest working tall grass and weeds by starting from the top and working your way down so as not to strain the motor or clog the line. I say, What good is 6,000 RPMs if I’m not going to use it to whack the crap out of the tall grass right at ground level?
And it turns out, those 6,000 RPMs proved to be jam-less in my tests. I worked several tall patches of weeds mixed with little saplings for good measure. Nothing slowed or jammed the unit.
For years, I’ve used toxic chemicals that (allegedly) cause cancer (and $289M lawsuits) to kill the weeds that invade the side of my yard from the woods. Because of how quickly and safely the Redback took down my weeds, I won’t be buying any more poison in the future. I’ll just fire up this string trimmer.
Trimming Grass Along Landscaping Features and Trees
To test the ease of maneuverability, I used the Redback around some landscaping in my yard, including trees, fences, and rock walls.
I found it especially handy on those little weeds that grow between my walkway and rock wall. Given the light weight of the Redback, I could hold the trimmer head close to the wall without shredding the string. I’ll do just about anything to avoid bending over…
Against and in the mulch around my trees where weeds come quickly, the Redback took out every green thing in sight. The shaft is long enough to push the head of the trimmer under trees without getting poked by branches or assaulted by spiders.
Again, I was impressed with how light the Redback is, light enough to work in between things I’d rather not hit with the nylon strings.
I used the unit for two full battery cycles. At one point while using the Redback string trimmer, the battery flashed and made a beeping sound. Then it stopped, but the unit would not power back on. I removed the battery, waited a few seconds, and reinserted it. I have no idea what caused that to happen (user error is my first assumption), but it didn’t occur again during the rest of my testing.
A few times I saw the cutting ability drop off, so I checked the trimmer string and noticed that it had gotten worn. I love the bump-head that allows you to slap the trimmer head on the ground to advance the string. No tools required, and you don’t even have to stop the unit.
The head is replaceable should you have a need to replace it. I never needed to replace the line, either, for which I am grateful (although it’s very easy to do). If you have to remove the head and replace the string and/or head altogether, all you have to do is lift the head straight out while depressing the tabs on both sides of the head.
Redback offers a 5-year limited warranty on the trimmer, and 3 years on the battery pack and charger. The limited warranty only covers defects in materials and workmanship.
From past experience with the Redback customer service team about another item of theirs, I can tell you that they are very responsive.
If I have to choose one string trimmer in my collection, this is the one I’m keeping. Here’s why:
- Simplicity. Assembly takes about 10 minutes. There are no speed levels to work through. The constant, highly-efficient and effective 6,000 RPM spinning nylon string does it all. Operation involves two buttons: a safety switch and a trigger, both which can be depressed by just grabbing the handle.
- Power. The aforementioned 6,000 RPMs I found unstoppable.
- Battery run-time. Starting with a fully-charged battery, the Redback lasts 70 minutes, which is a long time. Your weeds might give out before your battery does!
- Maneuverability. I mentioned earlier that I didn’t receive the shoulder harness that is supposed to be included. While I’m hoping that this represents an outlier, I can say that I didn’t really need the harness. The unit is light (around 10 pounds), and adding the battery to the rear of the unit gives it a great balance. All this means is that I could put the trimming head where I wanted it instead of wasting time shifting it around on a harness like some other, heavier, unbalance string trimmers I have reviewed.
- Green. No gasoline, pre-mix ratios, fumes, or intolerably loud noise. It’s quieter than any gas-powered alternative, and it doesn’t use fossil fuels.
If I were to grouse, I would repeat this one thing:
- Details. As someone who once brought home 3 brand new non-working microwave ovens of different brands in the same day, I know that quality isn’t always assumed. And while I applaud the quality of the Redback, I suggest that you check your order before you start putting it together just to make sure that every item is in your box. If you have problems in this area, you can reach customer service at 877-487-8275. You can also visit their website.
The Redback 120V cordless string trimmer is very competitively priced, lightweight, and maneuverable. I can’t say enough good things about it.
Editor’s Note: In 2018 we awarded theRedback 16” 120V String Trimmer a Golden Shovel Award for outstanding garden product. It also earned the Gardening Products Review Seal of Approval as a highly recommended product.
WHERE TO BUY
You can purchase the Redback 16” 120V String Trimmer (with the battery and the charger) from Amazon (that’s the easiest option). You may also find it at a few other retailers, such as Home Depot and Tractor Supply.
Last update on 2019-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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