From the time I was very young, I’ve always enjoyed spending time outdoors. Way back then, it wasn’t always by choice. I had five brothers and sisters, and to preserve what remained of her sanity, my mother would frequently boot us all out. We had a good-sized yard, with a wooded lot next door, and we always had a blast. Now my wife is the one who periodically boots me outside, often for the purpose of mowing, trimming, raking, and edging, and sometimes just for the sake of preserving HER sanity. I still love being outdoors, but the maintenance…not so much. If you have your own outdoor slice of heaven to maintain, join us as we take a look at the new DeWalt DCST920P1 20V Max String Trimmer sent our way by team yellow to review.
Its official name is (take a deep breath) the DeWalt DCST920P1 20V Max Lithium-Ion Electric Cordless XR Brushless String Trimmer. Feel free to refer to it by its full and proper name; I’ll be calling it the DeWalt DCST920P1, so I can finish this in my lifetime. The trimmer comes with everything you need to start whacking those weeds: A 5.0 Ah Li-Ion 20V Max battery, the matching charger, and a pre-loaded spool of trimmer line. Here are the official specs from DeWalt:
Amp Hour 5AH
RPM 0-4600 Low / 0-6000 High
Cutting Swath 13″
Line Diameter 0.080″
Feed System Dual Line Bump Feed
Weight 8.5 lbs.
As you may have noticed in that long name, the DeWalt DCST920P1 has a brushless motor. This key feature should ensure the motor lasts a good long while, and in the meantime, helps the tool operate much more efficiently. Its variable-speed trigger, combined with the Hi/Lo switch setting, gives you good, precise control over the trimmer. DeWalt’s patented gear drive is designed to provide more torque and maintain cut speed under load, and the dual-feed line cuts a full 13” swath.
The DeWalt DCST920P1 Goes To The Farm
We have a small farm south of Erie, PA. With a house, barn, garage, telephone pole, mailbox, several fenced garden areas, and some big honkin’ rocks, it seemed like the perfect place to put the DeWalt DCST920P1 to the test. This trimmer is aimed at the homeowner market, and although 25 acres is probably a tad bigger than the standard residential lot, the variety of obstacles promised to offer a good workout.
The DeWalt DCST920P1 arrives fully assembled. Just lift it out of the box, slide on the included 5.0 Ah Li-Ion battery (it needs about 30 minutes on the charger first), and pull the trigger. Well, actually, TWO triggers; there’s a safety lever on top that gets depressed when you get a normal grip on the trimmer. Then, squeezing the variable-speed bottom trigger activates the motor. The cushioned auxiliary handle is very comfortable in your non-trigger hand.
The trimmer operates very smoothly. It takes a couple of seconds to get up to full speed. It also takes several seconds to wind down when you release the trigger, because the head spins so freely. Compared to the Husqvarna trimmer I normally use, which weighs in at a bit over 11 pounds, the 8.5 pound DeWalt DCST920P1 feels downright lightweight. It’s also a helluva lot quieter. There’s no way I’d ever use the gas trimmer without hearing protection, but the DeWalt is so quiet, you really don’t need it.
Don’t skimp on the other safety gear, though; this is a serious trimmer, and it’s fully capable of throwing all kinds of debris at you or anyone else in the whack zone. Like any string trimmer, this is NOT something you want to use wearing shorts and flip-flops, unless you’re fond of welts and tiny indentations all over your legs. Weed whacking fashion attire consists of jeans, work boots or an old pair of sneakers you don’t care about, and eye protection.
My first target was the utility pole near the barn. The riding mower leaves a little island of tall grass around most obstacles, and I hadn’t been very attentive recently in trimming those islands. Setting the switch to High, I moved in and started cutting. The DeWalt DCST920P1 dug right in, and had no trouble making the base of the pole look pretty again. Oh, fine, maybe not pretty, but at least tidy.
Next it was off to the end of the driveway. We have a big rock on either side of the driveway, along with a mailbox, another utility pole, and some driveway markers. They hadn’t had much love lately, either, so I got right to it.
There was a pretty thick tangle of tall grass around the base of the rocks. The DeWalt DCST920P1 bogged down slightly a couple of times, but quickly spooled back up, and cleared out the debris nicely. About halfway through the second rock, I bumped out some fresh line, even though I didn’t really need it yet. The bump feeder works VERY well; one gentle bump was all it took, and I was thrashing at full strength again.
After tidying up around the mailbox, markers and pole, I headed for the barn. There’s a small loading platform at one end, and – you guessed it – it was a tad overgrown. Plenty of thick, tall grass, and huge weeds. I waded in and started whacking. After a minute or so, I noticed that part of what I was mowing down was a healthy little patch of poison ivy. Since I have had many a miserable experience with THAT stuff, I decided to find somewhere else to play.
Luckily, there were plenty of other options. Close by, there is a little U-shaped spot, with timbers around three sides. This area was even worse than the previous test zones; you couldn’t even see the timbers. I knew they were in there, though, so I went on the attack.
The DeWalt DCST920P1 methodically chewed its way through the tall, overgrown mess, and before long, the timbers saw daylight for the first time in a while.
Next, it was off to trim around some small, fenced-off patches of garden. There is an abundance of wildlife up there, and it’s all hungry. Even with the fencing, much of what we grow goes to the critters. I used the DeWalt to trim around a couple of roughly 8’x8’ enclosures, and started on a third. Suddenly, the trimmer just quit. It had been running strongly right up to that point, no loss of power. That is the nature of DeWalt’s Li-Ion batteries; there is protection built in to keep them from being damaged, and they either work full-bore or they shut down. Luckily, I have other 20V Max batteries, so I slapped one on and forged ahead; there were still a LOT of areas in need of a little TLC.
Some Random Observations On The DeWalt DCST920P1
If you’re a homeowner with a bit of nature to tame, the DeWalt DCST920P1 is definitely worth a look. It looks and feels like a durable, quality tool. Although it’s lightweight, it’s nothing at all like my son’s cheapo lightweight battery-operated POS. There’s no gas/oil mix to mess with, no priming/choking/starter-pulling ritual to suffer through, and no exhaust fumes and LOUD NOISE!
I did a lot of cutting at the farm, going through tall grass, thick weeds, and various small vines and pricker bushes. And oh yeah, the poison ivy; it got a little wash-down with Tecnu after that. The DeWalt DCST920P1 handled everything you’d expect to find on a normal residential lot, along with some tougher stuff that was beyond its job description. It’s a beast when set on High, and does a good job on tall grass and the like when set to Low, which should give you quite a bit more run time.
The DeWalt is nicely balanced, and very simple to use. One thing to note: the trimmer is just a few inches short of 6’ long. In my view, this is a good feature, in that it puts the cutter head further from your body. I’m around 6’2”, and the ergonomics were excellent for me; it might not be quite so comfortable for shorter users. The auxiliary handle is adjustable, which should help customize it to be more comfortable to use.
One minor quibble is with the guard. It’s pretty small, and tends to fling clippings and miscellaneous debris around. This happens to an extent with all trimmers, though, and I think I actually ended up with less splatter on me than I do with my Husqvarna gas trimmer. This is probably why, in the manual, it states that the DeWalt DCST920P1 is not an edger, and should not be operated with the string spinning near a right angle to the ground. This is a bit of a drawback for folks who are accustomed to doing their edging with a trimmer. Many people will likely continue to do so anyhow. If you’re one of them, just be aware that DeWalt told you not to, and that there WILL be debris flying!
The DeWalt DCST920P1 uses .080-diameter trimmer line, which is widely available. They make their own version, in DeWalt yellow and black, naturally…The trimmer comes pre-loaded with a spool of it, and this stuff is tougher than Bruce Willis and Jason Statham combined! During a normal weed whacking session with other trimmers, I’d be bumping out new line frequently. Despite the beating the DeWalt line took trimming around rocks, telephone poles, wire fencing, concrete blocks and landscape timbers, I only had to bump out fresh line twice. The line feeds out quickly and smoothly, the built-in trimmer cuts it down to size (although this takes a couple of seconds, because the line is so tough), and the whacking continues.
Am I going to ditch my gas trimmer? At home – yes. At the farm – nope. As you may have noticed, I sometimes let nature get a bit too much of a foothold, and we have a LOT of areas that need trimming. Although the DeWalt DCST920P1 is fully capable of handling quite a bit of it, using it for that volume of heavy growth is a bit beyond what it’s designed for.
When running on the High setting, I got about 25-30 minutes of use before having to swap in a fresh battery. At home, in our regular residential lot, that will get pretty much all of my maintenance trimming done. At the farm, though, there’s much more to do, and the gas trimmer is designed to do heavy cutting for extended periods.
If you want a capable, easy-to-use string trimmer, check out the DeWalt DCST920P1. It has solid reviews, and comes with a great warranty: 90-day money-back, one-year free service, and three-year limited. If you have other tools in the 20V Max line, here’s your chance to add a 5.0 Ah battery to the stable, and you’ll have spares to swap in if you don’t quite finish before the first battery takes its nap. And if you discover you miss the oil/gas/choke/starter-pulling ritual, come see me at the farm – nature is taking over quickly!
You can find it for around $199 online: