Cordless outdoor tools reduce the hassle of maintaining gas-powered gear. But when Consumer Reports tested the $240 Echo CST-58V2AHCV, a 58-volt straight-shaft string trimmer sold at Home Depot, we were plagued by a battery issue for days. Then our testers stumbled upon a fix that the manufacturer later confirmed resolves the issue. Here are the details.

The problem occurred while we were testing two different samples of the Echo CST-58V2AHCV with fully charged batteries. When our tester pressed the power-on trigger, the motor would cut out a second or so later, stopping the spinning of the trimmer head. This occurred over and over for a total of more than 250 tries between the two trimmers.

In discussions with TTI, which manufactures Echo’s cordless 58V line, we learned that all tools in the 58V line can potentially run into the same problem. In addition to the Echo CST-58V2AHCV, which uses a 2-amp-hour battery, a 4-amp-hour version, the Echo CST-58V4AH, $270, has also experienced the problem, according to some user reviews on Home Depot’s website. TTI told us that batteries made since February do not have the problem, but stores selling the 58V line have not pulled older products off the shelves.

The other 58V Echo tools, such as the leaf blower, hedge trimmer, and chain saw, use the same battery system. But the tools most likely to have the problem are the two string trimmers. We had no such issues with the $270 Echo CBL-58V2AH leaf blower when we tested it.

Echo CST-58V2AHCV cordless string trimmer

Once we got past the battery issue, we found the Echo CST-58V2AHCV notably aggressive, outperforming other cordless string trimmers in tall grass and weeds. It was also superb at edging thanks to its small debris guard, which let our testers see what they were cutting. But that same aggressive cutting, coupled with the unit’s 13-pound weight, dragged down its score for trimming grass quickly and neatly. The 4-amp-hour version is heavier still.

Our testers discovered the fix by chance. Pressing the check battery button, a last-ditch attempt to get the trimmer working, made all the difference. While this button ordinarily indicates the battery’s charge status, in this case it also served to keep the battery from switching into protection mode and cutting off power to the motor. The next time you fully charge the battery, however, the problem can reoccur.

If you still want to buy this trimmer, we recommend you wait; as of today, there are no plans to offer a battery swap. And if you already own either version of the trimmer, you’ll need to press the check battery button at least once after you’ve fully charged the battery. We think Echo should offer a fuss-free battery swap wherever the 58V line is sold.

Need a new string trimmer?

The Echo CST-58V2AHCV is just one of the newly tested string trimmers that we'll be adding to the nearly 90 models already in our string-trimmer Ratings in the coming weeks. For a gas-powered model, consider the Stihl FS 38, $130. For a lighter-duty model, take a look at the Homelite UT33600A, $70. Both have curved shafts. Among cordless models, consider the straight-shaft EGO ST1501-S, $180, and the Ryobi RY24210A, $130. Unsure about your options? Check out our string trimmer buying guide.