DeWalt DCST972X1 string trimmer review: power and flexibility

The DeWalt DCST972X1 trimmer has power to spare and can morph into other devices

DeWalt DCST972X1 string trimmer
(Image credit: DeWalt)
T3 Verdict

This powerful string trimmer is big on features for those that want more control over their trimming. The real benefit though is the DeWalt system, which allows you to swap batteries across devices and swap the head on this trimmer to perform more gardening tasks.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Adjustable cut width makes for flexibility

  • +

    String trimmer head can be swapped with other devices

  • +

    Variable control

  • +

    Easy to store

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Only cost-effective if you buy into the full DeWalt system

  • -

    Heavy

The DeWalt DCST972X1 string trimmer is a powerful, adjustable string trimmer that offers several neat features for the more discerning gardener. It can also be converted into a range of other gardening tools, so it’s a great pick if you want one device for multiple jobs.

DeWalt DCST972X1 string trimmer review: design and build quality

The DCST972X1 feels very solidly constructed, with the familiar yellow and black styling of all DeWalt devices. As you would expect from a brand with a background in power tools, it feels like it could stand up to heavy used and rough treatment without problems. It is a rather heavy device at 15lbs (6.8kg), including the battery, and most of this weight is at the top of the device. This makes it a little harder to maneuver than some, as you have to move the adjustable handle further back to balance the weight. However, once you get used to the weight and balance, it is easy to use.

A safety switch on the top of the control handle must be pressed down before the variable speed controller on the bottom of the handle works. This has a latch that locks it into the safety position, which is a nice safety feature if you have kids that might pick it up and try it out. The variable control is light and responsive, providing good control over the speed of the trimmer.

Another switch on the top of the control handle sets the power level: low for trimming grass and light vegetation, and high for trimming heavier foliage. The cutting width can also be adjusted between 15 and 17 inches, which is very useful for doing both smaller areas where the smaller cutting width provides more control, and larger areas where the wider cutting width means quicker cutting.

Most of the string trimmers that I have tested put the motor in the base of the device, but the DCST972X1 has it built into the head, below the battery. This means you can remove the string trimmer part and replace it with an edge trimmer, brush cutter, pole saw, blower, or hedge trimmer – all of which can be driven by the motor and connected through the Universal Attachment Connector in the middle of the stem. I only tested the string trimmer attachment, but it was easy to install and remove. Plus, being able to easily break the device into two parts makes it easier to store when not in use.

The motor is powered by a DeWalt 9.5 Ah 20V/60V MAX battery, which uses their FLEXVOLT system. What all of that upper case stuff means is that the battery can output either 20 Volts or 60 Volts, depending on what the device needs. DeWalt’s battery naming is somewhat confusing, but this battery can work with any of their current devices that are labeled FLEXVOLT, from leaf blowers to heavy-duty power tools. That’s a big plus if you are stocking up your tool shed, as it means that you can save some money by buying tools without batteries and share the batteries you have between them. A 2-set of spare batteries will cost you about $250.

DeWalt DCST972X1 string trimmer

(Image credit: DeWalt)

DeWalt DCST972X1 string trimmer review: performance and accessories

I found that the big 9Ah battery provided plenty of trimming time: running in the low power mode, it managed about 45 minutes of trimming on light vegetation. That’s long enough for most jobs. Higher capacity batteries are available if you are working all day, or have a large area to cover.

Reloading the string line is fairly easy: you take a 20-foot length of line, feed it through the powerhead until it is equal on both sides, then turn the head counter-clockwise to wind the line onto the spool. It’s a fairly simple process but takes a while and involves a lot of manual turning: much longer than the Powerload feature of the Ego. 

As I noted earlier, this device can be converted into a number of other garden tools: by replacing the string trimmer head, you can convert it into an edge trimmer, brush cutter, pole saw, leaf blower, or hedge trimmer. These cost between $99 and $300, so it is cheaper than buying a separate tool.

DeWalt DCST972X1 string trimmer

Other head attachments from DeWalt

(Image credit: DeWalt)

DeWalt DCST972X1 string trimmer review: verdict

The DeWalt DCST972X1 shares the same design ethic as the power tools that the company produces: serious devices for a serious job. It has plenty of cutting power on offer and is easy to use and maneuver. It can also be converted into other related tools, including a bush cutter that can handle heavier growth. That could be extremely useful if you are clearing an abandoned yard, or just need more cutting power. The fact that the batteries are also compatible with many DeWalt power tools is a big plus if you already have some of them. If you aren’t already committed to one battery system, this trimmer is a great pick against options like the Ego.

DeWalt DCST972X1 string trimmer

(Image credit: DeWalt)
Richard Baguley
Richard Baguley

Richard Baguley has been writing about technology since the 1990s, when he left a promising career in high finance to work on Amiga Format magazine for Future. It has been downhill for him ever since, writing for publications such as PC World, Wired and Reviewed.com. He has tested gadgets as diverse as 3D printers to washing machines. For T3, he covers laptops, smartphones, and many other topics. He lives near Boston in the USA with his wife, one dog, and an indeterminate number of cats.