An easy-to-use strimmer, great for trimming and edging – even in awkward to reach places. It’s lightweight, cordless and comfortable to use, unless you are rather tall!
Lightweight and easy to move around
IntelliFEED automatically feeds the spool, meaning uninterrupted trimming
Easy to set up
Uncomfortable to use if you’re tall
Instructions could be clearer in parts
Adjusting the head is a bit flimsy
By Bethan Davis
The Bosch UniversalGrassCut 18–26 cordless grass trimmer features telescopic height adjustment and an ergonomic V-shaped handle. Lightweight and with an automatic feed for the spool line, it’s been designed to make trimming lawns, borders and edges, effortless.
Having pretty much left our split-level garden to its own devices since October, the top two lawns were becoming rather unruly. With no clear edges they were certainly in need of trimming before we could attempt to attack them with the lawn mower. Our bottom lawn (the largest of the three), is maintained by a robotic lawn mower, which is great, but doesn’t mow closely around the borders, bottom fence line or steps. Therefore, this provided another challenge for the UniversalGrassCut.
See how it did prepping my garden for summer, and find out whether it deserves a place on the list of the best strimmers.
Bosch UniversalGrassCut 18–26 cordless grass trimmer specifications:
- Power type: 18V 2.5Ah Li-ion battery
- Battery life: 40 mins
- Charging time: 1 hour
- Best for: trimming and edging
- Cutting width: 26cm
- Weight: 2.7kg
- Noise Level: A-rated
We moved into our house a year ago, and it’s the first house we’ve owned that has had a lawn. Therefore, apart from watching my dad get angry, every time his old corded strimmer hit a rock, I have had no experience with strimmers and the Bosch UniversalGrassCut was the first one I’ve ever used.
Firstly, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I unpacked the box and found only one instruction manual. Almost all the recent appliances I have purchased come with at least four or five manuals, so it was nice to see everything condensed into one A5 booklet.
After reading through the safety instructions and noting that eye and ear protection should be worn, plus kids and pets should be kept at a good distance, I moved on to setting up the machine. As well as written instructions, there are labelled diagrams relating to each stage of setup in the back of booklet, which proved to be useful.
I quickly skimmed over the assembly instructions and read that the battery needed to be charged, which I did so promptly. I’d have listed this as the first step (rather than after assembling the strimmer), so anyone following the instructions step by step could save a bit of time. All I had to do to assemble the strimmer was mount the protection guard, secure it with a screwdriver, fold out the handle, adjust the telescopic working position, mount the wheel and fit the spool of cutting cable.
This was fairly straightforward until it came to fitting the spool, as this is not listed as an initial step in the assembly instructions. It talks about operation, before it mentions mounting the spool and even then, it’s written as if there is already a spool in place.
This was the only step I struggled with and had to double check with my partner that I was doing everything right. He agreed that this was confusing, and we couldn’t work out whether we needed to pull any line out of the spool or assemble anything. After looking through the pictures again, we found that the spool was all ready to go as it came and all we needed to do was click it into place. Setup took 20 minutes, but it would have been a lot quicker without the spool issues.
What is the Bosch UniversalGrassCut strimmer like to use?
Once the battery is charged, it’s easy to slot it in and you’re ready to go. It has a safety lock button which requires pressing, before then pressing the on/off switch, which is a trigger on the bike-like handles. You keep the trigger pressed to operate the strimmer.
The UniversalGrassCut has three different cutting positions and there is a foot pedal to switch between each. This is slightly flimsy and it’s not completely clear which position the strimmer is in without moving it through all three positions, to be sure.
For lawn trimming, the strimmer must be set at the highest position (a 48-degree angle) and once set, it’s as easy as moving the strimmer from left to right. The wheel ensures that you do not get too close to any walls, trees or anything that protrudes out of your lawn (bird tables, washing lines etc). The wheel was useful in our garden as we have walls splitting the three levels, so I could use the wheel to guide the strimmer along the wall-edge and the strimmer did a great job of trimming the grass, right up to the wall.
The grass trimmer has been designed to be ergonomically comfortable and to be used with a natural, upright posture. I found this to be true and trimmed the lawns with comfort and ease. However, my partner is 6ft 4in and he found that the telescopic handle did not come up high enough and felt he stooped over when using it. This is something taller gardeners might want to bear in mind.
The strimmer did a good job of trimming the lawn and easily cut through large clumps of grass, weeds and dead plants.
To create nice, clean edges for the lawn, the foot pedal needs to be pressed so the strimmer sits at a 36-degree angle. This is the hardest position to achieve and you need to ensure it clicks into place right in the middle.
The instructions are a tad confusing here and it took a bit of trial and error to get the desired effect. It says to 'guide the trimmer along the edge of the lawn' and 'by using the wheel you avoid contact with solid surfaces'. You also have to flip the handle 180 degrees and turn the strimmer clockwise to get the correct working position, so the wheel has contact with the ground as you roll it along the edge. I found that you needed to work out how far away from the edge the wheel needed to be to cut a straight line where you wanted it. In our lawn, the grass has made its way into the paving in some areas, so I could cut a line through the clumps of grass to show where the edge of the lawn should be. We will have to remove the grass outside that perimeter by hand.
Once you have the hang of it, it did quite an effective job and worked well around the top of the walls, edges of the steps and where the lawn meets the patio.
- Check out our selection of lawn edging ideas for those awkward lawn-meets-patio areas
Cutting in awkward places
The final cutting position is for trimming around trees, plants and hard-to-reach places, such as under benches. For us, this feature came in useful for cutting around the fence posts at the bottom of our garden and a silver birch. The foot pedal sets the strimmer at 24 degrees and the wheel acts as a plant protector, shielding plants, whilst still achieving a close trim.
As noted in the instructions, ear protection is advised. With a large, open garden, I found that the Bosch UniversalGrassCut was no noisier than a lawn mower. I would be mindful of using it when I know my neighbours are relaxing, or for long periods of time.
Ease of use
Overall, for me, once I had set the strimmer up and worked out what to do with the spool, the strimmer was very easy to use and I was impressed that I managed to trim almost the whole garden in one go, which took about 40 minutes. I recharged the battery fully and then completed the edging which took a further 10 minutes and there was plenty of battery left. Bosch claims that the battery is powerful enough to allow the strimmer to trim the edges of eight tennis courts in one charge. I think you would have to be well practiced at using the machine for this to be true!
A bonus for anyone who owns any other cordless Bosch appliances, is the 18V battery is part of their 'power for all alliance', which means the battery is interchangeable between tools, whether this be drills, mowers or vacuums. We unfortunately do not own any of these, but I would consider purchasing other Bosch appliances with this battery system, especially as I am impressed with how well the UniversalGrassCut works.
The plant protector wheel is a great feature that not all strimmers have. Although this was my first time trimming the lawn and borders, no plants were harmed unintentionally. It makes edging easier too and I imagine using a strimmer without a wheel guide would cause more wear on the spool line.
The IntelliFeed system for the line is also hugely beneficial, as it automatically rolls off the line as necessary, retaining the cutting diameter. This means that you don’t have to keep stopping to manually adjust the spool, which is both safer and more efficient.
How does it rate online?
The majority of reviews for the UniversalGrassCut are positive, with many praising how lightweight and easy to use the appliance is. Many also commend the battery length and how well it copes with trimming a variety of plants, from long grass to nettles.
Some reviewers also own other Bosch products with the battery share option and were pleased with how well the strimmer works alongside their other Bosch tools.
The only negative remarks echo those of my partner in that the telescopic handle simply does not go long enough and some say the model feels a bit cheap and ‘plasticky’, to which I would disagree. If the model was made of other materials, it would be a lot heavier and more difficult to use.
The average ratings are between four and five stars, making it rate well against similar models which are a similar price. I would highly recommend the Bosch UniversalGrassCut 18–26 cordless grass trimmer.
About this review and our reviewer
This cordless grass trimmer was tested by reluctant gardener Bethan Davis, a PR and events officer who lives in the Midlands. She has just had her second child and with two kids under the age of five, a pristine garden isn't always easy to maintain.
She put the strimmer through its paces in a medium-large garden with lots of borders to contend with and an awkward fence adjoining a field. The garden also has several levels and lots of walls, so a strimmer is needed for lots of areas a mower can't reach.
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