The benefit is that these line cartridges install quickly and easily, but keep in mind that they may have availability issues; we recommend getting a decent supply of extra spools before you’re in a pinch. In contrast, with traditional trimmer line, you can make a one-time investment of about $15 for what’s basically a lifetime supply of trimmer string. And in tight spots, such as between rose bushes, the RY40290 didn’t feel as nimble as the ST1511T.
And the finer polyethylene branches tended to break off during routine, delicate handling. We do love its Twinkly smart lights, though, enough so that we’ve added them to our guide to the best Christmas lights. The 600 prestrung costway patio furniture Twinkly bulbs are the Home Decorators tree’s most valuable asset (they retail on their own for several hundred dollars). You’re better off buying the lights separately and adding them to a tree of your choice.
Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time). The Lee Valley kit comes with everything you need to get started, including the blade, the handle (called a snath), a sharpening stone, and a holster for the stone. If the kit is not available, note that Lee Valley also sells the pieces individually for roughly the same total price as the kit. We also recommend Ian Miller’s The Scything Handbook for those who are just beginning their scything life.
Worx does have a selection of 20-volt saws, lights, and drills, among other tools, but we don’t have enough experience with them to judge them as a full system. But even as a standalone tool, this $100 cordless trimmer that hits all the right points is a solid value, even if investing in it means owning an additional battery and charger. It’s powerful enough for most trimming, but it lacks the strength of our top pick from Ego. Overall, the Ryobi RY40290 is a strong trimmer, but in our tests it slowed down on patches of especially thick, tall grass.
Using molds often taken from actual branches, artificial-tree manufacturers shape polyethylene (PE) to produce highly realistic branch tips. But a higher percentage of polyethylene generally means a higher price, and, as with real trees, bigger sizes come with bigger costs. Well into the 2000s, the only material that manufacturers used in artificial trees was polyvinyl chloride (PVC). On most trees now, PVC appears primarily as the obviously fake, tinsel-like filler branches near the tree’s trunk. Those branches aren’t prominently visible, but they do add visual density—helping to give the impression of an especially “full” tree. In looking for trees that had a good mix of realistic PE tips and internal PVC filler, we were really seeking models that balanced realism, cost, and weight.