Battery Powered String Trimmers.

Introduction

I have a corded electric string trimmer (“weedwacker”) which works decently – but being corded is a bit of a nuisance, so

I’ve been looking around for a cordless string trimmer (battery operated), as I’d rather not have to mess around with gas and all that. Here is what I came up with…

I’m very tempted to give one a try, but I have some larger weeds (say a half inch in diameter – like berry bushes) and I’m not sure if an electronic one will hack it…

Holding off for now, but just in case this is useful to anyone else, here is what I came up with.

Disclaimer

  • Star ratings are rough guesstimates.

Ryobi ONE+ 18-Volt NiCd

String trimmer
String trimmer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Home Depot: $60.
  • Model: P2040.
  • Has an average rating of four stars at Home Depot with six reviewers.
  • Single Line.
  • Cut: 10″
  • Weight: 6.5 lbs

Ryobi ONE+ 18-Volt Lithium-Ion

  • Home Depot: $59.
  • Model: P2030.
  • Has an average rating of four stars at Home Depot with twenty-six reviewers.
  • Cut: 10″

Black & Decker 36-Volt Straight Shaft

  • Home Depot: $149.
  • Amazon: $250.16.
  • Model: LST136.
  • Has an average rating of 4.75 stars at Home Depot ¬†with 135 reviewers.
  • Has an average rating of 4.75 stars at Amazon with 182 reviewers.
  • Four stars from Popular Mechanics.
  • Allows one to increase power for greater cutting power or decrease for longer battery life.
  • RPM: 6500-8500.

Black & Decker 18-Volt Ni-Cd

  • Amazon: $79.
  • Model: NST2118.
  • Has an average rating of four stars at Amazon with 336 reviewers.
  • Received “Best Reviewed” from Consumer Search.
  • Battery: 2x 18-Volt NiCd
  • Weight: 6.5 lbs.
  • RPM: 7000.

Black & Decker 20-Volt Lithium-Ion

  • Amazon: $92.
  • Model: LST220.
  • Cut: 12″
  • Has an average rating of four stars at Amazon with 315 reviewers.
  • Weight: 5.2 lbs.

Earthwise 18-Volt

  • Amazon: $60.
  • Model: CST00012.
  • Has an average rating of four stars at Amazon with 124 reviewers.
  • Cut: 12″
  • Battery: 18 Volt NiCad
  • RPM: 7800.

Sunzi Cordless 10 Inch

  • Amazon: $90.
  • Model: WT02222.
  • Has an average rating of 4.4 stars at Amazon with seven reviews.
  • Battery: Lithium Ion.
  • Weight: 4.4 lbs.

Black & Decker 18V NiCd (Reconditioned)

  • Home Depot: $79.
  • Amazon: $55.
  • Model: NST2118R.
  • Has an average rating of 4.5 stars at Amazon with seven reviews.
  • Has an average rating of 4 stars at Home Depot with 166 reviews.
  • Batteries: 2x 18V Ni-Cd.
  • Cut: 12″
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs

Weed Eater 12-Volt

  • Amazon: $70.
  • Model: 952711896.
  • Has an average rating of 4.5 stars at Amazon with five reviews.
  • Cut: 10″
  • Single Feed.

Bibliography

The State of IP (Web-Based Thermostats) 2013 Edition

Introduction

In June of 2011, nearly two years ago, I wrote an article summarizing the state of IP (web-based) enabled thermostats. I revised this article in April of 2012, over a year ago. Now, it seems appropriate, to create a new post reflecting the state of IP enabled thermostats in 2013.

This article will include all information still relevant from the older article along with new information regarding developments from 2012 until now.

I welcome comments regarding this post including:

  • Any IP based thermostats I may have missed.
  • Your experiences with various IP based thermostats.

Without further ado…

The Selection

ecobee

  • Offers 24% cost savings on heating and 21% on cooling as compared to leaving thermostat fixed on 72 degrees.[1]
  • I was unable to find an RSS feed using Feedly to keep up with ecobee’s blog…That is a big no no!
  • Offers solutions for home and business.
  • Website is very nice, apps, etc. appear well-finished – but no noticeable distinguishable features at consumer level, though business units offer administrative flexibility beyond that found in home units.
  • Prices appear to start around $200 and go up.
  • Conclusion:¬†Might be worth considering for larger building where administration controls are needed, otherwise, seems neck-and-neck with competition.
Images of ecobee's thermostat and remote management.
Images of ecobee’s thermostat and remote management.

Radio Thermostat

  • Two different models are available direct from Radio Thermostat – the CT80 ($250) and the CT30 ($140).
  • Requires either a “C” or “Common” wire or an external power adapter.
  • 3M used to rebrand/resell these under the Filtrete brand via Home Depot, but appears to have stopped doing so.
  • They also lack an RSS feed (or even a real blog), the website design is outmoded, and the devices are not as slick as competitor options. That said, they do have online and public forums.
Radio Thermostat's WiFi thermostat.
Radio Thermostat’s WiFi thermostat.

Proliphix

  • Has a blog with RSS feed.
  • One of the oldest IP thermostat manufacturers.
  • Pricing is not available on the website.
  • Used to have residential solutions, but there is no mention of them on the site anymore.

Bay Controls

  • Site is pretty horrific.
  • No blog.
  • Installs in 30 minutes.
  • No recurring costs.
  • Has an iPhone client.
  • Looks to have significant customizability but at cost of user friendliness, a geek’s friend, but perhaps not for the average consumer.
  • Pricing starts at $220.
Bay Controls' Scary Geeky Thermostat
Bay Controls’ Scary Geeky Thermostat

Network Thermostat (Net/X)

  • Receives disappointing site award alongside Bay Controls.
  • Offers web-based and PC based management software which looks nice and feature-filled.
  • The web management console is a server built into the device, no cloud services.
  • Pricing starts around $450.
  • Offers special pricing for non-profits.

Intwine Energy

  • Company website was slow, consumer facing site appears to be down.
  • Most recent press release is from 2011.
  • Wouldn’t recommend due to lack of activity on site, though devices look fine.

Nexia Home (Formerly Schlage LiNK)

  • Appears to be rebranded via American Standard and Trane.
  • Offers the advantage of also supporting cameras, lighting, locks, and sensors.
  • Monthly fee of $9.
  • Utilizes Z-Wave technology, not WiFi per say.
  • Pricing starts at $150 for just the thermostat, but you’ll also need a bridge. A bundle is available for around $230.
  • No blog.
Nexia's Thermostat, Bridge, and Power Bundle
Nexia’s Thermostat, Bridge, and Power Bundle

Nest Thermostat

  • Created by former Apple folks, has gotten a lot of the recent press and consumer love.
  • Website and device appear beautiful.
  • Has partnered with energy utilities to offer the device for free if you sign up for select providers (only available in some states).
  • Has a blog, including RSS feed.
  • Devices are available from Amazon as well as Lowes and Home Depot.
  • Price is $250.
  • This system does not require a C wire.
The beautiful Nest thermostat.
The beautiful Nest thermostat.

Enphase Energy

  • Seems like Enphase is moving away from focusing on intelligent thermostats and focusing more on solar panels?
  • Uses the ZigBee protocol and thus requires a bridge device.
  • Website is slick and has a blog with RSS.
  • Only sells via distributors, no pricing easily available.

Venstar

  • Offers both residential and commercial solutions.
  • Offers the Surveyor product which allows for HVAC, lighting/electrical, and mechnical systems monitoring.
  • Claims (for Surveyor) “Go Green for No Green” (no cash up front, no capital expense, cash flow positive from day one). Didn’t see details on this program.

Energate

  • Has a blog, but no RSS.
  • Appears to work only through utilities.

EcoFactor

  • No blog.
  • Appears to work through utilities.

Trane

  • Offers the ComfortLink and ComfortLink II – both of which are web enabled.
  • The Nexia branded home thermostat starts at $150.
  • Thermostats are full color (except Nexia).

LockState Connect

  • Pricing starts at $170 for IP thermostat.
  • Ongoing monthly costs of $.99 for basic services for first device or $1.98 for premium (this includes email/sms alerts). Additional devices are $.99/mo.
  • Uses WiFi, not ZigBee or Z-Wave.
  • Also supports cameras, locks, and power strips.
  • No blog.
  • Requires a “C” wire, but also supports a 24VAC transformer.
Nexia's Thermostat, Bridge, and Power Bundle
Nexia’s Thermostat, Bridge, and Power Bundle

Honeywell

  • Full color available from $250 from Home Depot, monochrome from $120 for button-based and $150 for touchscreen. Appears slightly better pricing is available via Amazon.
  • All of these units require a “C” wire. If you have an older home/business you may not have this wire run to your thermostat. There are instructions on how to check on the website. It is quite unfortunate, there WiFi-less models have batteries that allow them to operate without the “C” wire, but these apparently don’t.
Full Color Honeywell WiFi Thermostat
Full Color Honeywell WiFi Thermostat
The Monochrome Honeywell Touchscreen WiFi Thermostat
The Monochrome Honeywell Touchscreen WiFi Thermostat
The Button-Based Monochrome Honeywell WiFi Thermostat.
The Button-Based Monochrome Honeywell WiFi Thermostat.

Hunter

  • Used to offer the Hunter Universal WiFi Internet Thermostat for $100, but it has been discontinued.

Lennox

  • Offers the icomfort Wi-Fi Touchscreen Thermostat.

Insteon

  • Requires a hub ($130~).
  • Pricing starts at $150 for thermostat.
  • Also supports lights, dimmers, switches, cameras, security, sprinkler and so on.
  • No blog.

Residential Control Systems (RCS) Technology

  • Has Z-Wave, ZigBee, and native WiFI thermostats.
  • Products are monochrome
  • No blog.

Evolve Guest Controls

  • Thermostats start at $150.
  • Monochrome.
  • Has a blog with RSS.

2GIG Technologies

  • Uses Z-Wave.
  • Pricing around $150.
  • No blog.

Vaporware?

Conclusions

I’d be hesitant to utilize anything that runs over Z-Wave, ZigBee, or Insteon. I think WiFi is the wave of the future – but that might just be me. What do you think?

The Nest, LockState Connect, and Honeywell options look the most attractive to me. I just signed up with a new energy utility and they are sending me a free Nest…so that is what I’ll be using at home.

  1. [1]Not that anyone with a programmable thermostat does that anymore.

The State of IP (Web-Based) Enabled Thermostats.

Lux Products' Model TX900TS Touch Screen Thermostat

[This post was updated on 4/10/12. It now includes revised and expanded information. Please let me know if anything is missing!]

I’ve been looking into IP-based thermostats, that is, thermostats which can be managed remotely via the web. I’ve collected a number of vendors below. The idea is coming into its own and a number of companies have picked up on it and it is a great idea – as it could significantly lower electrical costs for homes and businesses. Before I move on to the actual reviews here are a few questions I have I’d love to hear your thoughts on:

  • Do you know of any other companies that manufacture and/or sell IP enabled thermostats?
  • Do you know of any companies that offer discounts to non-profits?
  • Do you know of any companies which support LAN-based thermostat management but not internet-based? I’d like to add them to the list…as they can be managed remotely via programs such as LogMeIn.

ecobee

  • Are sold through a local contractor, not directly from the manufacturer.
  • On eBay the units appear to be selling for $300-$500.
  • The website is very nice and the device appears very nice, but you are going to pay a premium.
  • They have a new device with an apparently lower price this month (April 2012).

Radio Thermostat

  • Sold directly from the manufacturer.
  • Price ranges from $140 to $250.
  • Also rebranded by Filtrete and sold through Home Depot at a cheaper price ($100).
  • Requires either a “C” or “common” wire or an external transformer for power.
  • Site and thermostat both look aesthetically pleasing.
  • Sometimes distributed as Homewerks (e.g. on Amazon).

Proliphix

  • On eBay the units appear to be selling for $100-$200.
  • One of the oldest IP thermostat manufacturers.
  • Has residential and commercial solutions.
  • Includes web-based remote control if desired, but not necessary.

Bay Controls

  • Claims typical energy savings will pay for thermostat in around a year.[1]
  • Claims can be installed in thirty minutes or less by an end user.
  • Does not charge any ongoing monthly fees for the web-based service.
  • Includes reporting, analysis, and monitoring functions.
  • Has mobile websites created to support major mobile phone providers.
  • Does not operate wirelessly, but does sell powerline ethernet adapters to use powerlines to communicate with router. Cost is less than $60/ea.
  • Pricing is around $220/ea. for thermostats.

Net/X

  • Requires Net/X thermostats and then a central network controller which relays traffic out for remote management.
  • Cost for thermostats themselves is $300+.

Intwine Energy

  • Cost is $200 per unit for the basic level.
  • Includes wireless built in.
  • Initial programming occurs via USB to computer, only initial configuration must be done in this manner.
  • Annual fee for advanced management and reporting functionality of $15.

Schlage Nexia Home (formerly Schlage LiNK)

  • $150 for thermostat.
  • Must have a Nexia Bridge to utilize ($99).
  • Ongoing cost is $8.99/mo.
  • Utilizes Z-Wave (similar to ZigBee).
  • Also sells appliance modules, cameras, lighting controls, and door locks.

Nest Thermostat

Enphase Energy

  • Utilizes the ZigBee protocol to wirelessly communicate with a gateway device which allows for communication with Enphase’s website.
  • Also integrates with solar panels.
  • No easily found pricing.

Venstar

  • Wireless access seems to be in-home only.
  • They have a Surveyor product meant for businesses which manages HVAC as well as lighting, etc.

Energate

  • Impressive product line but appears to work through utilities.

Ecofactor

  • Appears to be available only in limited geographic areas.
  • Site failed to load as of 4/9/12.

Trane

  • Offers two internet enabled options – the original ComfortLink and now the ComfortLink II.
  • These are full color thermostats.

LockState

  • Offers a Connect line of products which operate with WiFi.
  • Thermostat is $200.

Honeywell

  • Has the Prestige 2.0 thermostat which includes internet capabilities.
  • Unsure of pricing.

Fidure Corp.

Site hasn’t been updated since 2007 according to copyright, appears to be vaporware.

  1. [1]No notes on what type of facility is required to save this much, e.g. will one save more with a larger building?