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Black and Decker GL310 Review

Black & Decker GL310 Review

Intro

Black & Decker GL310 ReviewIf you’re on a budget and looking for a low cost strimmer to help keep the garden neat the Black and Decker GL310 might fit the bill. This is a lightweight, basic strimmer with no frills and for approximately £20 definitely cheap. I found it lacks the “finish” and comfort of slightly more expensive models but if cost is a major concern it will get the job done.

This Black and Decker GL310 review was written after extensive online and offline research.

Description

  • Cable powered
  • 300w motor
  • 25cm cutting swath
  • 2 handles for better balance and comfort
  • Black and Decker’s “bump feed” line feed
  • No height adjustment
  • Non-adjustable second handle

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The Black and Decker GL310 is good for

Black-and-Decker-GL310-headThis strimmer is lightweight, in many senses of the word, but I’d say it was adequate for a small sized garden and simple lawn maintenance. However, in my opinion it would have a hard time tackling tough undergrowth or long wet grass. The head doesn’t swivel for doing edging but because the GL310 is so light it’s possible to turn the strimmer 180 degrees to trim the lawn edges. It’s awkward but doable for a small area but would be uncomfortable for long periods of time.

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Handle

I think a second handle is essential for a comfortable, balanced grip and it helps to spread the load on your shoulders when sweeping the strimmer from side to side so I was pleased to see B & D have supplied a second handle which is easily slid into place when assembling. However I found balance isn’t good on the Black and Decker GL310. Where the second handle is placed, ought to be the fulcrum between the head and primary handle, but this was not the case with the GL312 and I had to push down slightly with my right hand on the main handle in order to prevent the head from resting on the ground. I found this was slightly awkward and might cause back strain if using the strimmer for prolonged periods. Another minor problem I thought was the second handle isn’t adjustable; it’s just a lump of plastic to grab hold of so you can’t optimize the angle and customize this strimmer as you can with more expensive models. Also the shaft is not telescopic so no height adjustment for the very tall or short which will in the long run cause a stiff back because of the awkward, slightly bent working stance. Hence this is not a comfortable strimmer for anyone over approximately 5ft 9in.

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Maintenance and cleaning the Black and Decker GK310

Maintenance is basically the same for all strimmers ie. replacing the line spool and keeping the head clear of grass and weeds. The line spool cap needs to be removed in order to replace the line spool and this might be tricky for some people especially if you’ve got weak finger or arthritis as you need to squeeze both sides of the cap simultaneously in order to release the catch. The spool can be refilled instead of a complete replacement of the spool, which will save money, but it is a slightly fiddly job as you need to make sure the line is wound parallel to each and doesn’t criss cross which will cause the line to constantly break. Keeping the head free from grass cuttings is a simply matter of wiping or brushing the inside of the head (I recommend a very stiff washing up brush for easy access). Never attempt to change the reel or clean the strimmer with the power line connected.

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Storage

At 1.6kg the B & D GL310 is easy to lift off a hook on the shed wall however there is nothing built in the handle to hang it from so I would suggest either using a short piece of rope permanently tied in a loop around the primary handle or a heavy duty strip tie on the handle to hang it from. The power lead is plugged into the handle and as such is separate so needs to be wound up separately and hung together with the strimmer.

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Durability

As mentioned before this is a low priced strimmer but with casual use there is no reason why it shouldn’t last for years with a careful gardener. With that said I thought the GL310 lacked “finish” and “quality” which in my world means that with normal use I would expect it to last a couple of seasons.

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Dimensions

  • Weight of strimmer 1.6 kg
  • Length of power cable 6m
  • Cutting width 25cm
  • Line diameter 1.5mm
  • Dimensions 101 cm x 22.6 cm x 10.2 cm

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 Power

  • Mains powered via a detachable power cable which plugs into the handle.

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Features of the Black and Decker GL 310

This strimmer features Black and Decker’s “bump” feed line feed. A bump feed is often found on cheaper strimmers were the line is manually advanced by gently tapping the head on the ground, as opposed to an automatic feed which continually supplies new line when needed. The advantage with a bump feed is its simple and if it gets jammed is often easier to sort out. The disadvantage is the risk of damaging the strimmer head or feed spool by “bumping” it too hard on the ground. If you are looking for a strimmer that is easier to use then I’d opt for an automatic feed.

It is a light, simple and a low cost strimmer so features are limited. There is a small very basic second handle but no height adjustment on the shaft plus it isn’t foldable for transporting if needed, although it should be able to fit into the boot of a biggish sized car.

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Accessories available for purchase

Extra spools of line are available or a cheaper solution is to buy some heavy duty fishing line (1½mm) and re-wind the spool yourself taking care to wind the line parallel. Some people might like to work with protective goggles and hearing muffs. Strimmers by nature are pretty noisy and for prolonged use I’d advise buying some hearing muffs.

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Pros.

  • In my opinion the biggest pro of the GL310 is price.
  • Mains powered – doesn’t run out of power like a battery driven strimmer
  • Lightweight and handy

Cons.

  • No height adjustment on the shaft for a tall or short person which means if you’re not average height you either are leaning forward or leaning backwards to accommodate. If you need to use a strimmer for long periods think back ache.
  • Power lead which means you are restricted to the length on the lead and the nearest power source.
  • Can’t turn the head for edging – you have to twist the strimmer, not a comfortable position if you’ve got a lot of lawn to tidy up.

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Consumer ratings

This is a popular strimmer and people found the Black and Decker GL310 easy to assemble, there were no complaints here but otherwise the consumer reviews are mixed. Many were pleased that the GL310 was so light and easily manoeuvrable and a number thought this strimmer was good value However there were some who experienced problems with the line feed system with the line frequently breaking or the “bump feed” not working optimally.

Several users were frustrated at the length of the power lead finding it too short but that is easily fixed with an extension cable. I personally find it more convenient to add an extension cable when needed instead of having to worry about fighting an excessively long lead getting in the way when trimming, plus it adds weight when you need to lift it on and off the storage hook.

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Price

I saw no complaints about the price this strimmer is cheap and very basic so don’t expect luxury but for around £20 it’s good value and the occasional gardener will probably find it adequate. It will get the job done but probably not as quickly as some of the more expensive strimmers with auto feed and swivel head.

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Summary

Black-and-Decker-GL310-strimmerMy first impression of the Black and Decker GL310 when I picked it up was it felt “cheap” and of course it is so it’s not really fair to compare it with more expensive better built and designed models. It is very basic and it does what it is supposed to, trim the grass.

The line feed and the line breaking frustrated many and I too would find that very irritating frequently having to turn the strimmer over to to fix the line and if you’ve got small, weak or arthritic hands removing the spool cover will be a challenge. I have medium sized, fairly strong hands and squeezing both sides of the locking system simultaneously to remove the cover and replace the line I found tricky. But maybe the clips on the model I tried were stiffer than normal anyway if you’re looking at the B & D GL310 turn it over and check the spool cover for yourself and make sure you can manage it comfortably because at some time or another you’ll need to change the line spool.

If your budget is limited or you only have a postage stamp sized garden then this will meet your needs but it will probably disappoint anyone who has an average to big garden and a lot to do.

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