Maintaining your own lawn can be a hassle some days. Especially if you have a lot of edging, landscaping features or trees. It usually means that you have to buy a lawnmower to handle the primary areas of open turf, then you need a trimmer and possibly an edger to clean up all the other little spaces.
If you have a large lawn, this can turn into a major hassle. Yet even if you have a small lawn, you don’t want to spend all day going back and forth to the garage or even sinking more money into two or more lawncare appliances. Don’t even get me started on the nightmare of problems that can come when a trimmer line goes haywire. Some of the tangles they can make defy modern man’s understanding of geometry!
For people in this particular niche, Black+Decker offers their BESTA512CM 12″ 3in1 Compact Electric Lawn Mower. This electric lawnmower was designed to be lightweight. It is corded and requires a reliable outdoor electrical outlet. You also need to make sure you have enough extension cord to handle the desired range.
It’s worth noting that this model doesn’t have metal blades. Instead, it uses a 0.065-inch diameter trimmer string sold by Black+Decker under the model number Auto-Feed Trimmer Line Spools AF-100. This is because the BESTA512CM is a true 3-in-1 unit. It can work as a lawnmower with four small wheels or detach to be used as a trimmer as well as an edger.
It was also designed with an automatic feed spool, which is more commonly known as an AFS. This allows you to keep working without bumping or dealing with the hassle of stopping to adjust the Spool. Its settings include cutting heights of 1.6 to 2.4 inches and it produces a 12-inch cutting path.
• 3-in-1 mower, edger and trimmer
• 6.5 amp electric motor
• PowerDrive transmission
• Automatic Feed Spool system for less string hassles
• Cord retention system to help minimize disconnects
When you first open the box a wave of buyer’s remorse might wash over you. At first glance, it does appear to be pretty weak and flimsy. Still, you shouldn’t give in to this emotional response. You just have to get it into your head that this isn’t a heavy duty mower meant for chewing through large swaths of insanely thick turf.
It’s more like a multi-purpose trimmer, that you can set on a wheelbase to also use as a lawnmower. Its really meant more for maintaining the kind of small yard that can be accessed by one or two sections of extension cord.
When you take it in that context, it’s actually really nice. Relatively well built, lightweight, and you don’t have to bother with the headache of removing, sharpening and replacing metal lawnmower blades!
Ease of Use
The Black+Decker BESTA512CM was designed to be lightweight, which makes it easy to move it around the lawn when you want to cut the grass. It also helps for those times when you want to detach it from the base to use as an edger or a trimmer.
The automatic feed spool system also helps reduce bumping and bizarre light tangles. Just bear in mind that it’s not perfect, and you will have a few times where you are left inventing new grass-based swear words!
It is light enough that your arm isn’t going to get tired if you have to edge around flower beds or trim around trees. Just be mindful of the cord, which can create its own strange tangles as you go. It is possible to knock into or over things like flower pots and such with the cord as it trails behind you. It’s probably a good idea to look back from time to time, or make sure you have enough cord that the excess can simply lay on the ground while you continue to use it as a trimmer or edger.
Cut Quality & Options
If you have a medium size lawn the 12-inch wide cutting path will be a little bit maddening at times, compared to something like a 24-inch gas-powered mower deck. Still, this unit is meant for small yards, and especially those that need a lot of edging and trimming.
There is very little maintenance required with the Black+Decker BESTA512CM. Since it uses trimmer string, you don’t have to worry about replacing or sharpening metal blades. Just make sure to keep an extra spool of AF-100 line around in case you run out.
Keep an eye on the plug-in of the cord. As time goes on constantly plugging it and unplugging it as well as moving it around, can start to loosen the connection a little. If it does get a little loose after a year or two, you can handle it with a little strip of electrical tape.
The Automatic Feed Spool helps prevent tangles and obscure line accidents. Still, you need to be mindful when using it as a trimmer or an edger.
The PowerDrive transmission helps make the most out of the torque the 6.5 amp electric motor produces. The Automatic Feed Spool system for less string hassles. Yet it isn’t 100% perfect. It’s cord retention system to help reduce the chances of suffering an untimely disconnect.
Cost effectiveness is the one area where the Black+Decker BESTA512CM really shines. If it was just a small electric lawnmower it would already have a very friendly price point. The fact that it can also pull triple duty as an electric edger and trimmer really gives this unit exceptional value.
- The ability to be a small lawnmower, edger, and trimmer
- PowerDrive transmission
- Effective 6.5 Amp electric motor
- Automatic Feed Spool system for less string tangles
- A Cord retention system to reduce disconnections
- Very lightweight and easy to use
- Uses AF-100 string instead of mower blades
- It has a small cutting path
- Cord connection can loosen in the long-term
- Still can suffer line tangles from time to time
- Not for a large yard