The EGO Power+ MST1603 PowerLoad is a versatile multi-head string trimmer with some exceptional features. As one of the best cordless weed whackers, it is also one of the most expensive. This review intends to determine if the latest EGO Power+ 16” multi-head trimmer is worth it.
To call the EGO Power+ MST1603 a great string trimmer, weed eater, or weed whacker is an outrageous understatement. A multi-head trimmer is much more than just a string trimmer, or even an edger. The EGO Power Head tool system comprises a massive selection of garden power tools that can be used with the same motor and shaft.
Even the value kit, which includes the PowerLoad string trimmer, 4AH battery, and charger will set you back close to $400, making this one of the more expensive string trimmers. I think most will agree that EGO is an extraordinary brand and that always comes at a premium. Nonetheless, is this expensive multi-head trimmer worth its high price tag?
In this review, I hope to clarify any questions you may have. A multi-head tool always presents better value than buying a string trimmer, pole saw, edge trimmer, and all the other tools that this model provides. It also avoids clutter in your garage or tool shed. There are also many advantages to buying a top-quality power tool from a brand with an outstanding reputation for customer service.
Okay, let’s get down to business, an unadulterated discussion on the 2023 EGO Power+ MST1603 string trimmer.
EGO Power+ Multi-Head 16” String Trimmer Review
- POWERLOAD technology automatically winds the line in seconds.
- Durable, lightweight carbon fiber shaft with a lifetime warranty.
- Compatible with all EGO Power+ multi-head attachments.
- 45-minute runtime (4 AH battery).
- Bump feed head.
- 16-inch cutting swath.
- IPX4 rated for weather resistance.
- Weight: 9.5 pounds without battery.
- 5-year tool warranty, 3-year battery warranty.
The guys at EGO have upgraded their 16-inch multi-head string trimmer and launched it in time for spring 2023. Perhaps calling it an upgrade is a bit of an understatement. This machine has basically been re-engineered with a lot of exciting new developments. I’m truly delighted to be reviewing this awesome machine. Who would have thought a string trimmer could evoke such excitement?
Power and Runtime
Whilst there have been many innovative changes in the redesign of the new EGO Power+ multi-head string trimmer, I’m really pleased that the brushless motor, powering this machine remains unchanged. The 56V ARC lithium-ion battery platform is truly awesome and, when coupled with a super-efficient, immensely powerful brushless motor, the results are sublime.
The EGO Power+ MST1603 has a two-speed electronic selector switch and a variable speed trigger, giving you complete control over the power needed for all the individual tools that can be attached to it. The best battery to use with this model is probably the 4AH 56V ARC battery as it provides an amazing run time of around 45 minutes and is not too heavy. Using the 12AH battery will provide more than 2 hours of working time, but the heavy battery will disturb the weight balance and increase user fatigue.
The motor is at the top of the shaft, which is probably not the ideal setup. A motor at the tool head is the preferred way to go. However, to accommodate a multi-head system, it would be totally impractical to have a motor at the bottom. It would mean a separate motor for each tool which kind of defeats the purpose of a multi-tool trimmer.
PowerLoad String Feed System
Those of us who are familiar with the EGO Power+ PowerLoad system know how wonderfully easy it is to replace the line on the bump head. You simply feed it through the holes on the side of the head and press a button to electrically wind the string onto the spool. Perfect results every time, in a few seconds.
The EGO Power+ MST1603 has a much more compact bump head than the previous model, which is great in so many ways. Your 16” clearing path is now much more effective and the trimmer is easier to use.
To improve the bump head dimensions, the PowerLoad electric motor, used to wind the string onto the spool has been eliminated. Instead of using a small electric motor in the head, the new model uses the main motor at the top of the shaft, which makes much better sense.
Carbon Fiber Shaft
I can’t help it, my inner 10-year-old is totally blown away by the carbon fiber shaft. That’s right, the EGO Power+ MST1603 string trimmer has a carbon fiber shaft. This is a material that was initially developed for the space shuttle for its extreme strength, durability, and exceptional weight properties. Gradually, over many years, aircraft manufacturers, Formula one teams, and an elite few high-performance cars started using carbon fiber.
To think that a manufacturer of garden tools, however great they may be, has chosen to use the most advanced material on the planet to construct a shaft for a string trimmer is as amazing as it is totally crazy. This is an insanely expensive material and probably contributes quite significantly to the high price tag attached to the EGO Power+ MST1603.
On the plus side, carbon fiber has the best strength-to-weight ratio. As a result, the MST1603 weighs only 9.5 pounds, not including the battery. Even with a 4AH battery, the total weight is a mere 14.3 pounds, or 12.3 pounds with a 2.5AH battery. Carbon fiber also reduces vibration which is great for user comfort.
Probably the greatest advantage of using carbon fiber is its near indestructibility. EGO offers a lifetime guarantee on the MST1603 shaft. Many, many years after the string trimmer has given up the ghost, the shaft will still be as good as it was the day it left the factory. I’m not too sure what value this brings. Perhaps your great, great-grandchildren can use it to ward off an attack in a future zombie apocalypse.
The carbon fiber shaft is complemented by one of the best handle designs. As this is a multi-head machine, you’ll be reconfiguring the handle when you change tools. The handle position for a pole saw won’t be the same as for a string trimmer. The tool-free handle adjustment clip makes moving the handle into position super quick and easy.
Multi-Head for Multiple Tools
Although the EGO Power+ MST1603 string trimmer is quite expensive, you’ll save quite a bit if you use any of the many tools available. If your tool shed is cluttered with saws, an edge cutter, a string trimmer, and a bunch of power garden tools, you’ll certainly appreciate the multi-head concept.
One high-quality motor that powers a myriad of tools is great for saving both space and money.
The Bottom Line
As one of the more expensive string trimmers, it’s understandable that many folks will be more than a little apprehensive about hauling out the cash to pay for the EGO Power+ MST1603. The EGO brand is not cheap and there’s a good reason for this.
Establishing a premier brand is expensive. A lot is invested in R & D, as well as customer support and quality control. Manufacturing tools of the highest engineering standards, using high-quality materials is also expensive. Obviously, machinery in this class is going to cost more.
I’m all for durable, well-made equipment and am willing to pay for it. I’ve always appreciated this in the long run. Quality tools are an absolute pleasure to use and a durable machine won’t let you down. When you have an issue, it’s always reassuring to have the backing of a good brand behind you. You want to know that you have genuine customer support and that you will be able to get spare parts years down the line.
EGO provides an exceptional 5-year warranty on the MST1603, which kind of says it all.