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When we moved into our new home we didn't realise how much work it would be keeping the seemingly endless hedge in check, so after hacking away for hours with my old hand shears I decided to bite the bullet and go electric. This was more than I wanted to pay but the lighter weight of the lithium battery seemed like it worth paying a bit extra to take the strain out of a prolonged cutting session.
The lithium battery is about half the weight of a traditional battery pack of the same power and although this is what makes the whole unit cost more it does come with some other advantages. Normal lead/acid or nickel battery packs like to be used so when storing over the winter they have often lost some of their performance when you charge them up for the next season and as they will discharge themselves over time even without use they will need a good long charge to get them to a usable state. Lithium ion batteries on the other hand keep their charge effectively when left for months at a time and so are more resilient when faced with a long period of no use.
As for the cutting unit, it is comfotable to hold for extended use and can be used easily at arms length without much effort. The teeth are well spaced so you can tackle larger branches and while it will sometimes struggle and jam it is a very capable machine and will cut through far more than you expect.
The big downside is the battery life between charges, at about an hour it could do with being a bit longer. That said an hour of cutting time actually means a fair bit more time when you add in the climbing of ladders so having the excuse of the battery being flat is often a welcome chance for a sit down with a cold beer before starting again when it has charged up.
For roughly the same price you can get a similar spec cutter but with two standard weight batteries so the choice is really between weight and length of cutting time. I'm glad I chose the lithium option as I now use this in combination with a large, long arm petrol trimmer for the wider sections of hedge and having two weight cutters to wield would be a real struggle at the end of the day.
Behind loud noise, boundaries and hedge disputes keep the council and police busy the most when it comes to neighbour disputes in England. For some reason any accidental infringement involving growth crossing invisible lines can send the nimbi's loopy. Recently a man was murdered because he refused to remove a small privet hedge that was three inches over on to his neighbours drive. People work all their lives to buy their own place and they are not in the mood to concede any of it. Its usually pompous men that once had good jobs and are now retired that take issue the most, enjoying being empowered by complaining and campaigning about things so to be relevant and express that lost authority now they are stuck at home with nothing to do.
Leylandii trees are the beasts that cause most of the rows, a permanent eclipse of the sun for some, and not cheap to get a lumberjack in to knock them down, up to a grand in some parts. Luckily our current neighbours are young and laidback on one side and old and needy on the other and so need for upset. If you do want to kill your neighbours Leylandii or offending shrubbery by the way then just whack a few copper nails in about two inches deep at the base and one month later it will fall over - probably on their house. Anti-social Brits by a mind-boggling 400,000 of these shrubs a year.
We don't have a Leylandii issue but we do have a rather large garden that has trees and shrubbery quickly taking over in the spring and so trimming equipment required and regularly updated. Gardens are like women and if you don't keep on top of the topiary then become undesirable. The couple next door are young professionals and so buy all the latest garden machinery to keep their patch clean and if something noisy can be deployed to do the simplest of jobs then they will have purchased it, their latest gadget being a soil rotorvator! But we have a long rich green hedge that separates our gardens and like all good bushes it needs a good trim. We politely never used to cut the whole hedge top to risk not offending them when they first moved in and so it had a half Mohican if you like and looked rather silly. I would sweep the trimmer along but had to stop half-way in, which really used to annoy me, half finished jobs always a cause for irritation for me. But they are cool with it and now I can really get stuck in and give it a buzz cut, flat enough to putt snooker balls on.
Now that the old hedge cutter has given up and the band mechanism inside rusted some it was time for a replacement, the Bosch AHS. It's a cordless baby and so flexibility the appeal and get can right into the job, the lower part of the hedge often tricky to get at with flex jobbies as you tangle or risk cutting through your power supply, quite a few extension leads needed in the old days. You also risked falling over the cable when you sheared through a wasp nest. Admittedly I attack the hedge more like Leatherface than Edward Scissorhands although I am contemplating some hedge sculptures next year. I suspect a peacock is beyond me although I can't rule out a Lock Ness Monster. In fact if I tried to do any sculpture it would end up the Loch Ness Monster.
It's a gnarly old hedge in places and so this type of tighter tooth blade the Bocsh is equipped with enables you to hack off nearer the root and so not just a leaf cutter. But this baby really came into its best when applied to a rather large Holly tree we have that is pretty difficult to trim because of the spikes, spikes always the biggest irritant in any garden. Because it was cordless I could thrust that baby in there and attack from the guts outwards, Yellow Finches and Wood Pigeons flying everywhere!
-Product Features from the Amazon site-
* Powerful 18V Lithium-ion battery
* 48cm blade length with 15mm tooth spacing
* Laser cut, diamond ground blades for vibration free sharp clean cutting
* Patented 'Power Tech' blade system (anti-stall system), reverses blade action
* Lightweight ergonomic design with soft-grip handle, dual handed safety switching
The lithium bit is the battery, which recharges from the mains in the downtime. The blade has big noisy gnashers like Janet Street Porter and decent power to massacre a hedge like an Apache helicopter. It's not that heavy (two bags of sugar) so you could use it one-handed if you needed to thrust it in a hole or a tricky spot (man job only). As I said, no cord means no risk of cutting into cable, of course. The anti-blocking system is pretty useful and helps you free the blade when you snag those chunky branches and brambles by reversing the blade, diamonded tipped no less according to Amazon. Sadly you only get around an hour from the battery and so a long hedge jobs needing a recharge. They say it will recharge in four hours but I'm two beers in by then. You can buy add-ons for the blade it if you are that way inclined.
-Battery info from the Amazon website-
* No self-discharge: Lithium-ion batteries retain their charge whilst stored (in cool, dry conditions), so the hedgecutter is ready to use--even if it hasn't been used in a while
* A compact and lightweight tool: The AHS 48 LI's Lithium-ion battery is 50% lighter than conventional batteries, but with all the power, making the hedgecutter lighter in turn.
* No memory effect: Lithium-ion batteries retain their full charge capacity and can be re-charged up to 4 times more than standard batteries
* Fast charging: Say goodbye to 24 hour charge times--the AHS 48 LI's Lithium-ion battery is fully charged in 3 hours.
Although it feels flimsy sometimes when the blade is working hard I have had no problems with mine so far. The battery is the heaviest part and so hard on the forearms holding this for that hours battery use. It's safe to use and not too noisy and stacks away nicely in the garage. Cost wise it's around $100 (my keyboard pound sign doesn't work) new and about the retail norm according to Amazon. You can buy them in all good hardware stores although it is well priced on Amazon, where I got mine using my valuedopinions.com survey rewards. I suspect there are equivalent models that are cheaper but this did the job so why shop around?
The Bosch Lithium-ion Cordless Hedgecutter is durable due to lithium-ion technology, lightweight and well balanced for comfortable working at any angle. With tooth spacing of 15mm it is convenient for use in trimming most hedges.