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It's gardening season again, time to get out the lawn mower to give your garden a nice fresh cut, making it look as pretty as a picture. So once the grass is cut you look to the sides, noticing your bushes need a bit of a tidy up, so it's out with the hedge trimmers and the ladders so that you can get it all done at once in the hope of having a relaxing time once it's all done, (although you could do what I try and do, try and get the wife to do it). Sadly though, when you drag the hedge trimmers from the shed you notice that, for some strange reason, the blades have turned a dark shade of 'browny red', then you realise that it's not such a nice colour, it is in fact rust which has caused the metal of the blades to actually fuse together, making your trusty hedge trimmers only fit for the big garden in the sky. Well, that's what happened to me anyway, forcing me to go out and get buy myself another set if trimmers, and the one I found I though was going to be a bit of a darling to use, especially as the price tag was a little more than I'd usually pay. But as it was on offer and it promised ease with using and a perfect finish for your bushes I though 'why not..? I'll give it a go'. Although now I wish I hadn't as it was more a hassle than it was worth. This particular hedge trimmer has the famous brand of Bosch etched up on it with the full name for this one being the 'cordless Bosch AHS 54-20 LI 36V 54CM Hedge trimmer Firstly though, let me give you a run down on the hedge trimmer itself before I tell you why I had so much hassle with it... It has a good little engine inside it, or motor anyway, being a powerful 36volts and running of a 1.3Ah battery pack. It has a blade length of 5400mm which is long enough for most garden hedge cutting, plus, these blades are laser-cut/diamond ground,(apparently) and can cut up to 25mm thickness, according to the destruction manual, and, although I've not really cut through anything that is an inch thick, it's made mince meat of branches that are pretty close to it, without any hesitation at all. And, to top it all, the blades can be used in a sawing motion to get through those thicker piece in the garden. It has what they call an 'anti-blocking' system, which basically means that know matter what you cut through, with in reason, just won't block up the blades. The battery, which slots on the underside at the rear, is a 36V lithium-ion battery which is suppose to give up to 50 minutes of cutting power, although when ever I've charged it up to its full capacity I've never got anywhere near the promised 50 minutes, more like 30 minutes at a push which is long enough to cut through my bush, (easy now, don't be rude). It takes about an hour to charge up fully and is designed to never self discharge, which means that once charged, no matter how long the trimmer is sat in the shed, the battery should keep the charge it was left with. The entire unit, with battery fitted, weighs around 3 and a half kilos, which is a bit on the weighty side if you have to hold it for a period of time. So that's what it is and the many positive sides to this hedge trimmer, but sadly, there are several cons to this one as well which, for me, make it not worth the high price that they are asking for it. My opinion... This is, on paper anyway, a remarkable hedge trimmer which, as it is battery operated, can get right down your garden without the need for those extension leads that you end up plugging together to get to the end of some gardens. Sadly though, for me, I found this one to be very tricky to use with the safety features they've stuck on it. I do have to give credit to the anti blocking action which is pretty remarkable, as anyone that has ever had there hedge trimmer trap itself on a 'thick' piece of hedge knows when the blades stop cutting and you have to go through the usual ritual of unplugging, getting you flat head screwdriver and pulling the teeth apart, will understand. Plus, the sawing action that allows you to cut into thicker branches which does come in handy sometimes. There is a guard on the front, where the blade goes into the main body, which protects your hands from any flying debris that may come flipping back at you, which is a good idea in general. But it's the other 'safety' features that have made this a horrid thing to use: the way that you have to hold both the handles in order for this to work, so there's no way you can hang from a the top of a ladder, gripping the rung with one hand whilst cutting the tops of your bush with this trimmer in the other hand. But these good points don't make this device worth the hefty price tag, which is way too much considering that you'll spend more time trying to find a pair of step ladders long enough to get above the hedges you want to trim as you can't use these above head height in a comfortable way. It is designed to protect the user, and it does a great job in that, but it goes a little too far in the way that I felt I needed a third hand to actually use this to cut any slightly higher hedges without getting the ladders from the shed. The safety switch are on both handles, so that you can't use this with one hand holding it above your head to get at those higher bushes, which is a bit of a nuisance and a little bit 'too safe' in my books. It can only be switched on when the safety switches are pressed, which is what makes this more of a hassle to use than anything as you really need three hands to use this one properly. For me, the health and safety brigade have gone over the top on this one, making it pretty useless in my opinion, and an absolutely waste of space for people who have trouble holding things in general. In all, safety has taken over ease of use, which is not good at all really if all you want to do is trim your bushes without studying yoga for three years first. So what about this hefty price tag then..? Get ready for this... To get your hands on this piece of over the top Health and safety bit of equipment you're going to have to dig deep into you're bank account as this will cost you around the £150 - £200 region... I know, that's a lot of money for the hassles this one has given me since buying it. In fact, I did try and take this back to the shop that I bought it from after I'd used it a couple of times but, as it wasn't 'faulty' I was refused a refund, which was annoying let me tell you. In the end I sold this to a friend, which he thought was a bargain, until he used it and realised why I'd sold it to him at such a low cost... and to be honest he's not spoken to me for a while: maybe I should give him a bell to see if he's still a friend? Would I recommend this? Well, if you don't mind taking twice the time to cut your bushes then waste, I mean spend your money on this then. But if you want to get your bushes cut in minutes rather that hours then go for a totally different modal, one which doesn't have a full Health and safety certificate plastered all over it that is more hassle than it's worth. I actually regret buying this one and wish that I had had the chance to try it out first as I'd have then kept my money in my wallet, maybe even using a pair of scissors to trim my bushes instead. ©Blissman70 2012
"Driven by a high-performance 36v (1.3Ah) lithium-ion battery, the Bosch AHS 54-20 LI provides all the power of a petrol machine with none of the associated hassle. The battery charges-up in just 45 minutes and gives an impressive 50 minute runtime; and thereâs no memory-effect or self-discharge. This ultra-lightweight hedgecutter (only 3.5kg) is easy to manoeuvre and is equipped a set of 54cm diamond-ground, laser-cut blades for a sharp, clean cut, with minimal vibration. FREE DELIVERY NEXT WORKING DAY! BOSCH CORDLESS HEDGE TRIMMERS HAVE A 2 YEAR WARRANTY."