Black & Decker Lithium Ion Hedge Trimmer

I recently bought a Stihl string trimmer from a local hardware store.  While I was shopping for that, I was looking for a lithium ion hedge trimmer too.

not a lithium ion hedge trimmerI’ve been considering buying a lithium ion hedge trimmer because keeping up with all the trimming that needs to be done using the giant scissors style trimmer is getting to be a real burden.  So I haven’t been doing it.  So things are over-grown.  And now I REALLY need a better way to trim.  Power cords are a pain on a large property and gas power is heavy and noisy.  Lithium Ion batteries are a big improvement over the older NiCad batteries.  That seems a viable solution. lithium ion hedge trimmer stihl HSA 66I was thinking about the bottom of their line Stihl battery powered trimmer.  But it’s $220 and says not to cut anything bigger than 5/16” with it.  It uses an internal battery that cannot be swapped out easily, and it’s heavy.

A friend loaned me his Black & Decker battery powered hedge trimmer to test out.  I used it yesterday, it did okay.  Would not cut stuff bigger than 1/4” or so, but powered through the smaller stuff and the 18 volt battery lasted around a half-hour.  Maybe a little more: I wasn’t timing it.  It was quiet, light, and easy to handle.  I was pleased.

I went on to see what the B&D lithium ion hedge trimmer costs.

lithium ion hedge trimmer reviewsThe model Tim owns, and is happy with, has been replaced at least twice with newer models.  The current model: the LHT321FF is $89.00 and is equipped with a 20 volt Lithium Ion battery (which, incidentally, is the same battery my cordless drill uses, so they would be interchangeable if I needed to work a long time – like say an initial trim-up).  It’s rated to cut up to a 3/4” branch with it’s Power Command button, which switches the cutter action from a steady reciprocation to a punch and rest stroke.  It rates well: (currently) 82% of the 117 reviews are 5-star.

lithium ion hedge trimmer ratingsThe model that the above replaced: the LHT2220, uses the same 20 volt Lithium Ion battery but does not have the Power Command button technology.  It does say it will cut up to a 3/4 branch (probably not hardwood) and because it’s on close-out is marked down to $67.00 from it’s original $85.00 price.  It also rates well and is listed as the Top Seller in this product category.  Features include:

  • 22-inch dual-action blades cut branches with 40 percent less vibration
  • Powered by 20-volt MAX lithium-ion battery, with longer lifespan and charge retention than NiCad batteries
  • Up to 3000 square feet of actual hedges trimmed per charge
  • Quickly cuts branches up to 3/4-inch thick
  • 2-year limited warranty; includes battery and Energy Star-qualified charger

lithium ion hedge trimmerI did a product comparison, which identifies and displays other products by this manufacturer with similar features and similar products by other manufacturers in the same price range in a side-by-side table.  There aren’t many others in this price range.  That is often a red flag for me: that product may be junk if no one else is offering one in that price range.  But I’ve already tested a B&D trimmer (an older one with only an 18 volt battery) and the reviews of the newer ones are overwhelmingly positive.

I should mention that a “bare” version is also available for around $50.00.  This comes without the battery and charger, so if I wanted to use my drill battery on the trimmer I could get off even cheaper.  But I like the idea of having two batteries — and my drill is around 7 years old.  It’s still going strong, but …

Other brands start at just over $100 and go up over $300.  Some of these may be worth the extra money if you need an commercial quality trimmer.  I don’t.  And just for comparison, that Stihl I saw for $220 had a 36 volt battery but far less cutting capacity.  It may be that the Stihl is more robustly built and will run reliably for a lifetime.  Or it may be that I’m paying a premium price for a premium name and the products are not all that different.  I’ve always been happy with the Black & Decker tools I’ve bought.

I’m going to order the Black & Decker LHT2220 lithium ion hedge trimmer while they’re still available.

Because we use Amazon Smile, my purchase will also result in a no-cost-to-me donation to Tennessee Valley Golden Retriever Rescue.

Trimmer Testing

My lithium ion hedge trimmer arrived yesterday evening, so I tested it out today.

I was a little concerned that the 20 volt Lithium Ion battery in my Black & Decker drill is orange and white and the battery shown with the hedge trimmer is dark grey and orange: they may not be as interchangeable as I hoped. But: No Worries.  Both batteries fit both tools and both chargers, and neither one blew up when I put them in the other’s charger.  Always a good thing!

I found that the hedge trimmer will easily cut through branches up to about 3/8″ in diameter – unless they’re like, white oak or something.  The 3/4″ cutting capacity stated on the product listing refers to the gap between teeth, not what the trimmer will slice through.  So it will cut a 3/4 inch thistle or milkweed stalk, but not hedge branches. It *will* cut through softwood branches up to about 1/2″ but not all at once: it has to chew on it a bit.

I ran the trimmer with the new battery for about 40 minutes: doing some pretty heavy trimming too.  When that battery died I swapped the batteries and got another 25-30 minutes with my old battery, and lighter trimming.

When I was all done and both batteries were on chargers, I went down to fetch the mail and stopped in at my Mom’s house.  She commented on how quiet the new trimmer was.  I explained “That’s because it’s battery power, not gasoline.”  I’m sure all of our neighbors wish I’d switch to battery power in more of my grounds maintenance equipment!

About Doug

Jesus follower, writer, gardener, Sci-Fi fan, Beagle herder, occasional author, mountain man. My dogs think I'm a super-hero.

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