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.
I’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. I 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 Amazon.com to see what the B&D lithium ion hedge trimmer costs.
The 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.
The 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
I 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.
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!