Stihl Compact Cordless leaf blower and strimmer review

stihl-strimmer-leaf-blower-and-gloves-tableAfter seeing the new Compact Cordless range launched by Stihl at Wisley Gardens, I just had to get my hands on them for review.

That might sound like a strange statement from someone in to their geekahol but I do have previous. I wanted to become a gardener as a career choice. My work experience from school was working with the local Council’s team who looked after all the parks in the area. I really enjoyed it but my crippling hey-fever was a minor problem.

Flash forward to now and, finally, at my London home I have a little garden. I have started to revisit my love of plants and, when I can, attempt to maintain my little green place.

Most of the kit I have is either manual (spades, shovels, rakes, shears) or I have acquired them from the local ads (lawnmower, long-handled loppers). So, the need to test some up-to-the-minute garden tech was strong.

Stihl arranged it with my local dealer, Seddons in Waltham Cross, for me to collect some PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) as well as the blower and strimmer. So, I spent some time in the garden.

Stihl Leaf Blower – BGA 56

I have to admit, when it comes to leaf blowers, I have always felt the same way as William Shatner in his duet with Henry Rollins: “Leaf blowers. Is there anything more futile?”

The fact is, it is Autumn and with it comes those seasonal tasks that can be done quicker with the right tools. The most persistent job is collecting and getting rid of leaves.

I have a tendency to let the leaves fall and then, when the trees are almost bare, rake them up and put them in the garden waste.

stihl-leaf-blowerBGA 56 Compact Cordless Blower review

This year it was time to try something different. The Compact Cordless BGA 56 blower is much lighter than the industrial one I used at the council.

This is a rechargeable battery powered leaf blower. The friendly and helpful folk at Seddons took me through how to use the blower, but it is truly a simple piece of equipment.

As long as the battery indicator is showing a good charge (just press the button on the rear of the pack) and the battery has been pushed in to the handle firmly, you’re good to go.

It is worth mentioning at this point that the battery has two positions. The first click is for storage, but the battery isn’t engaged. Give it another push and click and then you are good to go.

As I am storing these in an outside, locked unit, I have removed the batteries as it’s getting cold on an evening now.

Lightweight

The blower is really light. In fact, remove the battery and it feels like there’s almost nothing there. That’s not to say that the blower is flimsy.

The body of the BGA 56 is well put together and the extendable nozzle does take a little bit of a firm hand to adjust, but I like that.

I was also blown-away (pun intended) by how powerful the blower is, but how relatively quiet it is in operation. My little plot took almost no time at all and clearing the borders were the best bit.

I usually leave them as getting leaves from in between plants is just too fiddly if I don’t have a lot of time to spare. With the BGA 56 leaves were cleared in a breeze, as well other bits of detritus.

The battery lasts for around 20 minutes so it’s good for quite a few runs through my garden.

FSA 56 Compact Cordless Grass Trimmer

Part of the PPE I picked up, as well helmet, boots, gloves and over-trousers, were some safety glasses. Having had some experience with petrol-driven strimmers I know how easy it is for bits of wood and stone to get thrown up. Better safe than sorry folks.

The trimmer, like the blower, is adjustable. The shaft is telescopic so you can make it shorter or longer depending on your height and what feels comfortable.

The FSA 56 weighs 3.3kg including the battery. A lot of that weight is from the cell but the trimmer is remarkably well balanced when the battery is fitted.

The battery has the same double click system as mentioned earlier.

Tidy

stihl-strimmer-in-useWhizzing around my borders took no time at all.

I have bricks as well as those log rolls to mark the edges (most of which are hidden in the photos) so breaking the trimming line does happen. Unlike some strimmers the Stihl one does not have a constant feed. Instead, you simply tap the trimming head on the ground and some more line is allowed out. After doing this a couple of times it becomes as natural as reloading your weapon in Counter Strike.

Battery life seems to be even better on the trimmer and it was still showing three bars after my quick test. This included doing the side and front of the house where weeds like to appear.

My only grumble is that the head on the trimmer cannot be positioned vertically as some others can. For me it’s not a deal breaker, I just thought that I’d better mention it.

Well built

This being the second tool I’ve used from Stihl I am beginning to see a trend. The build quality and materials appear to be top-notch.

These are designed to be used outdoors and tackle regular jobs. Let’s face it, you don’t want something that will fall apart after one season. The Stihl equipment will last for years by the feel of them.

Stihl blower and trimmer review conclusion

Let me kick off by saying, I love not having cables on my garden tools. I now look at my aged Flymo as a relic from a bygone era.

The blower and trimmer I have tested are not only powerful but lightweight. Them being adjustable to suit different people is another plus point.

stihl-leaf-blower-strimmer-and-glovesYou may be able to find cheaper alternatives out there but I dare say that they will be lacking in power, build quality, or stamina – most likely all three.

If you’re serious about your garden, or simply want to make garden maintenance a little easier, you need some Stihl Compact Cordless love in your life.

Price and availability

The BGA 56 blower retails at around £199. The RRP for the FSA 56 Grass Trimmer is also £199. You get a AK 10 battery and AL 101 charger in the bundle.

The protective clothing is available separately.

Thanks to Stihl for the opportunity. Please check out their website for more information.

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