Stihl Compact Cordless range at Wisley Gardens
Stihl is a German company who are more known for their professional range of powered gardening tools, especially their chainsaws. More recently their reliability and performance has been shared with the domestic user.
The new cordless range includes a chainsaw (MSA 120 C-BQ), hedge trimmer (HSA 56), strimmer (FSA 56) and leaf blower (BGA 56). All of these tools are powered by 36V Lithium-ion batteries. The batteries come in two different sizes.
The AK10 has a Watt hour (Wh) rating of 59Wh and the AK20 is rated at 118Wh. The chainsaw and leaf blower comes with the AK20, whereas the strimmer and hedge trimmer are bundled with the lighter AK10. You can, of course, purchase any of the range without battery and charge – just opt for the ‘shell’ option.
As well as making these tools relatively light, they are also a darned sight quieter than their petrol-driven stablemates. This is something even more important to you urban gardeners out there who have neighbours to consider.
There are a number of advantages to cordless garden tools when compared to petrol and even corded electric versions. I think the top one will be that you don’t have to consider the safety of the power source. With corded electric tools you obviously have the problem of where to plug them in safely and the constant danger that you will cut through the cable.
As for the petrol-motored tools, well, they use petrol don’t they? Lovely smelling, highly flammable petrol. Petrol tools are also very noisy and heavy. They can also be a bit of a nightmare to get started.
Those are probably best left for the professionals and experienced to use.
Stihl compact cordless power
All the tools in the new range comes with a charger and the battery. The chainsaw has a more powerful battery than the other tools in the range as it needs more grunt to gut through logs. Even so, Stihl claims lasts up to 35 minutes (around 100-150 cuts) of work.
The other tools have a battery with a claimed run-time of 40 minutes in the hedge trimmer, 20 minutes in the strimmer and 10 minutes in the leaf blower.
You can fit the larger battery in the strimmer or hedge trimmer, or the smaller in the others should you need to. You can also use the professional fast charger with the AK 10 and AK 20 batteries too.
Things such as chain tensioning and oiling have been simplified. Stihl have also released a number of tools that make maintenance easier. These include a two-in-one file and angle guide.
The chainsaw displayed seems perfect for taking branches off smaller trees, clearing shrubs and cutting logs. Weighing in at just 2.5 kg and perfectly balanced, it should be comfortable to use over long periods of time.
Strimmer / grass trimmer
The strimmer felt well-balanced, as did the leafblower, once the battery was inserted.
The strimmer has a fixed head and, thanks to the motor being placed at that end, does away with having to have a driveshaft running down the tool. The neat auto-spooling cutting cord comes in 40 meter lengths and so should last the average user quite a while.
The trimmer has an adjustable shaft to accommodate all heights of user. The handle position can also be changed to make using it even more comfortable.
The cordless hedge trimmer features teardrop shaped blades which, I am told, are more efficient for the task. This design pulls and traps small branches between the cutting teeth.
Naturally, Stihl offers a range of accessories to make your gardening tasks even easier. Hedge trimming? You would benefit from their Superclean Resin Solvent. This graphite and mineral oil based lubricating cleaner will unclog your cutting tool from that sticky resin build-up. There’s the chain oil I’ve mentioned before as well as the 2-in-1 EasyFile.
The EasyFile will not only sharpen the cutting edges of your chainsaw, but will ensure the depth gauges remain the correct height.
Stihl Compact Cordless range prices and availability
The range is available now and more details can be found on Stihl’s website.
- HSA 56 Compact Cordless Hedge Trimmer: £199 (inc AK 10 battery and AL 101 charger)
- BGA 56 Compact Cordless Blower: £199 (inc AK 20 battery and AL 101 charger)
- FSA 56 Compact Cordless Grass Trimmer: £199 (inc AK 10 battery and AL 101 charger)
- MSA 120 C-BQ Compact Cordless Chainsaw: £249 (inc AK 20 battery and AL 101 charger)