If the lion is the king of the jungle, the lawnmower is certainly king of the back yard. But just as there are certain areas that the mighty lion can’t stray (such as up a tree, down a rabbithole or in the fiddly bits around those gnomes on your lawn), the lawnmower simply isn’t suited to every job.
Step forward brushcutters and grass trimmers. This handheld double-act has made the gardener’s life a doddle since their inception, allowing him to tackle stubborn and inaccessible areas that a mower can’t hack. The former is best suited to whipping long, unruly and dense patches of undergrowth into shape, while the latter excels at trimming borders and rounding off edges that the clumsy mower can’t cope with.
There was a time when battery-powered brushcutters and grass trimmers were more trouble than they were worth. The inefficiency of batteries of yesteryear meant that machines would run out of juice not long after being switched on, while even the limited capacity they did have was incapable of providing the same power as petrol machines.
However, the advent of the lithium-ion battery has changed all that. This revolutionary technology now allows industrious gardeners to strim and hack at high intensity levels for longer, with many models offering far in excess of an hour’s operation time for their batteries. This means that gardening enthusiasts can now avoid the inconvenience of noisy petrol motors (with the uncomfortable vibrations and polluting fumes they bring) as well as dispensing with the hassle and the restricted reach of trailing power cords. Run free, landscaper!
Bosch have cultivated a reputation for high-performance, high-end gardening equipment and with that in mind, it’s little surprise that their GFR 25 is the top choice for cordless models in terms of power and battery time. With 36V batteries and a running capability of 90 minutes (chargeable in just 42 minutes), the GFR 25 is an environmentally- and neighbourly-friendly alternative to petrol models.
On the other hand, the GFR 25 is quite a hefty piece of kit, weighing in at 6.5kg. A lighter model (with a more attractive price tag, to boot) is the Husqvarna 536 LiL, an energy-efficient model which offers a wider cutting circle (33cm to 25cm) and 25% improved efficiency stats compared to its competitors. As such, it represents a more budget-friendly and versatile option for the gardener whose needs aren’t too demanding.
As well as dominating the market for brushcutting machines, Bosch are also at the forefront of the grass trimming industry. Their ART 23 and ART 26-18 models both offer 90° rotation on their cutting heads and lightweight frames (2.7kg and 2.5kg, respectively) allowing for easy portability and full movement. Compared to the brushcutter model mentioned above, battery time is significantly reduced, but this is reflected in the price difference and what’s more, it should still be adequate for most home gardening jobs.
Bosch aren’t the only kids on the block, though. Oregon’s ST250-E6 model is a dual trimmer and edger with a motor capable of 7,000rpm, meaning it’s more than a match for the vast majority of cutting requirements around a residential area.
Elsewhere, Honda has entered the market with their HHTE38 BE model, which is one of three different machines all powered by the same battery. Homeowners who already own a Honda hedge trimmer or leaf blower might do well to plump for this one, since the lithium-ion batteries can be used interchangeably and will save on expense and storage space. Depending on whether the 2.0 Ah or 4.0 Ah battery is employed, users can expect a running time of 28 or 39 minutes before recharging is required.