(Troy-Bilt provided this product as part of my membership in the Saturday6 program, but they do not control the contents and opinions of this review)
One great benefit of being part of Troy-Bilt’s Saturday6 is that I’m given the chance to try out and review their latest, greatest products. When I visited Troy-Bilt’s world headquarters last Spring, I was most impressed with Troy-Bilt’s entire line of new, Lithium-Ion battery powered products. Several things caught my eye — the first of which was this electric hedge trimmer.
A cord is saved
I have long used a standard electric hedge trimmer which came with a long cord (and sometimes an extension cord to get to the further reaches of my yard). My garden really isn’t big enough to justify the expense and complications of a gas powered hedge trimmer, so I have been “making do” for years. One of the biggest problems with my current trimmer is something I am sure you have all experienced. Your attention is focused on your work — trying to make a nice, neat hedge — and suddenly sparks fly in the air. Yes, I will freely admit that I have cut my extension cord with my hedge trimmer on more than one occasion. When I ask if others have done the same, the answer is almost always a very sheepish, “Yes.”
A cordless device like this new battery powered one from Troybilt makes my gardening life much, much simpler. Just using it out in the garden today I caught myself suddenly worrying about the cord and then just as quickly realizing I didn’t have to worry anymore. I also don’t have to haul around 50-75 feet of extension chord — which never fails to get wrapped around plants, trees, sprinklers and a cat or two. Without that annoyance I can focus fully on my work.
That said, there are several other reasons to like this hedge trimmer. First, the blade is almost 1.5 times as long as my current trimmer. With an entire front yard of geometric plantings of azalea and juniper, the yearly trim can take quite a long time. This longer blade will cut down on that significantly. Also, this longer blade allows me to create straighter lines, both on the sides and tops of the short hedges. I can do in one pass, what used to require 2 or more and each pass was one more opportunity to mess up my nice, straight edge.
Weight and Batteries
Even with the large Lithium-Ion battery, the TBHT57 weighs almost exactly the same as my older, wired hedge trimmer. I am sure that advances in manufacturing and plastics over the years have helped Troy-Bilt shed a few pounds so that the battery didn’t make it a too heavy to carry.
The same battery that powers this unit can also be used for the TB57 Battery-Powered Cordless String Trimmer / Weed Trimmer and the TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw (which I will be reviewing in about a week). If and when you decide to purchase one of these products, you will also need to purchase the Lithium-Ion battery and charger system as a separate item. I think this multi-use system is a good idea as it is rare that I need to use all the devices at the same time, so I don’t need to have a separate battery and charger for each device. That said, if I wanted, I could purchase extra batteries and chargers and send out a whole crew to work.
In my initial tests, battery life seemed great. Using the hedge trimmer for an hour barely reduced the battery charge by one indicator light. I didn’t notice any reduction in power over the use of the unit, but only further, longer use testing will give me a feeling of exactly how long the battery will last. As it stands now, though, it feels as if the battery will more than outlast my tired arms when hedge trimming.
Speaking of my arms, I didn’t find the weight of the unit to be too out of line with other trimmers I have used. Holding your arms at a rather unnatural angle is part of hedge trimming and I found this unit easier to use than my existing trimmer.
Another issue of using a hedge trimmer is vibration. It only makes sense when you have powerful machinery oscillating a blade at high speed. Still, this unit vibrates less than anything else I have user used. After an hour of using my old trimmer, my arms and hands would still feel like they were shaking. With this unit, my arms might have been a bit tired from the work, but I didn’t have the usual tingling sensation. This is something I truly won’t miss.
I am looking forward to using this hedge trimmer for years to come. It is a significant step up from my current tool and the added convenience of the battery power is something that I have wanted for a long time. If you are in the market for a hedge trimmer, I think you would be well-served by this product.