Review of the Husqvarna 120iTK4 extended hedge trimmer.
I have never considered reviewing garden tools before as I've always thought that it could be a pretty dull subject as all gardeners tend to use very similar tools, so the subject is hardly likely to be groundbreaking, However, given the amount of high hedging in and around my garden in Essex I finally decided to treat myself to an extendable hedge trimmer. In previous years I've tended to run the rather precarious gauntlet of trimming tall shrubs and hedges with a ‘corded' electric hedge trimmer, whilst balancing on lightweight steps. Running the risk of breaking my neck during a fall, notwithstanding, it has also resulted in several cuts through the electrical cord itself and painful shins from trying to wedge myself into as stable a position as possible against the aluminium steps. This all takes place with a ‘sinking' feeling as the legs of the said step ladder gradually disappear into the surrounding soil. So, this item to my mind was way overdue!!!
After spending quite a few hours researching cost, which type and brand to invest in I decided (following a further recommendation from a relation), to buy an ‘Eco-friendly' Husqvarna 120i TK4 battery powered hedge trimmer. Initially ‘out of stock' due to supply problems brought about by the HGV driver shortage. I did have to wait several weeks for it to come back into stock at my local garden tool supplier but finally I took delivery. It was quite daunting when I saw the thickness of the operator manual that came with it, which was 547 pages! It was with some relief then that I realised only the first 18 pages are in English. So, after a quick ‘whizz' over the manual in true male, ‘of course I've read the instructions' fashion, I was ready to go out and design some amazing topiary.
Weight and dimensions
The device itself appears well constructed and very quiet during use. Including the battery, it weighs in at just under 6kg with most of that weight split between the cutting head at one end and the battery at the other end of the device, however as the reach is extended the balance of weight naturally shifts towards the cutting head.
I purchased the hedge trimmer with the mid-range battery (BLi20) but it does come with a bigger battery adding around 90 quid to the whole package. Run time increases with the top of the range battery but so too the weight, but not by much.
During my first usage I was using it intermittently for around 90 minutes as I was constantly checking shape and taking short breaks. During this time the battery usage only went down to 50%, so it appears to support good practical usage over a sensible period time.
The cutting blade is 50cm long which is one of the longer blades on the market for this type of tool and it'll cut through stems up to 15mm thick. With the Pittosporum shown in the images the trimmer was reasonably effective at full stretch, although when moving over the shrub the branches were not always trimmed cleanly as they are when trimming much closer to yourself, but this should improve with practice.
In terms of reach, the device is about 2.8 metres, (tip to tip) when fully extended or just over 9 feet in old money. I'm just under 6 feet tall but given that the battery end is mostly held at waist height I estimate that the real-world vertical reach is around 11 to 12 feet from the ground. You can obviously lift it slightly higher but that really does make your arms and back ache when using over longer periods.
With reference to the weight that I mentioned earlier, I did have to take regular breaks when using it fully extended, as I felt the device presents quite a bit of stress on the arms and back, even when using the shoulder strap. Although this was relieved slightly when I was levering it against my own body, and this should be a consideration when purchasing this kind of device.
Anyway, I took some comfort that at least I hadn't paid good money to be holed up in some ‘sweaty' gym getting the same sort of workout???
Surprisingly, the petrol-powered hedge trimmers in Husqvarna's range don't weigh much more and when the battery is taken into account, its roughly the same. As I wanted a cleaner, quieter, more ecofriendly option, a battery solution was my driver.
Another thing I learnt was that when trimming tall shrubs, as in the case of this Pittosporum, you must step back every so often to check the shape, as you can't easily see what you're doing being so close to the base.
The cost to me was just under £400 including battery and charger and there are other makes you might want to review first but overall, for me, it's been a good purchase and hopefully the results show what can be achieved and with regular usage I'll have arms like Popeye!
First results don't look too bad eh?