Lots of homes have hedges in their back gardens that are two meters or more in height for privacy and noise reduction. The problem is that over time tall hedges can become quite wide and present a bit of a challenge to cut. If there’s less than an hours cutting it could be done with a battery tool but you are going to need either a good set of steps or a long reach hedgecutter to do the top. Here we review one of the cheapest battery powered long reach hedgetrimmers on the market at the moment, that would surely be a contender to take on the job. It’s a Chinese machine that can be bought on Amazon and ebay under various brand names and the one we are testing is branded as Terratek.
It costs £79 or thereabouts or you can pay £89 and get two batteries. It’s a 20V battery which looks tiny for such a long machine so I was glad we got the 2 battery model. The battery life was surprising though, getting about 30 minutes of light cutting out of each battery. Recharge time was reasonable, taking under an hour per battery. There is a simple traffic light system on the battery to tell you how much charge is in the battery by just pressing a small button on the unit. The machine feels very light if you are used to petrol machine, coming in at 3.5kg. It’s unbalanced though with more weight at the head end but it’s easy to get used to.
The shaft can be extended easily by unscrewing a knob on the handle and pulling out the shaft to an overall length of 2.4m, more than enough for the average hedge.
The cutting head angle can be altered by simply holding in the button on the side of the motor. It will go to a full right angle away from you but there is only one possible position coming towards you at about 35 degrees. Ideally I would have wanted more settings, but it’s still possible to make a decent job even with the limited angle options
To use, it is quite a change from petrol. Obviously no fumes and it’s a lot quieter, but there were also some less obvious benefits to battery power. The first hedge I tried it on required a 5m tower to cut the top and it proved to have several advantages over a two stroke in this situation. My method for this particular job is to climb the tower and then get someone to pass the machine up to me. With a double switch safety start, the machine felt a lot safer in transit to the top of the tower. (When I used a petrol machine for the same job I used to pass the machine up already running as I don’t like pulling the machine over in the cage at the top of the tower.) The battery model was certainly safer. The really big difference though is when you start stretching over the top of the hedge. That light pole certainly makes it easier on the shoulders. It also feels a lot less stressful as the machine is ‘off’ in between stretches and you don’t feel hassled to keep going by a two stroke running continuously.
I’d read some reviews of this machine saying that it jams with thick branches. I found that during nearly an hour’s cutting I only jammed it once and that was on a finger width bit of conifer. In normal seasonal cutting I don’t think this would be a problem. Quite what these reviewers were trying to cut through with a 20v battery model, God only knows. Obviously it’s not going to cut a hedge with a couple of years growth on it.
I found the machine cut through a seasons growth on a mature yew hedge with ease. It gave a surprisingly clean and gnaw free cut for a domestic machine.
Overall the machine is an economical way to maintain the average home’s taller hedges, but don’t expect it to have the same versatility and power as the petrol alternatives.