Following on from my recent trip to Mower Magic and post on Voltage vs Amp Hour rating (you can read it here). I just wanted to take a minute or two to go though my take on how much power different jobs around the garden might need with a cordless garden tool. Here are my recommendations of what garden tool voltage you may need:
Strimming (Light Grass / Edges)
18V – 24V: This will be enough for any trimming around lawn edges of grass up to around 5 inches. These strimmers are lightweight and easy to manoeuvre.
40V +: For larger areas of longer grass. The extra power will make lighter work of grass meaning you can cut more with each pass. These tend to have larger cutting widths and run thicker trimmer line.
Brushcutter (For Overgrown Areas)
A brushcutter is different from a trimmer as it has a straight drive shaft with gearbox at the bottom end. These can take more strain than a typical trimmer. They don’t have rotating/tilting heads for edge trimming.
36V – 40V: These are really heavier duty grass trimmers. Use with trimmer line, not a blade. Anything less powerful than these will not be suitable.
48V – 56V: Equivalent to lower powered petrol brushcutter. These can be fitted with a blade for tougher growth. In really tough / established / woody growth, you will need to use patiently. Don;t underestimate them though.
80V: On parr with some higher end petrol brushcutters, these come in both loop and cowhorn handle designs and are suitable for use with a solid metal blade or line trimmer head.
36V – 40V: Adequate for regular lawn growth and maintenance. Anything over an 18inch cutting width may start to struggle with added resistance on the blade. You may notice slower blade speeds when mowing longer grass or mulching.
48V – 56V: Plenty of power for most lawns and longer grass with relative ease. These mores come in larger sizes too and can cope with the extra cutting width. At the top end, these also have enough power to run separate drive motors in the wheels to offer a self propelled feature. They also have heavier duty decks for longer life. These are roughly equivalent to petrol versions of the same size.
80V: These are as powerful as many top end petrol engines and many models are built on the same steel chassis as their petrol counterparts. These come in a variety of options including with engine/belt driven self propelled function and heavy duty rear roller models.
18V – 24V: Suitable for cutting back fresh green / leafy growth. These will maintain a shape but will generally not be powerful enough to reshape a hedge.
36V – 40V: Can cope with some woodier growth and reshape lighter hedge species. Tooth spacing increases and they have around a 16-20mm cutting capacity. However you wouldn’t want to cut a whole hedge of this thickness.
48V – 56V: With a typical 20-33mm cutting capacity, these can cope with thicker more established grow. At this point these machines start becoming hedge-cutters rather than hedge-trimmers.
60V – 80V +: These have the power to cope with trimming and cutting back almost any hedge. Anything these won’t do, a petrol hedgecutter is also unlikely cope with. This is when you’ll need to get a saw or chainsaw out.
Wood (Chainsaws & Pole Pruners)
18V – 24V: Great for pruning cut cutting up thinner wood. Not suitable for felling or cutting larger firewood.
36V – 40V: Fine for cutting dry wood down to size, felling smaller trees, pruning. These are a nice balance of weight, bar length and power.
48V – 56V: Great general purpose chainsaws with enough power to turn their hand to pretty much any job you are likely to need to do around the garden. These are comparable to around a 25-33cc petrol chainsaw. They’ve got plenty of power to get though most wood even, denser or knottier material.
80V: These are a top power chainsaws. Often with 18in cutting bars, these are not toy. Weighted and balanced very similar to a petrol chainsaw, once in your hands you’d be hard pressed to notice any difference. Low noise, low fumes and significantly less vibration makes these a joy to use compare to a petrol saw.
Many of the manufacturers have ranges that share the same battery and charger for a range of garden machinery. Personally I would only buy something that had the potential to be part of a bigger kit. Buying an extra bare tool in a year or twos time, once you have battery and charger is significantly cheaper than any other petrol, electric or cordless machine alone. It is also worth sticking to brands with more of a reputation for longevity so you know there systems will be around in a few years time.
Here are a few of the best brands for different cordless tools.
Most Powerful – Stiga 80V (works with Mountfield 80v Mowers too)
NOTE *New into the market this year is a Greenworks 60V system that replaces their previous 80V system. Their previous 80V system is interchangeable with the new Stiga 80V platform.