We have seen many cordless outdoor products, mostly string trimmers and some hedge clippers. It doesn’t even feel right comparing the Stihl HSA-65 to any of those prior experiences, so we won’t. But if you have a stack of non-working trimmers and other cordless outdoor products, put those reservations aside when you think about Stihl’s product. It doesn’t feel, look or handle like any of the other products we have tested. We prefer the 36 volt lithium platform for serious power, whether the tool is a circular saw replacing a corded saw or an outdoor power tool. To date, the smaller cordless units have not performed to our expectations in terms of battery life, performance and even in quality of build.
Weight of 36 volt batteries has always been an issue and yes the Stihl battery pack has heft, but Stihl also offers a system for hip mounting of its battery. The belt system incorporates a semi-rigid mounting plate that the battery case is attached to. A cord connects the battery pack to the tool using an insert that fits into the on-tool battery compartment. Thus, the user is freed from extension cords or with gas powered engines. Simply squeeze the safety handle then press the trigger and you are cutting. For longer cutting periods, you can additional battery compartments to the belt. Moving the battery weight to the belt instead of the tool certainly makes this tool more comfortable and less strenuous to use. Once the cordless chainsaw is released, this belt will come in handy as I plan on adding an additional battery to handle extended cutting chores.
The Stihl HSA-65 handles larger branches than we expected. The cutting bar features large well designed openings that allow it to slide through seasonal growth without binding or jamming. We tested the unit on foundation plantings and also larger hollies that are used to hide garbage dumpsters. Performance wise the HSA-65 is not compromised by being cordless. The lithium battery we tested with was a 2.2 amp battery, the small battery in Stihl’s line-up. We used the 300 model battery charger and it recharged the battery in less than 30 minutes. The battery is lithium based so you can expect a long life from it along with the other benefits of using lithium.
The HSA-65 trimmer is a well made tool designed for commercial use or for a large homeowner with extensive landscaping. The large clear blade guard offers a nice view of your work area and still protects the user from accidentally contacting the cutting surfaces during use. The 20″ blade is a nice size, easy to control, yet large enough to make quick work of your trimming needs. Blades are diamond ground and operate at 3000 OPM.
The HSA-65 is a winner. For those seeking to be green, no gas motor. For those wanting peace and quiet, no loud engine. If you are tired of being tethered to extension cords, none are necessary. For those wanting a professional appearance to their hedges, the HSA-65 delivers. Moving the battery to a belt is a nice feature and this is an option you should seriously consider purchasing. I also recommend picking up the 300 series charger as it has the on-board cooling fans that allow faster recharge cycles. We look forward to testing the trimmer and the chainsaw units when they become available since Stihl is a company we have come to expect superior quality products from.