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Going Electric

I've decided to take the plunge.

I currently use an FS131R for strimming and long reach hedge cutting and occasionally for use with a pole pruner.

It's a beast of a machine and too powerful for most of the strimming work, but although heavy, eats long grass and tough hedges.

I will always want one as part of my kit.

However, I've made the decision to invest in a cordless FSA90R.

I would go for the FSA130R, were it not for the need to wear a backpack or battery on a belt.

The run anc charge times with an AP300S and AL500 charger are impressive and I love the idea of no more engine maintenance, fumes, cord pulling, petrol and oil purchases, in fact the only downsides are less power and only dry weather working, but as long as the old petrol FS131R is in the kit, not a problem.

Once I've invested in the battery and charger which will cost about £340in total, I'm going to go for either an HLA65 or HLA85, both cordless long reach hedge trimmers.

Has anyone experience of either of these cordless long reach hedge trimmers? Know of their pros and cons? Same too with the cordless FSA90R trimmer, what do you think of them?

Thanks in advance.

Have a great weekend


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  • PRO

    Hi Will, the FSA90 is a good machine and since getting it about two years ago I rarely have to resort to a petrol strimmer.....I don't carry one in the van any more, 'just in case'. It has been soaking wet quite a few times without issue.

    I think you have to decide which one will benefit you the most out of the two hedge trimmers. The HLA 85 is really good when it comes to those just out of reach bits which are really annoying. The down side, for me, is that I find it heavy and unwieldy to use for more than a short time. The 65 feels lighter and more nimble for sustained use. If I could only have one I think it would be the 65 purely because it gets more use.

    • yes the 2 long reachers both do something different, you need both really lol. i was using the hla85 the other day purely to keep away from the choking dust which comes out of certain hedges sometimes. i could have used the smaller one but would have been breathing it in so the larger one enabled me to avoid it

      • Thanks Jim and Billybop.

        It sounds like I'll end up getting both the 65 and the 85 in the end.

        Will go with the 85 to start and use along side my petrol HS56, with a view to getting the 65 later in the year.

  • Hi Will, I've always used the km units with the hedge cutter attachment. I'm Starting to collect cordless stihl. I got the hsa86 last month. I brought the hla85 yesterday, I used it to cut a 6ft tall yew hedge and then a 8ft tall laurel hedge. I found it quite a workout on the biceps cutting the sides , but on the top with most of the Weight on the cutting head it felt almost weightless! Oh what a thing! I did find the motor to get in the way of sight though. Saying that I feel so clean from not using 2stroke.


    The FSA 90 has the electric motor down by the strimmer head and I have heard reports from guys on the local council parks dept. that they break easily. The FSA 130 has the electric motor where the petrol engine should be with the drive down the shaft and a gearbox at the strimmer head just like a normal petrol strimmer. The FSA 130 is a much stronger much more pro item. I have one with the AR3000 battery backpack.

    The backpack battery feels like it weighs nothing once you are wearing it. You don’t notice it once you are strimming and the FSA 130 is very light and so is very manoeuvrable.

    The battery strimmers eat battery run time. I think you might find that just using an AR300 will not be good enough. If like me you use thicker more pro grade line [Stihl 3mm square] then run times will be nowhere near quoted figures. The AR3000 is supposed to do up to 7 hours with the FSA 130. I can only get 2 hours. I reckon that with an AR 200/300 you would be down to 10 or 20 minutes.

    I also have the HSA 86 and the HLA 65. They are both really excellent machines. They will go through anything my HS 56 C-e will. The battery run times with the hedge cutters are as stated. Both machines will do two and a half hours trigger time with an AR 200. The AR 200s are the sweet spot for the hedge cutters as they are close to the AR300s in run time but cost less and crucially weigh much less.

    The HSA 86 and HLA 65 both come as a package deal with two AR 200s and an AL300 charger at a very good price [less dealer discount]. You effectively get the second AR 200 at half price.

    If you are using either of the above hedge cutters then you need an Easy Lift Harness. I always mention this in my posts about hedge cutters as I can’t understand why more gardeners don’t use them. With the ELH the hedge cutter or pole cutter weighs nothing. Yes, nothing. The issues mentioned about aching arms are not something I ever experience. Yesterday I spent three hours using the HSA 86 and the HLA 65 along with the ELH and at the end of it my arms felt just the same as before I started. With the ELH all you have to do is to ‘steer’ a completely weightless hedge cutter. Buy one and it will change both your life and greatly improve your long term physical wellbeing.

    • yes can confirm that the FSA90 if used in anger will empty a standard AP battery quickly. i have about a dozen of the ap300 or [very similar capacity] ap180 packs so it doesnt bother me as on the jobs i use it for I am in no danger of running out, i like the relatively light weight of the fsa90 and dont use a shoulder strap.mine is the R model with the loop handle

    • That's really useful. Many thanks.

      I might look into the harness to use with the HLA85 as if it's ever at full reach it'll be heavy.

      I remember reading somewhere that someone had created a mechanical arm that he has fixed to his ladder, and uses it to swing the trimmer about... sounded like a good idea if you were certain you were balanced ...

      I also see what you mean about the FSA90R being susceptible to breaking, as you are effectively knocking the motor against the ground every time you release more line... if the 130 would allow the battery in the back end I'd opt for the extra power.

  • I have all 3, can't recommend the hedgecutters enough, fantastic bits of kit. The fsa90 I use is with the cowhorn bars, I find it easier on my back, it took me a while to find the right balance as with the motor down on the floor it's very bottom heavy but now I'm used to it it's great. Battery wise using the adjustable speed control I normally see around an hour of use from an Ap300s 

    • Looking at the HSA 86 hedge trimmer now, looks impressive.

      With long reach and strimmers it doesn't seem as important about balance in respect of battery weight.

      I own a HS56c-e petrol hedge trimmer and it is perfectly designed with regard to balance.

      Has anyone got a HSA86 with an ap300s in it? Does the heavy battery make it seem really unbalanced and if I purchase should I stick with the recommended ap200? Thanks to Vic575 who has already touched on this ... and to everyone else for their advice. Invaluable as always.

      • I've recent switched (from Bosch) to HSA 86 hedge trimmer with the promotional 2x AP300. I also bought the battery belt, but cut through the cable (not in normal use, but in complicated bits where I had the cutter at a very unusual angle and wasn't thinking). I'm retirement age and don't do physical work for a living, so not representative, but actually I was surprised that AP300 didn't cause too much of a problem weight-wise, but given that hedge cutter has best run time (compared to battery strimmer & blower) I am buying an AP100 for where my arms would last longer! and a new belt/cable for any other kit I buy which won't be susceptible to being chopped. But I am avoiding all Stihl models that only work with cabled connection as most of my jobs are put-down/pick-up rather than continuous

        I find the HSA 86 a beast, which is helpful for getting through the work, but I am looking for another model where I need finer control such as Box parterre.

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