We have a lot of yew hedges. We would like to use electric hedgetrimmers to benefit from the low vibration and noise levels but are put off by the length of leads required on our site. We have considered small petrol generators, but would like something quieter. Is there a battery pack that can be used with electric hand tools? Or is there another solution?

Using a generator to power the hedgetrimmers is the obvious answer but I appreciate that in some gardens the noise and emissions - however low - are not acceptable. And where there is a considerable amount of trimming to do, often with limited labour, non-powered tools such as hedging shears are also out of the question. That brings us to battery power.

Yes, I know what you are thinking - 10 hours' charge for 40 minutes' use and low power. It is often the case that "cordless" tools give insufficient running time for the commercial user. However, I believe there are two products that may be worth investigating. Both are new and we hope to put them to the test before the next nesting season.

Echo Tools has just taken stock of what it says is the world's first battery-operated, commercial-grade hedgetrimmer. The DHC-30 has been designed to be extremely lightweight, at just 3.5kg. It also benefits from low vibrations, quiet operation and no emissions.

It is powered by a high-performance 12V sealed battery in a backpack. The battery is rechargeable and offers up to five hours' continual use. The commercial-grade cutter is 75cm long and single-sided. For safety, both handles have operator presence controls.

Echo believes this hedgetrimmer is a must for all noise-sensitive areas such as schools, hospitals, office buildings and cemeteries. The DHC-30 has a suggested retail price of £299 ex VAT.

The second machine is a domestic unit but it could prove useful if you have a few high bits to trim and want to keep both feet on the ground. The Sabre Cut Long Reach Cordless Hedgetrimmer is part of Flymo's re-chargeable power-pack system and comes with an extendable length and articulating cutting head to adjust between -10 degs and 90 degs.

The 24V battery pack is worn over the shoulder and strapped around the waist. It requires an overnight charge and should give sufficient running time to cut 330sq m of hedge. Different heads convert the unit into a line trimmer, pole saw, cultivator, edger or blower.


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