The market for battery tools is massively growing and battery technology constantly improving. A little while ago, Makita introduced a 36V battery hedge trimmer. It had one big 36V battery.
But with around five million 18V batteries already in use in Makita tools, it makes sense to harness the power of two 18V units, giving customers the opportunity to buy tools as "body only" and use their own batteries. That is exactly what Makita has done with the DUH551.
The advantages of battery power are instantly clear when we squeeze the trigger on this machine — zero emissions and very little noise. A belt is available to carry the batteries if you want to go further and enjoy the benefit of low weight. This model also benefits greatly from variable speed control via an easy-to-use dial.
A trigger time of around 1.5 hours is possible with the DUH551, depending on the condition of the hedge and the blade speed selected. Charging time can be as quick as 22 minutes on the 3.0Ah (80 per cent in just 10 minutes) or 36 minutes to fully charge the 4.0Ah. A four-bank charger is offered for hard workers wanting to charge four batteries at a time.
Overall, we find the DUH551 a quiet and smooth runner, well-balanced and with an easy-to-use, five-position, rotating rear handle.
Blade length 55cm
Max branch diameter 18mm
Max output 320W
List price £305 + VAT (body only)
Tel Makita UK — 01908 211678
Tested this issue
Hyundai HYT2622-II & HYT2318
Stihl HS 82 RC & HS 82 T
Makita EH7500S & EH7500W
Makita DUH551Z Twin 18V
Makita UH5570 & Makita
Stihl HS 87 R
The Review Panel
Matt Handy, senior gardener, Cannington Walled Gardens, Somerset
Claire Prangley, gardener, Cannington Walled Gardens, Somerset
Cannington Walled Gardens are looking superb. Lying within the grounds of a medieval priory, there is tremendous atmosphere at this site, complemented by classic and contemporary features such as the "hot" herbaceous border, blue garden, subtropical walk and Victorian-style fernery. There is also a botanical glasshouse.
The gardens have a long history, but what we see on the ground today has been developed since 2004 and was officially opened by HRH the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, in 2009.
In the gardens, both separating and linking the various spaces, yew hedges are now ready for a trim. What will be best for these young hedges? We ask the gardening team to test out some of the newest hedge trimmers available on the UK market, including battery, electric and petrol-powered models. Conditions on the day of the test were hot and sunny.