The HL100K features Stihl’s 4-mix engine, which is the four-stroke engine that works on a mixture of petrol and oil. It’s just like using the old two-stroke — so there’s no need to worry that someone will forget to check the oil — but it’s kinder to the environment and the user. We reckon it symbolises a new chapter in engine development, although there is a slight penalty in terms of weight.
The first difference is the tone. Instead of the high-pitched scream associated with two-stroke machines, the 4-mix engine emits a more pleasant acoustic pattern. Then there are the emissions, or should we say lack of them. Emission levels are low, but it’s not because the machine is underpowered. This machine gives a high-torque performance and a first-class cut, even on the heavier material.
At the sharp end of these machines, the case-hardened, double-edged blades reciprocate to give an efficient bi-direction cutting action. The result is a high-quality finished cut. We find it useful to be able to keep the engine running with the cutters disengaged but we also find that the head end on the HL100 starts to feel weighty after using the unit for about 20 minutes. You might want to use a harness with this one.
“It’s a lovely machine and the handle adjusts, which is useful, but after a while the balance seems a bit heavy towards the blades and it gets tiring working above your head,” says one tester. He reports that vibration is minimal.
The cutter gearbox on both machines can be adjusted to different angles from 0? to 90°, but the choice of angles within that is stepped to give nine different positions. One of our testers finds this restrictive but, in the machine’s favour, it’s easy to set the angle — just loosen the lever and pin, then pivot the head to the desired position and re-tighten.
Stihl offers long-reach hedgetrimmers in a total of eight different formats. Two shaft lengths are available. The longer one enables a reach of around 2.5m and the shorter, K-designated models reach around two metres.
Each model is offered with one of three different interchangeable cutting heads — the options are for heads that are straight, angled at 30° or adjustable up to 90°.
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