"Now that’s what I call a hedge trimmer," exclaims Prangley as she finishes testing the HS 82 RC. "It’s a bit of beast but it cuts very nicely."
She swivels the handle through 90° to the left and then right. "It is comfortable in horizontal and vertical cutting positions," she adds. Handy also likes it but suggests it is too "man" for the hedges we are cutting today.
Upgraded with Stihl’s 2-Mix engine, these machines are more eco- and cost-efficient. Emissions are reduced by up to 50 per cent and fuel consumption cut by up to 20 per cent compared with their predecessors. They are also lighter, a benefit for any hedge trimmer user.
Both machines have double-sided blades in a choice of 60cm or 75cm for a quick bi-directional cut. But recognising that some people need to cut and others need to trim, Stihl offers the units in two versions.
The R, having 38mm tooth spacing, thicker blade with slower stroke rate and special gearing to deliver more torque, is for rougher, dense vegetation that needs cutting back. The T version is for a fine finish of tender young growth and ornamental hedges. It has a rapid stroke rate, narrow blade profile and narrower 30mm tooth spacing.
Handy notes: "They have really thought about the covers. These machines are well protected with a snug cover so debris can’t get in."
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.
Model HS 82 RC/HS 82 T
Engine 22.7cc 2-MIX
Output power 0.7kW (1hp)
Blade length 60 or 75cm/60 or 75cm
Blade type Double-sided
Tooth spacing 38mm/30mm
Weight 5.5kg (60cm) and 5.7kg (75cm)/
5.1kg (60cm) and 5.3kg (75cm)
List price £459 (60cm) or £499 (75cm)/
£459 (60cm) or £469 (75cm) — all + VAT
Tel Stihl — 01276 417610