Saturday, July 21, 2012

Choosing The Best Cordless Hedge Trimmer

The reason why people like cordless hedge trimmers so much is because they offer so much portability for one thing. Another thing would be that a power cord could possibly present some problems, not only do they get tangled up, they also make you have to backtrack your steps to fetch more cord. One always has to throw it over things or swing it around things. Then, there is always the possibility of some hazards. One could accidentally cut through the cord while using a hedge trimmer. We could possibly see that on "A Thousand Ways To Die" some day. I saw a clip already that is very closely related... some guy was being really very stupid with his electric chain saw. He was trying to impress his hot milf neighbor and ended up impressing the cutting chain into his neck. I will have to spare the details about it to avoid getting us side-tracked here. It's just not about what we're here for anyway.

This is why it just seems so much more practical to go cordless - wait a minute, I'm sorry... I have to stop laughing first. O.K, I'm good now! I couldn't help but to start thinking about how my first sentence most definitely applies to that poor guy. O.K, back on track here... One can go cordless in one of two ways... first, there is the cordless electric or (battery powered) units and second, there are the gasoline 2-cycle or (petrol powered) machines. It is these petrol units that are the most versatile because they can go anywhere and do anything. However, depending on your requirements or usage, a battery unit may be more practical. In this article, we will have a look at the different applications for using hedge trimmers to see which type would most likely be the best choice for your particular landscaping needs.

There is really many pros and cons to consider before making a wise purchase. It is best to focus on the size of the landscaping that needs to be done. How many hedges are there? How tall or short are your hedges? Is it a commercial size property or a really small residential one? Another thing to focus on would be the operator or (user) of the trimmer whether, it be a woman or a man? How tall or short? Will a young teenager be using it? Because in this arena, it would be the size and weight of the hedge trimmer that would matter. Also, you may want consider how safe the trimmer would be to operate for a particular user. Most definitely, especially for the kids, a small battery compact unit is not only the lightest of all, it is also the safest and it is a single hand held unit as well. These are great for all the really small jobs like shrubbery and grass trimming. They typically come with two attachments, a 6 inch shrubbery shear and a 4 inch grass shear. The overall length of these particular models are only like 12 or 14 inches, this would be with the longer 6 inch attachment.

First, let's have a look at the size of the real estate or the amount of "yard-work" at hand to determine which type of trimmer would be best suited for the job. For a small to medium size property, a battery powered unit would be the best overall choice. However, in the event that some of those hedges are really kind of tall, then you would want to have a long reach or "pole-type" hedge trimmer to get to the top of those particular hedges and it doesn't matter which category you prefer because these are available in both the (battery and petrol) type hedge trimmers. Therefore, choosing between one or the other simply happens to be a matter of personal preference. The battery powered units are the lightweights in the group or perhaps I should I say... they "weigh" the least. Also, it really wouldn't matter at all who the user will be however, these are (most ideal) for women and adolescents. Anywhere from a tall man to a short woman will definitely appreciate just how easy it is to maneuver one of them. Typically, The shorter the user, the shorter the blade length you would desire. This would be a good rule of thumb to follow because a trimmer with a shorter blade length is going to be lighter and easier to maneuver also.

For the fairly big residential or commercial properties, a petrol machine would be the most practical choice since there will most likely be a lot of hedges to trim and it is likewise that at least some of the hedges will be tall and most of the stems that you come across will be thick, depending on the layout of the landscape, of course. Along with the long reach concept, you will probably want to be prepared for that with an extension pole to go along with your split-shaft or (split-pole) trimmer. A Split-shaft hedge trimmer is one that has a pole or "shaft" that is of two separate pieces and they just snap together to become as one assembly. There is a drive-shaft that runs through the center of each pole, just as on any straight shaft (single-pole) trimmer. Now, on this split-pole design, there are two drive-shafts, one that runs along the inside of each pole and they are mated by way of male/female ends at where the poles are divided or "split". The poles and drive-shafts become as (one unit) when they are assembled together.

At the one end you have the engine, handles and throttle, this is the operator half of the hedge trimmer or the (user end) and at the other end, about 6 or 8 feet you have the cutting bar, this the work-load half of the trimmer or the (attachment end). What makes the split-shaft design really cool is that not only can you put a variety of attachments on it for all kinds of different uses but, in this particular case, you may want to put an extension pole "in the middle" for a total reach of about 12 feet or more. That's right, the extension pole has a drive-shaft that runs through it too, so now there would be a total of three poles and drive-shafts in the assembly. Now I think you're "seeing what I'm saying"! We're going to get up to the top of those "Tall Boys" with this thing now. Woo-Ho!

Then also for these larger lot size jobs, you will need to use a petrol trimmer of the good old fashion non-pole type. People have asked me, "is there an advantage to using a double-sided blade hedge trimmer over a single-sided one"? FYI... A hedge cutter with double-sided blades, has blades that are on both sides of the cutting bar. Well, the best answer I know of is... "yes but, then again no! - it really is just a matter of personal preference" as you will soon find out here. Typically, single-sided cutters have quite a bit longer blades. You can find one like up to 44 inches long and that's just the blade or "bar" length! They are also lighter in weight however, because the blades are "typically longer" this really is not by much in "some cases". Typically, they're as much as a couple of pounds and more lighter. Consider that if you're using a 30 inch single-sided blade compared to a 30 inch double-sided one, then this is most definitely going to be much less fatiguing on the user if he or she will have to trim hedges for even a short period of time.

Most of them come with a debris catcher or "flapper" as I've heard them called. It runs along the length of the cutting bar on the opposite side of the blades. This is really great for making the clippings run down the side of the hedges for much easier clean up work when you're done. Hedges just look a lot better too without the clippings all over them. I particularly like this feature myself. To me it's like, who would want to walk away from having had a hair-cut with all the clippings still on their head?. Now when it comes to the double-sided hedge trimmers, the job seems to get done quicker as you sweep back and forth with it. Also, they facilitate getting into tight areas that need to be cut, like under or in between things much easier and faster. Now, you may or not have such "tight spaces" to be trimmed on your property to be concerned about this. It is the professional landscapers that invariably prefer the double-sided hedge trimmers. I'm sure it's because they're always in such a big hurry to get to the next job-site. All things considered, which would you "prefer"? Maybe to compare prices I suppose?

There is an interesting feature to consider when it comes to which model to choose from. This applies to both battery and petrol. Single-sided or double-sided blades, it doesn't matter which when it comes to this one but, a really smooth operator is the double reciprocating blades as opposed to one blade being stationary. Don't get confused by the term "double reciprocating blades" because this really is "somewhat" of a misnomer. In the first place, how can anything "double reciprocate"? In the second place, perhaps it really should be coined "reciprocating double blades". Actually, just plain "reciprocating blades" I believe would be the BEST nomer of all. Everything else simply implies that consumers will be getting "double" something and to me it just sounds like a "sales pitch"! Truth is, you will NOT be getting (double anything)! Allow me to clear things up here a little bit. All hedge trimmers have an upper and a lower blade. This is what makes them "double-bladed", in the (first place).

You will be getting a great deal on reciprocating blades only, you will not be getting anything double like the term "double reciprocating blades" leads you to believe. O.K. Let's get back on track here... on a typical "humdrum" hedge trimmer, the lower blade will remain stationary while the upper blade sweeps over it. This design works very well primarily for short term use. That is, if you won't be using your trimmer for more than say... 20 to 30 minutes at a time. This "one blade being stationary design" is really not a bad idea for this kind of infrequent usage. Keep in mind that, they get the job done just as much as any of the "double reciprocating blades" hedge trimmers do! However, I'm sure you've used a push lawn mower before, likewise a self-propelled one perhaps. Needless to ask, have you noticed how your hands feel like their tingling after you've finished mowing the lawn? It feels a lot like they're still on the handlebar of the lawnmower while the engine is running right?

This "reciprocating" idea happens to be a very cool option that you can go with to minimize this effect. I like to think of it as a "vibration damper". This option or feature has to do with how the blades work. On a hedge trimmer that has double reciprocating blades, again don't let this confuse you here, both the upper and the lower blades are moving and they move in the opposite direction to and from one another, (reciprocate). What this does is, it offsets the "shaking" that occurs when just one of the blades move and not the other. You may consider this as a kind of equalizer as this has a balancing effect because both blades counteract upon the other one's sudden STOP! to go (back the other way). This is the same principle as a harmonic balancer and flywheel on a car's engine. This allows you to do your job longer without feeling like your hands have had enough already or still vibrating after you're finished with the job. To say the least, this feature minimizes the effects of fatigue due to "blade vibrations".

Now again, when it comes to the vibrations that your hedge trimmer gives off, there is one more important feature that is not a commonly known item. That's because it is hidden from the consumer. It is not a (reason of why), as a lot of things are... this one happens to be a (matter of how) it is hidden. What I am talking about here is (half cranks) and (full cranks). You will want to know which type of "crankshaft" is in the machine that you are interested in buying "before you buy it" and the only way to determine for sure is by disassembling the engine to find out which type of crank it has. Simply pull the (cylinder and head assembly) away from the crankcase and have a look to find out. Not so easy to do? That's how it is hidden, who can possibly do this prior to buying one? Then again, who wants to? I would be inclined to ask the merchant... "Let's Make A Deal" on this hedge trimmer, some kind of "if / then" deal... if you know what I mean. Perhaps, there will be a category for this on the show some day! "Which Crank is in the Case"? Again, I'm getting us side-tracked here.

O.K, This is the deal... pardon the pun, when it comes to the really small, as in lawn maintenance 2-cycle engines, they could either have a half or a full crankshaft. Now, the most common one, not necessarily the most popular one, is the full crank. This one extends from one end of the crankcase to the other and the piston's "connecting rod" is right in the middle of the crankshaft. The thing to keep in mind here is that this type of crankshaft is secured at both ends by the crankcase. Now when it comes to the half cranks, only one end is secured to the crankcase. What you have is, the crankcase on the one side of the crank (securing it in place) and the connecting rod is on the other side of the crank and that's it. The crank does not extend to the other side of the crankcase to be (secured in place), because it is only "half" of a crankshaft. I know, this really does seem a bit "off the wall" here. You're probably pondering, who and why came up with this... ? Just as I have.

Now, if you put in the effort to think about it, you'll begin to realize that a 2-stroker, which naturally has (one cylinder) really doesn't need to have a full crank in order for it to work. I sure that they're adequate for all things considered... the engines that they are applied in and for the blade design, which would be a product of the "load" on the hedge trimmer. The reason for this design I believe was primarily to lower production costs because you definitely won't find one in the higher price brackets like, beginning around 0 and up. Anything priced at 0 or more should most definitely have a full crank in it. So if you are shopping within that price range, you should be inquisitive as to what you are actually buying. I just thought I would give you this token... "heads up" here. I really wouldn't want you to be having to "Make A Deal" with some merchant somewhere. I will tell you this much that I know so far, is that Ryobi makes a lot of half crank motors and Echo, I'm only 99 and 44/100 percent sure, that they only manufacture full crankers.

Anyway, this leads us to see that it is the price-tag that would be the (advantage) with them. Well, the only thing I know for sure about the (drawback) would be the vibration and I shall explain this in a moment. Now, I have heard that half crank hedge trimmers are "harder to start". I remember this was off the internet somewhere I believe... anyway, I really wasn't going to mention it in this article because I believe this is merely someone's "speculation" and I really don't care to spread any rumors. As I see it, All 2-strokers can be hard to start and there just isn't any reason at all for half crankers to be "harder to start". So if you here it, don't let it throw you. Needless to say, I have decided to include it in this article because I just wanted to say "don't let this throw you" because it is just someone's unfounded theory about half cranks! Then again, this is only my opinion however, by way of "reason" and I am willing to bet that they are not "harder to start" indeed. O.K, I think I'm getting us side-tracked again here... seems to be a lot of that going on in this article!

This design is still well balanced just as any of the "full cranks" are. The crankshaft's lobe still weighs as much as, and counter-balances the piston and connecting rod assembly. However, the crankshaft still isn't "secured" to the other side of the crankcase. This is indeed the reason behind the "engine vibrations" because the crank really is not as (stable) with this type of configuration. Crankshafts tend to "twist and untwist" or to (bend and unbend), however you wish to see it. This occurs when they are spinning at very high rpm (rounds per minute). This is due to the crankshaft pushing the piston and then, the piston pushes the crankshaft. This keeps going back and forth and this is the "twisting" or bending part. The crankshaft untwists whenever the piston is @ TDC (top dead center) and again @ BDC (bottom dead center) because this is where it "unloads" at just before the pushing reverses direction. Without the crank being secured at (both ends) in the crankcase, this twisting and untwisting which translates to "vibrating" can get to be a little bit more than ordinary.

By all means, I'm not saying that it is a bad idea to buy a half crank motor of a hedge trimmer or that is a bad design for that matter because it really isn't. Also, there is something important to consider about having one for the much lower cost. For example, let's say that you have a small size property and that it usually takes no more than 30 minutes to trim all of your hedges plus, the fact that you only trim them twice a month. Would you really want to invest in a more expensive (full crank) machine for this kind of light-duty work? That's exactly what I'm talking about and 20 minutes or so of a little engine vibration shouldn't fatigue anyone too much anyway. The same thing applies to the double reciprocating blades, if you really don't need it then why spend the extra money to have it? If a half crank hedge trimmer will suffice your needs then by all means, buy one!

Now when you really think about it, for a property of this caliber, wouldn't it be more practical to buy a battery powered hedge trimmer? They do cost much less and are far more light weight you know, (easy to maneuver). Plus, I just don't see that you will need all of that extra power that you get from a petrol motor unless, those stems are pretty hard to cut through! So in this case, it really wouldn't be the optimum choice here. Also, the neighbors wouldn't complain about engine noises or exhaust fumes and smoke that way. Therefore, cordless electric sounds like a smart buyer's choice to me.
As I mentioned earlier, there is just so many pros and cons to weigh before making the best decision on which type of cordless hedge trimmer to purchase. First, take a look at the scope of the work to be done. Second, consider the size of the user that will be doing it. Third, don't get in a rush to buy one... focus on what would be the most practical choice. Have a look at the many different makes and models and don't think of getting off cheap if there is a feature that you feel would be a great match for the task at hand or for the long run. You can get online and type in "Brand and Model X reviews" in the search engines. Always read any reviews that happens to be available.

Well this raps everything up in this edition of my article. I hope that you have enjoyed reading it and that I have armed you with some valuable information to help you make an informed decision on your future purchase. All you need to do now is just a little bit of homework and I know that you will find the best practical cordless hedge trimmer that would be the most compliant for your particular landscaping needs.

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