Last summer we tested the Al-Ko Easy Crush MH 2810 garden shredder, which helped to deal with old branches. But where do they come from, branches? Attacked from the sky? Yes, but not only. Here is the answer:
This is a generator of cut branches. Known as a brush cutter, this hardware complex is designed to trim old (and not only) branches. Why a “complex” and not just a brush cutter? Due to a separate supply.
|Model||HT 4245 Solo by Al-Ko Power Flex|
|Type||electric hedge trimmer with external battery|
|Number of strokes (rpm)||1200/1500|
|Bar length||450 mm|
|slice thickness||28 mm|
|Battery type||PowerFlex 42 V / 7.5 Ah, Li-Ion|
|The weight||about 3.5 kg|
|Price||RUB 20,790 at the time of publication of the review|
The brush cutter is packed in a long box. Long – because the instrument itself is like that, more than a meter in length.
Attached to the hedge trimmer… Yes, nothing is attached. In addition to the protective cover put on the tire and the plump manual book.
At first sight
The tool does not require assembly, the brush cutter is ready to use out of the box.
The design of the brush cutter is clear at first glance: two metal plates of a frightening appearance have teeth with scissor sharpening, and one of the plates (lower) reciprocates relative to the upper, fixed plate. In fact, this is the scissors.
The fixed plate is covered from above with a plastic protection, which consists of rare teeth twice as long as the teeth of the cutting plates. This not only reduces the risk of limbs getting under the cutting surfaces, but also protects the metal cutters themselves when working close to the ground or near walls. Another protection is a small plastic screen that separates the tire from the body with the motor and gearbox. Small cuttings and chips that can fly off from the processed branches beat into this screen.
Unlike chain saws, this tool will be convenient for both right-handed and left-handed people – the brush cutter is absolutely symmetrical, the main arc-shaped handle can be taken with both the left hand and the right. By grasping it, the operator thereby presses a protective blocking switch, made in the form of a red protective bracket recessed into the handle. This is a smart design: the motor only gets power while the operator holds the brush cutter by the main handle. It is worth releasing it – the blocker will snap off, the internal contact will open and the engine will instantly stop.
The operator’s second hand rests on the second handle, which has controls – a mode change button and a latch-latch for adjusting the position in the range of 180 °. Such adjustment is necessary for the convenience of holding the tool when processing all hedge surfaces: horizontal and vertical, at the bottom and at a height, near and hard to reach.
The brush cutter receives power through a connector located at the end of the rotary handle. This socket accepts the plug of the cable coming from the harness with the battery installed.
We foresee a fair question: why was the external power form factor chosen, for what reason the battery cannot be connected directly to the brush cutter? The answer is obvious: weight. The average person will not be able to hold this tool at arm’s length if the weight of the battery is added to its mass. Frankly, even without a battery, you can’t wave this brush cutter heartily: after 10-15 minutes, your hands will need to rest. And for someone in a minute, it depends on fitness. And no wonder, because almost all the work with a brush cutter is done on outstretched arms.
Unfortunately, for reasons beyond our control, testing was conducted with existing Energy Flex series batteries, and not Power Flex. This does not affect the performance of the brush cutter in any way, the voltage is the same. Batteries of different series differ only in capacity and case design. But the power supply system – the actual cable coming from the battery case – is the same. So, the length of the one and a half meter cable, which stretches from the battery bag suspended from the belt, is enough to pull the tool in any direction, to any length and height. It will even stay.
The accompanying multilingual manual contains detailed safety information, which is given the most attention. There are also drawings-diagrams that clearly explain the design of the tool. It should also be noted that there is a detailed description of the methods of processing hedges, for example:
- Always trim the sides of the hedge first before trimming the top. This way, the cuttings will not fall into the areas that have not yet been processed.
- Hedges are always cut in the form of a trapezoid. This prevents the lower branches from being exposed.
All control of the brush cutter is carried out by two switches. The first one, which plays the role of a blocker, is built into the handle-arc and is activated, one has only to take it. The second control is a button that turns on the engine. Pressing the button again changes the speed of the motor and, accordingly, the reciprocating movement of the cutting toothed plate. The brush cutter can operate in two modes, Eco (1200 strokes per minute) and Power (1500 strokes per minute).
The tool always turns on in the last selected mode. At maximum speed (Power), the green LED is on.
The rotary handle has three fixed positions, and during the processing of a bush or hedge, you will certainly use all three. Otherwise, it just won’t work, the human hand can’t turn inside out. Moreover, the main “default” position will be used less often than others, because in the “brush on top” position, you can cut only horizontal surfaces located below the level of the belt. But in practice, all processed horizontal surfaces are at shoulder level and above, which means that you need to turn the handle to the left or right, depending on the direction of the cut.
Yes, safety again. Any cutting tool makes you remember about it every second, you can’t be distracted. How can you not wear clothes with hanging details – scarves and other ties are a priori prohibited here. Particularly cautious may use a protective mask or goggles. Although the brush cutter does not throw branches, small particles may well fall from above if you are cutting overhead.
We have repeatedly mentioned the concept of “hedge”. Indeed, it is difficult to come up with another use for this tool than cutting and trimming a hedge – thick and dense, creating a continuous, even surface. Finding such vegetation in our latitudes is quite difficult, almost impossible. But even if you find it, the summer is over, and instead of greenery there are bare branches. Though not spectacular, but this does not prevent us from evaluating the functionality of the brush cutter. Simply put, you can’t level it with a manual pruner, no need to try. Even if the pruner is long enough.
But do not expect that you will achieve a flat surface after the first pass with a brush cutter. He is not a laser sword, not the entire length of the tire contains a cutting surface. It will be possible to achieve a perfectly even cutting of a shrub only after two or three even wires with a tool, and the direction and angle of the cut should be the same. The main difficulty that makes it difficult to evaluate the result of the work is the branches and twigs, which often remain in their places even after they have been cut. Especially when a horizontal surface is processed.
In the photographs of the brush cutter, you can see that the distance between the sharpened tire cutters is quite rather big, reaching up to one and a half centimeters at the base of the teeth.
This distance determines the maximum thickness of branches that can be cut with a brush cutter. It is more convenient to cut off such branches with the very tip of the tire, where there is a large distance between the plastic safety teeth. And the thicker the branch, the longer it will take to saw it.
Assessing the autonomy of a brush cutter is not an easy task. To do this, it would be necessary to launch the tester with the tool into some kind of greenhouse or garden, where there are tens of meters of hedges. And lock it up there until it’s all cut off. We honestly tried to “land” the battery, even by almost idle work, cutting off thickets of dry reeds. By the way, it is cut with this brush cutter just amazingly. True, it will not work under the root – you have to bend down.
But all that was achieved was that the hands were tired to stiffness before the battery showed a drop of at least half the capacity. The brush cutter turned out to be quite economical, unlike the studied chain saw . However, this tool is more suitable for frequent, regular, small in volume and short-term work. Still, three and a half kilograms on outstretched arms.
Apparently, it is due to the tangible mass of the tool that vibration is practically not felt during operation. It would seem that a serious steel knife, running back and forth two centimeters, is simply obliged to lead to vibration. But for some reason it doesn’t.
Another valuable feature: quiet operation. Any loud tool is doubly dangerous, but this brush cutter seems to rustle with a metallic echo, without a hint of the screeching and ringing that a saw makes, for example. At a distance of 15-20 meters it is difficult to understand that this is an electric tool. You definitely won’t bother your neighbors.
Charging the Energy Flex series battery, which we used during testing, takes a little over two hours. It is likely that the larger type of Power Flex battery takes longer to charge, as these batteries have a higher capacity.
The brush cutter requires almost no maintenance. Due to the fact that the metal parts work tightly against each other, no debris remains between the teeth. Lightly brush with a brush – that’s all care.
However, one important factor still needs to be monitored. Namely, sometimes lubricate the cutters, paying special attention to the areas of the grooves with the bolts holding the metal plates together.
Long-term storage of the brush cutter is carried out according to the scheme standard for all power tools: in a dry, non-freezing place, protecting the tool from dust with a breathable cloth and lubricating the knives with anti-corrosion grease.
The Al-Ko HT 4245 brush cutter is a handy, safe, powerful and economical tool. Due to its narrow specialization, it can only be evaluated by the owner of the hedge. Even, perhaps, not a hedge, but a long and high living fence.