Stihl and ECHO each manufacture quality battery-powered yard tools including their durable hedge trimmers. But getting the most for your money when choosing between these brands is important. So which company offers the best hedge trimmer for the cost?
ECHO hedge trimmers offer more value and performance for the cost when compared to Stihl. Each brand provides quality and reliability but you get more for your money with ECHO.
It pains me a little to say this because I love my Stihl multi-attachment Kombisystem but I’ve done a ton of research on this and in comparing models based on what you get for your money when buying a hedge trimmer, ECHO is the winner.
Hedge Trimmer Feature Comparison Summary
|Feature||Stihl HSA 56||ECHO CHT-58V2AH|
|Battery||36V Lithium-Ion||58V Lithium-Ion|
|Blade Length||17.7 inches||24 inches|
|Teeth Spacing||1.1 inches||0.75 inches|
|Weight*||8.2 lb||11.5 lbs|
|Maximum Runtime*||40 Minutes||90 Minutes|
|Battery Recharge Time*||45 Minutes||30 Minutes|
|Warranty**||3 years||5 years|
** Represents consumer warranty – Professional warranties may differ
Here’s a breakdown of key points:
- The ECHO trimmer has a longer blade – 24 inches compared to 18 with Stihl
- Stihl trimmer is lighter at 8.2 pounds compared to ECHO at 11.5 pounds
- The teeth gap on Stihl is wider at 1.1 inches while it’s smaller at 0.75 inches on ECHO
- Battery life is longer on the ECHO, lasting for about 90 minutes with a 30-minute recharge. The Stihl battery lasts for 40 minutes but takes 45-minutes to recharge.
- ECHO offers a longer residential warranty at 5 years compared to 3 years for Stihl.
To be clear, this is not a fair comparison based on power and features. In some ways, the ECHO model is in a completely different class. But, at the time of this review, these models sell for about the same price so when it comes to getting the most for you money, it’s worth evaluating how much value you are getting with your purchase.
About The Companies
The first Stihl chainsaw was developed by Andreas Stihl in 1926 as a way to make work easier for people. Stihl has retained that value to this day, and they make a point out of helping people through their tools.
This company has more than 90 years of experience, and during that time, they have grown to become one of the biggest outdoor power equipment companies in the world. Their products cover different industries and user needs. Stihl is full of fresh ideas and technologies that make them stand out.
At its heart, it’s still a chainsaw-producing business, staying true to its roots. However, now they have expanded and set new standards in the industry.
ECHO, on the other hand, has been around since 1972 when it was founded by Kioritz Corporation in Northbrook. The name is just a few years younger, though. They originally imported engines and products from Japan, but then they changed their mindset and focused on producing tools.
The first product they sold as their own was a grass trimmer, but they soon included all sorts of tools into their product line. Mostly, these were outdoor equipment tools.
They are now one of the largest and most popular producers of outdoor equipment, and their growth has been extensive. This company also sets standards in the industry and sells its products to a wide net of stores and retailers.
Comparison Of Stihl and ECHO Hedge Trimmers
Let’s look at these hedge trimmers from each company and see how they measure up.
Product: Stihl: HSA 56
This is a consumer-grade hedge trimmer with a two-sided blade close to eighteen inches. It’s on the smaller side, which makes it easy to maneuver, especially in tight spots around the hedge.
Here’s a short video from the manufacturer on the product’s main features and benefits:
The HSA 56 is light and not too difficult to operate. The 36v battery that comes with it charges within 45 minutes, and you can use it for about forty minutes before needing another charge.
Of course, the amount of time you can use it will depend on the thickness of the hedge that you are cutting (the amount of power that’s being demanded).
There’s an optional battery that lasts for an hour and twenty minutes. However, it’s also heavier, so it’s something to consider. While we’re at weight, this trimmer weighs 8.2 lbs with the included battery.
Stihl HSA 56 features a battery lock as well, which means that you can safely put the battery in without thinking it will fall out. It also can’t be started by children since the battery has to be pushed in more in order for the hedge trimmer to work.
You also have to have both of your hands on the handles for the machine to run, and there’s a lock that would prevent you from accidentally starting the machine.
The lights on the battery show you how much time you have left. This is such an important feature in my opinion. I hate not being able to anticipate how much work time remains on a battery.
It’s easy to use and carry. Another useful thing is that you can use the battery from this trimmer on other products in the same line. There are chainsaws, leaf blowers, trimmers, etc.
The spacing between the teeth on the blade is 1.1 in, and you get a 3-year consumer warranty for this hedge trimmer.
This hedge trimmer from ECHO is a 58-volt product that has a metal housing. This makes the trimmer sturdier but also a bit heavier than other common cordless products. The two-sided blade is 24 inches long, which is on the longer side.
You get plenty of reach with this blade, though, and it will make your work more efficient than you would get with a shorter blade. Still, you might not be able to maneuver the tighter spots so easily. The gap between blade teeth is 0.75 inches.
The battery creates some balance, but this will depend on the angle you take. This trimmer also has some safety features which will help you stay safe. For one, there’s a switch you’ll need to press while switching off the other safety trigger. It’s a bit complicated until you get used to it.
Echo 58-volt hedge trimmer has a 2 amps per hour battery, and it weighs just over 11 lbs, which is a bit on the heavier side. The battery can run for about 90 minutes, and you can get an extra battery too. Naturally, the amount of time you can use it directly correlates with how much work the trimmer has to do — the thicker the branches, the more power it will spend.
You can recharge the battery within half an hour, and if you get a bigger battery, it will need a longer charging time, but it will also have a longer run time.
With this hedge trimmer, you get a 5-year warranty as a consumer.
Which Hedge Trimmer Is Best For You?
Even if the ECHO model is the best value for the money, it may not be the right choice for you.
- Remember that the Stihl hedge trimmer is over 3 pounds lighter. This can really make a difference when using it for an extended period.
- The Stihl model also has a larger teeth gap, making it capable of chewing through larger hedge branches.
- There are also more safety features in the Stihl model than there are in the ECHO model. Stihl is sort of fanatical about safety and that’s a good thing.
So value for the money is one thing but you need to choose based on which model actually meets your needs.
Where To Buy
Tips on Choosing A Hedge Trimmer
The following guidelines can help you to choose a hedge trimmer that suits your needs by understanding the key features to look for.
Your trimmer needs to match your yard
Take a good look at your yard. There’s really no research that matches the information you can get from your own backyard. This will give you an idea of which trimmer you need.
Check the hedges and understand their type, thickness, and how easy they are to reach. For example, you may have obstacles like a gazebo or a fence. Check how big your yard is. Different hedge trimmers are available for different yards and hedge types, so this is something to consider.
All of this will tell you what you need from a hedge trimmer. If it’s a large yard with thick hedges, you’ll need a more powerful hedge trimmer. If you have fences around your hedges, then you’ll need a hedge trimmer that’s a bit shorter so that you can actually access it.
Decide whether gas or electric is better
Deciding between a gas or electric model depends on several factors.
- Smaller yards can be managed perfectly well with a battery-powered hedge trimmer.
- If you aren’t comfortable with the maintenance and repair of small engines, battery-powered models are a great alternative.
- Battery-powered hedge trimmers are generally lighter and can be used longer without fatigue.
- Is noise is a factor in your neighborhood, battery-powered is the way to go.
But battery-powered isn’t suitable for all yards. Thicker hedges may prove troublesome unless you have a higher-powered model.
Recommended reading: Gas vs Electric: 6 Reasons To Use Battery-Powered Yard Tools
Another important factor is the length of the blade. There are models with longer blades, and there are ones with shorter blades. Both have their perks. For example, a longer blade can allow for a more precise, quicker trim job, while a shorter blade is better for narrow areas.
In most cases, you’ll be able to work with 18 inches, although a 20 would be more suitable for larger hedges. You can always go shorter if you have smaller hedges, you’re new to trimming, or you have narrow spaces.
I will say though, a longer blade really comes in handy when trying to reach higher areas.
Consider the teeth spacing and the blade sides
You should also consider the length of space between the teeth on the blade and the number of sides the blade has.
The space between the blade teeth dictates how you will use the trimmer. For example, teeth on the commercial hedge trimmers are wider apart than those on residential trimmers. Commercial trimmers have teeth that are an inch apart from each other, and residential ones have gaps of three quarters or three-eighths of an inch.
A blade can be one or two-sided. One-sided blade hedge trimmers like this one from Mantis (link to Amazon) are easier to work with and safer since the blade can be opposite from you.
This is a good option if you are new to the trimming process, and you need something simpler.
A two-sided blade can make your work faster, but it can be a little harder to work with until you get used to it.
Check out the weight
You should also look at the weight of a hedge trimmer. You’ll have to hold them up for a long time, so your hands will get tired quickly. It’s the same with both heavier and lighter models, although the lighter ones will be easier to carry, naturally.
Ease of use should be on your mind too. If you’re inexperienced with hedge trimmers, it would be better to get a trimmer that’s easy to operate. As mentioned, gas models involve a lot of maintenance, and starting them can be down-right frustrating at times.
Battery-powered models are better suited for new users as they are ready to go with a fresh battery and there’s no need for serious maintenance.
Do you want a lock option?
There’s also the case of having a lock option versus not having it — when a trimmer has this, you don’t have to keep a button pressed.
If there are wraparound handles, the trimmer will be more comfortable.
If a blade rotates, you’ll be able to work around objects.
Of course, having an extra battery for your cordless trimmer will allow you to work for longer periods at a time.
No matter which trimmer you get, there will be some maintenance that will be written about in your manual. All you need to do is follow the guidelines in order to keep your trimmer safe and working.
The amount of work varies, though. For example, gas trimmers are notorious for the amount of maintenance they need compared to the other two models.
You’ll need to mix gas and oil, replace spark plugs, store them carefully, keep them clean, lubricate them, and so on. Forgetting to maintain the engine and lubrication will result in smoking and eventual failure.
Naturally, you should always maintain the blades and ensure that they are sharp. Clean it between uses and store it away from the elements.
Hedge trimmers are quite sharp, so you should make sure that the one you get has safety options. Even the professionals should be careful around this tool. Follow the safety instructions and the user manual to use your hedge trimmer properly.
How much noise can you handle?
Noise can be an important factor. Naturally, gas trimmers produce more noise. Wear proper ear protection. I like wearing noise-canceling headphones anytime I’m working with gas-powered outdoor equipment.
At the end of the day, it’s your money. Make the best choice for you.