Strap / Harness for Long reach Stihl battery hedge trimmer

24 Apr 2008
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UK, Wittering, West Sussex
United Kingdom
I have my name down for a Long Reach hedge trimmer, Cordless Stihl HLA86, 200 battery , maybe 300, but as there are long delays on items arriving in UK.

Mother-in-law has one , and i tried out in the shed xmas, and found it to be very heavy , so i'm borrowing it on Thursday/Friday (13/14th jan).
brother-in-law used it and says it can be awkward.

I have an 8ft high Lylandi which is about 60-100ft running along the back of the garden , which is to be one of its main uses to keep the height under control , but we have a lot of other 6-8ft hedges around the front/back garden. Which will save using ladders.
I have cut with ladders and a 60cm mains cheap screwfix hedge trimmer, very arkward to get around some of the places, with ladders positioned awkwardly

I have Fallen off the ladder/platform more than once !!!!!
And only getting older now , so ideal if i can use standing on the ground, and i think it will also reach all the arkward bits and save us getting people in at silly prices now (Quoted £600 to cut the lylandi !!!!!)

Looking on youtube , you can get straps , harness to help balance the trimmer and make using it much easier, like the
Stihl RTS Super harness

I just wondered , what other people here used , maybe the Pros using day in / day out have a preference

I have a strap on the Stihl petrol strimmer, so i may use that strap , if i can still get the height
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Thank you for the recommendation

Wow , thats pricy £280 , looks good though

I will only need to cut the hedges maybe twice a year , probably about 3 days work each time, for all the hedges
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I have the same model - well the 85 which I think is just the previous revision, both the hedge trimmer and polesaw (HLA HTA). Mine came with a simple shoulder strap which I have never really figured out the best way to use, but does help.
Often I forget and end up using it without the strap, but then to reach the high stuff I end up holding it higher anyway so the strap doesn't work. It is pretty taxing on your arms and shoulders if you are not used to it and I can imagine on your back too if you have any issues.
I looked at the proper harnesses but the price just seemed silly, that's as much as the tool costs! And like you I am using it only a few days a year so I prefer to just work a bit slower and get tired. I did find I got substantially stronger over the first year of using it on and off.
Will see how i got on Thursday/Friday

Some idea of the hedges, we have quite a few more than these to do, but the lylandi is the most urgent and expensive to have cut (quotes cica £600 )


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Just come in from working with the HLA86 on he Leylandii with my brother-in-law
The strap helped a lot very heavy - But i got the front trimmed back in 1/2hr or so
The top was difficult and will still need to finish off tomorrow
The cutters do not have a setting for 90 degree to the pole - if they did, then i could just adjust the height to where i want to cut it down to. stand at the bottom with strap around my neck to keep the height , and then walk along the hedge - cutting the top down as i went.
Bit disappointing

I tried on all the other hedges front and side and it will work all for those as well, and speed things up considerably , and i wont be moving ladders about going up and down

So i think over all its a about a 7/10 , although practice may make it an 9/10
wasn't that happy with the cut and keeping things straight across the front. Had the pole at a pivot point with the strap, used a couple of cable ties, and then sweep up/down but a bit all over the place, although this may be more to do with the leylandii itself

Save getting the ladders out and should speed up the rest of the hedge cutting considerably.

Spoke to neighbours and they had a hedge cut on both sides of the house - 5ft tall and cost them over £400 - so seems to be the going rate down here.

Pretty sure if I did the leylandii twice a year, would be kept under control and the machine paid for just in first cut

Hopefully the battery will last only using 2/3 times a year
I will keep it indoors with my other cordless tools Batteries , as i know they dont like the cold

Thanks again for the advice, i'll drop a photo up when its all finished tomorrow / weeken
So which strap did you end up with @ETAF ?
How far can you rotate the head if you cannot get 90? I found that since you don't want to walk in the hedge, you want a smaller angle so you can stand a couple of feet out.

I definitely found there was a learning curve to it. I was impressed how thick branches it would cut though.
So which strap did you end up with
I just used the simple one OFF the Stihl Petrol Strimmer I had already , just to see
To be honest it seemed to work OK

It goes from about 135 degress round to fold on it self - but only has 5 stops
One of which is not 90

if i stand a few feet out then its not high enough for the Leylandii - I pretty much had fully extended

I definitely found there was a learning curve to it. I was impressed how thick branches it would cut though.
Yep, also when i can take some time , as i only had this afternoon and tomorrow morning on loan with B-I-Law
And the lady of the house would not be happy if not left tidy !!!!

Thanks for the info and follow-up
Indeed, the trimmer looks long but when you come to a properly big hedge you end up stretching. I looked into this a lot and one company made a longer one but in hindsight that would be even more physically taxing.

You can buy a battery guard which doubles as a handle so you can lift the whole thing higher but it's going to require very sturdy shoulders.

I have used mine in conjunction with a low platform successfully
Are you just using the hedge trimmer, or can you fit a chainsaw head for the branches?
Are you just using the hedge trimmer, or can you fit a chainsaw head for the branches?
Pretty sure it's not a supported thing; the pole/trimmer are very similar so if you can buy the head I'd wager you could make it work, but I reckon it wouldn't cost much more to buy the HLA extendable polesaw and save a lot of hassle, the bulk of the cost is surely in the head.
Or even the Fiskar telescopic pole manual pruner which is a wonderful tool
Fiskar telescopic pole manual pruner
I have a couple of those type of tools, not sure the make - BUT fantastic tool, used to prune cherry tree , Ash tree and the larger branches of the Leylandii
Excellent -I think I paid £30 at a show for mine, have some old ones, but none work as good as this new one.
Finished the job this morning
My B-I-Law and I discussed this morning, that it needs to be down 2ft - which makes it level with the fence, only problem is not a lot of growth at the bottom.
Will have to look at a small chainsaw
I have a stihl MS180 petrol chain saw , which i dont want to use up a ladder :) :)

Later in the year autumn I will have to look into cutting it down, a little at a time

Before & after images
Scale - the 3x3 post is 6' high

Now just need to wait for the item to come in noone locally has any in stock, and all seem to be coming in in Feb , which i have my name down for, was supposed to be December

But now the back is done , I can probably wait till autumn for all the hedges anyway

Thanks for all the advice and suggestions , all very helpful


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I have a stihl MS180 petrol chain saw , which i dont want to use up a ladder

how high do you need to reach? I'm looking at a Pole saw. Some of them have about a 2-metre reach with a chainsaw on the end.

There are a few very cheap mains electric ones. The very cheap ones are presumably not the best, but the guarantee would take me through one or two years.

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