Trying out Husqvarna’s battery-powered tools: Silence is golden

Updated Apr 12, 2017
The string trimmer features a two-way head rotation so the user can direct the clippings. Photo: HusqvarnaThe string trimmer features a two-way head rotation so the user can direct the clippings.
Photo: Husqvarna

It seems only fitting that it be on World Hearing Day that I share my thoughts on Husqvarna’s battery-powered equipment.

I say that because one of the key takeaways I had when we started testing out the tools was how quiet they were. Unlike gas-powered equipment that is always growling a dull roar even while idling, Husqvarna’s blower, chainsaw, hedge trimmer, and string trimmer were all silent when they were turned on.

Even when we started using the equipment, you could still hear a normal conversation. There was no yelling, and the other passersby and their pets were unperturbed by the spontaneous landscape maintenance happening at Museum Park in Miami, Florida.

While you may just assume using loud equipment simply comes with the job, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) believes that choosing to use quieter equipment will result in savings for companies.

Currently businesses spend $242 million annually on workers’ compensation due to hearing loss. NIOSH estimates that $100 per dB(A) of savings is possible when quieter equipment is bought.

A gas-powered blower has an average sound level of 90 decibels and hearing damage is possible after two hours of exposure when something is this loud. Meanwhile the 436LiB leaf blower from Husqvarna has a decibel level of 81 dB(A). The 536LiHD60X hedge trimmer has a decibel level of 78 dB(A).

Another benefit of this quieter technology is the fact you have the ability to work longer without worrying about disturbing customers. Instead of using leaf blowers that annoy homeowners to the point that they try to restrict your hours or the type of tools you use, Husqvarna offers an option that skirts both of these problems.

But enough about sound, who cares if it’s quiet if it can’t get the job done? While I didn’t have the ability to use the tools for a whole work day, they definitely functioned as well as any gas-powered string trimmer or hedge trimmer would.

The ergonomics were a nice feature as most of the pieces were lighter and had a good balance to them compared to some competitors. I particularly enjoyed the pivoting rear handle on the hedge trimmer. It made tasks easier as I could adjust my grip in a more natural position depending on how I was cutting.

I also appreciated how the batteries were interchangeable with any piece of equipment. If a battery happens to die on a jobsite, you don’t have to worry about having a specific one. You could pop the battery out of another tool you aren’t using and switch them out, if you didn’t have any currently charging.

The battery-powered backpack had a good feel to it and the straps, when properly adjusted, work well to distribute the weight along your back.

The Automower has collision and lift sensors to help increase safety. Photo: HusqvarnaThe Automower has collision and lift sensors to help increase safety.
Photo: Husqvarna

As for the Automower, it, too, is quiet enough it can be easily forgotten until you see it trundle by in your peripheral. Unlike its human counterparts, the Automower can cut the grass rain or shine, and is constantly mowing, shaving off only a few millimeters of grass at a time.

It can handle steep slopes and can now be monitored through the app, Automower Connect. Husqvarna believes it is time to bring this product to the commercial market and could aid the green industry’s labor challenge.

“We’re all supportive of creating opportunities for our employees but we have a diminishing workforce,” said Jeff Sebert, CEO of Sebert Landscape. “Robotics is the answer. We’re not looking to put people out of work but to fill the gap.”

The hope is to have the Automower handling the lawn, freeing up landscape workers to handle other chores such as hedging or mulching.

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