Many tasks in the garden can be time consuming, particularly if you have the wrong tool. I know in the past I have spend hours cutting back hedges with week electric hedge cutters. But time is precious and I doubt many people really want to spend hours outside cutting back a hedge or strimming the edge of a lawn. Finding a tool which will get the job done quickly is therefore always worth while.
Buying tools is always an area which requires some thought. Machines are not cheap and whilst it is possible to read online reviews a great deal of these tend to be based on initial impressions. I always feel that it is good to find out how someone feels after several years, since it is only after a longer period of time that faults show.
Around 3 years ago we purchased a multi-tool the logic for this was
– A single motor would mean less servicing costs
– Large number of attachments
– Long reach hedge cutter requirement
– Brushcutter to manage overgrown garden on a property we were selling
We spent a long time deliberating over which tool to buy. There were numerous options and our initial inclination was to buy a Honda UMC435 and then buy a hedge cutter attachment, brush cutter and long reach extension pole. The cost would have been in the region of £800. The reasoning for picking a Honda was the reputation Honda have for building quality engines. We also considered the Stihl KombiSystem.
After further thought we decided that it might be worth trying a cheaper brand and opted to buy a Titan TTK587GDO multitool from Screwfix. This unit offers a brushcutter, extension pole, pole saw, hedge cutter for £160.
Clearly there is a large difference in price however we use the unit for domestic use, although when cutting hedges it gets extensive prolonged use.
Our garden has hedges on 3 sides, comprised of
- Hawthorn – at the front of the property. 40 metres long and 3 metres high
- Leylandii – not our choice but planted many years ago. 50 metres long and 3.5 metres high
- Beech – 40 metres long and 2 metres high
When we asked for quotes to cut the hedges these came in at around £800, which over the years soon adds up. A powerful hedge cutter which can accomplish most of the task from the ground is therefore a must.
The unit with the extension pole and hedge cutter attachment stands over 7 feet tall (I’m 5’10 – shown below covered in conifer clippings)
How easy is it to use ?
Fairly simple, although heavy it makes cutting a large hedge much easier. Firstly there is no electric cable to get in the way, secondly even without the extension pole you can cut a large area with very little movement. As noted the unit is heavy if you have been outside cutting a large hedge and you work behind a desk most the day you will certainly feel you arms and shoulder muscles the following day.
How quickly can you cut a hedge with the Titan multitool ?
The confier is around 50 metres long and 3 metres tall. I can cut the face of this hedge in 2-3 hours if I work continuously. The two box hedges in the photo below are around 12 feet long and 1.5 feet tall. I can prune these in around 5-10 minutes.
So how would I rate the Titan multitool ?
During the past 3 years the machine has had some very extensive hard use primarily when cutting hedges. In this scenario the machine might be running all day and have the fuel tank filled 5 or more times.
Whilst the machine with extension is not light (probably around 10kg) I have found it possible to use a wide sweeping action moving the clipper in a clock type sweep. Using this method I can cut the face of a large conifer from the ground without having to resort to using a ladder. This method has some drawbacks the chief one being that you are close in to the hedge and are likely to get some of the clippings falling on you, however given the time saving I don’t mind.
Cutting the top of the conifer is a different matter. Even with the extensions in place the hedge has been neglected that much in the past and is so wide that it is impossible to cut the hedge from one side. To cut the top of the hedge I resorted to hiring a portable scaffolding tower. As can be seen below the vast majority of the face was cut with me standing on the ground. For reference the wooden panel of the compost bin on the right is 6 foot tall. The top of the face being cut with the machine being held in outstretched arms.
The titan tool has coped admirably with the tasks thrown at it, however there have been some issues.
- Fuel supply lines – The fuel supply lines on the machine are made from some kind of rubber and perished after 1 year. This could be due to a variety of factors including the use of bioethanol in fuel in the UK. At the time I was not using a fuel stabiliser. I bought some silicon tubing from a model aircraft shop and used these as a replacement. Relaying the lines is not that difficult.
- Bent extension pole – In one instance the extension pole bent. I’m not sure how this happened but think it was probably that the hedge cutter snagged on a branch when I was a full reach cutting the top of the conifer. The bend is not significant.
- Extension coupling came off the shaft. The coupling mechanism came off the shaft. In this case I was able to reattach it and added some epoxy resin to help hold it in place.
- Overheating / cutting out – Recently the machine has started to cut out. I haven’t put my finger on what is causing this. It might be down to a gummed up carbauretter (the machine has not been serviced)
Is there anything which is annoying about the tool
- The side discharge exhaust is a bit of pain and gets very hot, I have burnt a jumper with this
- The attachments can be difficult to fit
How would I rate the Titan multi tool ?
Overall I have been impressed with the offering. The overall price was around 1/4 of the cost of a Stihl / Honda system. Whilst the engineering might not be to the same exacting standards for domestic use I would say the Titan is probably good enough for most users.
How does it compare to alternatives ?
I can’t honestly answer this, since I have not used any other machine. I note that the tree surgeon employed by my neighbour uses a Stihl however he probably cuts a great deal more hedges than me in any given year.
What would make life easier when cutting such large hedges ?
Whilst the scaffold tower worked, moving it was time consuming. I would like to get some quality ladders, such as a set of Henchman Hi-Step or Hedgemaster ladders. If I get a pair you can sure to read a review of them on here.
Would I buy a Titan again ?
Yes I probably would, although not until the existing machine is beyond the point of repair.