One thing we heard from friends and contractors alike when we first bought this house, was “Wow, you have your work cut out for you!” Not just because the house was dated, but because of our very mature and extremely overgrown landscaping.
From what we understood, the previous owner hadn’t actually occupied the home for over two years which gave the landscaping the opportunity to get *a little* wild, so needless to say, we were seriously lacking curb appeal!
We spent some time in the fall clearing things, but then winter hit and there was still so much work to be done. With this house having over an acre of land, we wanted to be realistic and focus on the important things, the areas that we could control which affected our curb appeal. So when Stihl reached out to try out their AK Series of battery powered yard tools, I jumped at the chance to work with them as I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to get the front of our house in shape for the summer.
There was a lot to learn about STIHL, a family owned company that has been manufacturing tools in its Virginia Beach facility for over 45 years. One thing that stood out to me is that STIHL products are not sold in big box stores, as they are only sold through authorized local STIHL dealers to ensure quality shopping experiences, and community support.
STIHL’s AK Series
While STIHL offers 3 battery powered product lines, I chose the AK Series, a homeowner friendly series that’s great for cleanup and maintenance of yards up to an acre in size. Previously, we used corded electric tools, which did the job, but with having a much larger yard they weren’t very practical for our needs. The AK series touts a single interchangeable battery–yes, you heard that right! One battery that is compatible with 8 different tools! There are 3 different batteries to choose from, each with a handy battery charge indicator. Stihl also provides a runtime chart on their website to help you choose the best battery for the job.
Let’s talk about which Ak Series tools we worked with:
The Blower: BGA57
This has to be my husband’s favorite tool. Everyday he disappears for a certain amount of time and I will find him outside blowing pine needles and leaves. I definitely think it’s very satisfying for him to see all the yard debris cleared away with just the push of a button. However, of all the tools, the blower is the one that uses the most battery power, so it’s always good to have a backup on the charger to keep your leaf clearing dreams alive.
The Lawn Mower: RMA 460
I’m not quite sure that there is a better invention than the self propelled battery powered lawn mower. The RMA 460 is lightweight and a very approachable lawn mower. It has a super easy push button start, allowing you to get going without any hassle. The self-propelled option is amazing especially in rough spots or on hills and we especially love that it has different speeds, which you can switch up depending on the terrain. This lawn mower has an adjustable handle, which can be folded for more compact storage and transport. We love that it has a battery compartment which holds an additional battery in case your battery runs out while you’re out in the yard, allowing you to keep mowing without any major interruption of the job. Also the battery life allows you to cut 2,800 square feet on a single charge, which means we can get the full front of our yard mowed without having to swap out the batteries!
The Hedge Trimmer:HSA 56
The hedge trimmer is also very lightweight and super easy to operate. I can’t believe how easy it was to maneuver around these hedges, allowing me to whip them into shape in a very short time. Check out the between the left hedge compared to the one on the right!
The Extended Reach Hedge Trimmer HLA 56
Because our hedges and shrubs are very mature and completely overgrown, the HLA 56 was a life saver for reaching the back of the hedges. It’s relatively lightweight at about 11lbs, and has a blade that pivots, helping us to easily get the right position to trim at different angles without having to contort our bodies, or get into unsafe positions to reach certain areas.
We are fully aware that hedge trimmers should not be used to trim Rhododendrons, but these were so overgrown, we figured there was only room for improvement. With the HLA 56, we were able to clear the large shrubs from the house and trimmed them down so we could actually see out of the windows!
The Edger FSA 57
Although our gardens edges weren’t crazy, we were able to use the FSA 57 to cut out the weeds around and in between the pavers. I”ve always had a love hate relationship with edgers when it comes to dealing with changing and advancing the line. The FSA 57 is so easy to operate because it’s lightweight and my favorite feature of all, is that it has offers easy line advancement with just a tap of the edger head on the ground.
The Chainsaw MSA 140 C-BQ
One thing we have a lot of at this property is downed trees. Using the MSA 140 C-BQ chainsaw to cut limbs and smaller trees was so easy because it’s so lightweight and compact, allowing us to easily cut with its smooth cutting action— it also has a quiet engine, somehow making it feel a little less intimidating. One other feature we really appreciate is the STIHL Quickstop® Plus chain brake, which stops the rotation of the chain when activated.
We used the chainsaw to cut a few smaller trees along the yard’s perimeter, like the mountain laurel seen above, that has dried out and died, and a few stray trees that were allowed to grow a bit wild in our garden beds.
Personal Protective Gear
I have to be honest I’ve often underestimated the importance of personal protective gear when it comes to using power tools. Stihl offers the right gear to keep you safe when using their tools. We used the helmet and faceshield with ear muffs, along with chaps which is a must when using a chainsaw. Gloves and safety glasses should be worn at all times when using any type of power tools.
Overall we are so happy with these tools, they have made our yard work and maintenance a breeze. The AK Series is the perfect entry-level set for a new home owner as they’re super approachable, but also pack powerful performance, and exceptional quality and value. We definitely recommend having 2 chargers and at least two batteries, if you tend to dive into yard work all in one day like we do. We know for sure that the AK Series will be in heavy rotation around this yard this summer!