Redback (E522D) 40V Cordless Lithium-Ion Hedge Trimmer: Product Review
A powerhouse that goes through everything "like buttah!”
Available on Amazon
You haven’t heard of Redback? While well-established in Europe and Australia, they aren’t yet a household name in the USA. But I have a feeling that is going to change.
Manufactured by Ningbo NGP Industry Company in China and distributed/supported by Frictionless World headquartered in Westminster, CO, Redback makes mowers, blowers, chainsaws, pole saws, etc. Redback is on a mission: develop battery-powered tools that perform as well as the gasoline- (and electric-) powered products they replace.
The Redback Power 40V Cordless Lithium-Ion Hedge Trimmer blends the latest generation of Lithium Ion (Li-ion) battery technology with new advances in electric motor technology.
I tested the Redback Hedge Trimmer Model E522D, which included one 40V, EP20 2.0Ah (Amp hour) Battery and one 2A battery charger (EC 20 tested).
|Approx. Unit Weight (without battery)||7.0 lbs.|
|Approx. Battery Weight||2.0 lbs.|
|Approx. Unit weight (incl. battery)||9 lbs.|
|No Load Speed||1300 rpms|
|Blade Type||Dual action; laser cut|
|Battery Type*||40V, 2.0Ah Li-Ion (tested)|
|Optimum Charging Temp.||32 degrees – 104 degree F|
|Battery Charger Options*||EC 20 (tested)|
|Battery Charger input||120VAC, 60 Hz, 100W|
|Battery Charger output||40VDC|
|Approx. Charging Time**||70 mins.|
* Redback also offers three Li-Ion battery options and two EC battery charges: 2.0, 4.0 and 6.0Ah. Expect more power, weight, and operating time and less charging time if you opt to move from the standard 2.0Ah to the greater capacity 4.0 and 6.0Ah batteries.
** The Redback EC 50 battery charger refuels batteries more than 2X as fast as the tested EC 20 model. Redback estimates charging times for their 3 batteries as follows: 2.0 in 30 min; 4.0 in 60 min; and the 6.0 in 90 min.
The Redback E522D, 40V 2.0Ah battery, and EC 20 battery charger arrived at my door in one dense, strong cardboard box. Inside the box, each component was further secured by molded cardboard. The blade end of the trimmer came sheathed in a form-fitting, hard plastic scabbard—perfect for safe transporting and storage.
Once I removed the contents from the box, the next few steps were fairly intuitive:
- attach the AC adaptor plug to the charger
- slide the battery pack into the slotted back of the charger
- plug the charger into the wall
The LED light on the charger unit flashed green. Charging took just over 60 minutes, less time than the 70 minutes Redback’s literature told me to expect. Off to a good start.
Redback recommends applying a light coat of machine oil to the tip of the blades both before and after each use. Once I oiled the blades, I slid the battery out of the charger and into the slots on the top back of the hedge trimmer unit. I heard a solid click to let me know the battery was secure. Time to play Ninja on my hedges!
The Redback E522D incorporates two safeties. The front handle switch sits inside the front handle. Hold the handle, and you’ll be tripping that switch.
The second safety sits on left side of the rear handle where a right-handed person can depress it with a thumb.
If I have any criticism at all of the design, I feel that the rear safety sits too far back on the rear handle, making me stop to look for it each time.
Now you’re ready to power up by simply squeezing the trigger. The over-sized trigger and rear handle offer ample room to operate wearing even the largest glove. Release either the front or back safety switch, and the unit stops instantly.
As when using any power tool, I recommend wearing safety glasses, leather work gloves, long pants, ear protectors, and close-toed shoes.
LOVE AT FIRST FEEL
I loved the balance of the trimmer from the moment I picked it up. It quickly felt like an extension of my hand with enough of the weight on the back of the unit to keep the blade end slightly elevated.
For the first cutting session, I tackled four holly bushes. Unlike my corded trimmers, the Redback never got bound up on thick branches. It just cut right through them. Then I found a couple of other nice features I didn’t know I wanted until I used them.
Fantastic Rotating Rear Handle
The rear handle rotates 90 degrees, making it easy to hold a straight line when making a vertical cut along a hedge. Complementing the rotating handle is the front safety switch – the engineers thoughtfully placed the switch all around the front handle so you can trigger the safety while making those 90 degree cuts. Nicely done!
Great Balance & Not Too Heavy
My old corded trimmer tips the scales at a hair less than 8 lbs. compared to the 9 lbs. Redback. I wondered if that extra pound would soon feel cumbersome. It didn’t.
The weight, balance, and razor-sharp blades made such quick work of the hedges that I spent less time cutting than with my electric trimmers. And, unlike when using my corded trimmer, I didn’t have to untangle the cord from the fallen clippings. I just kept cutting and cutting.
While the weight and balance felt right to me, it didn’t mean it would work well for a 60-year old woman. Enter my neighbor, Janet, who spends more time in her garden than anyone I know. I brought her the trimmer and asked her to give it a go on her hedges. An hour later, she texted me:
“That was amazing. The weight is just right! It went through everything like buttah!”
She liked the maneuverability of the trimmer, too, telling me she could cut angles into her hedges very easily because of the way the tool balanced in her hands.
The battery light indicator on the rear of the tool came in handy to show how much charge remained on the battery. The trimmer battery lasted just under an hour under continuous use.
BATTERIES AND CHARGERS
You can purchase the Redback hedge trimmer tool on its own (if you already own a Redback battery and charger), or you can buy the “kit” that includes a 40V 2.0Ah Li-ion battery, and the EC 20 charger.
Redback offers three battery options: 2.0 (tested), 4.0, and 6.0Ah. As the battery capacity increases, expect greater cost, power, cutting-time and weight.
How much weight do the larger capacity batteries add? Take a look:
2.0Ah = 1.98 lbs.
4.0Ah = 2.86 lbs.
6.0Ah = 3.74 lbs.
The EC 20 charger I tested worked great, charging my battery in about an hour. If you wish to reduce battery charging time by more than 50 percent, you can opt to purchase the EC 50 battery charger. All Redback batteries and chargers are compatible with one another and with each of the tools Redback manufactures.
But for most residential uses, the 2.0Ah battery and EC 20 charger provide plenty of zip for use around the hedges and back yard.
To get the longest life from the Li-ion battery and charger, store them at room temperature. Be mindful that rechargeable Li-ion batteries don’t last forever. After 500 charging/discharging cycles, they’ll need to be replaced. (Full disclosure: I cut through at least one extension cord each year using my corded trimmers. Even if I needed to purchase a new battery every few years, I’d still end up ahead!).
Redback carries a 2-year warranty on its complete line of products, covering defects in materials and workmanship. The batteries carry no warranty, but they should last around 500 charging cycles if you follow the storing and charging instructions. If you have a problem before then, contact Frictionless World. They have a stellar service reputation.
If you’re ready to cut the cord on your electric trimmer or want to upgrade your underpowered 20V rechargeable hedge trimmers, get the Redback E522D. It’s priced right between the least and most expensive trimmers in its category, and this sturdy tool feels built to last for many seasons. It easily cut through everything I threw at it, was easy to maneuver, had good battery life and didn’t feel any heavier than a corded model.
WHERE TO BUY
The Redback E522D (tool only) is a available at Amazon for $79.99; the kit (trimmer, battery and charger) is available on Amazon for $179.99. Purchasing the kit on Amazon saves you a hair shy of $30 were you to purchase the battery and charger directly from Dirty Hand Tools (a division of Frictionless World) .
And now over to you – Have you tried a cordless hedge trimmer? How did it work? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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