He nowadays hardly anyone has the time or inclination to do heavy work with hand-operated equipment. So motorized tools are also widespread in the garden, but once the grass has grown over everything for a little longer, the designated mower fails. Then the time comes for the brushcutter, with which it is much easier to reach inaccessible places and cut slightly thicker stems. This is usually done with a fast rotating nylon thread. The disadvantage: it wears out, especially when bumping into hard material such as stones or fence posts while working. Supply is therefore rolled up in the thread head, which is released by tapping on a solid surface while the head rotates. A cutting edge in the protective cover shortens the thread to the correct length.
The supply is used up sooner than expected, and then there is a tedious job that one does not like to do in the open: winding up the new thread. The clever gardener therefore has a spare head with him. That should be easier to solve, said the developers at the Chinese manufacturer Ego, so they came up with an automatic thread winder. It pulls in the replacement thread by itself, the head does not need to be opened. We wanted to try that out, so we got the new battery-powered ST 1400 E-ST, which is sold in the Ego range as a grass trimmer, a name for the slightly lighter siblings of the brushcutters.
The thread with a diameter of 2.4 millimeters and a length of 4 meters is simply pulled through the two exit holes for winding and aligned so that both ends are the same length. A push button at the top of the head sets the winding mechanism in motion, with a clicking noise the thread is pulled in jerkily using a motor, it is not necessary to hold the ends tight. It is wound up in a few seconds, you have to be careful not to pull it in completely, otherwise the head has to be opened.
The shaft can be divided
The system works well, you can live with the two by two meters of thread length. The ST 1400 with a round handle and a cutting width of 35 centimeters is unexpectedly powerful and from our point of view more of a light brushcutter than a grass trimmer. The range also includes the 1500 model with 38 centimeters and automatic line feed, which Ego calls Powerload. Other heads and knives cannot be mounted, conversely, the power load head is naturally not suitable for devices that are not intended for this purpose. The shaft can be split for easier transport.
Our specimen worked without any significant vibrations and so quietly that the sound of pebbles splashing up frightened the user. The sound pressure at the operator’s ear is specified as 69 dB (A) – less noise and no exhaust fumes, that is the main advantage of the cordless tools. The round handle is easy to grasp, the tool, which weighs 3.4 kilos without the battery, is balanced in the hand, and the length of the shaft can be adjusted using an adjustment clamp. Instead of the intended battery with 140 Wh, which is plugged in at the rear end, the thicker chunks of Ego can also be used, then with double the capacity, the 1.2 kilos additional weight become 2.2. This interferes with the handiness and is not necessary because the small battery can be used for about an hour on the first of the two levels, which is often sufficient. The ST 1400 E-ST costs just under 200 euros on its own, in the package with the small energy storage and charger it is around 320 euros, a replacement head is available for 45 euros.
Ego sources the batteries for its wide range of models from Samsung. They have a uniform nominal voltage of 56 volts, the manufacturer calculates with 4 V per cell and not 3.6 V as usual. According to its own account, the company is the world’s largest supplier of cordless outdoor tools. The Chinese company called Chervon has been building products for well-known brands for almost three decades, and the group includes, for example, Flex and Skil. Under the own brand Ego, which is still largely unknown in this country, only cordless tools are sold through specialist retailers.