Reviews

Is There Anything The Stihl Cordless Garden Shear Can’t Trim? I Tested It to Find Out.

After spending 3 hours trimming grass and plants in my yard with the Stihl HSA 26, this is what I learned.
Mark Wolfe Avatar
The Stihl cordless garden shears laid out next to included attachments atop the organizer case
Photo: Mark Wolfe

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Regardless of personal style, most of us appreciate the look of a well-tended landscape. A big part of that look is keeping plants within their bounds with a bit of careful trimming and shaping. That’s where tools like garden shears come into play. Heavy-duty equipment like gas or electric string trimmers and hedge shears are indispensable for big landscape cleanup projects and routine yard maintenance, whereas a compact tool like the Stihl HSA 26 battery-powered grass and shrub shears is a great choice for detailing the small or hard to reach areas, as well as for quick touch-ups.

Ask any group of professional landscapers or serious DIYers which brand makes the best outdoor power equipment, and most will include Stihl in their top picks. The company has built its loyal customer base by offering some of the most durable, dependable, and powerful chainsaws, string trimmers, hedge trimmers, and leaf blowers for generations. However, most of that history was built on gas-powered equipment.

Dedication to environmental responsibility has since led the company to produce some of the cleanest-running outdoor power equipment in the industry, including its extensive line of battery-powered tools. These lightweight tools produce zero emissions, low noise levels, and full operating power through the charge cycle.

I tested the Stihl cordless garden shears during the hustle and bustle of spring yard cleanup season. They came in handy for a surprisingly wide range of projects, including a few that I hadn’t considered beforehand. In the review ahead, I’ll share my experience and thoughts on how and where this tool excels in the landscape, and why it might be the best under-the-radar tool that Stihl offers.

Stihl HSA 26 Cordless Garden Shears: At a Glance

The Stihl cordless garden shears with attached grass trimmer in position to trim grass
Photo: Mark Wolfe

Rating: 9.6/10

PROS

  • Includes 2 easy-to-change cutting heads for trimming grass and hedges
  • Fast, smooth, and precise 2-way cutting action at 2,200 strokes per minute
  • 10.8-volt (V) 2.1 amp-hour (Ah) battery powers up to 120 minutes of grass shearing or 80 minutes of shrub shearing
  • Lightweight ergonomic design makes it a great choice for extended use
  • Tool, attachments, battery, and charger packed in a durable organizer case

CONS

  • Premium price point; occasional users may consider it too expensive
  • The unique battery on this tool is sharable on a very limited basis

Get the Stihl HSA 26 cordless grass and shrub shears at:

What are the Stihl cordless garden shears?

The Stihl HSA 26 cordless garden shears make an excellent choice for light- and medium-duty grass and hedge trimming. Bob Vila’s product testing team awarded it “Best Overall” in our Best Cordless Grass Shears review. This lightweight tool features an ergonomic design with a cushioned rubberized grip for top-end user comfort and sure-handedness during extended use. It delivers plenty of power, precision, and runtime to tackle a variety of trimming tasks. The kit includes the power head, a 4.7-inch grass-trimmer attachment, a 7.9-inch hedge-trimmer attachment, the Stihl AS 2 rechargeable battery, and an AL 1 charger, all conveniently enclosed in a heavy-duty tool organizer.

Tool Specs

Attachments: 4.7-inch grass shear, 7.9-inch hedge shear
Blade speed: 2,200 strokes per minute
Weight: 2.1 pounds with grass shear, 2.5 pounds with hedge shear
Battery: 10.8V 2.1Ah lithium-ion battery
Runtime: 120 minutes grass shear, 80 minutes hedge shear
Charge time: 70 minutes

It’s always fun to try out a new tool, especially when it’s in an entirely new category. After 3.5 hours testing the Stihl HSA 26 in my own yard over the course of 2 days, I wondered why I hadn’t tried out a compact cordless garden shear before. I used it to trim lawn grass, to cut down old stems on last year’s perennials, to shape up numerous unruly shrubs, and even to harvest herbs from the garden.

Both the cutting power and the runtime were impressive for such a compact, lightweight tool. I was able to move at a fairly fast pace and do a lot of trimming in a little time. I also noted that it made very little noise, thanks to the quiet motor and smooth blade action. The tool cut quickly, retained nice sharp edges, and moved with good precision. This cordless grass trimmer could be a helpful time and labor saver for anyone with a small landscape or a large collection of plants that need frequent touch-ups.

The Stihl cordless garden shears with attached hedge trimmer next to a hedge
Photo: Mark Wolfe

Are the Stihl HSA 26 cordless garden shears easy to use?

In terms of both control and comfort, the Stihl HSA 26 tool was very easy to use. It is well proportioned for workers of any size. The open handle design, as well as the variable-speed trigger and the thumb-operated safety switch, were well positioned for a wide range of hand sizes. I had my wife try it out just to be sure. And whether it’s because the tool weighed only a little more than 2 pounds, or because of the comfortable overall design, I didn’t experience any fatigue, pain, or discomfort during or after testing.

I especially liked the quick-changing trimmer heads. Each trimmer head has its own built-in baseplate, so there were fewer parts to keep track of. I simply squeezed the two buttons on the sides of the baseplate to release the head and clicked the other one in its place. The parts lined up easily without really having to give much thought to it. When not in use, each attachment had its own protective cover to keep the blades sharp and prevent injury to handlers.

Are the Stihl garden shears good quality?

Stihl has been one of the leading outdoor power-tool brands for close to a century. Its staying power originates from habitually producing top-quality tools that last a very long time. The HSA 26 cordless shrub and grass trimmer is a great example.

This trimmer was designed as part of Stihl’s homeowner tool lineup, and it excels at light- and medium-duty trimming. The design is outstanding in terms of both operator comfort and precision trimming. The material quality is also excellent: high-quality steel cutters, a quiet powerful motor, and a long-lasting compact 10.8V battery. In my test, I noted that the tool fit together securely, with no play in the moving parts. During operation, the blades glided smoothly, with very little vibration transferring to my hand. It was a pleasure to use.

Close-up of a man's thumb on the safety switch of the Stihl cordless garden shears
Photo: Mark Wolfe

Are the Stihl HSA 26 garden shears worth the money?

At about $150, the Stihl garden shear tool is among the higher priced of its kind, but in no way is it overpriced. I tested comparable models that ranged in price from about $100 to nearly $200. The Stihl garden shears worked better and weighed less than similar shears by Makita, Craftsman, Ryobi, and Worx. A major difference is that most garden shears use a heavy 20V battery that clips on the back end of the handle. That configuration added significant weight and shifted the center of gravity to the back end of the tool, increasing strain while using. The Stihl battery is smaller and fits inside the handle for much better balance.

Though there are other cheaper alternatives, quite frankly they aren’t very good. In my experience testing a dozen similar tools at different price points, the cheapest of the models (in the sub-$40 range) were slow, noisy, and just felt cheap. Overall quality and performance corresponded closely to price. As the old saying goes, life is too short for cheap tools. For long-lasting work satisfaction, the Stihl garden shears are worth the money.

A man shows the quick-changing trimmer heads stored in the baseplate of the Stihl cordless garden shears
Photo: Mark Wolfe

Should you buy Stihl HSA 26 cordless garden shears?

Not everyone needs a cordless grass shear. For those who do, however, a different alternative could be a better fit. Battery compatibility and efficiency is one good reason to choose a different tool. For instance, if you already have a variety of Worx yard tools and batteries, it makes sense to buy the Worx cordless grass trimmer that uses the same battery.

The Stihl HSA 26 is an excellent option for those with smaller landscapes, hard-to-reach courtyard or pocket gardens, a limited number of shrubs and topiaries, or various small trimming and shaping jobs. This tool is not a great choice as a primary weed wacker or hedge trimmer for a large landscape, but keeping it close at hand for a quick cleanup between regular yard-care days makes sense.

Those with extensive landscaping and garden beds will find multiple uses for these shears from week to week. The build quality and smooth, easy operation make it a pleasure to work with, and the price seems commensurate with the quality. If you’ve read this far and think the Stihl HSA 26 might be right for you, then it probably is.

Where to Buy the Stihl HSA 26 Cordless Garden Shears

Get the Stihl HSA 26 Cordless grass and shrub shears at:

Meet the Tester

Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with an extensive background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years, he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn-care products, and other outdoor-living goods.

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Mark Wolfe Avatar

Mark Wolfe

Staff Writer

Mark Wolfe is a second-career freelance writer based in Georgia and has an extensive background in the horticulture industry. Since 2020, he has contributed numerous gardening and home improvement articles to BobVila.com, along with a variety of consumer product reviews.

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