Bosch 36V series – Three garden-tools

Three of the many 36V garden tools from Bosch.

MUCH MUCH better than 18V cousins!

36V Batteries

Battery driven tools has risen the past years, and after seeing what they can do for power-tools, I took the chance and bought this trio

I bought both the hedge-cutter and the chainsaw bundled with a 2.0Ah (=72Wh) battery. Both a 4.0Ah and 6.0Ah exists, and unlike the 18V series, the 36V batteries are shared between the DIY and the professional series. But the 2,0Ah version seems more than adequate for my needs.
Both bundles also came with an ordinary charger (AL 36V-20), taking about an hour to charge the 2.0Ah, if impatient a twice faster charger (GAL3640CV) as well as even faster (GAL 3680CV) 14-36V general charger exists.


A hedge-cutter beyond expectations

The Bosch 36V AdvancedHedgeCut 36-65-28 looked good on paper, and is at least as good in real life!
Trimmed my beech hedges in no time, and with a large reach.

I have had two generations of their 18V cousin, one died and bought another newer, and compared those were only for very small hedges with thin structure. And certainly not suited to trim a beech hedge. It took me five minutes to do what took an hour with the 18V ones, as the 36V is MUCH better in handling the thicker branches without the need of other tools.

I’m a bit baffled on “65” The specs (and box) says the sword is 65cm, edge to edge, but it IS 75cm, and the distance between the closest and most distant tooth is 70cm.
Maybe it really is not the sword length but the width cut, if gutting a track on a dense hedge?? Anyway, it certainly is not oversold here.



A nice 36V battery driven chainsaw

I bought the Bosch Advanced Chain 36V-35-40 without really daring to believe that it could do the job. Acute need for a chainsaw, after a storm lifted a three unto my lawn.

But it did a great job, It was a 6m apple tree about 40cm wide at the base, no match for the 35cm bar. Almost one charge (3 to 1 bars) to cut it from the root and clearing the worst off the lawn, and almost one charge (3 to 1 bars) to cut the trunk and larger branches in manageable pieces. Both times I got tired and stopped before the chainsaw did.

Note that the chainsaw pulls heavily on the battery, so much so that the battery gets so hot that you can not recharge it before it cools down a bit. I had two batteries as I bought both this and the hedge cutter including a battery (and charger).
So to avoid overheating it is actually better to use multiple 2.0Ah batteries than a 4.0 or 6.0 Ah, as the ‘small’ ones could rest in between. You might even swap every couple of cuts to give the battery a chance to cool.

This certainly is a really nice tool for the occasional usage, it is not something that will do any job a similar sized ordinary chain saw can.
It is NOT the tool for lengthy extensive work, like cutting through a pile of firewood. But if you every weekend cut what is needed for the week, it might even do that job.

For a tumbled minor tree it was perfect. If/when I need to do it again, I would do it successively carrying the cut-off away, while the battery gets a chance to rest, as the heating definitely will shorten the overall life of the battery. And perhaps even swap the battery after say cutting through the whole trunk.

I got an old classic petrol-driven chainsaw but it is always a hassle to get it working when it has e.g half a year… So for small jobs this is so much easier: Make sure there is chain oil in the tank, tighten the chain if needed, put in a battery, and GO.

A silly detail: It comes with a minute 0.05 litre of chain oil, and though this was enough for the two runs, it is almost more insulting that not adding any, I mean 1litre is sold around £8, so 0.25L would be at a resale price of around £2, and for a machine with a retail price above £300, it seems too stingy.

The bar and chain are made by Oregon, so a standard 52 link 3/8″ pitch 1,1mm chain will do the trick. Nice!!

A nice touch is the super easy mechanism for adjusting the chain: Turn the black knob to unlock, turn the red knob to adjust, and lock with the black one again.

A simple and intuitive solution, I’m 99% sure that is Oregon’s also. It looks a LOT like this. And would make sense to license the whole cutting mechanism


Larger job

I had a 20m Yew hedge that had not been trimmed for years, and not cut seriously for a decade. So with the combination of the 36V hedge-cutter and chainsaw, it was cut down to 2m, removing the top that somewhere reached an additional 3m, and for the most part about 1-1.5m was cut. It also got a serious side-trim. And these two simple tools did the job, without any serious issues. The ‘saw’ function of the hedge-cutter handled the  minor branches and twigs, and for the more brutal work, the chainsaw did an excellent work. As the hedge had also grown very thick, reaching the far side from one side would have been easier with a longer bar though.

As the Yew has fine leafs/needles these had a tendency to clutter up the saw. A light slap or two on the side with a flat hand was enough to empty it. If allowed to clutter up completely, the chain can fall off, it did so twice, but it very easy to remount with the mechanism described above.


Combined Brush and Grass-cutter

Admittedly I bought this because I bought the two others, and hence got the batteries. So a bit of a ‘why not?’….

A already got a petrol driven one, that I really rarely use, and it works fine.

It comes with two options. A wire head for grass and lighter weed, and a blade for the more rough work. It is not complicated to swap between the two, but is not a super easy snap on/off thing either.

I tried it with the blade, cutting down some weed, including some small ‘uninvited’ trees, and the machinery and blade worked as one could expect.

So far so good, but in their description they tout it as

An ergonomic design and easy manoeuvrability take the fatigue out of longer brush cutting tasks

The word that comes to mind here is a lie!


Problem 1, can be worked round

The point the support belt is fixed at is very very far from the balance point, so you have to press quite hard at the handle to lift it off the ground. And the handle is just 20cm from the belt point, and the distance between the motor and the belt point is 105cm, so you need to push with a force five times the weight of the motor-unit!!!
I guess I cut for 15 minuttes or so, and got quite sore in my wrist from the pressure, at the least a day later it was still sore, so not exactly ergonomic equipment!!!

The next time, I think I will try with a wrist protector (like for skating or arthritis) to transfer the pressure to the underarm rather than the joint.

The handle is ALSO above the balance-point. So pulling that just lifts the whole thing, it does not change the angle.

Problem 2, fixable!!!

The shaft can not be extended, and the angle of the motor head is fixed at 30°, so used in the angle it is supposed to be used, the TOP of the support handle is only 65cm above the ground, and the TOP of the control handle 70cm from the ground. So this is designed for people around 160cm? or with very very long arms.
I used it at a wrong angle, should I have used it correctly I should bend down while using it. I’m an old guy ‘fallen down’ to the lower 180’ies, in northern Europe 1.9-2m is practically the norm for younger males, so they would have an even harder task reaching that low.
So this as is should not be sold in Northern Europe, despite Bosch being a German company, at the least it needs a warning that it is not intended to be used by people above say 170cm.
Maybe it is a Chinese designed tool, only adjusted with logo and Bosch battery-compartment in Germany???

This is a crop from their own advertising(!) video, 51s in, showing the model cutting in knee height, to get the angle right!

Fix! Will it bend?

This problem is fixable though!
The shaft is an aluminium tube, and hence it can be bent!!!
So I bent it slightly on several points, and let the front handle point backwards, this way the front handle get to a reachable height of about 85cm, and the control handle at about 95cm, when the blade is 5cm above ground, so now I can use it! If you are higher you can make the curvature stronger!!

This is not a heavy machine in any way (3.4Kg plus 0.7 to 1.3Kg for a battery), nor does it produce violent vibrations, so I do not fear that the slightly reduction of the strength of the tube by the applied tension’s structural damage will have any real impact. Well if it was for professional usage over thousands of hours it would be another matter, but this is home appliance for my garden, and is very unlikely to be used even hundred hours in my life time.


I would have expected a close resemblance to their Advanced GrassCut 36, by the name, but that has a very different design, with a twist-able head at an 45° angle
For further naming confusion they got an  Advanced GrassCut 36V-33, that seems to be identical to the BrushCut, but delivered with a thread-head only)


Other 36V Bosch tools

In Bosch’s Pro series they got a powerful 3.2J cordless rotary hammer, the GBH 36V. Until now I have managed to stay stingy enough to not buy – but I’m certainly tempted….
The other garden tools they currently offer in the DIY series are not appealing to me.