Design and Features
We recently had the chance to test various professional-grade and home-grade string trimmers for our battery-operated weeders article. Among the impressive Pro models, the Stihl FSA 130 R Battery String Trimmer stood out with its thoughtful design and quiet operation.
Pros of the Stihl FSA 130 R
- The design reduces the weight of the tool’s battery.
- It offers a backpack battery option for extended runtime.
- The trimmer has a 3-gear control.
- It runs for over 35 minutes on the recommended 7.2Ah battery (281 Wh).
- The brand has a strong sales and after-sales service dealer network.
- It is one of the quieter models we tested, measuring 82 dB(A).
Cons of the Stihl FSA 130 R
- The trigger safety system takes some practice and limits the ability to turn the trimmer sideways for light trimming.
- Prices are higher compared to competitors.
- There is no “easy load” rethreading system.
Unique Battery Design
The Stihl FSA 130 R stands out with its innovative battery design. Instead of a battery box, Stihl incorporated a battery tethering system into the design. This keeps the battery weight away from the tool, ensuring better balance and rotational center of gravity.
You can use Stihl’s backpack battery or harness system with any 36V Stihl battery instead of a typical car battery. Both systems use a cable that connects the power supply to a plug on the side of the trimmer’s motor housing. The cable provides flexibility while moving, and the adjustable straps and backpack allow you to distribute the battery weight on your waist, reducing fatigue. This makes the trimmer well-balanced and easy to maneuver.
This custom battery system might be considered excessive for homeowners who only need to maintain their lawns. However, for professionals who deal with multiple lawns or large areas daily, this battery design can significantly lessen the strain of a long workday.
How Heavy is the Trimmer?
The weight of the battery can greatly impact the overall weight of the tool. Without any tether, the Stihl FSA 130 R weighs 10.25 lbs, making it one of the heavier trimmers we’ve tested. When you add the weight of the cable, the total weight climbs to 10.89 lbs.
However, despite its weight, the FSA 130 R feels lighter in practice due to the battery’s effect on the tool’s center of gravity. This becomes more evident when in motion, making the trimmer easier to handle.
While all the battery-powered string trimmers we tested boast “quiet operation,” the Stihl Battery String Trimmer takes it to the next level, measuring just 82 dB(A).
Combined with Stihl’s 0.095-inch Quiet Line string trimmer cord, which reduces wind noise with helical grooves, you can trim your lawn even during late hours without disturbing anyone’s peace.
A Word About Trimmer Guards
Stihl’s trimmer guards are designed with narrow bottoms for improved visibility. They extend wider to provide better protection against flying debris. This unorthodox but effective design strikes the right balance between visibility and safeguarding.
Runtime of the Stihl FSA 130 R
Using a Stihl AP300S 7.5Ah battery, we tested the runtime of the FSA 130 R. Under no-load conditions, the trimmer ran at high speed for 36.41 minutes, ranking second only to the Husqvarna 520iLX, which runs about half a minute longer on a 5.2Ah battery. For even longer runtime, Stihl offers backpack battery models.
Professional Cutting Performance
The Stihl FSA 130 R String Trimmer uses 0.095″ wire and cuts 15″ strips. It features a bump feed head, but it lacks any easy-to-load features. You will need to rethread the trimmer head manually. However, most professionals won’t mind this minor inconvenience.
The FSA 130 R has three speeds that you can select by tapping the safety switch repeatedly. At the highest setting, the trimmer reaches an unloaded speed of 5,528 RPM.
A Small Concern
Speaking of the safety switch, we found that the FSA 130 R’s safety features, though well-intentioned, could be excessive. The 3-stage safety switch, involving the throttle trigger, top trigger, and thumb switch, all need to be engaged before the trimmer starts. While this system works, it can be a bit challenging to use and not very intuitive. It takes some getting used to, especially if you need to turn the trimmer sideways for light trimming. Safety is important, but this particular aspect could be improved.
Price of the Stihl FSA 130 R
Stihl is often compared to Apple in the OPE (Outdoor Power Equipment) world. Like Apple, Stihl products have a distinct look, intelligent design, and an extensive dealer network that provides sales and service support. Consequently, Stihl tools tend to be priced higher than the competition.
The Stihl FSA 130 R, as a bare tool, retails for about $400, which is $100 more expensive than the next priciest trimmer we tested. The kit, including an AP 300 battery and an AL 300 charger, costs around $670. To add additional accessories such as battery straps, shoulder straps, battery pockets, and a power cord, you should budget an extra $134.
The Stihl battery cord trimmer comes with a 2-year professional warranty (or a 3-year residential warranty). Additionally, the brand’s customer care and service department are highly regarded.
The Stihl FSA 130 R Battery Cord Trimmer caters to professionals and is priced accordingly. However, the machine’s performance, lightweight nature, and maneuverability make it worth the investment. We particularly appreciate the harness system for carrying the battery, as it relieves strain from the tool and your arm. Moreover, the trimmer operates quietly.
If you have multiple accounts to manage, prefer early morning operation with minimal noise, or seek excellent dealer support with quick service, this trimmer is a great choice. However, if you need a trimmer that can effortlessly double as an edger or if price is a significant consideration, you may want to explore other options.
STIHL Battery Cord Trimmer Specifications
- Model: STIHL FSA 130 R
- Voltage: 36V
- Cutting Diameter: 15″
- Maximum Wire Diameter: 0.095 inches
- No-load Speed: 5528 rpm
- Weight: 10.25 lbs (without tethered battery); 10.89 lbs (tethered to battery)
- Sound Pressure: 82 dB(A)
- Shaft Material: Aluminum
- Warranty: 3 years residential; 2 years professional
- Price: $399.95 (bare tool); $669.98 for 6.3Ah battery
For more information, visit Stihl’s website or consult your local dealer.