The Stihl FSA 135 String Trimmer Takes Battery Power To The Professional Level
Cordless string trimmers have been a hit with residential homeowners and they’re gaining traction with some professional crews. One obstacle for Pros is performance and that particular hurdle is what the Stihl FSA 135 R string trimmer is designed to overcome.
Stihl FSA 135 R Battery-Powered String Trimmer Performance
- Power Source: Stihl 36V battery (AP 300 recommended for weight)
- No-Load Speed: 5900 RPM
- Runtime: 45 minutes
- Cutting Swath: 16.5 in.
- Line Diameter: 0.095-inch
Brands have been claiming to get professional performance from their string trimmers for a while. With either of these Stihl professional battery-powered string trimmers in the 135 series, it’s a reality. They match up with the FS 91/91 R on the gas side—professional string trimmers with 28.3cc engines.
Just like the gas models, these trimmers have a 16.5-inch cutting swath and work best with 0.095-inch line. Stihl’s brushless motor has a top speed of 5900 RPMs which allows you to power through thicker overgrowth.
The FSA 135 includes a quick-load trimmer head for faster line changes compared to a traditional trimmer head. You just feed the line through the eyelets on the trimmer head and then twist the bump feed mechanism clockwise to load the line. It can also handle grass-cutting blades (230-4, 230-8) or Stihl’s brush knife (250-3) for larger brush and debris.
When it comes to runtime, expect 25 – 45 minutes from an AP 300 battery. Our in-house test with the AP 500 8.8Ah battery ran for a solid 34 minutes and 45 seconds on high. For added convenience, it has three speed settings that allow you to prioritize either maximum power or runtime depending on your needs. That’s not quite up to what the FS 91 R gets on its 24-ounce tank (just over an hour), but it’s certainly on par with what we expect on the cordless side.
Stihl FSA 135 R Battery-Powered String Trimmer Design
- Motor Type: Brushless
- Shaft Length: 74 in.
- Bare Weight: 11.4 lbs (bare), 15.5 lbs (with AP 500 battery)
Another point worth making concerns the weight. Bare, the FSA 135 R is 11.4 pounds and the AP 500 battery adds another 4.1 pounds, making it 15.5 pounds total. The gas-powered FS 91 R? Just over 14 pounds with a full tank of gas and oil. Keep in mind that there is a smaller battery, the AP 300, if you’re looking to keep the weight down.
Sithl builds both of these models in the USA using parts from both domestic and global sources.
Ergonomically speaking, this trimmer feels very similar to my Stihl FS 56 and has very neutral weighting with the battery in place. This allowed me to easily maneuver the trimmer head around landscaping and other obstacles during our testing. As you would expect, the forward D-handle grip is also adjustable and Stihl includes a padded shoulder strap for extra comfort.
The FSA 135 R features a three-speed brushless motor that you control with a thumb switch located on the handle. Due to the location of the switch, making speed changes on the fly is slightly problematic because the switch rubs on your hip while you’re trimming. Instead, simply release the trigger while keeping the safety switch depressed and cycle to your desired speed.
- Polymer housing
- Onboard air filter
- Weather-resistant design
Stihl FSA 135 vs FSA 135 R
There are two versions of Stihl’s professional cordless string trimmer. The 135 R features a standard D-handle. The 135 comes with a bicycle handle. That’s it. The brushless motors, shafts, and performance are the same.
Editor’s Note: Check out our best gas string trimmer article for our top recommendations.
Stihl FSA 135 String Trimmer Price
The Stihl FSA 135 R retails for $409.99 as a bare tool. From there, Stichl offers a variety of battery and charger combinations for you to choose from based on your needs. Stihl backs this trimmer, batteries, and chargers with a 3-year warranty for residential use and a 2-year warranty for commercial use.
The Bottom Line
The Stihl FSA 135 shows off a distinct advantage compared to many of the battery-powered string trimmers we’ve tested. It has plenty of power for tackling tough overgrowth and the three speed settings give it more versatility than a traditional string trimmer. Whether you’re looking to beef up your personal lawn arsenal or properly outfit your yard crews, the Stihl FSA 135 series is a great battery-powered option.