Feather-Light Husqvarna 520iLX Does Almost Everything Right
We recently had the chance to test out the Husqvarna 520iLX, one of the string trimmer entries in the brand’s line of 36V tools. We measured its performance against other battery-powered string trimmers from a variety of other manufacturers. After including it in our battery-powered weedeater roundup, we found that every model had an area of expertise. But, the Husqvarna battery-powered string trimmer excelled in just about every category we tested.
RecommendationAt $299 for the bare tool, we can admit that the Husqvarna 520iLX won’t come cheap. But, quality rarely does. This string trimmer made for one of the most pleasurable weed whackin’ experiences of recent memory thanks to its combination of light weight, runtime, and features. If you just need to get the job done, there are more cost-effective options on the market. If, however, you want the “Cadillac” of battery-powered string trimmers, this could be the tool for you.
Highlighting the Highlights
Weight & Balance
The first thing most of us noticed about the Husqvarna 520iLX revolved around the trimmer’s weight and balance. Without its battery, it weighs just 6.61 lbs. That falls substantially lower than any of the others we tested.
Adding the 5.2Ah 36V battery pack raised the overall weight to 9.58 lbs. But, it still wound up just marginally heavier than the lightest battery-powered model, the 20V DeWalt DCST922 folding string trimmer. This still impressed, as a string trimmer and battery typically weighs anywhere between 11 and 14 lbs.
You can really feel the difference while working. The Husqvarna battery string trimmer feels incredibly light and agile in both trimming and edging applications. Obviously, the minimal weight plays a big role in this, but there are two other things about this trimmer that also help keep the fatigue at a minimum: its balance and vibration control.
The balance feels just about as close to a perfectly neutral situation as we’ve experienced. This means you won’t have to lift the back end to bring the trimmer head to the ground. You also won’t have to work to keep the trimmer head lifted to where you need it.
Husqvarna does a great job with vibration control as well. Not feeling the trimmer jitter around in your arms really helps you work longer without getting fatigued. And, this Husqvarna battery string trimmer barely registered on our internal Richter scales. Only the EGO carbon fiber string trimmer and Greenworks Pro 60V trimmer could match the 520iLK on vibration control.
Husqvarna 520iLK Feature Set
The Husqvarna battery string trimmer features a brushless motor that, in cooperation with the 36V 5.2Ah battery pack, generates a top no-load speed of 5483 rpm. It has a 16″ cutting diameter and uses 0.095″ line.
The Husqvarna 520iLK also features a dual-direction function that, with the press of a button, reverses the direction of the cutting head. This fairly unique feature will find some use when trimming along walkways. Reversing the direction of the head will project the grass back into the lawn rather than onto the sidewalk. It could definitely save you some time on the back end of the lawn work when it comes time to blow down the sidewalk.
The 520iLK also features an Eco mode that drops the speed and power to extend your runtime. Considering this had the best runtime we saw in our roundup anyway (at almost 37 minutes), having a feature that extends the runtime even further feels like we’re being spoiled. We’ll take it.
Another unique feature we spotted on the Husqvarna was the battery dock design. The battery inserts sideways through the body. We found a couple of benefits to this. First, this positioning reduces the risk of having lawn debris and water collect in the battery compartment, reducing the risk of damaging your battery connections.
Second, this positioning has something to do with the agility we talked about earlier. It puts the weight of the battery at the trimmer’s rotational center of gravity. This seems like a pretty thoughtful design. You can use any size battery and still keep your maneuverability.
Nobody is Above Critique…
…and this Husqvarna battery string trimmer model is no different. We don’t have too many negative things to say about the 520iLK. One thing that does come to mind is the blister buttons on the control panel. A minor issue, to be sure, but they can be challenging to manipulate while wearing gloves. And, they don’t typically stand up very well over time and across temperature fluctuations.
Out of the models we tested for our Roundup, the Husqvarna 520iLK battery string trimmer was the loudest…technically. It registered 89 dB(A) on our SPL meter on its high setting, a full 3 decibels louder than the next loudest string trimmers. The thing is, we actually tested it a few times to make sure our readings were correct. To us, the 520iLK sounded MUCH quieter than all the other models. Perhaps it outputs a frequency that our ears don’t pick up so well?
For some, the price could also present a bit of a challenge. The bare tool retails for $299. Most of the other models we tested retail for markedly less, and those noticeably lower prices also generally involve a battery and charger. Keep in mind the Husqvarna 520iLK is geared more toward the Pro with its build quality and feature set. The price and warranty (3-year residential/2-year commercial) really shouldn’t be too unexpected.
At $299 for the bare tool, we can admit that the Husqvarna 520iLX won’t come cheap. But, quality rarely does. This string trimmer gave us one of our most pleasurable weed whackin’ experiences of recent memory due to its exceptionally light weight, runtime, and feature set. If you just need to get the job done, there are more cost-effective options on the market that are still perfectly capable. If you’re looking for the “Cadillac” of battery-powered string trimmers, this could be the tool for you.
Husqvarna Battery String Trimmer Specs
- Model: Husqvarna 520iLX
- Voltage: 36V
- Brushless Motor: Yes
- Cutting Width: 16 in.
- Weight: 6.6 lbs (without battery)
- Equivalent Vibration Levels: 1.2 m/s² @ front handle; 0.7 m/s² @ rear handle
- IPX4 rating
- Warranty: 3-year residential; 2-year commercial
- Price: $299 (bare tool)