Also known as a bush or shrub trimmer, a hedge trimmer is a gardening implement or tool primarily used for trimming, pruning, or cutting hedges or solitary bushes. The machine comes in a variety of designs. It is also available in powered and manual models.
A powered hedge trimmer may not be necessary if you only have a few hedges in your backyard, but most homes today have more than that. A hedge trimmer does a good job of fixing hedges quickly. It can also be used for trees with small branches that create obstructions. With the use of a hedge trimmer, you can easily manage and control shrub growth in your yard. The hedge trimmer, along with the lawn mower and weed trimmer, are essential tools that can be found in the repertoire of any do-it-yourself home gardener.
As mentioned, there are lots of hedge trimmer models on the market that you can choose from. Each model comes with its own set of features, and if you are not very familiar with the tool, the selection process may overwhelm you.
This complete buying guide will make choosing the right model to buy easy and painless for you. You must be knowledgeable on the various available features, if you are looking to find the best hedge trimmer for the money. There are models that are intended to do more than just clip hedges and bushes. You can also prune perennials, cut smaller branches, and cut in a more intricate manner.
Also, you must identify the specific features you need to look for. All horticultural practitioners, both beginner and advanced, will make great use out of a decent hedge trimmer. Knowing the features you need and the factors to consider when buying can help you narrow down your choices to the most suitable models for you. Simply put, doing prior research and having the right information can help you avoid getting the wrong product. In this complete guide for the best hedge trimmers, you’ll find all the information you’ll need plus individual product reviews further down the page.
Best Hedge Trimmer Complete Guide
Initial Factors to Consider
The size of your property – A corded hedge trimmer may suit your needs if your garden is only less than 100 yards away from a convenient power outlet. However, if your backyard is much bigger or a number of odd obstacles exist, then it may be ideal to get a gas or battery-powered trimmer instead.
Frequency of use – If you need to trim your plants occasionally, like two or three times a year, you can opt for a more affordable cordless or electric model. If you need to use the trimmer more frequently, however, it may be advisable to invest in a gas model that is more powerful that can save you some money and time over the long term.
Thickness of the branches to be cut – Most hedge trimmer models are designed to cut branches that measure up to ½” thick. Do you need to cut thicker branches? If so, then it may be better for you to use a manual shear or a chain saw instead.
The type of energy that your hedge trimmer will use is also an important consideration. Some models run on batteries charged by electricity, while some units run on direct electrical current. Other models rely on gasoline. To know which type suits you best, consider the following advantages and cons of each of the options.
Electric Corded Hedge Trimmer – Electric corded models are popular because they are affordable, quiet, lightweight, and are not constrained by a limited power supply. They are also not expensive to maintain. Some models can be operated with a simple button push. One downside is that while an electric corded hedge trimmer works like a gas model, it lacks the power that the latter has. Likewise, it works only if there is an electrical outlet within reach. A lot of older homes are not designed with multiple outdoor outlets, and if the property is surrounded by hedges, problems will arise. Although there are models equipped with longer cords, this may not be enough for an extremely big area.
Electric Cordless Hedge Trimmer – This emission-free type of trimmer is preferred by some users because of its easy and cheap maintenance requirements. It doesn’t run on gas and needs only a limited electricity supply. Some special models are even equipped with additional energy-saving features. Like gas-operated models, a cordless electric trimmer is easily transportable; it starts easily as well. Because it also operates quietly, this type of trimmer is ideal if you live in a place with strict ordinances against noise. Battery-run models usually come with 14 to 24-volt batteries that are good for about 30 to 45 minutes of use, recommended for users with only a few hedges to trim. A cordless electric trimmer costs just about as much as its corded counterpart, but definitely less expensive than a gas-run trimmer.
Gasoline Hedge Trimmer – Gas trimmers can cut faster, have more power, are more versatile in cutting wet bushes, and are very portable. This type is ideal for bigger properties that require a lot of time to maintain. Because it is cordless, you don’t need to have multiple power outlets in your yard. Its speed and portability make it a popular choice among professional landscapers. One downside of a gasoline hedge trimmer is that it needs proper fuel mixing to function well. Likewise, it is more costly to maintain, compared to other models.
Size of the Hedge
If your hedges are over 5’ tall or wide, you may need an extended-reach hedge trimmer as most commercially-available trimmers are intended for use on smaller hedges. With an extended-reach trimmer, you can crop the top of a taller hedge even while standing on the ground. You may find a model that comes with a tilted blade easier to use for cutting straight.
Ideal Hedge Trimmer Weight
You can opt for a lightweight model if you find it difficult to lug a heavy object around for an extended period of time. If weight is a factor for you, then you must also consider the amount of time it will take to complete the job. This will depend on the number of shrubs you need to trim. Some people only have to contend with one or two shrubs, while others may have their entire property enclosed by shrubs. Extended-reach trimmers are typically heavier than regular models. In terms of standard models, electric trimmers are usually lighter than gas-fed machines. If you are muscle-bound and blessed with a good balance, however, you may not have any problems with trimmer weight.
Some people don’t see the need to have their hedges trimmed more than once a month, while others prefer doing it more frequently like on a weekly basis. If you think you’ll be using the trimmer often, then go for a heavy duty model. Some hedge trimmers are not designed for frequent use and may not be properly equipped to handle constant exposure to dirt, debris, and moisture. If you intend to use the trimmer daily such as when operating a lawn care business, a gas-operated model is recommended. A cordless electric trimmer takes a lot of time to recharge while its corded counterpart is limited in terms of range.
Hedge trimmer blades are flat and have serrated edges. The measurement or distance between teeth on the serrated edges is called a blade gap. It determines the trimmer’s performance on specific types of hedges. In general, professional landscapers use trimmers that have blade gaps measuring at least 1”. There are several blade sizes that regular hedge trimmer users can select from, the most popular of which are those with measurements of 13 to 40”. Smaller blades are ideal for beginners. This is because long blades are initially difficult to handle, although they offer an even overall cut if properly used. The trick is to get used to managing smaller blades first, then slowly upgrade to the bigger sizes as skills improve. Aside from determining the right tooth gap and blade size, you must also decide whether a single-sided blade or a double-sided variety is more suitable for your needs. For optimum safety, inexperienced users are better off using single-sided blades. Hedging jobs will take a little longer to complete because a single-sided blade trim in only one direction, unlike its double-sided counterpart. Whatever type you are using, however, it is important to make sure that the blades are aimed away from your body while trimming.
The tool’s cutting capacity is contingent on the space between the teeth. It is measured in terms of the maximum branch size that the trimmer can cut safely. A model with a big cutting capacity is ideal for use on dense, thick, or woody plants, while smaller cutting capacity models are suited for leafy, young hedges with finer stems or for small amounts of hedge pruning.
More Hedge Trimmer Features
Although not crucial to the machine’s overall function, some extra features may be quite beneficial for certain users. These include the trigger lock feature that allows a user to have the button depressed without actually applying pressure with his fingers. This can be helpful for tasks that take a long time to complete. A wraparound handle, on the other hand, offers additional comfort while completing bigger jobs. Those who prefer long-lasting blades that would not require replacement for several years can opt for high-carbon steel blades. While it is not a standard, some sellers allow it as option for upgrade. This type of blade can be simply re-sharpened several times, each time lasting longer than an average blade. A pole extender, on the other hand, is an option for those who need to trim extremely high hedges. Conversion kits are also available that allow the use of the trimmer for various other functions. For gas-run models, you can opt for a clear tank to keep tabs on how much fuel you have left. On the other hand, extra batteries are available for cordless electric units. This will enable you to use your trimmer longer even if you don’t have a gas trimmer model. Extra batteries also serve as a useful backup in case the original battery completely wears out.
Here are the additional feature you may want to consider, depending on your particular needs:
On/Off Switch Lock – With this feature, you can finish a job in one sitting as it reduces fatigue as you work. However, if you need to work near children, pets, or other distraction, a continuous-pressure switch may be a safer option.
High-Carbon Steel Blade – Aside from being longer-lasting and offering a more effective cut, it is a money-saver too as it can be sharpened to extend its useful life.
Translucent (See-Through) Fuel Tanks – If you require a unit that will keep you updated on the remaining fuel as you work, a gas-powered model with a translucent fuel tank is what you need.
Wraparound Handle – This type of handle allows you to comfortably maintain a position regardless of the angle you’re tackling a job from.
Pigtail – A short piece of cord that hooks up to an extension cord, having a pigtail at the end of your corded hedge trimmer will facilitate plugging and unplugging the extension cord while reducing the risk of accidental disconnections.
Lightweight Construction – The weight is something subjective as what may be considered lightweight for one user may not necessarily be so for another. In general, the “lighter” the trimmer, the longer you will be able to work with it before getting tired. It is therefore recommended that when shopping for a hedge trimmer at a store, try various models out (without powering up, of course) and see which one will be light enough for you to handle. Renting the model you prefer before buying is also a good idea.
Pole – A pole extension can give you the required length for trimming hard-to-reach or high areas.
Tolerable Noise Level – When working, professionals wear eye protection and earplugs. You should, too. If you don’t want to wear earplugs, however, there are quiet cordless and electric models you can choose from.
Kits – Aside from using your machine as a trimmer, you can buy a kit that will allow you to use your unit for another purpose such as a patio broom, string trimmer, and other useful functions.
Extra Battery Packs – When using a cordless electric model, extra batteries will allow you to work longer or to complete bigger jobs in a single session.
Best Hedge Trimmers Reviews
1. DeWalt DCHT860M1 Review
Known for its high quality and superior performance, the DeWalt DCHT860M1 runs on superior 40v lithium-ion battery, avoiding the usual hassles associated with using gas-driven trimmer models. It can run for 1 hour on a single charge, without fading power. It has sufficient strength to do a quick job on practically any hedge that stands in its way.
The DeWalt trimmer offers the same power of gas models, but without the need to mix oil and gas, pull a cord, wait for it to warm up, and emissions. In addition it makes 400% less noise than the regular gas-run trimmer models. It likewise uses 22” premium cutting blades for laser cut precision, allowing the tool to cut through ¾” thick branches. You can complete virtually any type of hedge cutting task with it.
With its comfortable and ergonomic design, working with the DeWalt DCHT860M1 can be a lot of fun. Because it is well-balanced and lightweight, you can maximize the use of its hour-long runtime. The dual action design results to less vibration that in turn, results to less fatigue for the entire duration of use. To sum it up, the DeWalt DCHT860M1 is the right model to get if you want the power of a gas hedge trimmer sans the smell and rigid maintenance requirements.
2. Black & Decker HH2455 Review
Equipped with a 24” action blade with a ¾” maximum cutting capacity, the HH2455 model from Black & Decker is up for any hedge trimming job. Even when trimming dense undergrowth and thick woods, the dual-action blade does not produce excessive vibration. The powerful trimmer that produces 2800 strokes per minute is surprisingly agile enough to provide comfort and control when trimming delicate formal shrubbery. The blade is rust-resistant and made from durable hardened steel. Thus, it stays sharp even when used extensively.
Maximizing the cutting power of the 120v engine, however, is somewhat hampered by the cord, which limits its versatility. Thus, the B&D HH2455 is best suited for small and medium-sized gardens. It is equipped with a cord retention feature that prevents disconnection of the cord from the outlet if attempts are made to bring the tool beyond its reach. For added safety, it has a lock-off feature to prevent accidental start-ups. The lock-on switch allows you to continuously work without worrying about keeping the button depressed, thus helping reduce muscle and hand fatigue. The inline engine guarantees even weight distribution and balance. You can rotate the handle to a maximum of 1800, providing more control when cutting in any direction, and in any position. The handle likewise locks into any position you prefer.
Lightweight at 6.5 lbs., the trimmer comes with a padded shoulder strap that provides even more comfort when used for an extended period of time. The strap allows you to rest or change positions without having to put the tool on the ground. The strap also prevents accidental drops that may damage the hedge trimmer. Simply put, the HH2455 from Black & Decker is a good choice for use in small and medium-sized areas that require a versatile trimmer. It is easy to use, lightweight, and has no emissions. Because it is an electric model, however, its use can be limited by the cord’s length.
3. Husqvarna 122HD60 Review
The Husqvarna 122HD60 is designed with vibration dampeners that allow you to work comfortably for a long time, reducing fatigue and muscle stress in the process. However, it cannot be considered lightweight as even with the fuel tank empty, it weights a good 10.8 lbs. It may be difficult to use the tool overhead for a long time because of its weight, especially with a full tank.
With a 0.8HP engine capable of delivering 4050 cuts/minute, the machine has sufficient power to handle most heavy-duty cutting jobs. You won’t need earplugs while using the trimmer as it produces a low noise level. The engine muffler that diverts exhaust emissions away from the user likewise helps in reducing the noise. Starting up the trimmer is easy because of its pull-cord start up mechanism. The air purge capsule that flushes out air from the carburetor also helps in the start-up process. For safety, the throttle automatically locks in idle position. This prevents accidental throttle operation.
The dual-action blade measures 23” and has a maximum cutting capacity of 0.8”. Made from stainless steel, the blade is corrosion-resistant and highly durable. Considering its price level, however, the tool does not come with a debris shield or a shoulder strap. What it offers instead, is a blade sheath that protects the blade while in transport or storage. It also comes with a hand guard that prevents the user’s hand from getting in contact with the moving blade. This can prevent injuries in case the user loses his grasp on the front handle. The trimmer’s rear handle can be adjusted easily and safely locks into place. It can also be rotated for up to 900 that allows comfortable use when cutting in horizontal or vertical directions. Because of limited placements, however, the handle pales in comparison with other models in terms of adjustability.
With a decent cutting diameter and quiet engine, the high-end trimmer disappointingly misses out on a few beneficial extras like a debris shield. It is also heavy, especially when loaded with fuel. The biggest draw of this model is its ability to handle heavy-duty jobs.
4. Echo HC-152 Review
Running on a two-stroke 21.2cc engine, this model needs a 50:1 gas to two-stroke oil ratio for optimum performance. Its translucent fuel tank has a 15.6 fl. oz. capacity that allows you to work for long periods of time. The see-through tank feature, on the other hand, enables you to keep track of the remaining fuel, giving you an idea on when it is time to refuel.
The Echo HC-152 is comparatively heavy, weighing 11.7 lbs. with an empty tank. This makes it difficult to use when cutting high hedges for a long time. The engine’s muffler helps reduce noise and keep emissions away from you as you trim hedges. The engine is fitted with an air purge bulb that, when activated, helps force air in the carburetor out, while it pumps fresh fuel into the engine to facilitate a quick start when the engine pull-cord is used. The model has a 20” sharp steel, laser cut precision blades that are durable and capable of providing even and clean cuts with every stroke. With the comparatively short blade, even with its sharp precision, cutting jobs take a longer time to complete than with a 24” model. There are advantages of having a shorter blade, however, including lighter overall weight and more balance. Likewise, a shorter blade offers better control that is ideal for topiary, shaping, and formal landscaping.
The large-sized hoop-style front handle and ergonomically-designed rear handle allow for easy and comfortable maneuverability. The downside is that the rear handle cannot be rotated or adjusted, making it awkward to work at various angles. A debris shield and a hand guard are fitted for additional safety at the blade base. The unit does not have a shoulder strap, however. One important missing feature is vibration reduction, which is usually expected of high-end models. Without this feature, muscle fatigue can quickly set in, especially when working on tough materials; and this can make the tool a bit more difficult to control.
Overall the Echo HC-152 provides precision cutting, as well as powerful and quiet operations. Considering it is a high-end model, however, it would have been better if it came with a shoulder harness and vibration reduction feature.
5. Worx 20V Trimmer Review
Equipped with a battery status indicator, you can easily tell how much battery power the Toro 51496 Cordless 24” Hedge Trimmer has left in its 24v lithium-ion battery. The battery pack is easily removable and can be fully charged in 1 hour using its fast charger. To achieve optimum charge, however, 24-hour charging is recommended. It has a minimal self-discharge rate so you can expect little power loss in between uses.
As expected, the 24v engine does not offer the same power that a high end gas-run model does, and this makes the unit unfit for heavy duty trimming tasks. Even if it is rated at 2800 cutting strokes/minute, it obviously struggles when working on woody, dense stems that measure over 2/3”. The Toro trimmer has a 24” dual-action hardened steel blade that reduces vibration. With its blade length, you can expect to enjoy extra trimming reach and shorter working time. The added length however, comes with a few downsides as it reduces overall balance and adds a bit of weight. It likewise offers less precision and control compared to shorter blades. For safety when transporting or storing, the blade comes with a protective sheath.
Both the rear and front auxiliary handles are ergonomically designed and equipped with a soft comfort grip to help reduce fatigue and muscle stress. The rear handle provides some versatility as it can be rotated up to 900 but it allows only three positions. Comparatively lightweight at 6.8 lbs., the Toro cordless model allows you to work comfortably for a long period of time. There is less risk of excessive muscle stress even when working overhead. Being as light as a lot of corded trimmer models, it has the advantage of not being encumbered by an attached power cord.
The Toro 51496 Cordless 24” Hedge Trimmer is a good choice for light tasks that require maneuverability. While it is not recommended for heavy duty jobs, the mid-range hedge trimmer model is reasonably agile, lightweight, and equipped with a dual-action blade for fast cutting.
6. Poulan Pro PP2822 Review
The Poulan Pro PP2822 gas-operated trimmer has sufficient power to quickly dispose of jobs involving trimming large volumes of small branches measuring half an inch or less. If the job requires working above the waist, it may take a toll on your upper body as the machine weights a solid 15.8 lbs. Your back and shoulders will definitely get an unscheduled workout. The machine is also awkwardly designed as the emissions are directed to users who are right-handed. This shouldn’t be a problem if you are ambidextrous.
Professional grade, the 22” blade and 28cc engine can cut through thick shrubbery faster than many cordless or electric models can. Each tankful of gas yields around half an hour worth of work. The blade, however, tends to be a bit fragile, especially when indiscriminately used for woodbrushing as user may be tempted to do so because of the trimmer’s vaunted power. According to actual users, the Poulan Pro PP2822 is actually best used for cutting branches that are no more than ½” thick, instead of ¾” as advertised. The unit is also said to make a lot of noise, so using an earplug when working with the trimmer is advised.
The hedge trimmer model is on the hefty and heavy side, weighing 15.8 lbs. You shouldn’t have any problems with that – if you usually work below the waist. However, it can be cumbersome if you need to trim hedges that are more than 5’. The task can stress your arms, shoulders, and back. Likewise, if you are right-handed, you may get frustrated by the fumes blowing right smack in your face, especially if you are using the machine above the waist. You can easily deal with the issue if you can work the trimmer left-handed.
Because the unit has not trigger lock, you can hear some noisy revving while the machine is in use. One good feature of the Poulan trimmer is the rotating swivel handle that can be adjusted to 45 or 900, which makes trimming at odd angles or in tight spaces convenient. Rotating the handle, however, does not address the exhaust problem at all times. Also, the absence of a trigger lock makes the heavy trimmer difficult to handle in bigger jobs. One good thing that comes with a purchase of this model is the 2-year warranty on labor and parts. Just make sure that there’s an authorized repair and service center within your area.
7. Black & Decker LHT2436 Review
Black & Decker is a household name in power tools. Thus, for most people, this brand is considered a safe choice, the Black & Decker LHT2436 Hedge Trimmer is no exception. The cordless trimmer comes with a long 24” dual action blade that is guaranteed to meet most expectations from a high quality hedge trimmer. It has a long-lasting 40v lithium-ion battery pack that charges quickly. You can expect to cover an area of 6,000 ft. in a single battery charge. The unit is ergonomically designed, taking into consideration the user’s comfort while using the tool. Handles are fitted with comfort grip features to ensure that your hands and arms are relaxed throughout the job. Simply put, the LHT2436 can compete with other leading models in terms of power, cutting time, features, and job suitability.
More powerful than most other hedge trimmers on the market today, including other models from Black & Decker, the LHT2436 is the best choice for maintaining large yards. One convenient feature of this particular trimmer is its interchangeable batteries. You can run it using the battery of any other Black & Decker product that use 36v battery. Thus, you have the option to buy this model without the battery and/or fast charger.
Black & Decker LHT2436 Hedge Trimmer Features:
- Sufficient power for cutting through thick branches
- Lightweight at only 6.9 lbs.
- Superior handle ergonomics; soft grip handle w/ lock-off switch
- Well-balanced dual-action blade for fast cutting with minimal vibration
- Interchangeable batteries
- Fast charger; can fully charge in 1 hour.
8. Earthwise CVPH41018 Review
Able to cut ¾” branches with a 120v 2.8amp engine, the Earthwise CVPH41018 can quickly hurdle practically each of your trimming requirements. One thing that makes this particular model special is its ability to work on jobs that other models may find too tall to handle. The pole extends from 1 ½’ to as much as 12’. It allows adjustments to as much as 6 various cutting positions, and can be easily converted into a handheld trimmer.
DIY hedge trimming is made easier by the 18” cutting blade; no need to hire a pro to do the job of trimming smaller hedges or tree branches for you. The trimmer’s head can be rotated to 1500 in five convenient positions that allow you to work in various cutting situations. The extendable pole, made from very durable fiberglass, comes in 2 sections. To sum everything up, the Earthwise CVPH41018 hedge trimmer is versatile enough to help you address your taller branch and hedge issues. It has the power and reach required for the job.
9. Black & Decker LHT2220 Review
The 22” cordless trimmer model from Black & Decker is guaranteed to make your entire backyard looking all tidy and well-manicured in a short period of time. Operating on a 20v MAX lithium battery, the trimmer has sufficient power and is loaded with convenient and highly useful features.
Regardless of the job at hand, the full wraparound, cushioned front handle grip provides comfort and ease of use. Maximum cutting capacity rating is ¾”, which is enough to cut through larger tree branches. With 40% less vibration compared to other hedge trimmers in its class, this Black & Decker model addresses the common issue of hand fatigue.
The long-lasting battery allows you to trim an area of up to 3,000 sq. ft. on a single charge. This is around 5 times longer than what NiCad batteries offer. Lightweight at only 5.5 lbs., this trimmer is definitely a joy to work with. Energy Star compliant, it comes with a limited warranty for 2 years.
10. GreenWorks 22102 Review
A budget-friendly electric hedge trimmer, the GreenWorks 22102 is ideal for lighter jobs including cutting thin or young hedges, bushes, and shrubs. It is not intended for heavy duty use because of its limited cutting capacity and power. Powered by a 2.7amp engine, the hedge trimmer offers decent power that is just right for light trimming tasks. Being an electric model, it has no emissions and operates quietly. Maximum cutting capacity is only 0.375 inches so it is not expected to do well with dense, thick stems.
Compared to other models that have longer blades, the GreenWorks 22102’s blade is only 18” long, resulting to shorter strokes that require a longer time to complete jobs. The dual action blade helps reduce vibration. This results to even cuts and lower muscle fatigue. Because it comes with an extremely short power cord, you must provide an extension cord that has enough length to cover your entire garden area. The extension cord is connected to the power cord that loops through the handle, as well as the cord retention hook. The cord is then prevented from accidentally disconnecting from the power outlet while the machine is in use.
The hedge trimmer has a double insulation feature that puts an added protective layer between the electrical system and you. It reduces the risk of injuries from electrical anomalies. The exposed metal parts are isolated from the internal wirings to provide additional safety measures. More care must be given when transporting or storing the blade because of the absence of a protective blade sheath. At 5.1 lbs., the lightweight trimmer has an even weight distribution that results to better stability and balance. This allows for even cutting strokes. Other noteworthy features include a lock-off switch that prevents accidental engine start-ups, and a combined debris shield and hand protector. The front auxiliary handle is not padded, however. Instead it is simply a bare bar. This makes the tool less comfortable and awkward to use, especially when working over the shoulder or at various angles.
In summary, the lightweight trimmer is convenient to use because of its comparatively shorter blade length, as well as even weight distribution. Its safety features are also considered as adequate. While it is generally considered as ideal for use in small gardens and for lighter cutting jobs, it is not suitable for tougher tasks because of its inadequate cutting capacity and poorly-designed auxiliary handle.
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