Last updated: September 11, 2020

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Trimming your hedges, shrubs, and trees with just a pair of hand pruners can get very tiring. Manual tools are effective, but they also involve a lot of physical effort. If you like to keep your garden well-maintained, you’ll know it can be very hard work to keep all your plants and shrubs tidy at all times. A hedge trimmer is the perfect way to make this task easier and less tedious.

Whether you’re a professional landscaper or simply like to spend time in your own yard, you’ll know a hedge trimmer is the perfect tool to help you look after plants, trees, and shrubs. It not only helps you to keep them nice and tidy, but you can also use a hedge trimmer to mold your shrubs into different shapes. If you’re looking to buy one of these handy tools, you’ll find everything you need to know below in order to buy the best model for you!

Key Facts

  • Hedge trimmers are used to tidy and shape hedges, shrubs, and trees. In the market today you’ll find standard and telescopic hedge trimmers: telescopic models are perfect for trimming taller trees and for reaching harder to access areas.
  • If you are a professional landscaper or gardener, you are better off choosing a model with a gasoline motor. These require a greater level of maintenance but they also are more powerful and offer higher performance.
  • The blades are one of the most important parts of a hedge trimmer. As a tool that is designed for cutting, this should be a key consideration when deciding which model to buy. You should look for blades which can be easily sharpened and replaced as necessary.

Our Selection: The Best Hedge Trimmers on the U.S. Market

When looking for a hedge trimmer, you’ve no doubt spent hours staring at Amazon pages, browsing the many options available. Gasoline motors, telescopic poles, interchangeable blades: how do you know which will be best for you? To help you make the right choice, we’ve put together a selection of the four best products currently available.

Best Affordable Hedge Trimmer

This hedge trimmer from leading brand Black & Decker is lightweight, energy-efficient, and effective, all at a very reasonable price. The Hedge trimmer runs on a power supply of 140V, and so consumes less power than most hedge trimmers currently available. It has a compact design and is easy to handle. The trimmer, unlike most single-edge hedge trimmers, does not vibrate excessively and so it is more comfortable to use without tiring the arms and shoulders.

Best High-Power Hedge Trimmer

This hedge trimmer is powered with a 40V lithium battery, making it a very powerful cordless hedge trimmer. With a high capacity, rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, is very power efficient and delivers up to five times more usage time than standard batteries per charging. This hedge trimmer has a comfortable grip and vibration control for ease of handling.

Best Compact Hedge Trimmer

This Dewalt hedge trimmer has a compact design for maximum maneuverability, with its light weight complemented by an effective grip design that means you get maximum results for minimum effort. That means you can use it for a long time without getting tired. It is powered by a 5Ah lithium-ion battery for long-lasting power.

Best Dual-Edge Hedge Trimmer

This 23cc two-cycle, dual-sided hedge trimmer is powered with a two-stroke gasoline engine to easily cut through branches and shrubs up to 1″ in diameter and 22″ in length. The engine is smooth, easy to start and works with most fuels. Weighing 11.1 lbs, the hedge trimmer has a swivel grip that can be rotated and locked at three different positions, enabling maneuverability at all angles.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Hedge Trimmers

Who doesn’t want to have a yard which is tidy and well-maintained? To achieve this you need a series of tools: a chainsaw, a mower, perhaps a drill and of course, a hedge trimmer. The following guide will help you to become an expert in hedge trimmers so you can clear up any doubts and choose the best model, in order to have the tidiest yard in your neighborhood!

Hedge trimmers, like all power tools, require some maintenance.
(Source: Welcomania: 42087375/ 123rf.com)

What is a hedge trimmer exactly?

A hedge trimmer is a tool for cutting, trimming and shaping plants and trees. It has a motor, cutting blade or blades, and a handle. The cutting blades can vary in length and material depending on the type of hedge trimmer and what it is designed for. Hedgetrimmers are driven by a high-revving motor that allows you to cleanly cut the branches of trees and shrubs.

To start the hedge trimmer, the operator simply turns on the start mechanism, holding the tool by the handle. The motor then delivers the necessary power to cut through the foliage, guided by the operator. The power and cutting capacity will depend on each tool’s characteristics, as well as the cutting blades.

How does a hedge trimmer work?

As covered above, a hedge trimmer has a gasoline or electric motor which powers the blade support rod, which in turn is attached to one or more blades. Hedge trimmers typically have two overlapping blades that are serrated and sharp for maximum cutting efficiency. The blades then trim the branches or foliage with the teeth moving in an asymmetric pattern.

On the other hand, there are certain models that have small circular cutting blades. These require the operator to apply the hedge trimmer at a specific angle for cutting and adjust to correct any imperfections when trimming. These models should only be used by experienced people, and are therefore not generally recommended.

Official Webpage, HusqvarnaManufacturer of garden and landscaping tools

“Make sure the hedge trimmer has a good system for limiting vibrations, for better and more comfortable use.”

What types of hedge trimmers are there?

You’ll find a wide range of different models of hedge trimmers. The type of motor is the key difference here: there are models with four-stroke combustion engines and those with electric motors. Those in the first category are the most powerful and are used by professional landscapers and in the forestry industry. Hedge trimmers with electric motors, on the other hand, are more commonly used by domestic gardeners.

However, the motor isn’t the only point of difference between the various hedge trimmers which are available. There are also different types of blades, each designed with a specific purpose in mind. The below table details the different types of blades found on hedge trimmers and their main characteristics:

Power Weight Blades Use
Gasoline motor 850 watts (W). 12 lbs. 15 to 23 in. Landscaping.

Fine and thick branches.

Electric 420 W. 6 lbs. 8 to 20 in. Yard maintenance.

Landscaping.

Fine and medium branches.

Battery-powered 18 volts (V). Between 4 and 7 lbs. 8 to 20 in. Yard maintenance.

Landscaping.

Fine branches.

Which hedge trimmers are best for thick and for fine branches?

When considering the different types of hedge trimmers available, it logically follows to ask which are best for thick branches, and which will be better to cut fine branches and foliage. Essentially, the harder and thicker the branch you want to cut, the more power you will need. To cut thicker branches you’ll need a hedge trimmer with more than 800 watts of power.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to simply keep your yard tidy and trim small branches and foliage, you’ll probably be best choosing a model with an electric motor. For these kinds of very fine branches, a model with around 400 watts of power will be sufficient. If you’re looking to cut medium-sized branches, you’ll need a hedge trimmer of around 400 to 600 watts.

Do I need a telescopic hedge trimmer?

Telescopic hedge trimmers have a very long handle which lets you reach tall or difficult to access places. If you have tall shrubs or hedges, or if you’re thinking of trimming trees, it is essential that you choose a model of hedge trimmer that comes with an extendable handle or some other accessory to allow you to reach higher levels without needing to climb up a ladder or similar.

Telescopic hedge trimmers allow you to work from the ground, having a blade attached to the end of an adjustable pole that can be modified to various heights. In terms of length, hedge trimmers can reach up to 3 meters in height. In these cases, however, they require a lot of strength in the arms and can be very tiring.

Telescopic hedge trimmers allow you to work on the ground, as the blade is on the end of a pole which can be adjusted to various lengths.
(Source: Neostock: 35946346/ 123rf.com)

Which kind of hedge trimmer is most suited to different tasks?

Now that we’ve covered the main points relating to the different kinds of hedge trimmers available on the market, you are probably wondering which model will best meet your needs. This will depend on a few factors, such as the type of tasks you want to do and the kind of yard you have. Below we outline the best kinds of hedge trimmers according to the work you are looking to do:

  • For topiary: If you are looking to dabble in topiary, that is, trimming your trees and hedges into different shapes, you should look for a dual-edged hedge trimmer. These are best for precision and fine trimming at chest height.
  • For large hedges: Single-edged hedge trimmers are designed to trim straight hedge surfaces, and are perfect for covering large sections of foliage. These models have teeth on only one side of the blade, allowing for a longer blade without it becoming too heavy and therefore unmanageable. This allows you to trim a greater area at once.
  • For trees and tall shrubs: A telescopic hedge trimmer is best for trimming trees and tall shrubs. You can also use this like a brushcutter, to clear plants and vegetation on the ground. Because the pole can also be angled as you wish, you can easily adapt it to almost any situation.
  • Battery-powered hedge trimmers: Battery-powered hedge trimmers are very quiet tools. The most recent models are very powerful, meaning that you can use them for almost any kind of task. These are perfect for use in residential areas or noise-sensitive places, such as hospital gardens or retirement homes.

Shopping Criteria

Now you are armed with all the essential information on hedge trimmers, it is time to familiarize yourself with the key aspects to keep in mind when buying one of these tools. These can make the difference between buying a tool that is of the highest quality, and getting one that may be cheap but is essentially useless. Here are the key points to keep in mind in order to choose the best hedge trimmer for you:

Power

Power is a key factor when buying a hedge trimmer. This will determine the thickness of the branches you’ll be able to cut and trim. If you are looking to trim only fine foliage, you’re better off choosing an electric hedge-trimmer. These are cheaper and have up to 400 watts of power, which is perfect for looking after your yard.

Hedge trimmers with a gasoline motor are stronger and more powerful. They can be used for thicker branches or for longer work sessions. These kinds of hedge trimmers are most suitable for professional landscapers and gardeners, although they are much noisier to use. They also need more on-going maintenance are more expensive to buy, and so are not generally recommended for domestic-only use.

Hedge trimmers are tools used for cutting, trimming and pruning.
(Source: Monsterkoi: 3393849_1920/ Pixabay.com)

Length of Blades and Handle

The blades on a hedge trimmer can vary between 40 and 75 centimeters in length. Those with a gasoline motor often have blade support rods which are longer and heavier, because their powerful motors can move them easily. If you’ve never worked with a hedge trimmer before it’s best to choose one with a long blade as these give greater power and precision.

Battery-powered hedge trimmers have smaller blades, with electric hedge trimmers falling somewhere in the middle. Small blades are perfectly fine for maintaining your yard and for smaller jobs. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a blade for a hedge trimmer:

  • Whether it will be able to cut straight and cleanly.
  • The weight you can easily hold.
  • The size of your hedges, trees or shrubs.

Type of Blades

You should also consider not just the size of the blades, but the type of blades found on the hedge trimmer you’re looking at buying. The type of blade you have will determine the kind of tasks you can do with it. Generally, tools designed for trimming hedges and foliage have one-sided blades. On the other hand, if you want to shape and model your shrubs you’ll want a hedge trimmer with double-sided blades.

  • Single-sided blades: One blade moves back and forth on a fixed axis whereas the other blade stays stationary.
  • Double-sided blades: the two blades are fully mobile and move in tandem to limit vibrations and improve precision, but are less efficient when cutting flat surfaces.

The blades on hedge trimmers vary in length and material, in order to do different kinds of cutting.
(Source: Manfred Antranias Zimmer: 409147_1920/ Pixabay.com)

Teeth Spacing

The size of the branches you can cut is directly linked to the spacing between the teeth on the blades of the hedge trimmer. Hedge trimmers with gasoline motors have longer blades with more spacing between the teeth, as they have enough power to cut thick branches and dense vegetation. Battery-powered models, on the other hand, have very small gaps between the teeth. This is something to examine closely, and if you’re going to be attacking very thick branches or cutting trees, you’ll need to make sure you have good spacing between the teeth.

Here is a general guide to tooth spacing:

  • Half inch spacing: fine branches and young shoots.
  • One inch spacing: normal shrubs and hedges.
  • Up to 1 ½” spacing: for forestry.

Ergonomics

Generally, you operate hedge trimmers with both hands, one on the front handle and the other on the handle switch. This double grip is important to avoid accidents or injury, as well as avoiding becoming tired. Hedge trimmers are heavy and can vibrate strongly, meaning that it is important they are comfortable to use, which is where ergonomics comes in.

Weight is one of the key factors in terms of ergonomics. Models with gasoline motors can be over 15 pounds which can get very tiring. Telescopic hedge trimmers, on the other hand, are the least ergonomic models, as working with the extended handle means you need to hold the tool somewhat awkwardly.

A hedge trimmer is made of a gasoline or electric motor which moves the blade.
(Source: Heike Georg Meadow: 115676_1920/ 123rf.com)

Summary

Your hedge trimmer is sure to become your new favorite power tool! Not only will it help you to keep your yard neat and tidy, but it also gives you the opportunity to be creative and experiment with forming and shaping your trees and shrubs. Whether you’re a professional gardener or simply enjoying looking after your own garden, you are sure to appreciate the value of these tools.

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to leave us a comment or share it with your friends and family so that they can also find the best hedge trimmer around!

(Source of featured image: Sabrina Federico: 1140780/ Pixabay.com)

Why you can trust me?

Levi Price Professional Interior Designer
Levi is a professional interior designer and knows everything there is to know about home and decor. Not only does she blog about the latest furniture trends, she also enjoys giving tips on cleanliness and interior design.