- 1 Why Do I Need A Hedge Trimmer?
- 2 Finding The Best Hedge Trimmer
- 3 Best Hedge Trimmer Features
- 4 Reviews Of The Best Hedge Trimmers
Spring’s over, and now summer has begun. And your hedges are a disaster. Time to break out your best hedge trimmer and clean that up!
Wait, you don’t have one yet? Oh, but you must. A hedge trimmer can make your life a lot easier and save you time. It’ll also spare you from having to hire an expensive gardener multiple times a year.
Let’s explore all the aspects of selecting the right hedge trimmer for your specific needs, and I’ll share my top picks for quality models!
Best Hedge Trimmer Models:
- Corded Hedge Trimmer: Greenworks 22-Inch 4-Amp Corded Hedge Trimmer 2200102
- Cordless Hedge Trimmer: BLACK+DECKER LHT321FF 20V MAX Lithium POWERCOMMAND Hedge Trimmer
- Electric Hedge Trimmer For Commercial Use: BLACK+DECKER LHT2436 40-Volt Cordless Hedge Trimmer
- Gas Hedge Trimmer: Tanaka TCH22EAP2 21cc 2-Cycle Gas Hedge Trimmer
- Budget Hedge Trimmer: Greenworks 18-Inch 2.7 Amp Corded Hedge Trimmer 22102
- Pole Hedge Trimmer: Sun Joe SJH901E 18-Inch Electric Telescoping Pole Hedge Trimmer
Why Do I Need A Hedge Trimmer?
If you don’t have hedges or sculptured bushes, congratulations, you don’t need a hedge trimmer!
But if you’re like most people in an urban setting, you likely have hedging that runs along parts of your house. This can be in lieu of a fenceline between you and the neighbors, or a way to separate your home from the sidewalk. It might just be that you like having lots of greenery.
Whatever the reason, even the nicest types of hedge will need to be trimmed.
You can take the time to go out and trim it by hand, of course, and a number of good pruners and manual hedge trimmers are available. But when time becomes an issue, you’ll love the ease of simply passing this device across the top of your hedge and then removing the debris.
With a good hedge trimmer, you can have perfectly-manicured hedges all year long. No need to appease your HOA, just a few minutes and it’s done. That simplicity makes this a really good purchase.
But you’ll still want the best hedge trimmer for your specific needs. So how do you choose one?
Finding The Best Hedge Trimmer
Honestly, choosing the right hedge trimmer for you is really dependent on what you need to use it for.
Are you just keeping your hedging tidy? Trying to cut off parts that are succumbing to powdery mildew or other common hedging diseases? Or do you perhaps want to maintain a nice topiary feature in the yard? Do you have multiple properties to maintain or just one?
Let’s go over some of the different variables in the market currently to break down different purposes.
Electric Vs. Gas
If you live out on large acreage, you’ll want a gas hedge trimmer just to avoid having to buy miles of electric cords. But what about the average homeowner?
It appears that the majority of homeowners have turned towards electric hedge trimmers simply because they’re easier to deal with. Since most people don’t have extremely thick brush to cut back, the benefits of an electric model are myriad.
Whether cordless or corded, electric hedge trimmers tend to be lighter weight than their gas counterparts, and you don’t have to deal with engine maintenance. They’re easier to start up, and they’re typically less noisy than gas models.
Drawbacks do exist for electric hedge trimmers, though. Even the best electric hedge trimmer requires a source of power. Cordless models are limited by their battery life, where corded hedge trimmers do need that ever-present power cable.
Professionals are even being swayed by some electric models now, but many still stick with traditional gas hedge trimmers. These can chew through even the thickest brush, and a tank of gas lasts quite a while. If you can do your own engine maintenance, they’re even cheaper to operate.
Overall, I think that if you’re just looking for an easy way to maintain the hedges on your property, one of the many electric models on the market will suit you just fine. But if you’ve got a yard service, or are caring for an extremely large property, consider a gas hedge trimmer.
Cordless Hedge Trimmer Or Corded?
I just glossed briefly over this, but let’s go a bit deeper into it.
Lithium-ion batteries are widely available now. If you’re willing to buy a spare battery for your cordless hedge trimmer, you may be able to swap out as needed, even when doing larger jobs. A single battery will wear down quickly, seldom lasting for more than an hour at most.
You do lose some power with cordless models. The limit in battery power and life will also limit the power they can exert. These are typically light-duty ones at most. If you’re just maintaining the shape of your hedge, you’ll be fine, but any large or heavy brush may foil you.
Corded hedge trimmer models don’t have the gradual decline of power to their motors that batteries cause. These will continue to work exactly as expected for as long as you need them to.
But if you have the wrong extension cable, you risk damage to your motor. And if the cord gets in the way, you may cut your own power — a dangerous proposition!
In the end, this really is a personal choice. If you’ll be doing light-duty touchup work on your hedges, or just really want to stay free of the connecting cords, cordless hedge trimmers are wonderful. But the corded models work reliably and offer more reliability in power flow.
Single Sided Or Double Sided?
Blades come in two basic shapes: single sided, or double sided.
Single-sided blades are typically far less common. Designed mostly for commercial use, these reduce the weight of the blade, but allow for sweeping flat cuts to neaten up the top of your hedge.
Often, a single-sided blade will be longer, giving you a good extension of your reach. These can also be used vertically with great success, giving you an easy way to trim those taller hedges.
Double-sided blades are meant to be used at or below chest height. These are the powerhouses of the hedge trimmer world, and do most of the brute work. They typically have wider tooth spacing and are used for topiary work or most hedging duties.
While heavier and usually a little shorter, double-sided blades make up the vast majority of the available blades. It’s likely that most hedge trimmers you’ll see on the market come with one of these.
Pole Hedge Trimmers
Whether it’s an attachment to an existing hedge trimmer, or a standalone device, pole hedge trimmers are extremely useful devices.
If you have tall hedges along the side of your house, or sculptured spires of hedging, a pole hedge trimmer will allow you to reach the heights without having to resort to a potentially unstable ladder. However, they’re not good for normal hedge work.
Some have extendable handles that allow you to set how high it goes. Others are fixed lengths. Certain models may have adjustable heads to allow you to angle your cutting for awkward shapes.
Do you need one? Only if you’ve got something tall and are concerned about getting up on a ladder to trim it. But when you need it, you will love it for the muscle strain it reduces and the lack of need to climb.
Best Hedge Trimmer Features
We’ve discussed the different variables on the trimmer itself. But what features does the best hedge trimmer come with? Let’s go over the array of possibilities now.
Weight And Balance
The heavier your hedge trimmer, the harder it is to hold for long periods of time. And if you have any long hedges, that can be a problem fast.
Gas hedge trimmers are the heaviest overall. This is partially due to the weight of the engine, partially due to the gas and oil on board, and partially due to the metal components. However, these are usually balanced surprisingly well, as they usually have two-handed grips.
A cordless hedge trimmer is likely to be moderately rear-heavy due to the weight of its battery. This usually can be counterbalanced by how it’s held, and it’s must less unwieldy than a gas model. But you do need to be prepared for the extra weight.
The lightest weight models are corded. While you do need easy access to a power source, that’s simple to do in most home settings. With these, the motor is a bit more streamlined, and these usually have the best balance as well.
Balance is especially important when dealing with pole attachments. If you’re going to be trimming stuff above your head, you don’t want your arms to be weighted down, and you don’t want to lean at odd angles to do it.
Cords And Connections
Speaking of corded hedge trimmers, it’s important to look for a pigtail connector. These are usually segments of cord, no longer than an inch or two, which extend from the back end of the device.
What these do is to reduce the likelihood of accidental unplugging. It’s easy if you step on your cord to pull it straight out of the back of the machine. But as a pigtail flexes and moves, it can take a few jerks before the plug will come undone.
If you can’t find a pigtail connector, you can opt for a model with a cord lock. It performs the same function, and they’re much more commonly available.
It’s essential that you get a good outdoor extension cord, as well. You will need one that’s rated to handle your device’s power needs, and which is meant to be used outdoors in possibly dusty or damp environments.
Don’t use a cheap indoor cord for your power tools, as it can damage your motor! Spend a few extra dollars to get a cord that can handle the task.
If you can, purchasing a hedge trimmer with an adjustable head makes a lot of sense. You can pivot the blade to adjust it to the shape of the task you’re doing. This can really be useful if you’re trying to trim a curved hedge or topiary!
An adjustable head also is essential if you’re trying to reach up high to get a straight top on your hedge. You can simply set your blade at a 90-degree angle from the handle and get a nice, neat cut without effort.
We’ve already gone over the difference between single or double-sided blades, but let’s talk about other key features of your trimmer blade.
The greater of a gap between the teeth on your blade, the larger size branches it can chew through. If you’re pretty reliable at keeping your hedges trimmed, this won’t be much of an issue, but if they’re overgrown, you may need something to trim back dense branch growth.
Shorter blades are easier to maneuver, but you will have to do more passes to trim your surface. In addition, a shorter blade may become problematic if trimming a wide hedge, as your grip area will get in the way of a flat upper cut.
Longer blades solve the problem of wider hedges quite easily, but can become unwieldy if they’re too long. You don’t need a blade that goes a foot past the widest point of your hedge! Pick something that works for what you’ll be trimming.
If you’ll be working while your children are around, having a switch lock is a benefit. When your device is switch-locked to off, there’s no way to trigger the blade to start, making it much more safe around little ones.
Similarly, a hedge trimmer that requires two handles to operate can prevent the blade from turning on when you don’t want it on. There’s nothing worse than a running blade at the wrong moment.
Good hand guards can prevent debris from being tossed back at your arms, hands, face or torso. While not all models come with hand guards, many do. It’s also a good idea to wear a pair of protective goggles when you’re working for eye safety.
Finally, protecting your hearing can be a major benefit. Electric hedge trimmers are typically quieter and less harmful to your hearing than gas hedge trimmers. Even then, none of them are truly quiet, so using ear plugs or some form of sound muffler can be useful.
Replacement Parts & Warranties
For gas models, you can easily replace your blades when they start to wear down, or sharpen them. Some electric models have that ability, but not all of them. Since electric hedge trimmers often are much less expensive than a gas model, you can simply replace the entire device.
Better companies will have reasonable warranties for those electric hedge trimmers, though. And all gas models should come with one. Keep your eyes open to be sure you’re getting what you need.
Even if you can’t replace your blades, do not panic. You can sharpen them! However, it takes some practice, and it’s advisable to have the power unplugged or the device completely powered off when you’re sharpening the blade.
This video from a professional landscaper shows you one method, but you can also do this with a hand file.
Reviews Of The Best Hedge Trimmers
Best Corded Hedge Trimmer
Best Hedge Trimmer: Greenworks 22-Inch 4-Amp Corded Hedge Trimmer 2200102
I was pleasantly surprised by this model, moreso because it’s extraordinarily reasonably priced.
Greenworks offers four amps of power in this model, which is plenty to chew through most brush up to 9/16ths of an inch. It’s lightweight and compact, and has an easy-grip forward handle with a hand protector shield.
A cord lock prevents the device from getting unplugged while you’re working with it. Its 22-inch blade is wide enough to handle most residential hedges, and can be touched up if it starts to go dull. And Greenworks offers a massive 4-year warranty.
All things considered, I consider this to be part of the best hedge trimmer ranks. That good price paired with a solid tool makes it really unbeatable for most residential use.
Best Cordless Hedge Trimmer
Best Hedge Trimmer: BLACK+DECKER LHT321FF 20V MAX Lithium POWERCOMMAND Hedge Trimmer
Black+Decker’s 20V Max system is widely available, and this addition to that lineup makes it easy to find replacement batteries whenever you need them. If you’ve already got other devices in this system, you already have batteries that’ll fit, too!
With the ability to shear through branches up to 3/4″ in diameter, this device has the addition of Powercut, which allows you to boost the power from the battery if you get jammed up on a difficult spot. That little assist can really save you a lot of hassle!
There is a manufacturer’s warranty available. It’s likely a standard 2-year warranty, but I could not find the documentation for it to be sure.
It is not the highest-voltage battery operated device on the market, but for the average residential user, the 20V Max line is a great line of tools, and it’ll be well worth your money. I’m happy to keep this on my list of the best hedge trimmer models right now.
Best Electric Hedge Trimmer For Commercial Use:
Best Hedge Trimmer: BLACK+DECKER LHT2436 40-Volt High Performance Cordless Hedge Trimmer
If you stock up on a few high-quality batteries and put them on the back of your work truck, this cordless trimmer will be an absolute blessing. Far lighter than the average gas model, Black+Decker’s 40-volt unit has great capability for the price.
It will chew through 3/4″ thick branches easily, and its 24″ blade gives you the reach you’ll need for even the widest hedges. A full wrap-around front handle gives you a secure grip, while the guard shield protects the back of your hand from flying debris.
Many professionals are starting to turn to this surprisingly flexible device, and it’s worth taking a good, hard look at. Yes, you’ll need to have extra batteries, but since you’re likely hauling around a gas tank and an oil can already, the batteries are a lot easier and quicker to change.
This model comes with a 3-year limited warranty, and I consider it to be among the best hedge trimmer options for professionals. Try one, you’ll join me in that viewpoint.
Best Gas Hedge Trimmer
Best Hedge Trimmer: Tanaka TCH22EAP2 21cc 2-Cycle Gas Hedge Trimmer
With a good 2-cycle engine, this Tanaka gas hedge trimmer can really pack a punch. Commercial-grade steel reciprocating blades gnaw through woody material as easily as they shear off the light stuff. And empty, it weighs less than 10 pounds, making it a lightweight choice.
The rear handle is adjustable, with five different positions to maximize comfort while trimming. The front handle is a wrap-around with a short hand shield. You’ll have no problems keeping a sturdy grip on this machine while it’s in action.
But what I find most astounding is that Tanaka offers a stunning 7 year limited warranty for consumer users, as well as a 2 year limited warranty for professionals. Seven years of coverage is almost unheard of for a hedge trimmer, and that alone is well worth some of the price.
It is much more expensive than the electric hedge trimmer models. But if you want to stick with gas, this is the best hedge trimmer to pick up, and it’ll last you for years to come.
Best Budget Hedge Trimmer
Best Hedge Trimmer: Greenworks 18-Inch 2.7 Amp Corded Hedge Trimmer 22102
Let’s face it: most of us just want something small and inexpensive which will get the job done. And Greenworks has a device for that.
This inexpensive entry-level hedge trimmer is corded, with a pigtail connector and a cord lock to help prevent accidental unpluggings. It has an 18″ blade which can handle most smaller hedges with ease, and which works quite well for keeping the topiaries in tip-top shape.
Lightweight to reduce user fatigue, it can cut through up to 3/8″ branches without a problem. And with the standard Greenworks 4-year warranty, you can’t go wrong with this value model. So if budget is your goal, take a look at this model. It’s a solid choice.
Best Pole Hedge Trimmer
Best Hedge Trimmer: Sun Joe SJH901E 18-Inch Electric Telescoping Pole Hedge Trimmer
Finally, let’s look at a good pole hedge trimmer. Sun Joe’s got a telescoping model which can extend out 7.4 feet, giving you a reach of 12.5 feet overhead. Its head can be pivoted to six positions, providing angled cuts along the top of your hedges, or kept straight to slice down the sides.
Its motor is 3.8 amps, powerful enough to handle most jobs with ease. And it’s got a narrow profile, which makes it easy for you to get between the house and your hedge to trim there as well.
A full 2-year warranty accompanies this device, and it comes with some great safety features like a quick-release strap and a safety button to prevent accidental starts. It even includes a sheath for your blade for storage.
So ditch the ladder and pick up this pole trimmer. You’ll spare yourself a lot of climbing, and you’ll be able to reach even the most awkward places to trim easily!
In the end, you’ll need to determine which of these is best for you, but they’re all solid models and well worth the money spent. Do you have a different preference in hedge trimmers, and if so, what’s your favorite? Share your experiences in the comments below!
Last update on 2018-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API