Hedge Trimmers

Give your landscape a trim, neat look using heavy-duty hedge trimmers

Hedge Trimmers - Buying Guide

The quickest, most efficient way to trim rows of shrubs and bushes or to style detailed and intricate landscaping is with a powered hedge trimmer. Additionally, they give you the ability to prune perennials, grasses and ground cover. High-quality trimmers should provide a clean, even cut, giving your yard a beautiful, well-groomed appearance. This guide will help you understand the different types of power sources, blades and features so you can find the hedge trimmer best suited for your project.

Safety: As with any power tool, proper operation is the key to safety when using a trimmer. In addition to reading the user's manual so you understand proper operation, always wear protective eyewear and gloves. Hearing protection may be necessary for some gas trimmers.

Gas vs. Electric Hedge Trimmers

Choosing between a gas and electric hedge trimmer will depend largely on the size of your yard and the types of cutting you do. Gas units are ideal for large yards that require a lot of heavy-duty trimming. Electric units lack the power of gas-powered models but weigh less.

Design Description Points to consider

Electric (Corded)

  • Lightweight
  • Economical
  • Easy startup
  • No emission
  • Quieter
  • Require extension cord
  • Don't require fuel
  • Somewhat limited range
  • More amps mean more cutting power
  • Ideal for small- and medium-sized lawns

Electric (Cordless)

  • Lightweight
  • Easily portable
  • Easy startup
  • No emission
  • Quietest
  • Not as powerful
  • Must be recharged
  • May not handle larger, tough jobs
  • Don't require fuel
  • Ideal for smaller lawns and lighter tasks

Gas

  • Powerful
  • Cut faster
  • Easily portable
  • May be used in damp weather
  • Require gas and oil mixture
  • Tend to be heavier
  • Require larger up-front investment
  • Don't require fuel
  • Ideal for large lawns and demanding commercial
    applications

Blades

Choosing the right blade size will help ensure quality cuts as well as proper balance. Trimmer blades are flat metal plates with teeth lining the edges. Their sizes can vary greatly, with the range generally running from around 13 to 40 inches.

The distance between the blade teeth, known as the blade gap, determines the size of branch the tool can handle. Professional- or commercial-grade trimmers may have a blade gap of 1 inch or more, but trimmers designed for residential use will work fine with a gap between 3/8 to ¾ inches.

Blades may be single- or double-sided. Single-sided blades are somewhat safer, as you can always make sure the teeth are cutting away from your body. Double-sided blades are more common and cut in both directions, helping you to work more efficiently.

  • 16-inch or smaller blades are ideal for small- and average-sized hedges.
  • 18-inch blades are ideal for average- and larger-sized hedges.
  • 20-inch and larger blades are ideal for large, established hedges.
  • Left-handed users may find it easier to operate double-sided blades.
  • Longer blades make it easier to trim hedges evenly, but may have trouble with small precision tasks.

Safety

There are a number of safety features you can look for when selecting a trimmer. Tooth extensions, models that cut power to the blade, dual switches and front-handle shields all will improve your operation while keeping you safe.

  • Tooth extensions help prevent your legs and other body parts from coming into contact with the teeth, minimizing the chances of getting cut.
  • Look for models that cut power to the blade as soon as you release the trigger to reduce the possibility of an accident.
  • Dual switches require two-handed operation for safer use.
  • Trimmers that lock in the "off" position prevent children from accidentally activating them.
  • Front-handle shields prevent your forward hand from contacting the blade.

Features

Features such as wraparound handles, high-carbon steel blades and extra battery packs can help you customize your hedge trimmer to meet your exact needs.

  • Wraparound Handle: Wraparound handles enhance comfort by allowing you to maintain a comfortable position no matter your angle.
  • High-Carbon Steel Blades: Not only will high-carbon steel blades last longer and provide more effective cutting, they can be sharpened to prolong life.
  • Lock On: If you're undertaking long, difficult tasks, a lock-on feature will help reduce fatigue by enabling you to keep cutting without having to depress the trigger.
  • Translucent Fuel Tanks: Gas-powered units with translucent fuel tanks allow you to closely monitor fuel levels to make sure you don’t run out in the middle of a job.
  • Pigtail: A pigtail is a short length of cord that connects to an extension cord. Having one on the end of your corded electric trimmer will make it easier to plug in and unplug the extension cord while minimizing the chances of an accidental disconnection.
  • Poles: If you need to trim hard-to-reach areas that are high up, a pole extension will give you the length you need to get the job done.
  • Kits: In addition to functioning as a hedge trimmer, some kits allow you to convert the tool to a string trimmer, patio broom or other useful device for added versatility.
  • Extra Battery Packs: If you select a cordless electric trimmer, extra battery packs will provide extended runtime for larger jobs.