Keep your yard well groomed with the right hedge trimmer
If there are only one or two hedges in your yard, a good manual trimmer might do the trick. If, however, you have rows of shrubs, multiple bushes or detailed and intricate landscaping, you'll need a reliable gas or electric hedge trimmer to help you keep things under control. With a host of available features, you will be sure to find a trimmer designed to tackle whatever tasks you need it to perform. Stop fiddling around with that hand-operated clipper and make your life easier and more efficient. Consider the following questions as you shop for a hedge trimmer to ensure an ideal fit:
Power Source, Blades and Usage Considerations
In addition to clipping shrubs and back bushes, hedge trimmers 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. Choosing the right blade size will help ensure quality cuts as well as proper balance. Gas and electric trimmers each offer a unique set of benefits, so you'll need to consider what your needs are before deciding between the two. Safety should be first and foremost in your mind when operating a trimmer. Fortunately, there are a number of features available that, combined with sensible use, make operation safe.
Gas vs. Electric: 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. There's no cord, leaving you free to roam wherever hedges are in need of upkeep. Cordless electric units provide the same range, but may lack the power of gas-powered models. Corded electric trimmers don't offer the same freedom of movement, but they're more economical and weigh less, which minimizes fatigue. The chart below highlights some of the benefits of each type as well as important points to consider.
Blades: 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". Longer blades may be more difficult to handle with precision. The distance between the 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" or more, but trimmers designed for residential use will work fine with a gap between 3/8" to 3/4". 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.
Usage and 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 and wearing protective eyewear and gloves, there are a number of safety features you can look for when selecting a trimmer. 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.
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Wraparound Handle: Wraparound handles enhance comfort by allowing you to maintain a comfortable position no matter which angle you're attacking a job from.
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 donâ€™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.
A heavy-duty extension cord rated for use with your electric trimmer will give you the reach you need.