Best Hedge Trimmer
Hedge trimmers are very specific cutting tools made to trim hedges, bushes and shrubbery. Their most distinguishing feature is their shark-like teeth which move back and forth over a solid metal base to cut leaves, twigs and branches much like the way scissors cut paper,. They can be very precise cutting tools, and when used correctly can artistically trim and shape hedges into a range of aesthetically appealing shapes. Regardless of what type you choose, be sure to consult our hedge trimmer buyer's guide to help you make an informed purchasing decision.
Best Gas Hedge Trimmer:
The bad boys of lawn and gardening, gas hedge trimmers will chop through hedges, bushes and even small limbs on trees. All gas hedge trimmers are portable, since they carry their power supply along with them.
Industry standard models are all powered by 2-cycle engines, which means you'll have to supply them with a gas/oil mix, and none of them are particularly light in weight. However, there is one player in the market that offers a 4-cycle engine that makes this list, and it may be a viable alternative for some applications.
Power, ease of use and durability are the hallmarks of a great hedge trimmer. The best hedge trimmers we’ve chosen are reliable, thanks to their solid construction by reputable manufacturers, with some of the most well names known for small engines supplying the motors. They’re also easy to start and lightest in weight as well. Price played a role in the selection as well, but there a few featured bang for the buck" models.
The Kawasaki KHDS750A Double Sided Hedge Trimmer features the company’s legendary engine reliability. It comes with a rotating and vibration dampening handle, a clean burning engine design, and the power will allow you to cut through 3/4 inch thick branches. Read Full Review
The Poulan Pro PP2822 is the lowest price on this list meaning the most bang for your buck. It has an bigger engine, a double sided blade for cutting in both directions, and a 180 degree adjustable handle. Read Full Review
The Husqvarna 122HD60 Hedge Trimmer has one of the best anti-vibration handles in the industry. It features enough power to cut through 8/10th of an inch sticks or twigs, and features the SmartStart air purge starting system for easier starts. Read Full Review
The Mantis SGHT30 Hedge Trimmer will slice through 1-inch twigs and also has a two position anti-vibration handle with a single edge cutting blade. It's 5 year warranty is the best in the business. Read Full Review
This is a 4 cycle hedge trimmer so you’ll never have to mix gas and oil again. EPA and CARB emissions compliant, you can use this model virtually anywhere in the country. The high price might not be practical for some, but if you need a 4 cycle hedge trimmer, this is the one. Read Full Review
Best Electric Hedge Trimmer:
Electric hedge trimmers are classified as having a cord supplying the electrical power. These types should not be confused with the electrical powered battery types also on the market. Additionally, they all need a power cord meaning they aren’t very portable. Another issue is the power cord can easily fit between the blades on the cutting bar and get quickly sliced in half. That is one of the reasons that cordless trimmers, with new battery technology, are taking over this segment. However, these best electric hedge trimmers are relatively inexpensive and fairly powerful, offer the best overall value, and provide ease of use over most other models on the market.
The Remington RM5124TH Hedge Wizard Pro 24-Inch Dual Action 5 Amp Electric Hedge Trimmer with Titanium Blades cuts through 3/4 inch twigs or branches. No other hedge trimmer features this much power. Comes with a 2 year warranty, has titanium blades and will make mince meat out of any trimming tasks. Read Full Review
The Makita UH6570 25-Inch Electric Hedge Trimmer comes with a big 4.5 amp motor, cuts through 1/2 inch twigs and features an ergonomic handle for comfort. Two safety switches and a 1 year warranty round out this quality electric hedge trimmer. Read Full Review
The GreenWorks 22102 2.7 Amp 18-Inch Corded Electric Hedger comes with an amazing 4 year warranty. The 2.7 amp motor will cut through 3/8 inch twigs, and it features an 18 inch double sided cutting bar. For the best bang for the buck trimmer here, this one can't be beat. Read Full Review
The WORX 22-Inch 3.7-AMP Electric Hedge Trimmer WG202 cuts through 3/4 inch twigs and comes with padded handles to limit vibration. It's 3.7 amp motor is enough power for most suburban jobs, and the telescopic handles extend your reach by 12 inches. Read Full Review
The Cleva-LawnMaster HT2201 4.0-Amp Hedge Trimmer, 22-Inch has a powerful 4.0 amp motor. It will slice and dice through 3/4 inch twigs and has a two year warranty. Padded handles keep vibration at bay, and the built-in cord retainer keeps the cord away from the cutting blades. Read Full Review
Best Cordless Hedge Trimmer:
Up until a few years ago, no one would have thought of using a cordless hedge trimmer for their bushes or shrubs. Cordless trimmers were wimpy, underpowered and didn't have enough juice, but today's modern cordless models are a whole different animal. They come with large battery packs, increased run-time and enough power to take on all but the most heavy-duty jobs.
The best cordless hedge trimmers on this list have long run times and are sufficiently powerful enough to take on most homeowner trimming jobs, yet are light and comfortable to use. Run time is king here, because if you run out of power, the job simply won't get done. For a top of the line cordless, price shouldn’t matter, but there’s a “bang for the buck” model listed as well. Finally, twig cutting width will be covered as well to give you an idea of what to expect when using these trimmers.
The HSA 66 STIHL Lithium-Ion Hedge Trimmer is a consumer product rated for commercial use. It come with your choice of battery packs, cuts through 1/2 inch twigs, has a two year warranty and a double sided blade. Read Full Review
The GreenWorks 2200302 G-24 Li-Ion 22-Inch Cordless Hedge Trimmer with 2AH Battery and Charger is the best bang for the buck trimmer on this list. It comes with ma 22 inch double sided blade, and features a 180 degree rotating handle. You'll get a solid 40 minutes of run time and an outstanding four year warranty. Read Full Review
The Toro 51496 Cordless 24-Inch 24-Volt Lithium-Ion Hedge Trimmer comes with a two year warranty and the Li-Ion battery offers about 40 minutes of run time. The handle rotates 90 degrees, offers comfort work grips for a solid and secure grip, and will cut through 5/8 inch twigs.
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The Earthwise CHT10122 22-Inch 18-Volt Cordless Hedge Trimmer is Energy Star rated and is the lowest price full sized trimmer here. Rubber grips let you hold the trimmer securely, and the 22 inch double sided blade lets you slice through 5/8 inch twigs. No muss and no fuss, it’s perfect for smaller hedges and bushes, and comes with a two year warranty. Read Full Review
The Gardena 8895-U 7-Inch Cordless Lithium Ion Shrub Shears, Comfort Cut is perfect for smaller jobs, trimming shoots or sculpting hedges. It will run for 90 minutes on a full charge and cuts through 3/8 inch twigs. The adjustable handle angles to any position, giving you the correct angle for cutting, every time, and comes with a 2 year warranty. Read Full Review
Hedge Trimmer Buyers Guide
Essentially giant scissors or pruners, manual hedge trimmers have been around for centuries with the first “powered” trimmer was invented in 1922. It used a manual hand crank for the power and thus was able to cut faster than regular shears. This type of hedge trimmer represented the cutting edge of trimming technology and it wasn't unit the 1950's that a gasoline engine was married to hedge trimming blades. By then, engines had become small enough so that they could be held in one's hands and maneuvered around fairly easily, (although you still had to be strong enough to effectively employ one.
Modern hedge trimmers are powered by small engines or electrical motors. For the most part they’re light and easy to use, especially some of the electrical types. They come in an array of blade size lengths, they can be either single sided or double sided, and they all resemble sawfish in their appearance. By design, they use a reciprocating back and forth motion for slicing hedges, meaning that the blades must be exposed to cut effectively. Therefore, these are some of the most dangerous landscaping tools out there and thus extreme caution must be used when employing them.
All powered lawn edgers use either a gasoline 2-cycle, 4-cycle or electric motor for propulsion. To determine what powerplant is right for you, please consult our lawn equipment power source buyers guide.
Hedge Trimmer Types
Single Sided Blade
Single sided blade hedge trimmers are generally the lightest to hold and the safest to use as only one side of the trimmer is cutting. With one set of blades there is less of a chance of cutting the cord on electric versions as well as a reduced likelihood of nipping clothing or skin. Because they’re lighter, these types of trimmers are easier to maneuver.
The main disadvantage to a single sided hedge trimmer is they only cut in one direction. You'll always have to start from the beginning with each and every cutting stroke, which takes a bit more time and energy overall.
Double Sided Blade
A double sided blade hedge trimmer cuts in both directions so you'll finish any hedge trimming task faster. A double sided blade also makes manicuring a hedge much easier because you can tailor the hedge from both directions for more precision cutting. However, because there are two sides of reciprocating blades, it becomes easier to cut the cord or nick clothing.
In general, the longer the blade, the more even the cut will be. You'll also be able to reach farther across the top of a deep hedge with a longer blade. On the other hand, having a long blade for smaller bushes or basic detail trimming may be overkill. Also, longer blades mean more weight and instability which raises the possibility of operator injury.
Every hedge trimmer comes equipped with a hand guard. Although they might make the trimmer a bit more unwieldy, under no circumstance are they to be removed for any reason. This is a safety device that must not be compromised or you’ll have a potentially serious accident on your hands.
Blade gaps range in size from 1/2-inch to 1-inch or more for commercial hedge trimmers. Choose a hedge trimmer that fits your needs by the blade gap. If you have smaller shrubs and bushes, you may only need a blade gap of 1/2-inch. For large hedges with thicker branches, you'll need a blade gap of at least 3/4-inch, possibly more. But remember, the larger the blade gap you're working with, the easier it is to nip clothing or fingers.
Dual Reciprocating Blades
All hedge trimmer blades move back and forth on a metal plate. If both metal plates move back and forth, you have a dual reciprocating blade, meaning they'll cut twice as fast. Trimmers with this blade type will be heavier and be a bit more expensive, but if you have a need for speed above all else, this is what you should be looking at.
This circular handle type allows you to move your hands around while you pivot the actual trimmer blades. You'll be able to keep your hands straight out in front of you even while the blades are cutting at 90 degrees vertical. A wraparound handle means less fatigue and gives you greater control along any horizontal or vertical axis the blades are cutting on.
Hedge trimmers are lubrication intensive. The metal plates which hold the teeth slide back and forth on each other. Although liberally greased from the factory, the grease will only last so long before the plates begin to grind, heat up, and eventually seize. Worse, they can warp and begin to break teeth if not routinely lubricated, and this is especially true on longer bladed types.
For the best environmentally safe lubrication, use a non-stick cooking spray on the blades but any commercial made canned spray will work for that matter. For best results, lube the blades every 5 minutes or so during operation.
You can also use grease, white grease, axle grease or bearing grease, all of which will work equally well. Dip a brush into the grease and “paint” a layer of it on the blades and into the metal plates. Grease lasts longer than spray, so you'll be able to go 10 or 15 minutes before you need to re-lube the blades.
What's Best for You
What's best for you depends on the type of hedges or bushes you have and whether you want to just trim them down so that they look neat, or manicure them into shapes, designs or other artistic forms.
If basic trimming on smaller hedges is all you want to do, an electric corded trimmer may be just the ticket. They are light and relatively inexpensive, and you could settle for a single sided blade, since speed would not be a priority. Though they are only rated to be used with only a 100 foot cord, shrubs and hedges which are next to your home won't be a problem. If you have taller hedges or bushes, a cord might get in the way of trimming, so gas power might be a better option.
Longer bladed trimmers work better for manicuring a hedge, and they are available both in electrically and gasoline powered versions. You'll get more even and level cuts with longer blades, and if you have very deep hedges that need to be trimmed, a longer blade will make the job that much easier. Double sided blades will make shorter work of larger hedges while double reciprocating blades will add even more speed to completing the task at hand.
The most important thing for artistic trimming is control so aim for a lightweight trimmer. Electric trimmers are the lightest available, but gas powered trimmers offer more versatility so perhaps a battery operated trimmer would be ideal for you creative types. They’re lightweight, easy to maneuver, and don't include the smoke, fumes, or vibration a gas powered trimmer has.