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Outdoor

Best 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.

Kawasaki KHDS750A 2-Cycle Double Sided Hedge Trimmer

If you want the baddest 2-cycle hedge trimmer on the block, then you'll want the Kawasaki KHDS750A Double Sided Hedge Trimmer. It will allow you to cut through branches up to 3/4 inch thick on both sides of the bar. This trimmer weighs about 11 pounds and comes with a vibration-canceling handle that also rotates 180 degrees for maximum versatility. The Kawasaki engine is one of the cleanest burning 2-cycle engines and this trimmer also features a blade guard, commercial ball bearing design to maximize life, as well as a 5 year consumer and a 2 year commercial warranty.

Poulan Pro PP2822 22-Inch 28cc 2 Cycle Gas Powered Dual Sided Hedge Trimmer

The Poulan Pro PP2822 gives you the most bang for the buck with a big 28 cc engine, a 22-inch cutting blade that lets you cut in both directions and an adjustable handle to get you into the tightest places. This is a the heaviest trimmer here at about 16 pounds, but the 28 cc power plant will cut through up to one inch thick twigs with a 2 year warranty to back it up. Although the Poulan brand is not as revered as others, this hedge trimmer will give you solid performance year after hedge trimming year and it’s also the lowest priced hedge trimmer on the list.

Husqvarna 122HD60 21.7cc Gas 23.7-in Dual Action Hedge Trimmer

If it wasn't for the Poulan hedge trimmer, this Husqvarna 122HD60 Hedge Trimmer would win out as the most “bang for the buck” unit. This trimmer features one of the best anti-vibration handles available on the market and it also rotate 180 degrees. The SmartStart air-purge carburation system makes starting easy and the blades will slice through 8/10th of an inch twigs. It’s relatively quiet for a 2 cycle, with an advanced noise canceling system, but this isn’t an inexpensive unit and it only comes with a 1 year warranty.

Mantis SGHT30 30-Inch 21.2cc 2-Cycle Gas Powered Single Edge Heavy Duty Hedge Trimmer

Although it looks like a throwback, this hedge trimmer modern and all business. The Mantis SGHT30 Hedge Trimmer features a single sided cutting blade lets you slice and dice easily, and allow you to cut twigs up to 1-inch thick.

This model comes with a twin position anti-vibration handle, weighs a meaty 12 pounds, and it has a commercially rated engine for maximum service life under any condition. Best of all, it comes with a 5 year warranty, and a reputation for quality that is second to none. This is not an inexpensive trimmer, but if you have the muscle to use it you won't be disappointed.

Makita EN5550SH 22" 25.4 cc Double-Sided 4-Stroke Pole Hedge Trimmer

If you need a 4 cycle engine hedge trimmer that meets or exceeds both EPA and CARB rated emissions standards, than the Makita Double-Sided Hedge Trimmer Model EN5550SH is the only one for you. The cost of this unit may be prohibitive, at almost two times the most expensive model here, but it has to be included because it is the only 4 cycle, non-gas/oil mixture engine available in the U.S.

It’s the easiest starting trimmer here, gives off the least amount of vibration, is relatively quiet and has a 1 year warranty. However, it’s only rated to cut through 9/32nd inch twigs, so this is strictly a light duty trimmer that is made more for sculpting hedges than actually cutting them, and it's the second heaviest trimmer here at a hefty 14 pounds.

HSA 66 STIHL Lithium-Ion Hedge Trimmer

HSA 66 STIHL Lithium-Ion Hedge Trimmer

For no holds barred performance, the Stihl HSA 66 cordless hedge trimmer takes no prisoners and laughs about it. This cordless banshee uses a 36-volt battery (yes you read that right) to manage hedges, bushes, shrubs and just about anything you can get the blades around. This trimmer is so powerful it rivals gas engine trimmers and no other cordless can make that claim. It's so strong that it is considered professional grade for the home and cuts through 1/2 inch twigs with no sweat.

The problem is, you have to purchase the trimmer, the battery and the charger all separately. There are three batteries you can get which will let you cut for one, two or a whopping eleven hours of cutting time with the battery belt pack. This model comes with a two year warranty, ergonomic loop handle and a tip protector. Without question, this bad boy hedge trimmer is the best of the best.

GreenWorks 2200302 G-24 Li-Ion 22-Inch Cordless Hedge Trimmer

If you want the best bang for the buck hedge trimmer, then take a look at the GreenWorks 2200302 G-24 Li-Ion 22-Inch Cordless Hedge Trimmer with 2AH Battery and Charger. Although it’s one of the least expensive trimmers on this list, the 24 volt battery will give you a solid 40 minutes of run time, which is probably more than adequate for most suburban cutting chores.

The rear handle rotates 180 degrees to get you into tight spots, it comes with a double sided 22 inch blade, and it will cut through 5/8 inch twigs. It also features a superior four year warranty and the included battery works with different GreenWorks lawn and garden tools. There may be better hedge trimmers out there, but for the price, this one can't be beat.

Toro 51496 Cordless 24-Inch 24-Volt Lithium-Ion Hedge Trimmer

The Toro 51496 Cordless 24-Inch 24-Volt Lithium-Ion Hedge Trimmer is another great bang for the buck unit, offering solid performance for a very good price. The double-sided 24 inch blade will run for about 40 minutes with the Li-Ion battery and the unit comes with a two year warranty. The handle turns 90 degrees for both comfort and convenience when getting into hard to reach places and it's powerful enough to cut through 5/8 inch thick twigs. The work grip handles provide a solid and secure grip no matter what you’re cutting through. For hedge trimming chores that will fit the majority of homeowners, this trimmer will be hard to pass up.

Earthwise CHT10122 22-Inch 18-Volt Cordless Hedge Trimmer

If you want the least expensive full sized hedge trimmer on this list, but still get solid performance, choose the Earthwise CHT10122 22-Inch 18-Volt Cordless Hedge Trimmer. This is the only Energy Star rated trimmer here, so if you are eco-conscious, this might be the only trimmer for you.

The price is low-ball because it uses an older style NiCad 18 volt battery, but it will give about 25 minutes of run time per charge. It will cut through 5/8 inch twigs, and has rubber grips for a secure holding power in your hands. Although it’s short on features, the low price and the 22 inch double sided blade is perfect for people on a budget and those smaller hedges or bushes.

Gardena 8895-U 7-Inch Cordless Lithium Ion Shrub Shears

Sometimes smaller is better, and Gardena 8895-U 7-Inch Cordless Lithium Ion Shrub Shears, Comfort Cut proves it every time. When you have a smaller job to do, when a few errant hedge shoots need pruning, or you need to shape intricate patterns, nothing does it better than this. It runs for an amazing 90 minutes on a full charge, yet it is 1/3 the weight of the heaviest trimmer here. The 7 inch double sided cutting blade is extremely easy to maneuver, and you can add on different blades with the quick-change blade system. The hinged handle lets you select the perfect handle angle to cut any way that you need to, and it will slice through 3/8 inch twigs.

Remington Hedge Wizard Pro 24" Dual Action Electric Hedge Trimmer

If you want a no nonsense hedge trimmer, the Remington RM5124TH Hedge Wizard is for you. The 5 amp power plant cuts through 3/4 inch twigs and small branches like butter, comparable to gasoline fueled type trimmers. The 24 inch double sided blade will slice and dice with the best of them and even the blades are made of titanium, not just hardened steel. This trimmer will cost more than most, and it's a pretty basic trimmer, but if you prefer power, then you’ve come to the right place.

Makita Hedge Trimmer 120 volt Electric 25"

If you want absolute top quality in a hedge trimmer, the Makita UH6570 25-Inch Electric Hedge Trimmer won't let you down. This trimmer isn’t inexpensive, but it’s one of the highest quality trimmers available. It comes with a 1 year warranty, a big 4.5 amp motor, and will cut through 1/2 inch twigs with ease. Two safety switches allow the unit to run only when the back and front hand guard are grasped. Once you make your first cuts with this ergonomically balanced unit, you’ll be satisfied.

GreenWorks 2.7 Amp 18" Corded Electric Hedger

If you want the best bang for the buck, then you'll want the GreenWorks 22102 2.7 Amp 18-Inch Corded Electric Hedger. The 2.7 amp motor will cut through 3/8 inch twigs in no time, and the 18 inch double sided blade gives you the flexibility to cut from both sides. It comes with an amazing 4 year warranty, and it’s designed to simply trim hedges with no bells and whistles. Nothing fancy here, just a solid model that will get your trimming chores done.

Worx 3.7 Amp 22" Hedge Trimmer

With a double sided blade for ease of cutting in either direction, the WORX 22-Inch 3.7-AMP Electric Hedge Trimmer WG202 has enough mojo to get the job done. The 3.7 amp motor will power the blades through 3/4 inch twigs, and the rear handle telescopes to extend your reach by up to 12 inches. This is one of the more expensive trimmers on the list, but for what you get, it is one of the best performing units as well. Padded handles absorb vibration, and it comes with a 2 year warranty. Although a bit on the expensive side, it has features of some of the higher priced models and would be a good choice for most landscaping applications.

Cleva-LawnMaster HT2201 4.0 Amp 22" Hedge Trimmer

The Cleva-LawnMaster HT2201 4.0-Amp Hedge Trimmer, 22-Inch makes this list with a big 4.0 amp motor cuts through 3/4 inch twigs with ease. Two handed safety switches make it one of the safest trimmers around, and it comes with a built-in cord retainer to make sure the cord doesn't get in the way. The padded soft handle grips keep vibration at bay and it comes with a 2 year warranty as well. Nothing really fancy here, just a powerful hedge trimmer at a very good price; really, do you need anything else?

Buyer's Guide

 

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.

Features

Blade Length
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.

Hand Guard
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 Gap
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.

Wraparound Handle
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.

Lubrication

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.

Basic Trimming
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.

Manicuring
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.

Artistic Trimming
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.

Dale Y
Dale Y has been writing about home improvement and Do-It-Yourself projects for more than a decade, using his own hands-on maintenance, construction and facilities management experience as a guide. He has covered the gamut by writing about news and views, home and garden ideas, home and business maintenance, and property management. As an offshoot, he had his own sewing machine and small appliance repair business, and can tell an embroidery stitch from a stretch stitch, all the while cooking the best salmon fillet ever on a countertop grill, while making a smoothie in the latest bullet blender. In this capacity, he has used a wide variety of tools and equipment for every need, worked with products ranging from adhesives to solvents, sewed shirt sleeves with a #14 needle and finished leather appliqué with a #18 needle.
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