Whether you’re a professional gardener or a homeowner with bushes and shrubs to maintain, you know the hard work of keeping foliage from being unruly and unkempt. Growth is good, but excessive growth needs to be fixed. This calls for special tools such as a hedge trimmer.
Hedge trimmers are also known as shrub or bush trimmers that are used to cut and prune—you guessed it—shrubs and bushes. There are different kinds of trimmers available on the market depending on your needs and preferences.
A Quick Look At Our Favorite Models
|BLACK+DECKER LHT2220 20V Lithium-Ion Hedge Trimmer, 22"||All-Around||Cordless Electric||*****|
|Toro 51490 Corded 22-Inch Hedge Trimmer||Lightweight||Corded Electric||****|
|Poulan Pro PP2822 22-Inch 28cc 2 Cycle Gas Powered Dual Sided Hedge Trimmer||Heavy-Duty||Gas Powered||****|
|Ryobi 24in. 40-Volt Lith-ion Cordless Hedge Trimmer (Bare Tool)||Extended Life||Cordless Electric||****|
|GreenWorks 2200102 2.7 Amp 18-Inch Corded Hedge Trimmer||Budget Trimmer||Corded Electric||****|
TYPES OF HEDGE TRIMMERS
Under the umbrella term “hedge trimmers,” there are three main types: single-sided, double-sided, and pole. Let’s look at each one.
Single-sided Hedge Trimmers
These have teeth on one side of the blade. They are much lighter and a generally safer option than a double-sided blade, since you have the teeth facing away from you. Single-sided trimmers are perfect for larger hedge mazes. They’re more efficient when cutting in sweeping motions.
Double-sided Hedge Trimmers
These are more efficient than single-sided ones. They are also the most common type of trimmers in the market mostly because they are well-designed and more easily maneuvered.
Pole Hedge Trimmers
Long reach trimmers or pole hedge trimmers are needed for areas that can’t be reached. These trimmers can be expanded to reach low undergrowth or uneven hedges. Using this for taller plants is much safer than trimming with a short blade and stepping on a ladder.
Stand-alone Hedge Trimmers
Stand-alone hedge trimmers can be powered by gas, electricity, or manually.
- If you’re looking at manual hedge trimmers in stores, they could also be labeled as hedge shears or clippers and they look like large Manual trimmers do not need mechanical power to operate, which makes them the most cost-effective option. However, be sure to protect your hands as manual trimmers could give you hand blisters.
- This type of hedge trimmer has two kinds of motors: gasoline and electric. They look somewhat like chainsaws. Motorized trimmers make the work more efficient and safer because of their safety features.
- These take longer to start but are more powerful than manual ones. Gas-powered trimmers cut the work shorter. You will have to pay for gas and oil to keep it running. Gas-powered trimmers are also noisier, heavier, and are worse for the environment because of the emission. They are, however, good for heavy-duty cutting and large properties.
- These can be either plugged in to a power source or be cordless and make use of batteries. Compared to gas-powered trimmers, electrical trimmers are relatively lighter, easier to start, and do not give emissions. The downside is that they will cause spikes on your electric bill and if you use the corded option, you will be limited in your range of motion. The non-corded type can be just as bad for your electric bill, and they are not as powerful as the corded ones; however, non-corded trimmers are easier to store. Electrical trimmers are good for light duty cutting in small to medium sized properties.
Tractor-mounted hedge trimmers
For really heavy duty work such as forestry, tractor-mounted and driven hedge trimmers are available. These less common hedge trimmers are much larger and make use of hydraulic booms—a mechanical arm—with the hedge trimmers attached to the front. These cut like sickle or finger bar mowers (the cutting motion resembles that of an electric clipper).
The 5 Best Hedge Trimmers
It’s time for an upgrade—trade in your hedge shears (or machete) for one of these machines. We’ve given you both the good and the bad of each so you can make a more informed decision. These hedge trimmers were based on user reviews, but we’ve also considered good trimmers within their respective price range. Check out the list below!BLACK+DECKER LHT2220 20V Lithium-Ion Hedge Trimmer, 22″
The Black and Decker LHT2220 is powered by a 20-volt MAX Li-ion battery that has double the life cycle compared to 18-volt NiCad batteries. It has minimized vibration while cutting—down by 40 percent according to the company. It’s hard to tell in numbers but it does vibrate less. The wraparound handle makes it easy to hold in different ways. Since it’s cordless, your range of motion won’t be restricted, and you’ll feel less strained with the lighter weight. The trimmer is light enough at 5.9 pounds. The LHT2220 can cut through branches that are ¾-inch thick with its 22-inch dual-action blades, making this trimmer suitable for light to medium duty cutting jobs. Because of the longer battery life and blade type, the LHT2220 is an efficient choice. The blades will reduce time spent trimming while maximizing battery life. A similar product would be the NHT2218, which is slightly cheaper and has basically the same features as the LHT2220 except for the kind of battery—the NHT2218 runs on an 18-volt NiCad rechargeable battery. If you want to go above the 20-volt charge capacity, choose the LHT2436 which doubles the LHT2220 battery life and has a blade length of 24 inches. The LHT2436 is more expensive, however. For light to medium trimming, go for the LHT2220. It’s likely that you will not run out of battery before you finish the job. This product comes with a two-year warranty from Black and Decker.Toro 51490 Corded 22-Inch Hedge Trimmer
One of the main reasons why professionals still choose gas-powered trimmers is its increased power compared to electric and battery-operated ones. But for the corded Toro 51490, its 4 amp motor still packs a mean punch. The 22-inch hardened steel blade can cut through branches that are 1/2 inch thick. Vibration is reduced and is quieter when in use compared to gas-powered trimmers. It’s great for both smaller branches and large bushes. The corded 51490 is good if you prefer not to charge your hedge trimmer and have it ready to plug and go. At just a little over 6 pounds, the 51490 is a dependable option that won’t exhaust your arms. The price is a good bargain at less than $60. Its cordless cousin, the 51494T, is another viable option—it has a similar blade length and work handle. The only drawback is that the 51494T is a bare tool. You’ll have to buy the charger and battery separately so it’s more expensive, but you do away with the cord. If cords don’t bother you, the 51490 has a cord-lock system that keeps your cord from disconnecting and stopping your work. It makes for a smooth trimming experience with durability that Toro products come with. The Toro 51490 also has a two-year warranty.Poulan Pro PP2822 22-Inch 28cc 2 Cycle Gas Powered Dual Sided Hedge Trimmer
Heavy but powerful
If you’re looking for something more robust and you’d still rather go for gas-powered hedge trimmers, the Poulan Pro PP2822 might just well be worth your money. The engine starts up fairly quickly and provides a clean cut with its 22-inch dual-sided serrated blades. Its handle is a swivel type that can be rotated at 45 or 90 degrees to help you work on hard-to-reach areas. If you’re cutting at face level, just be aware since the exhaust might blow at your face. As with most gas-powered trimmers, the PP2822 is hefty at 15.8 pounds but it does give you more power compared to most electric or battery-operated ones. Because of that, you can cut in half the time with the PP2822. The trade-off will be the trimmer’s maintenance and weight but because of its power, you may not even need to lift the machine for too long. If you do, vertical cutting may be the most difficult angle to work on and depending on your strength, it will most likely wear you out. On the upside, the PP2822 can cut through branches that are ¾ inches thick using dual-sided serrated blades and you won’t have to deal with cords. It also runs at about half an hour per gas tank on a 28 cc motor mow. Overall, the PP2822 is a fast, reliable, powerful hard worker. This trimmer comes with a two-year limited warranty.Ryobi 24in. 40-Volt Lith-ion Cordless Hedge Trimmer (Bare Tool)
Light, Long Battery Life
The Ryobi 24-inch hedge trimmer is nearly as powerful as a gas-powered alternative. One of its most notable features is the HedgeSweep, which is a shield to clear away debris as you trim. This tool is also ideal for ditch maintenance and works great not just for soft bushes but even for older, harder ones. Cut away branches up to .75 inches while gripping its soft handle designed for ease of use. At 9.2 pounds, it is slightly heavier than average cordless trimmers. However, there is a sense in weight is relative. Again, it depends on your physical strength: 9.2 pounds without a cord could be bearable or even light. This trimmer’s startup is quick and the 40-volt battery can be charged in less time with the 90-minute charger. Its battery is compatible with Ryobi’s blowers and mowers so it’s well worth the price if you have other Ryobi tools. Expect the battery life to last a really long time on a single charge. While this trimmer is just as powerful as a gas trimmer, it will not vibrate as much so your hands won’t feel overworked. This cordless trimmer is ideal for medium to large bushes. With the Ryobi 24-inch Cordless Hedge Trimmer, you get power, range, and durability, as well as a 5-year limited warranty.GreenWorks 2200102 2.7 Amp 18-Inch Corded Hedge Trimmer
The lightest trimmer on our list is the GreenWorks 18-inch corded trimmer. It’s the lightest in terms of weight (at 5 pounds) and price (around $30 without the cord). What do you get for this lightweight tool? A 2.7 amp motor for shrubs and a 3/8-inch cutting capacity. The blade is a little shorter at 18 inches but it has a dual action, which is good for vertical cutting and an even trim. You may have some difficulty fiddling with the grip since it doesn’t have a wraparound design. You can prevent accidental startups from happening with the lock off switch, and keep the cord in place with the cord lock. But if you want a cordless option with more power, and if you have a few more dollars to spare, you can get the battery-operated GreenWorks 22262 G-MAX 40V 24-Inch Cordless Hedge Trimmer for about $116. It includes a handle that can rotate to 180 degrees and 2/3-inch cutting capacity. For an entry level hedge trimmer, however, the GreenWorks 22102 inexpensively does the job well. The 22102 is compact so it makes for relatively easy storage. Because it’s electric, it vibrates less. You can also feel better about not releasing any harmful emissions while you keep your lawn neat and tidy. GreenWorks provides four years of full warranty for their products.
For every high-quality original product, there is a knockoff out there. Try to visit your local hardware store even just to see the trimmer you’re interested in. Whether you buy your hedge trimmer in-store or online, don’t compromise your safety! Do your research so you don’t get a fake tool with low-quality materials and run the risk of accidents.
What to Look for When Buying Hedge Trimmers in 2017
We’ve just looked at the different kinds of hedge trimmers at your disposal. Now you’re ready to buy! But how do you choose which one to get? Check out this list of features to help you buy the right hedge trimmer for your needs.
First of all, consider what kind of vegetation you are looking to maintain and how much ground you need to cover. The type of vegetation will greatly impact how you consider the ideal trimmer’s features including its weight, power source, and type of blade. As you will see, these features are interconnected.
Weight. You will have to be in different positions as you trim your hedges. You may have to lift the trimmer, keep it to shoulder level, or stretch out. You will also have to stoop and bend down to reach underneath the plants. Choose a trimmer that is flexible and one that you could bear operating for long periods of time.
Power source. Gas-powered trimmers are usually heavier than manual ones but will be suitable for hefty cutting jobs because of the power. Electric-powered trimmers are lightweight, depending on your strength and preference, and are environmentally friendly. Just be careful that you don’t use this in wet areas to reduce the risk of electric shock. You will have substantial power with electric-powered trimmers but keep in mind that the cord will restrain your movement. Battery-powered trimmers are mid-range in terms of weight and cutting capacity. It requires regular charging but would be suitable for light to medium cutting jobs.
Blade type. While single blade trimmers make the machine safer, dual-action blades will get the job done faster. You have a choice of blades between 18 to 40 inches in length. Shorter shrubs can be trimmed using an 18-inch blade. You can trim mid-sized bushes and shrubs with 20-inch blades while the tallest hedges will require the use of a pole.
Safety features. Consider what the manufacturer adds to the machine to make sure it’s safe. Look for switch locks and cord locks for trimmers that electrically powered.
Warranty. This is important. Make sure that your machine is covered by warranty. You want to make sure that if it doesn’t work as promised, you’re able to replace parts or have it repaired with no hassle. Different companies have their own policies, and not all warranties are created equal.
Speaking of different companies, in the next section we have rounded up some of the most well-known brands that specialize in home and outdoor tools including hedge trimmers.
Popular Hedge Trimmer Brands
Innovators come from different generations, and they come from all over the world. They all started with something small until they grew more successful, adapting to the needs of the market and creating products that the market didn’t even know it needed. Here are some of those innovators that you may be familiar with.
Black and Decker. When it comes to cookware, appliances, and power tools, Black and Decker is a household name. The company started as a small machine shop in Baltimore that has continued to grow and innovate.They have trimmers that are somewhat of a hybrid: these trimmers let you choose between additional power and longer run time.
Echo is an American brand that began as an importer of Japanese engines and hand-held machines until they added production and engineering in the US. The brand has been around for over 40 years and distributes worldwide.
Stihl is also another American brand that offers a variety of high-powered cutting tools. To date, Stihl does not sell their products online to support their dealers and assure consumers of the products’ quality as they try it themselves. Stihl offers gas-, battery-, and electric-powered tools.
Makita originated in Japan and later expanded into the American market. Makita has been around for over a century. When the company opened in 1915, they didn’t just sell tools but also repaired them. Today they continue to repair Makita machines for their customers in different locations.
GreenWorks Tools is headquartered at Mooresville, North Carolina with manufacturing facilities in Changzhou, China. As their brand name suggests, GreenWorks does away with gas-powered tools for zero carbon emission. The company only produces tools with charging systems with the Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR approval.
Toro is a Minnesota-based company that distributes to more than 90 countries worldwide. They serve various industries such as sports, agriculture, rental & construction, and homeowners. Like GreenWorks, Toro trimmers only carry electric or battery-powered trimmers. This makes for a quieter and more lightweight trimming experience.
Bosch is a multinational brand that started in Germany. They are located in over 70 countries around the world. Bosch offers not only garden tools but also tools for health care and household appliances. Bosch hedge cutters boast of an ergonomic and lightweight design.
Poulan Pro is another North Carolina-based company is. The company has been around since 1944, and they specialize in producing mowers, chainsaws, blowers, trimmers, and more. Poulan is actually owned by Swedish company Husqvarna.
Husqvarna offers gas-powered trimmers that reduce emission in a way that makes the fuel work better for you. They also have electric and battery options. Their trimmers were designed for quick and easy start-up. Husqvarna has been around for over 400 years. In 1973, they produced the world’s first automatic chain break chainsaw.
Ryobi is another Japanese brand that has a single manufacturing facility in the US, located in Shelbyville, Indiana. The company offers a variety of power tools at an affordable cost. The Home Depot is the exclusive carrier of their products. Ryobi also offers hybrid products such as trimmers that you can choose to be powered by electricity (with cord) or battery.
How many of these brands do you recognize? There are many other manufacturers out there, but these companies are well-established so you can be assured of quality
We’ve come a long way since machetes and other manual ways of keeping your lawn manicured. With hedge trimmers, your work becomes faster so you can do more. Thanks to advances in technology, we no longer have just gasoline-powered hedge trimmers. While they are still great options if you have a tough job that needs a tougher machine, you also have the option to use electric or battery-operated trimmers. Whatever brand you choose, remember to read the user manual carefully. You’ve invested in that machine and in order for it to serve you well, you must use it as intended and take care of it. Not to mention, reading the instructions carefully will save you the risk of injury or possibly ruining parts that will need expensive repair or replacement.
Let your lawn or property thrive over the seasons. When the time comes for it to be cut, pruned, and trimmed, reach for your hedge trimmer of choice. It will save you time and effort so you can enjoy your newly groomed greenery.