What every best Hedge Trimmers has:
- Plenty of power.
- A rotating blade.
- Locking on/off switch.
Experts and owners agree that while the top cordless hedge trimmers are now comparable to gas models in overall power, gas-powered trimmers still cut through thick branches more easily. They're also a very good bet if you're concerned about leaving the cleanest looking cuts and lines possible -- and if you have a lot of acreage to cover quickly; users say dealing with a gas trimmer's exhaust and noise levels, as well as the higher maintenance that a gas engine entails, can be a reasonable trade-off for that power and speed.
Among gas-powered hedge trimmers, we saw good feedback for the Echo HC-152 (Est. $290). This is a robust, well made trimmer, with a five year residential warranty, and two years for professional use. This 21.2 cc gas hedge trimmer has a 20 inch cutting blade that limits reach somewhat but also increases maneuverability, a major plus for most residential users -- as is its 11.8 pound weight (when tank is empty). The blades are laser cut to maintain sharpness, and users largely report no issues with the Echo handling any hedge trimming task thrown at it. The trimmer is rated to cut soft material up to 1 inch in diameter, and woody branches as thick as 1/2 inch.
Feedback for gas hedge trimmers is more limited than for other types, but the HC-152 garners over 200 reviews at HomeDepot.com, though those numbers include reviews originally posted at the maker's web site. Be that as it may, it gets a 4.6 star rating and recommendations from 95 percent of owners. While reports of units that failed are not unheard of, we see fewer reports of fuel issues with this hedge trimmer than is typical with gas-fueled small engine tools; ethanol and improper storage of fuels with ethanol are largely the culprit -- Echo offers advice on fuel for this hedge trimmer and other gas-powered equipment here.
Another gas hedge trimmer that we think merits consideration is the Husqvarna 122HD60 (Est. $300). Feedback is generally good. It's the top rated hedge trimmer at StringTrimmersDirect.com, where product expert Dale Vogelsanger calls it "powerful and lightweight; perfect for home owners." User reviews there, though limited, largely back up that opinion with 91 percent of the more than 15 owners weighing in giving it a recommendation. It also earns a 4-star rating based on more than 50 reviews at Amazon.com. Feedback at Lowes.com is not as strong however, with some noting issues with damage caused by fuel issues.
This gas hedge trimmer features a 21.7 cc motor and 23.6-inch blade for a slightly longer reach than the two models above. It is recommend for branches sized 8/10 inch or smaller; user reviews indicate that performance is generally excellent. Pluses include a rear handle that rotates up to 180 degrees for easier maneuvering and an easy start system. Its 10.8 pound weight is another advantage for homeowner use. It's covered by a two year limited warranty.
While the Echo and, especially, the Husqvarna hedge trimmers above are great for home owners, landscaping professionals may appreciate the longer reach and even better durability that a true commercial-grade trimmer can provide. The Efco TG2800XP (Est. $410) is almost certainly overkill for occasional homeowner use, but with its heavy-duty construction and 30-inch reach, pros looking to cut down trimming time and willing to invest in a tool for the long haul might find it worth considering.
Given the Efco's limited distribution and relatively high price, user feedback is very limited, though the few reports we spotted were glowing. In addition, Dale Vogelsanger at StringTrimmersDirect.com, gives it a recommendation. "The Efco TG2800XP is the hedge trimmer you need when yard your calls for the perfect balance between commercial style durability and a price that is not busting the budget," he says. He also likes the anti-vibration system that "absorbs most of the vibration making finishing the job a stress-free, attainable goal." The warranty covers the tool for two years for professional use, five years for residential.