What the best hedge trimmer does

  • Cuts through tough greenery. If you have older hedges with thick branches, you will want a comparatively powerful machine to trim them.
  • Rotating the blade. When you need to trim between hedges and walls, fences or other plants, it's good to have a rotating blade that allows you to hold the unit comfortably and safely while cutting at an appropriate angle.
  • Locking on/off switch. If you like to trim your hedges in one work session, a lock-on switch will help you use it safely; conversely if you will be working near children, dogs or other distractions, a switch that requires pressure to operate is a better option.
  • Lightweight construction. What you consider "lightweight" is subjective, but using a trimmer that's too heavy is tiring, reviewers note.

Know before you go

How big is your property? If you have a lawn or garden that extends less than 100 yards from the most convenient power source, you may be able to use a corded hedge trimmer. However, if your outdoor space is larger or involves some odd obstacles, you'd be better off with a battery-powered or gas trimmer.

Do you want to cut branches thicker than ½ inch? Most hedge trimmers are recommended to cut up to 3/8-inch branches. If you need to cut something a half-inch wide or more, you'd be better off with a chain saw or manual shears.

How often do you plan to use your hedge trimmer? If your plants only require occasional trimming (a few times per year), then a cheaper electric or cordless model makes a lot of sense. For more frequent jobs, spending the extra money for a more durable gas trimmer may save you time and even money in the long run.

Buying tactics and strategies

Measure your garden. How much distance do you have between your hedges and an outlet? If it's less than 100 yards, a corded trimmer is an option.

Try it in the store. The weight of the trimmer engine and the balance of the blade make a difference in how easy it is to use and handle. Try the trimmer in a store (go through the motions without actually powering it up) or rent a model you're considering to make sure it's right for you.

Check the warranty. Users report having durability issues with hedge trimmers - even from some of the most respected brands - sometimes right out of the box. Check to see what the warranty covers and for how long.

Back to top