What the best hedge trimmer has
- Plenty of power. If you have
older hedges with thick branches, you will want a comparatively powerful
machine to trim them.
- A rotating 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 different
- Locking on/off switch. If you like to trim your hedges in one work session, a lock-on switch will
reduce fatigue as you trim. Conversely, if you will be working near children,
dogs or other distractions, a switch that requires continuous pressure to
operate is a safer option.
- Lightweight construction. What you consider "lightweight" is subjective, but the lighter a trimmer is the longer
you'll be able to use it before fatigue sets in. If you're not sure how much
you can 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.
- Tolerable noise levels. Professionals wear earplugs and eye
protection when using any power tool, and you should, too -- but some electric
and cordless models are so quiet, they probably won't bother the neighbors.
- A good warranty. Users report occasional durability
issues with even the best hedge trimmers, sometimes right out of the box; look
for a model that has at least a two-year warranty.
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
half an inch? Most hedge trimmers are recommended
to cut up to 1/2-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 sense. For more frequent jobs, spending the
extra money for a more powerful gas trimmer can save you both time and money in
the long run.