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An introduction to hedge trimmers

Choosing the best hedge trimmer depends on the size of your yard and the kind of plants you grow. For example, a gardener needing to trim plants on a smaller property may find an inexpensive, lightweight, electric hedge trimmer adequate for all seasonal gardening upkeep. Electric hedge trimmers (sometimes called corded hedge trimmers) are the least expensive type of trimmer. The primary drawback: Users risk tangling or cutting the cord while trimming.

Cordless hedge trimmers offer greater freedom of use, with  no cord to limit how far you can roam. Unlike gas-powered trimmers, they don't have any emissions, which some consumers appreciate. The drawback, of course, is that you're limited to how long the trimmer's battery lasts on a charge. When purchasing a cordless trimmer, be sure to note whether the price includes one battery or two. If you know you will need to use the trimmer frequently or for long periods, it may also be prudent to buy a fast-fill charger.

However, cordless trimmers are not for everyone. Batteries that drain quickly lose their ability to hold a charge over time; many cordless hedge trimmers only have 30-minute runtimes with a new, fully charged battery. Additionally, cordless models are not as powerful as corded and gas-powered trimmers, making it difficult to trim tough vegetation like holly bushes.

If you have a large area to trim, gas hedge trimmers may be the best or only reasonable option. Gas hedge trimmers are much more powerful than their electric and battery-powered cousins, and so will make short work of an otherwise lengthy job. They're also more expensive, as well as heavier, noisier and emit exhaust. But they're also the only real choice for professionals or homeowners with large yards, built to last.

We analyzed the most comprehensive expert and user reviews of hedge trimmers to carefully select the best electric, battery-powered and gas-powered models based on their performance, ease of use and safety.

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