The Ryobi P2603 18-volt hedge trimmer has an 18-inch, double-edged double-reciprocating blade and is powered by a lithium ion battery. Experts say lithium ion batteries have a few key advantages over the nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries used by other cordless models: longer runtimes and charge retention. Lithium ion batteries can be stored for months at a time without losing their charge, and don't gradually lose power while you're working. The Ryobi One+ battery that powers this hedge trimmer also powers other Ryobi outdoor power tools and can be used interchangeably. The lithium ion battery makes the Ryobi P2603 a little more expensive than the top-rated Black & Decker NHT518 (Est. $100) .
A reviewer for the Canadian newspaper Northern News reviews the Ryobi P2603 after having used it in her own yard, though she doesn't compare it with any other hedge trimmers. Owner reviews at HomeDepot.com are another valuable source of feedback based on actual use over time.
1. Northern News
Reviewer Joanne Richard uses the Ryobi 18 Volt Lithium Hedge Trimmer to trim her yard. She says it's more powerful than she expected and that "the large Gripzone handle makes handling comfortable and easy to control every which way you trim things up."
Review: New Cordless Hedge Trimmer a Cut Above, Joanne Richard, 2009
Close to 35 owners post ratings and reviews of the Ryobi P2603 at HomeDepot.com. The average rating is high -- 3.8 out of 5 stars. Feedback is mostly positive; many echo the sentiments of the owner who writes, "I can go about an hour on a single charge. It is not for heavy duty stuff, but works great for moderate trimming." There are a few complaints about defective models or batteries that don't run for long before needing to be recharged. One owner doesn't like the fact that he has to keep his hand on the trigger; there is no lock-on switch.