Average Customer Review:
Best gas hedge trimmer
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 branches 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 Home Depot, 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.
If you are on a tighter budget, the Poulan Pro PR2322 (Est. $175) might be worth a look-see, but our recommendation here isn't overly enthusiastic. There are no credible expert reviews to be found, and user feedback is split and not particularly ample. Reviews found at Home Depot and Lowe's look good -- 4.4 stars based on more than 15 reviews -- but those are largely drawn from the manufacturer's web site. At Amazon, we see roughly the same number of reviews, but decidedly less satisfaction -- just a generally disappointing 3.2 stars. Still, at more than $100 less than our Best Reviewed gas hedge trimmer, we found nothing anywhere near its price point that fares better.
This gas hedge trimmer features a 23 cc motor and 22-inch blade for a slightly longer reach than the Echo HC-152. It is rated for branches up to one inch or smaller; user reviews indicate that performance is generally excellent. Pluses include a rear handle that rotates for easier maneuvering and a lightweight design -- just 11.1 pounds. The Poulan Pro PR2322 is covered by a two year limited warranty, but feedback indicates that getting service in a timely manner can be a headache. We also saw more feedback than we like to see about models that either arrived defective or that quick working soon afterwards. That leads us to recommend buying from a store with a good return policy should you receive a lemon.
While the Echo and, especially, the Poulan Pro 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 String Trimmers Direct, 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.