Finding the Best Hedge Trimmer: A Buying Guide
Cutting hedges encourages healthy growth and provides a neat finish to your garden, and finding the right hedge trimmer will not only cut the foliage, but the time it takes to do so. It’ll also be comfortable for you to handle. There are multiple types to choose from and many factors to consider before deciding which hedge trimmer to go for, so we’ve compiled a useful guide to help you make the right choice.
What’s the best hedge trimmer to buy?
The best hedge trimmer is one that best suits your task, and one that you find comfortable to work with. Consider what you will be cutting - large, mature hedges in an expansive area or easier-to-manage bushes in a smaller garden?
The spacing between the teeth tells you the size or thickness of material that the trimmer can tackle: larger gaps are designed for thicker stems and mature hedges, whereas smaller gaps are well suited to vegetation such as small bushes or potted topiary trees.
Both petrol and electric hedge trimmers have different benefits and come with varying power levels. The power for both types is measured in volts or watts; the higher the voltage/wattage, the more powerful the tool.
It’s also worth looking for special features like saw functions for tackling hard-to-cut branches. You’ll find other useful features to consider at the end of this guide.
Electric hedge trimmers
Electric trimmers are much quieter than petrol and are lightweight at around 2-3kg, making them ideal for small to medium sized gardens. They require no priming or mixing and don’t feature a pull cord to get them going - they usually have a simple push button. They come in corded and cordless varieties, which each have their own benefits.
Corded vs cordless hedge trimmers
With a cordless tool you have the freedom to go anywhere without being limited to a power socket. They’re also good for quicker, smaller tasks as you can simply grab and go.
Some brands such as Greenworks and Einhell offer a system whereby you only have to buy one battery for multiple tools. This means you can save money and be kinder to the environment as you’ll need fewer batteries and chargers, which creates less waste.
If you’re wondering which cordless hedge trimmer is the best, the Bosch Isio Cordless Shape & Edge Hedge Trimmer is our best-seller. This five-star tool switches effortlessly between shrub and grass shearing to make trimming tasks easy, boasts 50 minutes of run time and has an anti-blocking system to prevent it from stalling.
With a corded electric trimmer, you don’t have to worry about recharging or buying petrol, and you won’t be limited to a specific run time - you can simply keep going until you want to stop. These are best suited to smaller gardens as you’ll likely not have a power socket nearby if you’re in a larger space. You can use an extension lead or cable reel if you want to extend your reach.
Make sure you use a residual current device (RCD) when using electricity outdoors - this will cut off the power in case of a fault, or if you cut through the cable accidentally.
The Bosch AHS 60-16 Electric Hedge Trimmer is another of our best-sellers. Lightweight with a powerful 450W motor, it makes for high-speed, easy trimming.
Petrol hedge trimmers
Petrol varieties have a longer run time and more power than their electric counterparts, making them well suited to larger gardens and more challenging tasks like very large, overgrown hedges. The extra power will help you complete the job more quickly. However, they are noisier and considerably heavier, weighing between 5-7kg before fuel is added.
The Draper 750W Petrol Hedge Trimmer features a lengthy 500mm blade and cuts through foliage up to 14mm in diameter. Lightweight for a petrol trimmer at 5.5kg, it also has a 180° three-position rotating back handle for user comfort - ideal if you’re taking on a big task.
What’s the best long reach hedge trimmer?
If you can’t quite reach every area, or you can’t get to the other side of your hedge easily, a long-reach hedge trimmer will help you take on the task. We’ve listed some of our best options below.
The Webb 27cc Kawasaki Professional Petrol Long Reach Hedge Trimmer is great for big jobs and heavy-duty cutting. It boasts an articulating cutter head so you can achieve the perfect working-angle, an anti-vibration system for low-effort operation and lengthy double-sided blades for a speedy work rate.
The Bosch Universal Cordless model is a good choice if you want to go cord-free. The blade is 430mm - ideal for medium sized jobs - and can be adjusted between 2.1m and 2.6m to suit your needs. It also features an anti-blocking system to prevent jamming.
Other features to look out for
Some features will help you achieve the best cut for the type of vegetation you’ll be trimming, while others will aid your comfort.
A shorter blade (300-400mm) is best for smaller hedges, while a longer blade (500mm+) is well suited to larger hedges. Opt for a long-reach trimmer if access is difficult down one side of your hedge.
Blades with wider gaps between teeth are suited to cutting larger, thicker material, and vice versa. For smaller hedges, look for tooth spacing between 15mm and 20mm; for larger jobs, opt for 30mm plus.
This prevents the tool from stalling so you can get on with the job uninterrupted.
With a sawing function you can cut through thick branches that the trimmer can’t handle - ideal if you’re cutting large, mature hedges.
Some brands offer an innovative modular system for cordless tools, so multiple tools can be powered using one type of battery. Ideal for switching from your grass trimmer to a lawnmower or leaf blower, it saves you money and creates less waste, which is better for the environment.
Descriptions such as ‘laser-cut’ or ‘diamond-ground’ indicate that the blades are extra-sharp, which helps with precision cutting and reducing vibration. The sharper the blade, the less vibration you’ll experience.
This will give you a more comfortable experience, even over longer periods of time.
Wraparound or rotating handles allow for comfortable and efficient use when holding the trimmer at an angle.
Blade guard stop
Some models feature a protective tip to prevent damage to the blade when working near a wall or fence.
Dual-stroke, or two-handed starting switches prevent accidental starting.
- Make sure you keep your hedge trimmer in a safe place and position, where the blade does not pose any danger and the tool cannot get switched on by accident.
- Keep your eyes protected by wearing safety glasses/goggles.
- Protect your hands from sharp thorns and debris by wearing thick gardening gloves.
- Wear sturdy footwear to prevent you from tripping and falling onto the blade, or special safety boots in case of any drops.
- Tuck in any loose clothing to prevent it from being caught by the blade.
Find eye goggles, safety boots and more in our workwear safety range.