Hedges and bushes are assets to any home’s landscaping, providing much-needed privacy around patios and along property lines—until they get overgrown and require trimming, which can be a laborious chore. While tackling this job with manual hedge clippers is one solution, a gas hedge trimmer can get the job done much faster.
These landscaping tools use a gas engine to power a (usually) double-edged set of blades up to 24 inches long to quickly tame shaggy boxwoods and bushes. The best models have features that make them easier to use, such as dampening systems that take the edge off of engine vibration, rotating handles and wraparound bars that make them easier to maneuver, and quick-start systems that save the operator’s back from multiple pulls.
This guide will examine which features and characteristics are essential to consider when shopping for the best gas hedge trimmer and review some of the best models on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Husqvarna 122HD45 Gas Hedge Trimmer
- RUNNER-UP: Huyosen Cordless Gas Powered Hedge Trimmer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Poulan Pro PR2322 22-Inch 23cc Gas Hedge Trimmer
- BEST PROFESSIONAL: Husqvarna 122HD60 21.7cc Gas Hedge Trimmer
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: ECHO 20 in. 21.2 cc Gas Hedge Trimmer
- BEST FOR TALL HEDGES: ECHO 21 in. 21.2 cc Gas Hedge Trimmer
- HONORABLE MENTION: XtremepowerUS 26cc 2-Cycle Gas Hedge Trimmer
- ALSO CONSIDER: PROYAMA 26cc 5 in 1 Gas Trimming Tools
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Gas Hedge Trimmer
While engine speed and power go a long way toward determining how well a hedge trimmer performs, other factors are just as crucial, including blade length, teeth spacing, and weight. Ahead, learn more about these and other important hedge trimmer characteristics.
Blade Length and Teeth Spacing
Trimmers have teeth on both sides, allowing the user to cut by waving the trimmer back and forth instead of having to use single strokes.
Trimmer blades range in length from 18 inches to 20 inches. A longer trimmer blade allows the user to cut more plant material with each pass of the trimmer. It also allows for more even cuts, which is crucial when trimming boxwood hedges to a precise shape. The added length, however, makes longer trimmers more challenging to handle than shorter trimmers. They’re also harder to maneuver in tight spaces, such as around the base of a bush or shrub. For most gardeners, an 18-inch trimmer should suffice, although those with large hedges should go with a longer model.
The blade has many teeth that scissor back and forth across one another like mini guillotines, cutting branches that fall into the gap between these scissoring teeth. The size of the gap between the blade’s teeth determines the size of the branches the trimmer can handle. Large, pro-grade trimmers typically have a gap of an inch or greater, allowing them to cut thicker branches and chew through denser material. Smaller trimmers for gardeners usually fall in the ⅜-inch to ¾-inch range.
Engine Speed and Power
Compared to their electric-powered brethren, gas models are the more powerful hedge trimmers, capable of taking on bigger jobs and cutting through vegetation faster than electric models.
The power of a gas trimmer comes from the speed of its engine, which is measured in cubic centimeters of air and fuel displaced by the engine. The higher the number of cubic centimeters (ccs), the more powerful the engine. Most gas-powered trimmer engines range between 21cc and 25cc. Higher-power engines can better power longer blades, cut through vegetation more quickly, and trim larger-diameter branches.
Engine speed isn’t the only thing that determines a trimmer’s cutting ability. Trimmers with longer blades require more power to operate the blades. As such, a 23cc engine running a 23-inch trimmer may not be able to cut through vegetation as quickly as a smaller 21.7cc engine that’s powering a shorter 18-inch blade.
Fuel capacity determines how long the trimmer can run before requiring a refill. Capacity is significant when undertaking bigger yard maintenance efforts in which delays for refueling may slow down the job. Most trimmers have a tank capacity of around 13 ounces, which equates to about 1 hour of run time. Keep in mind that larger engines will gulp down gas more quickly than smaller ones.
Weight and Ease of Use
Weight has a significant impact on the trimmer’s usability. A heavy trimmer can be challenging to lift and maneuver, whereas a lightweight trimmer will be more comfortable to handle and won’t fatigue the operator as quickly. Most gas trimmers range in weight between 10 and 14 pounds.
In addition to weight, other factors also affect how easy a trimmer is to use. Similar to gas lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and chainsaws, gas trimmers have pull starts. Many manufacturers have designed systems that make the motor easier to start when it’s cold.
Gas trimmer engines also create a significant amount of vibration, which can cause arm and hand fatigue. Some hedge trimmers have systems designed to dampen vibration that make the trimmer more comfortable to operate.
The handles on a trimmer can also make a big difference. Trimmers have a handle at the rear of the device that includes a trigger and handle closer to the blade. Many trimmers have wraparound handles near the blades that make the trimmer more comfortable to maneuver by allowing the user to take various hand positions to suit different angles of cut. Some trimmers feature trigger handles that rotate, making it even easier to cut at different angles.
Hedge trimmers have many sharp teeth for cutting through branches, making them inherently dangerous. As such, many come with safety features designed to minimize the risk of injury. Most trimmers require the user to hold down a trigger built into the handle to engage the blade. The blade automatically shuts off if the trimmer slips out of the user’s hands, which helps prevent accidents.
Most trimmers also have large guards between the blade and the handle to keep hands from slipping toward the blade while also preventing vegetation from interfering with the user’s grip on the trimmer while cutting.
Our Top Picks
The gas hedge trimmers below feature powerful engines and blades with wide-set teeth that can handle cutting through thick vegetation. This list trims down the field to some of the best models on the market.
With its lightweight and ample power, this hedge trimmer is the ideal gas-powered pick for yard trimming. It features a 21.7cc two-cycle engine that powers an 18-inch blade long enough to handle most trimming jobs around the home. With widely spaced teeth, this trimmer can cut through limbs up to ⅘-inch thick. The double-sided blade allows for cutting in either direction, speeding up the trimming job.
At 10.36 pounds, this model is also one of the lightest hedge trimmers on the market, allowing for more prolonged efforts without arm fatigue. This model also has additional features that make it more comfortable to use, including Husqvarna’s LowVib anti-vibration technology that puts less stress on the hands and arms, as well as a muffler that reduces engine noise.
This gas trimmer may not come from one of the more well-known names in landscaping tools, but it makes up for that with raw power thanks to an impressive 25cc engine, which is bigger than many trimmers at a higher price point. That output is enough to run a long 23-inch blade, which offers ample length for cutting longer swaths of hedges and bushes. Blade spacing is enough to handle limbs up to ⅔-inch thick.
This trimmer also includes features that make it more comfortable to use, including a shock-absorption system for reducing fatigue on hands and arms and a large wraparound handle that allows the user to adjust the blade’s angle while cutting. This trimmer is similar in weight to other models at 12 pounds.
With its lower price point, one might think this gas-powered trimmer doesn’t put out the same amount of power as other gas trimmers. Not so. Poulan Pro’s gas hedge trimmer boasts a powerful 23cc engine and a 22-inch-long cutting blade with wide-set teeth capable of chomping through 1-inch-diameter branches. This model also is easy to maneuver around bushes and trees, thanks to an innovative handle design that allows the handle to rotate 90 degrees to either side.
When combined with a wraparound handle, the Poulan Pro offers superior maneuverability. Other features make it more comfortable to use, including an anti-vibration system that dampens the vibration transmitted from the engine to the operator and a large wraparound handle. Poulan Pro’s trimmer is also one of the lighter models on the market at just a hair over 11 pounds.
A long blade, easy-to-start engine, featherlight weight, and ability to cut larger branches make this the trimmer of choice for pros. At 23.7 inches, the 122HD60 has one of the longer cutting edges on the market, allowing it to tackle bigger jobs with relative ease compared to trimmers with shorter blades. Wide gaps between the teeth enable the trimmer to cut through branches greater than an inch wide.
Full days of landscaping work call for constant starting and stopping of the engine for breaks and refueling. With Husqvarna’s Smart Start engine, which purges air from the carburetor to make starting easier, breaks don’t have to mean multiple back-straining pulls to get up and running again. An anti-vibration system that reduces stress on arms and hands also helps to ease fatigue for long days of yard work, and an adjustable rear handle rotates to facilitate easier cutting from different angles.
With its shorter blade and light weight, this hedge trimmer from Echo is one of the easier trimmers to handle, making it well suited for longer trimming sessions. This hedge trimmer weighs in at about 10 pounds (not including fuel), making it one of the lightest trimmers on the market. Despite its shorter length, this trimmer has impressive cutting power, thanks to a 21.2cc engine and double-sided blade that allows for cutting in either direction.
A sizable ergonomic grip makes this chainsaw easy to grip, while a large wraparound handle enables cutting from various angles. Guards around the blade’s base and the tip protect the edge from damage when cutting around hard surfaces such as walls and fences.
With a design that extends the blade well beyond the length of a conventional hedge trimmer, this model from Echo is well suited for trimming large bushes and hedges. The 21-inch-long blade attaches to the end of a 22-inch-long shaft, providing plenty of reach for pruning more extensive shrubbery. With the blade extending farther from the user than traditional hedge trimmers, this model also has a safer design.
The user operates the trimmer via a molded handle with a trigger and a large wraparound handle farther up the shaft. The gear case that runs the blades is positioned between the user’s hand and the motor for a larger buffer between hand and blade. A vibration-reduction system and Echo’s easy starter make this trimmer easier to use, while a double-edge blade speeds up trimming jobs.
This aptly named hedge trimmer lives up to its name with its large engine and industry-leading blade length. It boasts a 26cc engine and 24-inch cutting blade, giving it the ability to tackle large shrubbery and thicker branches more efficiently than models with smaller engines. Even with a longer edge that requires more power, this hedge trimmer’s engine still has enough oomph to cut limbs up to 1 inch in diameter. A double-sided blade allows for cutting in both directions, adding speed and convenience to its cutting ability.
Despite its large size, this hedge trimmer weighs just 13 pounds. A large wraparound handle makes wielding this monster manageable, while an easy-start system prevents having to make numerous pulls to get the trimmer up and running. XtremepowerUS also uses its low-noise technology on the engine, which makes for a quieter trimmer.
Properly maintaining a yard requires more than just a hedge trimmer; a chainsaw and line trimmer are also necessary tools. These tools can quickly get costly, which is why this five-in-one tool from Proyama is an attractive option. This system’s interchangeable attachments include a hedge trimmer, pole chainsaw, line trimmer, brush cutter, and circular saw, each of which connects to a powerful 26cc gas engine.
This model also comes with a full slate of accessories for maintaining and safely operating each tool, including a tool set for conducting routine maintenance, as well as ear protection, face mask, gas tank, and gloves. This set also includes an extension pole that allows the chainsaw and hedge trimming attachments to reach a maximum height of 11.4 feet, allowing the user to cut limbs and vegetation that otherwise might be out of reach.
FAQs About Gas Hedge Trimmers
If you’re wondering about how to use a gas hedge trimmer, read on for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about these powerful landscaping tools.
Q. Are gas hedge trimmers more powerful than electric or battery-powered ones?
Most gas-powered engines are more powerful than electric motors. For hedge trimmers, this means a gas-powered trimmer can cut through larger branches and denser vegetation more quickly than electric models.
Q. What kind of oil do I need to use with a gas hedge trimmer?
Gas hedge trimmers, like gas chainsaws and line trimmers, take two-stroke (also referred to as two-cycle) engine oil. Gas hedge trimmer fuel typically consists of 3.2 ounces of two-stroke oil mixed with a gallon of gas. Check the owner’s manual for the correct fuel ratio.
Q. How long can a gas trimmer run on a full tank?
A gas trimmer can run for about an hour on a full tank of gas, depending on use. Remember that hedge trimmers with larger engines will burn through gas more quickly than those with smaller engines.
Q. How do I start a gas hedge trimmer?
To start a gas trimmer, begin by priming the bulb on the gas tank. This will pump gas into the carburetor to allow it to start more quickly. Find the choke lever and set it to “choke.” The choke limits the amount of air intake into the engine, which allows a cold engine to start more easily. Holding the hedge trimmer on the ground, pull the start cord until the engine starts. Then move the choke lever to “run.”
Q. How do I store a gas hedge trimmer?
Store the hedge trimmer in a clean, dry place that is protected from rain and moisture. If the trimmer is in storage for the season, add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank to prevent deposits from forming in the carburetor that can prevent it from starting in the spring.