Hedges establish boundaries in landscaping, add privacy, and benefit curb appeal, but in order to look their best, they must be groomed. Power hedge trimmers are designed for this very purpose. The best hedge trimmers make it much easier to shape and otherwise control growth and vegetation in the yard.
Read on to learn the key considerations to keep in mind when choosing these handy power tools—and check out the roundup of some of the top picks of the best power hedge trimmers around.
- BEST OVERALL: EGO Power+ 24-Inch 56-Volt Cordless Hedge Trimmer
- RUNNER-UP: BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Hedge Trimmer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Greenworks 2.7 Amp Corded Hedge Trimmer, 22102
- EASIEST TO USE: WORX WG261 20V Power Share Cordless Hedge Trimmer
- BEST CORDLESS: Earthwise 20-Inch Cordless Pole Hedge Trimmer
- BEST GAS: Poulan Pro 22-Inch 2 Cycle Gas Powered Hedge Trimmer
- HONORABLE MENTION: Sun Joe SJH902E 4-Amp Telescoping Pole Hedge Trimmer
- ALSO CONSIDER: Makita 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Hedge Trimmer Kit
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Power Hedge Trimmer
Before deciding on the best power hedge trimmer for a yard, it’s important to consider the power source, engine, blade sizes, and whether it’s better to use an electric hedge trimmer or if a gas model is a more appropriate option. Read on to find out more about these factors in order to find the best hedge trimmers for maintaining the yard and creating a well-groomed privacy border.
When searching for the best power hedge trimmer, there are two power options: gas and electric. The decision is usually based on how much power and portability are needed.
- Gas-powered hedge trimmers: These tough tools, which generally require both oil and gas to run properly, tend to work harder than their electric counterparts. The downside to more power is weight: Gas hedge trimmers may be more than 10 pounds, making it a challenge to reach up and around tall shrubbery.
- Electric-powered hedge trimmers: While they don’t provide quite as much oomph as gas-juiced models, electric trimmers are usually lighter, making them easier to wield at chest height or higher. Lower-priced corded models offer uninterrupted use but less mobility because they’re plugged into an outlet—a potential problem for larger yards. Battery-powered trimmers allow total freedom of movement, as long as the batteries are recharged or replaced regularly.
Engine power is the force produced by the engine to drive the hedge trimmer blades, allowing them to cut through leaves, twigs, and small branches. The way that engine power is measured depends on the type of power hedge trimmer.
- Electric hedge trimmers have an amperage (amps) measurement that indicates the amount of energy flowing through the electric engine. The higher the amperage, the more powerful the engine. Most electric hedge trimmers range from 2.5 to 4.5 amps.
- Battery-powered hedge trimmers typically have a voltage rating that’s associated with the power stored and produced by the battery. The average battery for a hedge trimmer is just 20 volts, but some can have up to 80 volts.
- Gas hedge trimmers use cubic centimeters (ccs) to describe the power of the engine. This measurement refers to the amount of air and fuel that are displaced by the engine during operation. The higher the number of ccs, the more powerful the engine. Typically, gas hedge trimmer engines range from 21 to 25 ccs.
Blades can be single- or double-sided, and they come in a wide range of sizes from 13 inches to 40 inches in length. Choosing the right blade size is an important step that can make hedge-trimming jobs much easier.
- 18 inches or smaller is an appropriate blade size for small hedges, weeds, and shrubs that are common in residential gardens.
- 19- to 30-inch blades are ideal for the average user. They can take on large bushes, manage full-size hedges, and trim smaller tree branches.
- 30-inch and larger blades typically fall into the commercial and professional category. These blades are for regularly maintaining large established trees, hedges, bushes, shrubs, and other vegetation.
Left-handed individuals may find it easier to use a power hedge trimmer with a double-sided blade because the majority of single-sided blades are made for right-handed people.
The fuel capacity refers to the amount of fuel that a gas power hedge trimmer can hold in the fuel tank. The capacity is typically used to determine how long the trimmer can operate on a single tank of gas. This is an important feature that can help determine the suitability of a gas-powered hedge trimmer. Naturally, larger yards will benefit from a trimmer with a higher fuel capacity so that they can operate long enough to complete the required yard maintenance.
The average gas-powered hedge trimmer has a tank capacity that ranges from 10 to 16 ounces. This fuel tank will usually require a mixture of gas and oil at a ratio of about 40:1 or 50:1, though users should always refer to the manufacturer’s directions for the proper fuel ratio. Trimmers operate for between 45 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the weight of the machine, the size of the engine, and the material that’s being cut.
Another factor to consider is the thickness of a branch that the trimmer can tackle. Most slice through branches up to ½ inch thick, while more powerful models can usually handle up to an inch in diameter. Check the size of the gap between the blade’s teeth. This is referred to as a blade gap, and the greater the gap, the higher the cutting capacity.
A majority of residential trimmers have a gap of between ⅜ and ¾ of an inch that’s suitable for leaves, twigs, and small branches. However, professional or commercial-grade trimmers can have a blade gap wider than 1 inch, allowing them to take on small trees and oversize hedges.
Batteries are one of the three main fuel sources for power hedge trimmers, with most models using a long-lasting lithium-ion battery that can range from 20 to 80 volts. The battery life of a hedge trimmer can differ depending on the weight of the trimmer, the age of the battery, and the amount of material the trimmer is cutting.
On average, a hedge trimmer battery can last for between 30 minutes and 1 hour and will take between 30 minutes and 2 hours to fully charge. Keep in mind that some hedge trimmers don’t come with a battery or a battery charger, so users may need to purchase the battery separately. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to get two batteries so that one is always charging while the other is in use.
Weight and Ease of Use
Hedge trimmers can range in weight from battery-powered options that weigh only 5 pounds to heavy gas trimmers weighing more than 20 pounds. A tool that is well balanced in weight from the front to the back usually offers better support and reduced muscle fatigue.
There are a few features that make it easier to hold and control hedge trimmers. A padded front handle enhances comfort and gives users a better grip on the trimmer. Telescoping poles are another useful feature, allowing the trimmer to cut branches and leaves. This extendability means users don’t have to stretch or climb up and down a ladder repeatedly, effectively reducing muscle strain.
When choosing a power hedge trimmer, safety should be the highest priority so that you can trim the vegetation in the yard without having to worry about a hospital trip. With that in mind, manufacturers have built-in several safety features to help make power hedge trimmers a safer option for managing the garden, including blade brakes, safety switches, padded front handles, and front handle shields.
- Blade brakes are a feature that stops the blade as soon as the trigger is released. In an emergency situation, this stops the blade immediately instead of allowing it to gradually lose inertia and stop on its own.
- Safety switches prevent the accidental activation of the trimmer. This safety switch needs to be pressed down before the trigger can be used to turn on the trimmer.
- Padded front handles can help reduce muscle fatigue and strain caused by vibration and the weight of the trimmer.
- Front handle shields prevent the user’s hand from slipping off the handle into the blade.
- Blade sheaths can keep users protected from the blades, but they also serve to protect the blades from moisture, dust, and any other debris.
Our Top Picks
This list narrows the field to some of the best hedge trimmers on the market. It includes impressive engines and laser-cut blades with wide-set teeth that can handle cutting and shaping thick vegetation.
If the growth around the home is more than a standard hedge trimmer can handle, this powerful product is a good option. It operates on a 56-volt battery (not included) and has a wide cut capacity, allowing it to cut through branches up to 1 inch thick. Despite the power of this trimmer, it weighs only 9 pounds and features a cushioned grip to help reduce muscle fatigue and strain caused by vibration.
The power hedge trimmer is made with an electric brake stop to immediately cease the momentum of the blade as soon as the trigger is released. Other safety features include the front hand shield and the safety switch that must be held down before the trigger will operate. The power hedge trimmer operates the 24-inch dual-action blades for up to 1 hour on a full battery (not included) before it needs to be recharged.
Black & Decker sets a gold standard for battery-powered outdoor tools with this hedge trimmer. The blade is 22 inches long and features dual action for increased efficiency and reduced vibration. The trimmer can cut through branches up to ¾ inch in diameter, making it an option for bushes, hedges, and shrubs around a home.
At just under 8 pounds, this battery-operated model is sturdy and reliable. It has a padded front handle and a front handle shield to help reduce muscle strain and protect the user’s hands from slipping. With a full charge, the 20-volt battery (not included) can trim up to 3,000 square feet or run for about 1 hour.
This Greenworks tool is a lightweight electric hedge trimmer that has a 2.7-amp engine and weighs just 6.2 pounds, saving users from the struggle of operating and controlling a heavier trimmer. But this budget pick doesn’t skimp on top-of-the-line features.
Its 18-inch dual-action steel blades can cut through branches up to ⅜ inch thick, making it a worthy option for light to moderate trimming. The trimmer relies on an extension cord for power, so users can work until they are finished instead of taking forced breaks refueling or recharging a gas- or battery-powered tool.
This compact energy-efficient trimmer weighs little more than a laptop—about 5.5 pounds, allowing users to control the trimmer with ease. What it lacks in size it makes up for in power. The 20-volt lithium-ion battery gives the WORX tool an optimal runtime of 40 to 45 minutes, which can be used to trim an area of about 2,500 to 3,000 square feet on a full charge.
The dual-action steel blades, protected by a rustproof aluminum cover, can slice through twigs and branches up to ¾ inch in diameter. This model also comes with a 20-volt battery, battery charger, and a blade sheath to keep the blade protected when the trimmer is not being used.
The Earthwise cordless hedge trimmer is a lightweight option at just 7 pounds that’s easy to handle and maneuver. It operates on an included 20-volt battery that can run the power hedge trimmer for up to 30 minutes before needing to be recharged. The fast charger that comes with the trimmer charges the battery in about 30 minutes to an hour, allowing users to get back to work quickly.
Its 20-inch dual-action steel blades are suitable for cutting through branches up to ⅝ inch thick. This hedge trimmer also has a six-position adjustable cutting head and a built-in extension pole that can increase the range of the trimmer by up to 9.5 feet to trim the top, bottom, and any awkward angles on the hedge without a problem.
This heavy-duty gas hedge trimmer has a wide 1-inch cutting capacity that’s suitable for maintaining well-established hedges, bushes, and small trees. It weighs 11.1 pounds, which is heavier than the standard electric- or battery-powered trimmer, but it’s on the light side for a gas trimmer. The extra weight is due to the powerful 23 cc engine that drives the 22-inch dual-action blade for up to 1 hour on a full, 13-ounce tank of gas.
The power hedge trimmer requires a 40:1 gas-to-oil mixture, and the safety switch needs to be held down for the trimmer to start. For better maneuverability and control, this trimmer has a rotating handle with a cushioned grip to help reduce vibration during operation.
For trimming high-up and out-of-the-way branches, check out this telescoping hedge trimmer from Sun Joe. It has an extendable arm that can reach up to 13 feet, and the head of the trimmer pivots so that the angle can be adjusted for trimming under or above tall hedges and bushes. This power hedge trimmer weighs about 9 pounds, so it may be heavy for some individuals, but it’s still a more lightweight option than most gas trimmers.
The Sun Joe cuts with a dual-sided, 21-inch hardened-steel blade, able to prune branches up to ¾ inch thick. This electric trimmer has a powerful 4-amp motor, and it relies on an extension cord for power, so users may be limited to the range of the cord but don’t need to worry about running out of gas or battery power.
This quiet cordless hedge trimmer operates on a small 18-volt lithium-ion battery that allows it to run for up to 120 minutes when used on the low-power setting. It has a low-battery warning system that stops the motor of the hedge trimmer and activates an indicator light when the battery needs to be charged. The included battery charger takes about 40 minutes to fully charge the battery, allowing the user to get back to work.
The power hedge trimmer delivers clean and lasting power to the 22-inch cutting blade that’s ideal for working in residential gardens where the shrubs, bushes, ferns, and hedges are small to average in size. It weighs only 7.4 pounds and has an anti-vibration design, including a padded front handle and five cushions within the motor housing to reduce muscle strain and fatigue.
FAQs About Your New Hedge Trimmer
Adding a power hedge trimmer to your yard maintenance arsenal can help keep vegetation under control. However, you may still have questions, like whether a gas or electric cordless hedge trimmer is more powerful or what type of oil is best. Take a look below for the answers to these and several more frequently asked questions about hedge trimmers.
Q. What is the difference between a hedge trimmer and a hedge cutter?
Hedge trimmers are lightweight tools made for trimming smaller branches, leaves, and vegetation. Hedge cutters are a more robust tool that cuts through much thicker branches and even the trunks of very small trees, shrubs, and hedges.
Q. Are gas hedge trimmers more powerful than electric or battery-powered ones?
Battery-powered hedge trimmers have a limited amount of power because they must convert energy from the lithium-ion battery to the electric motor. Corded electric hedge trimmers are more powerful because they have a direct connection to a power source. However, the most powerful type of hedge trimmer is gas due to the large combustion engine that burns gas at a controlled rate to drive the blades.
Q. What kind of oil do I need to use with a gas hedge trimmer?
It’s advised to use the oil that is recommended by the manufacturer. Typically this will be a 2-cycle blend like the Briggs & Stratton 2-Cycle Easy Mix Motor Oil that is a fuel stabilizer or the semi-synthetic Husqvarna HP SYNTH 2-CYCLE OIL.
Q. What is the best electric hedge trimmer on the market?
The best electric hedge trimmer can differ depending on personal preference, but one of the best options is the Earthwise 20-Inch Cordless Hedge Trimmer with the six-position adjustable head for precise control.
Q. What is the best cordless hedge trimmer to buy?
The EGO Power+ HT2410 24-Inch Brushless 56-Volt Cordless Hedge Trimmer is one of the best cordless hedge trimmers on the market due to the 24-inch dual-action hardened-steel blades and 1-inch-cut capacity.
Hedges, bushes, trees, and shrubs can help establish property boundaries, add privacy to a yard, or simply improve the appearance of a home, but they can quickly get out of control. A power hedge trimmer can help keep them groomed. The average residential hedge trimmer has a blade ranging from 19 to 30 inches in length, with a cutting gap between ⅜ and ¾ inches. Users can choose between gas or electric power while keeping relevant safety features in their mind so that the yard can be effectively maintained without any accidents.