What Should I Consider When Buying a Hedge Trimmer?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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There are many home landscapers who don't consider the mowing job complete until the hedges have been successfully trimmed. A well-manicured hedge provides privacy while giving the yard solid lines and visual appeal. Other garden tools might be able to remove a few extraneous branches, but the best tool for the job remains a good hedge trimmer. Before buying one, consider the size and type of blade it has, the weight of the trimmer, it's powersource, and accessories that come with it.

The size and type of cutting blade are both important when considering a hedge trimmer. Most blades run from 6 inches (15.24 cm) to a full 28 inches (71.12 cm). The smallest blades are generally for touch-ups and precision work around topiary and other decorative hedges. The largest can be very heavy, and they are meant primarily for wholesale trimming of extremely dense hedgerows. The average user could probably get good results with a blade no larger than 18 inches (45.72 cm).

Although some work on smaller hedges can be performed with a set of manual shears, the best results come from a reciprocating blade design. This refers to two blades working in opposite directions, with the leaves and branches being sliced off between them. Non-reciprocating blades tend to shred the individual hedge plants, which does not leave a clean appearance. The blades should be able to pass over a section of hedge cleanly and carve a straight line.


Since the operator of a hedge trimmer must carry it to and from the work site, weight and balance can also be a major consideration. An electric one with a power cord is usually the lightest model, although the need for an outlet tends to limit mobility. A battery-powered electric trimmer eliminates the need for an outside power supply, but the battery can be a bit cumbersome and must be recharged after a few hours of work.

The other option is to purchase a gas-powered hedge trimmer. This type of two-cycle device actually runs on a mixture of oil and gas, much like a chainsaw. It is noticeably noisier than an electric model, however, and some users find it more difficult to maintain the engine while in operation. A gas-powered trimmer can also be very heavy, which can prove troublesome when working above shoulder level. Fatigue can be a major cause of accidents.

For extensive work above chest height, many manufacturers recommend an extension pole. This pole allows the operator to control the hedge trimmer as it makes passes above head level. Decide for yourself whether or not your tallest hedges might require such an extension before buying accessories.


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Post 2

Do most hedge trimmers come with warranties? If so, how long are they usually for?

I am considering buying a new hedge trimmer and would like to get one that has some protection against malfunctions and wear.

I found my last hedge trimmer didn't last nearly as long as I thought it would. Does anyone know if the life of a hedge trimmer is shortened if you try to hack down anything too strong, with too small a blade?

Also, is there a way to store hedge trimmers, or care for them that can extend their life?

I am worried I might have damaged the trimmers myself, by tackling too big a project with it and not properly caring for them.

Post 1

I have some hedges out front of my house and I usually wait too long to trim them, and they start to overrun my lawn. How often should you trim your hedges to keep them looking tidy?

I just have a small hedge trimmer, about 6 inches, and find it takes a lot of effort to get the job done when I do get to it.

What size of hedge trimmer would you recommend for a 4-foot high, 2 feet wide, decorative hedge?

Also, I don't want a hedge trimmer that is too noisy because I am worried that I might bother the neighbors.

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