There is no doubt that manually clipping a hedge using garden shears does add that wow factor that a hedge trimmer can’t. However as long as you aren’t too fussy a good hedge trimmer can leave you with a lovely, manicured looking hedge.
It sounds simple and it is.
Hand shears are best for small jobs. This could be maintaining a small hedge, cutting back perennials, delicate shaping and pruning or simple deadheading plants.
The fact is:
If you find you are spending a couple of hours tending to your hedge, and you want to spend that time more wisely then you will want a powered hedge trimmer.
What To Consider When Buying A Hedge Trimmer
Well first of all you need to think about the power source you want. This buyer’s guide focuses on the best electric hedge trimmers, so that is what we will be looking at, but for the sake of being thorough let’s compare the pros and cons of different power sources:
Great for small to medium lawns
Need to be near a power outlet
Can’t deal with much thicker limbs
Easy to start
Great for getting to awkward areas
Limited to battery charge
Battery can add weight
Not cord constraints
More power so better for bigger trimming jobs
This is the most important part as it is what will trim your hedge but the fact is there is no perfect blade length.
Most blades are in the 18” to 24” range. Longer blades will get the job done quicker but you have less control over them and they are more awkward in tight spaces. Shorter blades will take longer but you can control the cut more easily.
For most standard homes, with normal size hedges, an 18” or 20” blade should suffice. However if you have larger hedges you might want a 22” or 24” blade.
Blades are usually either single or double sided. Single sided blades are ideal for gardening novices – you can keep the bladeless side away from you and there is less chance of you making a mess of your hedge as you only have one cutting edge.
Double sided blades are quicker and for more experienced gardeners since you may often have both sides of the blade in contact with your hedge at once.
One more thing…
Think about the spacing of the teeth. Essentially a hedge trimmer will cut anything that fits between its teeth, a gap of ¾ of an inch should be perfectly adequate for most of us.
Weight and ease of use go hand in hand. Remember you might be holding your hedge trimmer aloft for a while, so consider how strong you are and how heavy the trimmer is.
You might be surprised at how easily you can fatigue with something that doesn’t seem heavy initially!
What Type Of Hedge Do You Have?
This ties in with the section on blade length mentioned above. For smaller sparser hedges a shorter blade will be fine. For thicker larger hedges you will need a longer blade.
If you have a really tall hedge you might want to consider a hedge trimmer with a telescopic shaft – you will be able extend the pole and get to areas a normal hedge trimmer can’t! I’ve selected a couple of the best pole hedge trimmers in the list below.
How do you sharpen hedge trimmer blades?
Remove the bolts holding the blades together so you can separate them, then clamp them. Run a metal file down each cutting edge in one direction only until the cutting edge looks shiny. Test for sharpness on a sheet of paper.
First of all make sure your trimmer is unplugged. Then use a stiff-bristled brush and remove loose dirt before wiping with a damp sponge. Then wipe the blades with a rag that has been dipped in turpentine and dry thoroughly.
Also if you spray the blades with WD-40 or a similar lubricant before each use it should stop dirt building up
BEST FOR… Those looking for something light and easy to handle.
Blade Length – 17 inches
Power – 3.2 amps
Dimensions (inches) – 31 x 7.5 x 4.5
Weight – 3.9 lbs
Two Year Warranty
PRICE GUIDE: $
The Black & Decker BEHT 150 is quite compact. That is important because trimming hedges could be quite taxing.
Let’s talk more about this
This is a compact tool. The blade is 17 inches, which is not as large as many of its counterparts.
With a compact housing, you can also expect lower power than most–at just 3.2 amps.
You should know
That’s enough power to do major hedge trimming.
Of course, this is better for small hedges and shrubs.
If you have a great line of shrubs
At least you won’t feel the fatigue. This is just 3.9 pounds after all.
It also has a built-in T-handle, which is more comfortable to maneuver.
The weight coupled with the handle will make it easier for you to reach out to high parts of the hedge.
Let’s talk about its capability:
The 17-inch blade is a dual-action hardened steel.
The advantage of this is that the vibration will be lower.
This points to how one can easily handle the hedge trimmer.
Now, this can trim branches up to ⅝ inch.
If you’re afraid of accidentally unplugging the cord, then you’re in luck because this tool has cord retention.
This way, you will enjoy continuous trimming at 3,800 cutting strokes per minute.
You know what else?
We’ve mentioned multiple times how easy this hedge trimmer is to handle. That’s not the only easy thing about the BEHT 150–this is also easy to assemble.
There’s one problem:
The plastic plate just won’t stay on.
You should find a way for it to stay on. Tape would look ugly on the tool, but if that doesn’t bother you then go for it.
This hedge trimmer is great for women and senior citizens because it is easy to handle and is light. But it’s really for everybody since hedge trimming, after some time, could really be tiring for anybody.
BEST FOR… Those wanting something that is exceptionally well balanced.
Blade Length – 24 inches
Power – 4.0 amps
Dimensions (inches) – 42.4 x 6.4 x 5.7
Weight – 5.7 lbs
Three Year Warranty
The WORX WG209 is a marvel of engineering – kudos to the guys and gals who designed this as they got it spot on.
But before that:
This has a 4 amp motor and a 24 inch blade that cuts up to ¾ inch in diameter.
It weighs 5.7lbs, measures 42.40 x 6.40 x 5.70 Inches and comes with a three year warranty.
No word of a lie:
This item has been engineered down to the finest detail.
I love how the motor is directly behind the handle. This really balances it against the long blade, and means the weight isn’t concentrated towards the front as the engine counterbalances it perfectly.
On top of that the grip is in line with the blades which makes it easy to rotate when you trim the top of a hedge and then go down the sites. Simple but enormously effective.
Add to this the fact it is ergonomically shaped then the whole trimmer feels really comfortable.
And also, the way the weight is balanced, it feels really light
The 24 inch blade is long and gives you more reach up and over hedges.
The 4 amp motor means it has plenty of power and can easily cut up to ½ an inch in diameter – between ½ inch and ¾ inch you need to take it a bit more slowly but it still does a good job.
The cord retainer works. It feels sturdy and nicely secures the cord in.
The two switch set up – you must press down two switches at all times to get this to run is a real pain and could definitely be improved on.
Also it comes with a very flimsy and weak plastic sleeve for storage – it is practically no use!
But all in all:
The joy of the WORX WG209 is undoubtedly in its design, which means it is a pleasure to use.
Everything about is comfortable, and it has a long reach and good cutting power – you can’t ask for much more!
BEST FOR… Those wanting a clever piece of engineering (and good handle).
Blade Length – 24 inches
Power – 3.3 amps
Dimensions (inches) – 45.12 x 7.31 x 6.19
Weight – 6.5 lbs
Two Year Warranty
PRICE GUIDE: $$
The clincher for me on why the Black & Decker HT2455 is included in my list of the best electric hedge trimmers is its simply awesome rotable handle.
This has a 3.3 amp motor and a 24 inch blade that cuts up to ¾ inch thick.
It weighs 6.5lbs, measures 34.3 x 7.5 x 7.75 inches and comes with a two year warranty.
Here’s the deal:
This has a rear handle which swivels 180 degrees. This means that pretty much no matter what angle you are trimming at you should be able to find a comfortable hand position.
It also means, when you are trimming along a flat surface like a hedgerow, you can keep a comfortable hold on the trimmer without needing to twist your hands.
The handle itself is cleverly made and very easy to adjust on the fly – just use the buttons on the side.
Putting that aside:
The 3.3 amp motor provides a surprising amount of power – you can dice through plenty of shrubbery in no time and it cuts through limbs up to ¾ inch thick with no problems.
The blade is 24 inches long – and designed to cut on both inward and outward strokes. It should be suitable for pretty much all your trimming needs.
It has been nicely designed with the motor inline – this distributes the weight evenly and means you have more control over the trimmer.
Unlike a lot of trimmers it has a lock on switch so it can run continuously without you need to keep your finger on the trigger.
The whole thing is nice and comfortable – it has a full wrap-around bale handle and a really cosy rubber grip.
The cord retention system isn’t as good as that on the Black and Decker HT22 – it seems to come unplugged more easily.
Also the plug connection on the cord attached to this has a male plug – this is fine as it stops it being plugged directly into the wall but it also means you can’t use extension cords with a larger than normal female connector.
Bottom line is:
With its long blade and rotating handle this is perfect for taller and wider hedges and/or shrubs. Or if you limited strength or a condition like arthritis this would be an ideal trimmer for you – thanks to the clever handle.
BEST FOR… Those wanting a telescopic pole hedge trimmer.
Blade Length – 19 inches
Power – 4.5 amps
Dimensions (inches) – 78.3 x 7.9 x 3.1
Weight – 6.2 / 9.5 lbs
Two Year Warranty
PRICE GUIDE: $$
If you are looking for a telescopic pole hedge trimmer then I’ve included a couple on my list and the Sun Joe SJH904E is my favorite.
Let’s get down to it:
This is powered by a 4.5amp motor and has a 19 inch blade than can cut up to 0.7 inches in diameter.
The maximum length the pole can be extended to is 5.9 feet, giving an overhead reach of 13 feet. It weighs from 6.2lbs to 9.5lbs depending upon how you use it and comes with a two year warranty.
You get two tools in one with this – you can use it as a pole trimmer, and then when you are ready, you can detach the cutting head and handle and use it as a standard handheld trimmer.
Changing between the two options is really simple and takes seconds. The telescopic pole gives up to 13 feet of reach and makes it much quicker and easier to trim those spots you would otherwise need a ladder for.
And guess what else?
This is really good for trimming in those tight spaces where a traditional hedge clipper won’t fit – for instance those awkward spots between a house and a hedge or underneath the bushes.
It has a handy pivoting head that can be easily adjusted to any of the following angles -20º, 0º, 20º, 40º and 60º.
The 4.5amp motor is probably the biggest you will find on an electric pole hedge trimmer – which gives it a good amount of power.
The dual-handle safety switch and protective storage cover mean this is ultra safe.
It feels nice and smooth and gives off minimal vibration, even when you use it fully extended.
I wouldn’t say this is heavy, but when fully extended, over prolonged use, you will most likely feel fatigue in your arms.
There also seems to be an issue with oil leaking from the oil cap – which is a pain.
So it all adds up to this:
With its dual use – as a standard hedge trimmer and a telescopic pole trimmer – this is incredibly convenient if you want to ditch that ladder and easily trim those lofty shrubs.
It is powerful and really nicely designed and is my choice if you want an electric pole hedge trimmer.
MY RATING: 90%
Easy to convert from pole trimmer to hedge trimmer
BEST FOR… Those wanting a budget pole hedge trimmer.
Blade Length – 18 inches
Power – 2.4 amps
Dimensions (inches) – 71 x 7.5 x 5
Weight – 9 lbs
Two Year Warranty
PRICE GUIDE: $
The second of my two pole hedge trimmers on my list is the Earthwise CVPH41018 – it probably falls just below the Sun Joe SJH904E – however it is slightly cheaper and still one of the best electric hedge trimmers around.
So let’s go:
This is powered by a 2.8 amp motor and has an 18 inch blade. It has a maximum cutting capacity of ¾ inch. With the pole fully extended it has a reach of 80 inches.
It weighs 9 lbs and measures 71 x 7.5 x 5 inches and comes with a two year warranty.
The good news is…
I think this even trumps the Sun Joe SJH904E in how easy it is to change from pole hedge trimmer to a regular trimmer and vice versa.
All you do is push a button, remove the handle from the trimmer and put the extension pole between the trimmer and the handle and voila, you are good to go.
In this respect it couldn’t have been designed any better.
But there is more:
The blades are nice and have inversely opposed teeth – so they go up one side of the blade and down the other – this means cutting efficiency is increased and vibration is reduced – so you have a nice smooth action.
It has a six position adjustable trimmer head, each with a 30 degree increment so you can rotate it 150 degrees in total. This makes it easier to trim at awkward angles or in hidden spots.
The whole thing feels really well made – as mentioned above the blades are nice, the pivoting head is easy to adjust and locks in positively, disconnecting parts is easy and it is made of tough materials and feels like it will last.
The telescopic shaft obviously means you can more quickly reach areas a standard hedge trimmer wouldn’t be able to.
To top it all off – it comes at a very reasonable price indeed.
The main issue with this is it is not very well balanced. It weighs 9lbs, which isn’t a huge amount but the most of that weight come from the electric motor motor at the head of the trimmer. You will soon find your arms getting tired – so prolonged use might be an issue.
The on/off button is very small – and no ideally positioned. It is placed so you just push it with your thumb, however you will adjust your hand positions depending on what you are trimming, making it awkward to push. It is also designed for right handed use, so left hand people might find it even more awkward.
So it all adds up to this:
This is a great pole hedge trimmer for occasional home use. It performs well and will make an easy job of both pruning and shaping with a good quality, clean cut.
What holds it back from being really great is the weight distribution and for that reason it falls just behind the Sun Joe SJH904E.
But if price is an issue this is cheaper and it will still do a great job.
Steve is a one time gardening hater turned into gardening obsessive.
This was all thanks to going to University where a two year stint spent transforming the previously horrific garden of the student house he lived in left him addicted to all things horticultural!
Now with a new house in tow and due to some fortunate circumstances he is free to test out a whole host of gardening equipment.
Find out more about Steve or drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.