Pick up a hedge trimmer to keep your yard in great shape. Our guide includes everything from the best cordless hedge trimmers and gas options to electric-powered alternatives. Ultimately, the best hedge trimmer for you will depend on the size of the hedge or bush you intend to cut, the type of bushes, where they are located, and how long you will be cutting for. But we’ll help you narrow down your choices.
Powerful trimming machine
The Husqvarna 122HD60 has a powerful 0.8 horsepower engine capable of delivering 4.050 cuts per minute while also being quieter than most other models. It's constructed of specific noise-absorbing and vibration dampening materials to minimize the noise of the engine. It's so effective, you don't need heavy-duty ear protection, though we still recommend foam earplugs.
- Very quiet
- 24-inch dual blades
- Adjustable read handle
The dual blades let you cut in either direction instead of just one side. The back handle is adjustable, so you can hold this head trimmer comfortably. A downside to consider is the weight. At 10.8 pounds, it is significantly heavier than electric trimmers, and that’s before it is filled with gas. However, being a gas-powered trimmer means it is tough enough to handle any type or size of bush in your yard.
This GreenWorks trimmer isn’t a workhorse by any means, but it’s good if you have a small yard that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, or for simple hedge grooming and trimming back young and small plants.
- Very lightweight
- Vibration reducing blades
- Weak engine
- Not cordless
This model’s engine is only 2.7 amp, so don’t expect to cut through thick branches. However, it has long, 18-inch, dual-action blades that reduce vibration to help you make clean, even cuts. This hedge trimmer is a corded model. This means you don’t have to worry about mixing fuel or charging a battery. However, the cord is somewhat short, so you may have to use an extension cord to reach some areas of your yard.
An electric, battery-powered model
This Kobalt is a battery-operated hedge trimmer, which means you can take it as far away from a power source as you want and work as long as the battery allows. The battery is long-lasting, but its exact running time depends a lot on what you’re trimming. The good news is that it recharges in less than an hour.
- Recharges under an hour
- Dual-action blades
- Tackles big branches
- Handles aren't adjustable
Another great thing about this model is how light it is – at just over six pounds. Additionally, it has a wide loop-style auxiliary handle behind the blade, and its rear handle is at the base of the motor. This gives you a nice, balanced grip so you can make easy work of trimming back branches. Neither of the handles are adjustable, though, it some users might find their positions not the most comfortable. Another feature of the Kobalt hedge trimmer is the debris shield, which protects you from the occasional flying branch or twig that could be thrown your way while you work.
Designed for good control
The Ryobi cordless hedge trimmer uses a 40-volt rechargeable battery that's capable of running for 90 minutes on a full charge and 3,200 strokes per minute. This gives the Ryobi trimmer enough power to trim back large bushes. The lithium-ion battery must be bought separately, though.
- 24-inch dual-action blades
- Wrap around handle
- A bit heavy
- Batteries are sold separately.
The Ryobi Cordless Hedge Trimmer had two blades that help with cutting since you can hold the blade in either direction and still make perfect cuts. A downside to this trimmer is its weight. At 9.2 pounds it's closer in weight to gas-powered trimmers. It also lacks shock absorption materials and a rotating handle to provide optimal cust angles. Each of these issues combines to make this hedge trimmer difficult to use for long periods.
What to consider when buying hedge trimmers
There is a lot to take into consideration when looking for a hedge trimmer, and all the choices can make it difficult to decide. Knowing what to look for can help you buy the right one. Here are some features to keep in mind:
To find a hedge trimmer that’s a comfortable weight, you may have to look for one with a shorter blade or consider a corded model, which tends to weigh less than battery-operated and gas machines.
However, the type of hedge trimmer you choose should also depend on the type of vegetation you plan to cut. For heavy-duty tasks, you likely need a gas model. On the other hand, a corded or battery-operated machine is fine for light maintenance.
If you need to cut through tough, woody branches that are 3/4 of an inch or wider, a hedge trimmer might not be the right tool for the task. Instead, consider a manual pruning saw or even a chainsaw to groom especially thick-stemmed vegetation.
Hedge trimmers use blades with sharp metal teeth to slice away at vegetation. The single-sided variety of blades has teeth that face away from you as you work, a worthwhile safety measure. The double-sided models work in both directions, so you must be alert while using them, but they let you complete your task fast.
When it comes to blade length, bigger is not always better. The longer the blade, the faster you can cut your hedge. However, a trimmer with a longer blade is heavier and more cumbersome, so not only do you need more strength to hold it, but you also have to take greater care to operate it correctly to get the results you want.
In general, hedge trimmer blades extend somewhere between 13 inches and 40 inches. Trimmers sporting 16-inch blades are best suited for small or average-size hedges. Eighteen-inch blades are good for grooming average to large hedges, and 20-inch blades are best for big hedges. Since a 24-inch blade can handle a wide variety of plant types, it’s a common length for residential trimmers. If you want a model with a blade that is longer than this, be sure you can maneuver it without difficulty.
A hedge trimmer’s cutting capacity depends on the spacing between the blade teeth, or gap. The gap determines the maximum branch size the machine can safely cut. The larger the gap the greater the cutting capacity of the trimmer. Typically, hedge trimmers have a gap of 1 inch or greater, but you can find models with a gap of 3/8 to 3/4 of an inch. For thick, dense, or woody plants, you probably want to opt for a large cutting capacity. For young, leafy hedges with fine stems, a lower cutting capacity is acceptable.
Most hedge trimmers have the same basic design, no matter their power source or blade length. So, it’s the extra features that differentiate them and make them fit specific needs.
Some trimmers come with a shoulder strap, which can relieve strain on your arms during long trimming sessions. Others have ergonomic handle designs that increase comfort and enhance maneuverability. Others still have anti-vibration technology that makes for a smoother, more manageable trimming experience. And the best of the best have laser-cut blades that make clean, straight cuts on every pass. Picking a tool that has one or more of these features ensures you get the most value and power for your dollar.
Gas vs electric hedge trimmers
Using power hedge clippers is a much smoother process than trying to get the job done with manual clippers, as it allows you to create clean, straight lines on different types of foliage. Electric and gas-powered models can take the brunt of this gardening task off your hands, and make your life that much easier.
The type of greenery you will be dealing with and your degree of strength are important factors when it comes to deciding on the right trimmer for you. Gas hedge trimmers will suit thicker foliage and larger areas that need tackling. They also mean you won’t be caught without battery life when you need it.
Electric hedge trimmers, though less powerful, are all-around easier to use. They have ample power for everyday yard tasks and run at a quieter volume, as well as being easier to use. You won’t have to worry about fumes or emissions with these trimmers either. You can select either corded or cordless electric trimmers, with cordless options being more versatile but more expensive, due to their batteries.
How we evaluated the hedge trimmers
We researched and compared dozens of hedge trimmers, including gas-powered, corded and battery-operated machines. We compared each hedge trimmer's features, drawbacks and benefits to determine which are best for particular situations. Our evaluation techniques were specifically designed by our expert reviewers to address the needs of average users.
To find out which are the best hedge trimmers overall, we combed through each product’s user manuals, watched online videos, consulted user reviews and compared specifications. We evaluated trimmers in a few categories, the most important of which was design.
We considered how much power each hedge trimmer delivers; how heavy it is; how long it lasts on a tank of fuel or full battery charge; the length, sharpness and durability of the blades; how much noise it makes; and how well it cuts branches and shrubbery.
Other considerations included handle design, durability and versatility. None of the trimmers we evaluated have all the features we looked for, but our top pick came the closest to striking the perfect balance in all these areas.
Why trust us
At Top Ten Reviews we recommend the best products to enhance your life. As expert curators, we handpick products based on quality and usefulness to positively impact your day-to-day, from cart to doorstep. We take our responsibility seriously — testing products, reading reviews, and sourcing knowledgeable outlets to ensure our selections are worthy of your time and money. We deliver detailed product overviews, balancing objective information with subjective opinions, so making the best choice for your home and lifestyle is as easy as possible.