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Best hedge trimmers 2021: Top cordless, gas, and electric trimmers

Best hedge trimmers 2021: Top cordless, gas, and electric trimmers
(Image credit: Home Depot)

The best hedge trimmers keep your foliage fresh and reduce the amount of time you need to spend gardening, so they’re a great investment for you and your backyard. No matter the type of hedge, this range of electric and gas-supplied trimmers will be more than capable of tidying up any loose greenery.

When assessing the best hedge trimmer for you, consider whether a cordless or corded appliance would suit you best. The best gas-powered trimmers tend to be cordless and have seriously impressive running times, which is great if your backyard is larger and you need to get a lot done. But if you’re looking to tidy up smaller-sized bushes, it may be better to opt for a cordless trimmer, as their shorter running times won’t be too much of a problem. If you’re on a budget, an electric hedge trimmer will do an excellent job as well as keep costs down, as long as its corded power supply isn’t an issue. 

The more cuts per minute a trimmer can achieve, the cleaner your hedge will end up looking, so power is an important factor too. And if you live in a residential area, it’s best to be considerate of how noisy your machine will be, especially if you have a lot of ground to cover. For other appliances to help with your outside spaces, check out the best lawn edgers or the best electric lawn mowers

1. Husqvarna 122HD60: Best hedge trimmer overall

best hedge trimmer

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Husqvarna 122HD60

This the best hedge trimmer

Reasons to Buy

Very quiet for gas powered hedge trimmer
24 inch dual action blade cuts in either direction
Adjustable rear handle

Reasons to Avoid

Not the cheapest

Gas-powered hedge trimmers are the best tool for large projects because they have power and go for hours between fill-ups. But they are loud. If you want the advantages of a gas-powered hedge trimmer, but don't want to annoy your entire neighborhood, the Husqvarna 122HD60 is your best option.

Despite a powerful 0.8 horsepower engine capable of delivering 4,050 cuts per minute, this trimmer is a low-noise model. 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.

A downside to consider is the weight. At 10.8 pounds, it is significantly heavier than electric trimmers. Most weigh between four and seven pounds. The extra weight is only conflated when you add gas. This weight makes the handling difficult, especially with overhead cuts or large projects.

2. GreenWorks 22102: Best value hedge trimmer

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GreenWorks 22102

This is the best value hedge trimmer

Reasons to Buy

Lowest-cost model we reviewed
It’s extremely lightweight
Dual-action blades reduce vibration

Reasons to Avoid

Its 2.7 amp engine is quite weak
It's not cordless

The best hedge trimmers can cost $300 or more, and the GreenWorks 22102 costs a fraction of that price. As you might expect, it doesn’t have everything our top pick offers, but it’s a good value for the price. It’s great for occasional or light use, such as for simple hedge grooming and trimming back young and small plants. This trimmer isn’t a workhorse by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a good buy if you have a small yard that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.

This model’s engine is only 2.7 amps, so it’s one of the weakest hedge trimmers we reviewed – don’t expect it 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 – you just plug it in to a wall socket and it’s ready to go. The included cord is somewhat short, so you may have to use an extension cord if you need to go very far from your home to trim.

3. Kobalt KHT 240-07: Best electric hedge trimmer

best hedge trimmer

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Kobalt KHT 240-07

This is the best electric hedge trimmer

Reasons to Buy

Excellent battery life and recharges in less than an hour
Since it has a battery pack, you don’t have to mix fuel or stay close to an outlet
24-inch dual-action steel blades that make easy work of big branches and shrubs

Reasons to Avoid

The handles don’t rotate, which makes it less versatile.
The trimmer is missing several high-end features such as laser-cut blades.

If mixing fuel and dealing with extension cords is a non-starter for you, then the Kobalt KHT 240-06 is well worth considering. This 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 – the fastest of any battery-powered hedge trimmer we reviewed.

Another great thing about this model is how light it is – at just over six pounds, it won’t wear you out. 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. However, the handles don’t rotate, which can make for awkward handling in some situations. Another feature worth mentioning is the Kobalt KHT 240-06’s debris shield, which protects you from the occasional flying branch or twig that could be thrown your way while you work.

Additionally, this model has an outstanding warranty – it’s covered for a full five years. This shows how much Kobalt stands behind its product.

4. ECHO HC-152: Best gas hedge trimmer 

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This is the best gas-powered hedge trimmer

Reasons to Buy

Enough power for any trimming task
Laser-cut blades make sharp, exact cuts
Well balanced and versatile

Reasons to Avoid

It’s quite heavy for a hedge trimmer
You have to mix oil and gasoline to fuel it

This ECHO hedge trimmer is our top choice for several reasons, and chief among them is its 21.2cc engine that delivers enough power to take on nearly any trimming task. However, to get that power you have to mix fuel, which may be difficult for some users. It features a 15.6-fluid-ounce, clear gas tank that allows you to see exactly how much fuel you have left. But given how big the fuel tank is, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll need to stop in the middle of a job to gas up.

The ECHO HC-152 has additional features, including a muffler that both dampens sound from the engine and directs exhaust away from you as you work so you don’t breathe in toxic fumes. Additionally, its laser-cut, razor-sharp trimmer blade makes easy work of any branch or bush you are likely to encounter. And its extra-large hoop-style front handle and ergonomically designed back handle make it dynamic and easy to maneuver.

5. Ryobi RY40610A: Best battery-powered hedge trimmer

Best hedge trimmer

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Ryobi RY40610A

This is the best battery-powered hedge trimmer

Reasons to Buy

Removeable battery
24 in. Dual-Action Blades for reduced vibration
Wrap-around handle offers greater control

Reasons to Avoid

Handle doesn't rotate

With a 40-volt lithium-ion battery capable of running for 90 minutes on a full charge and 3,200 strokes per minute, the Ryobi RY40610A is the best cordless hedge trimmer we reviewed. It has the power to trim back large bushes while providing a nearly silent performance and no risk of electrocution from accidentally crossing the blade with the power cord.

The battery is removable, allowing you to charge additional batteries while you work, adding to your cut time. That said, it only comes with one battery. However, the battery is compatible with other 40 volt Ryobi products, so it's ideal if you already have other Ryobi tools. A downside to this hedge trimmer is the weight. At 9.1 pounds, it's closer in weight to gas-powered trimmers. This makes it unwieldy if you use it for long periods. It also lacks shock absorption materials and a rotating handle to provide optimal cut angles. Each of these issues combine to make this hedge trimmer difficult to use for long periods.

How we evaluated the best hedge trimmers

We researched and compared dozens of models of all types, including gas-powered, corded and battery-operated machines. We compared the trimmers’ 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 models are the best, 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. 

How much do hedge trimmers cost?

Hedge trimmers come in many shapes and sizes. Some have blades only a few inches long, while others have 4-foot long blades attached to even longer poles for reaching the highest branches. Here's a breakdown of the prices for hedge trimmers:

Electric Trimmers are the most common consumer models and cost between $20 and $180 depending on the blade length and quality of build. They have unlimited cut time and good power, but have limited range because of the cord.

Cordless trimmers are very similar to electric trimmers, though a bit more expensive, costing between $30 and $450. The best cordless trimmers cost between $200 and $300. They can go anywhere and there's no risk of accidentally cutting a cord.

Gas trimmers cost between $160 and $650. These are the best performing trimmers and have the most power, but they are the heaviest trimmers and often require heavy-duty ear protection due to the volume of the engine. These trimmers are ideal for professional landscapers, but may be too expensive and unwieldy for small and medium yards. 

Gas vs. electric hedge trimmers

A power hedge clipper makes trimming hedges an infinitely easier process than using manual clippers. With the right trimmer you can create clean, straight lines on varied foliage including conifers and privet hedges and any kind of shrub or bush. The right model will have all the power you need and will be safe and comfortable to use.

The type of vegetation in your yard and your degree of strength will help you determine which trimmer will work best for you. You can choose between gas and corded or battery-operated electric models. Gas hedge trimmers have considerably more power but are much heavier than electric and will put added strain on your body. Gas models are well suited for large areas and heavy-duty tasks. Professional landscapers will often opt for gas because they don’t have to worry about recharging batteries. 

Electric trimmers are not only lighter but easier to use overall. An electric trimmer provides ample power for most tasks around the yard, and they run quieter, are easy to start up and you don’t have to worry about filling the air and your lungs with emission fumes. Corded models are often less expensive than battery-powered models since you don’t have to pay for expensive batteries. They also have unlimited power since they plug into a wall, but mobility is limited.

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:

Power source

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 tend 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 blade 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.

Cutting capacity

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. 

Extra Features

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.