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Best hedge trimmers 2021: Cordless, gas and electric trimmers

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

The best hedge trimmers are essential for making your backyard look as neat as possible, and will help you trim back unsightly plants that are growing out of control. They can also help you keep on top of your hedge’s health, and leave your garden looking fresh and new. 

The first thing to consider when it comes to the best hedge trimmers is how you’d like it to be powered. Electric trimmers are better for saving on fuel, and better for the planet, while cordless gas trimmers, like the best gas lawn mowers, will let you roam as far into your garden as you need without restriction. 

No matter which model you choose, the best hedge trimmers are the ultimate tool for whizzing through excess foliage, with a high number of cuts per minute. We’ve compiled this roundup of the most powerful machines with the best features, so all you need to do is pick the one that suits you best. Some pricier options can set you back up to $300, but there are alternative affordable options that still have excellent features for getting the job done.

Many of the best hedge trimmers are designed to keep disruption to a minimum with noise absorption technology, which will be welcome news for any of your neighbors. There are also lightweight models to take the strain of the task off your shoulders. For more gardening essentials, check out our guide to the best lawn edgers

1. Husqvarna 122HD60: Best hedge trimmer overall

Best hedge trimmers: Husqvarna 122HD60

(Image credit: Lowe's)

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
-Heavy-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 the best hedge trimmer for you.

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 10.8lbs, the Husqvarna 122HD60 Hedge Trimmer 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 hedge trimmer for value

Best hedge trimmers: GreenWorks 22102 Hedge Trimmer

(Image credit: Overstock)

Enjoy the best hedge trimmer tech for less

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. The GreenWorks 22102 Hedge 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, the GreenWorks 22102 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 trimmers: Kobalt KHT 240-07

(Image credit: Lowe's)

This is the best hedge trimmer for battery life

Reasons to buy
+Recharges in less than an hour+Battery pack for power on the go+24-inch dual-action steel blades+Tackles big branches and shrubs
Reasons to avoid
-The handles don’t rotate

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 device in our guide to the best hedge trimmers.

Another great thing about the Kobalt KHT 240-07 Hedge Trimmer 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 Hedge Trimmer’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 

Best hedge trimmers: ECHO HC-152 Hedge Trimmer

(Image credit: Home Depot)

The best hedge trimmer for you if you want a gas-powered option

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 model is one of the best hedge trimmers 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. 

The ECHO HC-152 Hedge Trimmer 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 hedge 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 hedge trimmer for portable use

Best hedge trimmers: Ryobi RY40610A

(Image credit: Home Depot)

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 hedge trimmer with a cordless design that we have 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 the Ryobi RY40610A Hedge Trimmer is the weight. At 9.1lbs, 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 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. 

How much do the best hedge trimmers cost?

As with the variation in types of hedge trimmer, the price range with these tools is wide. Prices tend to rise as the length of the blades on each model increase; some models have blades only a few inches long, while others have 4-foot long blades for reaching the highest branches. 

To give a rough outline on prices, electric trimmers tend to be the most common consumer models and cost between $20 and $180 depending on the blade length and the quality of the trimmer. Alternatively, cordless trimmers are very similar to electric trimmers but their price range stretches further, from $30 to $450. That’s due to their ability to be taken further afield. 

Gas trimmers can cost between $160 and $650. They are the most powerful and best-performing trimmers but have the drawback of being heavy to hold, as well as extremely loud due to their engines. That means you’ll probably need heavy-duty ear protection to operate one. They are probably more suited to professional landscapers, as they may be too expensive and difficult to manage for small or medium-sized yards.

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. 

What to consider when buying hedge trimmers

There is a lot to take into consideration when choosing the best hedge trimmer for you, 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 to groom especially thick-stemmed vegetation.

The best 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 a hedge trimmer's 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, the best 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 hedge 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.

J.D. Chadwick

J.D. Chadwick started writing articles for Top Ten Reviews 2008, and left the team in 2018 after filling the role of Multimedia Editor. A keen video creator, and expert in software, he was one of the most prolific members of the old TTR team.