Wanting to keep your garden looking its best? The best hedge trimmers are a must-have for a tidy yard. They’re ideal for keeping fast-growing plants in check. Better still, trimming your hedge can give it a new lease of life and transform your outdoor space.
The best hedge trimmers offer a practical and convenient way to remove straggly excess foliage. The first choice to make is whether you would prefer a gas or electric model. The difference? Gas trimmers offer maximum power so can blitz through unwanted foliage. If you’d rather avoid the faff of replacing the fuel, an electric trimmer is a winner. Electric trimmers don’t use up fossil fuels so also make for a greener choice that’s kinder to the planet.
Whether you opt for gas or electric, the best hedge trimmers boast a high number of cuts per minute saving you time so you can sit back and admire your handiwork. These devices are designed to do the hard work for you. Look out for lightweight models which make the task even easier.
Concerned about the noise? Rest assured that the latest hedge trimmers are designed to keep disruption to a minimum with clever noise absorption technology. This means your garden will remain a tranquil retreat and you don’t have to worry about disturbing the neighbors.
Whatever your budget, there’s a model in our round-up to suit you. There’s a whole range from decent no-frills devices to premium models which will set you back $300.
For now, let’s take a closer look at the best hedge trimmers.
1. Husqvarna 122HD60: Best hedge trimmer overall
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
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
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
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
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
When it comes to selecting the best hedge trimmers, we’ve got you covered. We scoured through the specifications of dozens of different types of hedge trimmers including gas and electric, corded and cordless, battery and mains operated machines.
We put all of the devices through a rigorous testing process to make sure they would meet the needs of the average user. We considered factors like the quality of the design, the sharpness of the blades, versatility, durability, ease of handling, battery life, noise levels, and more. For each trimmer, we considered the features, highlights, and downsides to give a rounded view. This also helped us determine which models are better in which circumstances.
We left no stone unturned when it came to research. We reviewed the user manuals and watched online videos of the devices in action. We know that user reviews are a rich source of insight so we mined these to understand the pros and cons from the perspective of people who had already purchased the trimmers.
As you would expect, some devices performed better than others in different areas. The best one for you will depend on your own particular needs. If you’re looking for an all-rounder that performed well in all areas, you won’t go wrong with our top pick.
How much do the best hedge trimmers cost?
Whatever your budget, there’s a hedge trimmer out there to suit you with a whole range of prices. The price tends to increase with the length of the blade. You can even find some models with blades spanning 4 feet. This may be worth the investment if you need to reach the highest branches but otherwise models with blades a few inches long may be sufficient.
Electric hedge trimmers are good value and are typically cheaper than their gas counterparts and are perfect for the average yard. You can expect prices to range between $20 and $180 depending on the quality of the design and the blade length. An electric hedge trimmer is a sound choice for the average garden. If you’re wanting to roam freely across a larger space, it may be worth investing in a cordless trimmer. You can expect to shell out slightly more for the convenience of cordless with models ranging from $30 to $450.
Alternatively, you could plump for a gas model for the ultimate performance. This comes at a price and you should expect to pay between $160 and $650. While they offer mighty cutting power, bear in mind that they are typically heavier and much louder. For this reason, they tend to be more common with professional landscapers who are working on a larger scale. Due to the noise, you’ll likely need heavy-duty ear protection and you’ll want to warn the neighbors.
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:
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.
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.