What Is The Best Cordless Hedge Trimmer

Fall might be upon us, but we’ve been getting so much rain here recently that I’m afraid my hedges are going to be overgrown in no time.

It’s not too hard to remember to keep the lawn mowed, but sometimes I almost forget about my hedges. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with a few trimmers, and have found a few that rise above the rest. But before we get started, let’s talk more about how hedge trimmers work, and what you should look for when you’re casually strolling through the hardware store.

Cordless Hedge Trimmer

Hedge trimmers are either electric or gas powered, and the electric ones either run on a battery or have to be plugged in.

An electric trimmer is a good choice for people with small to average-sized yards, and shorter hedges that aren’t as dense. For the average person with not too many large hedges, this is really the best choice. I enjoy using electric trimmers because they’re lightweight and easier to handle. They also make less noise, so I can trim the hedges even during quite Sunday mornings when others are still asleep.

You might need a cord for some models, but they really don’t bother me. However, I have heard stories of people accidentally slicing the extension cord in two while they were trimming hedges. But if you are paying attention to what you’re doing, and are aware of where the cord is when you’re cutting, you should be fine. Also some electric models are a little cheaper than the equivalent gas models. They’re great for people on a budget who don’t want to have to spend a lot, but still want a well kept hedge.

Gas Hedge Trimmer

Many people might be better suited with a gas powered hedge trimmer. These powerful trimmers can take on big, tall hedges, without breaking a sweat. If you have an especially large, wild, or thick hedge, then a gas trimmer will be able to stand up to the hard wear-and-tear that it is inevitably going to be exposed to.

Anyone who’s going to be doing a lot of hedge trimming, instead of every now and then, needs to invest more into a tool that’s going to last. That’s what you’ll get with a gas powered trimmer. They tend to be heavier, more expensive, and slightly harder to operate, but they’re worth it if that’s what you really need.

Hedge Trimmer Blades

There are so many length options that it can be hard to decide what’s going to work best for you. A longer length is better if you’ll be working on really tall hedges, and it’ll give them a more consistent cut.  However, I find that they’re harder to maneuver, especially next to walls and fences. My favorite length is 18 inches, which is just fine for most jobs. If you’re a hedge trimming newbie, consider a shorter length because it’ll be more user-friendly and safer to learn on.

Lightweight Hedge Trimmer

Weight is another important factor to consider. The heavier your hedge trimmer is, the harder it will be to operate. Even something that seems light when you first pick it up might not seem so light 20 minutes later. And anytime something gets heavy, it’s much less safe to handle. I prefer to use the lightest hedge trimmer that I can possibly find, that still fits my yard’s needs.

Are there different types of blades?

Hedge trimmer blades come either single or double sided.  Single sided blades are safer to operate, and you don’t need as much strength or coordination to use them. They’re my personal preference, and are perfect for beginners. But, they won’t cut as efficiently or quickly.

Just about all commercial-grade hedge trimmers have double sided blades. They can take a big, thick hedge down a few notches in the blink of an eye, since they can cut with both sides at the same time. Anyone considering getting one of these should become proficient with a single blade first. Otherwise, it will be a steep learning curve.

I like to use a single blade trimmer with blade gaps between three-eighths to three-fourths of an inch. For most home owners, this works perfect. Professional grade hedge trimmers might have a blade gap of an inch or more. This just isn’t necessary for home use.

Hedge Trimmer Safety

Hedge trimmers can come complete with several different types of safety components. Many of these might be must-haves, depending on your situation. Home owners with children should choose a trimmer with a safety lock. That was a must when we bought our first hedge trimmer. I didn’t have to worry about what would happen if I set it down beside me for a second when my kids were playing nearby.

People with arthritis or pain problems would be wise to purchase one with an on lock, so they do not have to constantly pull the trigger or push the button. There’s no need to wear yourself out unnecessarily, especially if you’re already hard at work trimming hedges.

Some models come with tooth extensions, so the blade is farther away from you and poses less risk. Others automatically shut off when the trigger is released to reduce the possibility of injury. Still more hedge trimmers come with a safety shield over the handle. All of these are worth considering before you start shopping. If you’re a beginner, you might be a little intimidated by a tool with sharp teeth that makes loud noises. Features like these might make you feel less nervous and better able to concentrate and pay attention on the job

Even if your trimmer is equipped with the best safety components on the market, you should always wear protective eyewear and gloves. It’s just the smart thing to do, and I wouldn’t operate my hedge trimmer without wearing either.

Extra Features

Sometimes, depending on your yard situation, there might be special features that really come in handy. The other day, I was trying out a gas-powered model with a translucent fuel tank.  At one point, I noticed that the gas level was getting low. I was able to find a good stopping place, and refill it at my convenience. Extra battery packs can also help if you have trouble keeping track of your power usage, or if you just need a lot more run time than usual. Just attach it to your hedge trimmer, and you won’t have to worry about getting that big job done.

Wraparound handles are another neat feature. They allow you to hold the trimmer from whatever position happens to be most comfortable at that moment. This makes precision work with tricky angles much easier. If you have really tall hedges, a pole extension would be very useful, making the tops much easier to reach. There are even kits on the market that can convert your hedge trimmer into a patio broom or string trimmer. This is perfect for someone looking for a great all-around tool that they can use for many different tasks.

Hedge Trimmer Maintenance

Whatever hedge trimmer you end up buying, you’ll need to do regular maintenance on it to keep it running well for more than just a year or two. Check out the owner’s manual for any recommendations or suggested upkeep schedules.

If you have a gas-powered trimmer, you’ll need to remember to refill the gas and change the oil. It’ll also need a new spark plug every so often, and the intake vent will need to stay clear of dust and debris. Finally, before putting your gas-powered trimmer away for the winter, you’ll need to put a stabilizer through the engine, and store it according to the directions in the owner’s manual.

On all hedge trimmers, you must periodically check the blade to make sure it’s sharp enough. Make sure to sharpen the blade when necessary, and replace old blades if you need to. Otherwise, your trimmer will be harder to use and much less efficient. I’ve tried trimming hedges with blades that weren’t as sharp as they needed to be. I thought I didn’t have time to sharpen them, but trimming is going to take you a lot longer with a dull blade. It’s much better to take the time to sharpen a blade at the beginning, or else you’re going to be pretty frusturated midway through like I was. You should also clean the trimmer every time after you operate it, and store it properly when not in use. Proper maintenance will do so much to prolong the life of your hedge trimmer.

Best Hedge Trimmer

So, I’ve tried out a few of this year’s most popular, high profile models. Without further ado, let’s talk about how they stack up.

BLACK+DECKER LHT2436 40-Volt***BEST FOR VALUE***

What are its features?

Weighing in just shy of 7 pounds, this hedge trimmer is about as heavy as a Chihuahua. I can grip the wrap around handle from any direction, and it quickly cuts through a big, thick hedge. It does just fine on branches up to ¾ inch thick. It also vibrates a lot less than other models I’ve used, even single-blade ones.

The blade is 24 inches long, and dual-sided. I really liked it because I didn’t have to strain my back, trying to reach all the way over the hedge. The blade is also rust-resistant and pre-hardened, so I shouldn’t have to sharpen it for a while.

  • The good points 

It can cut through a dense hedge easily. Just remember that since it’ll be getting a lot of heavy use, it’s important to maintain it properly. Take care of this machine and it will last well.

I was able to work for a little less than three hours doing some average to heavy trimming before the battery died. Good excuse for me to take a break! The manual says that it can handle up to 6000 square feet of hedges per charge. Since it’s a lithium ion battery, and 40 V to boot, it can hold a charge a lot longer than your average battery.

The batteries are compatible with the other 40 volt lawn tools that Black and Decker makes. For this reason, it’s a pretty cost effective idea to buy one of these, and then save money on your other yard equipment by buying Black & Decker models without the batteries and chargers included.

  • The not so good points

It takes about an hour to charge although the charger is also energy star certified, which I’m happy is much more efficient. It was nice to be able to take a break for an hour and then get right back to it.

My overall impression

My overall impression is that this is a very well made tool which was easy to use and seemed to have a very powerful motor as it didn’t stall or slow when cutting through quite a thick hedge.

If you want to find out more about this Black and Decker trimmer View on Amazon

DEWALT DCHT820P1 20 V Max Hedge Trimmer with 5AH Pack

This DeWalt 20V really packs a punch, and is easy to use.

What are its features?

It’s part of the 20V MAX family of equipment, so you’ll save quite a bit of money by having a battery for just one of them. It’s got a strong, solid motor and cut branches up to ¾ inch thick with its 22 inch steel blade. The battery is 5Ah lithium ion. It weighs 11.5lbs. with the battery attached.

  • The good points 

I was really impressed that it was easily manageable, yet pretty powerful and got the job done without any problems. It’s really nice to not have to worry about a cord, so it’s perfect for people with bigger yards. I actually ended up having fun with it, and started wandering around my yard looking for stuff to cut. I used it for about an hour, and still had a considerable amount of battery power left. I love that you can save $70 on this trimmer if you already have another piece of DeWalt equipment with a 20V Max battery. It even comes with a 90 day money back guarantee, 1 year of free service, and a 3 year limited warranty, so you know DeWalt will make it right if you end up with a defective machine. If you have other DeWalt tools already, and have come to expect a certain standard of quality, that’s what you’ll get with this trimmer.

  • The not so good points 

It can get kind of heavy if you’re doing a lot of overhead work. I had to just do a little at a time so my shoulders didn’t get worn out. It’s capable of cutting through a branch ¾ of an inch thick, but I didn’t want to dull the blade and stress the machine unnecessarily. Keep that in mind if you end up purchasing this machine and want it to have a long life. Apparently other people have had problems with the battery not functioning properly, but that’s easily fixable using the free services I mentioned above. The price was a little high, but it was definitely worth the investment.

My overall impression?

It did an excellent job trimming my hedges, and I was happy with the battery life. I was able to get the job done without any trouble, and I’m satisfied with this purchase.

You certainly get what you pay for in the DeWalt 20V. It’s powerful, user friendly, and takes the hassle out of hedge trimming. For more information on this great trimmer click on this View on Amazon

Husqvarna 122HD60 21.7cc Gas 23.7-in Dual Action Hedge Trimmer***MOST POWERFUL***

This gas hedge trimmer is a good buy if you need a little more power and durability, and have experience with small engines.

What are its features?

The Smart Start engine and starter are built to start quickly with minimum effort. A carburetor air purge system quickly expels air from the carburetor and fuel system. After you turn the machine off, a stop switch automatically returns goes back to the start position so it’s easier to start next time. It’s also outfitted with an adjustable rear handle and anti-vibration dampeners.

  • The good points

Starting it was easy, and I didn’t have any issues getting it going. This machine doesn’t take long to warm up and maintain prime. The adjustable handle works great. I wasn’t sure what the big deal was about a rotating handle before I got started, but I was surprised how much I used it. It cut through branches up to an inch thick without much difficulty. The cutting capacity and ease of the unit is noticeably better than other gas units I’ve used. The blade length is a good size, and I don’t think I would trade the lighter weight for a longer blade. While a longer blade would have occasionally been nice for the reach, I didn’t have any problem holding this trimmer out over a large hedge. I was able to use the unit for several hours straight without much arm fatigue.

  • The not so good points

Out of the box, this hedge trimmer was in need of a carburetor adjustment. The factory setting was way too lean. It would start and idle, but would not run at a high RPM. It would not accelerate to an RPM high enough to engage the centrifugal clutch, and cause the cutting blades to move. After adjusting the high speed fuel mixture about ¾” counterclockwise, the engine would run up to speed. I fine tuned it after a ½ hour of use and now it runs and starts perfectly. If you are not a mechanic, or don’t have experience working with small engines, it may require a trip to a small engine shop for adjustment. In my opinion, this is not a product that can be used as is out of the box. If you do try, the lean fuel mixture will cause poor performance and probably engine damage.

My overall impression?

I think this is a great tool for someone who needs quite a bit more run time than what an average yard normally requires. It should be very easy to use for someone who knows how to work on a small engine (or has a trusted mechanic), and has previous experience with gas powered hedge trimmers.

For anyone who needs a durable hedge trimmer that can run for many hours at a time, this is a great buy. This work horse will get the job done with ease. View on Amazon

Husqvarna 115iHD55 40-Volt 22-in Dual Cordless Hedge Trimmer***BEST FOR RUN TIME***

This is one of the most powerful battery-operated hedge trimmers on the market. It’s easy to use, and had an exceptionally long run time.

What are its features?

The save mode gets you the most run time by letting the motor work more efficiently. The brushless electric motor’s inventive design increases efficiency and maximizes run time while prolonging the lifespan of the trimmer. The 22 inch dual blades provide more reach and less vibration for more comfortable use. It’s lightweight and has a neat little key pad, as well as a low noise level which makes it easier on the ears for both you and your neighbors. This tool is best for medium to larger sized yards.

  • The good points

It’s really powerful for a battery powered hedge trimmer. I was able to run it for 4 hours, and it still had plenty of battery life left. Since it only weighs 7.5 lbs, I was able to tote it around the yard with ease. It also seems more durable and reliable than other battery powered trimmers.

  • The not so good points

On a really tall hedge, I had to hold the trimmer up at chest level while I was working on it. It got really heavy due to the alkward position- but that was more due to my lack of preparation (by not using steps) than a fault of the trimmer. The price is also a little high, but I think it’s worth the money if you’re going to be putting in a lot of hours on it.

  • What’s your overall impression?

I think this a great choice for anyone who doesn’t mind investing a little more money for a lot more power, while not compromising ease of use.

The Husqvarna 40V is a great choice for anyone looking for more power and several hours of run time, but still who still wants something simple and easy to use..View on Amazon 

Makita XHU02Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 22″ Hedge Trimmer –***STAR BUY***

This hedge trimmer is perfect for light to average maintenance work. It’s efficient and has plenty of safety features to make sure no one gets hurt.

  • What are the features?

It has a quite Makita motor, cushioned within an anti-vibration structure. The 22 inch single-sided blade is perfect for beginners or anyone doing small to medium sized jobs. It only weighs 7.4 lbs, and is pretty quiet at only 87 decibels.

  • The good points

I love its minimalistic design, and the fact that it’s not louder than a dishwasher. I was worried that such a little guy wouldn’t be able to handle my 35 feet of 5 foot tall hedges, but it did just fine. The blade was really sharp, and got my hedges trimmed up perfectly. Keep in mind that these hedges had been properly maintained beforehand, and didn’t have any thick branches. I really like that this trimmer is well balanced, easy to operate and manipulate, and cuts cleanly and efficiently with sufficient power and cutting ability for applications around yards that have been consistently maintained. Although very well-built, it is relatively light compared to other hedge trimmers. You have to hit the trigger, a safety button on the handle, and grab the top handle to operate it, which is great for me because I have kids around and they likely won’t be able to operate this.

  • The not so good points

It can’t handle anything really thick, so if you have dense edges with thick branches then it’s not going to be best for you and your yard. It worked fine on green and new re growth, but when I tried it on the woody stuff, not so much. To give you an idea, it had trouble with branches bigger than finger thickness, which can be frustrating if you’re not aware of the machines limitations before hand- but that’s not what this trimmer was designed to do. It is still on par with the other electric trimmers and will cut everything that they can if not better.

It’s very well built but is not meant to be an extended use trimmer.

  • What’s your overall impression?

I was really happy with how it performed and cut, and it was very easy and simple to use. Just keep in mind that it’s not meant for heavy duty jobs with denser hedges and thicker branches.

This Makita is a great buy for anyone who has maintenance trimming to do, and it’s perfect for beginners. To find out more about the latest price for this model click here to see it on Amazon.

Conclusion

I know there is a seemingly infinite amount of hedge trimmers out there to choose from, and I hope you found some good ideas for your yard and your particular situation. The number one thing to remember is that you need a hedge trimmer that’s well suited to your hedges and your abilities, and that’s going to mean different things for everyone. Ironically enough, even though this article is titled “Best Hedge Trimmer 2018”, there’s really no definitive answer.

Go outside and take a walk around your yard, looking closely at each of your hedges. Think about how often you’re realistically going to be trimming them. Whether or not they’ve been well-maintained in the past is going to play a huge part in your decision, or if you want to cut down a huge hedge to make a smaller hedge. Consider how tall they are, as well as how thick and how dense. Whether you have just a few or many hedges is also a big factor.

The next priority is to have an honest conversation with yourself about how well equipped you are for handling a hedge trimmer. Consider if you’ll easily be able to carry around a heavy piece of equipment for a long time, maybe even holding it up high for extended periods. This should influence your decision whether to purchase something lightweight or more heavy-duty. Think about how many hours you’ll be able to work; if you can’t work for longer than an hour without needing a break, then a tool with a short to average battery life should do you just fine. If you are pretty experienced with these tools, and able to handle them with confidence, go ahead and get a model with a little more power if your yard could use it.  Otherwise, you should probably start out slow with a trimmer that’s more lightweight and user friendly. If you know how to work on equipment, or just really enjoy tinkering with stuff, then it might be worth investing in a unit that’s a little more complicated but will stand up much better to wear and tear.

The final thing to think about is price. Consider how much you are willing to invest in a hedge trimmer. If you only use it once or twice a year, then maybe go for something that’s not as expensive. However, if you’ll be using it once a week or so, then you’ll really get some bang for your buck if you get a high quality, pricier model that won’t let you down after lots and lots of use.

Anyway, I’ve given you lots of things to think about, but no one knows your yard better than you do.  Now go back through this list, and figure out what’s going to work for you.