Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Hedge Trimmer

Follow these tips to find the hedge trimmer that’s just right for your landscaping.

Person trimming hedges
Most hedge trimmers are sharp, lightweight, and easy to use.Black & Decker

Hedge trimming can actually be fun thanks to power trimmers that can slice through the toughest hedge-trimming jobs with ease. Your hedges will look professionally groomed, too, thanks to sharp-bladed models that are ergonomically designed to allow you to trim like a pro even in tight spots. But which model do you choose? Gas or electric? Single- or double-blade design? To take the mystery out of buying a quality trimmer, we’ve put together a list of important things to consider that will put a great hedge trimmer in your hands in no time.

Electric vs. Gas

DEWALT DCHT820P1 Hedge Trimmer
This lightweight, cordless model produces 2800 spm (cutting strokes/minimum) and can cut branches up to ¾ of an inch.DEWALT

Hedge trimmers can be electric or gas-powered. Both have their virtues. Electric models are quieter, take less maintenance, are more environmentally friendly (no noxious exhaust fumes), and are generally more lightweight. Cordless models allow you to trim anywhere without being restricted by the length of your extension cord. No cords to worry about clipping, either. For bigger jobs, however, nothing beats the power of gas models, many of which offer rotating heads and other options to make trimming easier. If you have a large yard and lots of trimming chores to do, a gas-powered model is the way to go, plus you never have to worry about batteries running out of power.

Single or Double Blade

BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX Cordless Hedge Trimmer
A powerful 40-volt lithium ion rechargeable battery delivers power and long run times for this trimmer, which can shear ¾-inch branches.BLACK+DECKER

Double-bladed trimmers are the most common type available with blades on both sides of the cutter bar that oscillate back and forth for nice, clean cuts. They are more versatile for getting into tighter areas and are best for shaping hedges. Single-blade models only have a cutting blade on one side, so they are a bit safer as you can always keep the cutting edge facing away from yourself. Single blades can also be longer without the trimmer becoming too heavy so you can cover more area with a single pass. They are best for long, straight sections of hedge.

Weight, Ergonomics, and Costs

WORX WG261 20V Power Share 22-Inch Cordless Hedge Trimmer
Dual-action blades on this trimmer cut once then catch the branch again on the way back to deliver a trim that’s twice as clean, twice as powerful, and twice as fast.WORX

Electric models generally weigh and vibrate less, which means less fatigue for those doing the trimming. Ergonomics will vary greatly by model, so check those features out carefully. Gas-powered models do offer some interesting options like rotating heads, which can be a huge plus for shaping hedges and working around corners and tighter spaces. If cost to run is a consideration, electric models will generally cost far less to run in the long-haul as recharging a battery pack is far less expensive than purchasing fuel.