Perfect hedge trimmers

A Comprehensive Guide To Choosing The Perfect Hedge Trimmers

Luckily for us all, keeping our garden hedges and bushes neat and tidy is easier than ever before. Although hand shears are great, we now have the opportunity to keep our garden looking spick and span with either an electric or gas-powered hedge trimmer as well.

These advanced hedge trimmers are generally safer, more comfortable, can help you get your landscaping jobs done more quickly, and offer a higher level of comfort, and that’s not to mention the huge variety of features you can choose from.

Black & decker trimmer

But, despite this new and improved, powerful tool making our landscaping duties increasingly easier, choosing the right hedge trimmer can be extremely challenging because there is now so much to take into consideration.

To make the task easier for you, we’ve created this comprehensive guide to hedge trimmers.

It will explain everything from the definition of a hedge itself to the difference between the various types of trimmers on the market today. 

In addition to the above, this guide will give you tips on trimming your hedges, shrubs, and plants, as well as highlight some of the best manufacturers in the industry. So, without further ado, here is everything you need to know about today’s hedge trimmers:

So, without further ado, here is everything you need to know about today’s hedge trimmers:

What Is A Hedge?

You’re probably thinking something along the lines of: “Of course I know what a hedge is”, but although many believe they know the answer (a big bush), they’re actually often wrong.

A hedge is, in fact, when bushes or shrubs grow closely together to create a fence, limit, or boundary. You may find it silly that we are telling you this, but what defines a hedge has been a topic of conversation for years now, causing various legal cases across the world.

If we can clarify its true meaning to you, you may even be able to avoid certain unpleasant debacles with neighbors. But, hedges come in all shapes and sizes and how you trim them will depend on the type you have.

Typically, hedge types are classified into five categories, with many often falling in more than one at a time. These are:

  • Long
  • Wide
  • ​High
  • ​Short
  • ​Narrow

Hedges, shrubs, and bushes may well be the most underrated landscaping plant in a person’s garden. Aside from adding a level of beauty to your outdoor space, they can also:

  • Make your home more private
  • Be used as a windbreak
  • Increase the resale value of your property

Hedge Trimmers Explained

You can only benefit from all the above if your garden is maintained and your hedges are trimmed regularly. In fact, an overgrown and unkempt garden could have a negative impact on your home.

Trimmers, also known as shears or clippers, are a gardening tool that come hand-operated, electric or gas-powered.

dewat max yellow trimmer

They have long blades that make cutting large, straight edges a lot easier than with other tools. With them, you can also cut more decorative and ornamental shapes into your landscape for a more creative and luxurious feel.

Below is the inside scoop on when the best times are to get your hedge trimmer out:

When Do You Need To Use Hedge Trimmers?

Trimming your hedges is an extremely important aspect of keeping a well looked after garden. Despite this, you only really need to get your hedge trimmer out for three main purposes, and these are:

1- Yearly Maintenance

The key to maintaining a healthy and aesthetic garden is taming it with shears on a regular basis. We’ve all come across gardens that are overgrown and look messy, but this can be avoided by simply doing some yearly maintenance.

Keeping a grip on the speed at which your plants grow is essential to maintaining your garden. Plants such as vines, clematis, lavender, and tickseed, all grow at the speed of light so a hedge trimmer is essential to keeping them in check.

2- Deadheading

Prolific plants shed and leave dead heads which form into seeds. This leads to energy being focused on the seeds rather than the flowers’ growth, not to mention the fact that they make your flower beds look messy.

Pruning your plants regularly is essential, and using a hedge trimmer is significantly easier than doing it by hand.

3- Cutting Perennials

Although you can keep some perennials during the winter months, others can’t survive and therefore need to be cut back in fall or early spring. Frost, problems with pests, and disease are common reasons why perennials end up dying so it is best to cut them down in fall to ensure your garden continues to radiate throughout winter.

The Different Types Of Hedge Trimmers

Are you struggling to choose a hedge trimmer for your gardening needs? Find out more about the various types of trimmers:

Manual Clippers

There is a huge amount of satisfaction to be gained from using good old-fashioned manual clippers. Aside from being by far the cheapest, they are also the most environmentally friendly.

Modern manual shears now offer a variety of features that make trimming with them considerably more comfortable, for example:

  • Cushioning on the handles
  • Sharp and sturdy blades
  • ​Gearing in order to be able to apply more force
  • ​A blade tension that is adjustable
  • Shaped blades for an even motion

It is common for gardeners to get repetitive strain injury while using manual shears so taking breaks and using the right cutters is extremely important for your well-being. You may also find that manual clippers are a challenging option for larger, more robust gardens.

Gas-Powered Shears

Gas-powered shears are by far the most powerful and fastest type on the market today. They can be used for virtually any trimming job in your garden and best of all, they don’t have a power cord to constantly keep an eye on.

Poulan Pro PP2822 22-Inch 28

Despite being suitable for larger clipping jobs, gas-powered hedge trimmers are usually more expensive and heavier.

Whether you choose a new or old model, a gas-powered hedge trimmer does require more regular maintenance.

Please note that 2 stroke engines need the perfect mix of oil and gas to function whereas 4 stroke engines only need gas and the occasional oil check. Lastly, you must check your neighborhood noise restrictions as these trimmers are considerably louder than other types.

Electric Hedge Trimmers

Although not as powerful as those powered by gas, electric hedge trimmers are perfect for smaller gardens that need the occasional bit of maintenance. The benefits of an electric trimmer include:

  • Value for money
  • Lighter
  • ​Quieter
  • ​Easier to start up
  • No gas emissions

That said, one of their biggest drawbacks is that certain models have to be plugged in which means they can’t be used to far from an outlet. You also need to always be aware of the cord as cutting through it is not only expensive but extremely dangerous.

Cordless Shears

Cordless trimmers are very powerful when fully charged and are as easy to use and as lightweight as electric clippers. Of course, their biggest benefit is that you will not have to worry about cutting through a cord when using them.

Cordless grass shears or hedge trimmer

You will not have to worry about being connected to a power source and they are easy to get started, unlike gas-powered ones.

They are also emission-free. 

With cordless shears, you’ll typically get anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour of use out of them before having to recharge or replace the battery depending on the model.

Looking for a manufacturer that offers an additional battery or one that can be used across their range of garden tools will allow you to use one while the other is charging, giving you a whole day of use.

One-Sided Clippers

One-sided clippers are great for big hedges, commercial trimming, and thick hedges. Because single-sided clippers are lighter than double-sided ones they can be fitted with longer blades to cut straight and long hedges more quickly and easily.

As they’re great for bigger or commercial trimming jobs, one-sided clippers are often gas powered. Some would consider them safer because they only have teeth on one side of the blade, although all hedge trimmers should be used with a level of precaution.

Double-Sided Clippers

Double-sided clippers are most people's’ go-to choice as they can be used in any garden for virtually any job. From light trimming to precision and ornamental shaping, double-sided clippers are perfect.

Because they have teeth on both sides of the blade, they’re easy to handle as you can quickly change the direction in which you are trimming. As a result, a double-sided clipper is perfect if you have a smaller garden.

Long Reach Trimmers

Long reach hedge trimmers are extremely handy if you need to cut the sides or tops of hedges that are particularly tall. Typically the blade is approximately 16inches long, but many long reach trimmers come with shafts that allow you to reach up to 6 feet high.

Long reach trimmers do come with their downsides, for example, you can’t actually see the top of the hedge and if you catch your trimmer on a branch it may be uncomfortable and dangerous to set it free.

It’s also worth considering that they are no lighter than other trimmers so repetitive strain on your arms, back, and neck is likely when tackling larger jobs.

They can, however, be used to add distance between you and the hedge, a safer option if you are cutting one with thorns for example.

GreenWorks pole hedge trimmer

Top 6 Hedge Trimming Tips

No matter which type of hedge trimmer you choose, you’ll most likely have to use them three to four times a year for formal hedges and once or twice a year for informal hedges. This regularity will help you maintain a tidy looking garden.

Below are some expert hedge trimming tips that can be implemented for most, if not all types of hedges, shrubs, and bushes:

1- Slow And Steady Wins The Race

When trimming your hedges, start at the bottom and gradually work your way up. Remember not to rush and work at a slow and steady pace to avoid any big mistakes. Aside from being easier on you physically, this technique will put most of the work on the trimmer. Cut a few inches at a time to not cut too deeply into your bushes.

2- Trim At An Angle

If you think a perfectly linear hedge is best for your garden, think again. Trimming your hedges at a slight angle where the bottom remains slightly wider and the top thinner will ensure your lower shrubs and roots get enough sunlight to thrive and help your bush grow healthily.

3- Be Aware Of Birds

Unfortunately, birds do not consider who will be trimming hedges when they decide to nest in them so you need to be wary. Remember to never do your landscaping in early spring and always check your hedge thoroughly before starting up your trimmer.

4- Use A Nylon Line For Guidance

It can be very difficult to follow a straight trimming line without any guidance. If you have a small garden with small to medium hedges, use hand shears and step back regularly to ensure you are making the right cuts.

When it comes to larger hedges for which you need a straight line, use a nylon thread to determine the finished line of your hedge. From there, trim along the line to avoid an uneven finish.

5- Inspect For Dead Or Diseased Branches

Once you’ve completed your landscaping, rummage through your hedges, shrubs, and bushes to find any diseased, damaged or dead branches. If you leave them untrimmed, it may hinder the growth of other branches and eventually kill your plant altogether.

6- Do Not Trim In The Middle Of The Day

You are always best to trim your hedges in the morning or late afternoon, especially during the hotter seasons. If you trim during the hottest part of the day, you may find that the sun scorches the freshly cut ends of your branches, stunting a healthy growth.

Caring For Your Clippers

Although your hedge trimmer will most likely have a warranty of 2 to 4 years if you buy it brand new, it will not last that long if you do not look after it correctly.

Before performing your regular maintenance on your trimmer, you need to make sure that:

  • It is turned off
  • All moving parts have stopped
  • ​It is not hot to touch
  • It is disconnected from its power source
Cordless hedge trimmer

1- Lubricate The Blade

Lubricating the blade after every use will ensure you don’t have to replace it as often. You should also lubricate your blade during longer uses to stop it from getting slow and not cutting as neatly.

2- Sharpen The Blade

Although made of the highest quality metal, a hedge trimmer blade does wear with time, you could also accidentally hit a hard object that could damage it. Either way, you should never sharpen the blade yourself. Take it to your nearest authorized service center and ask them to sharpen or service your blade for you.

3- Store Appropriately

You should always store your hedge trimmer indoors, out of sight. That way, you neighbors won’t be tempted to borrow it and your children won’t want to play with it as if it were a toy.

Try and keep it in a dry area where other tools, oil, grease, solvents, and detergents cannot fall or be placed on it. Make sure to always clean it before putting it away, but do not ever subdue it in any liquid. Also, you must remember to put the blade in the scabbard when not in use.

How To Keep Yourself Safe When Using Hedge Trimmers?

Because hedge trimmers are big and powerful pieces of machinery you need to be aware of the many safety features they have as well as the extra precautions you should take when using them. 

Aside from the various features that come with the trimmer itself, it is important you always:

  • Read the manual
  • Use your trimmer at an appropriate time of the day in good weather conditions
  • ​Are aware of your surroundings (e.g. leads, cords, pets, children, etc.)

Other Safety Features And Precautions To Consider Include

  • Multiple switches

Hedge trimmers with a dual switch require both hands to be pressing buttons before your hedge trimmer can even start. It’s a great way to ensure it doesn’t start accidentally leaving you or your loved ones injured, or causing significant damage to your property.

  • Hand guard

When trimming, it is likely that debris will come flying up from the blade. Aside from gloves and the adequate protective gear, opt for a hedge trimmer that has a hand guard so that you don’t get hurt.

  • Automatic brake

As the name suggests, an automatic brake stops the blades from moving as soon as the trimmer is turned off.

  • Personal protection gear

As mentioned above, wearing the right equipment is as important as choosing a trimmer with the right safety features. You must protect your ears with earplugs as no matter which trimmer you choose, exposure to those noise levels could impair your hearing.

You must wear protective eyewear and gloves as debris could fly up into your face at any time. It is also important to wear long sleeves and trousers as the power at which debris could fly at you could break your skin.

Reputable Manufacturers

Choosing a hedge trimmer can be extremely difficult as there are so many with a huge variety of different features. Some brands that we believe you should look into include:

Greenworks

Greenworks is the exclusive brand of the Globe Tools Group, which is headquartered in the U.S and manufactured in China. It operates in six major business divisions, two for finished products and four for components such as motors, plastic, metal, and electronics.

Click on the image to check out the hedge trimmers on Amazon.

The company makes electric and cordless garden tools that are emission-free with zero carbon footprint with the aim of cutting out the frustrations that come with gas-powered yard products.

The company designs, develops, and manufactures its own products in order to deliver the most innovative and cutting edge tools to its customers.

Greenworks tools are all certified according to local market regulations and its factories currently output 650,000 units every month.

Black And Decker

Now legally known as Stanley Black & Decker, the company which was founded in 1843 is a U.S. manufacturer of technology-based fastening systems, hardware, home improvement products, and power tools.

Black & Decker is best known for its portable electric drill which it invented and later patented in 1917. But, most recently the company purchased Craftsman from Sears, further expanding its repertoire of products.

Winner of numerous prestigious awards, Stanley Black & Decker creates products of the highest standards that are robust yet innovative. The company supports a huge number of charitable causes across the world, donating various tools to respond to devastating emergencies.

Dewalt

Since then, the company expanded into Canada to introduce the first line of portable electric power tools specifically designed for residential contractors, woodworkers, and remodelers.

From designing a revolutionary system of over 30 cordless tools to making well-thought out acquisitions, the company still designs and optimizes the highest quality tools, accessories, and services to its customers from across the globe.

Dewalt DCHT820P1 20 V max hedge trimmer

Poulan Pro

Poulan Pro started by manufacturing chainsaw that took two men to operate and quickly innovated the tool to become fast, powerful, single-man powered machines that could be used and bought by the general public.

The company continued to grow, designing and producing sturdy and lightweight products for both commercial and domestic consumers. Now, Poulan Pro has an extensive range of powerful yet affordable products from trimmers to snow blowers and everything in between.

Hedge Trimmer Wrap Up...

Finding the right hedge trimmer can be very challenging, especially with the number of different models on the market today. You need to consider the size of your garden, the types of hedges you are going to be trimming, and your physical capabilities.

Yellow DeWalt hedge trimmer

Your trimmer also needs to fit within your budget, so to help you, we’ve created a buying guide featuring some of what we think are the best hedge trimmers available today.

By reading our buying guide you will be able to find out what customers really think as well as compare various models according to power, reach, and the way in which they operate.

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