Best Gas, Electric, and Cordless Hedge Trimmers

Perhaps you remember the days of cutting your shrubs and hedges with an old-fashioned hedge trimmer. If you had many hedges to trim, or even one large and long one, the job would literally take hours. Nowadays there are more efficient hedge trimmers: electric hedge trimmers, cordless ones, and gas powered trimmers. If you have just a few hedges, enjoy doing the job slowly with the manual ones, or are concerned about pollution and the environment, you may feel justified in sticking with your traditional non-powered hedge trimmer. But if you are like most of us, with our busy schedules and limited time to take care of your yard and hedges, one of the new electric, cordless or gas powered hedge trimmers may be just what you need. This article will review your options when it comes to choosing a hedge trimmer. We'll point out the advantages and disadvantages to each type, give you the top-rated models of each type, some general price information, and where to buy one.

Hedge Trimmers: Electric, Cordless, Gas Powered

The three main types of hedge trimmer, besides the manual one, is electric, cordless, and gas. Electric hedge trimmers are the most popular and easiest to use type of trimmer, because they are fairly lightweight and easy to use. One disadvantages is that you must be within 100 feet of an electric outlet. Advantages include being lightweight, quieter than the gas powered ones, and easy for anyone to use. They work well on branches up to one-half inch thick. Cordless trimmers are similar to electric in that they are lightweight and easy to use. They are battery driven, so you aren't dealing with an electric cord. Also good for quick trimming jobs, and most can handle branch widths up to one-half inch in diameter. We've seen recommendations that having an extra battery pack would let you finish the job if the first charge gives out before you're through. Prices run about $45 for the battery pack. Gas powered hedge trimmers are more heavy-duty than electric or cordless trimmers and can handle branches up to three-quarters of an inch in diameter. You don't have to worry about the cord or a dying battery pack, but be aware that gas powered trimmers can way about five or six pounds more than an electric or cordless one. They're very loud, too, so hearing protection should be worn while operating a gas trimmer. You may also find the fumes annoying, but most two-cycle engined gas trimmers do meet standard clean air requirements yet are still fairly fuel-efficient.

Once you've decided on the type of hedge trimmer that works best for your hedges, you're ready to shop.

Best Hedge Trimmers In Each Category

Consumersearch.com has gathered test results from several sources, including Popular Mechanics and Consumer Reports before compiling their picks as to the top hedge trimmers in the three categories: electric, cordless, and gas. After reading reviews, here's our picks, too.

  • Best Electric Trimmers
    The Little Wonder 2420 is rated the top all-around electric trimmer. This model features double reciprocating blades, many safety features such as automatic shut-off within half a second of releasing the handle. Half-inch branches are no problem for this one. It's quiet and durable. The top mid-range trimmer is the Makita UH6350. It costs less than the Little Wonder, while still able to handle those half-inch branches, and has good safety features, too. It has a single blade, but still does the job well. If money is a concern, consider the Craftsman 79957. It's a dual-blade trimmer with not quite so many safety features, and is noisier and has more vibrations than the other two models. While it doesn't have an automatic shut-off feature, it does have a lock out to prevent accidental starts, a safety shield, and a cord clip which keeps the electric cord from being accidentally disconnected. Other top electric trimmers include Craftsman.
  • Best Cordless Trimmers
    The Black & Decker NHT518 Cordless hedge trimmer gets high marks for being lightweight and quiet, making it a good choice for small trimming jobs. It features an 18 volt engine, lock-off switch, and stops instantly when turned off.
  • Best Gas Powered Trimmers
    More expensive, yet more powerful, the Echo HC160 is the top-rated gas trimmer according to Consumersearch.com. Has double-reciprocating blades to handle three-quarter inch branches easily without jamming. If you have some heavy-duty trimming jobs ahead of you, this one may be the one for you. It costs more than cordless and electrics, is heavier, louder, and has more vibration, but electric trimmers are no match for this one. Stihl and Little Wonder gas trimmers are also highly rated.

Pricing, Where To Buy

Average prices for these top-rated electric trimmers range from around $70 for the Craftsman model described above, to $150 for the mid-range Makita, on up to about $260 for the Little Wonder. The cordless Black and Decker runs four about $70 as well. Looking at the gas models, be prepared to pay as much as $350 for the above-mentioned Echo, although you can probably find other brands and models for somewhat less. You should find a good selection of hedge trimmers from your local Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, and even Target or Walmart. You may also find them available online through Amazon.com.

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