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Selecting the Right Hedge Trimmer

Hedge trimmer

For maintaining formal hedges or creating uniform pruning lines, a powered hedge trimmer is the tool for the task. There are several options to create the clean cuts that are the mark of a well-maintained hedge.


Hedge Trimmer Basics

Hedge Trimmers

Dual blades cut in either direction from either side of the plant. Blade sizes range from as small as 6 inches for an electric detail trimmer to 28-inch blades for heavy-duty cutting. Most blades cut branches up to 3/8 inches. The large trimmer can handle branches as large as 1 1/4 inch. A hand guard is provided for safety.

Weight and balance are very important since you'll be holding the machine at chest height or higher. At times, you'll also be using the tool with your arms extended.

 



Power

Hedge trimmers and edgers are powered by either electricity or gasoline. Base your purchasing decision on how much portability, cutting capacity and power you need.

Electric models are lighter, quieter and vibrate less than gas units. An electric motor drives the blades, so there's no need to mix fuel or refill. Smaller yards are especially good candidates for electric trimmers and edgers. There are two types:

Corded models provide constant power as long as you have access to an electrical outlet. The attached cord limits mobility so this may not be the best choice for a lawn with lots of trees. Look for a cord retention system to prevent the cord from being accidentally unplugged during use.

Rechargeable / battery-operated hedge trimmers and edgers are good alternatives for smaller areas or jobs. They're limited by their run time, and they may not be able to cut larger shrubs as well as a gasoline-powered trimmer.


Gas models use a two-cycle engine, requiring the user to mix oil and gasoline. Mobility and work output are increased with gas trimmers and edgers. However, they're louder and heavier than electric models.

 

TIP: When choosing an extension cord for any electric outdoor power equipment, remember: 

  • Match your cord to the work environment, whether indoor or outdoor. Outdoor-rated cords have durable covers to protect from weather and damage.
  • Make sure the number of prongs (two or three) fit the outlet you’ll be using.
  • Get a cord that meets the amperage requirements of the tool you’re using. Read the owner’s manual for assistance.
  • Keep the cord’s gauge in mind for maximum output. The lower the gauge number, the more power the cord delivers.
  • More isn’t better with cord length. The longer the cord, the less power is delivered to the item you’re powering. Keep both gauge and length in mind when selecting a power cord.