What are the different types of hedge trimmers?
Hedge trimmers are available in three power types: electric, cordless and petrol, with electric and cordless being the most widely used.
Electric hedge trimmers
Electric trimmers are best suited to smaller gardens. They're light and affordable, but need to be connected to a mains plug socket. Depending on cable length, you may need an extension lead to reach across your garden.
For your safety, it is recommended that you use a circuit breaker. These will prevent you getting any electric shocks and reduces the risk of serious appliance faults.
Cordless hedge trimmers
More suitable for medium-sized gardens, cordless trimmers don't restrict your movement meaning you can cut anywhere, even the far end of your garden. There's also no risk of cutting through a cable, so can be safer than other models too.
Petrol hedge trimmers
Petrol trimmers have more power and offer longer cutting time. They're particularly useful for large garden hedging or hedges that are dense and overgrown. However, they are heavier than other models, and require regular maintenance.
Different hedge trimmer designs
Some trimmer models are designed to help with specific hedge and bush trimming jobs.
Pole trimmer - for tall hedges
Shop pole trimmers
Pole trimmers are made with an extendable pole that allows you to reach up high. Some models also feature a pivoting head for trimming across the top of hedges.
Grass and hedge shears - for small bushes and hedge sculpting
Designed for detailing work, they're ideal if you're keen on creating hedge sculptures. Some models can be attached to a pole to give them more reach too.
The essential specs
Check out some other things you should consider before making your choice.
Electric trimmers' power is measured in watts, ranging from 400w to 900w; cordless trimmers use volts, ranging from 18V to 36V and petrol trimmers use CCs, ranging from 20cc to 40cc.
If your hedges are cared for regularly and the branches are quite thin, lower powered trimmers should be suitable. But if your hedges or bushes are dense and difficult, more strength is needed, so you should go for the more powerful models.
Teeth spacing relates to branch thickness - the more space between a blade's teeth, the thicker the branches it can cut.
Spacing ranges from 15mm to 34mm. Narrow spacing is enough for most regularly-trimmed garden hedges, but wider spacing is usually required for dense, overgrown hedges. Wider spacing will leave a rougher cut though.
The longer the blade, the more hedge you can cut at once, making it quicker and neater. If you have small hedges, blades under 50cm should be suitable, but for larger hedges it's best to go for blades longer than this.
If you're considering an electric trimmer, try to choose a model which offers enough cable to reach a household plug socket. If this isn't possible, an extension lead will come in useful.
Battery life and recharge time
Running time of cordless trimmers can vary between 30 to 75 minutes. When the battery does run out, many have quick charging abilities, so you can get back to work within an hour.
You could be spending a lot of time carrying your trimmer, so make sure it's a weight you're comfortable with. Petrol trimmers are the heaviest, and electric trimmers the lightest.
270 degree power handle
This feature means that no matter where you grip the handle, you can easily switch the trimmer on.
All the important features that will help you stay protected while tackling your hedges.
All blades come with a hand guard that prevents your hands from slipping onto the blade. They also protect them from being scratched by flying debris during use.
Dual safety switch
This is where you have to press and hold two power switches before the hedge trimmer will turn on. The blade automatically turns off if a single switch is released, keeping you safe if you slip or drop it.
Electronic/quick stop brake
A brake system ensures that once you stop using the trimmer, the blades will cease moving in moments, reducing the risk of accidental injury.
This will either stop the blades immediately if they become jammed due to a blockage, or they will reverse the blade's direction so the blockage can be dislodged.
Keeps your blades safe while the trimmer is stored, preventing accidents. They also help to protect it against damage.
When you purchase a trimmer, you should also select some basic safety gear, like head and eye protection, and garden gloves, to keep you safe during trimming.