Best Hedge Trimmers of 2018: Corded, Cordless, and Gas

Updated on July 19, 2018
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Paul has worked as a painter and decorator; lawn care manager; bookseller; and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.

Buying a cheap trimmer is often a false economy in my experience, it's better to pay a little more and get a product that's built to last. Having worn out many trimmers, I have my own personal favorites to recommend.
Buying a cheap trimmer is often a false economy in my experience, it's better to pay a little more and get a product that's built to last. Having worn out many trimmers, I have my own personal favorites to recommend.

My experience with lawn and yard maintenance has taught me the importance of having the right tools for the right job. It also means that I've used a wide range of mowers and trimmers over the years.

A quality hedge trimmer is essential for keeping the bushes and shrubs in a yard neat and tidy. Trimmers are excellent for creating clean lines and defined edges, as well as providing the precise uniformity that is required.

The best trimmers are maneuverable and light enough to use with ease, but also powerful enough to deliver effective cutting. Unless you want to throw away money, you also want them to be reliable, long-lasting, and incorporate the latest technology—I've learnt from experience that it's often false economy just to buy the cheapest tools, as they often don't last and need replacing.

My Top 3 Hedge Trimmers

  • The GARCARE GHT06: Sharp and Reliable
  • The Zombi ZHT5817: Strong, Lightweight, and Durable
  • The Echo HC-152: Versatile and Powerful

Beginner's Guide: The Three Main Styles of Hedge Trimmer

There are three main styles of hedge trimmer: corded electric, battery powered electric, and gas powered.

The style that you choose is largely dictated by the size and type of area that needs to worked on, as well as other factors such as noise and access to an electric supply.

  • Corded electric hedge trimmers are the least hassle in terms of fuel mixing and starting procedures. Electric trimmers are generally portable, lightweight, powerful, and quiet. They are usually less expensive than other types too. The cord can be limiting, however, if working on a large or complicated yard space.
  • Battery-operated trimmers have a lot of similarities with corded ones but are better suited to large or complicated areas, as they are not limited by cords. They are more expensive, however, plus you need to keep the battery charged, of course.
  • Gas trimmers are generally powerful and versatile. Suitable for large yard areas, they are the favorite style for the professionals. They are noisier than electrics, however, and they can be messier.

The GARCARE GHT06 is one of the most reliable and durable trimmers that I've used.  The steel blades are titanium coated, which makes them long-lasting as well as super sharp. All in all, the GHT06 offers great value for money.
The GARCARE GHT06 is one of the most reliable and durable trimmers that I've used. The steel blades are titanium coated, which makes them long-lasting as well as super sharp. All in all, the GHT06 offers great value for money.

My Best Corded Electric Trimmer: The GARCARE GHT06 4.2-Amp With 18-Inch Laser Cutting Blade

An effective all-rounder with the ability to trim hedges and shrubs of all configurations, the GARCARE GHT06 4.2-Amp Corded Hedge Trimmer with 18-Inch Laser Cutting Blade is a reliable and durable product that provides excellent cutting power in my experience.

My favorite thing about this model is that the steel blades are titanium coated, which makes them longer lasting than the ones that you will find with some of the cheaper trimmers. They are capable of cutting through branches 5/8 inch in diameter and don't go blunt after just a few months.

Like with all corded trimmers, you are limited by the location of power supplies and the general inconvenience of operating with a cord, but otherwise, it is comfortable and convenient to use.

In terms of value for money, this model is difficult to beat.

Pros

  • Very sharp. No problems with thick hedges, slices through like butter.
  • Lightweight. Great for jobs where you don't want to lug around a heavier, gas-powered trimmer for a long period.
  • It has a safety feature, which means that it switches off if you accidentally drop it.
  • Compact design. Easier to store.
  • Good value.

Cons

  • You will need to buy an extension cord, if you don't already have one, to use it.
  • You will need a power source relatively close by.
  • Like with most corded devices, the cord tends to fall out sometimes. I end up sticking duct tape around it to keep it in.

The Zombi ZHT5817 is a strong, lightweight, and durable trimmer that runs off a 58 volt lithium battery. The rotating handle lets you use it vertically to trim tall hedges and get a straight cut without too much effort.
The Zombi ZHT5817 is a strong, lightweight, and durable trimmer that runs off a 58 volt lithium battery. The rotating handle lets you use it vertically to trim tall hedges and get a straight cut without too much effort.

Best Cordless Trimmer: The Zombi ZHT5817 24-Inch 58 Volt 2Ah Lithium

The Zombi ZHT5817 is my new favorite cordless trimmer. I've been using one for six months. It has a powerful motor and excellent battery time. I can normally use one of these for about an hour before the battery runs out, which is plenty for most properties.

The rotating handle, combined with the sharp blades, will go through 3/4 inch branches smoothly, making it a great all-around trimmer for bushes, shrubs, and hedges.

Pros

  • The rotating handle gives it a versatility with cutting angles. It's easy to turn it vertically when required for cutting hedges.
  • The battery takes under an hour to charge and runs for around an hour if you work it continuously. There's a reader that tells how much power is left, which is very useful.
  • It's cordless, so you are not as limited with have far you go from a house, like with a corded. You also don't have to worry about cutting the cord accidentally, which I have done before now.
  • It's a user-friendly machine that's intuitive to work with.
  • The blade is nice and sharp and holds its sharpness well.

Cons

  • The safety switch is built into the off-hand hoop handle. That is great for safety, but means that you always have to use this trimmer two-handed.

The Echo HC-152 gas-powered hedge trimmer is powered by a 21.2 cc professional-grade, 2-stroke engine, giving you the strength to tackle a large and challenging trimming job.  The commercial-duty air filtration system enables a long engine endurance.
The Echo HC-152 gas-powered hedge trimmer is powered by a 21.2 cc professional-grade, 2-stroke engine, giving you the strength to tackle a large and challenging trimming job. The commercial-duty air filtration system enables a long engine endurance.

For residential users, I would recommend the Echo HC-152. It's a heavy-duty trimmer, yet still comfortable to handle and control, and it works well on large and challenging jobs.

To start the Echo, you first need push down a switch, then push the primer bulb a few times. The choke should also be on. Give it a pull, and when it's about to fire up, take off the choke. Once it's going, the HC-152 cuts smoothly and efficiently.

Pros

  • One of the most reliable gas trimmers that I've used. Starts up well in all weathers.
  • Blades are sharp and durable. It can go through branches up to around 3/4 inch thick.
  • Powerful motor, but still not too cumbersome to use.
  • Comes with a protective shield guard for the blade.
  • Great value.

Cons

  • Like most gas trimmers, it is relatively noisy compared to electrically powered products.
  • I've read some negative reviews that state this trimmer is a poor starter. That has not been my experience. I obviously can't comment specifically on other people's experiences, but I do wonder if everyone is following the correct start up procedure.

Pruning is necessary to provide light and air to the inner limbs of the plant, as well as take away the weight of dead branches.  It is important to prune by hand first, as electric trimmers just cut the surface of the bush.
Pruning is necessary to provide light and air to the inner limbs of the plant, as well as take away the weight of dead branches. It is important to prune by hand first, as electric trimmers just cut the surface of the bush. | Source

Pruning Tips

Before you tackle the trimming, you will often want to prune the bush by hand. Pruning can cut away deeper to help the inner parts of the plant get more light and can also be done to thin out certain areas.

The best time for pruning depends very much on the plant. Lighter pruning can be done at any time.

  • Lay down a tarp to collect cuttings and make clearing up easier.
  • Prune the bush manually first. An electric trimmer will shape the outer areas. But first you need to provide light and air to the inner limbs by cutting farther back damaged and diseased branches and thinning out heavier growth.
  • Remove dead branches near the base and avoid cutting off more than 1/3 of the plant each year.

After general pruning, bushes can be formally trimmed.

Before you begin trimming, it is advisable to lay down plastic sheeting to make tidying easier afterwards.  Usually you will want to use the trimmer in straight lines, that means using a curb, building, or other straight-edged structure as a guide.
Before you begin trimming, it is advisable to lay down plastic sheeting to make tidying easier afterwards. Usually you will want to use the trimmer in straight lines, that means using a curb, building, or other straight-edged structure as a guide. | Source

Trimming Tips

  • To make sure that you are trimming a straight line, use a nearby object as reference, such as a house or siding. For a more professional approach, you can set up stakes and strings.
  • Let the blade do the work as you run it along the sides and top of the bush. The base should always be wider than the top.
  • Tall hedges require a trimmer with an extended reach. Some standard trimmers can be adapted with special attachments for this purpose.
  • If you live in an area where it snows, you should consider rounding the top of your hedge to stop a build up of snow.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Paul Goodman

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      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        15 months ago from Norfolk, England

        Sounds like you've given some good advice here for hedge trimmers. It's not something I would ever dare use. I'd end up cutting my arm off or something, I'm sure! =)

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