Maintaining the hedges or bushes in your yard is the kind of job you either love or hate.
For some people it’s a real chore, but I actually love cutting hedges.
I find it incredibly satisfying. Not just because it tidies and re-shapes the overgrown hedge, but because with a good clipping comes fresh, new, thicker growth. So your hedges look better than ever.
I’ll come clean here. Although this site is dedicated to helping you with your outdoor power equipment choices, I actually prefer trimming hedges with hand shears. And something like these Bahco Shears would be my tool of choice.
But if you have a lot of hedging to cut or you don’t have much time, the hand cutting approach is simply impractical.
In that case, it makes sense to upgrade to an electric or gas-powered hedge trimmer. Here is what to think about if you are in the market for such a tool.
The essential hedge trimmer buyers’ questions (the EBQs)
Since there are so many different hedge trimming machines to choose from, you need to ask yourself certain questions before you purchase one. These questions should help you to successfully determine which type of hedge trimmer will work best for you:
- How much do you need to trim? Some people have just a couple hedges or bushes that they need to trim a few times each year. Others have many more hedges requiring regular upkeep. If you have just a few hedges or bushes to trim occasionally, then an electric hedge-trimmer should suit you fine. On the other hand, if you have several hedges you should consider a more powerful gasoline-powered unit.
- How large is the area you need to cover? If you have a large yard that requires you to put in lots of legwork to get around, you may not be able to use a corded electric hedge-trimmer effectively, since such a machine must be operated within 100 feet of an electrical outlet. A cordless trimmer might be best in this situation as long as you can complete your work on a single battery charge. Otherwise, you might be better off opting for a gas-powered trimmer.
- How big are your hedges? Most hedge trimmers are designed for trimming hedges of average size. This means that trimmers are optimized for hedges no larger than five feet high and five feet wide. If you have larger or taller hedges, you will need to be able to lift the trimmer and maneuver it to places which may take extra effort on your part. If this is the case, you will definitely prefer a lighter trimmer, but you also might want to consider one with a larger blade. If your hedges are high, you’ll need access staging and/or an extendible pole-type hedge trimmer.
- Are noise levels an issue for you and your neighbors? Although gas-powered hedge trimmers are more powerful, electric models are much quieter. This is an important consideration if you live in a tightly populated neighborhood, or if you are sensitive to noise.
- How important are environmental concerns to you? Gas-powered hedge trimmers are terrific at performing their jobs, but they also are responsible for polluting the air. Although there are arguments for the environmental friendliness of gas-powered outdoor power equipment, these machines are generally considered to be more harmful to the environment than electric models.
- How thick are the branches you will need to trim? You will need to pay attention to a specification known as blade gap when buying your trimmer. Most trimmers designed for residential use feature a blade gap of .75 inches or smaller.
- What is your budget? Because there are so many different types of trimmers available, prices can vary significantly. Smaller, electric models can be purchased for less than $50, while larger, gas-powered machines can cost you upwards of $300 or $400. Knowing exactly how you intend to use the trimmer will help you find the model that fits best within your budget.
Types of hedge trimmers
On this website, we classify hedge trimmers into three basic types.
First, there are corded electric hedge trimmers which offer power, versatility, affordability and quiet operation, but must be operated within 100 feet of an electrical outlet.
Next comes cordless hedge trimmers. These are also quiet and affordable, plus they offer unlimited mobility. The drawback to cordless models is that they are not as powerful, and they can only operate as long as the battery is charged.
Finally, there are gas-powered hedge trimmers, which are the most powerful. They are also quite portable since they do not require a cord of any kind. However, they tend to be heavier, louder, more expensive and less friendly to the environment.
There are many different hedge trimmers available these days, and it can be difficult deciding which one will suit you best.
Asking yourself the EBQs above will help considerably in your efforts to determine which type will work best for your needs.
The key is to find the machine that will do the work you require, while staying within your budget. Once you have determined the answers to the EBQs, you are ready to make an intelligent buying decision.
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