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Hedge Trimmers Buying Guide

Whether you have a showcase specimen that serves as an anchoring point for a flowerbed or a sidewalk-long row of evergreens, hedge trimmers are a great tool to trim unruly branches and tidy up a sculptural element in the landscape.

Types of Hedge Trimmers

Types of Hedge Trimmers

For those with a traditional- or contemporary-style landscape, few elements are as pleasing -- or complementary -- as a beautifully sculpted row of boxwood hedges. Even for a more naturalistic setting such as a cottage garden, a hedge will occasionally need some selective sculpting. For your landscape, then, a hedge trimmer is probably an essential tool. For homeowners with one or two hedges, a hand-operated type may fill the bill. But for those with a larger collection of shrubs, motorized versions -- as well as one of two blade types -- may be the most convenient. Here's help to guide you on your hedge trimmer shopping.


Before the wide availability of lower-cost, engine-powered machines and tools for the garden, there was good old-fashioned arm power at work -- especially when trimming hedges. The same is true today; clippers of various sizes are still available.


If you're in the market for a garden machine, you'll likely encounter models powered by gas, electric, or battery/rechargeable. That's true for hedge trimmers as well.

Blade Type

Hedge trimmers differ in the type of blade available; single-action varieties have a continuous blade that moves in one direction. Dual-action blades have two blades that move back and forth, which may provide more flexibility.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

Hedge trimmers may seem like fairly straightforward garden machines, and for the most part they are. But there are a few small and large purchase considerations to review before making a purchase. To start, think about your landscape and the items you need or want to trim. Is your space big? Do you have a lot of hedges to keep tidy? Then blade length may be your most important consideration. If you have a particular grip you prefer, spend time handling various hedge trimmers. And regardless of which specifications end up being important, review safety features closely. Here's help to get you started.

Safety Features

Motorized hedge trimmers likely have standard safety features in place to help protect you from injury. You may also need to purchase additional items, such as gloves and safety goggles.

Handle Design

The placement and design of hedge trimmer handles varies from machine to machine. What you prefer depends on how you want to hold and operate the trimmer.

Blade Length

From very short, foot-long blades to those that reach about 2 feet, hedge trimmers vary in blade length. For tight situations or where you desire more exact shapes and sculpting capabilty, a shorter blade may be preferable.

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