The 9 Best Hedge Trimmers for Perfectly Manicured Shrubs

The Stihl HSA 56 hedge trimmer provides professional results without the need to call in the experts.

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Hedge Trimmer
Courtesy of Ace

Trimming your hedges is an essential part of maintaining a tidy-looking yard. Whether you're growing boxwoods as a low foundation hedge or larger shrubs as a screen for backyard privacy, there are plenty of tools available that make hedge trimming much easier. Since there are so many hedge trimmers on the market, with gas-powered, corded electric, and cordless options, it can be tough knowing which ones to go for.

"Gas hedge trimmers were once the go-to for professionals or anyone doing a lot of hedge trimming," says Harry Granville, founder of the Gardening Squad, a landscape design and garden maintenance company. "Nowadays, cordless battery-powered trimmers can be just as effective and save you the hassle of heavy maintenance and dealing with fuel. Not to mention, they're lighter than gas-powered options and start effortlessly in cold weather."

Other important aspects to consider when shopping for a hedge trimmer are the weight of the tool and the blade length.

Our top pick is the Stihl HSA 56 18-Inch 36 V Battery Hedge Trimmer Kit which, though a cordless battery-powered machine, offers professional results, easy handling, and a superior run time, allowing you to trim up to 1,000 feet of hedges on one charge. It also has the widest trimming capacity we've come across with its ability to cut branches up to 1.66 inches in diameter.

Here are the best hedge trimmers.

Best Overall: Stihl HSA 56 18-Inch 36 V Battery Hedge Trimmer Kit

Stihl HSA 56 18-Inch 36 V Battery Hedge Trimmer Kit

Ace

Why You Should Get It: It can cut brush up to 1.66 inches in diameter, which is larger than other similar trimmers.

Keep in Mind: The blade screws tend to wear out after a season of heavy use, but you can easily replace them.

Our overall choice for the best hedge trimmer is the Stihl HSA 56 hedge trimmer kit. This powerful hedge trimmer can easily compete with a commercial-grade gas hedge trimmer and is used by professionals and homeowners alike for more heavy-duty hedge trimming. The blades on this hedge trimmer are double-sided and extremely sharp, effortlessly cutting through twigs, branches, and leaves in both directions, leaving hedges with a clean, professional look.

"Over the last four years, battery-powered trimmers have excelled in that they have a greater battery life and offer just as much convenience and flexibility as a gas-powered tool without the need to refuel or inhale toxins," Granville says.

His personal hedge trimmer of choice when working on clients' gardens is this Stihl model, which offers superior battery life compared to similar models, giving you the ability to cut up to 1,000 feet of hedges on a single charge. It also features a large cutting width of 1.66 inches that can get through even larger branches. Plus, it only weighs a little over 8 pounds—and that's including the battery!

Though gloves are always necessary when handling these types of tools, this machine's handles have a comfortable soft grip, making it easy to grasp and control. Plus, it has a blade tip protector that will keep it safe if you're cutting near walls or the ground. There's also a blade cover that clicks into place when you've finished using the trimmer to prevent accidents and a handy hanging slot for you to hang it up in the garage or tool shed.

You'll likely find lots of uses for this hedge trimmer around your property. Make sure to regularly check the trimmer's components for wear and tear, including the blade screws, which may need to be replaced after a season of heavy use. Luckily, it's easy to find extra screws.

Price at time of publish: $250

Product Details:

  • Power: Cordless battery-powered, 36V battery
  • Tool length: 45 inches
  • Blade length: 18 inches
  • Maximum cutting width: 1.66 inches
  • Weight: 8.1 pounds

Best Budget: Greenworks 4-Amp 22-Inch Corded Electric Hedge Trimmer

Greenworks 4-Amp 22-Inch Corded Electric Dual-Action Hedge Trimmer

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This is an extremely lightweight and economical tool with a limited four-year warranty.

Keep in Mind: Its cutting diameter is only 5/8 of an inch, so it won't be able to tackle heavy-duty trimming tasks.

For light-duty hedge trimming on smaller properties, a commercial-grade or high-end tool isn't a necessity. The best hedge trimmers for budget-conscious shoppers is the Greenworks corded electric hedge trimmer. It can sufficiently take on all the trimming work required in a small- or medium-sized yard. This tool's only real limitation, besides its small cutting diameter of 5/8 inch, is its cord. You'll need to pair this hedge trimmer with a long extension cord to reach the far end of your yard.

Its front handle wraps all the way around the tool so you can hold onto it whichever way feels the most comfortable, and both front and back handles provide a good grip. Its super-light weight makes it feel a little like a toy, but don't be fooled; this trimmer packs a punch and can cleanly slice through leafy shrubs and brambles.

At this price, there's not much more you could ask for in a hedge trimmer. The fact that it's so affordable and comes with a four-year warranty is rather remarkable, too.

Price at time of publish: $38

Product Details:

  • Power: Corded electric, 4-amp motor
  • Tool length: 37.8 inches
  • Blade length: 22 inches
  • Maximum cutting width: 0.625 inches
  • Weight: 5.72 pounds

Best Gas: Echo 20-Inch 21.2 cc Gas 2-Stroke Hedge Trimmer

Echo 20-Inch 21.2 cc Gas 2-Stroke Hedge Trimmer

Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: It's a professional-grade tool that is extremely powerful, has a long run time for tending to large properties, and is much lighter than other gas trimmers.

Keep in Mind: You have to keep it out of the cold in the winter to avoid it refusing to start.

Though more and more people are opting for battery-powered options (especially urban gardening companies, Granville tells us), gas-powered tools are still very much the preferred option for many professional gardeners and landscapers, with many homeowners favoring them, too, for their reliability and power.

This Echo tool is our choice for the best hedge trimmer powered by gas for many reasons, not least of which is its low weight of 10 pounds (without the fuel). Gas tools are often much heavier than battery or electric models, but this unit is impressively light, making it a great pick for anyone with many hedges to tend to.

Its 21.2 cc, two-stroke engine is designed for commercial use and its 20-inch blade is double-sided and cuts both ways for faster trimming. This feature also makes the blade last longer since it's not just one side taking the brunt of the work. This trimmer also features a tip guard and blade guards for added blade and user safety, too.

Since the bar is the same size as the blade, the tool is easier to manage, say, if you're up on a ladder, but the good control is also aided by the two large ergonomic grip handles that are comfortable to hold.

This hedge trimmer also has improved filtration to minimize fumes and improve engine life, and you can replace the filter easily without having to use any tools. Just make sure you store it in a warm place if you want to start it up in the winter.

This machine has been designed to last a long time with proper care, but for extra peace of mind, the manufacturer offers a two-year warranty for anyone using it professionally. If you're using it for your home, however, you get an impressive warranty of five years.

Price at time of publish: $329

Product Details:

  • Power: Gas powered, 21.2 cc 2-stroke engine
  • Tool length: 41.9 inches
  • Blade length: 20 inches
  • Maximum cutting width: 1 inch
  • Weight: 10 pounds

Related: The 8 Best Lawn Mowers to Keep Your Yard Neat and Trim

Best Cordless: RYOBI 22-Inch 18V Cordless Hedge Trimmer

RYOBI ONE+ Lithium+ 22 in. 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Hedge Trimmer

Courtesy of Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: This trimmer comes with the battery and charger included.

Keep in Mind: It's best for smaller properties.

To keep shrubbery in small- to medium-sized yards immaculately pruned, this Ryobi 18V trimmer is a great choice. It has a run time of 35 minutes on its 1.5 Ah battery, which might be less than that of more professional-grade models, but it'll provide enough trimming time for a weekly or monthly hedge maintenance session. It can even trim and clean up your rose and blackberry bushes as well as tall ornamental grass.

If, however, you're undertaking a larger job, you could always purchase a second battery and swap it out when one dies to double the runtime. Another option is to get a stronger battery, which will also give you more working time; this hedge trimmer is compatible with Ryobi's 2 Ah and 4 Ah batteries, too. In any event, this trimmer's battery charges fairly quickly, so you could always take a break and enjoy an iced coffee while it gets ready to fire up again.

At 33 inches long, this hedge trimmer is relatively compact, and that, in addition to its low weight and two comfortable handles, makes it easy to control. Another impressive perk is its 'HedgeSweep' capability, which brushes the clippings off the hedge as you trim to save you having to do it manually when you're done trimming.

Its protective blade cover fits tightly and securely into place but needs a little effort to take off—remember to wear protective gloves and pull it towards the tip of the blade.

Price at time of publish: $90

Product Details:

  • Power: Cordless battery-powered, 18V lithium-ion 1.5 Ah battery
  • Tool length: 33 inches
  • Blade length: 22 inches
  • Maximum cutting width: 0.75 inch
  • Weight: 7.25 pounds

Best Corded Electric: Kobalt 4-Amp 26-Inch Corded Electric Hedge Trimmer

Kobalt 4-Amp 26-Inch Corded Electric Hedge Trimmer

Lowes

Why You Should Get It: It needs no refueling or recharging, is extremely lightweight, and has a very long blade to cut larger swaths of hedges at a time.

Keep in Mind: This is a corded hedge trimmer, and cutting through the electrical cord is a possibility. You'll want to be extremely careful when operating it. You'll also need an outdoor extension cord.

For lighter-duty hedge trimming in a residential yard, a good corded electric hedge trimmer, like this Kobalt 4-amp model, will do nicely. It doesn't need any charging or refueling and is ready to go by simply plugging it into an outlet—you'll just need an extension cord. This hedge trimmer is also available at just a fraction of the cost of its gas- or battery-powered counterparts.

In addition to its unlimited power supply, one of the most impressive features of this electric hedge trimmer is its long and strong blade, which is made from durable carbon steel. While it won't cut through thicker hedges or branches, its 26-inch length allows you to trim larger widths at a time—perfect for straightening out the tops of square-shaped hedges for that perfectly manicured look.

Its rear handle can rotate so you can adjust it for comfortable handling, whether you're trimming the tops or the sides of your shrubs. Plus, at just 6.6 pounds, this model is extremely lightweight, too, meaning you won't get any user fatigue even after using it for long periods of time. Not only is this tool economical, but it also comes with a five-year limited warranty and a blade cover.

Price at time of publish: $70

Product Details:

  • Power: Corded electric, 4.5 amps
  • Tool length: 41.25 inches
  • Blade length: 26 inches
  • Maximum cutting width: 0.75 inch
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds

Related: The 8 Best Weed Whackers for a Tidy, Weed-Free Lawn

Best Manual: Tabor Tools B620A Hedge Shears

Hedge Trimmer
Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Get It: You can adjust the tension of these shears to suit your strength and the type of plants you're trimming.

Keep in Mind: These shears aren't designed to cut through branches, unlike some hedge trimmers.

Before the invention of gas- and electric-powered hedge trimmers, people kept their shrubs neat and manicured the good old-fashioned way with a pair of manual hedge shears like these ones from Tabor Tools. These handheld tools are still considered a great way to maintain pretty shrubs, especially the smaller types that are kept in planters, and are most often used in collaboration with a motorized trimmer.

These particular hedge shears have strong carbon steel wavy blades for more accuracy when trimming and they're super sharp, too, for precise and healthy cuts.

The two handles are rubberized to provide maximum grip with your gardening gloves, and you can even adjust the tension via a knob to suit your strength and the type of plants you're trimming. This knob also comes in handy after a while when the shears' blades may become slightly misaligned, allowing you to fine-tune them back to par.

The high quality of these trimmers is evident just by looking at them, but they feel sturdy in the hand, too. In operation, they glide open and closed with each snip, making clean cuts that don't pull at the plants. Though they're excellent for leafy growth and smaller twigs, you won't be able to get through branches with these trimmers.

To keep them in tip-top shape and rust-free, you can rub the blades down with a lubricating oil in between uses. There's no safety latch to keep them closed so they're best stored hanging up instead of in a tool bag.

Price at time of publish: $32

Product Details:

  • Power: Manual
  • Tool length: 25 inches
  • Blade length: 8 inches
  • Maximum cutting width: 0.5 inches
  • Weight: 2.42 pounds

Best Lightweight: EGO POWER+ 56-Volt 24-in Dual Cordless Electric Hedge Trimmer

EGO POWER+ 24-in Cordless Electric Hedge Trimmer

Courtesy of Lowe's

Why You Should Get It: You can use this tool for up to 75 minutes without any fatigue thanks to its light weight and low vibration.

Keep in Mind: Using the tool on branches over 1-inch in diameter (though it may be tempting because it certainly looks like it can handle it) can seriously harm the blade and the motor.

For a battery-powered model that can give you way more power and flexibility than a corded electric model, this dual cordless hedge trimmer from Ego Power+ easily beats the competition in the best lightweight category at just under 9 pounds with the battery. Aside from its low weight, it comes with a 56V 2.5 Ah battery that allows it to run for up to 75 minutes, depending on usage. It can also fully recharge in just 50 minutes.

This hedge trimmer has everything going for it and was very nearly our top choice for the best overall trimmer, losing out to the Stihl model only because of its superior cutting capacity of 1.66 inches. This Ego tool still has a pretty impressive cutting width and is able to cut branches up to 1 inch in diameter. You shouldn't attempt to tackle brush thicker than this, however, because it could damage the blade and motor.

Although the Stihl model states that it's almost 1 pound lighter than the Ego, this model somehow feels like it's lighter. We're putting this down to the Ego's distribution of weight, low vibration that doesn't strain the user, and comfortable grippy handles.

To ensure the best operation and to extend the life of the trimmer's blade, the manufacturer recommends lubricating the blade with lightweight machine oil both before and after each use. The tool itself comes with a five-year manufacturer's warranty and the battery and charger both have a three-year warranty.

Price at time of publish: $220

Product Details:

  • Power: Cordless battery-powered, 56V 2.5 Ah battery
  • Tool length: 42.1 inches
  • Blade length: 24 inches
  • Maximum cutting width: 1 inch
  • Weight: 8.96 pounds

Related: The 10 Best Garden Hoses for Watering All Your Plants

Best Small: Worx Power Share 20-Volt 8-Inch Cordless Electric Hedge Trimmer

Worx Power Share 20-Volt 8-Inch Dual Cordless Electric Hedge Trimmer

Lowes

Why You Should Get It: This hedge trimmer is ideal for more detailed trimming work on leafy plants and bushes and provides more control.

Keep in Mind: It can only cut branches and twigs up to 0.3 inches in diameter and can't replace a full-size hedge trimmer for heavier trimming work.

If you don't have many large bushes in your garden but still want the convenience and speed of a hedge trimmer for tidying up smaller shrubs, you'll need a compact handheld trimmer like this one from Worx. What could otherwise take up to an hour to trim with regular hand-held pruning shears will only take minutes with this handy gardening tool.

Many gardeners have one of these little tools in addition to their full-size hedge trimmers because it's effortless to use and provides a lot of control for more detailed work (if you're wondering how people get those cute little bushes on their porches perfectly spherical, now you know). It only weighs 2 pounds, so you won't feel any strain while trimming. Plus, it has a comfortable soft grip for added comfort.

Included with the trimmer, in addition to the battery and charger, is an 8-inch dual-action blade for shrubs and thin branches, a 4-inch shearing attachment (think oversized hair clippers) for trimming grass, and a blade sheath for protection. The battery is interchangeable with any other cordless Worx tools you may own, but it does take around five hours to fully charge.

If you want more of a reach with this tool, perhaps to access hanging shrubs, a pole extension is available that you can purchase separately.

Price at time of publish: $99

Product Details:

  • Power: Cordless battery-powered, 20V 2 Ah battery
  • Tool length: 11 inches (without attachments)
  • Blade length: 8 inches
  • Maximum cutting width: 0.3 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds

Related: The 7 Best Riding Mowers to Mow the Lawn with Comfort and Ease

Best Pole: DeWalt DCPH820M1 Pole Hedge Trimmer

DeWalt DCPH820M1 Pole Hedge Trimmer

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This tool can morph into several positions to trim trees, bushes, and hedges of all sizes and shapes.

Keep in Mind: Like most pole saws or trimmers, it can start to feel a little heavy when used for longer periods at shoulder height or above.

To save you from having to use a hedge trimmer on a ladder, which can be dangerous and should be done with the utmost care, this DeWalt pole hedge trimmer can reach trees and hedges that are up to 12 feet off the ground (and even higher if you happen to be over 6 feet tall). You can, of course, use a ladder for even further reach, but as Granville advises, be careful not to lean forward or overreach.

The blades on this tool are made from strong hardened steel that can cut quickly and cleanly and can even snip branches that are up to 1 inch in diameter. This battery-powered tool comes with a 4.0 Ah battery and charger and provides around an hour of run time, depending on usage. You'll likely find that you need a break before it runs out of battery though since, at 13 pounds, this sturdy tool can feel quite heavy after time, especially when used overhead.

The best thing about this tool is that its head can rotate 180 degrees and be adjusted to seven different positions. Even though it's not extendable, the adjustable positions allow users to tend to trees, shrubbery, and tall hedges with straight and sharp angles that need precision trimming. Set to a different angle, it works just as well rounding off hedges, too.

Price at time of publish: $242

Product Details:

  • Power: Cordless battery-powered, 20V 4.0 Ah battery
  • Tool length: 7 feet
  • Blade length: 22 inches
  • Maximum cutting width: 1 inch
  • Weight: 13 pounds

The Bottom Line

Used and recommended by professionals, the Stihl HSA 56 18-Inch 36 V Battery Hedge Trimmer Kit is our top pick for the best hedge trimmer currently on the market. This cordless battery-powered machine provides professional-grade results, is easy to handle, and can trim up to 1,000 feet of hedges on one charge. It also has the widest trimming capacity of any similar hedge trimmer and can cut through branches with a diameter of up to 1.66 inches.

What to Know About Hedge Trimmers Before Shopping

Power Source

It's important to note the difference between gas, electric, and battery-powered hedge trimmers before settling on the best tool for your needs.

Corded Electric

Corded electric hedge trimmers are typically the lightest and most affordable options available. When considering a corded hedge trimmer, you'll want to factor in the size of your yard, and make sure that you can purchase a grounded extension cord long enough to reach the shrubs at the farthest end of your property.

There's a risk of the cord getting tangled in outdoor furniture, hoses, and other obstacles and of accidentally cutting the cord while working. But with careful operation, corded electric hedge trimmers are safe when used as directed.

Gas Powered

Hedge trimmers that use gasoline tend to be a bit more expensive than other models but can offer a lot of convenience and power, which is why professionals use them.

"Consumers that have larger yards or more trimming [to do] often find gas-powered units can allow maximum freedom," says Bill Marmaduke, product manager for Troy-Bilt. "They can run longer without refueling or needing to recharge a battery."

These tools, however, do require more maintenance than other types of trimmers as well as extra care when adding fuel and oil. "The balance between oil and fuel when you're making a mix for a 2-stroke gas trimmer needs to be very precise," Granville says. "You could end up ruining an expensive tool by putting in the wrong ratio of oil to fuel."

Cordless Battery Powered

Like gas trimmers, battery-powered options come with the benefit of being cordless, giving you maximum freedom, but they're generally quieter and don't emit any toxins. According to Marmaduke, cordless hedge trimmers are "one of the most efficient tools in your yard to be powered by a battery."

He recommends looking for hedge trimmers ranging from a minimum of 20 volts all the way up to 80 volts. While more affordable trimmers may come with batteries that last only around 15 to 20 minutes, higher-end cordless trimmers can last over an hour, depending on usage. Plus, you always have the option of carrying around an extra battery pack to swap in when one dies.

Blade Length

The length of the blade you need (many are between 18 and 22 inches) depends on the size of your hedges and shrubs, and you'll want to take note of the branch diameter that each hedge trimmer is designed to cut through. "The most powerful hedge trimmers can only cut 1.5-inch limbs," Marmaduke says.

But don't choose a hedge trimmer solely based on what you think it looks like it can handle. "The spacing of the trimmer's teeth is not indicative of the size of the branch that can be cut, so it's important to not just buy a trimmer because it appears to have cutting teeth spaced the size of the branch you intend to cut," Marmaduke adds.

To choose the best hedge trimmer blade length for you, Granville advises buying one to suit your hedges' height and thickness as well as your own personal size and reach. "You have to choose a length that feels comfortable, especially when you're working on top of a ladder as you don't want to be leaning too far across to reach," he says.

A longer blade may seem like an all-around better option, but this isn't always the case. "The longer the blade, the more unwieldy the tool," Granville says. Hedge trimmers with long blades are used by professionals who have a lot of experience handling them, whereas anyone who hasn't used a professional-grade trimmer before might find it a little harder to control.

Portability

While corded electric hedge trimmers offer unlimited power and a much lighter weight, they don't provide as much flexibility because they're tied to an extension cord. To carry your hedge trimmer around large yards without any limitations, gas-powered or cordless battery-powered trimmers are best. You could always carry a generator and extension cord around with you if you have a corded electric model, but that's not as practical.

The weight of the tool will be another defining factor in how easy it is to carry around. Though all hedge trimmers differ by only a few pounds, this slight difference becomes clearly evident once you're using the tool—especially if you're holding it above shoulder height.

Your Questions, Answered

How do you sharpen hedge trimmers?

If your hedge trimmer is not cutting as cleanly as it once was and you notice that branches are starting to get jammed in the blade's teeth, it's probably time for a good blade sharpening. However, Granville advises leaving any hedge trimmer maintenance to the professionals at your local hardware store—and that includes sharpening the blade. "Though it seems easy to do, the angle of a hedge trimmer's blade makes it quite hard to sharpen yourself, and you could end up making it even blunter," he says.

If you do still want to give it a go, Stihl's website provides a step-by-step guide on how to sharpen hedge trimmer blades, as well as a helpful video tutorial. Warning: It's not quick or easy, and you'll need a flat file, whetstone, soft cloth, a resin solvent, and safety gear, including safety glasses or a face shield to protect yourself from any flying metal bits.

Taking your tool to a garden machinery specialist every year or so to get thoroughly serviced, oiled, and sharpened is far easier and much safer than doing it yourself. "These professionals will service your trimmer for you for very little money and keep the tool in its best condition, ultimately greatly extending its life," Granville explains.

If you only use your trimmer occasionally, it can go a lot longer between maintenance services.

Can hedge trimmers cut tree branches?

Every hedge trimmer comes with a manufacturer-recommended maximum cutting width clearly stated. This is usually between 0.5 and 1.5 inches in diameter. As a general rule, Granville advises cutting "nothing wider than your little finger," as this could end up ruining the tool and void its warranty.

How do you clean hedge trimmers?

Cleaning hedge trimmers is straightforward. After each use, Granville recommends brushing off any stuck-on clippings and wiping the tool down with a cloth to remove any surface water. Then, give it a spritz of an antiseptic or sterilizing spray to prevent the spread of any plant diseases. Finally, squirt some lubricant of your choice on the blade to prevent it from rusting.

Who We Are

This article was written by Kat de Naoum. Kat has over 10 years of commerce writing experience and is also the commerce editor-at-large at Thomas-Xometry, the leading U.S. online platform for supplier discovery and product sourcing. For this best hedge trimmer article, Kat reviewed and tested multiple hedge trimmers and spoke to Harry Granville, founder of the Gardening Squad, a landscape design and garden maintenance company, and Bill Marmaduke, product manager for power-tool company Troy-Bilt. She also researched factors such as each product's power, battery life and charge time, blade length, and value.

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