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2012 Hedge Trimmers

What makes the perfect hedge trimmer?

Does it take ages to hack through stubborn hedge growth and thick branches? As well as looking untidy, overgrown hedging will kill leaves beneath and pull everything out of shape. If left untended, hedges can get out of control and take double the time to trim back.

Rather than getting out the shears again, why not consider using a hedge trimmer instead. As well as being more powerful and easier to use than shears, hedge trimmers take all the strain so you don’t have to.

If you already own a hedge trimmer, upgrading to a new model can help to get the job done quicker and more efficiently. Thanks to advancing technologies, the latest hedge trimmers offer greater comfort, control and power. Use this guide to make sure you get the most out of your hedge trimmer.

What are you looking for in a hedge trimmer?

  • Blades v. weight
  • Power up
  • Special features
  • Safety first

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Blades v. weight

Hedges are a great alternative to a fence as a garden boundary; as well as adding natural texture they also create a habitat for wildlife. But garden hedges need regular maintenance to stay looking smart.

Thick, overgrown or naturally large branches are almost impossible to maintain by hand with shears: If you can cut through stems at all, it takes hours to finish the job.

Hedge trimmers are the perfect garden tool, offering a quick and easy to use solution. However it’s important to choose the right type and size of blade to match your garden hedges.

Quality, sharpness and durability are key to achieving an aggressive and high performance cut. The sharper the blade, the cleaner the cut; the longer the blade, the quicker it will cut. But if you only have a small hedge, it’s easy to take more off than you planned. Choose the right length based on the thickness of your hedge for best results.

Blade width measures the gap between teeth to determine the thickness of the cut. The wider the teeth, the more capable hedge trimmers are of tackling larger branch sizes.

Most importantly, make sure the weight of the hedge trimmer feels comfortable to hold – you could be carrying it for long periods and at awkward angles. Choose a larger handle separation for more balance and control, and to take the weight away from the shoulders during operation.

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Power up

Choosing the right power option for a garden hedge trimmer is important. Whether electric, cordless or petrol, there are some key factors to consider.

Electric hedge trimmers are lightweight, powerful and offer ‘pick up and go’ ease of use and storage. Make sure there’s enough cord length to work along the full hedge line.

Battery powered hedge trimmers are cord-free to deliver the ultimate in hedge cutting freedom. Lightweight and powerful, they can be used anywhere – even to slice the toughest branches - with zero restrictions. Cordless cutting performance is superb, with excellent run time and no harmful emissions.

Although offering high power, petrol hedge trimmers tend to be harder to use than electric models. They are heavier, noisier and smoky in operation; starting the engine with a pull cord is not nearly as easy as a switch.

Whichever type of hedge trimmer you decide on, make sure you test out the balance too.

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Special features

Some electric hedge trimmers come with a range of special features to enhance comfort, control and safety. These include new cutting technology, ergonomically designed handles and perfectly balanced weight distribution.

The E-Drive® technology gives cordless hedge trimmers high power and efficiency, while preventing stalling. Mechanically stored energy is accelerated, making it possible to cut through tough branches with absolute ease.

Some electric hedge trimmers are designed for even weight distribution between blade and handle, for better balance and a sense of security – especially on a vertical cutting line. (A higher proportion of hedge cutting occurs on the vertical surface, rather than horizontal.)

Minimising the load on arms, shoulders and back, it makes for easy handling and increased flexibility when trimming the sides of hedges. And, gives you complete confidence during operation.

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Safety first

When using a hedge trimmer in the garden, you’ll need the correct safety equipment. Safety goggles protect eyes from flying debris are advisable.

Some electric hedge trimmers have a number of safety features built into the design. A dual switch ensures hedge trimmers only work with both hands on the controls, preventing accidental starting.

Smart cable management keeps cables away from the hedge or cutting path, and cable retention prevents accidental disconnection. Low profile handle and guard systems carefully protect against flying branch material without blocking sight of the blades.

Any socket outlet for plugging in portable electrical equipment outdoors should have RCD protection. An RCD is a safety device that switches off electricity automatically when it detects an earth fault.

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