Updated 21 November 2022
We have tested hedge trimmers and name Ryobi RHT36C60R15 as best hedge trimmer of 2022. It is a battery powered hedge trimmer with a lot of power and an ergonomic design, which makes this a winner in our test.
Our tests are independently conducted and reflect the test editor's honest and objective opinions. Selection of products and test results are in no way influenced by manufacturers, retailers or other internal or external parties.
We carry out all of our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used in reality. We have tested hedge trimmers outdoors in genuine private gardens on different types of hedge. They have been used individually for long periods and also compared to each other. The most common type of hedges have been thuja, hawthorn and privet. The hedge trimmers have been tested on a number of points, of which some of the most important are as follows:
Performance: What thickness branches can the hedge trimmer cut? How long is the cutting time in relation to the battery size? How much of the hedge can it cut in one go?
Construction: What materials has the manufacturer used? How long is the blade? Where are the buttons and handles?
Ergonomics: How heavy does the hedge trimmer feel? How well balanced does it feel in your hands? Can the handles be rotated so that it's easy to cut vertically? What's the noise level like?
Ease of use: Is it easy to get started with the machine? How easily accessible and understandable are all the buttons and handles?
Other aspects that have been taken into account are safety functions, charging times and of course also the price - primarily the combination price including the hedge trimmer, battery and charger. All of the above aspects have been taken into account, and the score ultimately reflects our perception of how well the hedge trimmer functions in relation to its price.
Well designed with intelligent functions for a broad target audience
Type: Battery-powered Power: 36 V Battery: 1.5 Ah Battery life: 30 min (measured) Min/Ah: 20 Weight: 4266 g (measured, including battery), 3344 g (measured, excluding battery) Bar length: 70 cm (measured) Noise level: 75.3 dB (measured)
The Ryobi RHT36C60R15 is a hedge trimmer with a good long bar and a number of clever functions. One of the best functions is the "hedge sweep". This is essentially a little shark's fin on the bar that helps to clear away clippings from branches when you're cutting the hedge. This works better than we'd expected. The function is particularly useful when you're cutting along the top of a hedge, because otherwise it can be difficult to access that area to sweep it clean. Another strength of the RHT36C60R15 is that you can adjust the handle both 45 and 90 degrees. However, the function allowing you to reduce the speed is really only useful in theory. In practice, fine cut mode is really hardly any different when you're using the hedge trimmer. But the ergonomics are good. The hedge trimmer is well balanced and has a comfortable rubberised handle that gives you a good grip.
The Ryobi RHT36C60R15 performs well. It can easily cope with branches up to around 1.5 cm in diameter, which covers the majority of hedges. With thicker branches it tends to tear at them, and sometimes it just can't cope. Unfortunately the battery life is quite short. We recommend that you buy an extra battery of at least 2 Ah so that if necessary you can swap between them. But this means that the price tag increases quite a bit. However, one advantage is that this model belongs to Ryobi's One Plus system, which means you can share the battery with all of the other 36-volt machines in the range. The battery indicator, which is nicely visible to the user, gets a thumbs up from us. As does the hand guard, which is made of transparent plastic, giving you a good overview of the bar. The scabbard is made of hard plastic and does what it should. Something we'd have liked to see on this hedge trimmer is a child lock. It's very easy to start the machine, so you need to remove the battery after use if you have children at home. In many ways, the RHT36C60R15 is a really good hedge trimmer. The long bar length means that you can easily use it to trim even slightly wider hedges, and the clever functions make it user friendly. If you make sure to buy an extra battery you get a really good user experience if you have a normal sized hedge.
Very powerful and time efficient for anyone wanting to trim hedges like a pro
Type: Battery-powered Power: 36 V Battery: 6 Ah Battery life: 3 h 51 min (measured) Min/Ah: 38 Weight: 5174 g (measured, including battery), 3444 g (measured, excluding battery) Bar length: 68 cm (measured) Noise level: 72.4 dB (measured)
The Stihl HSA86 is a very powerful hedge trimmer with a substantial battery that means it runs for a very long time. This feels like a professional machine, but it's as heavy as one too. Just the battery alone weighs almost two kilos. If you don't need this long a battery life and want a hedge trimmer that's easier to handle, you can buy a battery with a lower capacity to reduce the weight. The actual hedge trimmer is otherwise ergonomically designed with a good grip and a very small safety guard at the front, giving you a really good view of the bar. But because it's small it doesn't give much protection against branches. However, a pair of good gloves means this isn't a problem. The hedge trimmer gives off some vibration, but not enough to be a problem.
The Stihl HSA86 has a good long bar. Together with the powerful motor, this makes the hedge trimmer extremely efficient. It can cope with all the branches it encounters. Even if they're as thick as 1.5 cm – which is pretty big for a hedge, even if you don't trim it regularly – they're no match for the HSA86. Above this it struggles a bit. Despite the heavy battery, the machine is nicely balanced. It also has a clear battery indicator and a scabbard in hard plastic. The scabbard has pre-set holes you can cut out on the back to hang up the hedge trimmer with, if you like. The quick charger charges the battery very quickly. The battery is compatible with several of Stihl's other garden products, such as their lawnmowers, so you can use it for other purposes. The Stihl HSA86 is suitable if you have a really broad, coarse hedge that means you require both power and time. Of course the price reflects this too, but if you need a professional machine it's a very good buy.
Affordable and ideal for easy to medium difficulty hedges
Type: Battery-powered Power: 40 V Battery: 5 Ah Battery life: 2 h 41 min (measured) Min/Ah: 32.2 Weight: 4044 g (measured including battery), 2612 g (measured, excluding battery) Bar length: 55 cm (measured) Noise level: 90.5 dB (measured) Miscellaneous: Can buy a battery belt to support the weight
The AL-KO EnergyFlex HT 4055 is an affordable hedge trimmer for medium-sized hedges with branches up to 1 cm thick If the branches are thicker, around 1.5 cm or more, the cutting process is slower and it pinches branches rather than cuts them. But in terms of price, it does a decent job.
The working time you get out of a 5-amp battery is up to 50 minutes as long as you don’t load it too heavily.
The hedge trimmer is easy to use and has handles with a curve and a partly rubberised surface. This gives you a good grip when working. Buttons and functions are well placed so that they work for both right and left-handed people.
The only real disadvantages of the construction are that it feels a bit plasticky, and that the trimmer is very sensitive in terms of how hard you have to push for it to make contact when you start it. Because you alternately press and release the start when you mow the hedge, and the machine is so sensitive, the start button can feel a bit awkward.
The hedge trimmer is well balanced and doesn’t particularly suffer from vibrations. Of course it vibrates a bit, but not more than you’d expect given the price, and not so much that it’s a nuisance.
Furthermore, the EnergyFlex HT 4055 weighs about the same as other hedge trimmers. However, it has a special solution with a battery belt to relieve tired arms. This works so that there’s a cable approximately 1.2 m long connected to the hedge trimmer, and the cable is in turn connected to an adapter and a belt where you connect the battery. In other words, you can run the hedge trimmer as usual (with the battery in it) or you can put the battery in the belt instead. The belt and adapter weigh a lot, but on the other hand you relieve your arms by about a third of the weight, which is really useful because you often hold a hedge trimmer quite high up and at awkward angles.
We've tried this solution out in other contexts and not been very happy with it. This is because you have the cord hanging loose at your side. It would have been useful if instead it was flexible (contracted automatically). But at least on this hedge trimmer we don’t run into any major problems with getting tangled on branches or similar, as we did when we tested it with a chainsaw. So in this case, it's a welcome extra feature.
The AL-KO EnergyFlex HT 4050 comes with a hard plastic scabbard that’s easy to remove. But what’s ingenious about it is that it allows you to hang the hedge trimmer on the wall, either vertically, or – thanks to two extra screws – horizontally. Being able to hang garden tools on the wall to keep your workshop tidy is very practical, but very few manufacturers seem to appreciate this. All too often you have to modify the tools and solve this problem yourself.
The length of the bar is fine in terms of price, even if you feel a bit taken in by the stated size (60 cm), because it’s actually 55 cm in practice as there are no teeth at the ends.
The AL-KO HT 4050 is ideal for anyone looking for a hedge trimmer for a small or medium-sized hedge with branches up to 1 cm thick.
Outstanding hedge trimmer with fantastic performance
Type: Petrol Power output: 0.65 kW Weight: 4,716 g (measured) Blade length: 55 cm Noise level: 99.8 dB (measured)
The STIHL HS 46 C-E is a hedge trimmer that offers the major advantage of being lightweight. It is surprisingly light for a petrol hedge trimmer, yet has a very good anti-vibration system and is fantastically well-balanced. This ensures you a comfortable cutting experience, even during long trimming sessions.
Some users may feel its lack of adjustable positions and rubberised grip are a disadvantage. On the other hand, its light weight and excellent balance mean that this is not noticeable when you are trimming, especially if you wear protective gloves – which clearly you always should, but the lack of a front hand guard on this trimmer makes it essential.
The HS 46 C-E offers easy maintenance. For example, the petrol tank is well-placed and has a quick-release lid where you lift a flap and then rotate the lid three-quarters of a turn, which allows you to unscrew it without removing your gloves.
The blade could have been a little longer. But its 55 centimetres is sufficient for a wide range of larger hedges and it is powerful enough to cut thicker shoots as well.
STIHL HS 46 C-E is very easy to start. It only takes 2–3 attempts, even when you haven’t used it for a while.
The engine is a two-stroke mix, but it sounds like a four-stroke engine and is considerably more powerful than you might think at first glance. It also cuts really precisely. Cutting back coarse hedges with two-centimetre shoots is easy and quick. It may take a little longer to prune larger shoots of up to 2.5 centimetres, but it’s still possible.
The hedge trimmer has a suspension bracket on the handle so that you can hang it on the wall of your shed. The noise level looks high on paper, which our measurements confirm. But the actual sound is quite pleasant, so it doesn't seem as noisy when you use it.
STIHL HS 46 C-E is suitable if you have large, coarse hedges and want a high-quality hedge trimmer that offers fast and effective cutting, and easy maintenance.
User-friendly, strong and well balanced for a wide target audience
Type: Battery-powered Power: 36 V Battery: 2 Ah Battery life: Standard: 1 h 26 min (measured) Eco mode: 2 h 5 min (measured) Min/Ah: 41 Weight: 3985 g (measured, including battery), 3185 g (measured, excluding battery) Bar length: 50 cm (measured) Noise level: 67.4 dB (measured)
The Husqvarna 115iHD45 is a hedge trimmer with high build quality that feels good when you use it. The feeling is a bit like cutting through cotton wool when you run it over a hedge. This is probably due to a combination of a light and quiet but simultaneously powerful machine. It also produces really good results. You get neat cut surfaces and it doesn't break off branches when it can't cope. Instead it simply switches off. On branches over 1.5 cm in diameter it starts to grumble a bit, and it's about here that you run into the limit of what this hedge trimmer can cope with. Unfortunately the bar is relatively short, which means that if you have a slightly wider hedge you may need to consider choosing another machine. The hedge trimmer has an eco mode that's useful when you've thoroughly maintained the hedge in previous years so you just have the odd thin branch sticking out. You'll clearly notice the difference between eco and full mode, both in terms of battery life and strength.
The Husqvarna 115iHD45 is well designed. The half-moon shaped handle makes it easy to move your hands and get a grip that works for various different angles. In terms of safety, we like the fact that there's a start button you have to press in before you can start using the hedge trimmer. However, there's no safety guard at the front, which means it needs a two-handed grip and some strength to get it going. The 115iHD45 has a really good anti-vibration system, so it's comfortable to work with even over longer periods. The battery life is also very good, and it charges quickly. However, the charger isn't a standard station you click the battery into, but a fiddlier version that takes up more space. Overall, however, this is a really good hedge trimmer that suits most home owners. You can cut long, quite thick hedges with a hedge trimmer that has high levels of ergonomics and build quality.
Very good for shaping and maintaining less substantial hedges
Type: Battery-powered Power: 18 V Battery: 2.5 Ah Battery life: 1 h 10 min (measured) Min/Ah: 28 Weight: 2453 g (measured, including battery), 2080 g (measured, excluding battery) Bar length: 58 cm (measured) Noise level: 65.6 dB (measured)
The AL-KO HT 2050 is a neat, light hedge trimmer that's ideal for shaping and similar finishing work.
For such a simple hedge trimmer, it's also quite powerful. The bar cuts well and doesn't get stuck in fiddly areas with lots of branches of mixed sizes. However, it can't cope with bigger branches – it simply chews away in the same place. This is more of a maintenance machine for anyone who trims their hedge so often that the branches don't have time to get thicker, or if you have bushes with thinner branches.
On the top of the hedge trimmer is a spirit level. Theoretically, this is a good addition, particularly given how well the HT 2050 performs in terms of shaping and finishing. But in practice, it doesn't work very well. It's pretty much impossible to keep an eye on whether the spirit level is perfectly vertical while you're using the hedge trimmer.
However, it's very easy to get an overview of the machine, so you really don't need the spirit level. In the majority of positions you can easily see through or over the hand guard.
The AL-KO HT 2050 has a really good scabbard. It's made from hard plastic and is easy to remove and replace. It's also got wings that allow you to insert a screw to hang it up. The hedge trimmer is also very well balanced and the ergonomics are good given the price – for example, you get a really good grip on the machine and the safety guard is sufficiently stiff.
The battery life is reasonable and easily lasts long enough for a normal sized hedge. Unfortunately there's no battery indicator on the hedge trimmer.
The HT 2050 is perfect if you want to be able to quickly maintain bushes with thinner branches, or if you want to shape bushes of species such as box.
AL-KO HT 2050 Easy Flex Hedge Trimmer with Battery and Charger Not Included-51cm Double Sided Cutter Blade, Silver
AL-KO HT 2050 Cordless Hedgetrimmer 20v / 51cm (Bare Tool)
AL-KO HT 2050 Easy Flex Cordless Hedge Trimmer 20V 2.5Ah Charger-Diamond Ground 51cm Double Sided Cutter Blade-Lightweight 2.8kg inc Battery, Grey
An affordable hedge trimmer for medium hedges
Type: Cordless Power: Battery (43V) Battery: 5 Ah Battery life: 1 h 30 min (measured) Min/Ah: 18 Weight: (measured, including battery), 3,853 g (measured, excluding battery), battery 1432 g (5 Ah), 872 g (2 Ah) Blade length: 60 cm (measured) Sound level: 98.8 dB (measured)
The Stiga SHT 700 AE is an affordable hedge trimmer with good performance and several great features. The hedge trimmer can handle branches up to around 20 millimetres, which is fully sufficient for a wide variety of hedges. It cuts through branches smoothly without jamming.
But a word of warning if you have an old-growth lilac hedge – the weight and performance of this trimmer make it unsuitable. But it will do a good job on a slightly younger lilac hedge.
Unfortunately, it is a bit heavy for a cordless hedge trimmer and it vibrates a lot. What’s more, they’ve removed the convenient handle that last year’s batteries had.
The Stiga SHT 700 AE has a convenient electronic starter. While it doesn’t have a child lock, the two-handed grip helps to lower the risk of accidents.
The hedge trimmer has a rotating handle, which is good from an ergonomic perspective. It has three different positions, 0/45/90, so it can move over an angle of 180 degrees. It does not move smoothly between the different modes, but it works well.
The SHT 700 AE has a hanging hole for easier storage when not in use. In terms of price, this is a completely acceptable hedge trimmer. It’s not a premium machine, but still has an electronic starter, can trim many of the more common types of hedge and can be used at an angle.
A winning combination of power and ergonomics
Type: Battery-powered Measured weight: 3793 g Power: 48 V Battery: 2.5 Ah Measured battery life: 59 min and 50 s Blade length: 65 cm
The Stiga SHT 48 AE stands out by combining plenty of power, good ergonomics and a high build quality in an affordable package. This battery-powered hedge trimmer can cope with both small and large tasks. Whether you're trimming an older hedge with thick branches or fiddly types like hawthorn, it has sufficient power to make clean, attractive cuts. In addition to its power, the SHT 48 AE has rotatable handles, which are very useful. Because you will mainly be trimming the hedge vertically, the handles provide you with good working ergonomics even when you're cutting on an angle. The long blades also help make the process quick. Despite the fact that the hedge trimmer is quite heavy, the work never feels like too much effort for the body.
One disadvantage of the SHT 48 AE is the safety button that you have to press in to start it. This is slightly inaccessible, but once you've got the hedge trimmer going it cuts without problems. The battery life is reasonable. The machine cuts for almost exactly an hour with a 2.5 Ah battery, and this is enough for a normal-sized hedge if you're used to the work. But if you have a bigger hedge, it might be a good idea to buy an extra battery.
Well-made hedge trimmer with good performance
Type: Cordless Power: 36V Battery: 2.1 Ah Battery life: 28 min (measured) Min/Ah: 13 Weight: (measured, including battery), 3,703 g (measured, excluding battery), BLI10 (2.1 Ah 36 V) 799 g Blade length: 60 cm (measured) Sound level: 98 dB (measured)
The Husqvarna 520iHD60 is a powerful machine. It can trim a hedge with branches up to 25–30 millimetres in size, but you can see how hard it has to work on the thickest ones.
Unfortunately, it devours a lot of battery. If you have a large hedge, you should buy double batteries so that you can swap. We manage to trim for just over 20 minutes on the one battery supplied (2 Ah). We also test using a battery with a higher capacity. While this makes the hedge trimmer a bit heavier at the back, it does ensure a more reasonable battery life.
The small battery lasted just over 30 metres in one of our test hedges, but this included trimming thicker branches as well. When trimming lightly, we estimate that it will last about twice as much.
We feel that the 520iHD60 is quite heavy, despite being well balanced. On the plus side, however, we note how free from vibrations it is.
The grip is also good. The handle at the front is curved, at the end you have a small guard for your hand. It is adjustable, which is very ergonomic and means that it suits both right and left-handed users. It is adjustable to 180 degrees, i.e. 90 degrees in each direction. It offers you three modes: 0/45/90 to the right and left respectively. The handle also has a suspension feature.
The hedge trimmer has an electronic start button, which is modern and convenient. It also has an eco mode. What it doesn’t have is a child lock– but needing a two-handed grip to be able to start it helps to reduce the risk of accidents.
The Husqvarna 520iHD60 is a powerful cordless hedge trimmer with an ergonomic design. We’re very disappointed that it feels so heavy. While it’s not hugely heavy, it’s still significantly heavier than its rivals in the same price range. When the price is so high, we also expect better battery life.
suitable for simpler hedges
Type: Battery-powered Power: 18 V Battery: 2.5 Ah Battery life: 2 h 10 min (measured) Min/Ah: 41 Weight: 2184 g (measured including battery), 1821 g (measured, excluding battery) Bar length: 47 cm (measured) Noise level: 80.8 dB (measured)
The Bosch Easy HedgeCut 18-45 is a fairly lightweight, compact hedge trimmer for smaller hedges with relatively thin branches. It easily cuts branches up to around half a centimetre thick, and can work on thicker branches, although that gives a slightly poorer work rate.
One of the great advantages of the Easy HedgeCut 18-45 is its battery life. The trimmer can cut for just over an hour before the battery starts to tire, which is really great considering the price. Towards the end of the charge, however, the battery does become noticeably tired.
Because this is an 18-volt machine, the battery works with other 18-volt tools from the same manufacturer.
Overall, this is a very simple hedge trimmer. It has no special features and even lacks a battery indicator. The grips are made of thin plastic, but despite their lack of rubber, the trimmer feels comfortable in your hand – partly because it’s so light and partly because it’s very well balanced.
One disadvantage of the Bosch Easy HedgeCut 18-45 is that the dead man's grip is very sensitive as to how you position your hand. It looks roughly like an anchor rather than an arch, and when you turn the hedge trimmer, it loses contact and cuts out. You really have to hold the grip in the middle for it to work all the time.
What the Bosch Easy HedgeCut 18-45 does well is that it’s lightweight, has a good battery life and is well designed for thinner hedges. Vibration reduction is also pretty good. Thanks to these features, it makes for an affordable hedge trimmer, but isn’t ideal for anyone with a hedge with coarser branches.
Strong and easy to store
Type: Petrol Weight: 5150 g Power: 0.75 kW Cylinder volume: 27.2 cm³ RPM: X rpm Noise level: 81.2 dB (measured) Petrol tank: 0.22 l Bar length: 62 cm
The Stihl HS45 is a strong hedge trimmer intended for the average home owner. There's a nicely judged resistance in the throttle which means it isn't hard to keep it pressed in for longer periods. It also has cruise control so you can lock the throttle in a particular position and avoid tiring your hand. You simply hold the handle and allow the hedge trimmer to do its job. However, the HS45 could have been significantly more ergonomically friendly. We expected a better anti-vibration system and a handle of something more comfortable than hard plastic, given the price. Unfortunately it's also quite heavy. These characteristics mean that overall it's quite tough to work with after a while. Nor can you adjust it to different positions.
The Stihl HS45 cuts well and is a powerful machine. Branches up to almost three cm in diameter pose no problems. Above all, the long bar makes it suitable for the majority of hedges. Despite the length, it doesn't waver in deep, slightly thicker hedges. This makes it an impressive hedge trimmer. It's also easy to start, even after it's been standing for a while. Unfortunately it's rather noisy. All of the buttons except for the cruise control are well positioned and can be reached by both right and left-handed users. The hard plastic scabbard is easy to remove and replace. You can also suspend the machine from the loop on the handle, making it easy to store. Overall, this is a relatively simple but strong hedge trimmer that's suitable for medium sized hedges. The ergonomics could have been better, but the cruise control means that it's still efficient.
Rotatable rubberised handle and good performance
Type: Petrol Weight: 4732 g Power: 0.65 kW Cylinder volume: X cm³ Speed: X rpm Noise level: 82.4 dB (measured) Petrol tank: X l Bar length: 48 cm
MTD GHT 45/28 is a neat hedge trimmer that's easy to start. It's relatively noisy, but simultaneously also provides relatively high levels of performance. It can cope with branches up to around 2.5 cm with no problems. A major advantage with this machine is the angled handle, which can also be set in two positions - either 45 or 90 degrees. Together with the well rubberised grip, this means it's relatively comfortable to use. Unfortunately this feeling is reduced somewhat by the fact that the vibration reduction isn't very good. After a while it becomes an effort to hold the machine despite its other advantages. However, this is only a slightly negative aspect as the ergonomics can otherwise be classified as good.
There's a bit of a gap between the main and adjustable handles, which reduces the impression of build quality. The buttons are also positioned so that the MTD GHT 46/8 is only suitable for right-handed users. If you're right-handed, the primer bulb is well placed. As is the choke, even if people with larger fingers may have a bit more difficulty accessing it. The scabbard is made from quite thin plastic and unfortunately doesn't entirely cover the bar. The snap fastener for the air filter is well attached yet simultaneously easy to remove, which enables straightforward maintenance. The GHT 46/8 has a relatively short bar. This is a bit of a shame given the performance and the adjustable handle. Given this, the machine is best for smaller hedges, but here it does an efficient job.
Low vibrations and suitable for smaller hedges
Type: Petrol Weight: 4915 g Power: 0.6 kW Cylinder volume: 21.7 cm³ RPM: 7,800 rpm Noise level: 75.9 dB (measured) Petrol tank: 0.3 l Bar length: 45 cm
The Husqvarna 122HD45 is a substantial hedge trimmer for anyone with a slightly smaller hedge. The machine produces low vibrations, which means it's comfortable to work with even for longer sessions. Unfortunately the hedge trimmer doesn't have a rubberised grip, but because it has such a good anti-vibration system you barely notice this. However, you will spot that it has a very short bar, as this limits where you can use it. Nor can you change the angle of the bar, which makes it less ergonomically efficient to work with. But all of the buttons are well placed both for right and left-handed users, which is positive. The scabbard has pre-punched holes so you can hang the hedge trimmer up on a wall.
The Husqvarna 122HD45 performs well. It can cope with both slightly thicker fir branches of around 1.5-2 cm and more bushy hedges that need a good trim. However, the short bar means that it isn't suitable for anything but relatively narrow hedges. You always have a good overview of the hedge as Husqvarna have positioned the grip and other components so that they don't get in the way. Unfortunately, the choke is rather sluggish and sharp to hold in. We also think that the primer bulb is hard to see as it's hidden behind the air filter housing. The air filter screw is easy to access, however. A major advantage is that you can see the whole of the petrol tank, so you can easily see how much fuel you have left. Overall the 122HD45 is a nice strong hedge trimmer for slightly thinner hedges.
Type: Battery-powered Measured weight: 3340 g Power: 36 V Battery: 2 Ah Battery life: 1 h 25 min (measured) Min/Ah: 42 Weight: 3 414 g (measured, including battery), 2 792 g (measured, excluding battery) Bar length: 63 cm (measured) Noise level: 74.2 dB (measured) Measured battery life: 1 h 15 min and 52 s Blade length: 55 cm
The Black & Decker GTC36552PC is a relatively strong hedge trimmer that's suitable for the majority of hedge types in a normal domestic garden. Branches up to 1.5 cm in thickness pose no problems at all. However, if you try to take on anything thicker you might run into problems if you aren't careful. Unfortunately the GTC36552PC is quite rear-heavy despite the relatively light battery included with the machine. This can be rather tiresome if you're cutting the top of a hedge. On the other hand, the hedge trimmer is quite light as a whole, so it's not a major problem. But if you buy a bigger battery this may make it worse. A major plus is the safety handle. This provides a safety feature because it's more difficult for a child to start it, and it's also cleverly designed so that you can use it regardless of whether you're right or left-handed. The front hand guard is quite large compared to other models. It's made from hard black plastic and unfortunately blocks the view of the bar slightly. Another disadvantage is the scabbard that's included. It's made from soft plastic and starts to show damage after only a week's use. The fact that it's soft also makes it rather fiddly to get on.
The Black & Decker GTC36552PC has a very good battery life. The bar length won't be enough for the very broadest hedges, but it's still above average. We would have preferred to see a different end on the bar as the shape means that the hedge trimmer occasionally gets stuck and jerks during use. Despite the very substantial bar and the resistance it gives when you're cutting, the battery life is comparable to that in a number of professional machines on the market. Given the price, this is a major plus. Many hedge trimmers in this class also have a fine cutting mode that means you waste less battery when you're cutting a hedge with thin branches. It simply reduces the machine speed. The GTC36552PC instead has a pulse mode. The idea is that this should provide extra strength in case you get stuck. But we find that in practice this doesn't make much difference. Other than this there aren't many refinements in this hedge trimmer. It does its job and produces very good results. The GTC36552PC is suitable for someone who wants a budget class hedge trimmer with a really long battery life - for example if you have a long hedge, but who isn't so bothered about ergonomics and refinements.
Sharp cutting and a lot of power
Type: Battery-powered Measured weight: 3660 g Power: 36 V Battery: 1.6 Ah Measured battery life: 40 min and 55 Blade length:
The Stihl HSA 56 is a slightly smaller but still quite heavy battery-operated hedge trimmer that makes neat cuts and has a decent amount of power. The battery included in our set was the smallest one, the AK 10, which corresponds to 1.6 Ah. We got about 40 minutes' battery life from it. If you have a normal sized garden, it may be a good idea to go up a battery size, or buy two batteries so that you can swap them. However, the battery life is fine for a battery of this size. What we'd have liked is rotatable handles, as these provide much better ergonomics. While you hold the hedge trimmer to cut horizontally, it's easy to operate the front handle to keep the machine running. But when you're cutting vertically the handle movement is so short that it becomes quite uncomfortable after a while, as it requires a bit too much force. This combined with the fact that the blades are quite short means that you're not comfortable for about 80% of the cutting time.
However, one advantage of the HSA 56 is that it can cope with older hedges with thicker branches. The cuts it makes are very good. In fact we were extremely impressed with the cut quality. The impression given by the quality of the blades and the power it produces is that of a professional machine. Nor do you need to be worried about damaging the blades as you get closer to the ground, because the clever design protects them. Overall, the HSA 56 does a really good job of trimming hedges, but it would be even better with improved ergonomics.
Good performance but gets stuck
Type: Battery Power: 60 V Battery life: 1 h 53 min (measured) Weight: 3.597 g (measured, excluding battery) Bar length: 52-55 cm (measured)
The Cub Cadet LH5 H60 is a hedge trimmer with really great battery life and a rubberised handle that provides a stable grip. Unfortunately, the handle is a bit rough, but apart from that it is well de-vibrated and perfectly well balanced.
Unfortunately, the handle's angle cannot be adjustable, which results in somewhat poorer ergonomics.
Performance is good. This hedge trimmer is suitable for hedges with branches up to 20 millimetres in thickness.
There is a spiky sharp metal blade at the front of one side of the bar. The idea is that the blade will help if you have a branch that is very coarse, and that it should be able to saw it off. Unfortunately, this doesn't work well in practice. If, for example, you have a hedge with brittle branches that you want to trim, the hedge trimmer will get stuck all the time and you can only trim in one direction to prevent this. The spikes are so sharp that they hook – you don't get a good flow when you’re working. In theory, it’s a good idea, but in practice it doesn't work.
This is a shame because there are many other things that are good about the LH5 H60. If it hadn't been for the metal blade, it would have ranked significantly higher.
For example, it has a small steel bracket that can be folded out so that it can be hung on the wall. It also has an excellent child lock. You have to fold out a flap and then start, which is great when you have children at home.
The front hand guard is well positioned and you have a good view of the cutting blade.
The battery is easily accessible and the hedge trimmer has a battery indicator, even if it is a little difficult to see.
The machine is slightly heavy at the back, but not so that it will significantly bother you. Nor did we experience any major problems with vibrations.
The Cub Cadet LH5 H60 would have been a good hedge trimmer if it wasn't for the fact that it hacks. If it wasn't for the metal piece at the front, we would have recommended it for smaller and more brittle hedges with branches about 15–20 millimetres in size.
Cordless trimmer for new-growth hedges
Type: Cordless Power: 36V Battery: 2.5 Ah Battery life: 46 min (measured) Min/Ah: 18.4 Weight: (measured, including battery), 2,552 g (measured, excluding battery), battery 691 g (2.5 Ah) Sawblade length: 50-55 cm (measured) Noise level: 98.2 dB (measured)
The Black+Decker BCHTS3625L1 is a hedge trimmer with a rubberised handle and performance suitable for smaller, new-growth hedges. It’s able to cut branches with a thickness of up to about 15–18 millimetres, but that’s all. This is surprisingly feeble, given the price.
The hedge trimmer has a pulse feature that’s meant to help when you get stuck in thicker branches, but the POWERCOMMAND technology under performs. You’re supposed to be able to just press the button to clear jams, but it doesn’t help.
At the front there’s a piece of metal that prevents you from sweeping the hedge trimmer across the hedge. It’s supposed to make hedge trimming easier for you, but does the exact opposite!
Trimming a new-growth hedge is relatively easy. The battery life is completely acceptable, so it also works well on large new-growth hedges.
The BCHTS3625L1 has a two-hand grip and the child lock works for both right- and left-handed users.
The actual hedge trimmer feels a little unbalanced, but as it’s so lightweight this hardly matters. It vibrates, but no worse than any other models in the same price range. It’s generally a comfortable machine to hold, but it lacks a hanging feature and an adjustable handle.
The handguard at the front is the right size to provide approved protection for your hands. That said, you should still wear work gloves.
The battery is a bit tricky to remove, but by no means the worst we’ve ever tested.
The B+D BCHTS3625L1 is suitable if you have a new-growth hedge and other tools from Black+Decker with which you can swap batteries.
Suitable for thinner hedges
Type: Battery-powered Power: 40 V Battery: 2 Ah Battery life: 2 Ah: 25 min, 4 Ah: 1 h 20 min (measured) Min/Ah: 20 Weight: 2587 g (measured, excluding battery), Batteries: 2 Ah 823 g, 4 Ah 1247 g Bar length: 60 cm (measured) Noise level: 83.6 dB (measured)
The Greenworks G40HT61 is a hedge trimmer which combines a reasonable battery life with a reasonable performance. It can handle branches up to one centimetre thick without any problems, which makes it suitable for a lot of different hedges. If the branches are thicker than that, the trimmer has to work a lot harder and tends to stick. True, it will still cut your hedge, but your work rate won’t be as good.
The specifications say that the G40HT61 can handle branches up to 2.7 centimetres thick. Our feeling is that this might be true, but only if you work at those thicker branches for a while. Furthermore, they need to be soft rather than really tough.
This hedge trimmer comes with a 2 Ah battery and we’ve measured the unloaded battery life to be 50 minutes. But once we start working with it, that time is halved. So in terms of price, the battery life is decent, but no more than that. For a larger hedge, we recommend a 4 Ah battery. This lasted for about an hour. We managed to cut a 90 metre long hedge in that time, made up of branches about one centimetre thick.
One positive thing about the G40HT61 is that you have a battery indicator which is visible whilst you work, which means you can keep an eye on the remaining battery life.
The Greenworks G40HT61 has rubber grips on the throttle as well as two safety devices for start-up. In other words, it offers a good grip and high levels of safety. However, we found that one of the safety features, the start button – which has to be held in to fire the trimmer up – is tricky to access and that makes starting difficult. The safety catch on the handle would have been more than enough.
Noise levels are average for a hedge trimmer with this performance. The build quality is also decent. We also liked the fact that it’s possible to rotate the handle for better ergonomics. However, in terms of vibration reduction, the trimmer was quite poor.
The Greenworks G40HT61 is suitable for anyone who doesn’t have a very coarse hedge, and for those who have more products from the same manufacturer – because you can share the battery between them.
Greenworks G40HT61 Cordless Hedge Trimmer, 61cm Dual Action Blade, Cuts up to 27mm Thick Branches and Stems, 3000spm WITHOUT 40V Battery & Charger, 3 Year Guarantee
Greenworks Hedge Trimmer Bush Cutter without 40 V Battery G40HT61 61 cm 2200907
Greenworks G40HT61 40v Cordless Hedge Trimmer 610mm No Batteries No Charger
Hedge trimmer for thin branches
Type: Battery-driven Output: 24 V Battery: 4 Ah Battery life: 1 h 28 min (measured without load) Min/Ah: 22 Weight: 2118 g (measured, excluding battery) Blade length: 56 cm (measured) Sound level: 89.4 dB (measured)
Greenworks G24HT56 is a fairly inexpensive hedge trimmer, with the advantage that you can use the same battery in other 24-volt garden machines from the same manufacturer.
It has a handle that can be rotated for better ergonomics when cutting the vertical side of the hedge. The function does not work like other adjustable hedge trimmers – on this model you merely turn the handle 90 degrees. Basically, this is a good idea, but the battery does not follow along with the rotation, which results in an uneven distribution of weight. If the battery had followed, the weight would have been relieved against the other hand. Now you have to hold it up and thus get an imbalance in the hedge cutter.
The blade is long and therefore also reaches through fairly deep hedges. We measured it to 56 centimetres, and this is in line with the manufacturer’s specifications.
However, the hedge trimmer does not cut thicker hedges – or even normal-sized ones. After having run it in a number of hedge varieties, we established that it can handle well as long as the branches are not more than 5–8 millimetres thick, which means that it is mainly suitable for maintaining new, protruding branches.
This hedge trimmer does not have a child lock, but it does have a plastic cover to protect your hand.
Considering it's a battery-powered hedge trimmer, it is quite noisy. But the battery life is really good.
Greenworks G24HT56 is suitable for those of you who have a hedge that consists of slightly thinner branches, for example a spirea hedge. This is also a good choice if you’re looking to trim the tops of your hedges and cut new branches on a larger hedge.
With a hedge trimmer in your garden arsenal, you can quickly create order in even the most unruly hedge. The best time of year to trim your hedge is July, August or September, but you can also trim it in the period between winter and spring before it starts to develop buds.
A hedge trimmer consists of a motor, a set of double blades that scissor over each other, and loop handles enabling you to hold the machine. To prevent injury there are also a number of safety functions. For example, you usually have to hold the rear handle while pushing the front handle forwards to make the hedge trimmer run. Another common safety function is a start button that you have to press in while holding the handles.
When you buy a hedge trimmer, it's important to choose one that suits your type of hedge. Thuja, privet and mountain currant are examples of hedge types that don't need a particularly powerful hedge trimmer. This is because they are relatively soft and because they rarely have very thick branches - as long as you keep them in trim. However, if you have an older hedge with thick branches, you need more power. A hawthorn hedge requires a bit more from a hedge trimmer. Trimming a hedge is physically demanding work, and the better the hedge trimmer you have, the easier the work will be.
Petrol-driven hedge trimmer
Battery-powered hedge trimmer
Mains hedge trimmer
The type of hedge trimmer you should choose depends on your requirements. The battery-powered ones have improved enormously and now have a good battery capacity and a lot of power. If you have a normal sized garden with hedges around it, you will get a long way with a battery-powered hedge trimmer. However, professional gardeners often choose petrol-operated hedge trimmers to avoid having to deal with charging batteries. But even here, the trend is towards battery-powered tools.
Mains-powered hedge trimmers are most suitable if you have very little hedge and small distances in your garden. Because you have to take into account both long horizontal distances and vertical distances, cables can be very limiting when you're trimming a hedge, partly because you have to use extension cables, and partly because it's easy for the cable to get in the way and be cut by mistake. If you choose a mains-powered version, you should have a small, low and easy hedge to maintain. Otherwise a wire-free version is often better.
Trim the hedge into an A shape. It should be slightly narrower at the top than at the bottom, so that the sun's rays can reach all of the leaves and make the hedge nicely dense all the way down.
When the hedge has reached the desired height, you should always cut it at the same height. This means you only cut the new growth and makes it easier to keep it attractive.
If it's a newly planted hedge (not the "ready grown" type), you should trim it quite a bit straight away. Hedges branch where you cut them and if you want it to be dense at the base, you need to cut it low down from the start. After this you should trim it 10-15 centimetres every year. This gives you an attractive, dense hedge right from the ground to the top.
Always use protective equipment when you're cutting a hedge. Gloves, safety goggles and a protective jacket are recommended.
Don't forget to drink water from time to time. Trimming a hedge is physical work and it's easier if you keep your brain and body in trim during the process.