Trimming your own hedges is a rewarding activity that can tidy up your garden, save you money on hiring a professional, and even increase the value of your home. In order to do this safely and efficiently, you’ll need to invest in a good hedge trimmer.
This is a worthwhile investment – as well as improving the appearance of your garden, well-maintained hedges and bushes can provide you with shade in summer, and a feeling of privacy from your neighbours. Hedges also provide shelter for wildlife, attracting more critters into your garden.
Hedge trimmers come in many different forms – they can be battery, mains or petrol-powered, with battery being the least powerful (but most convenient), and petrol generally being the most powerful. When choosing a new hedge trimmer you should not only take into account how it’s powered, but also the size and quality of the blades, ease of operation, and value for money.
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If your hedges are looking a tad overgrown and unruly, take a look at our selection of 7 of the best hedge trimmers on the UK market, and choose a tool that’ll help you get your bushes back under control.
Our top pick is cordless, powerful, and has laser-cut blades capable of tackling most hedges
Topping our list of the best hedge trimmers is this cordless model from Dewalt. This trimmer comes complete with impressively long 55cm laser-cut dual-action blades, and a 19mm tooth gap that will make light work of tidying up medium to large hedges.
It is designed to resist impact when trimming, and this, combined with the lightweight design, makes for comfortable user experience. The handle and blade offer equal weight distribution, and the wrap-around handle makes it safe and easy to operate in a variety of orientations – including vertically.
The trimmer includes a blade guard for safe storage, and two buttons ensure it can only be operated with two hands, preventing unsafe one-handed use. This does, however, mean the reach of the trimmer is limited, and there is no extendable handle as found in some other designs to help you trim taller hedges.
To operate, it requires a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which is not included (although it is compatible with all XR battery packs). The manufacturer states that if used in conjunction with a 5.0Ah battery, a 75-minute running time can be achieved. You’ll likely need to take a break after this time anyway, during which time you can recharge the tool if necessary.
Overall, if you’re looking for a powerful cordless hedge trimmer with long blades and enough running time to get your hedges back in shape – and providing you’re happy to purchase the battery separately – this is the hedge trimmer we recommend.
- Super-sharp 55cm laser-cut blades for a clean cut.
- Cordless design with a running time of 75 minutes on a 5.0Ah battery.
- Lightweight (2kg without battery) and compact design.
- Suitable for medium and large hedges.
- Durable and impact-resistant.
- Includes sturdy plastic blade guard.
- Battery and charger not included.
- No telescopic or extendable handle.
- Runs fairly loud – you should wear ear defenders.
Our best value hedge trimmer is corded and ideal for smaller hedges
This Bosch 420W Electric Hedge Cutter is the hedge trimmer we believe offers you the best value for money. It features 45cm diamond ground blades, which are ideal for cutting and shaping smaller hedges, and a 16mm tooth gap to make light work of branches up to 16mm thick.
The hedge trimmer has a 420W motor which is powered by mains electricity. This offers the advantage of unlimited running time, as unlike battery-powered models, it will never run out of power so long as it’s plugged in.
The disadvantage of this is that there is a cord which might get in your way, and you will need to make sure you don’t accidentally cut through it. The 6m cable also limits where you can use the trimmer, as you will need to stay within reach of your power source or add in an extension lead.
It offers a similar well-balanced, 2-handed design as the Dewalt model, with an ergonomic, soft-grip handle to help make hedge trimming a more pleasant experience. At 2.6kg, it’s a similar weight to the Dewalt with battery, and lightweight enough to allow for comfortable operation in a variety of positions, to minimise back and arm strain.
Also included with your hedge trimmer is a protective blade cover, which is handy for safe storage, and for prolonging the life of your blades. Considering it’s less than half the price of the Dewalt model, if you’ve only got a small garden with bushes or wall climbers to tame, you can’t go wrong with this corded hedge trimmer.
- Corded design with 420W motor offers unlimited running time.
- 45cm diamond ground blades offer a smooth cut.
- Lightweight (2.6kg) and ergonomic design.
- Ideal for trimming back shrubs or wall climbers.
- Includes protective blade cover.
- Risk of cutting through the cord.
- Not suitable for larger hedges.
- Short cable – you may need an extension lead for bigger gardens.
- No extendable handle.
The telescopic handle of this hedge trimmer makes it perfect for taller hedges
It’s back to another cordless design now with this Ryobi 18V Pole Hedge Trimmer. If you’ve got taller hedges to cut or want to be able to easily reach the tops of your hedges, this might be the tool for you.
The removable 2.9m extendable shaft greatly increases the reach of this hedge trimmer, without the use of a platform or stepladder. However, there is a trade-off, as the pole does mean that the trimmer is heavier than other designs.
On the plus side, the blade gap is capable of slicing through branches of up to 18mm in diameter, so it’s perfect for most medium-sized hedges. This one has an 18V motor, the same as the Dewalt model. Unlike the Dewalt though, this one includes a 2.0Ah battery for charging, so you won’t need to purchase this separately.
Of course, there are the same advantages and disadvantages common to cordless models – the lack of cord means you can trim anywhere in your garden and removes the risk of cutting through it, but there is a limit to how long your battery will last before it needs charging. However, with a relatively short recharge time of 60 minutes, it should be ready to go again by the time you finish your lunch break.
This is the priciest hedge trimmer on our list – but when you consider that, as well as a battery and extendable shaft, you also get a protective cover and a shoulder strap included with this model, we think it’s well worth the investment.
- Great for taller hedges – 2.9m extendable shaft increases your reach.
- Highly versatile, with 115° articulating head and 4 cutting positions.
- Diamond ground 45cm blades provide a precise cut.
- Cordless design is safer and more portable.
- Includes 2.0Ah battery, charger, sheath and shoulder strap.
- Short running time compared to corded or petrol models.
- Heavier than others (4.6kg with battery).
- Pricier than similar designs.
With 2 included battery packs, this cordless trimmer offers convenience on longer jobs
This Worx 18V Hedge Trimmer also showcases a cordless design, but what makes this one special is the inclusion of not one but two compatible 1.5Ah Lithium-ion batteries.
This effectively eliminates the problem of cordless models running out of power, as you can put one battery on charge whilst the other is in use and swap them over as needed. It’s therefore an ideal choice for larger gardens, or for those who like to work at their own pace, but still want the convenience of a cordless design.
The 20V battery packs are also compatible with the other tools in the Worx Powershare range. Other notable features of this trimmer include laser-cut blades for a smooth and precise cut, an ergonomic multi-grip handle for comfortable operation with 2 hands, and a blade guard for storage.
The trimmer is lightweight, and the dual-action blades also offer reduced vibration, compared to many corded models. Additionally, a clear handguard offers a further safety feature to improve the user experience.
On the downside, it’s not as powerful as its competitors and only claims to cut through branches up to 14mm thick, which is lower than many other models – although still sufficient for small bushes and shrubs, or for trimming back brambles or overgrown wall climbers.
Ultimately, if you want a cordless hedge trimmer for light use, with an almost uninterrupted running time thanks to the interchangeable batteries, you should certainly consider adding this to your garden power tools collection.
- Dual-action, laser-cut blades provide a smooth and precise cut.
- Includes 2 x 1.5Ah batteries, so you can swap them out and enjoy uninterrupted cordless trimming.
- 2-handed, multi-grip handle for comfortable operation.
- Lightweight and low vibration.
- Blade guard included for safe storage.
- 14mm cutting capacity is lower than many designs and only suitable for small hedges and shrubs.
- No extendable handle.
- Difficult to register online for the 3-year warranty.
A powerful yet affordable corded hedge trimmer that can tackle most hedges
Our next Easicut hedge trimmer from Flymo is a corded design with fairly standard-sized cutting blades of 45cm. It has relatively wide teeth, which makes it suitable for cutting through branches up to 19mm thick and is therefore more than capable of trimming most medium-sized hedges.
The powerful 450W motor means it can slice through branches and shrubbery with ease, whilst the corded design offers an unlimited running time. As always, you will have to be careful to keep the cord out of the way whilst you work, to avoid tripping over it, or cutting through it with the blades.
The good news is that, at 10 metres, the cable is significantly longer than that of the Bosch 420W trimmer, which is the most comparable product on this list in terms of power and price range. This means you’ll be able to stray further from your power source – although it’s still not going to be suitable for large gardens.
At 3.28kg, it’s slightly heavier than some cordless designs, but not as heavy as telescopic models, and still lightweight enough to be operated comfortably for a reasonable amount of time. If you need to trim tall hedges or hedge tops, you’ll need to erect a platform or use a step ladder (with someone holding it), as there’s no extendable handle on this model, and the safety button feature means you need 2 hands to operate it at all times.
All in all, this hedge trimmer is perfect for smaller gardens and considering that it’s also one of the most reasonably priced models in our selection, it makes for a sensible choice if you’ve got some medium-sized hedges or shrubs that need taming.
- Powerful 450W motor and diamond ground 45cm blades.
- 19mm blade gap is suitable for medium-sized hedges.
- Corded design provides unlimited running time.
- 10m cable is longer than other corded designs.
- Includes protective sheath for blades.
- Highly affordable.
- Risk of the cord getting in your way.
- No telescopic or extendable handle.
Long blades and a big tooth gap make this corded hedge trimmer perfect for large hedges
Cost: Price not available
Our penultimate hedge trimmer is another corded model from Bosch. This one has a 700W motor – our most powerful yet – and huge 70cm diamond ground blades, which make it perfect for trimming large hedges, such as those made of pines and conifers.
The 34mm blade gap and sawing function means it’s capable of slicing through bigger branches that might stop smaller models in their tracks. In fact, we think this the most robust and powerful model in our selection.
Despite the extra power and blade length, it still only weighs 3.9kg, so it’s not the heaviest trimmer, and is still light enough to be comfortably wielded by gardeners of all strengths and ages.
To make the trimming experience even more user-friendly, it also features an ergonomic, soft-grip handle, a well-balanced design to prevent arm and back fatigue, and a transparent hand guard to protect you from the blades whilst you work.
There’s also a built-in tip protector, to protect the end of the blade during use. This is particularly helpful if you’re trimming a hedge or climber along a wall, and don’t want to risk damaging your shiny new hedge trimmer. This is in addition to the protective blade cover also included, for safe storage of your trimmer.
Ultimately, if you’re planning on trimming large hedges or trees, this is the powerful hedge trimmer you need to make light work of the task.
- Extra-long 70cm laser-cut blades offer increased reach, perfect for taller hedges.
- 34mm tooth spacing and sawing function is capable of slicing through thicker branches.
- Comfortable to use – ergonomic design with soft-grip handle.
- Transparent hand guard for safe operation.
- Blade tip protector prevents damage to the tip during use.
- Includes protective sheath.
- 8m long cable means you may require an extension lead.
- Risk of cutting through the cord.
This long-reach hedge trimmer is perfect for trimming tall hedges and hedge tops
Cost: Price not available
Wrapping up our list of the best hedge trimmers is this long-reach model from Terratek. With a 2.75m long-reach handle, it’s perfect for trimming tall hedges and shrubs, or those in awkward places, with your feet still firmly on the ground.
The blade gap allows you to cleanly cut branches of up to 16mm in diameter, which isn’t the best out of these models listed, but should be fine for small or medium hedges. Having said that, the minimum extension of the handle is 2.1m, so this isn’t a hedge trimmer you’re going to want to use up close on small shrubs.
It features 45cm long blades, attached to a powerful 550W motor which is powered by mains electricity. This again means there is a cord, and you will need to be mindful of its whereabouts when operating the trimmer.
At 3.5kg, it weighs in at over 1kg lighter than the Ryobi ONE+ pole trimmer. This is understandable, considering that the Ryobi is cordless and includes the weight of the battery pack, but nonetheless, if you’re concerned about arm and back strain, this is the lighter, and therefore better, option.
Those users not so keen on the 2-handed operation of most of these hedge trimmers may be interested to know that this model offers a one-handed power trigger, for further flexibility. There is still a safety switch which prevents accidental starting.
Overall, this extendable hedge trimmer is an excellent option, and offers full flexibility in terms of reach and running time. The only limitation comes from the corded design – if you need to be further than 10 metres away from your power source, you might consider the Ryobi ONE+ cordless trimmer as a suitable alternative.
- Corded design with 550W motor provides continuous use.
- 2.75m extendable handle is perfect for tall hedges.
- Adjustable 120° cutting head with 4 positions.
- Comparatively long 10m power cable.
- One-handed trigger.
- Risk of cutting through the cord.
- Minimum extension of 2.1m means it’s not suitable for close-up trimming.
How To Use A Hedge Trimmer
To use a hedge trimmer safely, there are a number of precautions you should take. These include:
- Clear and prepare the area – Keep children and animals away from the area you’ll be working in. Remove any potential trip hazards and lay a tarpaulin to catch the trimmings. If you have a large hedge, you can mark out how far you want to trim back using canes and string.
- Check for birds – If you’re trimming your hedge in the spring or summer months, it is essential to check for nesting birds first. If you find nests, you’ll have to wait to trim your hedges, as it is illegal to damage them. Autumn is a good time of year for hedge trimming, for this reason.
- Stand on an even surface – If yours is a low hedge, you can trim it from the ground. For taller hedges, or to trim the top of the hedge, you may need to invest in a hedge trimmer with a telescopic handle, or erect a special hedge cutting platform on which to stand – never lean a ladder against the hedge.
- Use an RCD plug – If your hedge trimmer is mains-powered, make sure to use an RCD adapter or plug, so that you won’t electrocute yourself if you accidentally cut through the cord. Keep the cord clear whilst you are trimming to prevent severing it.
- Wear safety goggles and gloves –You should wear protective clothing whilst hedge trimming, including safety goggles to protect your eyes, and thick gardening gloves and work boots, to protect your extremities.
Once you’ve taken the above safety measures, you are ready to start using your hedge trimmer. To do this, follow the below procedure:
- Power up – If your hedge trimmer is corded, plug it into your AC power source and turn it on. If it’s cordless, remove it from the battery charger. Once you’re in position, start the trimmer (this is usually done by compressing the safety buttons).
- Trim from bottom to top –When trimming your hedge, aim to work from bottom to top in broad, continuous sweeping motions. Trim one side of the hedge first, then the other, leaving the top of the hedge until last.
- Consider shaping – It is a good idea to trim your hedges in a wedge shape, leaving the bottom wider than the top. This will ensure the bottom of your hedges are not too shaded and receive sufficient sunlight to remain green and bushy.
- Remove fallen material –Once you’ve finished trimming your hedge, brush off any trimmed foliage from the top of the hedge. Rake up the trimmings into a pile, and either drag your tarpaulin or use a wheelbarrow to transport them to your compost heap or rubbish bin.
How To Sharpen Your Hedge Trimmer Blades
You can extend the life and effectiveness of your hedge trimmer by regularly sharpening the blades to keep it functioning effectively. To sharpen the blades of your hedge trimmer using a mill file, take the following steps:
- Wear thick gloves – Just as when you’re using your hedge trimmer, you should also wear thick protective gloves when handling and sharpening the blade. Even a blunt blade that needs sharpening can be dangerous.
- Prepare the trimmer – Place your hedge trimmer on a flat, stable surface. If it’s a mains-powered trimmer, make sure it’s unplugged. If it’s battery-powered, remove the battery, and if it’s petrol-powered, take out the spark plug. This will ensure the trimmer won’t start up accidentally whilst you’re sharpening the blades.
- Align the teeth – Press the upper and lower blades together so that the teeth are aligned. If necessary, you can use a tool to help nudge them into place. Once aligned, you will have 6 surfaces on each tooth to be sharpened – the tips and 2 edges of the top and bottom blades.
- File the blade tips – Use a mill file to sharpen the tip of each blade. Move the file downward, according to the angle of the blade. Once you reach the edge of the blade, lift the file and return to the top to repeat the motion.
- File the blade edges – Once the tips are sharpened (they should appear shiny), move on to sharpening the 2 edges of the blades. Line the file up against the blade, and use the same downward motion, in the direction of the blade.
- Flip it over – Once all the blades on the top are sharpened, turn your trimmer over and repeat the process to sharpen all the blades on the bottom. Stop once the edges are shiny, to prevent over-sharpening.
- Finish up – End the process of sharpening your hedge trimmer blades by wiping them down and adding a small amount of lubricant on the teeth of the trimmer. If you removed the battery or spark plug, you can replace it now.
The alternative to filing your hedge trimmer blades by hand is to use a power grinder. To do this, follow steps 1 to 3 above, then clamp the blades securely to your surface to prevent them from moving. Put on safety goggles to protect your eyes from the sparks.
Use your power grinder with an 80 grit grinding wheel, and hold it against each tooth edge, running parallel to the edge. Sharpen the 3 surfaces of each tooth using the grinder, being careful not to over-sharpen the blades – each surface should only take a few seconds.
Once you’ve completed the top, turn the trimmer over, re-clamp it, and sharpen the bottom blades in the same way. Using this method, the whole process can be completed in as little as 5 minutes, and you’ll be ready to start trimming your hedges!
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.