Maintaining Trees and Lawns

Hedge and Bush Trimmers — Your Buying Guide

by Cherly Wheeler

Hedge and brush trimmers are extremely useful power tools, but the first thing to ask yourself is whether you really need one. If you only have a couple of shrubs in your garden that do not put on lots of growth over the course of a summer, then a pair of hand shears or secateurs is all that you are likely to need. However, if you own a hedge that marks the boundary of your garden, have a plant which is growing over your windows or need to deal with brush growth that is blocking your way onto your driveway, then hedge trimmers are the perfect tool. What do you need to consider when buying them?

Corded or Cordless

This is not a big decision if you have a relatively small garden with just one or two hedges because a corded version will always be able to reach where you need it. However, cordless hedge trimmers and brush cutters come into their own when there is no local electrical supply nearby. They are also great for putting in the boot of your car and trimming the hedges of friends and family members elsewhere. The problem with cordless versions is that you need to factor in powering up their batteries so there is a little bit less flexibility when using them at short notice.

Blade Length

This is a key buying consideration. Some smaller brush trimmers have blades that are no longer than 30 centimetres. Although this makes them easier to control — a key factor to consider if you have limited upper body strength — they take longer to get a cutting job done. If you have a hedge that is used to screen off an area which, therefore, is allowed to grow to a couple of metres in height, you will definitely want a longer blade. Some bigger models have a saw function that is good if you need to trim back small trees and more established hedges with thicker branches.

Safety Considerations

Always look for built-in safety features with hedge and brush trimmers that will allow you to operate them without accidents. Wrap-around handles that mean you can operate them from any angle, left- or right-handed, are a good thing to see. An automatic cut-off feature is also a sign of quality. Most hedge trimmers and brush cutters also have some sort of guard which will prevent trimmings from being thrown back towards you as you cut. Avoid those which do not have this important safety mechanism.