In this guide we’ll take a look at the best hedge trimmers for the UK market.
I’ve compared design, performance, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.

Contents

More Detailed Hedge Trimmer Reviews

Bosch AHS 45-16 Electric Hedge Trimmer

Clive Harris

Bosch AHS 45-16 Electric Hedge Trimmer Review

If you’ve got relatively large hedges in your garden, the Bosch AHS 45-16 Electric Hedge Cutter has enough power, and is sufficiently well sized, to speed up the process of trimming them down.

Weighing only 2.5 kg, despite having a 45 cm long blade, this whole unit is pretty light meaning it’s not difficult to support during longer jobs. It’s one of the best hedge trimmers for offering a good compromise between cutting length and weight, as other models of a similar size tend to be heavier.

The 420 W motor can tackle some relatively large twigs, between 10 – 20 mm before they start to get jammed, which is good going for a hedge trimmer considering they aren’t really intended for cutting larger branches anyway. The 16 mm tooth opening on the blade helps with the cutting, and should allow you to get through your whole hedge without getting stuck.

Being a mains-powered unit, there is a cable to think about which doesn’t have an easy place to be hooked out the way. You’ll likely need to keep it over your shoulder to avoid any accidents. Also, as the cable is only around 6 ft, an extension cord will be required for most gardens.

It’s a lot more comfortable than using a pair of shears or other manual hedge-cutting tools, with ergonomic soft-grip handles which make blisters much less likely to rear their ugly heads.

So, final concluding comments: overall, a powerful machine from a reputable company that does what you expect it to and will trim the hedge without causing too much fatigue.

Pros

  • A good size for working across large bushes
  • Weighs just 2.5 kg, so it won’t result in fatigue as much as heavier trimmers
  • The handle is easy to grip with its soft covering and ergonomic design
  • Its a well-balanced tool which makes it comfortable to use
  • The two-button safety feature ensures it can’t be accidentally switched on

Cons

  • Cutting through branches over 2 cm in diameter may require a more powerful tool
  • Although lightweight, this trimmer is large so does require some experience with machinery for safe operation
  • The blade requires a lot of lubrication, with some people preferring to lubricate before every use
  • Some users have commented that the motor vibrates a lot, which can become uncomfortable over time
  • There is nowhere to securely hold the power cable when in use - so a lot of care needs to be taken not to cut through it

Clive Harris

Flymo EasiCut 460 Hedge Trimmer

Clive Harris

Flymo EasiCut 460 Hedge Trimmer Review

Given that trimming the hedge is a job that only needs doing a couple of times a year, it can seem extortionate to buy an expensive tool – but also, sometimes cheaper options don’t work… so where’s the middle ground?

For a tool that offers good value, being effective whilst also budget friendly, there’s the Flymo EasiCut 460.

It has a 450 W motor and 45 cm cutting blades, making its general product specification the same as the Bosch AHS 45-16 cutter. The cheaper price is therefore likely attributed to its slightly-less ergonomic design, but in terms of function, it works well.

The size is suitable for even large hedges, and at 2.6 kg most gardeners should find they are able to support the weight without it getting heavy too quickly.

Cutting through most of what standard hedges throw out, the blade, which has gaps of 19 mm between its teeth, trims and neatens without requiring too much work. Several passes might be required on certain parts of the hedge to cut it back, which is another area which might reflect this trimmer’s lower price point.

It only comes with a 10 m cable which, whilst not unusual, is a bit of a nuisance as it means an extension cable will be required for most jobs. As with all mains-powered machines, you need to be careful to keep an eye on the cable whilst cutting.

Pros

  • The entire model is lightweight at 2.6 kg, so it won’t result in fatigue as much as heavier trimmers
  • The safety feature prevents accidental operation as you’ll need to press 2 buttons simultaneously
  • The 45 cm blade length offers a long reach so you can get to the back of hedges

Cons

  • It is not the quietest electric trimmer on the market
  • There is nowhere to securely hold the cable which means constant care must be taken not to slice through it
  • The 10 m cable will likely need to be used with an extension cord

Clive Harris

Einhell GC-HH 9048 Electric Hedge Trimmer

Clive Harris

Einhell GC-HH 9048 Electric Hedge Trimmer Review

Taller hedges can be a little trickier to work with, but there are ways to deal with them that don’t require precariously standing on ladders.

This Einhell GC-HH 9048 Electric Hedge Trimmer has an adjustable handle that extends up to 50 cm making it a lot easy to cut hard-to-reach places and larger hedges. The total maximum length of the trimmer is 2.6 m.

It’s also possible to tilt and adjust the cutting head into any position, so it’s one of the best hedge trimmers featured here for cutting the tops of tall hedges as well.

If you’ve has enough of standing in uncomfortable positions whilst hedge trimming – be that reaching up high, or bending low, the variable-length handle helps. Not only is it good for higher areas, it’s also very kind on the back – you can trim lower hedges, or the underside of hedges, without having to bend over.

The powerful motor packs 900 W which is one of the strongest on this list, cutting easily through hedges, bushes and shrubs. As with all hedge trimmers, it shouldn’t be used to get through thicker branches, and twigs of around 12 mm in diameter are the limit.

Despite the fact it weighs 5.1 kg, it’s a well-balanced tool thanks to the motor being positioned at the handle end. Some extendable tools aren’t designed like this, which can make them feel unwieldly by comparison.

That said, the weight might still be a bit heavy for some people to hold for extended periods, but it does come with a shoulder strap to spread the weight better across the body.

Overall, this is a good option if you’re trying to cut taller hedges, or if you have hedges of varying heights in your garden. It will limit the need for ladders or standing at awkward angles whilst trimming, but you will still likely need an extension cord as the provided mains cable isn’t long enough for most gardens.

Pros

  • Extremely powerful hedge trimmer that offers a strong, clean cut
  • Handle can be rotated through 5 positions to allow for both left and right handed operation
  • Telescopic handle that extends up to 50cm, making this trimmer suitable for taller hedges
  • With the motor located in the handle, this trimmer is better balanced than other models

Cons

  • Heavier than others on the market at 5.3kgs, so may not be as comfortable for smaller users
  • With the handle extended, balancing the weight is a little tricky
  • Users with large gardens may need to purchase a separate extension cable, as the cord provided is shorter than others on the market

Clive Harris

Bosch Isio Cordless Hedge Trimmer

Clive Harris

Bosch Isio Cordless Hedge Trimmer Review

Not everyone needs a massive hedge trimmer, so if you’re looking for something to help you manage your smaller shrubs and hedges, this Bosch Isio Cordless Shrub and Garden Shear Set is a great option, plus there’s no messing around with power cords either.

It gives a lot more control than larger trimmers, making it perfect for shaping smaller hedges, plus it has a multi-change head so you can also choose between the ‘grass shearer’ or ‘shrub shearer’ depending on what plants you’re approaching. The grass shearer allows this tool to be used for grass edging as well, if you notice any spots getting untidy.

The Isio also isn’t prone to blockages when working in thicker vegetation – it’s designed to detect thick grass and will adjust the running direction of the blades to accommodate for any more challenging changes in terrain.

Even if you don’t have small hedges to shape, it makes other jobs easier too, like shearing ivy off the front of the house.

Weighing just 550 g, with a 3.6 V battery that lasts 50 – 60 minutes, you shouldn’t be hindered either by the weight of the tool or the running time. Most jobs can be completed without running the battery down, and you can keep an eye on how much battery is left thanks to the four-stage LED battery lights.

When the green light begins to flash, you have 20% battery left and when the indicator turns red, the Isio requires charging.

Overall, this is a very useful tool for smaller jobs. You shouldn’t expect it to have the same cutting power as larger trimmers, so if you’re hoping to plough through really thick hedges, you’ll need a more powerful tool; however, for a spot of casual gardening, without the bother of power cords, this is a useful choice.

Pros

  • A lightweight unit that offers users good control
  • Reliable 50 minute battery life
  • Suitable for edging, shearing and reshaping shrubs
  • The interchangeable heads are easy to attach, detach and clean
  • The cordless design means there are no cables to get in the way

Cons

  • Can take up to four hours for the first initial charge
  • The charging port is located at the bottom end of the handle and can be a little awkward to reach
  • Its not strong enough to cut tougher twigs and branches - best for neatening small bushes and grass
  • The blade length is just 120 mm so you wont be able to cut larger hedges

Clive Harris

Bosch AHS 70-34 Electric Hedge Trimmer

Clive Harris

Bosch AHS 70-34 Electric Hedge Trimmer Review

If the other trimmers featured here seem a bit small and lacking, you’re probably up against some large hedges that need more than a 45 cm trimming blade. The Bosch AHS 70-34 Electric Hedge Cutter has 70 cm long, diamond-cut blades, making it the biggest trimmer on this list, and a very useful tool to have in larger gardens.

The combination of these long blades, along with its 700 W motor, makes it one of the best hedge trimmers for large gardens with lots of big hedges. Able to cover a large radius in just one sweep, the amount of time that can be saved compared to using traditional hedge cutters will be a big relief to most gardeners.

If you’ve got a dauntingly large hedge-trimming task coming your way, this trimmer makes it easy to take several feet off large hedges without it taking hours, and the teeth are spaced 34 mm apart which makes it possible to cut through stems of up to around 3 cm.

Weighing 3.9 kg, it’s not the lightest machine featured here, but thanks to its power and length you can get a lot cut in a short time – so you possibly won’t even need to be holding it for as long as you would with a smaller machine.

The ergonomic handle, with a soft grip and see-though hand guard, ensures a safe working position and minimal strain on your back and arms. It’s comfortable in any position, meaning you can switch your hands over as well if you start to get a little achy.

For cutting near walls, the blade has a protected tip so you can use it right up against a solid surface without damaging any of the teeth, the blades also move in a ‘sawing’ motion which is how they are able to cut through thicker stems than a standard trimmer.

There is a good safety feature which requires both hands to be on the machine, in the appropriate places, to activate the trimmer. Whilst this works well, it can get a little tiring on the hands to make sure they’re kept in the right position, so a bit of hand strength is required.

Pros

  • The long 70 cm blade makes it easier to reach the tops of hedges
  • Weighs 3.9 kg and, although heavier than some other models, it’s well balanced
  • Effective at trimming thick branches without issue

Cons

  • Some people find the tip protector is a little too long and gets caught in thicker hedges
  • Those with a large garden may require an extension cable as the power cord is only 10 m long
  • Although a safety feature, squeezing the trigger and second power button simultaneously (to operate the saw cutting) may get tiring after a while

Things to Know Before Buying a Hedge Trimmer

If your garden hedge strongly resembles your Sunday-morning bed hair, it might be in need of a haircut.

For the novice gardener, hedge trimming may feel slightly overwhelming. With such a huge variety of hedge trimmers on the market, and a lot of different information online, working out how best to create a crisp, tidy hedge can be confusing.

Firstly, choosing the best hedge trimmer will require some thought – it depends what your garden is like as well as your own physical capabilities. Then it comes down to technique as well.

Here’s some useful information to help inform you on the topic of hedge trimmers:

The type of hedge you want to cut will dictate what type of hedge trimmer you need.

Small/Short Hedges

Small Hedges

If you have a small hedge and don’t mind a bit of manual work (and potential arm ache), you could just reach for the hand shears.

These are good tools to have around for quick jobs, especially if there’s the odd rogue branch sticking out. However, if you’re trying to drastically cut back a whole hedge, or it’s longer than a few metres, you’ll find it easier to use a machine.

Hand-held electric trimmers are used by some gardeners on small shrubs and bushes. These are not suitable for trimming hedge rows, but can make it easy to trim short hedges or decorative bushes.

Electric trimmers with a cutting blade of 30 – 40 cm can also be useful on smaller hedges. You will find that you are able to cut the hedge quickly, and these trimmers normally have the power to allow you to cut back a significant amount of hedge.

For smaller, young hedges, the gap between the teeth in the blade should be between 15 – 20 mm. This will generally mean that the trimmer can cope with branches up to 20 mm in diameter.

You are unlikely to require a telescopic hedge trimmer if you only have short hedges.

Medium Hedges

Using an electric hedge trimmer with a cutting blade of 40 cm + will make it easier to approach medium hedges.

If the hedge is mature, you should look for a trimmer which has at least a 30 mm gap between each of the teeth on the blade. If it’s a younger hedge, you may be able to get away with a smaller gap.

Depending on the height of the hedge, you may benefit from a telescopic hedge trimmer – it comes down to whether you can comfortably and evenly trim the top of the hedge without one.

Large/Tall Hedges

For larger hedges, you should consider a hedge trimmer with a blade length of 45 cm +. You can even find hedge trimmers with 70 cm blade which you might consider if you have a lot of big hedges.

Of course, the longer the blade, the more hedge you can cut in one go. However, larger machines are heavier machines so you may have to reach some level of compromise.

Cutting the tops of tall hedges can be made a lot easier by using a telescopic hedge trimmer, or a pole hedge trimmer. When buying longer tools like these, it’s a good idea to look for one with the motor at the handle-end of the tool; they can get top heavy if it is positioned higher up.

Hedge Type

As I’ve touched upon above, it’s not always just the physical size of the hedge that’s important, but the size of the branches you’re looking to trim.

These can vary depending on the type of hedge and its age.

Younger hedges will have thinner branches, so a small blade gap (15 – 20 mm) should be sufficient. More mature hedges may have thicker branches, requiring a bigger blade gap of 30 mm +.

Comfort is another factor to consider – especially if you’re going to be holding the trimmer for a long time.

It goes without saying that larger tools for larger hedges will be heavier. If you need a big trimmer, choosing one with a supportive shoulder strap can make a difference; the weight will be distributed more evenly across your body.

At the end of the day, you need to feel in control on the trimmer, even if this means getting a smaller one because it’s lighter, and spending longer on a job.

The hedge trimmers featured on this page vary in weight, weighing around 2 – 5 kg. Holding a 2 kg weight for an extended period is significantly different to holding a 5 kg weight for the same time, so you need to consider your physical capabilities.

With longer pole trimmers, you should look for trimmers that have the motor at the base – you’ll find it more comfortable and easier to balance.

As with all power tools, if you find yourself getting sore or tired, take a break and come back to it later. There’s no point risking safety just to try and finish a job quicker.

You generally have three options when it comes to trimmers – mains-powered trimmers, cordless electric trimmers, or petrol trimers. For this article, the focus is predominantly on cordless and mains powered machines as these are the most popular choices for non-professional jobs around the home.

Petrol trimmers are extremely powerful, but can be too heavy for casual garden work. They are useful for cutting back very thick branches, particularly in areas that are not close to a power source.

Mains-Powered Hedge Trimmers

These are usually lightweight, with no battery to add on weight, and can be very powerful.

These are the best hedge trimmers for gardens with small/medium hedges and can often trim branches of up to 45 mm in diameter.

They tend to be lighter than petrol trimmers but also have slightly less power. However, they are generally more powerful than battery-powered machines.

The biggest downside of using a mains-powered trimmer is being restricted by the cable. Often the power cable is only around 6 m long. Of course, you can use an extension cable, and you don’t have to worry about running out of power, but you do need to be careful.

Accidentally cutting the cord is a surprisingly common incident. Working with the cable over your shoulder should make this less likely. To protect yourself in case this does happen, use a residual current device (RCD).

Cordless Hedge Trimmers

These give you more freedom to move around your garden compared to mains-powered machines. However, they often cost more than their tethered cousins.

Choosing whether a battery-powered trimmer is right for you will depend on a variety of factors.

The batteries generally last 20 – 45 minutes depending on the model. Depending on your garden size, and how many hedges you have, this might be enough or it might be too little.

However, you can often buy more than one battery, so you can charge one whilst using the other. But, of course, this is an additional cost.

Finally, if you do have a big garden you might decide it’s worth using a cordless electric trimer just so that you don’t have to deal with the cable of a mains-powered model, or the weight of a petrol trimmer. As long as your hedges don’t have very thick branches, this will also be a viable option. Big jobs will just take longer if you have to wait for the battery to recharge.

Cleaning the Blades

Cleaning the blades of your hedge trimmer is an important, albeit mundane, job if you want your trimmer to last a long time.

Hedge trimmer blades pick up a huge amount of residue when they are used which can get jammed between the blades. Leaves, twigs and feathers can all build up, which will stop your hedge trimmer from working and drastically reduce its lifespan.

Regularly cleaning your blades is the best way to ensure your hedge trimmer lives a long and happy life.

First off:

  • Ensure the trimmer is switched off and disconnected from the power source.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands around the sharp blades.
  • Lay your hedge trimmer on a stable, flat surface.

Then, if you are cleaning your hedge trimmer immediately after use:

  • Use a cloth or brush to get rid of as much of the debris as possible, because the debris won’t have had time to settle and stick to the blades.
  • Brush as much off as you can, especially in between the blades which is where build up is usually the worst.

Or, if the debris has hardened and stuck to the blades:

  • You will need to use soap and water.
  • Ensure the blades are completely dry after doing this to prevent rusting and corrosion.
  • If soap and water doesn’t work, other recommendations include soaking the blades in white spirit for a few hours. This should dissolve any remaining debris. Wipe off any remnants and then apply a thorough coat of lubricant.

Sharpening the Blades

Sharpening a hedge trimmer should be done, ideally, after 50 hours of work. Don’t wait until the blades show signs of wear.

General Advice:

  • Wear thick gloves.
  • Remove any dirt before sharpening.
  • Only sharpen the cutting edge.
  • Make sure the blades are aligned.

How to Sharpen the Blades

  1. The best way to sharpen a hedge trimmer is using a flat file.
  2. Place the file along the edge of the tooth and make long, smooth downwards strokes in the direction of the cutting edge. Maintain the sharpening angle which will be given in the manual.
  3. Repeat this for all other teeth, making downward strokes only.

Whilst over-sharpening is a risk, it’s unlikely to happen when sharpening the blades by hand – it’s tough enough work just to get them to optimum sharpness!

Hedge Trimmer FAQs

How you prepare to use your hedge trimmer will vary depending on whether it is battery-powered, mains-powered or petrol-powered.

However, in use, you will find that you use similar techniques across the board:

  • Begin cutting at the bottom of the hedge and work your way up. Use gentle brush-like strokes and don’t try to cut too much of the hedge in one go. Instead, make several shallower passes to ensure you end up with a hedge you’re happy with!
  • Trim the sides of the hedge at an angle. It should be slightly narrower at the top and wider at the bottom to help the entire hedge get sunlight. Make sure you move the cutting bar in a slow, steady pace and let the blades do the work for you.
  • To cut the top of the hedge, hold the trimmer level and gently guide it from left to right. If you have a large hedge or are worried about not cutting straight, stretch a piece of string or nylon line between two stakes and guide your hedge trimmer along this line.

Put the trimmer on the ground and use your hands to pull out branches or leaves. Finally, cut any dead, diseased or damaged branches out with a pair of hand pruners.

As a rule of thumb, Evergreen hedges will need to be trimmed 2 – 3 times a year, between the months of May and September.

Conifers are faster growing and will need to be trimmed more frequently – always before the end of August.

Deciduous hedges should be trimmed in late August.

The following is a good guide for when to cut different hedges:

  • Yew hedges – Once a year in August or September.
  • Leyland Cypress hedges – Faster growing so trim up to three times a year in April, July and late August.
  • Beech hedges – In late August and, if they have grown too much, in February.
  • Privet hedges – Twice a year between May and August.
  • Laurel hedges – Cut in either July and August.
  • Hawthorn hedges – Trim after they flower in June. If you want an informal look, cut every few years and leave the berries.
Sources

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