An unkempt hedge can make an otherwise beautiful garden appear in disarray. And yet keeping a hedge under control is simple, requiring only one tool: a hedge trimmer. Any gardener should have one of these in their arsenal. If you do not own a hedge trimmer– or are in the market for a new one – here is a quick guide to buying one from the range of hedge trimmers.
Types of Hedge Trimmers
- Electric-Powered: The electric hedge trimmer is cheaper, lightweight and easy-to-use. Such as the It emits no fumes, makes very little noise, and requires infrequent servicing. The downside is that an electric-powered trimmer requires a constant connection to the mains power supply, meaning you become limited by the length of the cable. It is for this reason that they are best suited to smaller gardens (although extension cables can be purchased). When using anything connected to the mains, be sure to use a circuit breaker (RCD) in case of accidental wire damage.
- Cordless/Battery Powered: In many ways, the cordless trimmer is akin to the electric one; lightweight, quiet, convenient, and emitting no fumes. The cordless trimmer gains points due to its mobility; because it is battery-powered, you have the freedom to roam. Unfortunately, this means the duration of your cutting session is dictated by the life of your battery (and many batteries are notorious for having a short life-span). Most trimmer batteries last somewhere between 20 minutes and 1 hour so it might be worthwhile to purchase a backup. Furthermore, most cordless hedge trimmers, while mobile, lack the power of an electric trimmer.
- Petrol-Powered: The petrol-powered hedge trimmer is more suited to professional use – or at least for those with experience. It has increased weight and vibrations which makes it more uncomfortable to use (though many companies offer a shoulder strap and ergonomic handle to combat this). Petrol-powered trimmers are not environmentally friendly; they release carbon emissions. There are a number of positive aspects to petrol-powered trimmers, however. They are mobile, powerful (often able to tackle hurdles which electric-powered machines fall at) and provide a faster cut. We stock the Mitox 6000DK Pro Hedge Trimmer.
- Long-Reach: The long-reach hedge trimmer can be electric, battery or petrol powered. These are trimmers such as the Cobra LRH270K Petrol Long Reach are designed to cut the tallest hedges and most hard to reach areas. The adjustable shaft is topped with a tilting blade, ensuring precision. Often long-reach tools can be underpowered and hard to control overall.
Hedge trimmers operate on two primary varieties of blade: single-sided and double-sided:
- Single-Sided Blade: A more specialist blade, used for trimming long stretches of hedgerow (something you might expect in a park or schoolyard). The single-sided blade can be fitted with attachments, including clipping collectors and blade-extensions.
- Double-Sided Blade: The most common type of blade, it tends to be shorter, for increased control, speed and manoeuvrability. Since this system is easier to operate, it is ideal for domestic gardens.
There are two types of cutting action; single cutting action and double cutting action.
- Single Cutting Action: Where there is one stationary blade, and one moving blade (dragging back and forth across the first). This cutting action is more powerful, but offers a less clean cut due to increased vibrations.
- Double Cutting Action: Where both blades are moving against one another. This means a clean cut with minimal vibration. Trimmers fitted with this cutting action tend to be more expensive.
There are some important facts to consider for the length of a hedge trimmer blade.
A longer blade can cover more surface area in a shorter amount of time, though is harder to manoeuvre and heavier.
A shorter blade can reach restricted areas of vegetation and be used for shaping hedges.
A small hedge will need a blade no longer than 40cm, whilst a larger hedge requires something 50cm+.
The tooth gap on a hedge trimmer varies, though most commonly sits somewhere between 16-20mm. The bigger the spacing, the rougher the cut, the more capable the blade is of tackling harder work/thicker branches.
Some hedge trimmers will include safety features designed to protect the machine and, more importantly, yourself. Here are some to look out for:
- Safety Gear: This includes eye protection and a pair of robust gardening gloves (often these will be purchased separately).
- Dual Safety Switch: Two buttons must be held at the same time in order for the trimmer to work; if the pressure on one is released, the blade turns off.
- Quick Stop Brake: When you turn off the trimmer, the blades come to a halt as soon as possible in order to avoid accidental injury.
- Anti-Jamming System: If there is an obstruction then the blades will immediately stop moving. This avoids the risk of the blade shattering.
- Hand Guard: Designed to stop your hand from coming into accidental contact with the blade during use. It also protects the user from debris.
- Cable Belt Clip: A wearable clip designed to keep the power cable away from contact with the blade.
By Dylan Blyth.