Best hedge trimmers 2020 to keep your garden tidy

·8-min read

You may well spend a fair bit of time looking at your hedge this summer, so may we just say you’re doing absolutely the right thing in looking up the best hedge trimmer to keep it shapely and in good health.

When shopping for a hedge trimmer, perhaps the most important factor to mull over is how you want your trimmer to be powered. Nowadays, many of the best hedge trimmers aimed at home users are cordless appliances, powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Cordless trimmers tend to be especially safe and maneuverable, and will easily cut the average garden hedge on a single charge. Due to these factors, most of the trimmers featured in this roundup are cordless models.

Mains-powered hedge trimmers are still an option, too. These tend to offer good performance relative to the price you pay, but they are undoubtedly more cumbersome than cordless trimmers. Meanwhile, petrol-powered hedge trimmers provide a traditional, high-performance option that may suit professional gardeners, keen hobbyists, or those blessed with a very large hedge. We’ve included user-friendly examples of mains-powered and petrol-powered hedge trimmers in this article, to give you some idea of the options available.

Other hedge trimmer specifications to look out for include blade length, which will affect how efficiently you can trim your hedge; and tooth spacing, the distance between the teeth on the blade, which determines the maximum thickness of branches that can be cut with the hedge trimmer.

Kärcher HGE 18-45 Hedge Trimmer (Battery Set)

Power source: cordless
Blade length: 45cm​
Tooth spacing: 1.8cm

Kärcher may be a brand best known for its pressure washers, but on the strength of our testing with this recently launched cordless hedge trimmer, it deserves to be one of the biggest names in garden care, too.

The HGE 18-45 trims extraordinarily well, swiftly cutting through the thickest wood you’re likely to find in a garden hedge. We shouldn’t have done this really, but we also tested this trimmer on a few slender tree branches, and found it made light work of those too.

A highlight of this trimmer is the LCD screen you’ll find at the rear of the removable lithium-ion battery, which tells you how much runtime the battery has left. This means there’s no longer any need to be in doubt over whether a battery needs charging before use.

This cordless trimmer comes with a compatible lithium-ion battery and charger, which can also be used with other products from the ‘Kärcher Battery Universe’ range.

£129 | John Lewis

Buy as a bare unit (with no battery or charger) for £89.99

Ryobi 18V ONE+ Cordless Hedge Trimmer OHT1855R (Bare Unit)

Power source: Cordless
Blade length: 55cm​
Tooth spacing: 2.2cm

With a killer combo of cutting power, blade length (55cm) and capability to cut thick hedge branches, the Ryobi OHT1855R is a match for even the unruliest of hedges. In our testing, it cut through all sorts of plant matter with ease, whether thick or thin, tough or soft.

This trimmer has plenty of bells and whistles. Its ‘anti-jam’ system did a perfect job of preventing blockages during our testing, and despite this feature’s name, it seems to think fruit preserves are absolutely delicious. The handle can be twisted to one of five positions, helping the user trim across the top, face or edge of the hedge, all without significantly altering their grip. Best of all is the ‘HedgeSweep’​ accessory, which slots along the top of the blade and effortlessly brushes cuttings to the ground.

Requires a compatible Ryobi ONE+ charger and battery, sold separately, here and here.

£79.99 | Amazon

McCullough Superlite 4528 Petrol Hedge Trimmer

Power source: petrol
Blade length: 45cm​
Tooth spacing: 2.8cm

For the average gardener, a petrol-powered hedge trimmer might seem a little surplus to requirements. Petrol is inherently a fiddlier fuel than electricity, and besides, electric trimmers usually get the job done.

However, the McCullough Superlite Petrol is proof that a petrol hedge trimmer can pack all the extra punch that comes with this particular fuel source, without sacrificing too much in terms of ease-of-use.

As you’d expect, it cuts extremely well, aided by the wide spacing between the teeth, which can accommodate branches up to 2.8cm thick. The petrol tank is easy to locate and fill, and the ‘Soft Start’ starter cord requires far less of a yank than we’ve come to expect with petrol-powered garden tools. If you’re looking for a really powerful petrol trimmer that doesn’t require a degree in horticulture to use, the McCullough Superlite Petrol would be an excellent choice.

£169.95 | Amazon

Flymo SimpliCut Li Cordless Hedge Trimmer, 14.4V (Battery Set)

Power source: Cordless
Blade length: 50cm​
Tooth spacing: 1.6cm

This SimpliCut Li really is a simple trimmer, from its pared-down design, with just a pair of power buttons to consider, to the way its in-built battery is charged, by plugging directly into the mains. It’s effective too, providing ample power to cut all but the toughest of branches.

As seems often to be the case with Flymo products, the plastic body of the trimmer feels solid and well-made. It weighs a little less than some of the other trimmers we’ve tested, although the difference is not so great as you might expect, given the trimmer’s neat profile.

The handle can get ever-so-slightly tricky to grip, if your hands get clammy after a long trimming session. This won’t be an issue for those who wear gardening gloves (and shouldn’t we all, really?)

Battery and charger included.

£99.99 | Very

VonHaus 450W Hedge Trimmer

Power source: Mains-powered
Blade length: 41cm​
Tooth spacing: 1.6cm

While we are undoubtedly living in an age of cordless garden power tools, corded models still hold some undeniable advantages over battery-powered models.

Let’s consider Exhibit A: the VonHaus 450W hedge trimmer. Despite costing less than half as much as the other trimmers we’ve tested, this proved to be one of the most powerful of the lot, making its way through leaf and branch with an ease that bordered on contempt. In all seriousness, this is a really effective hedge trimmer, at a bargain price.

The main downside to the VonHaus 450W hedge trimmer is the level of noise it kicks out, which is roughly in the ballpark of a Led Zep concert. Also, its blade is very much on the shorter side, so we would not recommend it to users who have a big hedge to deal with.

£34.99 | VonHaus

Erbauer EHT18-Li Cordless Hedge Trimmer (Bare Unit)

Power source: cordless
Blade length: 55cm​
Tooth spacing: 2.5cm

Long, powerful and with widely spaced teeth, Erbauer’s cordless hedge trimmer is more than a match for even the gnarliest of garden hedges. With a blade length of 55cm, this is one of the larger trimmers we’ve tested. It’s very well suited to efficiently trimming large hedges, and is pleasingly lightweight despite its considerable reach.

We appreciate the capability to switch the bottom handle to multiple orientations, so you can angle the blade to cut across the top or face of the hedge, or at an angle, without significantly altering your stance.

Requires a compatible Erbauer EXT 18V charger and battery, sold separately, here and here.

£98 | B&Q

Flymo EasiCut Cordless 20V Li Hedge Trimmer

Power source: cordless
Blade length: 50cm​
Tooth spacing: 1.6mm

This is one of the most powerful and capable cordless hedge trimmers we’ve come across. The 20V Li runs off a detachable ‘C-Link’ lithium-ion battery, which delivers an impressive 20V to the trimmer’s motor – the highest voltage of all the trimmers we’ve tested. As you’d expect, then, it cuts very well indeed.

The only potential downside to this hedge trimmer is that it’s a little on the heavy side, and some users might find themselves feeling tired by the time their hedge is trimmed, especially if there’s lots of trimming to do on the top of the hedge. However, if you’re used to using heavier tools, you’ll have no problems wielding this excellent trimmer, which has the kind of power and reach needed to efficiently cut large or challenging hedges.

£119.99 | Amazon

Grizzly AHS 1852 Lion 18V Hedge Trimmer (Battery Set)

Power source: cordless
Blade length: 52mm​
Tooth spacing: 1.5mm

Back in 2018, while the “Beast from the East” weather front was blanketing the UK with snow, ES Best was testing another batch of hedge trimmers for an earlier roundup. This was one of our favourites then, and it’s still one of our favourites today..

The Grizzly AHS 1852 is light, nimble and highly effective at cutting all sorts of bushes and hedges. One slight drawback is spacing of the teeth, which is too narrow to accommodate woodier branches, but on the whole this is an excellent trimmer at a really fair price. That’s why it still has pride of place in this year’s roundup.

£102 | Machine Mart

Verdict:

Our ES Best Top Pick of the hedge trimmers on sale in 2020 is the Kärcher HGE 18-45. It’s an absolute pleasure to use, it cuts beautifully, and the LCD info screen on the back of the battery is the cherry on top. The only real downside to the HGE 18-45 is that it’s far from the cheapest of hedge trimmers – but if you enjoy your gardening, you may well find it worth the investment.

If you’re in need of a bigger trimmer with wider tooth spacing, Ryobi’s OHT1855R would be a fine choice. Not only does it trim brilliantly; it also has an abundance of features, including grip adjustment and a handy ‘HedgeSweeper’ blade attachment.

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