As with a lot of garden machinery choice can be overwhelming. Hedge cutters are no exception, which is why Gardenlines have produced a simple guide to help you select the right tool for your needs.
Hedge cutters are powered in three ways; petrol, mains electricity or battery. Petrol hedge cutters offer the most power and are best suited for sustained use on tough hedges. As there’s no cord they’re safer to use. Petrol-heads have two options; 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines. The main advantage of the former comes in the shape of a greater power-to-weight ratio, crucial when attacking long, tall hedges. This is due to the combination of a lack of valves in 2-strokes and a more powerful engine (2-strokes fire once every revolution, 4-strokes every other revolution). The simpler design allows for lighter models and lower manufacturing costs. However, the development of 4-stroke engines has made these models a more attractive proposition. 4-stroke engines last longer thanks to the feature of separate oil and fuel chambers, meaning parts are better lubricated. Gardeners need no longer go through the messy and time-consuming process of mixing fuel and oil, and with advances in this lubrication process 4-strokes are just as flexible and versatile as 2-strokes. The ever-increasing threat of global warming has led to manufacturers producing more environmentally friendly machines. As seen with the more fuel-efficient 4-strokes with Honda claiming their hedge cutter reduces fuel and oil consumption by 40 and 90% respectively, compared to 2-strokes with a similar power output. If noisy and smoky engines are major turnoffs the ever popular electrical hedge trimmers may be the way to go. They provide a lighter and more convenient option with easy start-up motors. The only draw-back being the restrictive power cable, which becomes more obtrusive and hazardous the further you get from the mains. The element of danger presented when tackling hedges situated away from a power source is avoided with rechargeable hedge cutters. Cleaner, lighter yet less powerful than petrol models it’s necessary to plan the job in advance to make the most of the limited battery life. Many models come with a double battery back and can be recharged in an hour. However, they usually only provide 40 minutes of cutting time (even less if run continually), which may be too restrictive for many gardener. Too overcome this issue, Bosch have produced a range of lithium-ion battery hedge cutters. Lighter and longer lasting than standard batteries, lithium-ion technology has no self discharge or memory effect and can be 80% recharged in about 30 minutes. When choosing a hedge cutter consider how long the hedge is, how far it is from a power source, how much strain you can take and whether you’re a friend of the earth or a manic shearer.