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Shrub Trimmers: Choosing The Right Tool For Your Hedge Trimming Needs

Updated on March 6, 2017

No lawn maintenance equipment list is complete without a set of shrub trimmers to keep your hedges from growing out of control. Hedge trimming, though it may not be required as often as grass cutting or weed trimming, can make a good yard into a great yard. Whether you do your own hedge trimming yourself or run a lawn maintenance service, shrub trimmers are a must have.

If you are a homeowner that does the lawn maintenance yourself, a good pair of hedge trimmers can keep you from having to borrow some from a neighbor or paying someone to do that one part of your yard. For those that run a maintenance service, hedge trimming can be a great extra source of income, expecially during the slow months of the late fall and winter.

The type of shrub trimmers you need will depend mainly on the amount of hedge trimming you do and how close to the house your hedges are. A homeowner that trims his or her own hedges twice a year will obviously not need the same tool as someone who runs a lawn maintenance service. Although a nice pair of gas powered hedge trimmers are great, you may not need to spend nearly that much.

Shrub Trimming The Old Fashioned Way

Although some things are best done the old fashioned way, hedge trimming is not necessarily one of those things. Manual shrub trimmers, however tough on the hands, do have their place though. If you only have a handfull of hedges to trim and do them often enough so that the trimming is light, a set of manual shrub trimmers may be for you.

Even if you have an electric or gas trimmer, a stand by set of manual hedge trimmers is a must. Using them for a small touch up or hard to reach areas can save time and energy.

The area where the manual trimmers surpass the others is in price. These trimmers can be bought for around $15-$20 for a decent pair, which is definitely less that the others. They also are easier to sharpen, which may be of benefit as well for light usage.

Upkeep for manual trimmers is only to sharpen the blades. Depending on whether you have nylon/fiberglass handles, aluminum, or wood, you may have to replace a handle at some point.

Electric Hedge Trimming

A definite step up from manual shrub trimmers, electric (corded) shrub trimmers can make quick work of most small hedge trimming jobs. Corded electric hedge trimmers are fairly light and much cheaper than their battery and gas hedge trimming counterparts, but they do have their downfalls.

If you have most of your hedges within reach of your outdoor power outlets, these may be just what you need, especially if you do your own hedges and need something light to use. If you have a lawn service or a large amount of hedges, you will probably want something faster and more mobile. However, one of these is a good backup for a small yard service.

One other down side to corded trimmers are the inevitable cut cord that will happen if you use them enough. Most people can tie their cord off or drape it over their shoulder to help with this, but at some point it will happen.

Corded electric shrub trimmers can range from $30 - $60 and come in various lengths. Maintenance will include sharpening the blades, applying oil to the blades, and keeping the cord in good shape.

Battery Hedge Trimmers

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With similar power to the corded electric shrub trimmers, battery operated hedge trimmers offer much more versatility. For the homeowner looking to do some hedge trimming around the house and not wanting to drag around an electrical cord, this is your trimmer. Easy to store, without rolling up cords or worrying about cutting them, battery powered trimmers can help save time and space.

Battery powered trimmers are also a good choice for the lawn maintenance person that only has a few yards for which they maintain the hedges. If you have more than a couple, a set of battery powered trimmers can help get you by until you have the money to invest in a larger gas powered hedge trimmer. After purchasing a gas trimmer, keep the battery powered trimmer as a backup.

These items run from $60 - $150 and are often found in 18 volt and 24 volt varieties. If you have a larger amount of hedge trimming to do, be sure to go with the 24 volt option.

Maintenance of battery trimmers includes sharpening the blades, applying light oil to them, and the upkeep of the batteries and battery charger.

Gas Power Hedge Trimmers

Gas powered shrub trimmers are by far the cadilac of the group. Gas powered trimmers come in a stick design or in the shorter models that are similar to the electric designs. Gas trimmers can trim faster, and handle larger diameter limbs than their battery and electric counterparts. These trimmers are also much more expensive than the others, so I only recommend them if you are making money with them, or have a large amount of hedges of your own to trim.

Gas shrub trimmers come in various engine sizes, from around 21 cc engines to 26 cc engines. The larger engines cost more and are heavier, so you will have to weigh out just how much you will be using them against the weight. They also come with short sticks or long sticks and can even have an angled head. Many lawn services prefer the longer stick trimmer due to how its weight is balanced and its ability to reach.

These trimmers range in price from $180 - upwards of $500 and can include artiulating pieces to allow you to trim taller hedges without being on a ladder. Upkeep of gas powered trimmers includes the standard blade sharpening but also includes greasing them from a grease point between the powerhead and the blades. It also includes maintaining the carburetor and gas bubble, fuel filter, and mixing oil and gas mix for the 2 stroke engine.


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