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Things to consider before purchasing a hedge trimmer

Below is a list of things we recommend you should consider before buying your next hedge trimmer:

1. Which type of hedge trimmer is best suited to your requirements, cordless, electric or petrol?

Cordless hedge trimmers have the advantage of being light weight, easy to use and are great for pruning hedges above waist high. The disadvantage with most cordless hedge trimmers is their small blade gap and blades, they are normally only suitable for hedging smaller bushes and shrubs with a maximum twig diameter of 10mm – 15mm. While lithium ion battery technology has improved battery life, the maximum working time is still only 30 – 45 minutes.

Electric hedge trimmers are often more powerful than their battery equivalents. They also often have longer blades for trimming of wider hedges. Electric hedge trimmers are lighter than most petrol models and are better suited for hedging high hedges. The obvious disadvantage of electric hedge trimmers is the extension cord. We recommend running a maximum extension cord length of 30m on all electric power equipment. A longer cord length may result in a drop in voltage and motor damage.

Petrol hedge trimmers are often more powerful than cordless or electric hedge trimmers.  Most petrol hedge trimmers have longer blades for wider hedges, a larger blade gap for cutting twig diameters of between 20mm – 30mm and dual reciprocating blades for heavy duty hedging.  The disadvantage of most petrol models of hedge trimmers is their weight. Most petrol hedge trimmers are too heavy for continuous hedging at or above shoulder height.  We recommend purchasing a long reach pole hedge trimmer for these high hedges.

2. What length of blade should the hedge trimmer have?

As a general rule of thumb, the wider the hedge you intend trimming the longer the blade should be. Most hedge trimmers have a maximum blade length of 60cm, meaning you could trim a 60cm wide hedge in one pass. Hedges wider than 60cm will require hedging from both sides. Remember the longer the hedge trimmer’s blade the heavier the hedge trimmer.

3. What thickness of hedge does the hedge trimmer need to cut?

Make sure you have a good idea as to the thickness of branch you will be cutting.  The thicker the branch the more powerful the hedge trimmer needs to be and the wider the blade gap needs to be.  Bougainvillea bushes have larger twigs than Sheena’s Gold or Mock Orange, and would be better suited to a petrol hedge trimmer.

4. What type of hedge do you want to trim, do you require a precise or fine cut?

Hedge trimmers with only one blade which moves against a stationary blade will not give you as fine a cut as hedge trimmers with dual, top and bottom reciprocating blades. A hedge which has been trimmed with blunt blades or a single reciprocating blade, may have torn leaves which will brown, leaving the hedge with a “ragged” look. Hedge trimmers with dual reciprocating blades which are sharpened front, back and sides will give you a cleaner cut without tearing. As a general rule the finer the hedges leaves, the sharper the hedge trimmer’s blades need to be to give you a nice finish. Shaping hedges is best done with a hedge trimmer which has a high blade speed and dual reciprocating blades.

5. How high is the hedge you want to trim, do you require a pole hedge trimmer?

High hedges are a problem faced by many of us.  They are great for screening or providing privacy but can look untidy and overgrown if not trimmed.  We do not recommend using a ladder to trim hedges above head height.  You should consider purchasing a pole hedge trimmer with a rotating hedge trimmer head for these jobs.  The hedge trimmer can be rotated to an angle of 90 degrees to prune the tops of high hedges.  We sell both a petrol and cordless version of the high reach hedge trimmer.

6. What weight of hedge trimmer is best suited to you?

We recommend that you “try before you buy”.  Pick the hedge trimmer up and hold it at the height you would normally trim your hedges at.  Heavier hedge trimmers are best used to trim hedges at waist height or below.

7. Would you prefer a hedge trimmer that has blades which can be sharpened?

We strongly recommend you purchase a hedge trimmer with blades which can be sharpened. Not all hedge trimmer blades can be sharpened, check with the sales person before purchasing that the blades can be sharpened.  If the hedge trimmer’s blades can’t be sharpened ask about the cost of a replacement set of blades. Remember the sharper the blades the better the cut and the less damage inflicted on the hedge.

8. What’s the difference between a full crank petrol engine and half crank petrol engine?

The old adage “you get what you pay for” is definitely true when it comes to comparing a full crank engine to a half crank engine. A full crank engine, while slightly more expensive, is far better than a half crank engine. A full crank engine has a better balanced engine crankshaft with bearings on both ends of the crank shaft. A half crank engine only has bearings on the load end of the crankshaft, usually requiring the engine to be run at maximum RPMs. A full crank engine can be run at different speeds, without effecting the longevity of the engine. Full crank engines also have an external starter housing and cord, allowing for easy servicing of the starter and engine.  Half crank engines have a starter cord which is internal to the engine housing and are very costly to repair.

We strongly recommend that you purchase a hedge trimmer with a full crank engine. Simply look for the external starter housing.

9. Would you prefer a hedge trimmer with a rotating rear handle?

Hedge trimmers with rotating rear handles are excellent for pruning the sides of the hedge.  Rather than holding the hedge trimmer on its side while twisting your wrist, a rotating rear handle allows you to hold your wrist in a more comfortable position parallel with your foreman.  If you are pruning a large hedge, a rotatable rear handle will prove to be a good investment.

10. How often will you need to trim your hedge?

Most hedges do not require trimming more than one to three times a year.  We recommend a lower cost domestic hedge trimmer for the aforementioned use.  If you have fast growing hedges or hedges which need regular trimming and shaping, we recommend you purchase a more heavy duty or commercial hedge trimmer.

We hope you found this article useful, for more information on any of the above points or advice on which hedge trimmer is best suited to your needs, give us a call or send us and email.



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