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Best Gas Hedge Trimmers

Updated August 2023
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Husqvarna Gas-powered Hedge Trimmer
Husqvarna
Gas-powered Hedge Trimmer
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Easiest to Use
Bottom Line

The smart start engine on this powerful and versatile hedge trimmer makes starting up as easy as the trimming is.

Pros

This lightweight trimmer was built for the 21st century, with a carburetor air purge system that keeps the engine running smoothly and reliably. It automatically returns to the start position when you're done. The quiet engine and anti-vibration dampeners on the handle make using it an enjoyable experience.

Cons

The handle is quite short. Some have a hard time maintaining it for constant use.

Best Bang for the Buck
Poulan Pro 22" 23cc 2-Cycle Dual-Sided Gas Hedge Trimmer
Poulan Pro
22" 23cc 2-Cycle Dual-Sided Gas Hedge Trimmer
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Light & Effective
Bottom Line

An inexpensive and powerful trimmer that's easy to maneuver and is ideal for most consumers' needs.

Pros

Dual 22" stainless steel blades can handle fairly thick branches and are rust-resistant in combination with proper care. Durable, 23cc, 2-cycle, full crank engine with an easy-fill fuel tank. At roughly 11 lbs, it's easy for most consumers to hold and operate. Budget-friendly price.

Cons

Some issues with the pull-start mechanism have been reported.

Syngar Gas-powered Pole Trimmer
Syngar
Gas-powered Pole Trimmer
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Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

This 4-in-1 gas-powered trimmer also has a brush cutter, a rotatable pole saw, and a full crankshaft.

Pros

The versatile design made with high-quality materials works equally well on small, suburban yards and vast, open areas. The humanized design moves with you and won't cause needless difficulties as you go. Shoulder straps keep you well-balanced despite this unit's massive size.

Cons

It weighs 28 lbs with a full tank of gas, so don't throw your back out.

Troy-Bilt Pole Trimmer
Troy-Bilt
Pole Trimmer
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Simple yet Solid
Bottom Line

The articulating head on this 22" trimmer offers full flexibility as you work.

Pros

The heavy-duty case can withstand prolonged use. Its 25cc engine is powerful yet surprisingly comfortable to use. The adjustable handle reduces obnoxious and potentially debilitating vibrations as you work. Buyers love this hedge trimmer's performance at an affordable price.

Cons

Don't skip arm day; it weighs 17 lbs with a full tank of gas.

PROYAMA 42.7cc 5-in-1 Multi-functional Trimming Tool
PROYAMA
42.7cc 5-in-1 Multi-functional Trimming Tool
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Most Versatile
Bottom Line

Though not as reliable as similarly priced models, this 5-in-1 trimmer is well suited to a variety of trimming and pruning tasks.

Pros

With the extra cost comes more power and 5 versatile attachments. Has an 18-inch hedge trimmer blade and an adjustable length of 8.2 feet to 11.4 feet. Comes with a 1-year warranty and the manufacturer offers excellent customer service.

Cons

This trimmer is both heavy and flimsy. Poor instructions.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

51
Models
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188
Consumers
Consulted
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Researched
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Buying guide for best gas hedge trimmers

If you have extensive hedging to maintain, there is just no substitute for a good gas hedge trimmer. Cordless hedge trimmers are credible and improving, but they still struggle to compete when it comes to absolute power and all-day working capability. And as for dragging a cord around the yard for hundreds of feet? It’s not really a practical solution.

For homeowners with a large garden or professionals who do this kind of work for a living, a gas hedge trimmer is still the tool of choice, but which one? From the motor to the blade to the handle, from budget-friendly to expensive, there are several factors to consider as you shop.

We’ve made some recommendations that offer something for those on a budget and for those looking for high performance. In the buying guide below, we look at all of the important aspects in more detail.

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Two-cycle machines rely on an accurate mix of fuel and oil for proper performance. Don’t guess. Always use a measuring jug or other calibrated container.

Key considerations

Motor

Cycles: With many types of gas-powered garden equipment, you have a choice of four-cycle or two-cycle motors. Four-cycle motors tend to be more durable and slightly quieter, and they run a little cleaner, but they have one major drawback: weight.

For that reason, gas hedge trimmers invariably have a two-cycle motor, and most of the models we looked at were somewhere between 21 and 25 cubic centimeters (cc). That would suggest they all produce similar output, which is true, and the weight only varies by a pound or two. The only real difference between the budget and premium brands is component quality and thus durability.

Emissions: Some manufacturers have put considerable effort into reducing emissions, and the best two-cycle motors are now California Air Resources Board (CARB) and/or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliant. This is becoming increasingly important. There are now 15 states that ban tools that don’t meet the CARB standard.

Configuration

Horizontal blades: There are two basic configurations for gas hedge trimmers. The most popular is a unit similar in appearance to a chainsaw, but with the blade running horizontally rather than vertically. This gives you a machine that’s well balanced and easy to manage, which is particularly important if you have tall hedges that you have to stand on a ladder or scaffold to cut. It also makes for a more manageable tool for general trimming duties on low hedges and plants.

End blades: The other format looks more like a pole saw or string trimmer, with blades on the end. The pole gives you greater reach, and the head is usually articulated so you can set the blades at the required angle. The drawback with this kind of hedge trimmer is that while you’re more likely to be able to stand on the ground, which is safer, the tool isn’t as easy to control because it can be difficult to see exactly where the blades are cutting. This can lead to an untidy finish. Shorter shafts are available, but for us that seems to negate the benefits of a shaft in the first place.

Hedge trimmer features

Blade

  • Length: This is a big consideration. It is generally in the range of 20 to 24 inches, which is enough for a great many hedges, but up to 40-inch versions are available. That’s one big hedge!
  • Single- or double-sided: Blades can be either. Double-sided is more efficient and is usually what you find on gas hedge trimmers.
  • Maximum branch size: This isn’t a major issue because there isn’t much difference between tools. Most cut 3/4-inch or 1-inch branches. It’s not a good idea to try tackling anything larger anyway. You’ll either jam the tool or damage the tool and/or the hedge.

Safety and ease of use

  • Head: As we’ve already mentioned, pole-type gas hedge trimmers have an articulated head that can be set at different angles. On the other configuration, the handle can usually be repositioned to give greater versatility and comfort.
  • Anti-vibration engine mounts: These are often identifiable by bolts with springs around them. They reduce operator fatigue when you’re working for hours at a time.
  • Throttle lock: Also called a dual trigger, this stops the blades from engaging by accident. If you pause for any reason, you can leave the engine running and the tool will be safe.
  • Handles: Triggers and grips should be nice and chunky so they’re easy to operate with gloved hands.
  • Starter: In the past, pull-cord machines have been criticized as difficult to start. Today, manufacturers use a variety of methods to make this easier.

Gas hedge trimmer prices

Inexpensive: The dominance of battery-powered hedge trimmers at this end of the market means the choice is limited. Nevertheless, there are excellent values at around $150. You’ll find a few cordless models in this price range, but one that delivers equivalent power will probably be twice as much.

Mid-range: There’s greater choice in this part of the market, with several high-performance tools between $220 and $330. These provide ample capacity and durability for most homeowners

Expensive: Professionals who want tools with articulation or the larger blade sizes will need to invest between $400 and $500.

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For your safety
Gas hedge trimmers are usually quite safe, but sharp debris can fly off a hedge at all angles. Always wear gloves and ear and eye protection.
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Tips

  • Trim when hedges are dormant. The best time to do heavy trimming and shaping is usually in late autumn and winter when the hedge is dormant. Although evergreen shrubs don’t lose their leaves, they still go through a similar rest period as deciduous plants.
  • Clear the area of trip hazards before you start. Make sure animals and children are kept well away. Distractions cause accidents.
  • Use guides to keep lines straight. You can use stakes (or bamboo poles) and string to make a guide to keep things straight and level.
  • Slope hedge sides slightly inward. If you cut the sides of your hedge exactly vertical, then a strange optical effect makes them look wider at the top. Pros counter this by making the sides slope inward slightly.
  • Don’t try to cut branches that are too thick. When trimming mature hedges, use loppers or a pruning saw to take out thick growth first, then use your trimmer.
  • Keep the blades sharp. If your hedge trimmer blades are blunt, they will smash branches rather than cut them. It’s not only inefficient and untidy, but it weakens the hedge and makes it more prone to disease.
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Gas engines are often criticized for their emissions, but the best are CARB and/or EPA compliant.

FAQ

Q. Do gas hedge trimmers need much maintenance?
A.
Not a huge amount, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to maximize the tool’s working life. Usually this amounts to general cleaning, lubrication, and periodically replacing the air filter and/or spark plug.

Q. How often do I need to sharpen the hedge trimmer blades?
A.
It varies from one manufacturer to another, and it depends to some extent on the blade material, but most recommend about every 50 hours. Only sharpen the cutting edges, not the flat areas they cut against. If you’re unsure, find a hardware store or garden outlet that can do the job for you.

If a hedge trimmer isn’t cutting well, it isn’t always that the blades are blunt. It could be a buildup of sappy or resinous material from cutting plants like fir or pine. Clean off the residue with a spirit-based cleaner and a stiff brush.

Q. Are there any special instructions for storing a hedge trimmer out of season?
A.
If you’re not going to be using your hedge trimmer for a few months, drain any remaining fuel (and use fresh when you start it again). If you store the tool in a damp shed or garage, moisture will encourage rust. A waterproof canvas case is the best storage. Alternatively, wrap the hedge trimmer in cotton or similar (old towels or T-shirts will do) and then in a large plastic bag.

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