What’s different about cordless hedge trimmers: pros and cons
The most obvious identifier in cordless hedge trimmers is the absence of a cord. This alone has significant pros and cons, which we address below.
- One of the best things about using a cordless hedge trimmer is that you can use it anywhere. With corded trimmers, the length of the cord dictates how far you can trim. Likewise, you don’t need to connect the trimmer to a power source, and this makes the cordless variety ideal for working in the far corners of the yard.
- There is no risk of tripping over the cord or accidentally cutting it with the trimmer.
- Cordless hedge trimmers use DC battery power and don’t have emissions of any kind. They’re health- and environment-friendly.
- They run quietly.
- They have limited battery power. You have to stop using the trimmer and recharge the battery when power runs out.
- Most cordless trimmers lose their cutting power as the battery begins to fade, meaning you can still use them but they’re slower and less efficient.
Features to consider while choosing a cordless hedge trimmer
What makes one cordless hedge trimmer different from another? It comes down to specific features and the distinct characteristics of each feature. We look at the main ones below.
Battery and runtime
Most cordless hedge trimmers use lithium ion batteries. When choosing a hedge trimmer, consider the battery life as this will determine how long you’ll use the trimmer before running out of power. Consider also the time it takes to recharge. The quicker it does, the faster you resume your yard work. It’s a good idea to have a spare battery or two, which you can use as the depleted battery recharges. This way you don’t unnecessarily stall your trimming duty.
Choose a battery with a higher amp as this will store more energy than batteries with lower amp, and you’ll use the hedge trimmer longer before power starts fading.
Blade type and length
Hedge trimmer blades can be one-sided or double-sided. With one-sided blades, the teeth are all placed on one side of the blade, and so only this side is used to trim and shape hedges. Double-sided blades have teeth on both sides of the blade and can be more versatile when it comes to cutting and shaping.
They can also be dual action or single action. Dual-action blades have two moving blades that cut in opposite direction, while single-action blades have only one moving blade.
Short blades tend to be lighter and easier to use. They are also easier to manipulate when shaping your bushes in intricate patterns. The only disadvantage with short blades is they don’t have enough reach to trim tall hedges or bushes.
Because of their longer reach, long blades get more done. You’ll cut more with a long blade in one stroke than you would with a short blade.
Strokes per minute
Strokes per minute indicate cutting speed and can be as few as 1,300 or as high as 5,000. Obviously, you want to go for a hedge trimmer with more strokes per minute if your hedge is big or you have plenty of bushes in your garden. The strokes may also be designed to match the tooth spacing of your blade. Blades with wide-spaced teeth may have fewer strokes per minute to give a coarse finish to the hedge. Hedge trimmers whose blades have the teeth close together tend to have a higher strokes-per-minute ratio and give a finer hedge finish.
Maximum twig and branch diameter
The cut capacity of the blade will determine the maximum twig and branch diameter you can cut using your cordless hedge trimmer. The ¾-inch cut capacity, standard in many cordless hedge trimmers, allows you to trim the new growth when sculpting shrubs and can be used to cut many small to mid-sized twigs. If you need to cut larger branches or twigs, you’ll need to get a hedge trimmer with a corresponding higher cut capacity.
Trimmers with low cut capacity are designed to trim small and thin bushes and will not cut thicker branches.
As a guide, trimmers with short blades are lighter than those with long blades. Likewise, trimmers with one-sided blades are lighter than those with double-sided blades. Still, the individual weight of the hedge trimmer will vary from one brand to the next and even from model to model. Choose a hedge trimmer that is light enough for you to operate, especially if you’ll be cutting hedges at height level or taller. If you pick a model that’s too heavy, you may get tired before finishing your bush trimming chore.
The hedge trimmer is one piece of equipment you need to have on standby at all times; the more reason why you should have a warranty on it. It’s fair to say that when it comes to hedge trimmers, manufacturers are generous with their warranties. The average warranty period for a new hedge trimmer is two years, and scores of manufacturers give a far lengthier warranty period.
How to use a cordless hedge trimmer?
Cordless hedge trimmers are arguably the easiest-to-use hedge trimmers. They have no fuel tanks or cords attached. All you have to do is insert the fully-charged battery, switch on the hedge trimmer, and clip away at your hedges and shrubs. Ensure that the battery is at full charge before using it on the hedge trimmer so that you don’t stop to recharge after a few minutes. Having a spare battery ensures that you only stop trimming your hedges for a few minutes to swap the battery and that you don’t waste time waiting for the battery to recharge before you can resume trimming the hedges.
How to maintain a cordless hedge trimmer?
Your hedge trimmer will stay in good shape for much longer if you take good care of it. These maintenance tips will help make a difference:
- Lubricate the blades regularly or after every use. This preserves their form and keeps rust at bay.
- Clean the hedge trimmer after every use, following the cleaning procedure recommended by the manufacturer. Most importantly, don’t use water, solvents or strong detergents to clean the hedge trimmer as these may interfere with its operating mechanics.
- Protect the blade from hard objects that may damage it.
- Store the hedge trimmer in a cool, dry place, away from children.
As with any piece of equipment, there are safety precautions that you can take to make your hedge trimmer safe to use. Most manufacturers include a couple of safety features to aid in this as well. Let’s look at the most common.
Off lock – The off lock feature ensures that the hedge trimmer can’t be accidentally turned on when not in use. This is a useful feature to have, especially if your kids’ curious hands are often rummaging through the tool shed.
Tooth extensions – These increase the distance between the blade and your body, reducing the risk of a blade cut.
Dual switch – Hedge trimmers with dual switches require you to use both hands when operating the trimmer. Consequently, there’s minimal chance of you cutting yourself.
Handle shield – Some hedge trimmers have a front handle shield to keep your hands from moving too close to the blade.
Safety wear – Use gloves and eyewear whenever you’re operating the hedge trimmer to protect against flying twigs and similar bits which might be injurious.