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What To Consider When Buying A Hedge Trimmer

It doesn't take long for hedges and bushes to quickly grow out of control so owning a hedge trimmer that can get the job done quickly and effectively is very important – say goodbye to those shears! When choosing a hedge trimmer that’s right for your garden needs there are several things you need to consider. We’ve devised a handy checklist to help you choose the one that’s right for you…

1. Size Up The Job In Hand

The first thing you need to weigh up is, unsurprisingly, the hedge in question. Working out the size, shape and more importantly the location is crucial to deciding which hedge trimmer to go for. You don't, for example, want to buy an electric trimmer only to find out that the power cable doesn’t reach because the hedge is too far away!

The size and density of the hedge will also determine which hedge trimmer best suits your needs. If the hedge has dense leaves and thick branches you will require more powerful machine with a wider blade gap than a machine designed for small domestic garden hedges.

Write down the description of your hedge/hedges such as the height, width, branch thickness, leaf density and location in your garden.

2. Power

Whilst your instinct may be to just go for the most powerful hedge trimmer available this may be unnecessary and can come with drawbacks that are easily avoided.

Petrol trimmers are generally the most powerful. They offer enough oomph to tackle the dense leaves and branches with relative ease. They also don't have a cable, which means you aren’t limited with your movements around the garden. These do require more maintenance than other hedge trimmer types, as you are required to add fuel and oil to power the trimmer, and they are also usually the heaviest so be sure to opt for a light-weight trimmer if you only have a small hedge.

Like petrol trimmers, the battery equivalents will allow you to move around the garden seamlessly. They have the added advantage of being very quiet and your neighbours will thank you for that.

Electric hedge trimmers can are suited to small gardens but as they come with a cable which can be a nuisance if they snag on branches. Given the high amount of electricity that courses through the cable it is another thing you will need to be aware of when you are working.

3. Types Of Blades Required

The first thing that will need to be considered is the length of the cutting blade. Generally longer blades can cut more in one go, which allows you to get the job done faster as opposed to their shorter counterparts. As a result they are better suited if you have a lot of dense hedges to deal with. You will also be grateful for the extra length if you have to reach higher hedges. The shorter blades, however, will be more maneuverable so, again, it comes down to the hedge in question. Extra blade length means extra weight that you will need to lug around. This is why you would need to be aware of your what is actually required before buying a hedge trimmer.

The gap between the blades is also a consideration you will need to be aware of. This can also be known as the teeth spacing and it is the distance between each of the teeth. This affects the size of the branch that you can cut when you are doing the job.

You will also need to be aware of the quality of the blade before you purchase a new machine. Some manufacturers have blades and teeth that are stamped out of metal whereas some are precision cut with a laser and then ground for increased sharpness. Unsurprisingly, the better the blade, the cleaner the cut will be. Using a hedge trimmer with double sided reciprocating blades will create a much cleaner cut and will reduce tearing as the two blades move independently. This makes them much more versatile and easy to use.

4. Safety First

As with every powerful machine safety is paramount, so always keep the manufacturers manual nearby. At McCulloch, we know how dangerous these machines can be, so be sure to check out our range of safety equipment and clothing here.

A lot of safety features on a hedge trimmer can be its own selling point. Some of these features will be specific to the type of propulsion system. As an example, if you have an electric trimmer a spiraled cable and a belt clip to keep everything out of the way will become a much-needed feature. It is also recommended to fit an RCD (residual current device) unless one is already fitted. That way if you accidentally cut the cable this could literally be a lifesaver.

It is worth looking out for an automatic brake, this way the blades stop straight away after you release the trigger. If something gets jammed in the teeth of the hedge trimmer you will be grateful for this feature. You should also look out for a hand guard if possible. Falling debris will be abundant, especially if it is a particularly bushy hedge, so you will need to keep yourself protected so you can get the job done safely.

Lastly, this may also seem obvious but if you need to use a stepladder to cut the top of the hedge make sure it is strong and stable. Investing in a secure ladder is always worth it and not only will it make the job safer but also easier. You will be less focused on maintaining your balance so you can get the job done.

Ready To Get Started? Don't Forget To Check For Nesting Birds

In many countries there are laws in place to prevent damage to active nesting birds or other animals. As a result you will need to check that you are not destroying a little critter’s home before you get cracking. For example in the UK it is an offence under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to intentionally damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use. This could carry to an unlimited fine or even a prison term so make sure you check before you get going.

Traditionally, between March and August is peak-breeding season for nesting birds so it is better to avoid trimming during this time if you know your hedge is likely to have some new tenants. Above all, if your hedge is the only garden boundary between your house and next-door this will need to be a joint responsibility with your neighbour.

Ready to choose? Whether you are buying a petrol or battery hedge trimmer from McCulloch, our cordless hedge trimmers are designed to produce little noise without any loss of power. McCulloch's hedge cutters are incredibly easy to start via our innovative technology and intuitive design. Check out the range of McCulloch hedge trimmers today.