Keep your shrubs and hedges tidy without any worries about power or dangling cables with the top cordless trimmers
Most garden power tools are all the better when they go cordless, but that goes double for the humble hedge trimmer. Nothing is more tedious when you’ve got a lot of hedge to trim and tidy than having to deal with an extension cable and a dangling power cord. What’s more, hedge trimmers by their very nature make it all too easy to cut through the cord if you’re clipping at an angle without paying due attention. It happens – and it can be dangerous when it does.
Luckily, cordless hedge trimmers have improved dramatically over the past few years, while creeping down in price. What’s more, they come in all shapes and sizes, from lightweight trimmers you could use for some creative topiary to whopping monster trimmers built to tackle the most epic of coniferous hedges. Whatever you need and whatever size your garden, there’s a cordless hedge trimmer that’s right for you.
Best cordless hedge trimmer: At a glance
- Best budget trimmer: Terratek 20V Electric Cordless Hedge Trimmer | £71
- Best lightweight cordless trimmer: Flymo SimpliCut Li | £99
- Best heavy-duty cordless trimmer: Makita DUH751Z | £285
- Best cordless shrub clippers: Worx WG801E | £100
How to choose the best cordless hedge trimmer for you
Your biggest choice comes down to the size of the blade. Barring the smallest topiary clippers, hedge trimmers start at around 35cm in length and go up to around 65cm. The longer the blade, the easier you’ll find it and the less time it will take you to trim a lengthy hedge, and the more reach you’ll have to deal with taller shrubs and hedges. However, a longer blade also means a heavier and more unwieldy hedge trimmer, so there’s always a balance to be found between size and weight.
However, size isn’t just about length, but also the size of the teeth on the blade and the gap between them, as this goes a long way to defining how thick a twig or branch can be before the trimmer can’t chop through it. Generally speaking, longer blades tend to come with bigger teeth and a wider gap, but you’ll find some distinctions between different models with the same blade length. The other thing that matters here is the power of the electric motor, as a more powerful motor will usually make it easier to slice through chunkier material.
The manufacturer will usually state the maximum size of twigs and branches a trimmer can work through, but bear in mind that the type of hedge you’re trying to trim will also make a difference. Thick and sticky conifer branches, for example, can be a lot harder to deal with than a bushy lonicera or green hornbeam hedge.
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What about battery life?
Battery life depends on the power of the motor and the capacity of the batteries included with the trimmer, though you’ll find some trimmers sold without a battery or with a choice of different capacities. Most cordless models trim for somewhere between 25 minutes and an hour, which should be enough to tackle, say, an average-sized front garden, but might leave you short if you’ve got a lot of longer hedges in need of work. It might be worth investing in a spare battery, but short recharge times mean you can often get going again within an hour or two.
Many trimmers are also part of a battery ecosystem these days, meaning you can buy several tools from within the same system and just swap batteries between them. If you’re buying a cordless grass strimmer, lawnmower or any other power tool, it’s often worth sticking to the same brand and system for this reason – you can even buy some tools without a battery for less, and you won’t have several different chargers cluttering your shed or garage.
How we test cordless hedge trimmers
We gave the batteries a full charge, then took each trimmer out to battle with a mix of heavy conifer, box, laurel, and hornbeam hedges. We tested each trimmer’s ability to cut through thicker branches – between 10mm and 30mm in diameter, depending on the maximum cutting width – and also looked at how well they coped with the thinner, springy stems of an overgrown box hedge, which can sometimes jam up larger trimmers. Finally, we checked how long the battery lasts while cutting, and how long it takes to recharge from flat after a session.
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The best cordless hedge trimmers you can buy in 2023
1. Terratek 20V Electric Cordless Hedge Trimmer: Best budget trimmer
Price when reviewed: £71 | Check price at AmazonTerratek’s budget cordless trimmer kit nets you a 51cm hedge trimmer, battery and charger for the same money other manufacturers charge for a barebones tool on its own, and the batteries and chargers are still usable and interchangeable with those for other Terratek tools. The trimmer’s a good length for a small to medium-sized garden with a 5ft to 6ft hedge, and there’s enough power on tap to handle most types of hedging bar heavyweight conifers or laurel; it worked through sections of a hornbeam hedge in no time.
We were a bit worried by the limited 1.3Ah capacity of the bundled battery, but it charged in under an hour and lasted for around 40 minutes. More expensive models will give you more cutting power or a longer reach, but this is a great affordable option for casual gardeners with a hedge or two to trim.
Key specs – Power source: 18-20V, 1.3Ah li-ion battery, 60min charge time; Blade length: 51cm; Maximum branch width: 15mm; Weight: 2.5kg
2. Flymo SimpliCut Li: The easy, lightweight cordless trimmer
Price when reviewed: £107 | Check price at Amazon This pint-sized Flymo cordless has three big things going for it: it’s cheap for a cordless trimmer; at just 2.1kg, it’s very light; and it’s also incredibly easy to use. Just plug it into the wall-wart charger, leave it for around three-and-a-half hours and you’re good to go. Amazingly, the built-in battery will keep on strimming for around an hour. In our testing, we ran out of stamina long before it did and had to come back for a second go.
Before you get too excited, there are some limitations. With a 40cm blade and a 16mm blade gap, this isn’t really built for bigger or taller hedges, and we found that 16mm is probably pushing it, as any twigs or branches bigger than around 10mm stopped it dead. Also, unless you have mains power in your shed or garage, you’ll have to bring the whole unit in for a recharge. Still, if you’ve got a small garden and low privet or honeysuckle hedges to maintain, then the SimpliCut makes the job nice and easy without the hassle of a cord.
Key specs – Power source: Built-in 14.4V Li-ion battery, 200min charge time; Blade length: 40cm; Maximum branch width: 16mm; Weight: 2.1kg
3. Makita DUH751Z: Best heavy-duty cordless trimmer
Price when reviewed: £285 | Check price at Powertool World At over 1.2m in length and 4.5kg with the battery pack, this Makita trimmer is surprisingly heavyweight for a cordless model. However, when you’ve got masses of hedge to trim – particularly dense conifers or woody laurel – you’ll be glad to have it. The massive 75cm blade and triple-edged tooth design break up even the toughest of hedges; for instance, we found that it trimmed a thick fir hedge in double-quick time.
Whatever the hedge type, however, the three-speed brushless motor makes light work of it. Plus, when pairing with Makita’s 18v 5.0Ah battery, the DUH751Z seems to go on forever; we had over 90 minutes of use from a single charge. And even with a longer runtime, the rotating handle kept things comfortable for both horizontal and vertical trimming. A great alternative to a hefty petrol model, the DUH751Z is a top-tier tool for demanding jobs.
Key specs – Power source: 18V li-ion battery; Power: N/S; Blade length: 75cm; Maximum branch width: 23.5mm; Weight: 4.5kg
4. Bosch EasyHedgeCut 18-45: Best hedge trimmer for a light and easy trim
Price when reviewed: £106 | Check price at AmazonIf your hedge-cutting needs are relatively light, look no further than this cordless little wonder. Nicely balanced and easy on the arms, it won’t have any trouble trimming down the average lonicera, privet or box hedge, and it didn’t struggle as much as we expected with our tougher conifer or laurel hedges either, thanks to Bosch’s tried-and-tested anti-block technology. It uses one of Bosch’s 18V “Power for All” system batteries, which takes about an hour to charge and gives you around 30 minutes of trimming. Those with lengthy or tougher hedges will soon want something with a bit more reach and clout, but this is a great tool for a speedy trim or getting your unruly hedges ship-shape two or three times a year.
Key specs – Power source: 18V 2.0Ah li-ion battery, 60min charge time; Blade length: 45cm; Maximum branch width: 15mm; Weight: 2.3kg
5. Worx WG801E: Best cordless shrub clippers
Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at AmazonThis pint-sized trimmer is noticeably smaller and lighter than the competition and comes with a choice of three blades to tackle your different topiary needs, or even cut grasses down to size. While you wouldn’t want to take on any larger hedges with it, it’s surprisingly useful when you need to reach up high and clip the top. It’s also brilliant when you’re trying to shape or sculpt a smaller shrub or hedge, even if you don’t go in for topiary replicas of your pets or trendy cloud effects. It uses the same 20V batteries as Worx’s other garden and power tools, and although the 2Ah battery takes a couple of hours to charge, it will power through an hour or more of clipping without any problems. Where precision matters more than size or power, this is the machine to buy.
Key specs – Power source: 20V 2.0Ah li-ion battery, 180min charge time; Blade length: 10-20cm; Maximum branch width: 8mm; Weight: 550g
6. Bosch UniversalHedgeCut 18-55: Best cordless trimmer for mid-sized and larger gardens
Price when reviewed: £140 | Check price at ScrewfixWhile noticeably bigger and heavier than the EasyHedgeCut 18-45, the UniversalHedgeCut 18-55 gives you much more cutting power in a blade big enough to tackle larger, taller hedges. This model chewed through everything we could throw at it, including lonicera, laurel, and some really woody conifer hedging. What’s more, it takes massive and untidy hedges in its stride, meaning you’ll get through a summer or late-autumn trim that much faster.
Our test model shipped with a 2.5Ah version of Bosch’s 18V “Power for All” battery, which will work with other products from Bosch and its Power for All alliance partners. It takes just over an hour to charge and runs for up to 80 minutes. This trimmer is ready to get some hard work done, and it makes it all look easy.
Key specs – Power source: 18V 2.5Ah li-ion battery, 60min charge time; Blade length: 55cm; Maximum branch width: 20mm; Weight: 2.6kg
7. Kärcher HGE 18-50: Most versatile cordless trimmer
Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at Kärcher The Kärcher HGE 18-50 is a great all-rounder, capable of tacking bigger, tougher, more unruly shrubs and hedges, or tricky clumps of box or lonicera with equal ease. It’s not as heavy as the Makita DUH751Z, but, with its 50cm blade length and 22cm maximum cutting width, it can take on anything from beach to hornbeam to an overgrown conifer hedge.
What’s more, the ergonomic design has an ingenious feature where pulling a lever allows you to rotate the blade by twisting around the top handle. You can keep adjusting the position as you trim each side of the hedge, or work along the top, to match what feels most comfortable to you. Even with a heavy battery attached – we tested using Kärcher’s 18V, 5Ah unit – it’s a very easy trimmer to work with, and that battery kept going for nearly an hour and still had enough puff left to swap into a Kärcher garden vacuum and sweep up some of the clippings. The 2.5Ah battery that’s supplied with the standard kit should still be good for 40 minutes or more of work.
Key specs – Power source: 18V 2.5Ah li-ion battery, 44min charge time; Blade length: 50cm; Maximum branch width: 22mm; Weight: 2.9kg