Hedge trimmers are the perfect tool for the perfect hedge. Whether you prefer a neat-as-a-pin (pretty much levelled) hedge, or more ‘jungle-style’ like myself, a hedge trimmer makes it easy.
Quality doesn’t always cost a fortune but it can be tricky to figure out which trimmer is a quality one and which is a nightmare. I rather enjoy hitting the garden with the hedge trimmers (secateurs are out the door!) so I’ve researched the best electric hedge trimmers under $50 for you.
- Greenworks 22-Inch 4 Amp Dual-Action Corded Hedge Trimmer
- Sun Joe HJ22HTE 22″ 3.5 Amp Electric Hedge Trimmer
- WORX WG212 3.8 Amp 20″ Electric Hedge Trimmer
- BLACK+DECKER BEHT150 Hedge Trimmer
- Scotts Outdoor Power Tools HT10020S 20-Inch 3.2-Amp Corded Electric Hedge Trimmer
Types of Hedge Trimmers
Hedge trimmers come in 3 main types, including:
- The corded type we’ll discuss here,
- Diesel or petrol motors,
- Cordless electric using, typically lithium ion, batteries.
Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Fuel-powered models are noisier but more powerful. Battery-powered trimmers are more manoeuvrable but requiring charging.
But what each type of trimmer shares in common is convenience when you compare it to a manually-operated pair of hand shears. Not only is it faster to use hedge trimmers, you’ll also get a much neater and consistent finish on your hedgerows than shears will.
After years of hacking away at bushes with secateurs and other hand tools (and being disappointed with the results), I finally switched to electric hedge trimmers and I’ve never looked back. I didn’t want to spend too much, so I was looking for the best electric hedge trimmers under $50.
I didn’t want to deal with fuel or the constant need to replenish batteries, so I chose a corded hedge trimmer.
Tips Before Getting Started
Newly-planted hedges need regular trimming to establish the shape in which they will grow, though they’ll need regular maintenance for life. Though it might seem as simple as firing up your motor and attacking the bushes, they should slope inwardly towards the top to make sure that the lower leaves receive enough sunlight.
Although, if you’re like me and prefer the ‘jungle-style’ just go wild and shape your hedge on the fly. It’ll still look great and, I suppose, your plants will grow back if you didn’t get it quite right.
Also take into account the time of year; nesting birds are common in the early spring months.
You could simply rake up the branches from the hedges when you’re finished, but it’s much easier to lay a tarpaulin on the ground to save you time. You’ll also want to lubricate the trimmer’s blades with a spray-on oil lubricant before starting the motor.
And don’t forget to clean the blades down once you’re done (or at least regularly, I know how it goes), as debris will tend to stick to the lubricant and could clog up the mechanisms.
Manoeuvring and Handling
When you’re choosing a hedge trimmer, manoeuvrability should be at the forefront of your mind.
Remember what I said about hedgerows that curve inwards towards the top; you won’t be standing stationary while cutting in a single direction. You’ll need a tool that can easily be twisted and turned without placing strain on your arms or back and compromising safety.
There are several features that affect the manoeuvrability of a hedge trimmer.
Firstly, the positioning of the motor can affect weight distribution. The further back the motor is positioned, the closer to your centre mass the weight will be, making it easier to handle.
Secondly, the length of the blades can also affect weight distribution, though go too short and you’ll have less reach when it comes to trimming. Finally, specialized features, like the Greenwork’s trimmer’s rotating handles, can make it easier to trim the top of your hedges.
I found a useful video on YouTube that provides a few tips and illustrates how to handle your tool around the hedgerows – check it out below.
Keeping Yourself Safe
The temptation might be there to look for a model with a trigger lock, which keeps the motor running even if you let go of the switch. Sure, it’s convenient, but it also increases the risk of injury should you trip or fall and let go of the hand grips.
From personal experience, there are occasions when the automatic shutoff has been a blessing, but I’ve never found myself yearning for a trigger lock. Remember, if you have to reach far enough that you can’t depress the trigger, you shouldn’t be doing it.
I’d also recommend picking up a sturdy pair of safety glasses, as well as ear protectors. Though any good trimmer will include a guard behind the blades to prevent chippings from flying back towards you, it’s not infallible, and I can tell you that having wood shavings in your eyes is not a nice experience.
Meanwhile, the ear protectors will make sure that your hearing isn’t damaged – though you’re safer with a low-amp electric motor. Typically, it’s the diesel motors that produce the greatest noise.
Our Top Trimmers under $50
The Greenworks 22-inch hedge trimmer features a steel dual-action blade. This means it has teeth that extend down both sides of the functional blade, which helps to stabilize the trimmer and reduce vibrations through into the handle.
A rear-mounted perspex screen stops chippings from flying back into your face, though I’d personally recommend a pair of safety goggles from experience. The secondary function is as a hand guard so your fingers aren’t at risk of slipping into the blades.
Its powerful 4 Amp motor can tackle hedgerows and other foliage, and should also take down small tree branches with ease. The 22” blade isn’t too unwieldy and promises a cutting capacity of 5/8-inches, though if you shell out a few more dollars for the newer model, this increases to 9/16-inches.
There’s no trigger lock built into this model, meaning you’ll have to keep the grip handle depressed to operate the trimmer. Though this might seem like a drawback, I can think of at least one occasion where an automatic shutoff has saved me a trip to the emergency room.
There’s also a cord lock built into the chassis, which is a great way to stop the plug from disconnecting when you pull the power cord too far out.
- Thanks to the combination of a 3-position auxiliary handle and rotating rear handle, you won’t have to contort your body to reach the top of your hedgerows.
- You may long for a trigger lock to keep the motor running, but the absence of a lock can help to reduce serious injuries if you trip or slip.
- The 4-Amp motor is powerful enough to handle thick shrubbery and even some small tree branches.
- Though it’s lightweight enough to use for long periods in the garden, this is the second heaviest trimmer we’ve included on our list (at 5.7 pounds).
- It features a two-prong power lead whereas many outdoor power outlets use three-pronged connections, so you may need an adapter.
- Greenworks advertise the trimmer as having a 5/8-inch cutting capacity, though the out-of-the-box manual states that it’s just 3/8-inch.
- It’s likely you’ll need something more powerful to take on larger jobs, such as cutting through thick tree branches.
There’s a safety guard to stop your hands from slipping close to the blades, as well as a dual-handed safety switch to prevent unintentional starts. Thirdly, there’s a blade cover included as standard.
Thanks to dual-action 22-inch blades that run the length of both sides, cutting efficiency is far better than you’d get with a single blade.
Unfortunately, the jury is out on whether the blades are truly stainless-steel as advertised, or whether they’re iron as the box suggests. Opinions seem to conflict and there’s a lack of confirmation directly from Sun Joe. Iron blades would of course rust if left wet, so be sure to take care of them when you’re done using it, but it shouldn’t be enough to put you off what is a great budget hedge trimmer.
Possibly one of its greatest selling points is its weight. At just 5 pounds, you’ll fatigue far more slowly when tackling the larger hedges or bushes in your garden. And thanks to the full wrap-around front handle, the weight is evenly distributed so that you can achieve those detailed edges you’ve always wanted.
- ETL approved, meaning that it has been fully tested for compliance with North American safety standards.
- There’s a built-in dual-handed safety trigger to stop you from accidentally starting up the motor in a dangerous position.
- The power cord features a strain relief mechanism so that you won’t accidentally tug it out of the power outlet.
- The advertised stainless-steel blades are listed as iron on the box, which causes some confusion – it’s best to keep them dry regardless.
- With a 3.5-Amp motor under the hood, it’s weaker than some competing trimmers at a similar price point
- This features a wraparound handle, but it lacks the rotating functionality of others like the Greenworks trimmer.
Like most models, there’s a clear safety guard that helps to stop your hands from touching the blades, as well as preventing chippings from being kicked back into your face.
At 6.6 pounds, the WG212 comes in at around the mid-range for hedge trimmers in this price bracket. Despite the average weight, the body and handle are lightweight and slimline by design, and when combined with the 3/4-inch cutting capacity, it’s the perfect trimmer for achieving detailed, neat edges.
In terms of operation, there’s a single hand safety trigger for kicking off the motor, while the D-grip handle up front makes it simple to trim the top or sides of your hedgerows.
There’s no trigger lock for your safety, so you’ll need to keep it depressed while trimming. Ideally, I’d have liked to see the inclusion of a rotating handle for greater ease of use when reaching these areas, but you can easily make do without it.
Overall, the WG212 is a good example of why you don’t always have to reach for a big brand name like Black+Decker to get the job done.
- As the motor is positioned behind the grip, your hands tend to fatigue more slowly than with forward-positioned motors.
- The slimline profile of the trimmer makes it easier to navigate small and tight spaces .
- This model suffers from practically zero vibrations from the motor or blades, which makes handling far easier.
- Requires an extension cord, which reduces the risk of you accidentally cutting through the power cord – trust me, I’ve been there.
- As budget hedge trimmers go, this isn’t the lightest, coming in at 6.6 pounds.
- The WG212 lacks a rotational handle that you’ll see in competitor models at a similar price point, though the slimline design helps alleviate this somewhat.
- There’s no lock for keeping the activation trigger depressed; some people care about this, but personally I think it’s worth the additional safety.
- Though using an extension cord can be beneficial, you’ll need to reach into your wallet to purchase one separately.
The Black+Decker BEHT150 is powered by a 3.2-Amp motor that claims to slice through branches up to 5/8-inches. At 4.6 pounds, it’s two-thirds the weight of one of the heaviest trimmers I’ve included on this list, making it suited to long sessions reaching those pesky tops and sides of tall hedgerows.
Just bear in mind that the blades are fairly short at 17-inches, so unless you’re taller than average, you’re going to want to look elsewhere for the highest-reaching branches.
The startup switch is pressure-activated without a lock mechanism, so you can’t release the trigger and continue trimming. Rather than a cable grip, there’s a cord retention slot underneath the rear handle and trigger to prevent accidental unplugging. It’s narrower than I would like, though this does mean a very secure fit once the cable is in place. It’s also located very close to the trigger, so catching your fingers on the looped cable isn’t impossible.
One of my favourite features is the safety switch, which resets every time you operate the trimmer. To kick the motor off again, you have to depress the safety switch first, before pulling the trigger. It would be incredibly difficult to trigger the blades accidentally in any scenario, which greatly reduces the chance of you cutting through the cable.
- Backed by a standard Black+Decker warranty lasting 2 years.
- Has an additional safety measure in the form of a two-switch startup mechanism.
- Shorter blades mean a more lightweight and easily manoeuvrable tool, so your arms won’t fatigue as quickly.
- The blades are crafted from hardened steel, which is said to reduce vibrations through the handle by up to 40%.
- The cord lock is fairly narrow and can be fiddly to work with when you’re trying to insert the cable inside.
- With 17-inch dual-action blades, this hedge trimmer has the shortest blades of the 5 trimmers I’ve included by a large margin.
- The design choice for the forward handle is odd; rather than a rounded handle, there’s a T handle mounted up front, which I find to be more difficult to grip securely.
Honestly, the only major issue I had with this trimmer was the decision of the manufacturer to use a knob for the forward grip rather than using a circular handle like every other trimmer. Even though this tool weighs only 4.8 pounds, it’s more difficult – and dare I say, less safe – to maneuver, as you just can’t get the same kind of full-handed grip.
As there’s no extension cord included out of the box, you’ll have to spend a few more dollars sourcing one yourself. Bear the size of your garden in mind when you’re picking one up, as I can attest to having been caught out in the past by a short power cable that won’t reach the rear hedgerows.
Once you’ve got it plugged in, there’s a cable grip under the rear handle, which prevents you from accidentally tugging the plug out of its socket.
In terms of cutting power, the HT10020S uses a dual-action 20-inch blade made from hardened steel, which reduces the chance of rusting. Its cutting capacity is 5/8-inches, with 3,400 strokes per minute. Or to put it more simply, it’s powerful.
Although the blades fall 2-inches short of many competing models, you’ll only notice the difference if you’re tackling some seriously large hedgerows or tree branches that are out of reach.
- This was the lightest hedge trimmer under $50 that I could find, without sacrificing functionality or quality.
- There’s an extensive 3-year warranty by default. In my experience, if budget trimmers are going to fail, then they usually fail early.
- Includes a lightweight blade cover for storage, but make sure you clean and dry your blades as the cover won’t prevent rust if moisture is present.
- You can attach your extension cord to a hook within the hand grip to reduce the chance of accidental shutoff or tripping.
- You can find many hedge trimmers under $50 that have 22-inch blades, whereas this model only comes with dual-action 20-inch blades.
- Much like the Black+Decker hedge trimmer, the forward grip is a T handle, which I find to be less of a secure grip.
- You’ll have to buy your own extension cord, however this hedge trimmer is one of the cheapest top-quality tools we could find.
Our Best Electric Hedge Trimmer
When it comes to picking a winner, it’s not the big-brand Black+Decker that takes the crown. I couldn’t overlook the sheer convenience of the Greenworks 22-Inch Hedge Trimmer with its rotating handles, a feature that most of the other trimmers lacked. Yet it still has all the optional bells and whistles, like an automatic shutoff and a cable retention feature.
The most important things for me in picking a power tool like this are efficiency, safety, and manoeuvrability, and Greenworks’ clever design ensures that you won’t get tired quickly, while the 22-inch blades and a 4-Amp motor mean you can mulch through hedgerows like a knife through butter.