The Best Corded Electric Hedge Trimmer 2017
Do you need to keep bushes, hedges or shrubs under control without back-breaking labor? If your garden isn’t huge, maybe a corded electric hedge trimmer is your best bet.
Lighter & quieter than gas-powered trimmers, cheaper & more powerful than their cordless equivalents, and much less tiring to use than traditional manual shears, electric hedge trimmers come in various sizes and capabilities.
After many hours of in-depth research & discussion with gardening experts and home users, we believe the Black+Decker HT22 Hedge Trimmer is the best hedge trimmer for most situations. The workhorse of the available electric hedge trimmers, this has been our pick since 2014. We can’t think of a reason to change this year.
For 2017, we have a new runner-up, the Toro 51490. This 22” hedge trimmer has the same blade length & motor size as our first choice, but is usually a bit more expensive.
The Black+Decker HT18 remains our budget choice.
Electric Hedge Trimmers - Advantages
Electric hedge trimmers have most of the same advantages as cordless trimmers. They are light-weight and quiet (significantly quieter than gas trimmers).
There shouldn't be any expensive ongoing maintenance.
Electric trimmers don't have the limited run time between charges that cordless trimmers suffer from.
Also, some electric trimmer models are more powerful than any cordless trimmer on the market.
You don’t have to worry about storing, charging and replacing expensive Lithium-Ion batteries after a couple of years (or worse, having to replace a perfectly good trimmer because the manufacturer has changed the battery style and no longer supports your model!).
Finally, they are the least expensive type of trimmer to buy.
Electric Hedge Trimmers - Disadvantages
The main downside of a corded hedge trimmer is the power cord. If you have a large garden, you may not be able to reach the farthest extents, even with a 150’ extension lead (150’ is normally the longest recommended extension lead).
You should never use a longer power lead than recommended, or make up the length by connecting shorter leads together. Extension leads are designed to carry a certain amount of current (electrical power) over a certain distance. If you exceed the distance by connecting multiple leads together, the cable may carry more current than it’s designed for, which can cause overheating or even a fire.
The power cord is a trip hazard, it may get tangled in your shrubbery, or you may even end up cutting it with the trimmer.
You should always use a GFCI power outlet for any corded electrical equipment being used outdoors, including hedge trimmers.
Despite this disadvantage, if you are trimming hedges and shrubs in an average-sized garden, you may find an electric hedge trimmer is perfect for your needs.
How To Choose An Electric Hedge Trimmer
You should ask yourself the following questions before choosing a hedge trimmer
How big are the thickest branches I will be cutting?
- Thicker branches will require both a larger tooth gap and a more powerful motor than smaller shrubs.
How far from a power source is the farthest hedge?
- If you need to use the trimmer more than about 150' from the nearest power source, you may need to look at a cordless or gas-powered trimmer instead.
- Alternatively, if you currently only have e.g. a 25' extension cord and don't wish to buy a longer cord in addition to the hedge trimmer, you could consider an alternate trimmer type.
How long will I be using the trimmer without a break?
- The weight of the trimmer, and how comfortable it is to hold and use, will become more important the longer you plan to use the trimmer uninterrupted.
For more about how to select hedge trimmers from the different types available, check out our hedge trimmer buying guide.
Head over here for the latest cordless hedge trimmer reviews.
Black+Decker HT22 Hedge Trimmer - Our Choice
Black+Decker make several electric hedge trimmers of a very similar design. The main variation between models is the blade length, though the smallest models are also slightly less powerful and are not capable of cutting through 3/4" stems.
Currently you can buy these models in 16",17",18",20",22" and 24" blade lengths.
In our opinion the 22" model is the sweet spot in the range - extremely light at 5.5lb, the most powerful corded hedge trimmer in the range, and very reasonably priced. We think if you don't have a huge yard, and aren't regularly cutting through old-growth branches, this hedge trimmer should be your default choice.
Strong And Powerful
The Black+Decker HT22 Hedge Trimmer has a powerful 4 Amp motor. What this means in practice is, it has more than enough power for most domestic jobs, and is strong enough to cut through branches up to 3/4-inch thick (in fact the 22" model is more powerful than any other Black+Decker trimmer in this range, including the 24").
If you don't have a large amount of trimming to do, and / or you would like to trim your hedges or shrubs into intricate designs, you could consider a smaller model.
A longer blade will cut through more vegetation with the same amount of movement and effort on your part. However, we feel the extra 2" offered by the largest models of this type doesn't offer a noticeable advantage in this regard. The larger 24" trimmer is noticeably heavier though, which can cause fatigue over long periods.
The HT22 has a 22-inch dual-action blade - according to the manufacturer this creates up to 40% less vibration than traditional single-action blades, and cuts cleanly and quickly.
Dual action vs single action blades
Early hedge trimmers had 1 fixed blade and 1 moving blade. The moving blade cut against the static blade.
In dual-action hedge trimmers, both the top & bottom blades move in opposite directions. This causes a lot less vibration, as the movement of 1 blade 'cancels out' the movement of the other blade in the opposite direction. Less vibration is better for you (less fatigue), and your machine (longer life).
The stainless steel blades should stay sharp for many seasons without maintenance. Its lightweight, compact design is easy to use and causes less user fatigue. This trimmer is easy to operate with 1 arm at full extension (although this is not recommended by the manufacturer - do so at your own risk!).
The trimmer has a wrap-around front handle, which is comfortable to hold in all orientations. A soft-feel grip makes this trimmer comfortable to hold while trimming. The handle is large enough to accommodate gloves.
This video shows the trimmer in a bit more detail, including the built-in extension cord retainer and 1-armed use:
Black & Decker back the HT22 with a 2 year warranty.
- 22-inch dual-action blades cut branches faster and easier with 40-percent less vibration
- For cuting branches up to 3/4 inch diameter
- Pre-hardened, rust resistant steel blades stay sharp longer
Some users miss a feature of older electric hedge trimmers, where the safety switch, once engaged to allow the trimmer to start, stayed engaged. This made it easy to use the trimmer single-handed. Modern trimmers, including the HT22, require the safety switch and trigger to be held down. This is a safety feature, however it does make single-handed operation more difficult.
One minor issue some users have noted with the Black+Decker trimmers is that the moving parts of the blade extend beyond the static part. If you're trying to trim along a wall or chain link fence for example, the moving part of the blade can catch on the solid object, potentially causing damage to the blade or the object.
What People Are Saying
Toro 51490 - A Decent Alternative
If our first choice is out of stock or unavailable, the Toro 51490 is a good alternative. This hedge trimmer is very similar to the Black+Decker model. It has the same motor rating, same blade length, and the same 2 year warranty length. In our opinion the Toro's handles are slightly more comfortable to hold than the Black+Decker, however there's not much in it & it's very much down to the individual.
The Toro 51490 only misses out on 1st in this comparison because it is usually priced higher than the equivalent Black+Decker model. As always, prices are subject to change, so if you find this trimmer on sale, you will not regret buying it.
- Corded hedge trimmer with a powerful 4 amp motor
- 22-inch-long cutting bar; hardened steel blades
- Easily cuts through branches up to 9/16-inch thick
Black+Decker HT18 - A Budget Choice
The Black+Decker HT18 is a smaller, lower-priced hedge trimmer. With an 18" blade, it would take significantly longer to cut a large area. Also, the motor is less powerful (3.5A), and the tooth gap is smaller (maximum 5/8") than the larger models in this comparison. Ultimately the HT18 would be less capable of cutting through large, tough shrubs.
However, it still benefits from the dual-action blade and 2-year warranty of the larger models.
If you really want to save a bit of money (and generally this trimmer is only a few dollars cheaper than an equivalent 22" or 24" model), the HT18 should give you years of dependable service, without too much maintenance.
Alternatively, if you're specifically looking for a smaller trimmer to do more intricate, delicate trimming, in our opinion the Black+Decker HT18 is the best corded trimmer you can buy.
- Powerful 3.5-amp motor gives you the power for most trimming tasks
- 18-inch dual-action blade for up to 40-percent less vibration than single action blades
- Pre-hardened, rust-resistant hardened steel blades stay sharp longer
GARCARE GTH08 4.8A Hedge Trimmer - More Power But Unproven
Garcare Hedge Trimmer
The GARCARE GTH08 is more powerful (at 4.8 Amps) than the models mentioned above. If you have a lot of particularly thick shrubs to cut through, the extra power may be a factor.
Like the Black+Decker and Toro hedge trimmers, this model has a dual-action blade, safety switch and a 2 year warranty. The GARCARE model has a slightly larger 24" blade, however it is significantly heavier at a little over 8lb.
One additional feature of the GTH08 is its rotating handle - you can rotate the rear handle through 180 degrees.
However, the extra weight & higher cost are enough to put us off this model. Also, the manufacturer doesn't have as long a track record as some of the alternatives.
- 4.8A motor, 3/4 inch cutting capacity,extended reach design and powerful motor ideal for various trimming tasks;Built-in cord retainer keeps the extension in place and plugged in for...
- Dual-action and dual-edge trimming blade for easy shaping and sculpting with less vibration than single action blades.
- 24 inch laser cutting blade with rust-resistant hardened steel for cleanly,and quickly cutting,Two-hand safety switch and the large hand guard prevents accidental operation during working
Roundup of alternatives
The Remington RM5124TH is the most powerful corded hedge trimmer we could find on the market, with a 5 Amp motor. It's an absolute beast, and if there's any hedge or shrub you can't cut through with it like a knife through butter, you likely either need a commercial-grade gas trimmer, or a chainsaw.
One issue with this trimmer is the design of the safety switch - several users didn't like the design of it, and in a couple of cases it failed completely.
The WORX WG209 has very similar positives and negatives to our 1st and 2nd choices above (in fact it has a slightly longer 24" blade, while still keeping total weight below 6lb). However, we can't recommend this model as it's significantly more expensive than the proven Black+Decker and Toro models. On some occasions we've seen this trimmer advertised by the same vendor for almost 50% more than the Black+Decker HT22.
The Black+Decker HH2455 is a larger 24" hedge trimmer - confusingly it has a less powerful (3.3A) motor than our first choice.
Like the GARCARE model, it offers a rotating rear handle (in this case the handle rotates up to 180 degrees, with 5 set positions in between.
Unlike almost all the other electric trimmers on the market today, this model has a lock-on switch, allowing you to operate it without keeping the trigger engaged. While we believe you should take safety seriously, and this is clearly less safe than the system the other trimmers use, it is common for owners to complain about the lack of this feature on other hedge trimmers.
This hedge trimmer just misses out on being one of our main choices as it's usually more expensive than comparable models, it's less powerful than the alternatives, and it's also slightly heavier (6.5lb) than some of the more powerful models available.
Maintenance / Care / Cleaning
This guide has some useful information on maintaining your hedge trimmer.
There are a few instructional videos on YouTube, in our opinion this short one covers all the bases:
Most of the manufacturers have maintenance and care guides posted on the internet. Some of the guides go into more detail than others. Of the guides we have read, this one from Stihl and this from Remington cover all the important points.
There were no recalls listed for any of the hedge trimmers mentioned here at the time of writing (August 2017). However, it's always a good idea to check the latest information at the Consumer Product Safety Commission website before buying any large, expensive or potentially dangerous product.
As with all power tools, it's important to be safety conscious. The main points to be aware of:
- Read the manufacturer's instructions and follow them.
- Check the trimmer and extension cord for damage before using it - every time. Do not use the trimmer if there is any visible damage to either the trimmer or the extension cord.
- Never allow children to operate the trimmer, or be nearby when you are trimming.
- Always wear a dust mask, safety glasses, gloves and ear protection.
- Switch off & unplug the hedge trimmer before cleaning or maintenance.
The Black+Decker HT22 is the best overall choice in our opinion. It is well priced, at least as powerful as its competitors, and above all dependable. The Toro 51490 is a close second, just missing out due to it's higher price.
As with all power tools, remember to be safety conscious when operating a hedge trimmer.
Do you own any of these hedge trimmers? Did you choose a different model? Let us know in the comments below.