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What Are Hedge Clippers?

By Jay Leone
Updated May 16, 2024
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Hedge clippers are also referred to as hedge trimmers. They are garden tools designed to trim hedges, bushes, tall grass, and shrubbery. These tools are widely used in residential and commercial landscaping applications. Manufacturers produce electrically-powered, gas-powered, and manual models. Many electric hedge clippers feature a number of safety devices to prevent operator injury.

Manual hedge clippers are relatively simple devices that feature two handles and two blades joined at a pivot point. They are two-handed tools ideal for small hedge trimming applications. Many manual trimmers offer such features as non-slip grips and extendable handles. Handles are constructed out of many different materials including wood and aluminum.

Powered hedge trimmers are designed to make quick work of large hedge trimming projects. They feature sharpened teeth oriented along each blade in a double blade system. Each blade reciprocates and cuts down material that gets caught between teeth while the blades are in motion.

Gas-powered hedge clippers are great for large yards requiring heavy-duty trimming on a regular basis. Since they have no cord, the operator is free to employ the trimmer in remote locations. While battery-powered models offer the same portability as gas-powered models, battery-powered models do not offer the same power output. Corded electric hedge trimmers are not as portable as battery-powered and gas-powered hedge trimmers but they are lighter because they house no bulky gas tank or battery pack. Operating a lighter power trimmer helps limit fatigue.

The average length of a power trimmer's blades is anywhere between 13 inches (33 centimeters) and 40 inches (101.6 centimeters). Blade gap refers to the distance between teeth on the blades of a power hedge trimmer. Larger blade gaps mean that thicker branches can be cut down with the device. While most residential hedge clipper blades feature between 0.375-inch (9.5 millimeter) and 0.75-inch (19 millimeter) blade gaps, commercial-grade models can feature blade gaps over one inch in length.

Blades can last for up to ten times longer than usual if they are made out of hardened, stamped, high carbon tool steel. These steel blades retain their sharpness longer and require less regular maintenance than other lower-quality steel blades. Heavy-duty blades can easily slice through new growth as well as older, heavy growth. Blades are single or double sided and designed with a smooth or serrated edge.

Operating a power hedge trimmer can be very dangerous. Certain models feature two-switch systems where the motor can only be engaged while the operator depresses two different switches. While double-sided blades are more efficient, single-sided blades can be safer because they cut away from the operator's body. Wearing gloves and eye protection while operating power trimmer may reduce the risk of injury.

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