Hedge Trimmers or Shears: Which is Better?

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trimmer or hedge shears. Which one should you buy? A lot of factors have to be considered and this can be daunting for a beginner. You are in the right place as this article will highlight the differences between hedge trimmers and hedge shears so you can decide.

Hedge trimmers are powered by gas or electricity and ideal for trimming and maintaining large amounts of hedges, bushes and shrubs. If you have a small garden or want a more natural look, manual hedge shears is suitable.

Head to Head Comparison

This table is a general overview of the differences between hedge trimmers and manual hedge shears. This is only a general guide as these tools have many features and applications. For a more detailed comparison please read the rest of this post.

As you will see from the table there are pros and cons for both. Which is better depends on what type of hedge clearing and trimming you have to do.

 Hedge TrimmersHedge Shears
Power SourceGas Corded CordlessManual
Cutting PowerUp to .3/4 inch thickCan cut thick branches but slower
DurabilitySeveral yearsCan last a lifetime
MaintenanceMedium to intensiveLow
Best ForLarge garden Straight cutsSmall garden A more natural look

Cutting Power

Hedge trimmers can cut more leaves than a manual shear. Whether it is gas, corded or cordless, the trimmer can go through hedges and bushes smoothly and quickly.

Hedge shears cannot match the cutting power of a motorized tool. However, you can use it to cut very thick branches that a hedge trimmer cannot.

Most hedge trimmers have cutting capacity of 3/4 of an inch diameter. If it runs into a branch that is thicker, it will need multiple attempts to cut. There are however, some hedge trimmers that can now handle thicker branches, though most are still limited to 3/4 of an inch.

However, the cutting power advantage still belongs to hedge trimmers because it can cut a lot of foliage, leaves and materials. Compared to hedge shears, gas or electric hg trimmers can finish a lot of cutting and trimming tasks faster.

Cutting Speed

Hedge trimmers are faster no question. Wither it is gas, corded or battery, you will get more things than faster compared to manual hedge shears.

With a hedge trimmer the blade does the hard work. You still have to use your hands to carry the tool and point in the right direction. But the cutting and trimming is done by the blade. For heavy duty cutting, you can use gas. For lighter trimming there are electric or battery powered hedge trimmers available.

Manual hedge shears are slow because they are hand powered. Can it do the job? Yes, but it is going to take longer. It will also put a lot of strain on your hands, wrists and arms. Manual hedge shears will be fine for small hedges, but for large scale jobs, a hedge trimmer is the better option.


When we talk about efficiency, that means how well the tool trims, cuts and maintains hedges, shrubs bushes etc. There are a lot of factors to consider but overall, hedge trimmers are better.

Hedge trimmers are more efficient because you can get a lot of work done in less time. A gas or electric powered blade is faster than any manually operated hedge shears. You can do more work without wearing yourself out. To cut the same amount of laves with hedge shears will require a lot of physical effort.

Learning how to use a hedge trimmer may require getting accustomed to. But once you are good at it, it gives you a great deal of control. You can use it to make straight cuts or other elaborate hedge shapes. Again you can do the same with shears but it will need more effort.


Hedge trimmers have come a long way and are more durable than ever. But hedge shears are built to last way longer.

Manual hedge shears are basically large scissors. All you need to do is sharpen the blades when they get dull. Keep doing that and the tool will remain usable. With proper care you can use hedge shears for years or a lifetime.

Hedge trimmers cannot last that long. Its engine – or one or some of its components-will give out at some point. You can fix or replace those but at eventually you have to get a new hedge trimmer. This also applies to electric and battery trimmers.

With proper care though you can make hedge trimmers last way after their warranty has expired. The key is to use the trimmer as directed to avoid wearing it out early.


Hedge shears are very low maintenance. You just need to lubricate and sharpen the blades regularly. Do that and shears will be in tip top shape. Hedge trimmers need more maintenance.

Your owner’s manual contains all the information you need to maintain the tool. Make sure your hedge trimmer is well taken care of to avoid problems like not having spark.

In general however, you need to perform several tasks to keep your hedge trimmer in good condition. How you maintain the tool also depends on whether it is gas or corded.

Gas hedge trimmers need the most maintenance. You have to replenish the fuel every 30 days. You have to clean the fuel tank, carburetor, air filter, spark plug and other parts. If you do not clean the air filter for example, it will get clogged with dirt and prevent the trimmer from running smoothly. The blades have to be sharpened and lubricated regularly too.

The maintenance required by hedge trimmers is understandable since it is a motorized tool. If you have ever used a 2-stroke engine before like a chainsaw, you know how much maintenance is needed. In contrast, hedge shears need little upkeep.


Hedge trimmers are loud, period. Electric hedge trimmers are quieter than gas models, but they are still audible and should not be used aryl mornings.

New hedge trimmers have noise reduction features built in, but older ones can reach over 100 decibels. Anything over 80 decibels can cause ear damage, so keep that in mind when buying one of these tools. This is also the reason why you are required to wear ear protection when using a hedge trimmer.

In contrast, hedge shears are quiet. All you hear is the snip sound when you cut the leaves. While hedge trimmers have gone a long way towards becoming more quit, hedge shears win in this comparison.

Hedge Trimmer vs. Shears: Which is Better?

If you have a small garden and only trim small hedges occasionally, hedge shears will do. Hedge shears are also ideal if you prefer a natural look and not too worried about straight cuts. Our recommendation is the Oara hedge shears for its efficiency and reliability.

If you have a large garden or need to maintain several hedges and shrubs, a hedge trimmer is the better option. You have more control over the tool and you will get more work done with less effort. A gas-powered hedge trimmer is more than enough for most homeowners. For heavy duty work it is hard to pass up the Echo 2-stroke hedge trimmer.

If you are going to buy hedge shears, look for those that are telescopic so you get the maximum leverage and reach. Ergonomics are also important and ease of use.

With hedge trimmers you have to choose between gas, electric or cordless (battery) powered. Gas hedge trimmers offer the most power but they are also the most expensive. But for sheer power these hedge trimmers are the top.

Electric hedge trimmers come in two types, corded and cordless. Corded means you have to plug the tool into a power outlet to run it. These trimmers will run as long as there is electricity, but you are limited by the cord length.

A cordless hedge trimmer use a rechargeable battery. It is not as powerful as a gas model but you have freedom of movement, and you can use it as long as there is battery power left.