I have to admit it.
I am biased. In fact, I am as biased as one can be.
I believe that no backyard is complete without a few well-groomed and trimmed hedges, bushes, call them anything you like, but to me they are a must-have.
However, in order to keep your hedges from running amok, you have to take care of them. For that, you need trimmers. And when it comes to trimming, having manual hedge trimmers or shears only takes you so far.
If you are dealing with a somewhat larger backyard and hedges, you may have already started considering going for a powered hedge trimmer.
There are two main types: electric and gas-powered hedge trimmers. But which is the right one for your personal needs? This is what we will explore here.
Below I compare gas hedge trimmers vs. electric hedge trimmers side by side.
Gas-powered Hedge Trimmers
Gas hedge trimmers are suitable for large backyards and bigger (and taller) hedges and bushes. They are the go-to option for any lawn care professionals. Gas trimmers may be a little more challenging to use as there are certain peculiarities about them, but if you want power, performance, and the best amounts of freedom, then gas is the way to go.
Power and Performance
Gas hedge trimmers provide the best performance.
Due to the higher power output, gas hedge trimmers tend to have higher strokes per minute, and they can handle thicker branches – although the exact capabilities can vary depending on the model in question.
Similarly, gas trimmers can usually accommodate longer blades.
This makes them the best solution for tougher and longer trimming work.
The single-sided hedge trimmers are usually gas-powered. These are used mainly for cutting and maintaining larger and taller hedges. Single-sided hedge trimmers are mostly used commercially.
Gas hedge trimmers are usually built to last with long-term durability in mind. You can expect a quality gas hedge trimmer to last between 2 to 6 years on average.
Gas hedge trimmers require regular maintenance. Every hedge trimmer, without exceptions, needs to have its blades well lubricated, cleaned, and sharpened.
However, gas-powered models also require some additional care. The engine needs to be well-serviced. This involves the regular replacement of filters, cleaning of the spark plug, and more.
Gas hedge trimmers have to be winterized appropriately as well. This involves draining the fuel and using fuel additives to preserve the fuel at the end of the season.
More detailed information can be found in your user’s manual that arrived with your hedge trimmer.
Gas hedge trimmers are undeniably more powerful, but that power comes at the expense of fuel and oil consumption. One of the main inconveniences is that gas hedge trimmers usually come with a 2-stroke engine.
This means that every single time you use your trimmer, it will not be consuming only gas but oil too. This can be quite expensive in the long run. The 2-cycle oil alone will cost you an extra $2 to $6 per gallon of gas (for a standard 40:1 mixture). This is almost doubling the costs of what you would be paying running a 4-stroke engine.
Ease of Use and Safety
Gas hedge trimmers not only perform better but are also better for prolonged cutting and trimming work. They are not held back by any cables or battery charges. As long as you have enough fuel, you can continue working.
There are a few things about gas hedge trimmers that make them less suitable for beginners. For example, they can be quite tricky to start because of the cord, and you will also have to deal with oil and fuel on a regular basis.
Gas hedge trimmers are, on average, a little heavier than an electric one. With that being said, there are some very lightweight models. This can pose some difficulties because they will be harder to work with and control, especially over prolonged periods of time.
The higher output they can produce can also lead to potential hazards when operated by new and inexperienced users.
Gas hedge trimmers also produce more noise and toxic fumes, which can be inhaled by the operator.
The more power and performance come at a price.
The price for a gas hedge trimmer ranges from $130 up to about $700. Some of the higher end professional-grade gas hedge trimmers can cost more than $800.
The price will vary depending on the trimmer’s capabilities and features. However, on average, you can expect to spend about $250 to $350 on a good gas-powered hedge trimmer.
To sum it up
- Provides high amounts of power and performance;
- Suitable for larger and tougher cutting jobs;
- Not limited in any way by cables or battery charges;
- More expensive to buy, operate, and maintain;
- Produces toxic fumes;
- Most gas trimmers require mixed fuel;
Electric Hedge Trimmers
Electric hedge trimmers fall into two main categories: cordless and corded.
Electric hedge trimmers are more geared towards the occasional homeowner that has small to average gardens. These are less powerful but easier to use (by almost anyone). They are a little more constrictive, but more environmentally-friendly.
Power and Performance
On average, electric hedge trimmers are less powerful than their gas-powered counterparts. They also fall back when it comes to prolonged cutting and trimming of large and dense hedges.
Electric hedge trimmers usually have shorter blades that also have fewer strokes. Conversely, some of the high-end professional electric hedge trimmers can give the gas models a run for their money.
With that being said, electric trimmers are best used on smaller hedges that are not overly thick.
It is very rare to see a single-sided electric hedge trimmer because those require more power. However, for most non-commercial trimming and cutting jobs around the yard, an electric hedge trimmer is going to be more than enough.
Durability-wise electric hedge trimmers are considered by many people to last a little less than gas trimmers. On average, a well-maintained electric hedge trimmer can last 2 to 3 years.
Both battery-powered and corded electric hedge trimmers require little to no maintenance beyond the regular cleaning, lubricating, and sharpening.
Since there is no 2-stroke engine, you will not have to worry about fuel, oil, or even winterizing preparations. This makes electric hedge trimmers very user-friendly.
With that being said, repairing an electric hedge trimmer is more expensive on average.
The same holds true for replacing just the battery on a cordless model. Batteries last about 2 to 3 years, and a single battery can cost you between $60 to well above $100 depending on the manufacturer.
On average, for those of us who are more budget-conscious, an electric hedge trimmer will be the best choice. Because you will not need any gas or oil while using an electric hedge trimmer, the running costs will be little to nothing.
If you have read some of my other articles on this subject, you already know how cheap they are (you can check out my article on the price and operating cost of hedge trimmers here). On average, using an electric corded hedge trimmers costs about $0.05 to $0.08 per hour. Calculating the cost of using a battery-powered trimmer is a little trickier, but it is safe to say the costs are in the same ballpark.
Ease of Use and Safety
The neat thing about electric trimmers is that they are as user-friendly as they come. The lack of any gas engine also means super low noise levels and zero harmful emissions and fumes.
Corded electric hedge trimmers are often very lightweight. However, they come with one serious downside – the cable. The fact that they need to be constantly plugged in the electric circuit can be a serious problem.
Corded hedge trimmers are going to limit your ability to roam in the garden freely.
In some instances, you might not even be able to reach certain areas because of the cable, in which case, you may need to buy an extension cord.
Safety-wise there is always the danger of cutting through the power cord, which is a severe health hazard.
The battery-powered trimmers on the other side are cordless and will provide you with a lot more freedom and the best levels of safety. Since a battery powers them, you will have to make sure that your battery is fully charged before doing any backyard work.
But this is also where one of their downsides comes into play. Once the battery has been depleted, it needs to be recharged before you can continue working again.
This means that with battery-powered trimmers you will almost always have some downtime. Because of that, many people opt for buying multiple batteries.
Electric corded hedge trimmers are relatively inexpensive, costing between $30 and $130. In comparison, the cordless (battery-powered) hedge trimmers are a little more expensive on average, ranging from $50 to $200. The high-end professional electric hedge trimmers can cost about $600.
The price depends on the power of the trimmer and its features. On average, you can expect to spend about $100 to $200 on a good electric hedge trimmer.
To sum it up
- Easy to start and stop;
- Cheaper to obtain and run;
- Require very little maintenance;
- Lightweight and easy to control;
- Less noise;
- Environmentally friendly.
- Not as powerful as gas hedge trimmers;
- Corded models have limited working area;
- Corded models can be unsafe;
- Cordless models are limited by the battery charge;
- More expensive to repair and replace parts;