When it comes to choosing a powered hedge trimmer, there are two main choices – either one with a single-sided blade or a double-sided one. Each model has its own benefits and drawbacks, so how do you decide which is better?
The most popular choice of hedge-trimmer is one with a double-sided blade. This makes it very easy to change direction and is suitable for most jobs, making it a good choice for many homeowners. Single-bladed trimmers are often lighter and come with longer blades which makes them ideal for large expanses of hedging with straight sides.
Choosing the right option is not always a straightforward task so I’ve put together a comparison of the two types so that you can make an informed choice. I’ll cover things like what attachment single-sided blades commonly have that makes the job much easier and why double-sided models are considered good all-rounders. Read on to find out more.
Single-Sided Hedge Trimmers – Great For Long, Straight Hedges
Single-sided hedge trimmers, also known as single-edge or one-sided hedge trimmers, only have cutting teeth on one side of the trimmer head.
These machines offer a few advantages when tackling high or long hedges due to their reduced weight and longer blade length making them ideal for professionals. Let’s look at the good and bad points of these in more detail:
Improved Control: The absence of a blade on one side means you only have to focus your movement in one direction, allowing for precise clipping, especially in tight or intricate spaces.
Lightweight: Single-sided hedge trimmers are generally lighter than their double-sided counterparts. This reduced weight makes them easier to handle and maneuver, reducing fatigue during prolonged trimming sessions.
Longer Blades: As these models are lighter, this allows manufacturers to fit longer blades of up to 32″ and more without losing the tool’s balance. This means operators can reach the higher branches of many hedges without the need for ladders or platforms and also make long sweeping cuts on larger areas.
Clipping Collector Available: Single-sided models are often fitted with a clipping collector or debris shield attachment which helps direct clippings away from the hedge making for quicker and easier cleanup.
Cuts Thicker Branches: The one-sided blade allows for more torque and a wider tooth pitch which means these models can often cut through thicker branches and tackle the more woody types of hedges.
Reduced Cutting Efficiency: The absence of a blade on one side means you cannot employ a back-and-forth sweeping motion making them less efficient. As a result, you may require more passes to achieve a clean, uniform cut compared to using a double-sided model.
Difficult to Change Direction: With a one-sided blade it’s difficult to change direction without having to move your position or even change the way you are holding the machine.
Fewer Options Available: As these trimmers are often aimed towards professional users, there are not as many different models available to choose from as double-sided cutters.
Double-Sided Hedge Trimmers – Good All-Rounders
Double-sided hedge trimmers, as the name implies, feature cutting teeth on both sides of the trimmer head and are the most common type found in many sheds and garages around the country.
These trimmers are designed to handle a wide range of hedge sizes and are the best option for general use. Like any garden tool, they have advantages and disadvantages so let’s take a closer look at those:
Increased Cutting Efficiency: The dual blades of double-sided hedge trimmers deliver faster and more efficient cutting as you can cut hedges by moving the trimmer in opposite directions. This means they can tackle both large and small hedges with ease, significantly reducing trimming time.
Balanced Cutting: Double-sided trimmers offer a more balanced weight distribution, making them very comfortable to handle during extended periods of use. This feature minimizes strain on the user’s arms, shoulders, and back.
Versatility: As the dual blades of double-sided hedge trimmers allow for trimming in multiple directions, this makes them ideal for shaping and sculpting hedges. They provide uniform cuts, regardless of the trimming angle.
Easier To Use: Many homeowners find this type of hedge cutter much easier to use than the single-sided models, especially in small gardens where there is limited space to maneuver.
More Models Available: As double-edged models are more popular, there is a much wider variety available for you to choose from with corded, cordless, and gas-powered machines stocked at many outlets.
Caution Needed: The presence of blades on both sides means you have to use more caution when making sweeping cuts compared to single-sided trimmers. This can be a disadvantage when working on intricate or hard-to-reach areas.
Increased weight: Double-sided hedge trimmers with long blades tend to be heavier than their single-sided counterparts. This might make them less suitable for individuals with physical limitations or less upper body strength although choosing a model with a shorter blade will help.
Choosing Your Ideal Hedge Trimmer
In general, most homeowners will find that a double-sided model is the best choice as it offers great all-around versatility and a wider choice of blade length and power sources.
Many professionals will require both types in their toolboxes as they often come across scenarios where a single-edged hedge trimmer will do the job more efficiently.
However, it’s worth taking into consideration what jobs you will need to tackle before making your decision.
Hedge Size: If you primarily deal with long and tall hedges that are fairly straight and easy to work on, then a single-sided model may well be your best choice. The long blade and ability to make big sweeping cuts in one direction will mean you can get the job done quicker.
For smaller hedges or confined spaces where you often need to change direction, then go for the more versatile double-sided variety. It’s also worth remembering that the dual blades can reduce the time and effort required to trim larger areas as well.
Hedge Thickness And Volume: If you have hedges with thick branches or dense foliage, a single-sided model with increased tooth pitch will work well. That said, many modern double-sided machines are able to tackle tougher jobs, particularly if you go for a more powerful version.
In the single-sided vs. double-sided hedge trimmer debate, there is no definitive winner as the choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.
If you just need a good all-rounder, then the obvious choice would be a double-sided trimmer, but if the single-edged version looks a better bet after reading this article then go for that instead.