Both petrol and electric hedge trimmers have their pros and cons, but there are a number of key benefits that electric hedge trimmers have over their petrol counterparts. There are all sorts of different hedge trimmers available on the market, and many are suited to specific tasks. This guide will help you find the hedge trimmer that is best suited to you and your gardening needs.
A Petrol or Electric Powered Hedge Trimmer?
The distinguishing factor between petrol and electric hedge trimmers is their fuel type. A petrol hedge trimmer is run using petrol, whereas an electric hedge trimmer is either powered by a battery (cordless) or the mains (corded).
Petrol hedge trimmers tend to be noisier than electric hedge trimmers, and you are well recommended to wear ear defenders as you use them. For a garden in a quiet neighbourhood, an electric model would be a considerate choice for your neighbours!
Petrol powered trimmers can be very heavy. They’re equipped with an internal fuel tank which is not only bulky but has the possibility of fuel spillages. Any spillage will stain any vegetation it touches, contaminating it. While petrol hedge trimmers offer straightforward movement around your garden, their maintenance requirements can make they unwieldy.
On the other hand, cordless hedge trimmers like the 18V EasiCut 450 are powered using batteries. This provides you with the freedom to roam around your garden without the trailing cables, just like a petrol trimmer. Quieter and lighter, and without a direct reliance on fossil fuels, the battery powered hedge trimmer is also more environmentally friendly. However, electric hedge trimmers aren’t quite as efficient for prolonged use on dense hedges
How to Use an Electric Hedge Trimmer
1.Check the weather
Never cut in wet weather, electric power tools should never be subjected to wet weather.
2.Inspect the environment
Always check to see if your working area is safe. If children or pets are running around in the garden, mark/rope off a safe zone where they cannot enter to interfere while you’re working.
3.Wear appropriate clothing and footwear
Ensure you’re wearing clothing that will protect you from stray branches and and sharp objects. Be sure to wear non-slip shoes to secure your footing. And wear goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands from any debris.
Now that you’re ready to start. Grip your trimmer with both hands, a comfortable distance away from the hedge and turn on the power. Begin cutting your hedge from the bottom up in a circular motion. This helps you sweep branches away and ensures you can see where you’re cutting next.
5.Work patiently and methodically
Attempting to rush the process can lead to accidents. If a lot of debris is accumulating, routinely clear the floor where you’re working. Placing a large sheet beneath your hedge before trimming can make it easier to gather and remove any fallen debris.
Once you’re done trimming, it’s vital that you clean and removes any debris from your hedge trimmer. During cutting your hedge trimmer will get covered in sap and dirt from your bushes. See below for a detailed guide to maintaining your hedge trimmer.
How to Maintain an Electric Hedge Trimmer
Before you start any maintenance work on your electric hedge trimmer, always make sure it is unplugged and switched off. If you are using a battery powered hedge trimmer, switch off and remove the battery. You should also wear protective gloves, just in case your hands slip while you are working.
You should clear out any debris or organic material after every use of your hedge trimmer to make sure that blades aren’t pushed apart or cause any internal damage to your trimmer. Work methodically along the blades using a cloth or a brush and make sure you check underneath the teeth too.
If you need to get rid of stubborn or sticky residue left by plants, try using a damp cloth covered in soapy water or white spiri. You could also try alcohol or kerosene, but make sure you remove all traces before you return to your plants as these chemicals can be poisonous.
How to Maintain Your Hedge Trimmer
With frequent use, hedge trimmer blades will dull over time, but you don’t need to replace them. Blades can be sharpened using a metal file.
- First, lay your hedge trimmer on a flat surface and using a pair of pliers, release the bolt holding the blades in place.
- Next, use a vice to clamp the blade. This will stop it slipping while you work.
- Use a metal filer at a 38° angle, slide up the length of the blade from bottom to top.
- Once a blade is sharpened. Use a piece of paper to test the blade. Gently push a piece of paper down over a blade. The paper should tear with little force.
- Gently apply linseed oil with a cloth to lubricate the blade once it is sharp enough
- Repeat the process with each blade, before returning the blades to their fittings and securing tightly into place.
Which Hedge Trimmer Model is Best for My Garden?
When choosing a hedge trimmer, you should consider what your requirements are. If you have a large garden, a cordless hedge trimmer maybe best – that way you can roam further into your garden without being restricted by trailing power cords. If you have neighbours, a quieter electric model is a considerate choice rather than a noisy petrol model.
Any of the Flymo Easicut range would be suitable for most gardens. The lightest is the 18V EasiCut 450 which weighs in at 2.89kg and is battery powered making it ideal for working around a larger garden. If you have a lot of tall hedges in your garden, the Flymo UltraCut Reach 420 is ideal as it allows you to cut hedges up to 3m tall without the aid of ladders or steps.