Ten Things to Consider Buying a Long Reach Hedge Trimmer
Good balance means good control. The handle, and therefore the pivot point on the tool, is likely to mounted just in front of the engine. Make sure you take time to handle the long reach hedge trimmer you are considering. Fit the harness and feel the balance of the hedge trimmer. How easy will it be to control? Does it feel comfortable?
Cutter Blade Length
When choosing a long reach hedge trimmer, consider the length of the cutter head. On the face of it, the larger the cutter, the more material you will cut in a single pass. However, a machine with a top-heavy trimmer head may be unbalanced and cumbersome to operate. For long-shaft hedge trimmers, we recommend a cutter of around 44-47cm.
Investing in a pole hedge trimmer with a high-quality cutter head will pay dividends over the years - after all, this is the 'business end' of the hedge trimmer. An incremental articulating head is an absolute must as this allows you to angle the cut for trimming the tops of hedges. A good system will allow a full 180º range through 15º increments. This gives you versatility for any future project. Some cutter heads will even fold back on themselves - a useful feature when transporting or storing the tool.
Weight is an important factor when considering any power tool. The machine you choose will be empty of fuel. What feels like a lightweight hedge trimmer initially, may seem very heavy after 20 minutes of continuous use. Long reach hedge trimmers vary between models and brands as longer shafts and cutter heads add more weight, but as a rule of thumb, look for units with a dry weight less than 8kg.
The wider the gap between the cutter teeth, the thicker the material it can cut. Too wide and the finish may be rough and patchy, too fine and the hedge trimmer will struggle to work through dense or woody hedges.
Easily overlooked, Hand Arm Vibration (HAV) level is an important consideration when selecting a pole hedge trimmer. Not only is excessive vibration a health and safety concern, but it also makes a hedge trimmer uncomfortable to operate for any length of time. All manufacturers quote a vibration figure for their products, but take a look to see if the level quoted is for an 'in use' test. A HAV level of below 5.0m/s² is a good benchmark for vibration.
The length of the hedge trimmer shaft determines the reach of the trimmer. How tall are the hedges you are going to cut? It goes without saying that the unit you choose should allow you to cut the hedges with your feet firmly on the ground whilst still being manageable. Most professional units are around 230cm in length.
A failing of many cheap hedge trimmers is the engine. We recommend investing a machine with a premium specification power unit. It will last longer and deliver the torque needed to drive through dense material. It is also worth considering the starting system. 'Instant' or 'Easy Start' systems are highly recommended as they greatly reduce the effort needed to start a two-stroke engine.
How confident is the manufacturer in the quality of the product? These days, premium brands are happy to offer up to a five year warranty for domestic users and a two year warranty for commercial operators.