Mitox 266LRH

Hedge trimmers: Long reach hedge trimmers

  • What are long reach hedge trimmers?
  • Choose between cordless, corded electric or petrol
  • What to consider when choosing a pole or telescopic hedge trimmer

If you want to trim a tall hedge could a long reach or telescopic hedge trimmer be the answer?

A lot of boundary hedges are so tall that you can't cut the top easily with a conventional hedge trimmer, and we wouldn't recommend balancing on a ladder while using one. 

Long reach or pole hedge trimmers have fixed or extendable shafts which let you cut the side of a hedge above head height. The blade can also be set at right angles to the shaft so you can cut the top whilst standing on the ground.

Petrol, electric or cordless hedge trimmer?

You can choose between cordless (battery-powered), corded electric or petrol long reach hedge trimmers. We've tested two of each type. For more on the pros and cons of each type see How to buy the best hedge trimmer.

The two telescopic cordless long reach hedge trimmers we tested were light and the telescopic shafts would extend your reach by over a metre.

We tested two corded electric machines that have telescopic shafts but we found them were heavy and awkward to use when fully extended.

The two petrol long reach hedge trimmers were even heavier and had fixed-length poles, though they were supplied with carrying straps to support the weight.

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A long reach hedge trimmer allows you to cut the top of a hedge without needing a ladder.

Long reach hedge trimmers for tall hedges

Our testers felt that although cutting the top of a hedge from the ground is appealing there are three major considerations with all these long reach hedge trimmers:

  • Unless your hedge top is less than 1m across, or in some cases 80cm, most of them will miss a bit in the middle. And that assumes you have access to both sides.
  • You can’t actually see what is going on, so you can’t avoid snagging the blade on a thicker branch.
  • The electric and petrol trimmers are heavy and it’s hard work keeping a straight line when you’re trying to balance the bottom of the machine a couple of metres below.

Although the electric and petrol machines did a reasonable job on the side of a hedge, they were hard work to balance and manoeuvre. The cordless ones were easier to use, but were slow and left a less-than-perfect finish.

Do you need a long reach hedge trimmer?

You might find a long reach hedge trimmer useful for cutting the sides of a tall hedge. You might also manage to cut the top to an acceptable standard from the ground.

If your hedge is less than 2.5m high, our advice is to cut the top with a conventional hedge trimmer from a platform. You’ll find it easier to maintain a neat finish with less effort. Our hedge trimmer reviews include both long reach and conventional hedge trimmers.

If your hedge is taller than about 2.5m high, consider calling in a professional. If you are a Which? subscriber you can find gardeners and landscapers in your area with Which? Local.

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