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Top five hedge trimmers for small hedges

By Adele Dyer

We round up the top-scoring hedge trimmers that are perfect for small, low hedges, topiary and regularly cut hedges such as privet and box.

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Find the best hedge trimmers for small hedges

Our tests have revealed that you don't always need the most powerful hedge trimmer when trimming low, narrow hedges and topiary. A heavy hedge trimmer with a long blade can be more difficult to manoeuvre when you are cutting a small hedge, especially when the hedge has other plants growing close to it. It's also easier to cut topiary shapes, such as box balls, with a light hedge trimmer, as you will need to move it in different directions to follow the curves of the topiary's shape. Finally, it's easier to shape low hedges when you use a hedge trimmer with a shorter blade because your hands are closer to the hedge, giving you more control. 

We’ve rounded up the best hedge trimmers for small and regularly cut hedges, including cordless and corded electric options and even a long-reach model. Prices range from around £40 upwards.

All of the hedge trimmers in the table below have gone through our rigorous field testing, so you can be sure they’re the best of the bunch for keeping your hedges tidy, and that they're easy to use. 

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Best hedge trimmers for small hedges

Typical price £199.00
Which? score 86%
Reviewed May 2017
Best Buy
Performance:
5 out of 5
Convenience:
5 out of 5
Manoeuvrability:
5 out of 5
Power source:
Member exclusive
Blade length:
Member exclusive
Weight:
Member exclusive

This is a powerful cordless hedge trimmer that cuts quickly and cleanly on larger hedges, making it a Best Buy. The short blade length makes very manoeuvrable on smaller hedges and it’s light and comfortable to use. It should suitable for almost anyone.

Today's best price £109.99
Which? score 78%
Reviewed Jun 2013
Best Buy
Performance:
4 out of 5
Convenience:
4 out of 5
Manoeuvrability:
4 out of 5
Power source:
Member exclusive
Blade length:
Member exclusive
Weight:
Member exclusive

This Best Buy hedge trimmer has a shorter blade length, making it smaller and easier to manoeuvre. We found this corded electric hedge trimer very easy to use and particularly liked the position of the handles and switches. It had no problem cutting through thicker laurel branches. It was one of the quickest at cutting privet hedges. It won't break the bank either.

Typical price £81.00
Which? score 78%
Reviewed May 2016
Performance:
4 out of 5
Convenience:
4 out of 5
Manoeuvrability:
5 out of 5
Power source:
Member exclusive
Blade length:
Member exclusive
Weight:
Member exclusive

We were impressed with this cordless hedge trimmer. It cut privet very well, but also had enough power to cope with thicker branches, There's no cord to get in the way as you cut, and we found it light, easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to use. A great all-rounder, which is cheaper than our highest-scoring corded electric model.

Today's best price £95.04
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Jun 2015
Best Buy
Performance:
4 out of 5
Convenience:
5 out of 5
Manoeuvrability:
4 out of 5
Power source:
Member exclusive
Blade length:
Member exclusive
Weight:
Member exclusive

This corded electric hedge trimmer has a shorter blade, which makes it easy to use on small, short hedges. It cut privet very cleanly, leaving a smart finish. It struggled a little with thicker laurel branches, but gave a good cut on conifer hedges. It's well priced for a Stihl - a brand that scores well in our reliability survey.

Typical price £54.00
Which? score 71%
Reviewed May 2016
Performance:
4 out of 5
Convenience:
4 out of 5
Manoeuvrability:
5 out of 5
Power source:
Member exclusive
Blade length:
Member exclusive
Weight:
Member exclusive

If you don't have many hedges and just want a no-nonsense trimmer for a bargain price, you might want to look at this corded electric hedge trimmer. It's a bargain price and gave a great finish on our privet hedges and managed to cut through thicker branches on conifer and laurel hedges, too.

Some of the worst hedge trimmers

The only way to tell whether a hedge trimmer is any good is to use it to cut some hedges, which is why Which? does exactly that in our independent lab tests. We use each hedge trimmer to cut laurel, privet and conifer hedges to see how quickly and cleanly it cuts thin and thick branches and whippy growth. 

Not all hedge trimmers are great. Here are three models that could leave you feeling frustrated, as they cut slowly and fail to slice through thicker branches, or leave your hedges looking messy. 

But avoid these mediocre models

Typical price £60.00
Which? score 50%
Reviewed Jun 2015
Performance:
2 out of 5
Convenience:
4 out of 5
Manoeuvrability:
3 out of 5
Power source:
Member exclusive
Blade length:
Member exclusive
Weight:
Member exclusive

This cordless hedge trimmer may be cheap, but it’s underpowered. As a result, it will take you a long time to cut your hedges using this trimmer.

Typical price £229.00
Which? score 49%
Reviewed Jun 2012
Performance:
4 out of 5
Convenience:
2 out of 5
Manoeuvrability:
2 out of 5
Power source:
Member exclusive
Blade length:
Member exclusive
Weight:
Member exclusive

This long-reach petrol hedge trimmer is heavy and cumbersome to use, making it very tiring to use. Although it cuts well there are better hedge trimmers for tall hedges.

Typical price £145.00
Which? score 39%
Reviewed Jun 2013
Performance:
4 out of 5
Convenience:
3 out of 5
Manoeuvrability:
1 out of 5
Power source:
Member exclusive
Blade length:
Member exclusive
Weight:
Member exclusive

This long reach hedge trimmer is unbalanced and heavy, making it tiring to use. It’s also poor at cutting, so you will expend a great deal of energy achieving very little.

We review more hedge trimmers than anyone else

We test more than 3,600 products a year, from washing-up liquid to cars. 

We test hedge trimmers by cutting three types of hedges: conifer, laurel and privet. Conifer hedges can be tough, with stringy branches that can get snagged in the blade, while laurel hedges have tough leaves and thick, hard branches that can be hard to cut cleanly. Privet has thin, whippy growth that can be 'stripped' by some hedge trimmers - that is, left with slim strips of bark where the branch should have been cut cleanly. 

Our experts also rate how easy it is to use each hedge trimmer, taking into account how well positioned the handles and switches are, how heavy the trimmer is, and how much it vibrates.

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