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1 October 2020

Which hedge trimmer brand to buy in 2020

We survey owners of hedge trimmers from the likes of Bosch, Gtech, Ryobi and Stihl to find out which develop the least faults over time, and which brands customers would recommend.
11
AW
Alice Williams

If your corded hedge trimmer develops a fault, it's most likely to be an electric failure. The most common fault in petrol models is that the engine stops turning over, while for cordless hedge trimmers the battery won't hold its charge.

Several owners of cordless and corded electric hedge trimmers also experienced a problem with the blades breaking - a major issue that would mean you'd need to repair, or even replace, your hedge trimmer.

Knowing which brands develop the most faults, and how quickly, is vital when buying a new hedge trimmer. That’s why we asked 1,865 Which? members to tell us whether they're happy with their hedge trimmers, or have experienced problems, in our unique reliability and customer satisfaction survey.

Our survey data takes into account the reported fault rates, the severity of these faults, and the speed with which they occurred. In our latest analysis, we've looked at the performance of the biggest hedge trimmer manufacturers – including Bosch, Gtech, Ryobi and Stihl – and have calculated a reliability rating and customer score for each, so you know which brands to choose and which to avoid.

Best vs worst hedge trimmer brands compared

We’ve found huge differences between how satisfied owners are with their hedge trimmers.

The best way to find a hedge trimmer you'll love is to choose from one of our Best Buy hedge trimmers.

The most reliable hedge trimmer brands

The table below summarises our latest reliability results. Brands are ranked by their customer score, which relates to whether their customers would recommend that brand. 

The higher the percentage score for reliability, the fewer the problems reported.

Only logged-in members can view which brands are the most and least reliable, and which ones members are most satisfied with. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Petrol hedge trimmers

Brand Reliability score Customer satisfaction score
Brand 1 95% 87%

Corded electric hedge trimmers

Brand Reliability score Customer satisfaction score
Brand 2 96% 86%
Brand 3 97% 78%
Brand 4 92% 75%
Brand 5 93% 72%
Brand 6 99% 71%
Brand 7 90% 69%

Cordless hedge trimmers

Brand Reliability score Customer satisfaction score
Brand 8 99% 92%
Brand 9 95% 79%
Brand 10 94% 79%
Brand 11 93% 75%
Brand 12 92% 81%
Brand 13 85% 74%
Table notes

The above data is based on a survey of 1,865 Which? members in January 2020.

Which hedge trimmer brand stays fault-free for longest?

The graph shows how the brand that stays fault-free for longest compares with the worst brand, and the overall average across all three types of hedge trimmer. 

Common hedge trimmer problems

Corded, cordless and petrol hedge trimmers all operate quite differently, so they'll likely encounter different problems.

The blades breaking is a fairly common fault across all types, though. The clutch slipping on a petrol hedge trimmer would stop the blades from working properly. This is a major fault and you may need to get your hedge trimmer professionally fixed.

Top three common corded hedge trimmer faults

1. Electrical failure (16%)

- Only use your hedge trimmer when it's dry or you could damage the motor or have an electric shock.



2. Blades broke (9%)

- Always wipe your hedge trimmer blades with a rag and lubricant after use. It removes sap, prevents rust and keeps the blades in good condition.



3. Trigger failed (9%)

- Most hedge trimmers have two or even three triggers. If they break it could make it unsafe or even impossible to use.

Top three common cordless hedge trimmer faults

1. Battery would not hold charge (25%)

- Lithium-ion batteries always lose their ability to hold charge eventually. That's why you should always buy a hedge trimmer with a replaceable battery.



2. Battery failed to charge (19%)

- Correct storage can help extend the life of your battery - remove it from the hedge trimmer after use and store it in a dry place at a moderate temperature.



3. Blades broke (8%) -

Always wipe your hedge trimmer blades with a rag and lubricant after use. It removes sap, prevents rust and keeps the blades in good condition.

Top three common petrol hedge trimmer faults

1. Engine wouldn't turn over (21%) - This can be due to old oil clogging the machine, a blocked air filter or a damaged spark plug.

2. Starter rope broke/jammed (7%) - Avoid pulling too hard on the rope or tying it around your hand. Damaging the rope could stop the hedge trimmer starting.

3. Clutch slipped (7%) - If the clutch is worn it might start to slip, which could stop the blades from oscillating properly.

For the best chance of buying a hedge trimmer that doesn't break down, you should choose from one of the more reliable brands in the table below.

Only logged-in Which? members can see the brands in the tables below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access. 

Corded hedge trimmers

Brand name % fault-free after six years
Brand 1 97%
Brand 2 96%
Brand 3 94%
Brand 4 92%
Brand 5 91%
Brand 6 86%

Cordless hedge trimmers

Brand name % fault-free after five years
Brand 7 99%
Brand 8 95%
Brand 9 94%
Brand 10 92%
Brand 11 92%
Brand 12 82%

Petrol hedge trimmers

Brand name % fault-free after six years
Brand 13 92%
Table notes

Results based on feedback from 1,865 hedge trimmer owners surveyed in January 2020.

How long will my hedge trimmer last?

We've found that on average, all types of hedge trimmers last around the same amount of time: 8.3 years for cordless, 8.6 years for petrol and 8.9 for corded electric.

This is based on the experiences of Which? members who told us how long they kept their previous appliance before they had to replace it, either because of a fault or because it wasn’t working as well as when they first bought it.

As you can see from the graph below, there’s a big difference between how long the best and the worst hedge trimmer brands last.

Which? members can log in to see which hedge trimmer brands last the longest before they need to be replaced. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

How we measure faults and reliability in hedge trimmers

Our data takes into account minor, major and catastrophic faults:

  • Minor faults don't affect the hedge trimmer's performance significantly, or only occur occasionally with minimal impact. The issue may be irritating or annoying, but isn't frequently problematic, and you can easily work around it.
  • Major faults have a noticeable effect on the hedge trimmer's performance. They affect how you use it, and can be problematic.
  • Catastrophic faults will render the hedge trimmer unusable, with the fault needing to be repaired or parts replaced before you can use it again.

Hedge trimmer brands rated

Choose a brand from the list below to find out more about how good it is, including the number of Best Buys it’s received and the average score of its hedge trimmers in our reviews.

Only logged-in members can view the hidden results in the tables below. If you’re not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Aldi hedge trimmers overview table
Number tested0
Number of Best Buys
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Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
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Customer score
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Typical spend
Member icon
Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 2 April 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 34 corded and 39 cordless Aldi hedge trimmer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated April 2020.
  • Find out if Aldi hedge trimmers are more or less reliable than other brands.
  • See how Aldi owners rate their hedge trimmers.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Black and Decker hedge trimmers overview table
Number tested4
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
Member icon
Customer score
Member icon
Typical spend
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Table notesAverage test scores based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 2 April 2020). The customer scores and brand reliability ratings are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 147 corded and 74 cordless Black and Decker hedge trimmer owners. The customer scores are based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated April 2020.
  • Find out how likely a Black and Decker hedge trimmer is to develop a fault.
  • See how Black and Decker hedge trimmers perform in our tests, and how many are Best Buys.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Bosch hedge trimmers overview table
Number tested12
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Average test score
Member icon
Brand reliability rating
Member icon
Customer score
Member icon
Typical spend
Member icon
Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 2 April 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 362 corded and 219 cordless Bosch hedge trimmer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated April 2020.
  • Find out how likely a Bosch hedge trimmer is to develop a fault.
  • See how Bosch hedge trimmers perform in our tests, and how many are Best Buys.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Gtech hedge trimmers overview table
Number tested0
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Average test score
Member icon
Brand reliability rating
Member icon
Customer score
Member icon
Typical spend
Member icon
Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 2 April 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 130 Gtech cordless hedge trimmer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated April 2020.
  • Find out how likely a Gtech hedge trimmer is to develop a fault.
  • See how Gtech owners rate their hedge trimmers.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Lidl Florabest overview table
Number tested0
Number of Best Buys
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Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
Member icon
Customer score
Member icon
Typical spend
Member icon
Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 2 April 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 39 Lidl corded hedge trimmer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated April 2020.
  • See how Lidl Florabest owners rate their hedge trimmers.
  • Find out how reliable Lidl Florabest hedge trimmers are compared with other brands.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Ryobi hedge trimmers overview table
Number tested4
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Average test score
Member icon
Brand reliability rating
Member icon
Customer score
Member icon
Typical spend
Member icon
Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 2 April 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 34 corded and 33 cordless Ryobi hedge trimmer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated April 2020.
  • Find out how likely a Ryobi hedge trimmer is to develop a fault.
  • See how satisfied customers are with their Ryobi hedge trimmers.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Stihl hedge trimmers overview table
Number tested9
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Average test score
Member icon
Brand reliability rating
Member icon
Customer score
Member icon
Typical spend
Member icon
Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 2 April 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020, of 32 corded, 136 cordless and 100 petrol Stihl hedge trimmer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated April 2020.
  • See how Stihl compares with other brands.
  • Find out which faults are most likely to affect Stihl hedge trimmers.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Head to our hedge trimmer reviews

Know which hedge trimmer brand you want? Use the links to go straight to our reviews and find your ideal model:

How we calculate the best and worst brands

Which? has a wealth of information on the UK’s favourite garden-tool brands. Every two years, we ask Which? members to tell us about the garden products they own - from how likely they'd be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once you get them home. This year, almost 5,000 members told us about more than 11,000 products. We calculate a brand's reliability and its customer score based on the results of our biennial survey.

Our reliability surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best hedge trimmer you should buy.

This data is crucial for our testing, too. If a brand falls far below the category average, we take away the manufacturer’s Best Buy recommendations and won’t recommend any of its products unless it shows a marked improvement in reliability.

View all Hedge trimmers