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Home & garden.

12 August 2021

Which hedge trimmer brand to buy in 2021

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.
Alice Williams
11

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.


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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 vs corded and cordless electric hedge trimmers

Brand
Customer satisfaction score
Reliability score
% fault-free after six years
Estimated lifetime in years
92%
99%
99%
10.2 years
87%
95%
82%
-
86%
96%
94%
-
81%
92%
92%
-
79%
95%
95%
7.6 years
79%
94%
94%
-
78%
97%
96%
7.9 years
75%
93%
92%
9.5 years
75%
92%
91%
-
74%
85%
82%
5.4 years
72%
93%
92%
-
71%
99%
97%
-
69%
90%
86%
10.7 years

Table notes: The above data is based on a survey of 1,865 Which? members in January 2020. (-) Brands with insufficient sample sizes not included. Results from corded, cordless and petrol hedge trimmers combined.

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 table above, there’s a big difference between how long the best and the worst hedge trimmer brands last.

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.

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.
  • Catastrophicfaults 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

We look at each brand in more detail and give our verdict, including the number of Best Buys it’s received and the average score of its hedge trimmers in our reviews.

  • 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. 
  • Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 2 April 2020). Last updated April 2020.

Only logged-in members can view the verdicts for each brand. 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.