Best Hedge Trimmers For Thick Branches

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Written By Janine Clarke

I am Janine Clarke AKA Equipment Girl, a nerdy girl with an unhealthy knowledge about power tools and gardening! You can contact me here.

It’s time to head out to the garden and get that overgrown hedge under control again. While it’s not a job you particularly enjoy, you get great satisfaction from the end result; a beautiful neat hedge.

But what about mature hedges with thicker branches? Can your hedge trimmer cope with these? If not, what are the best hedge trimmers for thick branches?

If these are questions that you’re asking, we’ve got the answers you’re looking for, and some extra information that you’ll find helpful.

What’s The Maximum Thickness That A Hedge Trimmer Can Cut?

This is the most important question to ask when choosing a trimmer. Most hedge trimmers are only designed for light garden work, shaping bushes or maintaining well-kept hedges.

As a rule, the maximum thickness that most hedge trimmers can cope with is 1.9 cm (¾ inches). If you regularly try to cut through anything thicker you risk breaking the machine. As wickedly sharp as those blades are, they’ll soon become bent and blunted.

There’s a clue in the name hedge trimmer. These machines are for trimming, not sawing through thick wooden stems.

Some hedge trimmers are designed to tackle thicker branches, and these can handle a maximum thickness of around 1¾ (2.54 cm). The trick is to look at the tooth spacing; the wider the tooth gap, the thicker the branch it can cut.

Related post: Best tools for cutting hedges.

If you need to cut branches thicker than this, it’s wise to invest in a pruning saw or a small garden chainsaw.

How Do You Tell The Thickness Of A Branch?

Nobody expects you to measure each one before running your hedge trimmer over them!

That’s where common sense comes in. If you really don’t have a clue what a 1-inch branch looks like, take a tape measure out and find one, just to give you an idea. The rest is guesswork; you’ll have to assess whether a particular patch of twigs, stems or branches is too thick for your hedge trimmer before ploughing through it.

Most manufacturers suggest a maximum thickness, though it’s generally okay to exceed this by a little, as long as you don’t do this regularly.

Branches Or Twigs?

It’s a fair question! When we talk about branches, we obviously don’t mean the type of thing you could tie a swing to or set up a tree-house on. These are, essentially, thick, woody twigs or stems on the hedge.

Unless you are undertaking hard pruning, drastic cutting back or getting rid of your hedge (in which case there are better tools for the job), most garden maintenance won’t involve dealing with anything much thicker than 1.5 cm (0.59 ins).

Hedge Trimmer Options: Power Source

The first decision you need to make relates to the power source of your new hedge trimmer.

There are three options available:

Petrol Hedge trimmers

Popular with many gardening or landscape professionals, these machines deliver in terms of power. They are also extremely tough and durable, coping well with daily use in rugged conditions. However, they are heavy, very noisy (ear protection is advisable and necessary!), they need a lot of maintenance, and they pump out unpleasant fumes.

As they rely on more complex mechanics, they tend to be heavier (plus the weight of the fuel).

Related Post: What type of fuel goes in a hedge trimmer

You also have the hassle of buying and storing petrol that has to be mixed with oil before being poured into the fuel tank.

Electric Hedge Trimmers

Corded hedge trimmers are generally lighter than other types as they don’t have a fuel tank or require a battery. You have the convenience of a constant power supply, so there’s no downtime from recharging batteries or refilling with fuel.

The biggest issue with a corded hedge trimmer is the power cable itself, which can be a hazard as well as limiting your range.

Cordless Hedge Trimmers

Often regarded as the future of garden power tools, cordless hedge trimmers offer a sensible compromise. You get the freedom to move around unencumbered by a power cable combined the power (in most cases) of petrol hedge trimmers.

Related post: Battery hedge trimmers VS petrol hedge trimmers.

This is made possible by advances in battery technology, with the lithium-ion battery becoming the main power source. These technological marvels allow the production of powerful, efficient, lightweight hedge trimmers that are quieter and greener than any other type, and they are much cheaper to run.

The only slight negative point is that charging times for some batteries is around three hours, but this is a vast improvement on those from years gone by when charging times could be as much as sixteen hours!

On the positive side, you can usually use the same battery for other tools from your chosen brand.

Now we’ve established the facts about the three power sources, it’s time to investigate some brands and models to find the best hedge trimmer for thick branches.

Best Petrol Hedge Trimmers For Thick Branches

If you’d prefer a petrol hedge trimmer, there are plenty to choose from that will easily handle thick branches. Here’s a small selection from some of the best brands on the market:

Mountfield MHT 2322

Known for well over half a century for their excellent lawnmowers, Mountfield also makes top-quality hedge trimmers, and this is a great example from its petrol range.

Key Features

  • Blade length – 60 cm (27.55 ins) with a 50 cm (20 ins) cutting length
  • Cutting capacity – 2.7 cm (1 inch)
  • Weight – 5.6 kg
  • Engine size – 22.5 cc two-stroke
  • Tip protector
  • 180º rotating handle
  • Vibration control
  • Soft grip handle
  • Easy-start system
  • Cutting speed – 4,000 spm (strokes per minute)
  • Price – £200 – £250

Petrol hedge trimmers can be difficult to get started, but the easy-start system takes out most of the effort. The adjustable handle also makes this machine easy to control without straining your wrists while you shape hedges horizontally and vertically.

More importantly, this trimmer is more than capable of coping with most thick bushes and twigs. The cutting speed coupled with the wide spacing of the hardened steel teeth makes short work of anything up to about an inch thick.

Poulan Pro PR2322

Poulan is owned by the Swedish chainsaw and power tool giant, Husqvarna. As a result, you can be pretty certain that the hedge trimmers it produces will be of good quality.

The PR2322 is proof of this fact.

Key Features

  • Blade length – 55.88 cm (22 ins)
  • Cutting capacity – 2.54 cm (1 inch)
  • Weight – 5.2 kg
  • Engine size – 23 cc
  • Rotating handle
  • Anti-vibration system
  • Easy-start system
  • Price – £450

As you can see, it compares favourably with the Mountfield in most areas (cutting speed isn’t provided on the Poulan website) except for the price. If your budget can stretch this far, it’s a good choice.

Husqvarna 122HD60

We mentioned these Swedish power tool wizards above, so here’s one of their own models that’s worth a look, with its neat, compact design and impressive features.

Key Features

  • Blade Length – 59 cm (23.22 ins)
  • Weight – 4.9 kg
  • Engine size – 21.7 cc
  • Adjustable multi-position rear handle
  • SmartStart® reduces resistance in the starter cord by 40%
  • LowVib® anti-vibration system
  • Fuel pump (for easier cold starting)
  • Cutting speed – 4,050 spm
  • Cutting capacity – 2.8 cm (1.10 ins)
  • Low noise technology
  • Price – £379

This model has it all and is a perfect example of what you’d expect from Husqvarna. Surprisingly, it’s cheaper (generally, depending on where you buy from) than the Poulan above, even though they are essentially the same company.

McCulloch Superlite 4528

McCulloch has a reputation for producing sturdy power tools, and this hedge trimmer looks like it means business! The chunky all-black casing gives a sense of robustness that inspires confidence – you know that this machine will get the job done.

Key Features

  • Engine size – 21.7 cc
  • Blade length – 45 cm (17.71 ins)
  • Weight – 4.8 kg
  • Soft start
  • Low noise engine
  • Tool-free air filter
  • Cutting speed – 4,050 spm
  • Cutting capacity – 2 cm (0.78 ins)
  • Anti-vibration system
  • Price – £150 to £200

The lower price bracket alone puts this one top of the list for many people, and you’d be getting a pretty impressive machine for your money.

Although heavier than a cordless hedge trimmer, it’s under 5 kg, which is good for a petrol model. Don’t be put off by the shorter blade as this helps to balance out the trimmer, making it easier to manoeuvre.

While the tooth spacing is 2.88 cm, this brand recommends a maximum of 2 cm when tackling thick branches., which is just under one inch.

Best Electric Hedge Trimmers For Thicker branches

If you prefer the convenience of an electric corded hedge trimmer, then this is the section for you. Just remember to watch out for that cable as you get busy on those hedges!

Black+Decker BEHTS501-GB

Black+Decker has become a household name over the past century or so, and most UK DIY enthusiasts will have owned at least one of their tools at some stage.

So it’s no surprise that they have a great electric hedge trimmer that’s designed for thick branches.

Key Features

  • Blade length – 60 cm (23.6 ins)
  • Weight 2.7 kg
  • 600-watt motor
  • Cutting capacity – 2.5 cm (0.98 ins)
  • 3.5 cm (1.18 ins) saw blade on the tip to cut the thickest branches
  • Translucent hand guard
  • Cutting speed – 1,840 spm
  • Price – £70 to £100

While the cutting speed isn’t very high, the 600-watt motor powers through hedges easily. The see-through hand guard allows you to keep track of where you’re cutting, which is especially helpful when using a corded trimmer.

To be fair, not all the reviewers got on with the additional saw blade on the end of the blade, but the majority of users found it very effective.

Stihl HSE71

This brand carries an excellent reputation worldwide. You can be confident that you’re getting something special when you buy a Stihl power tool. So, what about the HSE71?

Key Features

  • 600-watt motor
  • Blade length – 60 cm (23.62 ins)
  • Cutting capacity – 3.5 cm (1.4 ins)
  • Diamond-ground laser-cut blade
  • 10-metre cable
  • Weight – 4 kg
  • Cable strain relief (prevents the power cable from being disconnected accidentally)
  • 5-position rotating handle
  • Price – RRP is £265 (although you can find them on sale for between £150 and £180!)

The RRP may be a little steep for some, but there are bargains out there!

This is, without doubt, one of the best hedge trimmers

for cutting thicker branches. The long blade and wide tooth spacing, along with those astonishingly sharp teeth, will make short work of your hedges, shrubs and bushes.

Hyundai HYHT680E

If you’re looking for budget cordless hedge trimmers, they don’t come much better than this model, and you get all the benefits of Hyundai’s design and technology experience.

Key Features

  • 680-watt motor
  • Weight – 4.4 kg
  • Blade length – 61 cm (24 ins)
  • Cutting capacity – 2.4 cm (0.9 ins)
  • 10-metre power cable
  • 3-year Hyundai platinum warranty
  • Price – £79.99

This is an ideal machine for anyone with a small-to-medium-sized garden who needs to keep costs down. It will power through those hedges in no time, and branches or twigs up to just under an inch thick won’t stand a chance.

And for under £80, it’s an absolute bargain!

Spear & Jackson S6066EH

In an ever-growing world of power tool manufacturers, it’s good to know that the Spear & Jackson brand is still able to hold its own, producing sturdy tools that you can trust.

This certainly applies to the S6066EH, which is a wonderful machine.

Key Features

  • Blade length – 66 cm (26 ins)
  • Weight – 4.2 kg
  • Tooth gap 2.4 cm (0.94 ins)
  • 600-watt motor
  • Blade tip protector
  • Laser-cut blades
  • Soft grip rotating handle (270º)
  • Cable length – 10 m
  • 3-year guarantee
  • Price – £80

Considering what you get for your money, this is a snip at £80, definitely giving Hyundai a run for its money!

Everything about this model is generous, from the long cable to the length of the blade. And with a 3-year manufacturer’s guarantee, you can’t go wrong.

Best Cordless Hedge Trimmers To Tackle Thicker Branches

Now we come to the cordless hedge trimmer examples, of which there are many! We can only mention a handful here, but they are all worth a look.

Ryobi RHT36B61R

Ryobi is another brand that many of us have relied on over the years, and their garden tool range continues the exceptional quality we’ve come to expect.

Key Features

  • Blade length 60 cm (23.6 ins)
  • Cutting capacity – 2.6 cm (1 inch)
  • 5-position rotating handle
  • High-torque 36v motor
  • Weight – 3.7 kg
  • Diamond-ground laser-cut blades
  • HedgeSweep™ attachment
  • Price – £117 (battery sold separately, £50 to £97)

The generous 60 cm blade and 2.6 cm tooth spacing along with the 36v motor means that you’ll get through thick bushes and hedges in no time at all.

In addition, the cuttings are collected by a special attachment, saving you the bother of gathering them later.

Reviewers loved the adjustable handle that made hedge trimming an enjoyable experience.

Craftsman CMCHTS820D1

Craftsman branded tools have a pleasing solidity and robustness to them and the hedge trimmer we’ve chosen represents this very well.

Key Features

  • Blade length – 56 cm (22 ins)
  • Cutting capacity – 1.9 cm (0.75 ins)
  • Power saw tip that cuts through branches up to 3.8 cm (1.5 ins) thick
  • Weight – 3.6 kg
  • Ergonomically designed for comfortable use
  • Laser-cut blades
  • 60v motor

While it doesn’t have a rotating rear handle like some other hedge trimmers, this model is very comfortable to use and is a contender for the best cordless hedge trimmer for cutting thick twigs and branches.

The power saw placed at the end of the blade (similar to the Black+Decker model above) does the trick, allowing you to cut through branches as thick as 3.8 cm without too much effort!

DeWalt ‎DEWMHT563P1

This brand is another that you’ll find in the serious DIYer’s or contractor’s toolkit with the distinctive yellow and black design. DeWalt is a name that inspires confidence, with an impressive track record of top-quality tools, like this 18v hedge trimmer.

Key Features

  • Blade length – 55 cm (21.6 ins)
  • Cutting capacity – 1.9 cm (0.75 ins)
  • Weight – 2.9 kg
  • Brushless motor
  • Laser-cut hardened steel blades
  • Price – £230 with 5 Ah battery and charger

The fully brushless motor in this model improves efficiency and increases the running time. Alongside the powerful 5 Ah battery, you’ll motor through any hedge cutting job in next to no time!

Greenworks GD60HT

This brand was established with the admirable ethos of reducing emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels. Its tools have been received well so far because of their high quality as well as the mission and values behind them.

The GD60HT is typical of this company’s high standards and it thoroughly deserves its place here.

Key Features

  • Blade length – 61 cm (24 ins)
  • Cutting capacity – 2.7 cm (1 inch)
  • 60v motor
  • Weight – 3.8 kg
  • Anti-jam blades
  • 5-position rotating rear handle (180º)
  • Variable speed control
  • Brushless motor
  • Quiet running and low vibration
  • Cutting speed – 3,400 strokes per minute
  • Double-ground laser-cut blades
  • 3-year warranty
  • Price – £180

This easily qualifies as a contender for best cordless hedge trimmer, whether for thicker branches or small hedges! It has an impressive list of specs, offering all the power of a petrol hedge trimmer without the noise and fumes.

What To Look For

We’ve examined a few models that are up to the job, but what is it that makes them suitable? How do you know whether a particular hedge trimmer will be able to cope with the thickness of the branches on your hedges?

Here are some pointers to guide you:

Tooth Spacing

Although a wider tooth gap allows the machine to cut through branches a little thicker than normal, it isn’t always an accurate way of measuring maximum thickness. Some brands include the tooth spacing in the specifications, while others helpfully add the cutting capacity, indicating the maximum thickness the blades can cope with.

As a rule, if the cutting capacity isn’t listed, use the tooth spacing as a rough guide. For example, if the specs state a tooth spacing of 3.5 cm (1.37), the cutting capacity will be less, perhaps 2.7 cm (1 inch).


No matter how big the gap between the teeth is, some hedge trimmers aren’t powerful enough to cut through thick, woody stems or branches. Always ensure that you go for a trimmer that has the power to match the blade length and tooth spacing.

Petrol hedge trimmers are traditionally more powerful, although cordless models are rapidly catching up. As for electric hedge trimmers, you need to pick one that delivers a higher wattage.

Blade Length

Long blades will speed up the work, allowing you to sweep over large areas quickly. However, the longer the blades, the heavier the machine. Blades that are between 30 and 40 cm (11 and 16 ins) are ideal for small hedges and bushes, while anything from 50 to 75 cm (20 to 30 ins) is better for wider and taller hedges, especially if you can’t easily access both sides.


It is vital that you take into account your state of health, age and physical frame. Anyone with a weakness of the arms, shoulders or back should take great care to invest in a lightweight unit and take regular breaks.

On the whole, a corded hedge trimmer might be the best solution as they are generally lighter than other types. However, a small cordless hedge trimmer with a shorter blade could suffice.

Visit A Store

Online shopping is massively popular because it is (mostly) quick and convenient. However, nothing beats good old-fashioned shopping in a store for something like a hedge trimmer. You’ll be able to check the weight as well as the hedge trimmer’s grip comfort. You can assess the length of the blade and test manoeuvrability for horizontal trimming and vertical trimming.

You can also get a feel for how well each model is built, and compare brands and trimmers easily. Even if you leave it and buy online later, you’ll be equipped to do so by visiting a DIY store or garden power tool outlet.

Single Or Double Cutting Blade?

Most hedge trimmers are double-sided, meaning that you can cut hedges using either side of the blade. However, some have a single cutting blade, with teeth only on one side. While these are usually used by professionals, it’s really up to you which you go for.

Related post: What is a double sided hedge trimmer.

Professional landscape gardeners often prefer this type as you get a clean, even line. And with a long blade, you can cover larger hedges in a short time, getting perfect results.

In Conclusion

Now you have a bit more information, along with some great examples of the best hedge trimmers for thick hedges and branches, you should be able to make a decision as to which one you’d like.

It’s wise to take your time, look for a good deal and choose one that best suits your requirements. If the model you want isn’t available, be sure to take a look at others by the same brand as we’ve only selected specific ones here as examples.

Check Online Reviews

Any of the models listed above would be a good investment, although you should check out reviews for yourself. No matter which brand you choose, you occasionally get a dud machine in a batch. And although this is frustrating, it gives you a chance to test out a brand’s customer service level.

Also, make sure you check the warranty and activate it if necessary.

If you’re anything like us, you’ll believe that gardening should be enjoyable. And while most of us don’t mind a little hard work, garden power tools help to take most of the strain. So, choose wisely, find the right hedge trimmer for your garden and get trimming!