The Best Hedge Trimmer for Thick Branches

A powered hedge trimmer is your best friend when it comes to clearing unwanted branches, bushes, thickets, or shrubs. Additionally, a powered hedge trimmer allows you to clean up grass, overgrowths, perennials, etc. There are many varieties of hedge trimmers out there, and some are gas-operated while others are electrical.

Gas operated trimmers are the heaviest, and feature gasoline engines to power the cutting blade. Electric trimmers are much more silent compared to gasoline powered trimmers, but fall behind in terms of power. Today’s modern electric trimmers however, come with high-speed brushless motors that allow you to trim bushes and trees almost as fast as a gas powered hedge trimmer.

Poulan Pro Gas Powered Dual Sided Hedge Trimmer

Poulan Pro PP2822 22-Inch 28cc 2 Cycle Gas Powered Dual Sided Hedge Trimmer
View on Amazon

The Poulan Pro PP2822 is our top pick for multiple reasons. Firstly, this is an immensely powerful gas trimmer, and features a 28cc gasoline engine to cut through the thickest of branches and hedges. The engine is mated with a powerful drive system that is connected to a 22” dual-sided serrated blade (high carbon steel). This 22” blade is perfect for dealing with medium-large sized bushes, thickets, and hedges. Serrated edges allow you to achieve quicker, cleaner cuts, and the high carbon stainless steel construction means that your trimmer will be able to cut through thick branches with ease.

The blades will also stay sharp for longer, and come with an anti-stick coating on them so they won’t get stuck in tree sap. The best feature of this trimmer however, is its dual-side cutting system. This means that there are teeth on both sides of the blade, allowing you to cut thicket and bushes twice as fast as you would with a regular single-sided blade. Also, it has multiple safety features like ergonomic swivel handles, auto-shut off, lock mode, and teeth extensions.

Black+Decker 22-Inch Hedge Trimmer

BLACK+DECKER HT22 Hedge Trimmer, 22'
View on Amazon

If you want something that is cheap and lightweight, yet capable of slicing through thick branches and dense bushes, then the BLACK+DECKER HT22 is definitely for you. It is a corded electric trimmer, meaning that the power will be near identical to that of a small gas trimmer. The one limitation to this trimmer is its operating radius, which is restricted by its cord length. You will need an external power outlet in order to operate this trimmer, which means that it is only suitable for smaller lawns and gardens.

However, that is the only downside to this trimmer. It features immense power, a dual-action stainless steel 22” cutting blade, tons of safety features, and weighs only 5.5 pounds. The blades are pre-hardened and attached to a special drive system that produces 40% less vibrations so you can trim more evenly, and with better control. One more noteworthy feature of this cheap trimmer is its special stay-on mode. What it does is, when activated you only need to hold the handles to keep the trimmer running, instead of constantly holding down on the trigger.

DeWalt Lithium Ion Hedge Trimmer

DEWALT 40V MAX Cordless Hedge Trimmer, Lithium Ion, 4.0 Ah, 22-Inch (DCHT860M1)
View on Amazon

The DEWALT DCHT860M1 is powered by a 40V 4 Amp-hour Li-Ion battery-pack. It is designed to cut branches up to 1” in thickness, and comes with a special 22” laser-cut dual action stainless steel blade. The laser cut edges ensures extreme sharpness and means that you will have to sharpen the blade less often. On top of that, the stainless steel blade includes a special Teflon coating on top that lets the blades slice easily through branches and leaves without getting stuck in sap and dust.

The blade is 22” long, which is perfect for trimming large bushes and thick branches. This hedge trimmer utilizes a special XENOY housing which ensures extra structural strength and keeps the machine light, at just 11 pounds. Yes, that is still quite heavy, but you need to consider that this is a cordless trimmer and we are also including the weight of the battery pack. There are teeth extensions to protect your clothes and body from coming in contact with the sharp teeth, and the auto shutoff + wrap around auxiliary handle further enhance safety and comfort.

Black+Decker 24-Inch 40-Volt Cordless Hedge Trimmer

BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX Cordless Hedge Trimmer, 24-Inch (LHT2436)
View on Amazon

This is the cordless version of the HT22, which is our favorite budget pick. You will be pleased to know that there has been virtually no loss of cutting power while transitioning from a corded to a cordless model, thanks to the high discharge Li-Ion battery and powerful brushless motor that spins the teeth to deliver 2400 cutting strokes per minute.

The 40 V battery delivers much longer run times than a Ni-Cad battery or Li-Po battery, and we are especially surprised by the fact that this trimmer weighs a mere 6.9 pounds, with the battery installed. That is about 40% lighter than most large hedge trimmers. Yes, this is a large trimmer, with a 24” long stainless steel dual-action cutting blade that slices through branches as thick as 1” with utmost ease. The Energy-Star qualified battery charger that comes with this trimmer is capable of restoring the battery to full charge from zero, in just under 1 hour.

Choosing the Best Hedge Trimmer for Thick Branches

Here are the three main types of powered hedge trimmers:

These are the most powerful hedge trimmers, and use gasoline engines. They have a tank built into the rear end that carries fuel. Try to get a gas trimmer with a transparent fuel tank so you can always keep an eye on the fuel levels. These are also the heaviest and noisiest of the lot. Best for clearing out medium-large sized yards, gardens, and orchards. These are great for cutting branches thicker than 1”.

Corded Electric
Lightest of the 3 types, since they use an electric motor and take their power from an external power outlet. These are the second most powerful in terms of cutting ability, and use brushless motors that draw 6+ amps of current to deliver immense torque that comes in handy while chopping through dense thickets, branches, or bushes. Normally cheaper than cordless electric trimmers and low-end gas trimmers.

Cordless Electric 
These are heavier than cordless types due to the fact that they also include the battery pack inside the trimmer body, and are the least powerful of the three. However, you can still use them to clear out thick branches, provided your cordless trimmer has a 30+ volt motor that draws 4+ amps of current. There are cordless models with tremendous amounts of power, and they are more than capable of cutting through all sorts of thick branches and twigs. These will cost more than corded models, and are best used in small-medium sized yards or garden due to their limited run time (limited by battery life).

After you decide what type of hedge trimmer to buy, the next step is determining the appropriate blade length. Here is an approximation:

1. Small-average sized hedges / thin branches- 16”

2. Average-larger hedges / medium branches- 18”

3. Large hedges / thick branches- 20” and above

Finally, you want to check for safety features and extras on a trimmer before you buy it. Safety features that are a must in every modern trimmer include – auto shut-off (trimmer shuts down instantly when you release the trigger), dual-handed operation (requires you to press 2 triggers at the same time), tooth extensions, front handle shields, etc. Also, look for hedge trimmers that use high-carbon stainless steel blades, since these are the best in terms of quality and durability. They stay sharp longer, and some even comes with an anti-stick coating to prevent the blades from getting stuck in tree sap.