In this report
Hedge trimmer safety
How to choose

Use any trimmer sensibly and safely

Last reviewed: May 2008
Electric and gas trimmers
Electric trimmers (top) have narrower blade-teeth gaps than the powerful gas models we tested (bottom) and are likelier to prevent injuries.

Most of the nearly 4,000 trimmer-related injuries in 2004 involved lacerated fingers. Cut extension cords also caused shock and other injuries. To minimize the risks when trimming:

  • Never use electric trimmers in the rain, on wet grass or shrubs, or near water. Use an undamaged extension cord rated for outdoor use, and plug it into an outlet with a ground fault circuit interrupter (or use a GFCI-equipped cord).
  • Keep cords safely looped behind you.
  • Wear safety goggles, ear protection, work gloves, nonslip shoes, and clothing that won't get caught in the blades.
  • Don't overreach, especially on a ladder.
  • Keep both hands on the trimmer, and fingers and other parts of your body away from the blades when trimming.
  • Turn off the power and wait for the blades to stop before adding fuel or removing debris.
  • Use a blade cover (often sold separately) when carrying and storing a trimmer.