The top gasoline-powered hedge trimmers are still fastest at buzzing through thick, dense shrubs. But this year's best plug-in trimmers perform nearly as well, cost far less, and offer more safety features.
Wider gaps between the blade teeth helps gas trimmers cut thicker branches and take in more smaller ones with each pass. But the wider spaces also make it more dangerous if you contact the blades. A voluntary Underwriters Laboratory standard requires that the gap on electric trimmers be small enough to keep out a ¾-inch finger-sized probe. But gas trimmers sold in the U.S., which are used more by landscapers, lack such a standard. Putting both types under one standard would help protect everyone.
Lower prices, less weight, and much less maintenance have helped corded electric hedge trimmers outsell gas models by more than four to one. They also safeguards fingers by requiring two hands on the trimmer for it to operate.