Which pole hedge trimmer is best?

When it’s time to trim the tallest hedges, you need a pole hedge trimmer. It isn’t safe to use a standard trimmer on a ladder — the risk of injury is too high. Pole hedge trimmers aren’t any more expensive than standard trimmers either, so you can grab a low-cost pole trimmer that’s still highly effective.

The best pole hedge trimmer is the Makita 20-Inch Articulating Pole Hedge Trimmer Kit. It has a long reach and the head is articulated so you can trim at any angle.

What to know before you buy a pole hedge trimmer

Power source

Pole hedge trimmers are powered via cords, batteries or gas.

  • Corded trimmers are the simplest as you just need to plug in and go. They’re also the lightest as there’s no complex engine or heavy battery and they have no unhealthy emissions. Their downsides are having the lowest power, a limited range and having to worry about accidentally slicing through your cord.
  • Battery-powered trimmers are an excellent middle ground. They have solid power, can be used anywhere and have no emissions. However, most trimmers rapidly drain the battery plus they have long battery recharge times.
  • Gas trimmers are the strongest, making them best for large yards and commercial usage. However, they are heavy, loud and complicated to maintain. They also emit unhealthy exhaust.

Pole and blade length

The length of the pole and blade determines how big of a hedge you can trim and how easily and quickly you can trim it.

  • Pole length is typically between 6-12 feet, though some can be longer. Some poles are telescoping so you can adjust to your hedges.
  • Blade length is typically between 16-22 inches. Shorter blades are easier to control but longer blades can finish the job faster.

What’s included

Most pole hedge trimmers come with just the tool except for battery-operated trimmers; these usually come in both tool-only and battery-and-charger kit options. Some trimmers also come with accessories such as leaf barrels, extra batteries and safety gear.

What to look for in a quality pole hedge trimmer

Trigger lock

The best pole hedge trimmers have a trigger lock, meaning you don’t need to hold the trigger down to keep it going. It makes controlling the trimmer much easier, especially when you start using extra-long trimmers on extra-tall hedges.

Articulating head

Many pole hedge trimmers have articulating, also called pivoting, heads. This lets you choose the angle at which you trim, including 90-degree angles for flattening the top of hedges.

How much you can expect to spend on a pole hedge trimmer

They can cost as little as $50 to as much as $500. Low-power electric trimmers typically cost $150 or less with the average trimmer costing around $200. Only the highest-power, feature-rich trimmers cost more than $250-$300.

Pole hedge trimmer FAQ

How do I use a pole hedge trimmer safely?

A. There are several steps to take to ensure you’re trimming safely.

  • First, make sure the trimmer is ready. Check its fuel source, double-check that the blade is sharp, etc.
  • Secondly, make sure you are ready. Wear clothing that covers your skin, gloves, safety glasses and ear protection. Wearing a mask doesn’t hurt but isn’t strictly necessary.
  • Finally, make sure the hedge is ready. Make sure there’s nothing in the way of your trimmer that shouldn’t be cut including missing toys, animals and any nests. 

Once these steps are complete and you make sure no one is near you you can get to trimming.

How much maintenance does a pole hedge trimmer need?

A. That depends on the fuel source. Electric trimmers need the least maintenance, usually just making sure the blade is sharp and lubricated and the body is clean. Gas trimmers are more complex as you need to regularly maintain the engine on top of the blades and body.

What’s the best pole hedge trimmer to buy?

Top pole hedge trimmer 

Makita 20-Inch Articulating Pole Hedge Trimmer Kit

Makita 20-Inch Articulating Pole Hedge Trimmer Kit

What you need to know: This has all the power and range you could ever want.

What you’ll love: The articulated head has six settings for a 115-degree working range. It has three speed options so you don’t need to waste battery power on easy hedges, plus the battery can last as long as 80 minutes. A three-year warranty covers the trimmer, battery and charger.

What you should consider: It’s among the highest costing trimmers making it best suited to commercial rather than residential use. A few consumers had issues wielding it.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top pole hedge trimmer for the money

Sun Joe 18-Inch Corded Telescoping Pole Hedge Trimmer

Sun Joe 18-Inch Corded Telescoping Pole Hedge Trimmer

What you need to know: It’s small and low-cost, making it perfect for smaller homes.

What you’ll love: The pole stretches to 7.4 feet and has a pivoting head so you can adjust your angle of trim. The blade is made of rust-resistant steel and is double-sided with a gap of seven-tenths of an inch. It comes in red and green.

What you should consider: A few customers reported it being too heavy to use for long. Others had issues assembling it. It doesn’t have a trigger lock.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

Black+Decker 18-Inch Pole Hedge Trimmer Kit

Black and Decker 18-Inch Pole Hedge Trimmer Kit

What you need to know: This is the perfect budget-friendly battery-powered trimmer.

What you’ll love: The head pivots between five settings for 180-degree coverage and the pole allows up to 11 feet of coverage. The blade is double-sided with a gap of seven-sixteenths of an inch. You can buy it in a bundle with a range of accessories such as gloves or safety glasses.

What you should consider: A few purchasers found it a little heavy and with more vibration than is comfortable for longer trimming jobs. It’s a little long for shorter hedges.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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