Manual hedge shears, also known as hedge trimmers, are an essential tool for any amateur horticulturist. With so many options available, it’s crucial to choose the right shears for your specific needs. To help you make an informed decision, we conducted field tests on some of the most popular options on the market.
- 1 What to Consider When Choosing the Best Hedge Shears
- 2 How We Tested the Best Hedge Shears
- 3 How do I properly maintain my garden hedge shears?
- 4 How do I sharpen my hedge shears?
- 5 What is the proper way to use hedge shears?
- 6 How thick are the branches a hedge shear can cut?
- 7 Should I oil hedge trimmer blades?
- 8 Why not just use an electric trimmer?
- 9 How much should I spend on Hedge Shears?
- 10 What are hedge shears used for?
- 11 What are the different types of hedge shears?
- 12 What factors should I consider when buying hedge shears?
- 13 What blade material is best for hedge shears?
- 14 What is the best way to maintain hedge shears?
Manual hedge shears are ideal for maintaining the shape and style of your garden hedge plants, without the use of motorized power tools. However, choosing the right pair can be a daunting task due to the wide range of features and options available. While they can be found at most garden centers, the choices are endless.
Aside from trimming branch tips and tidying up edges, properly using hedge shears can also encourage new growth. While electric hedge trimmers are preferred by professionals and those who deal with extensive hedge work, manual hedge shears offer unparalleled precision and are a great choice for those with only a few hedges to maintain.
10 Best Hedge Shears for 2023：Tested and Reviewed
- BEST OVERALL:Okatsune Precision Hedge Shears
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:ARS HS-KR1000 Professional Hedge Shears
- UPGRADE PICK:Fiskars Power Lever 8-Inch Hedge Shears
- BEST PRUNING:Colwelt Hedge Clippers 21”
- BEST EXTENDABLE:OARA Garden Hedge Shears forTrimming Borders
- BEST PROFESSIONAL-GRADE:FELCO F-2 068780 Classic Manual Hand Pruner
- MOST COMFORTABLE:TABOR TOOLS B640A Lightweight Hedge Shears
- ALSO CONSIDER:TABOR TOOLS B228A Hedge Shears
- Best Budget Shears:Corona HS 3950 Extendable Hedge Shear
- Best Extendable Shears:Fiskars Garden 392861-1002 Powergear2 Hedge Shears
When it comes to trimming topiaries, there are various tools available, including powered hedge trimmers, bladed brush cutters, and electric pole saws. While these options may seem convenient for quick and easy pruning, the best tools for maintaining healthy foliage are high-quality manual clippers. In this guide, we will introduce you to the top-rated manual clippers for topiary trimming.
#1.Okatsune Precision Hedge Shears
- Japanese sword steel blades
- Japanese White Oak handles
- Very lightweight
- Easy tension adjustment
- 1-year warranty
- Has a short reach
The Okatsune Precision Hedge Shears boast of smooth and precise cuts as one of their key features. These shears are constructed using high-quality Japanese sword steel, a sturdy locking bolt pivot, and ergonomically designed Japanese White Oak handles with a textured grip.
The pivot assembly of these shears is designed for both simplicity and strength, utilizing a hardened bolt and nut for easy tension adjustment using a wrench. The lightweight Japanese White Oak handles complete the design of these shears, providing a durable and reliable tool for any hedge trimming job. However, it’s important to note that while these handles are lightweight and strong, they do not offer a soft, non-slip grip.
#2.ARS HS-KR1000 Professional Hedge Shears
- Steel handles extend from 15 to 26 inches
- Precision pivot bolt offers smooth cutting strokes
- Easy to resharpen the blades
- Too heavy for all-day trimming
If you’re looking for shears that can trim and shape your hedges with ease, then these lightweight shears are a great choice. They provide smooth cuts and are designed with features such as shock-absorbing bumpers, ergonomic handles, and adjustable blade tension to enhance comfort and ease of use.
These professional-grade shears are ideal for landscapers who prioritize power, precision, and efficiency in a lightweight tool. With these shears, you can achieve great results while minimizing fatigue during prolonged use.
#3.Fiskars Power Lever 8-Inch Hedge Shears
- Self-sharpening serrated edge
- “Power Lever” angle multiplies cutting force
- Soft rubber grips
- Hard to reach tall branches
Fiskars has introduced a unique self-sharpening technology in their shears that incorporates a serrated edge, eliminating the need for professional sharpening. The blade’s precise cutting ability ensures that each use sharpens the blade, making it even more effective over time. With this technology, you get the benefits of a stainless blade without compromising on functionality.
The ergonomic handle design creates a “Power Lever” angle that multiplies your cutting force by up to 2 times, without requiring an expensive gear hinge. While it may not be the lightest option on the list, the durable stainless steel construction guarantees a lifetime of use.
This particular model features an 8-inch blade and a 12-inch handle, making it one of the smaller options on the list. It’s perfect for trimming low-lying topiaries like boxwood or azalea.
#4.Colwelt Hedge Clippers 21”
- Affordable price point
- General-purpose design
- Lightweight construction
- Light-duty materials, feels less durable than others
- Bumpers are not well attached
- Blade pivot bolt is susceptible to loosening
The blades of these shears are made from forged carbon steel and have a nonstick coating to prevent rusting. Their unique wavy shape requires professional sharpening to maintain their sharpness.
The ergonomic soft-grip handles and shock-absorbing bumpers provide comfortable use during prolonged periods. With a weight of just 1.8 pounds, these shears are easy to lift above the head without causing discomfort for most users. Additionally, the blades can be locked for added safety when not in use.
These Colwelt hedge shears are an affordable tool that performs well for occasional trimming. While durability may be a concern with heavy use, they work well for clipping thin grassy growth and thick woody shoots. The wavy blade design allows for a better grip on thicker stems, resulting in faster cutting without the stems being pushed out of the cutting area. Overall, these lightweight and comfortable shears are a decent option for budget-conscious gardeners.
#5.OARA Garden Hedge Shears forTrimming Borders
- Made with high-quality carbon steel material for excellent sharpness
- Ergonomic cushion grips feel comfortable
- Some users might find the handle a bit too short
The OARA gardening pruning shears are designed to reduce fatigue while efficiently trimming branches, providing you with a pleasant gardening experience. These shears feature a soft vinyl cushion that adds extra comfort, as well as a shock-absorbing bumper that minimizes vibration and prevents fatigue in the arms and shoulders.
#6.FELCO F-2 068780 Classic Manual Hand Pruner
- Rust-free aluminum construction
- Hardened-steel replaceable blades
- Comfortable one-handed operation
- Prunes branches up to 1 inch thick
- Not suitable for the “lead role” in hedge shearing projects
The Felco 2 handheld pruning shears are an excellent tool to have on hand when pruning projects require precision and efficiency. These shears feature lightweight, durable aluminum handles, a hardened steel replaceable blade, and a convenient thumb-operated safety lock, making them ideal for both professional and backyard gardeners. Replacement parts, including blades and handle springs, can be easily obtained from the manufacturer.
During testing, the Felco 2 bypass pruners proved to be a pleasure to use. They effortlessly cut through hard holly branches up to an inch thick with their thin, hard-steel blade. The thumb lock was easy to operate, and the handles were comfortable. These shears are lightweight enough to be carried in a back pocket when not in use, making them convenient to have on hand. While they are not the best tool for hedge shearing, the Felco 2 is an excellent all-around pruning tool that can help make any shearing project go more smoothly.
#7.TABOR TOOLS B640A Lightweight Hedge Shears
- Strong aluminum handles
- Sharp wavy blade
- Shock-absorbing bumpers
- Adjustable blade tension
- 1-year warranty
- Tightening nut tends to get loose
The 8-inch wavy blade design of these shears allows for efficient clipping of branches that may otherwise be hard to cut. They are forged from carbon steel, making them durable and long-lasting. However, the blade requires sharpening by a skilled individual.
The handles of these shears are made of lightweight aluminum, making them easy to handle during extended periods of use. They feature shock-absorbing bumpers to reduce the impact and vibration caused by cutting. Additionally, the handles have hard plastic grips to prevent slipping.
Adjusting the pivot assembly is made simple with the hand-tightening nut, which can be easily adjusted by hand, but may require more strength than a wrench for a tighter grip. These shears have an overall length of 24 inches, making them suitable for reaching those hard-to-reach branches, but may not be as precise for close-up work due to their bulkiness.
#8.TABOR TOOLS B228A Hedge Shears
- Lightweight aluminum handles reduce shoulder/arm fatigue
- Delicate but sharp blades are suitable for precision cutting
- Shock bumpers and vinyl grips increase comfort
- Too small for big jobs
The Tabor shears have vinyl comfort grips and shock-absorbing bumpers on the handles, making them comfortable to use. The handles are also shorter, allowing for better control and a tighter grip against the body. These straight-bladed shears are ideal for precise trimming and shaping of boxwoods, hedges, and decorative topiary shrubs.
#9.Corona HS 3950 Extendable Hedge Shear
- Blade includes a pruning notch for trimming thicker branches
- Extended reach for pruning tall hedges
- Twist-lock extension handles
- Heavier shears increase user fatigue
- Not ideal for precision pruning needs
The high-carbon steel blades of the Corona extendable hedge shears are straight-edged and measure 10 inches in length. They can be easily sharpened at home using a millstone or sharpening stone. The shears have a shock-guard bumper that helps to reduce shoulder fatigue, and the comfortable handle grips make them easy to use. The precision-made pivot bolt ensures smooth cutting action. Weighing 3.6 pounds, these shears are comparable in weight to most extendable shears.
The Corona extendable hedge shears provide excellent reach, making them ideal for trimming the tall sides of hedges without requiring the use of a ladder. The extendable handle feature is secure and easy to adjust. The longer blades offer good balance to the extra handle weight and length, but the overall weight may cause discomfort when using for extended periods of time.
#10.Fiskars Garden 392861-1002 Powergear2 Hedge Shears
- Geared cutting power-assist
- Cushioned oval-profile handles
- General-purpose design
- Affordable price point
- The name may mislead shoppers to overestimate the tool’s ability
- Not designed for precision trimming
- Thicker branches sometimes slip out
The handles of these hedge shears have been designed with touch points that provide superior comfort and control. The gears built into the mechanism increase the leverage of each cut, allowing the shears to easily slice through thick branches with minimal effort.
The 10-inch steel blades have been precision-ground to remain sharp even with frequent use, and their straight edges can be sharpened at home with ease. Additionally, the blades have a nonstick coating that prevents rust and buildup, ensuring they remain clean and effective. Measuring 23 inches in length and weighing just 2.45 pounds, these shears are well-balanced and effortless to maneuver.
During testing, we found these shears to be highly capable, comfortable, and less fatiguing than many other models. However, we did encounter a few negative reviews that suggested some buyers may have mistaken these hedge shears for hand pruners or loppers, leading to dissatisfaction with their performance on excessively thick branches. It’s important to remember that the gear system in these shears should be viewed as a power-assist, rather than a substitute for larger cutting tools. Used for conventional shearing of foliage and woody growth up to half an inch thick, these shears performed exceptionally well and provided a great user experience.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Hedge Shears
Hedge shears do not all offer similar performance. A number of factors affect their functionality, including blade type, blade material, handle length, ease of use, and more. Keep reading to learn about several of the most important features to consider when choosing the best hedge shears for landscaping.
Since they require the strength and repetitive motion of your hands and upper body to operate, hedge shears can be tiring to use. Though many are designed with shock-absorbing bumpers, they can still cause shoulder and back pain after long landscaping sessions. As a result, electric- and gas-powered hedge trimmers are recommended for larger jobs, while manual hedge shears are ideal for detailed work that requires precision.
Hedge shears are typically able to cut branches up to a half-inch in diameter. Some models, however, feature limb notches to extend this dimension. Additional tools, like loppers, may also be required for cutting thicker branches.
Smaller pruning shears are also useful for maintaining hedges. They are well suited to reaching into tight spaces and trimming interior branches to allow more light and air to access the inside of the hedge.
What are the different types of hedge shears?
Once you know the difference between hedge shears and various other garden shears, you have won half of the battle, but there several different types of hedge shears as well. Among the different types are fixed, adjustable, angled and telescoping handles.
However, the most critical distinction is in the blades and there are essentially three types:
- Straight Blade Shears. Provides sharp, clean cuts of smaller shoots and soft woods. These are easier to sharpen.
- Wavy Blade Shears. These are smooth blade shears with a wavy shape which helps to grip the material and prevent it from sliding along the blade during the cut. They are more difficult to sharpen.
- Serrated Blade Shears. Serrated blades provide a similar function to wavy blades and are better suited when it comes to cutting harder wood and irregular hedges. These cannot be sharpened.
Hedge shears are made from a variety of metals, and some are coated with added materials to prevent them from sticking and rusting.
- Stainless steel blades are resistant to both rust and corrosion. They’re best for cutting thinner green branches.
- High-carbon steel blades are a combination of stainless steel and carbon steel, which makes them stronger and easier to sharpen.
- Nonstick blades include a coating that prevents the buildup of sap and other natural materials that cause them to rust or stick together.
Blade and Handle Length
The ideal blade length for hedge shears depends primarily on their intended use. A 6-inch blade is best for trimming hedges that are between waist and shoulder height. A 7- to 8-inch blade is versatile enough for most jobs, while a 9- to 12-inch blade is ideal for trimming taller privacy hedges.
Most hedge shears have a total length of between 20 and 25 inches. Longer shears are typically more powerful and provide a stronger cut. Telescoping handles provide optimal versatility because the total length of the shears is adjustable to accommodate the task at hand. It’s important to note that telescoping shears do tend to be heavier, so they may not be the best pick for gardeners who experience back and shoulder pain or suffer from arthritis in their hands.
Geared technology in a pair of hedge shears provides additional leverage when trimming, which comes in handy when handling thick or dying branches. Geared hedge shears typically provide between two and three times more power than gearless models.
Available on more powerful hedge shears, this cutting mechanism may not be necessary for all home gardeners. For those who regularly trim their hedges, gearless shears are sufficient for keeping up with new green growth.
Ease of Use
Several factors contribute to ease of use when tackling trimming jobs with a pair of hedge shears.
- Weight: Shears often must be lifted above the head during hedge trimming. For that reason, lightweight hedge shears can help prevent neck and shoulder pain or repetitive strain injuries. If weight is a concern, look for shears that weigh about 2 pounds or less.
- Handles: Telescoping handles are useful for reaching higher branches, but they tend to be heavier. The lightest hedge shears tend to have wood, fiberglass, or plastic handles.
- Comfort: Ergonomically designed shears and cushioned handles provide a more comfortable grip, enabling gardeners and landscapers to avoid hand pain and discomfort. Shock-absorbing bumpers reduce wrist and shoulder pain by tamping down vibrations and preventing abrupt stops.
- Maneuverability: An adjustable pivot bolt allows the user to adjust the blade tension to match the task at hand, making it easier to maneuver the shears when dealing with branches of different sizes.
Some Helpful Buying Tips
Garden hedge shears are designed to cut through twigs and branches, but they obviously can’t cut through thick branches or box hedge with white flowers. When you’re shopping for shears, to get the best garden hedge shears for yourself, look for a pair that’s light and well-balanced. It has to feel comfortable and give you the leverage you need to easily cut through foliage and twig overgrowths. Here are some more tips to assist you in making a good choice:
- Garden hedge shears that come with hardened and tempered high-carbon steel blades will cut beautifully and can hold an edge for long periods of time
- Shears with coated blades will usually cut through thicker branches more easily than plain blades. The coating also prevents rust and debris from sticking to the blades
- If you have very tall hedges, then the obvious choice for you is to get shears with telescopic handles. Otherwise, plain non-extendible handles should do the trick
- Always opt for the best garden hedge shears you can afford. This is because the higher-priced premium models usually come equipped with all the features you’ll need to ease up your trimming and add more cutting precision. Low-priced shears don’t last nearly as long and need more maintenance since the blades tend to lose their edge rather quickly
- Finally, if in doubt, you should check out user reviews. Reviews will give you a practical insight into each of the models you’re considering, and a better idea of how they might function for what you want to use them for
How We Tested the Best Hedge Shears
We tested these hedge shears in three areas to gauge their effectiveness on thin, flexible foliage, immature woody stems, and mature woody stems. The first area consisted of overwintered perennial grasses that we cut back ahead of spring growth. The second area was a boxwood hedge that was ready for its first shearing of the season. The third area was a cluster of hollies that needed to be cut back several inches below the height at which they had formerly been maintained.
Most of the hedge shears we tested are generalists, with relatively wide blades and blunted tips, as noted in the individual reviews. They are made for all-purpose trimming and to get jobs done quickly but lack precision cutting ability. The resulting trim was pretty good but not perfect.
People Also Asked
How do I properly maintain my garden hedge shears?
It is very important to keep your shears clean and free from any sticky sap gunk, especially after it has just been used. This is to prevent rusting and keep the blade of your shears in great shape. After use, rinse your garden shears with lukewarm, soapy water. If there is any plant material or soil stuck in, you can use a hard brush to remove that before washing. Avoid using anything coarse because that might damage the blades and cause rusting. To protect your blades from rust and corrosion after sharpening your blades, use light oil over the blades and rub them back and forth.Garden Tool Care and Maintenance
How do I sharpen my hedge shears?
There are different ways to go about this. You can hone your blade to ‘butter sharpness’ with tools like angle grinders, belt sharpeners, drill bit grinders, or any dedicated grinding stones. You can also get your blades professionally sharpened. If you own a serrated or curved blade, it’s always better to take this option.Sharpening hedge trimmers correctly
What is the proper way to use hedge shears?
If this is your first time using any tool like this you should always remember that caution and safety come first and foremost. Before you actually go ahead with trimming, ensure your shears are clean and in perfect working condition. Place your garden hedge shears on the hedging plants and proceed to cut using a scissor-like cutting style. Avoid going for the big cuts first and start by cutting into small sections and proceeding accordingly. When you are done trimming, properly clean your hedge shears to prevent rusting.
How thick are the branches a hedge shear can cut?
While it varies depending on the particular model, most hedge shears on the market can handle branches up to half an inch in diameter.
Should I oil hedge trimmer blades?
Most hedge shears are made with steel blades, and some have nonstick coatings. The best way to ensure longevity and proper function is to clean sap and debris from the blades after each use. After cleaning, oil the blade pivot point and any non-coated metal parts before storage.How to Lubricate Your Hedge Trimmer
Why not just use an electric trimmer?
Battery-powered hedge trimmers, pole saws, and bladed brush cutters may seem like an easy alternative to manual labor. While they can deliver fairly precise results, toothed saw blades and oscillating trimmer blades can damage woody plants and lead to diseases like boxwood blight.
Power tools are great for saving time. On non-woody plants, like ornamental grasses, an electric trimmer is a great choice. Pole Saws are perfect for thick branches that can survive rough cuts. For more delicate plants and shrubs, nothing delivers a professional, manicured look like a sharp pair of hedge shears.
How much should I spend on Hedge Shears?
Good hedge shears generally cost between $20 and $40 dollars. For casual home use, you probably don’t need to spend more than $30.
Professional-grade shears can cost up to $100 or more. While they aren’t necessary for the average hobby gardener, homeowners with lots of shrubbery and topiary enthusiasts can greatly benefit from spending the extra cash.How Much Does a Hedge Trimmer Cost in 2023
What are hedge shears used for?
What are the different types of hedge shears?
There are two main types of hedge shears: manual and powered. Manual hedge shears are operated by hand, while powered hedge shears are powered by electricity or gas.
What factors should I consider when buying hedge shears?
When buying hedge shears, consider the size and type of plants you will be cutting, the frequency of use, and your physical abilities. You should also consider the size, weight, and design of the shears, as well as the blade material and handle material.
What blade material is best for hedge shears?
The best blade material for hedge shears depends on the frequency of use and the type of plants you will be cutting. High-carbon steel blades are durable and can withstand heavy use, while lightweight aluminum blades are ideal for lighter use.