Cordless vs Petrol Hedge Trimmers: What’s Best?

Maintaining your garden landscape can be a truly tiresome job, especially if you do it manually. This is where hedge trimmers come in extra handy.

Not only do they save you precious time, they also prevent pain in your arms and leave your hedges nice and neat.

Hedge trimmers come in a few different types, including cordless, electric, and petrol. However, petrol and cordless have proven to be the two most popular.

In recent years, cordless electric technology has helped that area of the market expand rapidly.

As with any other garden machinery, choosing between the two can be quite difficult. The choice largely depends on what kind of hedges you have, how many and how big they are. That is why we’ve put together a simple guide to help you through the process.

Cordless Hedge Trimmers

Cordless hedge trimmers were frowned upon for so long, and not without a reason. The lack of power made them unreliable and ineffective. However, with the development of the Li-ion batteries all of that changed.

We are now seeing much more powerful cordless tools that last longer and can even replace their corded counterparts. The power depends on the capacity of the battery, so higher power also means higher weight. The most powerful cordless trimmers can match the weight of petrol trimmers.

The most popular cordless hedge trimmers also give you the freedom to cut hedges anywhere you like without the risk of cutting through your cord. They are also much less noisy, making them perfect for highly populated areas.

They only provide anywhere between 40 minutes and an hour of cutting time and take 1-4 hours to fully recharge. This can be quite restrictive for many gardeners, but people who need light maintenance in their garden can finish the job without any problems.

Another big advantage of the cordless hedge trimmer is that it’s much easier to start. No more priming the engine and pulling. Just press a button and you are good to go.

As for the cost, high quality cordless trimmers can cost the same as a petrol trimmer. Generally, the cost is a guide to the performance – pricier models will have higher power and will last longer, but can be heavier to use. You may even need to invest in a second battery if you have more hedges to cut. This adds to the overall cost, but can be worth it in the long run compared with the cost of petrol.

Best Use of Cordless Hedge Trimmers

Due to their lightweight design, they are perfect for hedges that are above waist high. However, bigger bushes with thick twigs might present an issue. Cordless hedge trimmers are best used for bushes with twig diameter of maximum 15 millimeters.


  • Safe
  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Easy to use


  • Can be expensive
  • Battery capacity may be insufficient for professional gardeners

Petrol Hedge Trimmers

Petrol hedge trimmers offer the most power and are mainly used by gardening professionals and landscapers. They have longer blades and a larger blade gap that allows them to cut twigs with a diameter up to 30 millimetres.

They are very fuel efficient and can be used all day up to 5 days a week. Usually they come with an extension pole which enables you to reach further and are ideal for large hedges.

Petrol trimmers can have 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines. 

2-stroke engines have a better power-to-weight ratio which is great for trimming long and tall hedges. They are also lighter, simpler, and cost less.

4-stroke engines on the other hand, have made petrol hedge trimmers more attractive. They last longer due to the separate oil and fuel chambers. This means that professional gardeners no longer have to mix fuel and oil.

All this power comes with a downside though. Most petrol hedge trimmers are quite heavy and can leave you exhausted after just a few minutes of trimming. Coupled with the fact that you have to store and mix the fuel, pour it in, and sometimes struggle to start the engine, they might be too much trouble for people with small gardens.

Best Use of Petrol Hedge Trimmers

Petrol trimmers are best suited for cutting large hedges with thicker branches. Due to their petrol powered engine they are great for sustained use, making them ideal for gardeners who work for several hours per day. Their weight on the other hand makes them hard to use on tall hedges, especially for people with back or joint problems.


  • Powerful
  • Can be used for a long period of time
  • Good for tackling thick branches


  • Quite heavy
  • Difficult for maintenance

And The Verdict Is…

When choosing a hedge trimmer you need to take into consideration a few things, such as the thickness and length of the hedges, how often you will trim them and how much strain you can take.

If you have only a few hedges that require little maintenance go for the cordless trimmer, but if you need to take care of thicker branches and trim them often, choose the petrol powered trimmer.

You can also go for the combination of the two and use one or the other depending on the job that needs to be done. Use the petrol powered trimmer in the spring to start the season and cut back the thick winter growth, and then use the cordless trimmer throughout the year for quick and easy maintenance.