Cutting and shaping your hedges by hand can be difficult, time-consuming and tedious, especially if you don’t have the right tool for the job. Using the best hedge shears can make all the difference. There are many sizes and designs to choose from, so knowing which tool will work best for the job can help to make your work a little easier and can be a true lifesaver, especially if you’re guilty of not staying on top of yard maintenance. But choosing a new pair of shears can be tricky, since there are so many options available.
These shears come in many price points, styles, and sizes. The best tool for the job will be versatile and can be used to keep your hedges and bushes looking great year-round. The type of shears you choose can also be based on the type of plants you have. As an example, if you have privet hedges or arborvitae shrubs then you’ll want to buy all-purpose shears, which are designed to handle thicker shrubbery. If you have a small topiary garden, then you’ll need to look for much smaller shears that are specifically designed for this type of shrubbery.
I’ve done extensive research concerning all the different makes and models of shears available and found six pairs that are designed to last, feature a comfortable handle design, and come loaded with all of the features you need to ensure a tool can handle a variety of hedge species. Below, you’ll find my comparison chart, which will show you some of the standout features each model has to offer.
Hedge Shears Comparison Chart
Best All Rounder-Gilmour 800086-1001 Basic Hedge Coated Shears
If you’re looking for the most durable pair of shears on the market, then this pair is definitely worth a closer look. These popular shears by Gilmour feature eight-inch nonstick coated blades, which will allow you to quickly trim and shape your hedges, without debris sticking to the blades. The tempered and hardened precision ground top blade is serrated, with a notched bottom blade that will allow you to handle cutting through even the toughest hedges. The aluminum handles are naturally rust-resistant and come equipped with cushioned grips that promote longer use and comfort. The shock-absorbing bumpers will also promote user comfort and will allow you to handle tougher hedges. These shears are designed with precision and cutting efficiency in mind. The nonstick eight-inch blades are durable and designed for clean slices and smooth cutting action. The design allows you to utilize leverage for cleaner faster cuts thanks to the single-pivot action. These shears are perfect for small to medium-sized branches.
- Shock-absorbing bumpers
- Eight-inch blades
- Blades are hardened and tempered for improved cutting action
- Cannot handle branches over half an inch in diameter
These shears are versatile and feature a design that promotes user comfort, cutting precision and clean cutting action. Their durable design will also allow you to handle thicker branches, unlike competing models in this price bracket.
For Gardening-Fiskars 391911-1002 Power Lever Hedge Shears
This model by Fiskars features a power-lever mechanism that will magnify the shear’s cutting leverage, allowing you to cut thicker branches, easily. The eight-inch steel blades are serrated, for improved cutting power and are designed to grip and hold branches for a cleaner cut. The blades are made out of hardened steel and feature a patented self-sharpening design that ensures these shears are always ready for action. The handles are made out of a durable steel and come with a shock-absorbing bumper and cushioned grips that are designed to promote user comfort and extended use. The unique power lever design multiplies the user’s leverage in order to provide more cutting power. The low-friction rust-resistant blade coating makes cutting easier, while the bumpers work to absorb jarring vibrations.
- Shock-absorbing bumper
- Handles are made out of durable steel
- Eight-inch blades
- Serrated blades
- Compound lever technology
- Self-sharpening blade design
- Weighs in at two pounds
These shears are designed to handle thicker hedges, so they’re a great choice for buyers looking for a model that can help them to quickly whip their yard into shape. The heavier design may be a drawback for some users since it can make it difficult to cut for a longer period of time, however, it’s a fair tradeoff for this type of durability.
For Trimming Borders-TABOR Tools Hedge Shears
The shears are equipped with strong steel handles that are designed to deliver a reliable cutting performance and plenty of power each time you trim your hedges. The wavy blade design improves cutting precision, so this pair is the perfect tool to use to shape decorative topiary plants or shrubs. The blades can cut all the way to the tip and provide smooth, crisp cuts. Additionally, the wavy design will prevent twigs and branches from slipping off the blades. The shock-absorbing bumpers prevent any jarring vibrations, significantly reducing both hand and arm fatigue. The pivot bolt is flower-shaped and allows you to adjust the blade’s tension so you can trim and shape different types of plants with a simple twist of the tension knob. The blades themselves are made out of carbon steel and feature a nonstick coating for smoother cutting action. The blades measure in at eight-inches, while the shears from tip to handle come in for a total of twenty-five inches.
- Carbon steel blades
- Tension knob
- Shock-absorbing bumpers
- Wavy blade design
- Must be professionally sharpened
As you can see, these shears are very versatile, so they can handle a wide variety of hedge types, easily and effortlessly, with the help of the tension adjustment knob. Keep in mind that the wavy blades must be sharpened by a professional, otherwise, you’ll run the risk of damaging the blades, should you try to sharpen them yourself. Built tough, and designed to last, these blades earned top marks for their ease of use, versatility, and overall quality.
For Bushes-Okatsune Precision Hedge Shears
These are pro-quality gardening shears that feature a blade length of 6.9 inches and weigh in at just one pound, twelve ounces. The handles are made out of smooth Japanese white oak, so while beautiful, they’re not the most comfortable handles to use for an extended period of time. The shears are designed to provide precise, smooth cuts regardless of the type of hedges you’re trimming. The blade design works to eliminate any chance of tearing up or crushing the branches, which can make your hedges look unkempt, even after you’ve finished trimming. The lightweight design can encourage you to tackle all of the hedges in your yard at one time, however, the lack of padding that the handles offer is a big drawback and one that can make it difficult to use these trimmers for thicker branches. The blades are made out of tempered steel that earned a sixty on the Rockwell scale, which is pretty impressive.
- Beautiful design
- Low price
- Tough tempered blades
- No padding on handles
- No shock-absorbing bumper
While beautiful, these smaller shears are not designed to take on thicker hedges, especially considering the lack of a shock-absorbing bumper, which can make cutting through thicker branches feel very uncomfortable. The lack of padding on the handles further reduces user comfort, although the lightweight design will allow you to take care of trimming all your hedges in one shot. I wouldn’t recommend these shears for thicker hedges, but for thin branches and twigs, the blades are definitely sharp enough and tough enough to help you get the job done.
For Landscaping-Corona HS 3950 Extendable Hedge Shears
The Corona shears feature lightweight durable steel handles that come with comfortable grips, that extend from fifteen inches up to twenty-six inches. This will allow you to have access to those hard to reach places on taller hedges. However, you should keep in mind that when the handles are extended fully, there will be a significant dip in terms of control. The blades themselves measure in at ten inches and are made out of carbon steel for improved strength. The built-in shock bumper system works to minimize hand, shoulder, and arm fatigue, boosting user comfort. The pivot bolt is precision made and provides a smoother cutting action. The shears are covered under a lifetime manufacturing warranty, which will give buyers peace of mind knowing that the manufacturer stands behind their products.
- Handle extensions
- Shock-absorbing bumper
- Carbon steel blades
- Comfortable grips
- Handle extension will reduce control over cuts
- Shears weigh in at three and a half pounds
These shears are perfect for the buyer who’s searching for a pair that can handle thicker, taller hedges. The durable carbon steel blade, combined with the comfortable grips and built-in shock-absorbing bumper provides a more comfortable cutting experience, however, the weight of the shears can be a drawback for some. Overall, these shears offer the type of precise cutting action most gardeners are looking for, and all for a price that won’t break the bank.
For the Money-OARA Garden Hedge Shears
The shears are made out of high-quality sixty-five MN carbon steel. The sharp edge of the blades allows you to easily cut through thicker branches and twigs. These shears are perfect for cutting and shaping all types of hedges, topiary plants, and shrubs. The ergonomic vinyl cushioned grips provide extra comfort, as do the shock-absorbing bumpers, which will prevent jarring vibrations, which can help to minimize shoulder, hand, and arm fatigue. The much shorter handles will also allow for a closer trim, using an optimal angle. The Teflon coating on the blades will reduce shearing friction and will prevent rust, oxidation, and corrosion, boosting the blade’s resistance to wear and tear, while preventing debris from sticking to the blades as you cut. The shears weigh in at a little over two pounds, which can have an impact on how long you can comfortably handle cutting.
- Teflon coated blades
- Blades are made out of carbon steel
- Ergonomic handles
- Low price
- Built-in shock-absorbing bumper
- Blades can be difficult to sharpen
These compact, durable shears allow you to achieve a closer cut and feature ergonomic grips that allow you to trim and shape hedges in total comfort. The tough Teflon coating will allow you to get more use out of your shears by significantly increasing the blade’s lifespan and protecting them against corrosion and rust, while the shock-absorbing bumper further boosts user comfort and cutting precision.
Hedge Shears Buyer’s Guide
Hedge shears are designed to trim and maintain hedges, lawns, or amenity trees. They can be a great alternative to using a type of motorized power tool to maintain your hedges. They’re operated using two hands and some are able to cut through branches that are up to one inch in diameter. They consist of long handles and two very long blades that are telescopic or fixed and are a great tool option if you want to shape hedges or consistently maintain them to a specific dimension.
A good pair of shears will help you carefully shape your hedges, which can instantly give your yard the type of well-manicured look that many homeowners and gardeners are after. There are many factors and features to consider before you settle on a pair of shears you think will work for your hedges. This can include comfort, blade strength, the type of hedges the shears are designed to handle, and their overall manipulability. Shears that have an extra-sharp blade design, one that will cut through pretty much anything, is exactly what you need to make short work of even the thickest shrubbery.
Since you’ll be handling the shears for potentially hours at a time, you want a lightweight pair that’s durable and comfortable to hold. But a pair of high-quality blades are typically pretty hefty. The best pair will be designed to counterbalance that extra weight, in order to reduce user fatigue and make the shears generally more comfortable to use.
Your hedges are always going to grow, which means you’ll need to dedicate some time to upkeep and use shears that are designed to handle heavy-duty, regular use. Look for a model that has a high durability rating. Low-quality shears will quickly lose their edge and cutting power and simply aren’t made to withstand frequent use.
If you’re planning on doing mainly close-up work, then you’ll want a pair of shears that have shorter blades, usually around five to six inches in length, as well as short handles. For bigger jobs, such as cutting privet hedges, you’ll need to use longer blades that are around nine to twelve inches in length. These shears will also come with longer handles.
There are several types of hedge shears to choose from. Some are angled, while others are telescopic.
Models with a straight blade design are a better option for cutting all types of softwood shrubs and hedges and grass. These shears feature two straight blades and can make clean, sharp cuts. The pivot can either be off-center or on the handle’s axis. This will allow you to use them to trim your grass closer to the ground. A straight blade design will also allow you easily sharpen the blades so you can ensure that they’re ready for action, allowing you to easily slice through even the thickest hedges. The blades on the shears should only touch at the cutting point, in order to reduce sticking and friction. Some types of shears will have serrations on both or one of the blades. This can be helpful when it comes to cutting through thicker hedges.
These shears are specifically designed to cut irregular hedges and hardwood. They feature the same characteristics as straight blades, except they have a cutting notch and larger blades. The two blades may pivot off-center or from the axis, just like straight blade models.
Shears with wavy blades are also available. These shears are designed to grip twigs securely, preventing them from sliding along the blades as you cut, which will be a big advantage if you’re dealing with open structured plants. The fact that these blades require professional sharpening can be a big drawback for some potential buyers.
Some blades will have a type of nonstick coating, which is designed to prevent the blades from rusting or gumming.
Pivot Bolt Design
An adjustable pivot bolt assembly will allow users to adjust blade tension when needed. This is usually the first part of shears to fail, so the ability to purchase replacement pivot bolts is a huge advantage.
The latest shear technology will allow users to cut through larger branches using less effort, which can be helpful, depending on how the tool will be used. Some buyers may not need this type of extra cutting power, especially if they routinely keep up on hedge maintenance and only need to manage soft new growth.
If you have issues with arthritis, have carpal tunnel, have had surgery on your hands in the past, then you want a pair of shears that come equipped with cushioned handle grips. Some models will also come with bumpers that are shock-absorbing and located where the handles come together. Or they may have a type of alternate bumper system. This will help to reduce discomfort and can promote longer use.
You should have a general idea of how thick the twigs or branches that you plan on cutting are. Most models of shears on the market can be used to cut twigs and branches that are half an inch in diameter. If you purchase a pair that comes with a limb notch, then you’ll be able to cut branches that are slightly larger.
Purchasing a pair that comes with a gear mechanism will allow you to extend how big of a branch you can cut. This mechanism also reduces how much effort the gardener will need to use when they’re making a cut. If you normally stay on top of yard maintenance, then this feature may not be necessary.
If you have taller hedges in your yard that need a trim or there are areas on a hedge that are very difficult to reach, then consider purchasing a pair of shears that feature a telescoping handle. You’ll notice that the shears can be difficult to control when you’re using this feature, but if you need to get the job done, it’s a fair tradeoff. Keep in mind that this type of handle design can add a lot of weight to the shears.
If you plan on spending a lot for a pair of shears that are top of the line and designed to last, make sure you stay on top of maintaining them. Some people will sharpen the blades themselves, while others will have the blades sharpened by a professional. Straight blades will be the best choice if you want blades you can sharpen yourself. However, certain types of shear blades, such as wavy, must be sharpened by a professional. This extra expense is something you should take into consideration, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
Other Buying Tips
Hedge shears are designed to cut through twigs and branches, but they obviously can’t cut through thick branches. Basically, when you’re shopping for shears, you’re looking for a pair that’s well-balanced and light and a model that feels comfortable. The blades should allow you to easily cut clean through foliage and twiggy growth.
- Models that come with tempered, hardened high-carbon steel blades will cut beautifully and can hold an edge for a longer period of time.
- Coated blades will make it easier to cut through thicker branches and will prevent rust and debris from sticking to the blades.
- Telescopic handles will only be needed if you have very tall hedges. Remember, when you extend the handles, you’ll be compromising how much control you have over the cut.
- Purchase the best shears you can afford. Higher-priced models will come equipped with all the features you need for user comfort and 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.
- Read hedge shear reviews if you’re not certain that the shears you’re interested in are durable. Reviews will give you an unbiased, in-depth look at each model you’re considering, so you’ll have a better idea of how durable they are and the type of cutting performance you can expect.
The secret to using your new shears successfully is to cut your hedges often. Don’t allow them to grow way beyond the size you want them. Not only will it make your yard look messy and unkempt, but it will also make cutting, trimming, and shaping your hedges more difficult and time-consuming.
Trimming your hedges often will ensure that the growth you’re cutting is light, with stems that are much thinner. This will place less strain on your shears and will prevent wear and tear.
Never trim your hedges with shears that are dull. You’ll not only risk damaging the blades, but it will also be more difficult to cleanly cut through twigs and branches. If you have wavy blades then you’ll need to have a professional sharpen them. You should have no trouble finding this service offered at your local home improvement store.
If the blades don’t have a type of nonstick coating, make sure you clean the blades off carefully and dry them before storing them. This will prevent the blades from rusting.
Purchase shears that you know can handle the type of hedges you have. If you purchase blades that aren’t long enough or designed to cut cleanly, you can damage the blades while tearing up your hedges.
If your hedges are severely overgrown, then you may need to use a hedge trimmer, since shears are not designed to handle thicker branches.
When you’re shopping for the best hedge shears, make sure you choose a pair based on the type of hedges you have, their twig or branch diameter, and your budget and comfort needs. A lightweight pair of shears can cost you big, but they’re often worth the higher price tag if they allow you to use the shears longer, in total comfort. I hope my buyer’s guide and product recommendations have helped you find a pair of shears that will help you get the job done, and a pair that will allow you to give your hedges the type of well-maintained look that will make your yard the envy of the neighborhood.