As anybody who has tried to prune tall hedges with a regular trimmer while balancing precariously on a ladder will know, not all the tools in your garage are up to every task you need them for.
This means if you need to trim in hard-to-reach places, you have a couple of choices – either you can call in a professional with special equipment or you can buy a more suitable tool yourself.
If the second option sounds like the better choice, you need something with a bit more reach – so here are our top picks for best pole hedge trimmer.
Best Pole Hedge Trimmer Comparison Chart 2020
Greenworks 40V Pole Hedge Trimmer
GARCARE Multi-Angle Pole Hedge Trimmer
Sun Joe SJH901E Telescoping Pole Hedge Trimmer
DEWALT DCHT895B Telescoping Pole Hedge Trimmer
Earthwise CVPH43018 2-In-1 Pole Hedge Trimmer
Let’s just remind ourselves quickly about what pole trimmers are and why they are useful – then we’ll go on to give you some tips for picking the best one for your needs.
What’s a pole trimmer?
A pole trimmer is basically what it sounds like – it’s a trimmer on a pole. However, these simple devices can make a lot of work around your yard a whole lot easier because of the extra reach they give you.
Instead of climbing up a wobbly ladder and waving a regular trimmer around while trying not to fall off, you can do all your trimming from the safety of the ground. And if you still need to climb up a ladder, a pole trimmer will give you more reach to cut even higher branches.
Now let’s look at how to choose one.
How to Choose the best pole hedge trimmer?
There are several different types of pole trimmer with different advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most important things you should be looking at.
Types of Power source
The most important thing you need to decide when buying a pole trimmer is how it is powered, and you have three basic options – gas powered, mains powered and battery powered.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of each of these in turn.
a). Gas-powered pole hedge trimmers
These are the traditional versions of the hedge trimmer. Like any gas-powered tool, these offer you the most flexibility since you can take them anywhere. You aren’t restricted by the need to plug into a power outlet and when the fuel runs out, you just put more in.
They are also the most powerful types of tool – if you need to do heavy-duty or commercial-grade work, you should probably be thinking about a gas-powered model.
However, they are now becoming much less popular in the home tool market. They are more expensive to buy, they are noisy, they are dirty and they require more maintenance.
They are also too powerful for most people’s requirements – none of the models in our review is gas-powered.
b). Corded pole hedge trimmers
Corded trimmers have become more popular in recent years. They are cleaner than gas-powered versions, don’t make as much noise and can come close to competing with gas in terms of power.
The main drawback is the cord – it limits the range of the tool and can also get in the way of your work.
These are best for people who will always be working within easy reach of a power outlet.
c). Battery-powered pole hedge trimmers
These trimmers have the same advantages as corded trimmers in that they are clean and quiet – in many cases, they are among the most noiseless of tools – and have the added advantage of not being limited by the cord.
The major disadvantage is that you can only work for as long as the battery last before you need to stop for a recharge – although this can be mitigated by purchasing a back-up battery.
These are good for people who need to work away from a power source or who don’t like the idea of trying to work with a cord dangling in the way.
There is one other point that needs to be made when comparing gas-powered machines with corded or battery powered trimmers and that is the issue of weight.
While gas models are generally heavier, the weight is centered on the handle end – whereas with corded or battery-powered models, the weight is generally centered on the blade end.
This can make these pole trimmers a little unwieldy when fully extended – although for most home users, this is a compromise they are willing to make.
Other things to look for
Here are a couple of the other important points to take into account when buying a pole trimmer.
If you are looking at pole trimmers, your main purpose will be to reach the higher branches – this means you should pay attention to how far the trimmer can reach when at its maximum extension.
You need to look at a couple of points related to the blade.
First, pay attention to the material. It should be made of hardened steel or something similar. This will ensure it lasts a long time.
Second, some blades are also laser-cut or diamond ground – this ensures they will keep their sharpness for longer.
Finally, look at the length of the blade. Shorter blades are better for detailed work while longer blades will help you power through bigger jobs more quickly. Choose one that most perfectly matches your requirements.
This refers to the diameter of branches a trimmer can cut. If you need it for more heavy-duty jobs, choose one with a larger cut capacity.
Adjustable cut angles
Finally, most trimmers have heads that can be set in different positions. This gives you more flexibility over how you work.
Take note of how many positions the blade has – we think blades that can be set at a 90° angle are particularly useful, but this is not a feature all trimmers offer.
The Best Pole Hedge Trimmer Reviews of 2020
1. Greenworks 20-Inch 40V Cordless Pole Hedge Trimmer (Our Top Recommended)
Like all the tools in this company’s range, this extendable pole hedge trimmer from Greenworks is a battery-powered unit. It takes the same 40v battery as the other tools made by this company so you may already have a spare one in your garage.
As the name may suggest, this is a company that prides itself on being kind to the environment. Like other Greenworks tools, this trimmer has the advantage over gas-powered tools of being totally emission-free as well as running much more quietly.
The fact that it is battery-powered also means you have unlimited range and don’t have to worry about becoming tangled up with the cord. A single battery can give you up to half an hour of use – and if you need more, you can easily invest in a spare to double work time.
It features a 20” dual-action steel blade that is designed to cut through branches of up to ⅝”. The head can also be set in several different positions, giving you more control over how and what you cut – especially useful when trimming in awkward corners.
This unit is also relatively lightweight, meaning most people will be able to use it easily. It can extend to give you up to 6.5ft extra reach, ideal for higher branches that would otherwise require you to use a ladder.
One of the highlights for us is the four-year warranty – along with a two-year warranty for the battery. This is more than most companies offer and shows that Greenworks stand by their product.
If we were to find fault with this tool, it might be that the shaft feels a little flimsy when fully extended – although this probably won’t lead to any problems.
Another minor issue is that the teeth can occasionally become jammed when cutting tougher branches – but can easily be cleared.
We are fans of Greenworks’ range of garden tools and this is another worthy addition to the Greenworks family. If you are looking for a cordless pole trimmer, this one should be high on your list of possibilities.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
2. Sun Joe SJH901E 18-Inch Electric Telescoping Pole Hedge Trimmer (Best Budget)
This is a high-quality but very reasonably priced corded electric pole trimmer from well-regarded brand Sun Joe. It is easy to run and will give you all the extra reach you need to deal with those hard-to-reach branches about your yard.
The first thing you will notice about this tool is the amount of extra reach it can provide. The telescopic handle extends by up to 7.4ft – which gives you a reach just short of 13ft in total.
One thing we particularly like with this model is the adjustable pivoting head, which is designed to give you the maximum amount of flexibility over how you use the tool.
You can change the angle from -90° to +60°, allowing you to cut all kinds of shrubs, trees and bushes, even in the most awkward places. It’s especially useful for giving a flat top to a tall bush – just set it a 90° and cut from the ground without needing to resort to a ladder.
It features a 3.8amp motor and is rated as being able to cut anything up to 0.7” in diameter, giving you plenty of cutting power.
The blade itself is another highlight of this trimmer. It is 18” in length, allowing you to deal with a wide range of jobs, and is made of hardened rust-resistant steel that is designed for high levels of performance and built to last.
There’s little not to like about this tool. We might complain that it is a little heavy – it may cause some fatigue in the arms when cutting overhead branches for longer periods, but overall, it’s easy enough to manage for most users.
The safety strap is also a little awkward and not so useful when using the trimer in an overhead position.
Overall, this trimmer is a pleasure to use. It features push-button startup, is easy to configure and above all, it gets the job done. This is an excellent tool from Sun Joe and is an easy choice for our number one pick.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
3. GARCARE 4.8-Amp Multi-Angle Corded Pole Hedge Trimmer
This is another top extendable pole trimmer, this time from Garcare. It is a corded model that incorporates a powerful 4.8amp motor for those times when you need a little bit of extra kick.
The motor powers a 20” blade that is laser-cut and diamond ground. This gives it enhanced cutting abilities and ensures it retains its sharpness for longer. It is rated as having a ¾” cutting capacity, meaning it will be able to deal with even the tougher kinds of job you need it for.
We also like the six-position adjustable head, which is ideal for cutting at all angles. No matter whether you have to deal with hard-to-reach corners or high-up hedge tops, with this trimmer, you will be able to get the job done.
It has a maximum reach of 9.2ft, meaning you will be able to trim much higher than with a regular hedge trimmer – all without reverting to balancing on a ladder.
It also features ergonomic soft rubber handles that are easy to hold, giving you a firm grip on the tool while you are working.
One issue that some people might find a little awkward is that since most of the weight of the unit is centered on the blade end of the tool, when fully extended and reaching, the balance is a little off.
For cutting directly overhead, this isn’t a problem, but when extended horizontally, the head begins to weigh down a lot and might cause your arms to ache if you use it in this position for a long time.
Another minor irritation – although nothing too serious – is the fact that there is no lock for the “on” switch. During normal use, this is a good safety feature since if you let go of the switch, the motor stops, preventing you from injuring yourself.
However, if you are using it fully extended and then need to cut something closer, you either have to stop and shorten the pole or cut with one arm stretched out behind you. Again, this is only a minor gripe and shouldn’t really put anyone off using it.
Overall, a solid tool that performs well – and a high-quality unit at this price point. Another pole hedge trimmer well worth checking out.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
4. DEWALT DCHT895B 40V MAX Telescoping Pole Hedge Trimmer
This is a heavy-duty battery-powered pole hedge trimmer that is designed to go toe-to-toe with gas-powered versions. While it can’t quite match gas trimmers for pure power and versatility, it still performs well in terms of cutting ability and convenience.
When not extended, it measures 45” but extends to up to 70” – offering around 15% more reach than many gas-powered models.
It incorporates an advanced brushless motor, giving it more power, higher efficiency, longer life and delivering 3,700 strokes per minute.
It has a 1” cutting gap and features a large 22” dual-shear laser-cut blade made of hardened steel, allowing it to deal with tougher jobs than most other battery-powered trimmers would be capable of.
It also boasts an adjustable head with eight different position settings at 15° increments, giving you great flexibility over how you cut. Cutting chest-height hedges or giving hedge tops a smart, smooth haircut is no problem when using one of these.
All this power and performance comes at a cost, however, and the area where this unit suffers is in weight. It is heavier than most comparable battery-powered trimmers, weighing almost 19lbs when combined with the battery, meaning some people might struggle to use it.
Furthermore, since it is battery-powered, the weight is at the “wrong” end. Unlike gas-powered tools where the weight is at the handle, here, the weight is centered on the cutting end, meaning the shoulder strap doesn’t really help take the weight.
This would be an ideal option for someone who wants lots of power but appreciates the advantages of battery power over gas. Anyone who is worried it might be too heavy should probably think twice before buying one of these.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
5. Earthwise CVPH43018 Corded 4.5 Amp 2-In-1 Convertible Pole Hedge Trimmer
This tool from Earthwise stands out from the crowd due to its innovative design. It can switch between two modes, allowing you to use it as a regular hedge trimmer for easy-to-reach branches, but doubles up as a pole trimmer when you need to cut a bit higher up.
This is especially convenient since with most other pole trimmers, you have the choice either of using them at chest height, which can be a little unwieldy, or you can opt to use a second tool – which is more expensive if you have to buy it separately.
When taken purely as a pole trimmer, this is a great tool in its own right. It has an 18” blade – slightly smaller than most of the others in this review – making it ideal for detailed jobs where precision is required.
However, the flip side of this is that it will take longer to take care of larger jobs using one of these – although it shouldn’t make too much difference unless you need to do lots of heavy-duty cutting. In that case, this might not be the right tool for you.
When fully extended, it also gives you a decent amount of reach – it has a maximum length of 8’8” from tip to tip, giving you the possibility of trimming even those taller hedges and branches that neat smartening up.
The head can be fixed into one of six different positions, giving you perfect control over how you trim your bushes and allowing you to reach into even more inaccessible corners.
On the downside, this trimmer suffers from a similar problem as many other similar tools – that is, since the weight is centered on the cutting end, it can be heavy when fully extended.
Another more minor issue is that although it has six head positions, it doesn’t have a full 90° mode, which means you can’t cut the top of a tall hedge if you are standing next to it and directly below.
Despite these minor issues, this is a great option for anyone looking for a smaller trimmer and that will especially appeal to those who appreciate the possibility of using it as a regular trimmer as well as a pole trimmer.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
A highly useful and flexible tool
Choosing the best pole hedge trimmer can take all the hassle out of caring for your yard and keeping your trees and bushes looking smart. If you don’t know which one to choose, any of the five in our review would be a great place to start looking.