7 Best Hedge Trimmers for Thick Branches (2020)

Best Gas-Powered Model

Best Battery-Powered Model

Husqvarna 122HD60

best hedge trimmers for thick branches

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Get this hedge trimmer if you want the most powerful professional grade trimmer to slice through branches like butter. Bear in mind it’s 2 cycle gas powered and heavier than electric models.

Features:

  • The unrivaled power of a gas powered model.
  • Extra heavy duty blade for cutting branches up to 1 Inch thick.
  • Heavier than an electric model.

Black+Decker LHT360CFF


Get this hedge trimmer if you want a lightweight battery powered model. It has a saw tip for sawing through thicker branches, and its PowerCut option can be activated when you need a surge of extra power. 

Features:

  • Lighter than the Gas-Powered Husqvarna.
  • SawBlade Tip for sawing through branches up to 1 1/2 Inches thick.
  • PowerCut button for 15 second surges of power to get through tough spots.

When you need to cut thick branches with a hedge trimmer, there are a few options. The first is a gas powered trimmer. These are the most powerful hedge trimmers, but they’re heavy. Next is a battery powered trimmer with a saw tip designed to cut thick branches. Lastly, we’d recommend simply getting a higher powered battery trimmer from Black+Decker with PowerCut that is an advanced 15-second option for cutting through thicker branches.

There are pros and cons of each – including weight, ease of use, and of course power. So we’ll walk you through when you’d want each.

But here are our quick recommendations. The best hedge trimmers for thick branches are:

  • Husqvarna 122HD60 – Best Gas
  • Craftsman CMEHTS822 – Best Battery Powered
  • Black+Decker LHT360CFF
  • Poulan Pro PR2322
  • Black+Decker BEHTS300
  • Worx WG261
  • Arcare Pole Trimmer – Best for High Branches

Best Hedge Trimmers for Thick Branches

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Top Hedge Trimmers for thick Branches

Quick Review

Our Rating

1. Husqvarna 122HD60This is the best hedge trimmer for thick branches. It slices through branches like butter. This is thanks to its heavy duty gas powered motor. The downside is that it’s heavy. (Go to review)

9/10

2. Black+Decker LHT360CFFIf you’re set on getting a cordless trimmer, this is our pick for cutting through thicker branches. Cordless trimmers are lighter so they’re easier to use. This one also has PowerCut and a Saw Tip, both options that help you to cut thick branches. (Go to review)

9/10

3. Poulan Pro PR2322The Poulan Pro is a very powerful gas powered machine. It’s very similar to the Husqvarna we rated out top pick, but its shorter blade and lesser known brand name mean we’ve rated the Husqvarna higher. (Go to review)

8/10

4. Black+Decker BEHTS300This model is the little brother to the prior Black+Decker model and boasts many similar features, but is corded. This means you are always tethered to an extension cord and power outlet, but in return you save a lot of money on your purchase. (Go to review)

7/10

5. Worx WG261Get this trimmer if you’ll only be cutting thick branches 5% of the time. It’s a smooth, lightweight model that packs a punch so can get through branches up to 3/4 of an inch thick, but it’s designed as an all-round model, not specifically for cutting branches. (Go to review)

7/10

6. Craftsman CMEHTS822Get this corded hedge trimmer if you’re working on hedges close to a power outlet and have just a small garden. Its oscillating saw at the tip of the blade can cut through branches up to 1 1/2 Inches thick.. (Go to review)

6.5/10

7. Arcare Pole Trimmer – Best for High BranchesGet this model if you need to cut branches that are out of your reach. It’s not going to be as strong as others on the list, but can get through 3/4 inch branches that are high up. (Go to review)

6.5/10

1. Husqvarna 122HD60

Quick Review: This is the best hedge trimmer for thick branches. It slices through branches like butter. This is thanks to its heavy duty gas powered motor. The downside is that it’s heavy.


Features:

  • Cuts through 1″ Branches like butter.
  • Most powerful hedge trimmer on the market.
  • Heavier than an electric model.

We consider the Husqvarna 122HD60 to be the most powerful hedge trimmer on the market today. As a gas powered model, you benefit from this trimmer’s enhanced power and exceptionally strong motor. There’s really no comparison between electric and gas models. You’ll always get more strength and power from a gas model – meaning you can hack through thicker branches with a gas model than an electric model.

The Husqvarna 122HD60 is our pick among the pack for gas powered models. It’s the trimmer we recommend for professional landscapers due to its power. But moreover, you get the benefit of being able to simply refill the tank once you’re out of gas and then keep on going. You don’t have to wait for a battery to charge, which is perfect for professionals working on an full day job.

The reason we lean toward the Husqvarna (as opposed to other gas models such as the Echo HC-2020) is the intuitive and ergonomic design. You’ve got the articulating handle on the rear and full wrap-around front handle. This makes it so much easier to rotate the trimmer for vertical cuts and makes the job a lot easier. The other thing it has above and beyond many other gas models is the 24 Inch blade, which is toward the longest end for blades. We like the length – it helps you get the job done faster.

Above and beyond all that, we found the balance of this one to be nicely distributed. Hold the handle at the top and you’ll notice the tip slightly point upward which is just about perfect for a nice balanced feel.

And the last pro of the Husqvarna is that it’s of course a top brand, and we’re comforted by the fact we’re buying from a respected brand name in heavy duty garden tools. 

The downside of a gas powered model is the weight. This one’s dry weight is 10.8 Lbs. You’ll need to add a few pounds to that for the weight of gas in the tank.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Strong Gas Powered Motor: A gas powered model is always going to be stronger than electric models, helping you to hack through those thicker branches with more ease.

Top Brand: It’s important to us that we’re buying from a respected brand that we know will pass the test of time.

Ergonomic Feel: It’s comfortable to hold and the handles are designed for you to easily rotate the tool for side cuts.

Heavy: At 10.8 lbs dry weight, a gas model is always going to be heavier than an electric model. You’re trading weight for power, really.

More Maintenance: A gas model requires a bit more handyman knowledge – sometimes there’s some troubleshooting involved to ensure it starts properly, for example.

2. Black+Decker LHT360CFF

Quick Review: If you’re set on getting a cordless trimmer, this is our pick for cutting through thicker branches. Cordless trimmers are lighter so they’re easier to use. This one also has PowerCut and a Saw Tip, both options that help you to cut thick branches.


Features:

  • Lighter than the Gas-Powered Husqvarna.
  • SawBlade Tip for sawing through branches up to 1 1/2 Inches thick.
  • PowerCut button for 15 second surges of power to get through tough spots.

Black+Decker’s range of cordless hedge trimmers is truly impressive. This one is a particular favorite of ours because of its super heavy duty 60V battery. It allows you to keep the power up, and keeps on going for longer. We also love that it’s a full 24 inches long, meaning you cut more with each swipe.

And that’s part of the reason we like it for thick branches.

But there’s also two additional big (big) reasons: the saw blade tip, and the PowerCut technology.

The trimmer has a saw on the end of the blade, allowing you to hold the saw up against a branch to hack through thicker branches that can’t be cut with the blade alone. This saw can cut branches up to 1.5 inches thick.

On top of this, there’s a “power cut” button that can be activated when you’re up against tough branches. You can hold power cut down for up to 15 seconds. This mode cuts slower but steadier, and is designed to help you to hack through tough branches.

Together, these two functions make this a hugely versatile hedge trimmer for thick branches.

The one thing we’d highlight that bothers us a little is that the saw tip can get in the way. Sometimes when you’re trimming the saw catches and doesn’t allow a smooth sweep.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Very Strong Battery: The 60V battery is one of the stronger batteries on the market today.

PowerCut Button for Thick Branches: Press the button for up to 15 seconds to get extra power to saw through tougher branches.

Saw End for Thick Branches: There is an oscillating saw on the tip of the blade that you can use to saw through thicker branches.

Lighter than Gas Models: This corded model is significantly lighter than the Husqvarna above.

Power Saw Tip gets in the Way: We find that sometimes the power saw tip can snag and prevent nice smooth sweeps during regular trimming. It’s also hard to hold the branch and cut it at the same time, because the saw’s at the end of a 24 inch blade!

3. Poulan Pro PR2322

Quick Review: The Poulan Pro is a very powerful gas powered machine. It’s very similar to the Husqvarna we rated out top pick, but its shorter blade and lesser known brand name mean we’ve rated the Husqvarna higher.


Features:

  • Our second favorite gas powered option.
  • Blade cuts through branches up to 1 Inche thick.
  • Not as well known brand as Husqvarna.

The Poulan Pro is another heavy duty gas model that offers a high-power alternative to cordless models. Its 23cc 2 cycle engine and 22 inch blade offer tons of power for slicing through branches that cordless models usually struggle with. It cuts through 1 inch branches with ease, and can cut thicker branches with a little additional pressure.

It’s also got a nice, comfortable and ergonomic feel to it – quite similar to the Husqvarna model. The top handle is a full wrap-around type so you can hold it comfortably at an angle, the back handle can rotate to similarly make holding it to the side for vertical cuts more comfortable.

But we’ve rated it a little lower than the Husqvarna (our top gas pick) for a few reasons. One is that its blade is 2 inches shorter than the Husqvarna. This will add a little additional time to each job. If you’re a professional landscaper or are attacking a long range of hedges, this adds up.

Second, we’re simply bigger fans of the Husqvarna brand. It’s got an excellent reputation built over many decades – and this matters when we make our purchasing decisions.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Power to cut through Thick Branches: As it’s a gas model, you’d expect better power from this one than a cordless model – and it doesn’t disappoint.

Articulating Handle: The articulating handle helps with ergonomics and ease of use.

It’s Heavy: As it’s a gas model, it’s predictably a lot heavier than cordless models. Its dry weight is 11.1 lbs. Add a few pounds to that once you’ve got gas in the tank.

We think the Husqvarna has better Specs: Overall, the Husqvarna’s blade length and brand reputation appeals to us more.

4. Black+Decker BEHTS300

Quick Review: This model is the little brother to the prior Black+Decker model and boasts many similar features, but is corded. This means you are always tethered to an extension cord and power outlet, but in return you save a lot of money on your purchase.


Features:

  • Corded, so requires proximity to a power outlet.
  • SawBlade Tip for sawing through branches up to 1 1/2 Inches thick.
  • PowerCut button for 15 second surges of power to get through tough spots.

The is the little brother to the Black+Decker LHT360CFF reviewed above. There are several key (and important) differences, but the main one is that it’s corded. That means you don’t have to carry around the extra weight of the battery, but it also means you’re attached to an extension cord at all times. Cords can be a huge pain – you’ve got to be close to a power outlet; and often, the power cords snag on hedges frequently which requires consistent disentanglement.

Fortunately, there is a good cord retention hook that prevents the cord from detaching too easily. This does help, but not entirely.

But the main reason we added this hedge trimmer to our list of the best hedge trimmers for thick branches is that it has both the SawBlade at the tip and PowerCut options. SawBlade is the short saw at the end of the blade that we discussed earlier – which is designed to saw branches. PowerCut is the button you can press for up to 15 seconds to add extra power.

While the SawBlade’s a good idea in theory, there are some issues with it (including that it can be awkward to hold the branch and use the saw at the same time – and that it doesn’t really help with regular hedge trimming, so you only use the middle of the blade while actually doing normal trimming). PowerCut, however, is great – and we think it’s more effective than the SawBlade itself!

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Power Boost Button: We love the 15-second PowerCut button that cuts at a slower but firmer pace to get through tough branches.

Saw at end of Blade: The saw tip at the end of the blade is designed specifically to cut through branches.

Lighter than Most: Because it doesn’t have a battery or gas tank, this model is one of the lightest on this list.

It’s Corded: You’ll be tethered to an extension cord at all times. If you’re a professional landscaper, this is not an option. The cord also tends to entangle in hedges.

The Saw Blade isn’t as Useful as you’d Think: The saw blade can work sometimes, but it can also just be a hassle. We prefer to just use very powerful regular trimmer blades.

5. Worx WG261

Quick Review: Get this trimmer if you’ll only be cutting thick branches 5% of the time. It’s a smooth, lightweight model that packs a punch so can get through branches up to 3/4 of an inch thick, but it’s designed as an all-round model, not specifically for cutting branches.


Features:

  • Our favorite overall battery powered model with all-round power.
  • Cuts through branches up to 3/4 Inch thick.
  • Very lightweight.

The Worx WG261 isn’t specifically designed to cut thicker branches. But we had to include it on this list because it’s just such a reliable, well-designed and powerful cordless model. If you want a regular hedge trimmer that just happens to be better than most regular models at getting through thicker branches, this is your guy. The big benefit of this model is that the 95% of the time when you’re just hedge trimming, you’re also going to have a great experience. It’s lightweight (really – super lightweight for a battery model. Like … at least half the weight of a gas model).

The difference in feel and ergonomics between this model and a gas model is night and day. This one feels light, and not so bulky. Even the front wrap-around handle can be smaller because it’s not sitting behind a big bulky engine. The result is an insanely dexterous feel. You can twist it to do vertical and side cuts with ease, and you’re noticeably less fatigued after 20-30 minutes of work.

And it may seem small – but we really like that this one comes with a blade sheath. We’ve found gas models still come with blade sheaths standard, but when it comes to cordless models this is becoming less and less the case.

The downside is that this one is probably not the best at cutting thick branches – it’s just the best all-round trimmer, meaning it’ll do a pretty good job of everything but not the best job at anything.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Amazingly Lightweight and easy to Handle: At just 5.5 lbs, this is one of the lightest hedge trimmers you can find – and it’s still super powerful!

Comes with Blade Sheath: Not many cordless models come with blade sheaths nowadays, but this one does.

Our Favorite overall Model: This model does everything well – and that’s why it’s our favorite multipurpose hedge trimmer.

Not Designed Specifically for Thicker Branches: This one’s not designed to hack through tough branches, but we included it in the list because it’s very strong, so can get through tough branches better than most.

6. Craftsman CMEHTS822

Quick Review: Get this corded hedge trimmer if you’re working on hedges close to a power outlet and have just a small garden. Its oscillating saw at the tip of the blade can cut through branches up to 1 1/2 Inches thick.


Features:

  • Power Saw Tip can cut through 1 1/2″ Branches.
  • Corded – you need to run an extension cord from a power outlet.
  • Affordable option.

The oscillating saw at the tip of the Craftsman is designed specifically to help you to cut through thick branches. Simply hold the saw tip up against the branch and apply pressure to allow the saw to go to work hacking through the branch.

But the rest of the time you’re using the trimmer, you’ll just be using the regular bladed section. We have found at times that the saw tip can get in the way of your regular trimming – which is what you’ll be doing 95% of the time. It can catch and snag, and overall prevents nice smooth sweeping motions. So while we like the idea of the power saw tip for getting through thicker branches, we still prefer just a super strong regular blade overall. 

Furthermore, this is a corded tool. This means you have to get an extension cord and run it from an outlet. If you want the freedom to work from anywhere, this one isn’t right for you. On top of that, we find cords are constantly getting snagged on shrubs and interrupting your job.

The upside of corded tools is that they’re cheap – much cheaper than alternatives.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Oscillating Power Saw Tip for Thick Branches: At the end of the blade is a short saw that you can hold against a branch specifically for cutting through thicker branches.

Affordable Option: As this is a corded model, it’s quite a bit cheaper than comparable competitors.

Minimal Range due to Extension Cord Requirement: Corded trimmers are cheaper, but you also have to always be tethered to a power outlet. You’ll need a long extension cord. Also be prepared for the extension cord to constantly snag on shrubs.

Power Saw Tip gets in the Way: We find that sometimes the power saw tip can snag and prevent nice smooth sweeps during regular trimming.

7. Arcare Pole Trimmer – Best for High Branches

Quick Review: Get this model if you need to cut branches that are out of your reach. It’s not going to be as strong as others on the list, but can get through 3/4 inch branches that are high up.


Features:

  • Telescoping pole extends up to 9 feet.
  • Cuts through branches up to 3/4 Inch thick.
  • Corded so you need to be near a power outlet.

If we’re completely honest, there’s no great pole hedge trimmer that’s going to get at branches like a simple handheld trimmer. But if you’ve got branches up high that you really have to get to, then we’d choose this one. It’s capable of cutting through branches up to 3/4 of an inch thick – pretty decent for a pole hedge trimmer.

A pole hedge trimmer is just what it sounds like – a hedge trimmer on a pole! They’re designed to sculpt larger hedges whose tops are hard to reach. If the thicker branches you’re trying to tame are up high, you might want to choose this option.

In this model, you get a 9 ft. telescoping pole which you can control manually. You can also control the angle of the trimmer for different types of cuts.

Keep in mind that this one is a corded model, so you’ll need an extension cord and access to a power outlet for this one to be worth your while. But, as always, corded models are usually a little cheaper, and this one follows that rule, too.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Cuts Hard to Reach Branches: The telescoping arm helps you get to branches up to 9 feet up.

Can cut branches up to 3/4 Inch: While not as powerful as some, it still can get to some of those branches you’re wanting to tame.

Good Control over the Telescopic Arm: The telescopic arm on this model is pretty good in terms of control.

Not the most powerful: You’re not getting one designed specifically for thicker branches here – the appeal is its long reach.

Corded: You’ll be tethered to an extension cord and a nearby power outlet.

What to Look for in Thick-Branch Hedge Trimmers

Strength and Power

The one most powerful thing you need if you want to cut through thick branches is power! Some hedge trimmers are really poor on this front, so not all are made equal! We’ve been particularly unimpressed by aged battery-powered models. Over time these models lose their strength and end up doing a pretty poor job.

But gas powered models tend to fare very well when it comes to strength and power. They’re pretty much unrivaled. A regular gas powered model will hack through a 1-inch branch without much trouble, and can get through thicker branches with a little elbow grease.

One battery powered brand that has impressive power is Black+Decker. That’s thanks to their PowerCut setting This is a button that you can press for up to 15 seconds designed specifically for cutting through thick branches. If you’re getting a Black+Decker cordless trimmer, check your model to make sure you’re getting a model that’s got the power cut option.

Maximum Cutting Diameter

Most hedge trimmers provide a maximum cutting diameter. This is a maximum diameter of a branch that they believe the tool can cut through. This usually ranges anywhere from 1/2 an inch to 1 1/2 inches. This gives a good approximation of the potential power of the hedge trimmer, but there are a lot more considerations you need to take into account. Primary among these is how sharp the blades are. Don’t forget to sharpen your blades regularly in order to ensure they cut through those hedges like butter.

Dedicated Saw Tip

Dedicated saw tips are hit-and-miss. Sometimes they work great, and other times they’re a complete pain. The value of the saw tip is that it can cut through thicker branches that the regular blade can’t. But we often find we need to hold the branch with one hand and saw with the other, which is basically impossible when holding a two-handed machine like a hedge trimmer.

The other nuisance of a dedicated saw tip is that it gets in the way of actual regular trimming. The saw part doesn’t do a great job during sweeping motions for cutting at hedges, so you find you’re stuck just using the middle part of the blade all the time.

So this isn’t out main consideration when selecting the best hedge trimmer for thick branches. Rather, our main consideration is power of the blade itself. 

Weight

The next thing you need to keep in mind is weight. When you’re out holding this tool up for 30-45 minutes at a time, by the last few minutes you can feel the weight of every pound in your arms and shoulders.

Gas powered models are heavier than other – that’s just the reality. You’ve got a gas motor and a gas tank to carry around. These usually range between 10 and 12 pounds dry weight, but add the weight of the fuel on top of that. But, you’ll be getting maximum power with a gas model. Cordless electric models can be lighter, usually in the 5 – 8 lbs range. We love the Worx model on this list as it’s both powerful and amazingly lightweight. Lastly, corded models are the lightest – usually ranging in the 3.5 – 7 lbs range. But, as we note in the next section, there are some real reasons you don’t want a corded model.

Cords

There are three types of hedge trimmer: gas, cordless and corded. While it can be tempting to get a corded model because they’re so much cheaper, keep in mind that the cord can be a huge pain. You always need to be close to a power outlet. Then, you need to run an extension cord out to your tool. The extension cord has a way of getting entangled with the hedges; you can accidentally nick it with your trimmer, and it often just catches a snag and falls out. That’s not to say corded models are useless, but we’d say only consider a corded model if you’re doing light trimming in a small garden or courtyard adjacent to your house. 

Final Thoughts

When picking a hedge trimmer for thick branches, you need to keep into consideration its power, maximum cutting diameter and weight. You can also choose between gas, corded and cordless models; and lastly, you can opt to get a saw tipped model designed for slicing through branches specifically. Our pick for the best hedge trimmer for thick branches is the Husqvarna 122HD60. Get this hedge trimmer if you want the most powerful professional grade trimmer to slice through branches like butter. Bear in mind it’s 2 cycle gas powered (so you’ll need to get the appropriate gas) and it’s also somewhat heavier than electric models.

We hope this review of the best hedge trimmers for thick branches has been helpful!

Cheers,
Chris & Rosie