Can Hedge Trimmers cut Branches? (What you Need to Know)

Hedge trimmers can get stuck on thicker branches, but there are a range of hedge trimmers on the market designed to cut thicker branches. Some hedge trimmer manufacturers have come up with solutions such as saw tipped hedge trimmers and power cut modes that are designed to be used only when thicker branches come into the equation.

Can Hedge Trimmers Cut Thick Branches?

Yes, some hedge trimmers can cut thick branches up to about 1 1/2 Inches thick. After that, you’d want to step up to a pole saw or chainsaw. To cut super thick branches with your hedge trimmer, you need to get a hedge trimmer with enough power. Often, gas hedge trimmers are much more powerful than electric hedge trimmers. They’re therefore more capable of cutting thick branches than many smaller battery operated alternatives.

When selecting a hedge trimmer, make sure you read the product description. It usually says in the product description the branch thickness a hedge trimmer can cut through. But also keep in mind that what brands promise isn’t necessarily what they deliver. This is where the Amazon buyer’s reviews come in really handy. By reviewing the buyer reviews, you get a better understanding of whether the claims of the seller ring true to the experiences of everyday users like you. You’ll find reading these reviews that sometimes brands’ claims about hedge trimmers’ ability to cut thick branches can be ambitious.

What is the Thickest Branch a Hedge Trimmer can Cut?

Most hedge trimmers are designed to cut  maximum 3/4″ thick branches. However, larger and more powerful hedge trimmers are advertised as being able to cut up to 1 1/2″ branches. The metrics for how thick the branch is come down to quality of blades, gap between blades at their widest point, and power of the motor.

However, there’s more to the story.

Some hedge trimmers are also sold with articulating sawing blades these days – specifically to tackle thick branches. These hedge trimmers are an innovative idea, but we feel there’s a bit to be desired here. For example, it’s very difficult to hold a tree limb with one hand to stabilize the branch while holding a hedge trimmer in the other. So, if you’re dealing with a particularly flexible branch, it gets hard to get much traction.

The other downside of hedge trimmers with articulating saw tips is that the tips often snag or get in the way when just doing your regular trimming. So, for the small amount of time we spend sawing branches, it feels a little pointless to have that articulating blade.

Note that we also find it harder to cut branches with pole hedge trimmers because it’s harder to control the tool and apply pressure on the branch. A better option is often just to get a pole saw for thick branches. For more on this, see our comparison of hedge trimmers vs. pole saws.

What’s the Best Hedge Trimmer for Thick Branches?

The image to the right will take you to the Amazon sales page for the Black and Decker LHT360CFF/ This is a hedge trimmer with an articulating saw tip and topped our review of the best hedge trimmers for thick branches. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

We’ll give you a few answers here, because it depends. There are pros and cons to your different options. More or less, you have three: a gas hedge trimmer, a saw tip electric hedge trimmer, or a cordless hedge trimmer with power cut mode. Here’s a break down of each.

First, gas powered hedge trimmers are known to be more powerful than electric and cordless hedge trimmers. This is because gas powered motors tend to be more responsive and have more grunt behind them than battery powered motors. This is a generalization, and with increasingly more powerful and responsive battery motors coming onto the market, this will change.

However, gas hedge trimmers are heavy and high maintenance. So, most home handymen (and even small scale contractors) often choose cordless models instead. 

The second choice, therefore, is a hedge trimmer with an articulating saw tip. These often have a 1 to 2 Inch saw at the end of the hedge trimmer so when you get to the branch, you can just press the blade against the trunk to start sawing away at it. As noted earlier, we tend to think these don’t work as well as you’d imagine.

Third, there’s the option to get a cordless hedge trimmer with power cut mode. These hedge trimmers can often handle thick(ish) branches thanks to the power cut button which kicks in for up to 20 seconds to get through tough spots. Black and Decker does a really good one, which we have provided in the image above.

When using a cordless hedge trimmer, you might want to also get a pole hedge trimmer to tackle higher-up branches, but we also find pole hedge trimmers make it harder to tackle branches because you have less control over the blade, so at this point a pole saw sounds like a better alternative.

Which Alternative Tools Can You Use for Tree Branch Pruning?

The best alternative to a hedge trimmer for thick branches is a pole saw. Pole saws are small chainsaws that are mounted on the end of a telescoping pole. Their benefit over a regular chainsaw is that they can reach high branches without the need to climb the tree. They also have significantly greater ability to cut thick branches. They’re designed for it! You could also use a pruning saw or lopper.

Conclusion

Overall, while hedge trimmers certainly can cut some thick branches, there are a lot of considerations to take into account. Many hedge trimmers are advertised as being able to cut branches up to 1 1/2 inches thick. But, to be sure, it’s a good idea to get one with additional features like an articulating saw tip and very strong power.