Electric Power Tools For Gardening

Electric Hedge Trimmers, Shredders, Grass Trimmers, Chainsaws and Blowers

Tested and reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

Updated 5th July 2021

On This Page

Lightweight Hedge Trimmers

Heavy Duty Hedge Cutters

Long Reach Hedge Trimmers

Jawsaws and Powered Loppers

Leaf Blowers and Garden Vacs

Electric Lawn Rakes

Mains Powered Grass Trimmers

Garden Shredders

 

 

 

Hedge Trimmer or Hedge Cutter? Is there a difference?

Best Mains Powered Electric Hedge Trimmers

According to experts, (me), a Hedge Trimmer is a lighter weight, smaller bladed machine for removing soft green growth from hedges. The Bosch AHS 45-16 is an example since it has a 45cm long blade and cuts up to 16mm thickness.

A Hedge Cutter is a heavier duty, larger bladed and more powerful machine capable of removing the green growth on hedges and is able to cut back into the older woodier material too. The Bosch Advanced Hedgecut 70 is an example since it has a 70cm long blade and cuts up to 34mm thickness. This is the tool at the right of the image and you can see it much bigger and heavier than all the others.

 Bosch AdvancedHedgeCut 70  (500 W, Blade Length: 70 cm, for Large Hedges, Tooth Opening: 34 mm

If a low powered hedge trimmer is used to cut woody material it is unlikely it will do it for long as the blades will blunt and wear or the motor or other components may burn out.

Only the largest (36v and up) battery powered hedge trimmers are capable of cutting woody hedge material.

A high powered mains electric hedge cutter can be better than a cheap petrol model, so you cant judge just on power because the size and quality of the blade is crucial.

To add more complication some models have anti-lock clutches and anti-jam, sawing-action features.

If you are buying a mains powered electric hedge trimmer then it is likely that you have a large hedge so go for one with plenty of power and a long blade if you have the strength to hold it. More important is the quality of the blade since this is a machine that is going to take a lot of stick! You can also protect your blades from sticky resin and sap by using a special  Resin Solvent, For Hedge Trimmer Blades  from German company Stihl.

Try to avoid really cheap hedge trimmers, you will most likely be wasting your money as the blades will soon go blunt or the plastic cogs that drive the motor break and turn it into landfill.

 

Best Mains Electric Hedge Trimmers

Smaller Bosch Hedge Trimmers - Suitable for Light Domestic Trimming

The AHS 50-16 has a powerful motor and decent length blade. It weighs 2.7kg and is easily used by ken who is 65 years old.

Bosch AHS 50-16 Electric Hedge Cutter, 500 mm Blade Length, 16 mm Tooth Opening

These 3 Bosch models are well made with precision ground blades and tough motors. 16mm blade spacing ensures that they cut even thick stems with ease.

The AHS 45-16 is the entry level trimmer for small hedges.

The AHS 50-16 is slightly longer and more powerful.

The AHS 60 - 16 has a longer, 60cm blade and the same 450w motor as the 50-16.

For the money I think  the Bosch AHS 50-16 is the best deal.

This is a real, no nonsense workhorse that has been in production many years either as Bosch or Qualcast.

Qualcast is now Chinese owned and made (and best avoided)

A good alternative is the excellent Bosch AHS 60-16 which has a very long 60cm blade and some really good customer reviews.

If you want a normal size, no nonsense reliable hedge trimmer with quality blades at a low price then the Bosch AHS 50-16 is the one I recommend.

Bosch AHS 50-16 Electric Hedge Cutter, 500 mm Blade Length, 16 mm Tooth Opening

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Best Mains Heavy Duty Electric Hedge Cutter

The Bosch Advanced Hedgecut 70 massacring my thick old Eleagnus.

(This model was previously called the Bosch AHS 7000Pro and then the AHS 70-34)

This model is the largest Bosch mains electric hedge cutter available.

This machine is truly awesome and will outperform many petrol models. If you need to reduce the height of a mature hedge then this is the tool. You will need to be fairly strong as it is BIG! In fact you will need to be as strong as big Dave to use the Bosch Advanced Hedgecut 70.

It has a 700 watt motor, 70cm blade length with tooth spacing of 34mm to chop the thickest stems.

Weight - 3.9kg, 12m of cable, laser cut diamond ground blades.

Quick-stop blade-brake and high-torque (80Nm) slipping clutch for easy cutting.

Blade tip protector for cutting along walls and paths.

Bosch AdvancedHedgeCut 70 Corded Hedgecutters (500 W, Blade Length: 70 cm, for Large Hedges, Tooth Opening: 34 mm, in Carton)

 

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Long Reach Hedge Trimmers

Long reach hedge trimmers are one tool that may be better off petrol powered as the weight can be kept at the bottom end and not the top where it soon becomes seriously tiring.

The other issue with long reach tools is that you cant see what you are cutting half the time and have to keep stepping back to check. Also you are likely to leave dead trimmings on your hedge and have to get up there anyway to clear them off properly.

Professional gardeners tend not to use the long reach trimmer so much and instead use special Tripod Garden Ladders

If you want a mains powered long reach trimmer the Ryobi model has been around many years and has a good spec.

 

Ryobi Pole Hedge Trimmer with Extension Pole, 450 W

Henrys Tripod Garden Ladders with built-in Platform by Henchman - 3.6m. Semi (1 Leg) Adjustable 12'

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Jaw Saws and Powered Loppers

Safer Alternative to a Chainsaw

Black + Decker GK1000 Alligator Powered Lopper

This unique tool from Black and Decker combines the features of a small chainsaw with the action of loppers.

The result is a very effective pruning tool that is easy to use and most importantly very SAFE.

The Alligator is light enough for me to use from my wheelchair and the clamping jaws and double safety switches make it much safer than any other powered pruning tool.

The Black and Decker Alligator has a 550w motor and weighs 4KG. It will easily cut 4 inch branches.

This tool is fun to use but you still need to take care with it to protect yourself and also make the tool last longer.

My one got slightly abused and a small cog broke. Luckily Black & Decker spares are easily available and the parts were not too expensive.

My old test model was green, the new model is orange in colour but has the same spec.

There is also an 18v battery version which is superb and more convenient to use.

 

BLACK+DECKER 18V Cordless Alligator Lopper with 2.0Ah Lithium Ion Battery

Black + Decker Alligator Chain

 

Mains Powered Electric Chainsaws

If you want to buy a corded electric chainsaw my recommendation is Bosch - They have a wide range, good performance and can be easily contacted for spares and repair.

The range covers all requirements with no fancy gimmicks and all the features, including tool-less adjustment of the chain on the higher end models.

Another good feature of the Bosch chainsaws is the longevity of the range which means that spares are also easy to obtain.

The Bosch AKE 35 has the ideal spec for a mains powered chainsaw and has been a best seller for many years.

For 2021 the Bosch AKE 35 has undergone a cosmetic makeover and is now know as the UniversalChain 35.

 Bosch Chainsaw UniversalChain 35 (1800 W, Lightweight 4.2 kg, Chain Speed 12 m/s

Use above links to find replacement chains for all Bosch and Black & Decker Chainsaws

See my page on cordless chainsaws

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240v Mains Powered Garden Vacuums

Best Garden Vacuums/Leaf Blowers

I have tested a lot of mains electric blower vacs that were great at blowing but poor at sucking.

Petrol models have more power but have other issues so I don't normally review petrol machinery on Fredshed. This is because of the constant problems people have starting and maintaining the engines. Parts for the Chinese ones are often impossible to source.

One important point that I would like to make

ALL MAINS AND PETROL GARDEN VACUUMS ARE HEAVY TOOLS TO USE

After several years of testing I have decided that I am not a big fan of garden vacs. Many are noisy, cover you in dust and are a pain to store. It is possible to suck up stones that trash the blade that is meant to shred the leaves.

They also work better on blow than suck as wet leaves stick to the ground, this is why you rarely see a contractor using a hand held garden vacuum.

 Contractors use hand held blowers and blow material onto a sheet in a corner. This is more practical and blowers are very simple and reliable machines.

I think that the electric garden vacuum can be described as a triumph of marketing over practicality. To obtain the necessary amount of suck some of them have 3000w motors -which is a seriously heavy item.

However if you are big and strong, like noisy machines and don't mind getting covered in dust please use the link below where you will see a range of them from a reliable Fredshed recommended retailer

 

Bosch ALS 2500 Garden Vacuum - now replaced by Universal Garden Tidy

 

This is one of the lightest garden vacs and is also a bit of a transformer as you can swap the tubes and bag around depending if you want to blow or suck.

It is well balanced and effectively collects the leaves and shreds them too.

As this type of machine is easily damaged by foreign objects or getting jammed up Bosch have built in a safety cut out mechanism that cuts the motor and saves you wrecking it. Whilst this is a clever feature it is a bit too clever for some owners who don't read the manual and believe the tool has failed when in fact it has just cut out and will start again when it has cooled down.

 The current model was upgraded in 2020 with a quieter motor and easier emptying. The spec looks good from what I can tell but the price will be going up. Use the link below if you want the new model

Bosch Home and Garden UniversalGardenTidy

 Garden Gear 3 in 1 Artificial Grass Vacuum Lightweight Blower Vac Garden Leaf Shredder, 45-litre Collection Bag,1800 Watts

 

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Electric Lawn Rakers and Scarifiers

Tested and reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

 

My old Black & Decker GD200GB powered lawn raker (RIP)

To keep your lawn well drained and cleared of "thatch" build up I recommend using a powered lawnraker. (also known as an electric scarifier).

Doing this job by hand on anything other than small areas is for the super-fit, super-skint or totally insane!

Sadly, like grass trimmers there are a lot of poorly designed and badly made lawn scarifiers available.

Here are some of the better ones I have tried and tested for this website over the last 20 years.

Cheapest Lawn Rakers

My Black and Decker GD200GB served me for many years but had a very small box. It has been replaced by the GD300 with a larger 600w motor.

Powered rakers use thin wire tines that are easily replaceable and cheap.  These wire tines rake out moss and dead grass but wont aerate the lawn like more expensive scarifiers with the fixed knife type blades.  For easy regular lawn maintenance I liked the Flymo 3400 but it has sadly been discontinued.

A good thing to look for is the availability of spare tines.

 

Tines may bend or break after a lot of use, especially if your lawn is too dry!

 

More Powerful Lawn Scarifiers

 Bosch UniversalRake 900 Operating width: 32 cm,

The Bosch beat the Draper in my test in every way.

If you have a large lawn you will need a more powerful lawn aerator. The real low price 400w ones are not up to the job and will take ages to cover the distance, or burn out under the strain.

Bosch make a superb 900watt model, with metal tines, and a 50 litre box that holds the full amount.

The size of the grass box is important as you will be amazed how much moss and thatch is collected.

 

TOP TIP - don't set blades too deep or use on hard dry lawns - this may burn out your motor!

 

The latest development is to go cordless which for rakers but this requires a seriously powerful battery.

I am currently testing a Cobra 40v battery raker - more info soon

 

 

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Best Mains Electric Grass Trimmer?

Cordless grass trimmers tested and reviewed

After testing most of the popular makes of electric trimmer I was not impressed and after getting caught up in the cable thought " cordless is the way to go"

Many were either uncomfortable to use or had ridiculously complicated nylon line dispensers that were very hard to replace.

I know of at least 2 people who became so frustrated that they smashed their trimmers against a wall and threw them away!

Luckily Li-ion batteries have improved the performance of these cordless tools and they are now taking over from mains trimmers as they are easier to use.

Click here for my page on cordless grass trimmers

 

If you want a 240v mains trimmer the Flymo Contour was the best I found

This Flymo contour has been around for years and has all the features you need.

It has a powerful motor, good ergonomics and easy to obtain spools.

A mains model is about 40 cheaper than cordless and overall more reliable.

Flymo Contour 500E Electric Grass Trimmer and Edger, 500 W, Cutting Width 25 cm

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Electric Garden Shredders

Garden shredders are one of my favourite tools. I can get rid of tons of waste and produce weed suppressing mulch that will also put the nutrients back in my soil

I have tested the following shredders

AL-KO SP5000 Silent shredder, AL-KO Powerslider2500R , Atco 1800 Quiet shredder, Bosch AXT 180 Rapid Shredder, Bosch AXT200 Rapid Shredder, Bosch AXT2000 HP Silent Shredder, Bosch AXT2000 Rapid ,  Bosch AXT2200 Rapid Shredder ,Bosch AXT2200HP Quiet Shredder , Bosch AXT25D , Bosch AXT 23TC, Black & Decker GA 1600e , Draper 1800w and 2400W Shredders, JCB GSB 1800 , Makita DSH201 , Powerdevil shredder. Ryobi ESR2400. Flymo Pac-a-shred. Wolf Shredder, Viking GE250.

Fredshed readers have also provided good feedback on

Aldi 2500w, Ryobi RGS 1500 Shredder, MTD 115E shredder, Viking GE35L shredder, and Viking GE103.

Click here for my page dedicated to BOSCH GARDEN SHREDDERS

With links to Bosch Shredder parts and repair tips!

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DO ME A FAVOUR PLEASE!

I always wear goggles and gloves when testing garden shredders as thorny branches can get whipped about in your hand or face.

If you use a powered product like a shredder , grass trimmer or hedgetrimmer then please make sure you wear goggles.

It's so easy to damage your eyesight , from a speck of blown dust to a flying thorn.

I use the big Draper goggles and it it is sunny a pair of tinted wrap around glasses.

 

 SAFETY GOGGLES by Draper

 Safety Sunglasses with Green Tinted Scratch Resistant Wrap-Around Lenses and No-Slip Grips, UV 400 Protection. Adjustable

 

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Thank you. Fred

 

 

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Fred Walden 2021

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