The best set of hedge shears for you will depend on what you need them for and your personal preferences.
Do you want some that are as lightweight as possible? Will you be cutting back a large established hedge or just a light trim around the edges to keep things tidy?
Whatever your goals, our guide will help you find the right shears for your garden.
Below, we list our top picks for hedge shears currently on the market in Australia, followed by tips on what to look out for when choosing.
Our top pick: ARS HS-KR1000 Professional Hedge Shears
With razor-sharp Japanese carbon steel blades that are rust and sap resistant, these ARS hedge shears slice through branches with ease.
The ARS shears are very light (780 grams) thanks to their carbon steel construction but are still durable enough to last through years of regular use.
The handles are ergonomically shaped and balanced to ensure continued comfort, even when used for extended periods. The enlarged shock-absorbing bumper will reduce strain on your hands while you work.
You can also easily unlock and lock the pivot bolt for blade adjustments and to adjust tension.
These shears are 71cm long and can cut branches up to 10mm thick, which should be enough for most jobs around the yard.
Best value: Fiskars Power Lever Hedge Shears
Fiskars garden tools are popular around the world thanks to their high quality and low cost.
These hedge shears are no exception and feature Fiskars’ Power Lever technology which multiplies leverage for more cutting power.
They also have serrated blades grip branches better to make the job easier.
The self-sharpening design keeps the blades sharp, which are made from fully hardened, precision-ground steel.
The low friction coating helps the blades glide through branches and stems and prevent sap from sticking. Shock-absorbing bumpers help reduce the jarring.
The key difference between these and the ARS shears is that the Fiskars shears are made from less premium materials (steel and alloy vs carbon steel).
This means that they weigh quite a bit more (1.3kg vs 0.8kg) despite being shorter (51cm vs 71cm).
Also great: Bahco P59-25-F Hedge Shears
These Bahco shears have a stamped and fully hardened blade, steel handles and a shock-absorbing rubber buffer to reduce fatigue.
With a comfortable robust steel handle and simple yet reliable design, they are a great choice for regular trimming and pruning
In terms of length, these represent a good mid-range option when compared to the two products above, measuring 58cm.
They weigh 1.0kg, which is much lighter than the Fiskars shears but not quite as light as the carbon steel ARS.
Best extendable: Fiskars Extendable Hedge Shears
This popular and versatile gardening tool extends from 63cm to 83cm in length, meaning you can reach the top of your hedge without getting on a ladder.
They also feature Fiskars’ Power-Lever mechanism for extra cutting power and have a heavy-duty construction that means they will last for many years.
The blades are serrated which provides a better grip on branches and stems. The self-sharpening blades keep them performing at their best, and the shock-absorbing bumpers on the handles reduce jarring after each cut.
A non-stick coating on the blades means smooth cuts, less gumming, and great rust resistance.
Finally, ergonomic handles with non-slip grips make these shears easy to use even after hours of hard work in the garden.
Hedge Shears Buying Guide
Size and weight
The size and weight of your shears will be an important factor in determining how comfortable it is to use them.
Keep in mind that you may need to lift the shears above your head for extended periods if cutting a tall hedge.
Smaller, lighter hedge shears are easier to use than larger ones, but they can’t cut thick branches as well. Lightweight shears are also often made from materials like aluminium that is more prone to bending,
Heavy-duty hedge shears will cut thicker branches but also cause more fatigue when using them for extended periods of time.
There are several options for handle materials, each with its own pros and cons:
- Aluminium and carbon fibre handles are generally lightweight, making them easier to maneuver, but sacrifice on strength.
- Steel handles are stronger and more durable but are also heavier.
- Wood handles are strong and provide some shock absorption but require maintenance.
- Ergonomic rubber grips can add extra shock absorption and comfort.
Long handles will provide you with more leverage and make it easier to cut branches, while a shorter handle allows for greater precision when trimming smaller hedges.
If your hedge is large, such as one along a fence line, you’ll probably want to go with a long handle as it allows you to cut through thicker branches without having to exert as much force on the handles.
If your hedges are small or delicate, then go for something shorter.
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Telescopic handles allow you to reach higher branches and stems. They can be a great option for people who don’t want to climb a ladder when pruning their hedge.
However, telescopic handles will make the shears heavier and may also reduce their strength.
Straight vs curved/wavy blades
The main difference between straight blades and wavy or curved blades is that the latter can grip the branch better, which is useful when cutting at angles or in awkward positions.
Straight blades are more common, but they’re not always the best option.
Wavy blades are harder to sharpen and also more expensive than straight ones.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for the blade material, which will usually be one of the following:
- Carbon steel is sharp and strong, but it’s prone to rusting if you don’t keep it well-maintained.
- Stainless steel blades are rust-resistant and don’t need as much maintenance, but are weaker.
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The blades on some shears have a non-stick coating, which makes cutting easier and sap less likely to stick to the surface.
Non-stick coatings also make them easy to clean—just wipe them down with a rag after you’re done using them.
It can also provide some protection against rust and corrosion.
Some hedge shears feature an anvil lopper located at the base of the blade, which adds extra versatility to the tool.
If your goal is to trim back thick branches, an anvil lopper can make this easier for you by providing more strength to your cuts.
On the downside, these types of shears are usually more expensive and will also weigh more.
Bumpers are located on the inside of the handles. They provide shock absorption when the handles come together, which reduces strain on your hands and arms.
Look for bumpers that are durable but still soft enough to provide some shock absorption.
Pivot bolt design
The pivot bolt is a common point of failure and often the first part of your hedge shears to deteriorate.
It’s important that it’s easy to tighten and loosen, as well as replace if necessary.
Stainless steel should be used for the pivot bolt, as this material resists rusting and other forms of corrosion.
Geared cutting mechanisms
Gear cutting mechanisms can be helpful for heavy-duty jobs. The gear cutting mechanism uses gears to provide extra leverage on the blades, resulting in more power.
This allows you to cut branches that other shears cannot handle, but it also makes your shears heavier and more expensive.
Why do shears have wavy blades?
Wavy blades can grip the branch better and stop it from slipping out from between the blades. This can be particularly useful when cutting at angles or in awkward positions.