Hedgetrimmers: Single-Sided or Double-Sided: Which Is Best For Me?

Gardena Hedgetrimmer In Use Cutting Hedge
The trimming and cutting of hedges is often regarded as one of the least favourable gardening tasks, most probably due to the difficulty in using old fashioned 2-stroke hedgetrimmers. Things have changed, and new technology has made the prospect of hedgetrimming a much less arduous task; perhaps even something to look forward to.

There are a lot of different hedgetrimmers on the market these days, the majority of which feature double-sided blades. Double-sided hedgetrimmers are thus by far the most common type of hedgetrimmer around, familiar to home gardeners and professional landscapers alike. But these are not the only hedgetrimmers available, as you can also buy machines with single-sided blades.

But single-sided hedgetrimmers are fairly specialised machines and even experienced gardeners are sometimes confused about why and when to use them. So herein we’ll offer a brief rundown of the differences between the two and the situations in which double- and single-sided hedgetrimmers will best serve your needs.

Double-Sided Hedgetrimmers

As mentioned above, double-sided hedgetrimmers are by far the most common kind around and typically the best choice for the vast majority of hedge maintenance work, including everything from light trimming in domestic settings to precision shaping and topiary in formal and ornamental gardens. So if you’re looking for a decent general-use hedgetrimmer or a machine versatile enough to take on a variety of tasks, it is almost certainly a double-sided hedgetrimmer that you will need.

Double-sided hedgetrimmers are usually easier to handle than their single-sided equivalents, especially as you can quickly change the direction of cut when working on tricky corners or unusually shaped shrubs. Likewise, the ability to cut with either side of the blade means that double-sided hedgetrimmers are better in confined spaces, such as smaller gardens and tucked away areas on large estates.

There are also double-sided hedgetrimmers available for just about any situation imaginable. When conducting routine trimming work around the garden at home, for instance, a corded electric hedgetrimmer such as Bosch’s AHS 45-16 will allow you to keep everything looking neat and tidy with the minimum of hassle; weighing only 2.6kg and fitted with a 45cm double-sided blade, the AHS 45-16 provides quiet, fume-free cutting performance and exceptional convenience. Bosch also make corded machines for tougher cutting work, such as the AHS 55-26, which boasts a more powerful 600W motor and 55cm laser-cut, diamond-ground blades for efficient trimming of denser bushes and shrubs.

Shindaiwa Double Sided Hedge Trimmer
The classic style of hedgetrimmer that we’re all used to nowadays: reciprocating cutting blades situated side-by-side, parallel to the central holding bar give these machines the familiar reference of double sided hedge trimmer.

Those with larger or more complicated gardens may prefer to use a battery-powered hedgetrimmer due to the freedom to move around that this offers, but there are still plenty of machines with double-sided blades from which to choose. Bosch, for instance, produces a number of cordless tools, many of which are powered by hi-tech lithium-ion batteries for increased run time; such as the AHS 45-15 LI, which offers up to fifty minutes of cutting on a single charge of its 10.8V lithium-ion battery.

But alternative cordless options include everything from Flymo’s EasiCut 500 (lightweight, 50cm cutter, great for those working on a budget) to Husqvarna’s commercial-grade 536 Li HD60X (five-position pivoting rear handle, long-lasting lithium-ion battery, 60cm cutter, ideal for tough cutting work in noise-sensitive areas). As such there should be a battery-powered machine suitable for your requirements no matter what the job at hand might be.

Most commercial users prefer a petrol machine, however, as petrol-powered hedgetrimmers are typically more powerful than their electric equivalents. There are plenty of double-sided machines available here too, ranging from machines like Husqvarna’s 122HD45 (designed for efficient hedge maintenance in a domestic setting) to Honda’s HHH25 D (which boasts an impressive 70cm double-sided cutter for exceptional efficiency when taking on professional landscaping jobs). As with all double-sided hedgetrimmers, these machines benefit from the additional manoeuvrability and versatility afforded by a double-sided blade.

Single-Sided Hedgetrimmers

This brings us neatly on to the topic of single-sided hedgetrimmers. You may at this point be asking why anyone would want to use a single-sided trimmer if those with double-sided blades are easier to use and more versatile. The short answer is that most of the time you won’t. In some situations, however, a single-sided trimmer offers significant advantages.

Shindaiwa_HT230-30_Single Sided Hedgetrimmer
Big hedges, commercial work and thick, mature growth are the areas where a single-sided hedgetrimmer comes into its own. A long bar holding a single blade with extra wide tooth pitch characterises these machines, enabling them to deal with growth that the single-side struggles with.

This is because single-sided blades are lighter than double-sided ones, so single-sided trimmers can be fitted with longer cutters without unbalancing the machine. This means that single-sided hedgetrimmers are perfect for maintaining long straight hedgerows, cutting more with each sweep to save time when faced with heavy workloads. Having teeth only on one side of the blade also makes single-sided hedgetrimmers a little safer than others, which can be an additional advantage for commercial operators who regularly use a hedgetrimmer for prolonged periods of time.

Due to being designed for commercial applications, the majority of single-sided hedgetrimmers are petrol powered and boast plenty of clout. Husqvarna’s 226HS99S petrol hedgetrimmer, for instance, features an efficient 23.6cc X-Torq® engine as well as 108cm single-edged trimmer blade, making it ideal for tackling long, straight sections of hedge; essentially if you’re working on a country manor or happen to own a hedge maze, this is the machine for you.

Another advantage peculiar to single-sided hedgetrimmers is that some come equipped with a clipping collector. One such machine is ECHO’s HC-341ES, which complements its 101cm single-sided cutting blade with a collector which removes cut vegetation from hedges as they are trimmed. This ensures unimpeded cutting while you work and leaves a tidier finish, thereby saving a lot of elbow grease when maintaining extensive hedgerows.

Double vs. Single Cutting Action

Another thing that might be worth keeping in mind when buying a hedgetrimmer is that some machines specify that they use either a “double” or “single” cutting action. The uninitiated may confuse this with double vs. single-sided blades, but it is in fact something quite different.

The cutting action on a hedgetrimmer refers to the way in which the blades move against one another; so a double-action hedgetrimmer is one with two moving blades, while a single-action hedgetrimmer will have one moving blade and one stationary blade. As such it is possible to have a single-action hedgetrimmer which nevertheless has double-sided blades (or a double-action hedgetrimmer which has a single-sided blade).

The difference between the two can be summarised as follows:

  • Double Action: Double-action hedgetrimmers feature two moving blades. This produces a cleaner cut and reduces the vibration levels for the operator (as each blade cancels out the vibrations produced by the other). Double action hedgetrimmers are therefore generally more common and particularly useful when cutting for prolonged periods of time.
  • Single Action: Single-action hedgetrimmers feature one moving blade and one stationary blade. This is a simpler design so single action hedgetrimmers may be cheaper and easier to maintain than their double action equivalents, but generally speaking the improved quality of cut and reduced vibration levels make hedgetrimmers utilising a double cutting action preferable for most applications.

Hopefully this guide has clarified a few of the basics regarding the different sorts of hedgetrimmer currently available. If you have any further questions though, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our sales team here at Lawnmowers Direct and we’ll advise you on the best hedgetrimmer for your needs.