Hedge Trimmer vs Chainsaw: 9 Differences You Need to Know

It is common to believe that residential gardening and trimming can be done with the same equipment. This is why people think everything in the backyard can be cut with a chainsaw. However, this machine can’t trim a hedge like a top-notch hedge trimmer. Also, a trimmer can never replace an efficient saw in felling trees.

If you want to know more about the Hedge Trimmer and the Chainsaw, keep reading this blog. We will help you understand the fundamental differences between chainsaws and hedge cutters. Moreover, we’ll shed more light on their unique uses and features.

Hedge Trimmer vs. Chainsaw
The main differences between a Hedge Trimmer and a Chainsaw are their weight, power,  ease of use, cutting functionality, cost, uses, finish, safety features, and associated risks. A hedge trimmer can cut thin branches, whereas a chainsaw cuts thick logs and trunks.

What is a Hedge Trimmer? 

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A hedge cutter or trimmer does what its name says. But you can use it for a couple more tasks, including pruning shrubs, cutting bushes, or trimming tall grass. This piece of equipment can give shrubs a groomed appearance. The thing that gives this trimmer its cutting efficiency is the tall blade. The blade’s length ranges between 12 and 66 cm.

Such a length allows this blade to reach tree branches and cut them down. However, it is equipped to remove all tree branches. It can’t cut thicker branches that exceed 1.90 cm in diameter. The blades of trimmers are divided into two different categories. You can find machines with single- or double-action blades. The latter type is more powerful and less noisy. 

In addition to having a tall blade, hedge cutters have sharp teeth. So, it is not safe to handle them with your bare hands. It is always wise to invest in safety gloves. Hedge cutters have been around for a long time and come in various types. The most common type of cutters is those operating on gas. There are also electric hedge trimmers as well as battery-powered trimmers. 

What is a Chainsaw?

Chainsaws are one of the most popular gardening tools. These are mainly preferred when cutting tree logs, firewood, or large trees. These saws are heavy and designed for chopping heavy and thick wood. Despite their versatile performance, using a chainsaw to cut other materials is neither safe nor recommended.

Chainsaws are equipped to bring down thick tree trunks. With chain bars over 80 cm, powerful blades can cut through tall and thick trunks. They will, however, be ineffective for cutting or pruning.

Chain saws come in various categories and from numerous brands. They are designed to fit different types of chopping projects. So, like hedge cutters, saws can operate on gasoline, electricity, or batteries.

However, the gas types are the most popular and commonly used for large-scale projects. Still, the electric types are more popular among DIYers and small garden owners.

What are the Differences between a Hedge Trimmer and a Chainsaw?

Chainsaws and Hedge trimmers do not look the same or perform the same functions. They both fall into the category of Lawn & Garden Extended Protection. They also differ in their sizes, weights, and lengths of blades. Here is an overview of the significant differences between a hedge cutter and a chainsaw.

1. Weight

A chainsaw is a lot heavier than a hedge cutter. Gas-powered chainsaws weigh around 9 kilograms, whereas hedge trimmers in the handheld category weigh around 7 kilograms.

This weight gap makes a hedge trimmer more suitable for beginners, as it is easier to move and control. Still, the heavy weight of a chainsaw is never a drawback for trained hands. It gives better stability.

2. Power 

The power of both machines is one of their most significant differences. A hedge cutter is less powerful. A chainsaw is more versatile, powerful, and durable. The latter is built to operate for longer hours and perform tougher cutting tasks.

A hedge cutter, on the other hand, is cut out to reach taller but thinner branches. Its design focuses on sharpness, convenience, and accurate height reach.

3. Ease of use 

Both machines are equally easy to use for a professional gardener. However, a DIYer will find a hedge trimmer a more straightforward garden tool. They are easier to fire, run, and maintain.

Opting for a cordless battery hedge trimmer can be even easier. These tools are much lighter and less hassling, as no power outlet is associated.

4. Cutting functionality 

Teeth of saws or trimmers move within the borders of their bars. However, the motion is very different. The bars of saws revolve continuously, whereas the bar of a hedge cutter moves only back and forth. The latter’s movement is similar to how a reciprocating saw or simple scissors operate.

5. Cost

Chain saws are ultimately more expensive than hedge trimmers. Gas-powered saws are the most costly of all. Still, electric chainsaws are more expensive than hedge cutters in the same category. This price gap comes from the difference in specifications and engine capacities of both machines.

6. Uses 

Chainsaws are built to cut down trees. Their blades can go through the thick wood. However, they can’t be used for cutting thin or small branches or pruning hedges; you can rely on a hedge cutter. The latter is designed to give you clean-cut hedges all over your garden.

In general, a chainsaw suits a big yard with large trees. Meanwhile, a trimmer is ideal for smaller gardens that only need to manicure leafy hedges and thin, small branches.

7. Finish

Chainsaws are aggressive cutting machines. They will quickly take down thick, stubborn branches, but they can’t do the same with smaller, thinner ones. They will only push them behind and make them look even weaker. As a result, after using a strong chainsaw, your trees will not have a tidy finish.

A hedge cutter, on the other hand, will provide your bushes or small trees with an aesthetic finish.

8. Safety features 

Both machines come with the necessary safety features. For instance, a chainsaw is always equipped with a chain brake. Meanwhile, a hedge cutter has its blades enclosed inside a safety guard.

9. Associated risks 

Both tools consist of sharp blades that are meant for cutting. However, chainsaws have sharper teeth and more powerful bars. This makes a chainsaw associated with more severe risks and injuries. Also, saws have more chances of kicking back when challenged by obstacles. There is no need to mention the weight difference, which poses a bigger challenge in control.

Hedge Trimmer vs Chainsaw: are they the same? 

Hedge cutters and chainsaws are entirely different on every level. However, they can be used in the same field. You can be a proud owner of both machines, but owning just one is fine too. However, you can’t rely on a saw to fill in for a trimmer, and vice versa.

Blades on Hedge trimmers are very sharp but less sharp than those of chainsaws. A chainsaw is not meant to reach taller branches. On the other hand, a hedge cutter can be used above shoulder level to reach such branches.

The average hedge trimmer is generally cheaper than an electric saw. Still, the former gives a better finish to bushes and young trees. Meanwhile, a chainsaw is heavier, more powerful, and more aggressive than any hedge trimmer can be. 

Using a chainsaw is riskier than using a hedge trimmer. But generally, using both machines requires taking all the safety precautions necessary. Still, saws are more demanding in terms of precautions.

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( Licensed Chainsaw Professional )

Jake is a chainsaws expert with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field. He is a licensed professional by the National Chainsaw Program, which attests to his skills and expertise in the safe and efficient use of chainsaws.