The Husqvarna 122HD60 is my pick for the best gas hedge trimmer for homeowners. It’s been specifically designed for everyday people like you and I — people who simply want to pick up a hedge trimmer, turn it on without any complicated procedure and then start trimming our hedges with a blade that stays sharp. The Husqvarna 122HD60 gives you what you need, in a well-balanced and lightweight body (10.8 lbs.), with dual-action, double-sided blades made from hardened steel.
Let’s take a tour of the Husqvarna 122HD60, and a couple other quality hedge trimmers to give you a point of reference in making your decision.
Keeping your hedge (also known as, hedgerows) and bushes trimmed can be extremely difficult with regular hand tools such as garden shears or loppers. They are perfect for making little finishing touches or cutting off thick branches, but not if you have more than a couple of hedges scattered around the lawn. A hedge trimmer can be considered an absolute necessity for people with hedges that are more than 5 feet tall, since it makes the task of trimming these tall shrubs much safer and easier. For hedgerows which span the entire length of your fence or driveway, you need a nice cordless or gas powered hedge trimmer with a blade that is long enough to take care of wide bushes.
Today, we are going to review one of the best gas hedge trimmers from Husqvarna — the 122HD60. It comes with a 24” knife so you can tackle hedges over 6 feet tall without having to use a step ladder, and the 21.7cc engine keeps things light and manageable over long periods of time. It is easy to start, runs quieter than most large gas powered hedge trimmers from other manufacturers, and has enough power to cut branches up to 1” thick.
VIDEO | A Closer Look : See the 122HD60 Trim Hedges
We shall also review the Poulan Pro PR2322, a lightweight 22” gas powered hedge trimmer designed specifically for homeowners. The Poulan is cheaper, but how does it compare to the Husqvarna in terms of reliability and performance? And finally, we will look at three different 21cc models from Tanaka, with the blade length ranging between 20 and 30 inches. How long should the blade of a hedge trimmer be? That depends on two factors-
- How large are your hedges?
- How much weight are you willing to carry?
Larger blades mean that your hedge trimmer will get the job done faster, but it also requires you to put more stress on your shoulders and wrists since the hedge trimmer with longer blades will also be heavier. Not only that, but it needs better vibration dampening since more mass swinging back and forth will inevitably cause higher levels of vibration which can leave your fingers and palms feeling tingly after just 15 minutes of operation. Longer isn’t always better, especially if you need to work in tight spaces with small bushes. For example, if you have hedges growing around the fencing of your house, a longer blade might make it harder for your to trim these hedges since you’ll constantly be hitting the fence. This might result in a damaged tool, or poorly trimmed branches which will eventually get diseased and die.
Best Gas Hedge Trimmer
Best gas hedge trimmer for homeowners.
- Low noise engine technology and the special design make this hedge trimmer quiet and easy to use.
- Smart Start : The engine and starter have been designed so the machine starts quickly with minimum effort..
- LowVib : Effective anti-vibration dampeners absorb vibration, reducing stress on the user’s arms and hands.
- The rear handle is adjustable to facilitate cutting the sides and top of hedges.
- Stop switch automatically resets to the ON position for easier starting.
- Air Purge : Removes air from carburetor and fuel system for easy starting
- Long cutter bar for extended reach
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the 122HD60.
We believe the Husqvarna 122HD60 is simply the most well- rounded gas powered hedge trimmer for homeowners. It pairs performance with convenience, so everybody from beginners to professional users can appreciate the value of this lightweight 24” hedge trimmer. While it is aggressively priced, the 122HD60 certainly doesn’t lack features. It comes with Husqvarna’s special low noise engine which is optimized to be easy on your ears while also delivering better fuel efficiency compared to standard 2-stroke engines from competitors such as Echo and Poulan.
The 122HD60 also features LowVib (advanced vibration dampening) for a smoother operating experience that doesn’t cause discomfort in your hands even after an hour of hedge trimming. From our research, we found that the 122HD60 has one of the best vibration dampening systems in the hedge trimmer market, although it is still a step beneath the much more expensive Husqvarna 522HDR75S in that aspect. Which is normal, since you don’t expect your homeowner models to be outfitted with the same level of technology as the professional ones.
Is it easy to start?
Technologies to decrease starter rope resistance have been around for a while but are extremely rare in the homeowner segment. They are often reserved for costlier professional models with larger engines. However, the 122HD60 comes with SmartStart, which is a feature designed to reduce the starter cord resistance by up to 40 percent during pulls. There have been several iterations of this technology implemented in Husqvarna tools over the past decade, some involve cylinder decompression to make the engine turn over easier while other implementations of SmartStart utilize a specially tuned starter coil and speed- regulated ignition system which requires fewer RPMs to fire the spark plug. Either way, you can expect your 122HD60 to start within 2 pulls of the cord, every single time.
Will it be able to cut thick branches?
Husqvarna states in the official specs sheet that the 122HD60 can slice through branches up to 0.8 inches in thickness, although in practice it can go slightly further. You will find that the 122HD60 can handle everything from privet to leylandii without any trouble, and you don’t have to pull out your loppers when you encounter a branch that is almost 1 inch thick. Gas powered hedge trimmers lack the instantaneous torque of electric models, since gas engines need a second or two to rev up into the higher RPMs where they generate their maximum power.
But once you jam that throttle in and the revs climb all the way up to 7800, there are no shrubs which can withstand the sheer power of this 21.7cc engine. While they lack instant throttle response, gas engines make up for that deficiency with tons of power. No electric or cordless hedge trimmer on the market can match a high end gas powered unit, which is why professional landscapers use gas power all the time for heavy duty jobs that require them to clear several hundred yards of hedges each day.
And if the 122HD60 gets its blade stuck on a really thick branch, you don’t have to worry about the engine stalling and breaking something all of a sudden. The centrifugal clutch will slip first, disconnecting the blade and drive gears from the engine within a fraction of a second. This will make sure that you can shut off the engine properly and disengage the blade from the branch.
What about refueling and maintenance?
There are two things we love about the 122HD60’s gas tank :
- It is transparent
- The fuel filler cap is large
When you’re out in the yard trimming hedges, the last thing you want is for your hedge trimmer to run out of gas. While most experienced users will check their gas and oil before setting foot outside, Husqvarna recognizes that a transparent gas tank makes this job a lot easier. You don’t have to use any tools or open the cap to check on fuel levels, just take a peek at the back end of your hedge trimmer and you instantly see how much gas is left in there. And, we thank Husqvarna for including a nice big fuel cap instead of the over engineered flip up caps that many manufacturers use these days.
Not only is a good old conventional gas cap easier to use with gloves on your hands, it is less likely to break down with rough usage unlike those flip up designs which feel flimsy and aren’t suited for professional workloads. Maintenance involves checking the blade guard for loose screws, inspecting the air filter and spark plugs, and greasing the gearbox. It is extremely easy to torque the screws on the blade guard; the recommended torque figure is 7- 10Nm. The muffler, exhaust pipe, and engine are all very easy to access once you remove a couple of screws.
To make the gearbox lubrication process easier, Husqvarna has designed a special grease filler cap which is located right at the base of the gearbox. You don’t have to take the gearbox apart, instead use this grease hole to squeeze in some lubricant from the tube of grease that Husqvarna provides within the package. This process is very simple and needs to be carried out after every 25 hours of operation.
LowVib vibration dampening
Husqvarna has the best vibration dampening technology in the market, and it is called LowVib. While this is not exactly a groundbreaking innovation, the way it is implemented varies significantly from one manufacturer to another. Basically, rubber mounts and metal springs are used to cushion the engine and separate it from the frame of the hedge trimmer such that vibrations are heavily attenuated before they reach your hands. And by wearing gloves, you will further reduce the amount of perceived vibration in your hands. Too much vibration can cause all sorts of health problems, including permanent nerve damage.
When you operate any powered tool, you will feel a tingling sensation in your fingers and palms after a few minutes. Vibrations have a frequency and amplitude; frequency is how “quickly” it vibrates while amplitude is how “far” it vibrates. Both need to be considered, along with your grip strength since the harder you grip a vibrating object the more you are exposed to its effects. In the 122HD60, Husqvarna claims an equivalent vibration level of 4.1 m/s2 at the front handle and 3.6 m/s2 at the rear handle.
For comparison, the Tanaka TCH22EAP2 20” gas powered hedge trimmer has an equivalent vibration level of 7.0 m/s2 at the front handle and 7.5 m/s2 at the rear handle. The Stihl HS56 has an equivalent vibration level of 4.7m/ s2 and 5.5 m/s2 for the front and rear handles respectively, while Poulan doesn’t even list the vibration ratings for its PR2322.
The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has come up with TLVs or Threshold Limit Values for vibration exposure in the hands and arms of power tool operators. According to their 2016 report, exposure to 5 m/s2 of vibration for 8hrs will cause “mild” HAVS (hand arm vibration) symptoms limited to only the tips of one or more fingers. HAVS symptoms range from a scale of 0 (none) to 4 (severe). HAVS syndrome is characterized by whitening of fingers, loss of light touch, loss of grip strength, bone cysts in fingers and wrists, tingling and loss of sensation in the fingers, etc.
Adjustable rear handle
This is a feature you won’t find on many gas powered hedge trimmers at this price point. While the actual importance of this feature in day to day workloads is yet to be determined, there is no denying the fact that a rotating rear handle makes it much easier (and safer) for you to cut vertically on hedges. Your rear hand doesn’t have to swivel up and down, all the work is done by your front hand. If you have hedges more than 4 or 5 feet in height, this feature is extremely useful since it releases much of the stress on the hand that is gripping the rear handle. A rotating rear handle is also very useful when you’re making rounded cuts on bushes. You can easily activate the rotating handle on the 122HD60 by pulling a large orange tab located towards the front of the handle guard. Because of how it is placed, you don’t even have to let go of the trigger. It is spring loaded, so you can simply release the tab when you feel you’ve got the perfect handle alignment and it will instantly lock the rear handle.
Auto return stop switch-
Often times on a lot of your powered tools such as lawn mowers, chainsaws, blowers, etc. you will engage the STOP switch to cut off ignition and shut down the engine. But the next time you pull that recoil starter rope your engine just won’t turn on. And you spend the next 5 minutes confused, checking all sorts of stuff like the choke position, fuel lines, air filter, etc. when suddenly you realize that you never turned the engine stop switch back to its “ON” position. Many manufacturers have integrated this simple feature into their tools to prevent such situations, Husqvarna has it on the 122HD60. When you shut off the ignition, the STOP switch will automatically return back to its normal ON position so you can start the engine the next time without having to reset this switch.
Husqvarna’s marketing term for the primer bulb, a very handy feature if you want to get perfect starts every single time. A few pumps of the air purge bulb will eject all trapped air from the fuel system and pump fresh gas into the carburetor straight from the tank. If you recently cleaned or replaced your carburetor, you will need to prime it just like a pool pump has to be primed before it can pump water.
Dual sided blade
Not to be confused with dual action blades. Dual sided blades cut on both sides, just as the name indicates. But there is only one moving blade, sliding against a fixed blade to create a scissor like action which slices through twigs, branches, and leaves. Double action hedge trimmers have two dual sided blades oscillating parallel to each other in opposite directions. They cancel out each others vibration and give a smoother cut. But this also results in increased weight, complexity, and cost.
The 122HD60 uses a double sided blade, which is of a relatively high quality compared to regular stamped steel blades found on cheaper electric models. This is not a laser cut or diamond ground blade, those are found only on premium hedge trimmers costing above 400 or 500 dollars. Nevertheless, the blade on the 122HD60 does a fine job with most types of hedges.
Ease of operation and noise levels
The 122HD60 is extremely easy to operate, owing to its light weight of just 10.8lbs (without the fuel or cutting equipment). Combine this with the excellent vibration dampening system, and you have a gas powered hedge trimmer which is actually very comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. The wraparound front handle is made from metal and has a plastic coating on top to aid with grip. The rear handle rotates as we explained earlier, so you will have a solid grip on the hedge trimmer at all times, no matter what type of cut you’re making. Noise levels are definitely much higher than electric models at nearly 94 dB(A) but this is still one of the quieter gas powered hedge trimmers. As usual, wear hearing and eye protection at all times when operating a gas powered tool such as a hedge trimmer or leaf blower.
VIDEO | See the Husqvarna 122HD60 in Action
Husqvarna has listed the fuel tank capacity and fuel consumption rate for the 122HD60. Using these figures, we can calculate how much runtime you should expect per tank of fuel. For this, we are going to assume the tank is 80 percent full since it is very unlikely that you’ll be filling it up to 100 percent capacity without spilling fuel. The 122HD60 is outfitted with a 10.14 Fl oz tank. Converting to liters, we get 0.299 which means this hedge trimmer can hold up to 0.23kg of gasoline when the tank is 100 percent full. We calculate the weight of gasoline in the tank by multiplying volume with density- 0.299 liters x 0.77 kg/liter (density of gasoline) = 0.23kg of gasoline.
But like we said earlier, it is very unlikely that you will be able to fill this tank up to 100 percent of its capacity without spilling some fuel. So let us take 80 percent of 0.23kg, which gives us 0.184kg or 0.405 pounds. Husqvarna states that the 122HD60 consumes fuel at a rate of 0.73lbs/hr, so our tank of gas should last about 0.405/0.73 = 0.55hrs. Which means, you can easily get more than 30 minutes of runtime per tank of fuel. Remember that this is an approximation, in reality you may get up to 40 minutes of runtime depending on the purity of gasoline you use and the amount of throttle input.
Poulan Pro PR2322
Great performance at a reasonable price. Best gas hedge trimmer if you’re on a budget.
- Rotating Rear Handle : The rear handle with comfort grip allows you to control cutting at any angle or orientation.
- Easy Starting : Equipped with powerful, easy-to-start, full-crank, 2-cycle engine for maximum cutting performance.
- Dual-Action Blade : Stainless steel dual-sided serrated blades cut swaths up to 22” wide and limbs up to 1” diameter.
- Anti-Vibration :Effective anti-vibration dampeners absorb vibration for reduced operator strain and fatigue.Cylinder displacement : 23cc
- Power output : 0.9 hp
- Knife Length : 22 in
- Recommended maximum twig diameter : 1 in
- Weight : 10.12 lbs
- Homeowner Warranty : 2 Year
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Poulan Pro PR2322.
The Poulan Pro PR2322 is for homeowners who want a lot of power in their hedge trimmer for a very cheap price. It is not built as well as the Husqvarna 122HD60, so expect more vibration. This may cause some discomfort after cutting long hedgerows. In fact, Poulan doesn’t even list the equivalent vibration figures for the PR2322 but we can assume that it is going to be worse than the 122HD60 since LowVib is simply one of the best vibration dampening systems out there and the Poulan costs significantly less which doesn’t leave much room to put high quality parts in there.
Nevertheless, if you are okay with some extra vibration and a slightly shorter blade, this might just be the perfect gas powered hedge trimmer for a beginner. Unless you have 500 yards of hedges to trim along your fence or driveway, the PR2322 will fulfill the needs of an average homeowner just fine. And it was a pleasant surprise to see that the PR2322 even has a rotating rear handle, despite its cheap price. Do you have problems in your wrist joints? Then a rotating rear handle is going to change the way you approach trimming hedges. You won’t have to constantly reposition your arms as you transition in between cuts, and the whole experience will seem much more natural and less stressful on your shoulders + hands.
Unlike the Husqvarna 122HD60, the Poulan Pro PR2322 is equipped with a 22” blade which may not seem like that big of a deal if you’re just trimming hedges around your home. But for people who own landscaping businesses, that extra 2” of blade on the Husqvarna can save some significant time over the course of a couple weeks. The Poulan is slightly more powerful than the Husqvarna too, with a bigger 23cc engine that generates 0.9hp compared to the 0.8hp generated by the 122HD60 from its 21.7cc engine. Starting the Poulan Pro PR2322 is relatively easy, although it is much easier to start the Husqvarna 122HD60 thanks to its easy start system. The Poulan also lacks an auto return stop switch and has no convenient grease hole on the bottom of the gearbox so you will have to take the box apart to grease the gears.
In the end, it comes down to priorities and personal preferences. Do you want slightly more power, or a longer blade? Easier starting and maintenance, or a cheaper price tag? We would choose the Husqvarna 122HD60 since it is probably the last gas powered hedge trimmer you’ll ever need. It is more reliable, easier to operate, and more comfortable to use thanks to the LowVib technology. But if you’re on a tight budget and just need something basic to use occasionally, the Poulan Pro PR2322 will get the job done. While it isn’t the best gas hedge trimmer out there, it is more than enough for most people.
Tanaka TCH22 Series | Gas Hedge Trimmers
Common Features :
- Powerful PureFire 21.1 cc engine for optimum power output and fuel efficiency
- Large 10.1 oz fuel tank for extended use without refills
- 5 position rear handle
- Dual reciprocating three-edge commercial grade blade
- Diaphragm carburetor with primer purge bulb for quick and easy starting
- Covered by a 7-year consumer use, 2-year commercial use and 1-year rental use warranty
- Forward facing angled exhaust directs exhaust away from the operator and hedges
Three Models to Choose From :
- 20″ — TCH22EAP2 : 21.cc, 87dB, 9.4 lbs.
- 24″ — TCH22EBP2 : 21.cc, 85dB, 10.3 lbs.
- 30″ — TCH22ECP2 : 21.cc, 89dB, 11.4 lbs.
- Three-edge commercial grade blades
- Forward facing angled exhaust
✓ View or download the MANUAL for all the models.
Tanaka hedge trimmers have a system similar to Husqvarna’s Easy Start which reduces the recoil starter cord tension by anywhere between 30 to 50 percent. This system is called “S-Start” and uses a combination of intelligent choke design, spring assisted recoil starting and priming to give you a guaranteed engine start within 2 or 3 pulls of the cord.
All 3 models within the TCH22 series of gas powered hedge trimmers use the same 21.1cc engine platform- Tanaka’s inhouse 2-stroke design which is optimized for reduced emissions and better fuel efficiency. They call this the “PureFire” engine, and it is simply a regular 2- stroke that has been modified with a better scavenging system to improve atomization of the fuel- air mixture. This results in improved combustion, with less unburnt fuel particles exiting the cylinder. And they pair this with a catalytic converter in the muffler which converts the remaining hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide which is less harmful (relatively) to the environment. As a result of this increased combustion efficiency and superior emissions control, all Tanaka hedge trimmers comply with the stringent EPA phase 2 and CARB Tier II regulations.
The exhausts in Tanaka hedge trimmers are forward facing and angled, so you can comfortably work on hedges without having to worry about hot gasses being shoved into your face.
All 3 TCH22 series hedge trimmers are equipped with a 10.1oz fuel tank, which holds sufficient fuel for cutting all hedges in an average sized lawn. These hedge trimmers are also pretty light, the 20” model weighs just 9.5 pounds while the 30” heavy duty one weighs 11.4 pounds.
There is a 5- position rotating rear handle in all 3 of them, which gives you more options in terms of grip style and superior comfort while making curved cuts on bushes. The rotating rear handle is also super useful if you want to retain your hand position while transitioning between vertical and horizontal cuts.
Most importantly though, all Tanaka hedge trimmers come with an unmatched 7- year consumer use warranty. This is shortened to 2 years with commercial use, and 1- year with rental use. If you’re cutting and pruning shrubs around the home or on your private property, you know that if anything goes wrong with your hedge trimmer it is covered for 7 years from the time of purchase.
20″ — TCH22EAP2 : Gas Hedge Trimmer
Unique Features (20″ model) :
- 9.4 lbs for ease of use and maneuverability
- 20″ dual reciprocating three-edge commercial grade blades
- Noise level : 87 dB
Ideal for homeowners who want to prune shrubs ranging from 3 to 5 feet in height. It is equipped with a 20” stainless steel double sided blade, which makes 3760 cuts per minute for a super fine finish on your hedges. It is super lightweight at just 9.5lbs, for comparison the Husqvarna 122HD60 which also uses a 21cc engine weighs 1.3lbs more. Granted this hedge trimmer only has a 20” blade, and an inferior vibration dampening system but you can wave it around quite easily on your hedges without tiring out your arms or shoulders. You should be able to get more than 30 minutes of runtime per tank of fuel, which is enough to trim over 1000 feet of hedgerows.
24″ — TCH22EBP2 : Gas Hedge Trimmer
Unique Features (24″ model):
- 10.3 lbs for ease of use and maneuverability
- 24″ dual reciprocating three-edge commercial grade blades
- Noise level : 85 dB
Slightly longer blade than the TCH22EAP2, which gives you faster trimming at the cost of increased weight and vibration. Interestingly enough, this is slightly quieter than the smaller 20” model. Ideal for homeowners with larger properties or living fences/ privacy screens spread across several hundred yards.
30″ — TCH22ECP2 : Gas Hedge Trimmer
Unique Features (30″ model) :
- Vibration dampening chassis maximizes operator comfort
- 11.4 lbs for ease of use and maneuverability
- 30″ dual reciprocating three-edge commercial grade blades
- Noise level : 89 dB
If you work in a landscaping company or live on a farm with lots of hedgerows and shrubs scattered all over the place, the 30” TCH22ECP2 is exactly what you need. It features heavy duty vibration dampening in the chassis, a feature that is absent from the two smaller models. This allows you to trim longer without enduring as much strain in your hands, and with less risk of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. We highly recommend wearing anti-vibration gloves to protect yourself from HAVS.