Chainsaws and hedge trimmers are useful tools for cutting various plants and materials around the home or on construction or building sites. However, they each are designed for different purposes, which we discuss below.
Differences Between Chainsaws and Hedge Trimmers
Chainsaws are different from hedge trimmers in one key way: how the chain cuts through materials. A chainsaw chain moves around the bar, similar to a band saw and its teeth cut through the material as it comes in contact with it.
Hedge trimmer blades are fixed along the bar mechanism and only move forwards and back a centimeter or so, cutting with the help of additional fixed teeth (or notches) along the bar. In this way, hedge trimmers most closely resemble reciprocating saws that have blades that oscillate back and forth.
Chainsaws and hedge trimmers are meant to cut different objects. Chainsaws are made for cutting tree branches and trunks, along with boards, and in some cases concrete and metal.
Hedge trimmers are only made for cutting and shaping hedges and shrubs and trimming small sticks and twigs from trees. Hedge trimmers are meant to save time and effort by replacing pruning shears and hand trimmers, whereas chainsaws are made to replace large hand saws.
Hedge trimmers are not suitable for cutting down trees or thick branches, and chainsaws are not very effective at cutting very small sticks and the ends of bushes. Hedge trimmers can cut sticks and branches that range in size from 1/4″ to near 1″ at most, whereas chainsaws can cut down much thicker branches than this.
Chainsaw chains are also not designed to contact small branches as they can get caught, causing a dangerous kickback for the operator.
Similarities Between Chainsaws and Hedge Trimmers
Both chainsaws and hedge trimmers have bars that hold the chain (chainsaw) or blade (hedge trimmer) outwards a small distance from the motor.
Both can have electric motor or gas engines of varying levels of power.
Both can be wireless as are the cases of wireless electric hedge trimmers and chainsaws.
Both also need to have sharp blades to do their jobs fast and effectively.
Both can make a significant amount of noise and cause debris to fly away from the blade when they are operating. This is why wearing proper safety gear, such as gloves and goggles, is important. The blade or chain of either saw can cause significant injuries if it contacts the skin.
Both chainsaws and hedge trimmers are simple to operate and likely do not require any type of certification to use in a non-professional capacity.
Should You Choose a Chainsaw or Hedge Trimmer?
Should you own a chainsaw and hedge trimmer? This depends on whether the majority of your work is cutting heavy wood or just trimming vegetation.
If you have a yard or garden with large bushes and trees to cut back, then having both will suit you well. The hedge trimmer is great for quick trimming of the bushes to look presentable, and the chainsaw can cut down thick tree branches that have grown too large for your yard. A large bush you want to take out might require a chainsaw or handsaw to remove at the base.
Can a chainsaw double as a hedge trimmer? This may be a hard sell, as the chainsaw is not optimized for trimming shrubs.
You can purchase combo kits that include poles with attachments for both small chainsaws and hedge trimmers. You can switch out the attachable cutting implement for these battery operated pole saw cutting tools.
Maintenance and safety are always important. Lubricating and using your gas-powered chainsaw fairly regularly will keep the fuel and oil fresh and flowing and it will be ready to go when you need it. The same goes for hedge trimmers, which you should lubricate and run every now and then to make sure they are operating well. Check for any loose nuts and bolts, strange sounds and the battery power level.
It is very important to remember how to use your hedge trimmers and chainsaws properly so that you can enjoy the best possible performance from them. You need to make sure that you follow their guides carefully and that you know how to use them safely. This means that you should make sure that you know what you are doing with your chainsaw so that you do not put yourself at risk.
This is especially true if you have young children around who could get hurt if they were to accidentally fall into your equipment. And always remember to wear adequate PPE such as gloves, goggles, and even jackets and pants to protect yourself while using these tools.
Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree in Economics from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use.