Hedge Trimmer Vs. Chainsaw (With a Comparison Table)

Last Updated on May 2, 2023 by Barry Gray

I had recently invested in purchasing a tool shed, which meant cleaning my garage. I was amazed at the number of power tools I had accumulated over the year, many of which no longer served their purpose. In one corner lay a hedge trimmer and a chainsaw. Which one would suit my needs better and when?

Hedge trimmer and chainsaw both are used in garden maintenance, yet in comparison, a chainsaw is better for heavy-duty care. Hedge trimmers are used solely for cutting and shaping hedges and shrubs, while chainsaws cuts tree trunks, branches, and boards. 

Power tools can help make maintenance simple; however, the challenge exists when you use the wrong power tool to do the job. Let me guide you on the notable differences between a hedge trimmer and a chainsaw.

Hedge Trimmers

hedge trimmer

Hedge trimmers are gardening tools to trim or prune hedges or shrub bushes. They typically feature in two versions, manual or power. Their power source can either be manually operated, electricity, or gasoline.

There are different types of hedge trimmers, and although they have the same purpose, they function very differently.

Manual Hedge Trimmers – They have the appearance of giant scissors, often known as pruning shears. It is the most cost-effective method of hedge trimming but involves manual labor. If you plan to get some exercise and trimming done simultaneously, then it might be worth considering.

Motorized Hedge Trimmers – This hedge trimmer uses the exact cutting mechanism as finger bow mowers. Motorized hedge trimmers work faster than manual hedge trimmers. 

Gasoline Powered Trimmers – These hedge trimmers are a lot heavier, although powerful, and a lot more challenging to start.

Electrical Hedge Trimmers – Are fitted with either an electrical cord or rechargeable batteries. Electrical hedge trimmers are lighter than Gasoline trimmers and create less air pollution and less noise.


chainsaw use

The chainsaw has a set of teeth attached to a rotating chain driven along a guide bar; this is used for projects like tree feeling, pruning, bucking, and harvesting firewood.

The chainsaw is powered by gasoline, electricity, or batteries. Specialized chainsaws are also used in construction for the cutting of concrete.

Hedge Trimmer Vs. Chain Saw Similarities

  • Either electricity or gasoline can power both.
  • Sharp blades are required for the effective operation of both tools.
  • Bars used to hold the chain or blade in place are a feature of both tools.
  • These tools can cause significant damage if the flying debris enters any part of the body; hence it is strongly advisable to wear protective eyewear and clothing.

Hedge Trimmer Vs. Chain Saw Differences

Both hedge trimmers and chain saws have notable differences. I have tabled some of those differences;

Hedge Trimmer Chain Saw


Hedge trimmers mainly trim edges, scrubs, and small branches.

Chainsaws generally cut down trees.

Blade Size 

Hedge trimmers use smaller blades.
Chain saws make use of larger blades for heavyweight operations.



A chainsaw can leave a significant dent in your finances, depending on your choice.


With hedge trimmers, all that is required is the wiping and sharpening of blades.

Chainsaws require regular oiling, cleaning the bar, and sharpening the blade, costing more.
Although hedge trimmers can have safety hazards, they are far less than chain saws.

When using chainsaws, be careful about the “kickback” occurring in operation, a common safety hazard.

Noise Levels

Hedge trimmers are a lot less noisy.

Chainsaws are a lot noisier when in operation.


A Hedge trimmer is much more lightweight and portable to carry around.

A chainsaw is bulkier and heavier to carry.

Hedge Trimmer Factors To Consider

hedge trimmer garden

When choosing the best hedge trimmer, you need to consider the following factors;

The Power Source Of The Hedge Trimmer

The option to choose a gas or electric hedge trimmer rests on how much power and portability you require for the task at hand. The two most popular power sources are gasoline and electricity.

While gasoline offers much more ability than electrically charged hedge trimmers, they can be heavier to operate. Weighing more than 10 pounds is a challenge to navigate.

The electric hedge trimmers are a lot lighter, but in terms of mobility, large yards can be potentially tricky due to the plugin outlet system.

Battery powdered options are better, as they do not restrict movement. Always ensure that you charge the batteries.

The Best Engine Power

The engine power determines the force used to cut through the twigs, leaves, and small branches. If the amperage is higher, there is more power to the engine.

Size Of The Blade On The Hedge Trimmer

Choosing the right blade can be the factor that contributes to how well the hedges are trimmed and precisely what type of hedge you want to cut.

I recommend eighteen inches or smaller blades to trim small hedges or scrubs. A 19-30 inch blade can take on large bushes or hedges and trim smaller trees. For commercial use, the blade size extends to more than 30 inches.

Other Factors

Other factors to consider are value for money, the cutting and fuel capacity of the tool, the safety features, the weight of the machine, and the simplicity of operating.

Chain Saw Factors To Consider

cutting with a chainsaw

Bar Length Of The Chainsaw

A bar is a steel plate that the chain runs around; this determines the maximum length of the cutting capacity.

Light duty chainsaws have a bar of 12 to 14 inches, while on general chainsaws, it is about 16 to 20 inches and professional models are 22 inches. Large ones can extend to 48 inches.

Engine Power Or Gas Of The Chain Saw

The engine power is either two-stroke or four-stroke. Two-stroke chain saws are more cost-effective and lighter.

They, however, generate more emissions and noise while the four-stroke produces less power but is more durable and has greater fuel efficiency.

Other Factors To Consider

Other factors include the weight of the chain saw, how cost-effective it is, the safety factor, the speed, the oil system, the noise factor, and the emissions from the gas that causes pollution.


Although used in garden maintenance, hedge trimmers and chain saws have particular purposes.

You might want to try to substitute one for the other, but you will never be able to achieve the same desired effects.

While hedge trimmers focus more on lightweight gardening like trimming edges, a chain saw takes on more heavyweight jobs, like cutting trees.

Therefore, it is advisable to keep them both in their respective categories and select a tool based on your specific needs.

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

Leave a Comment