The current mantra in pretty much all things tool-related is “Cut the cord.” In general, I think that’s a great idea – it gives you much more flexibility in when and where you can use your tools. And with recent advancements in brushless motor and Lithium-Ion battery technology, cordless equipment is often at least as powerful as its corded cousins. However, since I have cut the cord – literally – twice while dragging it around behind an electric hedge trimmer, I was bushy-tailed with delight when we received the Milwaukee M18 hedge trimmer to evaluate.
Aimed at pro users and large property owners, the Milwaukee M18 hedge trimmer is designed to be an alternative not only to corded trimmers, but gas-powered trimmers, which are much more likely to be found on a landscaper’s truck. Available as a bare tool, model 2726-20, the trimmer is also available in a kit, model 2726-21HD, which also includes a 9.0 Ah High Demand M18 battery and a Rapid Charger. The tool will operate on any Milwaukee M18 battery, but for maximum trimming enjoyment, Milwaukee recommends using the 9.0 Ah battery, which will provide up to two hours of slicing and dicing.
Anatomy Of The Milwaukee M18 Hedge Trimmer
When Milwaukee decided to produce a line of pro-grade Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE), they spent hundreds of hours talking to landscapers and maintenance crews, to find out what they liked – and what they DIDN’T like – about the equipment they used. Recently, we took a look at the Milwaukee M18 Fuel String Trimmer, and we’ll soon be checking out the M18 Fuel Blower. The end result, in the case of the Milwaukee M18 hedge trimmer, is a tool that’s well-balanced, powerful and durable.
The core of the hedge trimmer is a robust brushless motor. It drives an equally robust slider crank mechanism, housed in an all-metal gear case. During the 2016 Milwaukee New Product Symposium, we were treated to a demonstration of the Milwaukee M18 hedge trimmer relentlessly mowing down a “dowel bush” composed of numerous dowels up to 3/4” in diameter. The picture below shows the guts of the Milwaukee trimmer on the right, a competitor’s on the left.
With the High Demand 9.0 Ah battery in place, the trimmer is very nicely balanced. The handles are roomy and comfortable, and the bail (support) handle wraps around three sides, making it easy to rotate the trimmer. There is a thin rubber overmold on the rear handle, which makes it a bit more comfortable and slip-resistant. I wish they had included a nice thick layer of rubber on the bail handle, rather than the hard plastic handle it comes with.
The Milwaukee M18 hedge trimmer has an ambidextrous thumb-activated safety, which is easy to operate from either side. Once depressed, it’s easy to squeeze the large trigger, at which point you can release the safety.
The Milwaukee M18 hedge trimmer is equipped with a nice, long 24” blade, with a tip guard at the end. A hard-plastic protective sheath is included, to cover the blades. This is good for the blades – and anything they might come in contact with.
One more useful feature is the keyhole hook on the back of the tool, which gives you a convenient way to store the tool in your shop or tool trailer. Here’s a list of specs and features, followed by a short video from the folks in Red:
Blade Length: 24”
Cut Capacity: 3/4”
Strokes Per Minute: 3,400
Gear Case: All-Metal
Weight: 10.9 lbs
– The Milwaukee M18 Hedge Trimmer is fully compatible with 125+ solutions on the M18 system.
– Milwaukee POWERSTATE™ Brushless Motor provides more power, more run-time, and longer life.
– The Milwaukee REDLITHIUM™ Battery Pack is the most durable pack on the market, delivering more run-time, power and longer battery life.
– REDLINK PLUS™ Electronic Intelligence enables advanced communication between your batteries and tools, allowing for unmatched levels of performance, protection, and productivity.
The Milwaukee M18 Hedge Trimmer Beats Around – And Through – The Bush
Our yard has a mix of Holly bushes and some other random bushes and hedges. Hey, it’s all green to me! Anyway, whatever they may be, once or twice a year my wife “suggests” I get out there and give them a taste of cold steel. Many years of marital experience have proven the wisdom of heeding these “suggestions.” As a bonus, it solved the problem of locating a test site.
The Milwaukee M18 Hedge Trimmer comes out of the box fully assembled. Prepping the trimmer for action is about as easy as it gets: Slide on a battery, slide off the protective sheath covering the blades, and you’re ready to be a bush doctor.
I started with the bushes on the side of the house. The Milwaukee M18 hedge trimmer is relatively lightweight, and very easy to control. I first trimmed the front face and sides of the bushes, and the wraparound handle made it easy to get a secure, comfortable grip. The 24” long blades take a nice chunk out of the greenery with each pass, and not having to worry about tripping over – or amputating – a cord made the job a lot simpler.
The trimmer did a great job cutting through all the branches, from both directions. Most of the branches on these bushes were relatively thin, roughly 3/16” to 3/8” thick. Once I had them trimmed to the best of my amateur horticulturist ability, I moved to the large overgrown bushes near our front walkway.
Some of these had branches that were substantially thicker, including many that were every bit of 3/4” or more. The Milwaukee M18 hedge trimmer sliced and diced its way through anything that would fit in its jaws, and never jammed or bogged down. When I was finished, the bushes looked much more civilized than they had since my wife’s last suggestion…I’m sure someone with a bit more clipping experience could have ended up with an even better finished look.
Time To Raid The Hedge Fund?
In case you didn’t pick up on it, I am definitely NOT a pro landscape guy. We have a fairly large residential lot, though, with a lot of greenery, some of which I can even identify! We also have a 25 acre farm property, so I spend a fair amount of time with the string trimmer, chainsaw and, for better or worse, hedge trimmer.
Due to the size of the property, and previous unfortunate experiences, using a corded hedge trimmer is impractical. Not to mention annoying. There are gas-powered trimmers available that do a good job. The only downside is…they’re gas powered. They can be finicky to get running, and mixing the gas and oil isn’t high on my list of enjoyable activities. They also tend to be fairly LOUD.
Having the ability to slide a battery on and start cutting is a pretty attractive incentive to make the switch to battery power. If you already have a High Demand battery or two, you can get the bare tool for around $169; the kit with battery and charger is currently around $299, on par with some gas-powered models. The beauty of the Milwaukee M18 hedge trimmer is the absence of ongoing costs for gas, oil carburetor repairs, etc.
The Milwaukee M18 hedge trimmer is relatively quiet, has plenty of power to tame unruly hedges and bushes, and requires almost no maintenance. The tool looks and feels sturdy and well-made, both inside and out. Milwaukee backs the trimmer with a three-year warranty on the tool and battery, and five years on the charger. Try one out, and cut another cord – on purpose!
Buy the kit for around $299 from HF sponsor Ohio Power Tool:
Buy bare tool for around $169: