Hedge Trimmer vs Chainsaw: Which Will Be Better for Your Yard?

Nora Held
Nora Held
Research Writer
Apart from being our main writer, Nora also works for a number of gardening-related sites and magazines, sharing her experience as an owner of a small farm in North Carolina read more
Reviewed By
Bruce Williams
Bruce Williams
Expert Consultant
Bruce owns a small farm and loves to grill since his early childhood. He’s a professional cook, but hiking and enjoying the great outdoors is his no less favorite part of read more
Last updated: August 09, 2023
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A lot of people assume that these two backyard appliances are exactly the same. At a glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that the two are virtually identical, but it’s actually not the case at all. In spite of the fact that they both cut thing, the hedge trimmer vs chainsaw differences are vitally important, and if you’re a gardener you need to know these differences so that you can make the right decision about which to use in different scenarios. It can also dictate what safety gear is needed.

Though hedge trimmers and chainsaws can do some similar jobs, there are some circumstances where one will be far better than the other.

How chainsaws work

The chain saw cuts as it has teeth that move around a bar quickly. This speed and the firmness of the teeth mean that it can tear through the things that it comes into contact with, such as a branch or a piece of wood. A chainsaw Trusted Source Chainsaw - Wikipedia chainsaw (or chain saw) is a portable gasoline-, electric-, or battery-powered saw that cuts with a set of teeth attached to a rotating chain driven along a guide bar. en.wikipedia.org can be used to harvest lots of wood from thick trees.

Here’s a quick view of common chainsaw operation process, it’s the same for big and small models:

How hedge trimmers work

Hedge trimmers have a slightly different design and do a similar job in a slightly different way. The teeth or blades that sit along the bar quickly oscillate backwards and forwards. This creates a method to chop through things like small branches. They’re lighter and often easier to use, so you can do more delicate chopping by using a hedge trimmer. Here’s a video of how hedge trimmers’ blade operate:

Chainsaw vs Hedge Trimmer

So, with all this in mind, it’s with considering the two, and what they are used for, especially within gardens. While a chainsaw is capable of doing some of the things that a hedge trimmer can, there are many ways in which a hedge trimmer is more lightweight and delicate, which can be beneficial.


Hedge Trimmer vs Chainsaw: Which Will Be Better for Your Yard?The chainsaw is usually going to be a heavy duty and powerful option. Some use fuel such as petrol, which can provide them with plenty of power to cut through pretty much anything your garden has to offer!

Hedge trimmers aren’t focused on the power, as much as ease of use and accuracy. They’re often electric, and therefore need to be charged or a power cord needs to be run to the trimmer while you are using it.


We’ve already discussed the differences in the cutting style to an extent, a hedge trimmer like the DEWALT DCHT820B will oscillate back and forth to create the cutting motion, whereas the chainsaws will go all the way around the bar, building up more speed and power. Some chainsaws can even cut through big and powerful tree trunks. So, if you need to maintain your yard in good condition – you definitely need a chainsaw to cut trees, branches etc. But if there’re only bushes that need to be shaped properly from time to time – hedge trimmer is the machine to go to.


The electric design and the smaller feel of a hedge trimmer means they are normally better value. If you are just looking for something that can be used with small hedges there are a lot of hedge trimmers that are both affordable and have the quality you need around the garden.

Garden use

Chainsaws can be decent for use in the garden, and there are some models that aren’t quite so industrial and heavy-duty. The Sun Joe SWJ806E even has an extendable section to reach higher branches. Usually, for small hedges and branches a hedge trimmer is sufficient. If you’re not having to chop through big trunks, you may not need a chainsaw.


Hedge Trimmer vs Chainsaw: Which Will Be Better for Your Yard?A user-friendly model can be either a hedge trimmer or a chainsaw, but because of the fact that chainsaws usually take oil and fuel, and they are much bigger, they’re tougher to use and more specialist. If you’re just looking for an easy-to-use model for the home, a hedge trimmer will do the job.


Both machines can be dangerous to operate if not handled properly. We admit, that chainsaw can do more harm in unexperienced hands, even if it’s a smaller model with all the safety features possible.

Final thoughts

When choosing what option is right for you, think about the hedge trimmer vs chainsaw debate, and which is going to do the best job for your own plants, hedges and trees. If you don’t have to cut down a tree, and you’re looking to prune and trim, a hedge trimmer might be best. However, if it is time to tackle a big tree, or you are chopping lots of firewood for a winter ahead then a chainsaw might be better. There is some crossover, and for some hedges you’ll have the choice of whatever suits you!


Chainsaw - Wikipedia
chainsaw (or chain saw) is a portable gasoline-, electric-, or battery-powered saw that cuts with a set of teeth attached to a rotating chain driven along a guide bar.

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