Gearing Up: Cutting-Edge String Trimmers, Hedge Trimmers, Pole Saws & Combo Tools (cont.)

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Further, two manufacturers changed the handles on their hedge trimmers, too. The rotating handles that are on Toro’s hedge trimmers allow you to make either vertical or horizontal cuts without reaching uncomfortably or twisting the machine’s body to change cutting positions as you trim hedge tops and sides. Black & Decker’s hedge trimmers now have handles that are placed farther apart. We found that having our hands a bit farther apart made it easier to guide the machine as we cut shrubs.

Your hands will be thankful for another widespread tweak. Compared with 3 years ago, more models of hand-held yard-care tools have curved power triggers instead of flat ones. These triggers conform to the curl of your fingers, which means that your finger is less likely to slip off, so you keep power flowing when, say, you have to reach over a hedge to trim stray branches.

That makes sense to us, because efficient and effective yard care, after all, is a hands-on experience. 

Kristen Hampshire, the feature writer, is former editor of Commercial Dealer, which is a trade publication for power equipment dealers. She is managing editor of A Garden Life, which is an app-delivered magazine that covers gardens, design, food and culture. Steve Trusty, who worked with Consumers Digest on Best Buy recommendations, has reported on lawn care for 46 years. He writes regularly for lawn-care trade magazines and has contributed to several books. 

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