When I was a kid, I absolutely hated when Mom and Dad announced it was Yard Day. It's mostly fine, but I'm terrified of trimming the hedges. That meant lugging those 50-foot extension cords around the yard all morning to different outlets. Of course, pros don't mess with extension cords, but they do deal with pneumatic hedge trimmers and the gas, oil, and maintenance that come with them. One of the real surprises about battery-operated OPEs is hedge trimmers, and they are very effective. We're taking a closer look to see if the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer fits the mold.
- well balanced
- Cuts faster than many battery powered hedge trimmers (3400 SPM)
- Now with 8.0Ah high output battery
- on the heavier side
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer Performance
As we've seen battery powered hedge trimmers grow, so have length and power. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer has a 24" blade length and a speed of 3,400 strokes per minute with a maximum capacity of 3/4". The overall structure weighs 8.7 lbs bare and 10.9 lbs with the 8.0Ah high output battery. The battery will give you up to two hours of run time.
Most cordless hedge trimmers spin from 2800 – 3200 SPM, so getting a little extra speed is a good thing. It's not at the top of the charts though, with one model hitting 4400 SPM.
I started by taking the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer over some palm trees that were encroaching on one of the ornamental landscape beds. I didn't expect any problems and I wasn't disappointed. However, I'm very happy with the way it gets things done quickly.
From there I moved on to some light shrubs and hedges, most of which are 1/4" thick or less. Again, hedge trimmers are very quick to meet these challenges. The nice thing about smaller hedges having such solid properties is that since you won't be tangling around slightly larger branches, it's easy to shape them nicely.
If you look closely at the design of the knife, you'll notice a slight V shape. The outer tip measures 3/4" and drops down to about 9/16" from there. I was initially concerned that the design might limit the actual cutting ability to less than 3/4 inch. However, that doesn't seem to matter. In fact, the M18 Fuel passed with great confidence.
Milwaukee rubber overmolds their power tools to the main handle, just like they do with their blowers and cord trimmers. On cord trimmers, the Milwaukee includes a soft rubber helper handle, but the hedge trimmer's helper handle is exposed tool plastic. Its texture helps with grip, but if you have a day of hedge trimming in your schedule, you might want to wear a pair of gloves.
The trigger is long enough to accommodate two fingers (some users may need three) and provides a comfortable, secure grip on the main handle. We don't want the hedge trimmer's trigger to be variable speed, and Milwaukee doesn't include one on this model.
The bare tool weighs 8.6 lbs and 10.9 lbs with an 8.0Ah high output battery. That's a little heavier than the lightweights out there, but still manageable.
The hedge trimmer's weight distribution and handle placement provide a good balance of tools for most cutting applications. Apparently Milwaukee had the 9.0Ah battery (the one in the original kit) in mind when balancing around it. Now they use the 8.0Ah high output battery in the kit and it's still very well balanced.
Horizontal cutting is easy, and the wide front handle provides ample grip options for vertical or diagonal cuts. The only time it made me uncomfortable was when I was cutting directly in front of me just above the shoulders. But I don't know of any hedge trimmers on the market that can easily trim in that spot.
From an improvement standpoint, I'd like to see a swivel handle to help work around different angles more comfortably.
The trigger safety is symmetrically designed to accommodate left or right handed users. You need to press with your thumb while pressing the trigger to activate the mechanism. Once on, you disengage the safety and maintain pressure on the trigger. A few other safety features come in the form of tip guards and blade guards.
For storage, the hard plastic blade guard is easy to put on and take off. That's a lot bigger than you might first think. I've used some that like to get caught by the knife and are too thin for their purpose. There is also a keyhole on the back of the tool, you can hang it on if you want.
Much of the housing is made from the same tool plastic that other hedge trimmers in this class come with – including those on top. The blade is sure to be strong, with a forged steel construction, and it's razor-sharp. Other than that, nothing stands out or falls behind the class.
Inside, you have an all metal gearbox and crank. Considering Milwaukee invented the reciprocating saw class, I'm pretty confident in the build quality of the crank mechanism.
As far as noise goes, I measured a consistent 86 dBa with the waist cut. While this does exceed the OSHA limit, it should be low enough to keep your neighbors happy even if you start lawn work early on a Saturday morning.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer Prices
The kit costs $349 and includes an 8.0Ah high-output battery and charger. The bare metal is priced at $169. That might seem a bit steep compared to some of the residential models available, but it fits the bill for professional-grade options.
the bottom line
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer has plenty of power, capacity, and blade length to get the job done quickly without dragging cords or dealing with gas-related issues.
There have been some major leaps forward in battery technology since this model was first released, notably the high output battery from Milwaukee. While not strictly necessary right now, it does open the door for Gen 2 models with longer blades and higher capacity.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer Specifications
- Model: Milwaukee 2726
- Power: Milwaukee M18 RedLithium battery
- Cutting Capacity: 3/4"
- Strokes per minute: 3,400 SPM
- Gearbox: all metal
- Blade Material: Forged Steel
- Blade Length: 24"
- Length: 45.7 inches
- Height: 7.7 inches
- Width: 8.7 inches
- Weight: 10.9 lbs (with battery)
- Warranty: 3 years
- Price: $349.00