Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer Review
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer definitely falls in line with other hedge trimmers as one of the most successful battery-powered OPE tools. It has plenty of power, capacity, and blade length to get the job done quickly and without the frustration of dragging around cords or dealing with gas related issues.
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What was a kid, I absolutely hated when Mom and Dad declared that it was Yard Day. Most of it wasn’t so bad, but I dreaded trimming the hedges. It meant dragging those 50-foot extension cords all around the yard to different outlets all morning. Pros, of course, don’t mess with the extension cords, but they do deal with gas-powered hedge trimmers and the gas, oil, and maintenance that comes along with them. One of the really nice surprises with battery-powered OPE has been hedge trimmers that are really quite effective. We’re taking a closer look to see if the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer holds true to that pattern.
As we’ve watched battery-powered hedge trimmers grow up in the past couple of years, the lengths and power have moved up with it. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer boasts a 24-inch blade length and 3,400 strokes per minute speed with a maximum capacity of 3/4-inch. The overall build weighs in at 8.66 pounds bare and 11.06 pounds with the kitted 9.0 amp hour battery. That battery will get you up to two hours of runtime.
In this class, that compares to Husqvarna at the top running up to 4000 SPM and can cut nearly an inch thick – but also comes at a much higher price.
Milwaukee brings their power tool rubber overmold to the main handle like they did with the blower and string trimmer. On the string trimmer, Milwaukee included a soft rubberized auxiliary handle, but with the hedge trimmer, they went to hard plastic. It’s textured to help with the grip, but you’ll likely want to use a pair of gloves if you’re going to use it over a long day.
The trigger is long enough to accommodate two fingers – possibly three for some users – and allows for a comfortable, secure grip on the main handle. There’s no reason for a hedge trimmer’s trigger to be variable speed and Milwaukee didn’t include one on this model.
The trigger safety is symmetrically designed to accommodate left- or right-hand users. You’ll need to press down with your thumb as you press up on the trigger to activate the unit. Once it’s on, you can release the safety and just keep pressure on the trigger. A couple other safety features show up in the form of a tip guard and blade shield.
For storage, a hard plastic blade sheath is easy to get on and off. That’s a bigger deal than you may initially think. I’ve used some that like to get caught in the knives and are too thin for its purpose. There’s also a keyhole on the back to hang it from if you like.
Most of the outer housing is made of the same tool plastic other hedge trimmers in this class come with – including those at the top. The blade is certainly stout with its forged steel construction and comes very sharp. Aside from that, there’s nothing that stands out as particularly ahead of the class or behind it.
On the inside, you have an all-metal gear housing and crank. As inventors of the reciprocating saw class, I have a lot of confidence in the build quality of the crank mechanism.
I started off by taking the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer to some palmettos that were encroaching on one of the ornamental landscape beds. I didn’t expect to have any issues cutting through this and I wasn’t disappointed. However, I was very pleased with the way it made quick work of this task.
From there I moved on to some light brush and hedges, most of which were 1/4-inch in thickness or less. Again, the hedge trimmer made very quick work of these challenges. The nice thing about having such solid performance with the smaller hedges is that it becomes very easy to shape them well since you’re not snagging on slightly larger branches.
If you look closely at the knife design, you’ll notice a slight V shape. The outside tips measure 3/4-inch across and it comes down to roughly 9/16-inch from there. I was initially concerned that the design might limit the actual cutting capacity to less than 3/4-inch. However, it didn’t seem to matter. In fact, the M18 Fuel cut through pretty confidently.
Ergonomics in the Field
The hedge trimmer’s weight distribution and handle placement do a nice job of balancing out the tool for most cutting applications. It’s clear Milwaukee had the 9.0 amp hour battery in mind as they worked the balance around it. Horizontal cutting is very easy and the wide auxiliary handle gives you plenty of grip options for vertical or diagonal cutting. The only placement where I felt uncomfortable was when I was cutting directly in front of me above my shoulders. But I don’t know any hedge trimmer on the market that cuts comfortably in that position.
As far as noise goes, I measured a consistent 86 dBa when cutting at waist level. While this does nudge over the OSHA limit, it should be low enough to keep your neighbors happy even if you start the lawn work early on a Saturday morning.
The Bottom Line
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer definitely falls in line with other hedge trimmers as one of the most successful battery-powered OPE tools. It has plenty of power, capacity, and blade length to get the job done quickly and without the frustration of dragging around cords or dealing with gas-related issues.
My only real suggestion for this first edition is to add rubber overmold on the auxiliary handle. Of course, I’d love to see lighter weight, but not as a trade-off to build quality. As a first attempt at this class, Milwaukee did really well. The only major feature some of the top models have that I’d like to see in future generations is a locking, rotating handle to deal with the variety of positions you need the blade in.
While it does fall behind the power you’ll get in gas models, I find the convenience, low noise, and near zero maintenance along with the performance to make this a primary tool. Even landscaping Pros may have a hard time justifying a gas model over this one. You’ll still need gas for your pole hedge trimmer if you go the M18 route, though. For property owners – whether you’re already on the M18 battery platform or not – this is an easy recommendation.
The kit will cost you $299 or you can grab the bare tool for $169. That’s a bit steep as an entry point for a hedge trimmer. However, the savings in fuel, oil, and maintenance costs should pay for itself before the three-year warranty period ends. The fact that getting ready to work with it simply means slapping the battery in place eliminates frustration and adds to its value.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer Manufacturer’s Key Features
- The M18 FUEL hedge trimmer has the power to cut 3/4-inch branches, cuts up to 30% faster, and provides up to 2 hours of run-time per charge
- Designed to meet landscape maintenance professional needs, the handle placement and weight distribution provide the best combination of balance and control
- The trimmer features a slider-crank mechanism and all-metal gear case providing unmatched durability and longer life
- The 24-inch blade trims more material in a single pass, increasing reach and productivity
- The blade tip guard prevents damage to the property and the blades
- The M18 Fuel hedge trimmer is fully compatible with 125+ solutions on the M18 system
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer Specifications
- Model: Milwaukee 2726-21HD
- Voltage: 18V
- Battery: M18 REDLITHIUM
- Cut Capacity: 1/4″
- Strokes per Minute: 3,400 SPM
- Gear Case: All-metal
- Blade Material: Forged Steel
- Blade Length: 24″
- Length: 45.7″
- Height: 7.7″
- Width: 8.7″
- Weight: 10.9 lbs
- Includes: M18 REDLITHIUM HIGH DEMAND 9.0 Battery, Rapid Charger
- Warranty: 3 years
- Price: $299