When I was a kid, I absolutely hated it 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.
- Faster cutting speeds than many battery-powered hedge trimmers (3400 SPM)
- Now kitted with an 8.0Ah High Output battery
- On the heavier side
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer Performance
As we’ve watched battery-powered hedge trimmers grow up, 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 8.7 pounds bare and 10.9 pounds with the kitted 8.0Ah High Output battery. That battery will get you up to two hours of runtime.
Most cordless hedge trimmers are running 2800 – 3200 SPM, so getting a little extra speed is nice. It’s not at the top of the charts, though, with one model reaching 4400 SPM.
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 the 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.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer Design
Milwaukee brings their power tool rubber overmold to the main handle as they did with the blower and string trimmer. On the string trimmer, Milwaukee included a soft rubberized auxiliary handle, but with the hedge trimmer’s secondary handle is uncovered tool plastic. It’s textured to help with the grip, but you may want to use a pair of gloves if you have a long day of hedge trimming on your schedule.
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. We don’t expect a hedge trimmer’s trigger to be variable speed and Milwaukee didn’t include one on this model.
Bare, the tool weighs 8.6 pounds and 10.9 pounds with an 8.0Ah High Output battery. That’s a bit heavier than the lightweights out there but still manageable.
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 9.0Ah battery (the battery that was in the original kit) in mind as they worked the balance around it. Now that they’re using the 8.0Ah High Output battery in the kit, it’s still very well balanced.
Horizontal cutting is very easy and the wide front 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.
From an improvement standpoint, I’d like to see a rotating handle to help work around different angles more comfortably.
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 of 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 their purpose. There’s also a keyhole on the back of the tool 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. Considering Milwaukee invented the reciprocating saw class, I have a lot of confidence in the build quality of the crank mechanism.
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.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer Price
The kit runs $349 and includes an 8.0Ah High Output battery and charger. The bare tool is $169. That may seem a bit steep compared to some of the residential models available, but it’s in line with 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 and without the frustration of dragging around cords or dealing with gas-related issues.
Since this model was first released, there have been some big jumps in battery technology, particularly with Milwaukee’s High Output batteries. While it’s not an absolute need at this point, it does open the door for a Gen 2 model with longer blades and higher capacity.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer Specifications
- Model: Milwaukee 2726
- Power Source: Milwaukee M18 RedLithium battery
- Cut Capacity: 3/4-inch
- Strokes per Minute: 3,400 SPM
- Gear Case: All-metal
- Blade Material: Forged Steel
- Blade Length: 24 inches
- Length: 45.7 inches
- Height: 7.7 inches
- Width: 8.7 inches
- Weight: 10.9 lbs with battery
- Warranty: 3 years
- Price: $349.00
I agree that a shorter bar would be nice. I’m actually contemplating cutting the bar on mine from 24 inches to about 16 as I need to get into tight areas and also do a little sculpting. Yes, Milwaukee makes a smaller/shorter trimmer but I want to stick to the M18 batteries and not have to fool with another charger and different batteries. Hate to chop on an expensive tool but it looks like it can be done fairly simply…any thoughts on this?
Great review Kenny. Recommend Milwaukee also come out with a lighter weight (maybe <8#s w/battery) & an 18″-20″ bar model for DIYers/home use. I have plenty of M18 batteries from my other Milw tools, & the wife only uses a trimmer about 3-4 times a season. List the bare tool for <$100, & they’d sell plenty more. Milwaukee seems a bit behind the timing curve in developing/marketing other M18 volt cordless tools. I’ve been buying/using Milwaukee Electric tools for over 50 years.
Had my Milwaukee hedge trimmer for 1 1/2 yyrs. Yesterday I was going to trim hedges and I use it I always put the battery on a short charge Didn’t charge. Left overnight, no charge.
I wondering if it’s the battery or the charger. Help.
I recently recycled three electric hedge trimmers that were unneeded, but this Milwaukee M18 hedge trimmer makes me wish I had hedges to trim! I may just have to plant some now.