Convenient for hard-to-reach spots and quick trims
Includes hedge trimmer and grass trimmer blades
Long battery life
Inconsistent with flimsier and leafier branches
Long charging time
When spring showers have our lawns and hedges sprouting up faster than we can keep up, a handheld shearer and trimmer is an ideal way to keep the yard maintained—especially if a larger tool can’t get to those hard-to-reach areas. For jobs that require more power and efficiency than garden pruners, a compact option like the Sun Joe HJ604C 2-in-1 Hedge Trimmer (which uses dual-action blades) can shave off time and extra energy on yard work, especially for those with topiaries that require meticulous care.
We recently tested the rechargeable cordless trimmer on our rosemary bushes, ficus hedge trees, and African iris plants during 30- to 45-minute increments to see whether it made regular maintenance easier. Curious if we’ll be keeping this in our gardening tool shed? Keep reading to find out.
Performance: Handy and versatile for routine maintenance
When using the 4-inch-wide grass shear attachment, we found the Sun Joe trimmer very handy for grooming grass that grows in areas where our larger mower can’t reach (think alongside the edges of a concrete driveway). We did notice that the blades needed a few passes when cutting thinner patches of grass, even when trimming closer to the ground.
The tool had no issues cutting thin vines and woodier live branches under about 1/4-inch, though we did notice that the cuts were a bit sloppy on greener, slightly thicker branches.
On the other hand, the grass shears were also pretty effective at trimming leafier plants on the surface (a task that was slightly more difficult with the longer hedge trimmer attachment), so we imagine that anyone with fancy topiary trees as well as woodier shrubbery will find this an essential, time-saving shaping tool.
As far as the hedge trimmer blade (which measures 6 inches long), the tool had no issues cutting thin vines and woodier live branches under about 1/4-inch, though we did notice that the cuts were a bit sloppy on greener, slightly thicker branches. According to the product specifications, the trimmer isn’t designed to cut diameters of over .3 inches, so we weren’t surprised that plants and branches thicker than a 1/4-inch occasionally got jammed between the blades.
Design: Ergonomic and easy to operate
At just 2.5 pounds, Sun Joe’s trimmer was especially light, while the rubber grip on the handle made it easy to hold both with and without our gardening gloves. The safety locking button was also easy to slide over in order to turn the trimmer on.
Swapping out the blades does take some getting used to (they need to be properly attached to the mechanical part of the trimmer), but we got the hang of it within a couple of tries. The blades also come with a plastic cover, which makes changing out the blades much safer.
Swapping out the blades does take some getting used to, but we got the hang of it within a couple of tries.
Battery Life: Lasts for an afternoon, but takes time to charge
Sun Joe’s cordless grass shear and trimmer uses a rechargeable 7.2-volt lithium-ion battery, which held up during 30-minute intervals. Our home’s entire lot is less than a quarter of an acre, so our front yard and backyard need a full afternoon at most to mow and maintain. That being said, the tool’s battery had plenty of juice for two separate half-hour sessions over two days.
We foresee the built-in battery (versus a removable one) being a downside in situations when it no longer holds a charge.
One feature we found convenient was the battery indicator, which gave us a good idea of how much time we had left work. However, it’s worth considering that it can take anywhere between three to four hours to fully charge the trimmer, so this tool may not be a good fit for gardeners who need to work for more than a couple of hours at a time.
We foresee the built-in battery (versus a removable one) being a downside in situations when it no longer holds a charge. Users would need to reach out to the manufacturer for a replacement if it’s within the two-year warranty period.
The tool’s battery had plenty of juice for two separate half-hour sessions over two days.
Noise Level: No need to wear ear protection
We found that this handheld tool is rather loud, but when compared to heavier-duty options like gas-powered or full-sized cordless hedge trimmers, the blades are nowhere near as noisy. There’s no need to wear noise-canceling ear protection, either, but you might not want to use the trimmer outside the windows of light sleepers.
The Sun Joe trimmer is priced between $30 to $50, depending on the retailer, which is about average compared to other handheld cordless tools that offer the same features. It’s not designed to replace a full-sized hedge trimmer (for reference, Sun Joe’s 20VIONLTE-HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer is $79), so we consider the price tag fairly reasonable considering that it’s a two-in-one product. Plus, the brand is a trusted name and stocked at well-known mass retailers, if that’s something that gives you peace of mind.
Competition: In the mid-range
When it comes to cordless handheld trimmers, there are plenty of both similarly priced and higher-end options, like the Black & Decker Lithium 2-n-1 Garden Shear/Shrubber Combo and the Ryobi Cordless Grass Shear & Trimmer. There are also lower-priced alternatives with lesser name recognition, like WorkPro’s 2-in-1 Cordless Grass Shear & Hedge Trimmer, which has slightly smaller blades.
As far as features, Black & Decker’s tool comes with 3.6-volt battery (half the power of Sun Joe’s tool) as well as 4-inch grass shears and a 6-inch trimmer. It’s also lighter at 1.4 pounds, and it costs about the same price. Ryobi’s trimmer has a removable rechargeable battery (which is easier to replace) and a longer hedge-trimming blade, but it’s about double the price.
Those who prefer a certain hue over another will be happy to know that Sun Joe’s two-in-one tool also comes in an array of color options, so factor that in if you’re leaning toward an apple red or eye-catching purple tool, for instance.
It’s handy to have around.
The Sun Joe HJ604C 2-in-1 Hedge Trimmer was designed for maintaining smaller gardens and those tight areas where a larger hedge trimmer or lawn mower can’t reach—and it delivers on that promise in addition to ease of use and versatility. Those who want to keep their topiaries and other plants in shape will find this versatile two-in-one tool handy, and it generally performs well, save for on thinner patches of grass that might need a few passes.
- Product Name HJ604C 2-in-1 Hedge Trimmer
- Product Brand Sun Joe
- MPN HJ604C
- Price $49.99
- Weight 2.5 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 10.5 x 2.5 x 28 in.
- Color Green, grey, purple, dark blue
- Blade Length 4 in. and 6 in.
- Cutting Diameter .3 in.
- Battery Capacity 1500 mAh
- Includes HJ604C lithium-ion cordless grass shear, hedge shear, and battery charger
- Warranty 2 years