We get asked many gardening questions and one that is popular is "Can you use cordless hedge trimmers in the rain?"
Yes, you can use cordless hedge trimmers in the rain and also on wet hedges. There is no risk of getting an electrical shock and you can still easily cut and trim hedges safely.
Just to avoid any confusion, cordless hedge trimmers are battery operated hedge trimmers so they run off some type of battery. They are not electric hedge cutters that plug into the UK main's electricity.
The vast majority of cordless hedge clippers run off either a 12V, 18V or 20V battery. There is no electrical lead and the battery plugs into the trimmer.
There's Rain and Rain
Clearly we would not recommend cutting anything in a thunderstorm or in really heavy or torrential rain. Clearly you would get soaked and your hedge cutters would also get soaked. We know the vast majority of people are not thinking about that, but more likely thinking of light rain, or between showers.
So if we can exclude the heavy plumps of rain, then in light rain or drizzle, it is fine to use your cordless hedge trimmers.
Cutting Wet Hedges
It is always better to cut a dry hedge than a wet one of course, but sometimes we have only a particular time when we can get this job done. if you only have a spare hour on a Saturday morning, and it happens to be raining, then we just need to get the job done.
The good news is your hedge trimmers don't know that the hedge is wet. The blades will still cut through the hedge easily enough and you can still make them look neat and tidy. The hedge may stick a little more to the blades, but other than that, there will be no issue cutting the hedge.
If a hedge has been really badly soaked you may find that the thicker branches are softer. Dry branches crack easily whereas, wet branches tend to bend more. In that case you might need to do an extra pass over those.
Top Tips for Using Cordless Hedge Trimmers in the Rain
Make Sure the Battery is Fully Charged
It is pretty obvious to say that a fully charged battery will last for longer so make sure the battery is fully charged. If you have a spare battery, get that one charging as well, so if one runs out, you have a second one ready to go. If you decide to quickly nip out and cut your hedge in the rain, you do not want the battery to run out half way through the job.
Be Sure the Teeth are sharp
This is very important, and probably the most important thing of all. The rain sitting on wet hedges will reduce the contact with the teeth of the blade and this reduces the overall traction. So the sharper the teeth of the blades are the better. When you have time it is a good idea to have a close look at the teeth on your hedge trimmer and sharpen any that look blunt. You can do this with something like a Dremel tool or even a small hand file.
Drying After Use
If you look closely at any set of cordless hedge trimmers there are the blades, the body where the motor is housed and the battery and connections. Drying the blades is of course really important and will help prevent rust. It doesn't take long to wipe those down with a dry cloth and will greatly extend the lifetime of the blades. Replacing blades is a difficult and costly job.
On the actual motor case you will also see air vents. They are there to help cool the motor inside and prevent it from heating up. In the rain, and on wet hedges, some rain water may get inside. Dry off the vents as best you can to dry and stop any moisture getting inside the motor.
Finally dry off the battery and the battery connection to avoid the connections from rusting. The battery should also be wiped down, and if you have the time, get it recharged ready for the next use.
Protection against rust - Good Quality Lubrication
Properly protecting your cordless hedge clippers with the right lubrication is one of the best things that you can do. Now we are big fans of WD40 but that doesn't really work to lubricate hedge clippers. It isn't really for the purpose of lubricating or oiling. We would recommend something that is known as a resin solvent.
Hedges in particular have a lot of sap and classed as a resin. It is usually sticky in nature. If you look at hedge trimmers or shears that haven't been cleaned, you will notice that they feel sticky and will be covered in tiny white spots of resin.
Using something like the Bosch Lubricant Spray, (available at Amazon UK) which is designed for trimmers and shears you give them the best protection. Once you have dried your cordless hedge trimmers, then spray this on and that will go a long way to protecting your trimmers. A tin of this type of spray costs around £10 and will last you for a year, so we think worth the price. That said, any type of protection is better than none.
Given the weather that we get in the UK, we have no doubt there will be times when you may have to use your cordless hedge clippers in the rain. The good news is that this is a safe practise. We would however strongly recommend that you dry the trimmers and lubricate them after every use. That way you protect them and increase their lifetime.