Buying the best lawn edger you can find could be a great decision, because if there is one single thing you can do to make your garden look sharp – it’s edging your lawn and garden beds.
Even if your perennials need staking, your hedges need a trim or your lawn is looking patchy, you can lift the whole garden picture by getting your edges looking good. And of course the quickest way to do this is with a quality lawn edging tool.
But how do you know which kind of lawn edger to choose? Read on to find out ..
The essential lawn edger buyer’s questions (the EBQs)
Whenever you prepare to purchase a piece of outdoor power equipment, the sheer number of choices and price points can become overwhelming. If you are ready to purchase a lawn edger for your home, but you are unsure of what type will suit you best, you need to ask yourself some important questions. The following EBQs will help you decide which type of lawn edger will be best for your needs.
1. How big is your yard?
Perhaps the most important consideration to take into account when looking for a new lawn edger is the size of your property. Typically, edgers are used along sidewalks, driveways and around the perimeters of flower beds and gardens.
If your property features numerous areas which must be edged with regularity, you will probably want to spend more money for a larger, more powerful machine that will take more of the effort out of the job for you.
If you have minimal edging to accomplish, you may be better off purchasing a smaller edger.
2. How much time do you have?
Edging your lawn takes time, especially if it covers a large area. If you had an infinite amount of time available to complete your edging work, you would probably do just fine with a manual edger. But, if you are like most people, you wish to spend as little time on the least interesting and creative yard jobs as possible.
If you have time to spare, you should be able to get by with an edger featuring a smaller blade and less overall power. If you need to make every second count, you will be better served by a more advanced edging machine.
3. Gas or electric?
Lawn edgers are available in gas or electrically-powered models. If you require power and speed, you should probably opt for a gas-powered unit.
If you have a smaller yard with minimal edging to do, you should probably choose an electric unit.
Keep in mind also that gas-powered edgers are loud and potentially damaging to the environment. However, electrically-powered edgers, though they are quieter and more environmentally friendly, must be operated within 100 feet of a working power outlet.
4. How much can you afford?
The least expensive electrically-powered lawn edgers can be purchased for less than $100.
The most expensive, gas-powered edgers can cost more than ten times as much. It is important to establish a budget for your power equipment so you can prioritize your money.
If keeping your lawn edges cleanly manicured is important and you have a lot of edging to do, you should spend more money. On the other hand, if edging is not as important to you as some other lawn jobs, that should be reflected in your edger purchase budget.
5. Three or four wheels?
If you opt for a more powerful, gas edger, you need to decide whether you want a machine with three or four wheels.
On both types of edgers, the rear wheels are used for rolling the unit, while a guide wheel keeps the blade in line. Four-wheeled edgers offer greater flexibility in the form of a curb wheel (or kerb wheel, for the Brits out there) that can be extended to street level for greater balance and stability when edging along a fixed curb (kerb).
6. Two or four cycle engine?
If you plan to purchase an electrically-powered edger, you need not concern yourself with this point.
Gas machines can be purchased with two or four cycle engines. Two cycle engines are more common, but they require you to mix gas and oil. They are also the least friendly to the environment. Four cycle engines run more cleanly, but they are heavier and more expensive.
7. Are angled blades necessary?
Most edgers use a blade that spins perpendicular to the ground. In most cases, this is sufficient for typical edging jobs.
More advanced edgers feature blades which can be angled for a different finish. Under most circumstances, straight blades are sufficient, but angled blades offer more flexibility and can give you a nice angled finish, which especially looks good around flower beds.
Different types of lawn edgers
Finding the ideal lawn edger requires you to choose from among a few different types of machines. These machines all do the basic job of edging, but they differ in terms of how they approach the job. In order to decide which type will suit you best, you should carefully consider the points above as well as the nature of your neighborhood.
The most basic type of lawn edger is the manual type. Working with one of these requires painstaking effort and a true commitment to a great looking lawn. I suppose that in a way, these are for the gardening purists. And I have to admit that I find edging by hand quite an absorbing job – as long as I have plenty of time to do it in.
Next up are edger attachments for garden trimmers. Many gas-powered and electric string trimmers can be used for basic edging, but some offer you the ability to attach edging implements where the string trimmer head is located. Other trimmers allow you to rotate the head so that it is perpendicular to the ground, thus becoming a basic edger.
There are even some straight shaft lawn edgers available, such as the Husqvarna 125E
(pictured), which are very similar in design to a string trimmer, but with an edging blade and guide wheel at the business end instead of a cutting line.
Dedicated, electrically-powered edgers come in corded or cordless varieties. Cordless models are not very powerful, but they are extremely portable and easy to use. Corded models are quiet and convenient, but they must be operated within close proximity of an electrical outlet.
Gasoline-powered lawn edgers are the most powerful, and the most popular. These machines are capable of edging the largest properties and they are very portable, assuming you are strong enough to lift one of them. On the downside, they can be unfriendly to the environment because of noise and fuel fumes. Also, gas engines require more maintenance than electric motors.
For the purposes of this article, we will focus on gas-powered and electrically-powered lawn edgers.
Gas-powered lawn edgers
Size and power of gas-powered lawn edgers
Edging machines that run on gasoline are the most powerful available. They generally use engines rated for power in terms of cubic centimeters, or ccs.
The smallest machines of this type use two cycle engines rated from about 20 to 50 ccs. Larger, more cleanly running edgers use four cycle engines rated anywhere from about 130 to 160 ccs.
Some of the larger edgers can be heavy, but they are usually not too big to lift into the back of a truck.
Features to look out for in gas-powered lawn edgers
If you can’t stand having to mix oil and gas, plus you are concerned about the environment, you might want to consider a machine with a four cycle engine. These machines run much more cleanly than their two cycle counterparts.
Another consideration is the presence of a fourth wheel. The extra wheel helps with stability and it allows you to edge curb areas more effectively.
Best uses for gas-powered lawn edgers
These machines are best for larger yards with numerous areas requiring frequent edging. They are not well-suited to quiet neighborhoods since gas engines can be noisy. However, if you live in an appropriate area and you have a lot of edging to do on a regular basis, a gas-powered lawn edger is the tool you need.
Electric lawn edgers
Size and power of electric lawn edgers
Electric edgers fall into two categories – corded and cordless.
Both types are relatively small and lightweight. Corded units feature electric motors rated for power in terms of amps, with 10 to 12 amps being typical. The power of cordless units is measured in volts, with 18 volts being the most common size.
Features to look out for in electric lawn edgers
Even though you may only use this type of machine sparingly, you should opt for one that features a strong blade. If you are thinking about getting a corded unit, you should try to find one that keeps the extension cord from becoming tangled and cumbersome.
If you opt for a cordless unit, you should choose one with a Lithium Ion battery, which will last longer and give you more consistent power.
Since they generally lack the power of gas edgers, electric machines can take longer to edge areas that have been left for some time.
However, once you have your edges under control, then electric models are usually quick and effective options for most domestic situations.
Best uses for electric lawn edgers
These machines are best suited for smaller yards in more densely populated communities. Since corded models must be used within 100 feet of an electrical outlet, they are most useful on jobs requiring a minimum of edging.
Since cordless machines run on battery power, they can only run for as long as the battery holds a charge. This limits them to usage for smaller jobs, as well.
Gas powered lawn edgers
For quality and value it’s hard to look past the McLane lawn edgers, especially if you have lots of edging to do. These machines take the hard work out of the job and remove the safety risks associated with using string trimmers for edging.
McLane edgers feature heavy duty steel frames with dual cutterhead bearings for smooth cutting. They have smooth live rubber replaceable tires and chip resistant baked on powder coated paint.
Another option is the Atom Professional – lightweight but high spec, with advanced safety features. These edgers enjoy a solid reputation.
Electric lawn edgers
For typical lawn sizes and home use, an electric edger can be a good option. The best on offer are probably these units from Black and Decker, Worx and Greenworks.
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