The 6 Questions You Need to Ask About a New Landscaping Edger and 4 of our Favorite Picks
Things you need to know and consider before buying landscaping edgers...
Does the edge between your garden and lawn look ragged and unkempt? Have you been trying to cut a nice clean edge using a shovel with less than stellar results?
This could simply be because you are not using the right tool for the job. When you have nice clean edges, it shows your neighbors that you like to pay attention to detail and are concerned about keeping your yard looking nice.
The best tool for the job is a landscaping edger, not your string trimmer as so many people seem to think.
Multiple Landscaping Edgers to Choose From
While a string trimmer might be able to give you at least some semblance of a clean edge between your lawn and a concrete sidewalk or driveway, it really doesn’t get the job done right.
If you are serious about having nice straight clean edges, you need to invest in some form of landscaping edger.
These simple tools come in two styles, the old-fashioned hand-operated version, and the new powered walk-behind models that can save you a lot of time and effort.
In recent years, several manufacturers have also introduced a multi-purpose tool with interchangeable heads, including an edger attachment.
Adding a lawn edger to your tool inventory can be a great idea, there is no better way to make your gardens look fantastic than by edging them.
No matter how the rest of the garden may look, a straight clean edge can only make it look better. However, before you rush off and buy the first landscaping edger you happen to come across, there are a lot of things you need to consider.
Essential Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Landscaping Edger
With so many different brands and types on the market, finding the right one to fit your needs can be challenging.
If you are not sure which one will best suit your needs, start by asking yourself these questions.
#1. How Big is Your Garden/Yard?
This may the most important question of all, if you have a large yard with a number of gardens, paths, and driveways to be edged, you may be better off with a larger powered edger.
On the other hand, if you have a small yard that only has minimal edging to be done, you may find a hand edger or trimmer attachment can get the job done for less money.
#2 What Does Your Schedule Look Like?
No matter how big or small your yard happens to be, edging it properly is going to be time-consuming. Obviously, the bigger your yard is, the longer it will take to edge.
When you have unlimited time to work with, you may find a hand edger the perfect tool. But, if you are like me (and most others), time is probably in short supply. In this case, a powered edger makes more sense, even though it will definitely cost more than a hand operated unit.
#3 Hand, Electric or Gas Powered?
Although hand edgers are cheaper, we recommend for even a medium sized yard to get a power edger
And if you are going to buy a power landscaping edger, your choices are gas or electric power.
In most cases, you can buy an electric edger for under $100. At the same time, top-of-the-line gas-powered models can run as much as ten times this amount. Thus, it is very important for you to sit down and decide on your budget right from the outset.
As with many things, the more you spend, the better quality machine you are likely to get, but at the same time don't be fooled into thinking that just because you spent a fortune on your new landscaping edger, it is the best tool for the job.
#4 How Many Wheels?
This applies to powered edgers as they are available with either three or four wheels in most instances.
No matter which style of edger you choose, the two wheels in the back are used to roll the edger along, in the front is a guide-wheel that is typically used to keep the edger blade in line with your cut.
Those that have four wheels frequently have what is known as a “curb wheel” designed to be extended for additional balance and stability when working along a fixed curb or edge.
#5 How Many Cycles?
Gas powered edgers come with either two-cycle or four-cycle engines.
The two cycle versions are more common in all states except California where two-cycle engines are banned. These models require you to mix the gas and oil before using them. They are noisy, but powerful and are most certainly not environmentally friendly.
Four-cycle engines are quieter, do not require you to mix the gas and oil, and tend to be heavier and cost more. Both are equally capable of getting the job done.
Of course, if you are buying an electric powered edger, you don't need to worry about this.
#6 How about Angled Blades?
The average landscaping edger uses straight blades that run perpendicular to the surface of the ground. For the most part, you will find this type of edger will work just fine for just about any project you have in mind.
Some of the newer, and more expensive, models feature blades that can be adjusted to various angles, letting you create edges that look amazing.
More about the Different Types of Landscaping Edgers
Each of the different styles of landscaping edgers can handle the most basic form of edging your lawn and garden. However, where they differ is in how they approach the task.
In order for you to find the right one for your yard, start by considering the information above and how it applies to the job you have in mind.
While a good hand edger can get the job done and do a very good job of it, it requires you to do the job using nothing more than human power.
This type of edging takes a lot of time and effort as well as a commitment to getting the job done. They are the perfect tool for the purist, but when time is an issue, may not be the best choice.
These are edging attachments designed to be used with your electric or gas powered string trimmer. In most cases, you simply remove the string trimmer head and replace it with the edger attachment.
You may also find a number of tools that look like they started out life as a trimmer with a straight shaft that has been permanently modified into an edger.
These come in two varieties, those that have a long cord and must be plugged in to use them and those with a rechargeable battery pack.
The corded versions are nice and quiet, they vibrate less, and must be used within a certain range of the outlet they are to be plugged into. Cordless versions let you go practically anywhere on your property.
However, they typically don't have much in the way of power and are best suited to keeping the edge of your grass cut back from the driveway or sidewalk.
Corded models are typically rated at 10 to 12 amps and are quite lightweight, perfect for those with physical limitations. Cordless models come with a range of battery packs running from 12V to 18V or more.
Most now come with a longer-lasting lithium-ion battery. Be sure to look for a model with a good strong blade.
Be aware that using an electric edger is going to take longer than using a gas-powered model. Battery-powered models are only as good as the battery in them, they are best suited to smaller jobs.
Gas Powered Edgers
These edgers can go virtually anywhere on your property, and they have the power to take on virtually any edging task you might have.
They take most, if not all, of the hard work out of the job and are considered to be far safer than using a converted string trimmer to get the job done.
They typically have heavy duty frames, multiple cutting heads, and replaceable tires, making them an excellent choice for larger jobs or when you only want to have to buy one edger to keep your yard looking nice for many years.
They are however quite heavy and require the user to be in good physical health to use them.
The Stick or Hand Edger
The handheld edger is the lightest landscaping edger on the market and by virtue of its design the easiest to use.
While you can use this type of edger to cut a new edge, they are best-suited to being used for follow-up or clean-up work.
They are not intended for lengthy jobs as doing so can cause excessive fatigue and possible physical injury.
Our Favorite Landscaping Edgers
Now that you have a better idea of what you need to think about before you invest in a landscaping edger, let's take a quick look at some of our favorite powered edgers and see what they have to offer.
Black and Decker LST522 20V MAX, 12″
Battery Powered Combo Unit Great for Smaller Yards
This landscaping edger is among the most powerful on the market, it comes with a 20V lithium-ion battery and can be converted from a string trimmer to a wheeled edger.
It features a unique Black and Decker Power Drive Transmission® to increase the amount of torque at the head. You get a 2-speed power control that lets you choose between more power and longer battery life.
While most “combo” units are not the best choice, this one is more than capable of handling most smaller edging tasks around your yard.
Long-lasting 20V lithium-ion batteries
Battery life not good at highest setting
Can be used as a string trimmer or edger
Combo units not as good as dedicated units
Very lightweight for a cordless unit
Only good for smaller yards
Black and Decker MTE912 6.5-Amp Mower, 12″
Three-In-One Mower, Edger, and Trimmer Gets the Job Done
When you are looking for a single tool that can handle multiple tasks around your yard, this one from legendary toolmaker Black and Decker is just what you need.
With four wheels and an electric motor, it can mow, trim, and edge your yard with its powerful 6.5-amp motor. The gear drive transmission keeps you from getting bogged down while the design makes it easy for you to switch from one version to the other.
The conveniently located foot pedal makes inserting the edger or trimmer attachment a breeze. The deck features two height adjustments and the AFS auto feed ensures you never run out of trimmer string.
Everything you need in one convenient tool
Trimmer spool does not hold enough line
Swapping between trimmer, edger, mower easy
Not made for use in large yards
Set up takes less than five minutes
Does not mow very well
Atom Professional Edger ATCPE4
Gas Powered Professional Edger for Bigger Yards
This gas-powered edger features a dead man's throttle trigger that stops the blade from spinning the moment you take your hands off of it. The transmission and gears are fully enclosed to keep dirt and fingers out.
Despite having a gasoline engine, the Atom is very lightweight, coming in at only 20 pounds without gas.
It has been built to tough commercial standards and features hardened spring steel blades. It also comes with wire brushes that can be used to clean up the sidewalk or driveway when you are done.
Lightweight, only 20 pounds dry
Transmission is prone to failure
Built-in safety features
Exhaust outlet is pointed towards your face
Wheelbarrow design makes it highly maneuverable
Single wheel design may be hard to handle
Troy-Bilt TB516 EC 29 cc 4-Cycle Wheeled Edger
From One of the Finest Yard Tool Manufacturers in the World
With its 29 c.c. 4-cycle engine this may be one of the best landscaping edgers on the market for a very reasonable price.
It features 3 wheels and a total of 6 height adjustments and a large 9-inch edging blade with dual tips. It also features Troy-Bilt's patented Jumpstart and Spring Assist technology for easier starting.
The durable steel frame has folding handles for easier storage and comes with a full 2-year warranty.
Very easy to assemble
Counter clockwise spinning blade can make it hard to use
9-inch blade edges very nicely
Hand-set throttle hard to use
Starts very easily
Can be hard to keep running
Summing It All Up
When it gets right down to the nitty gritty, finding the right landscaping edger can be challenging no matter how much you read.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to know what you are looking for before you get started. Follow the above advice and you are sure to find the right one to meet your needs.
Personally, I like the Atom model, I have one that has been doing a great job o my hobby farm for the last two years, a situation I expect to last for many more years.
If you have enjoyed reading about the different landscaping edgers, please let me know.
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