For those who love their lawns and want a neat, precise edge between lawn and path or garden bed, a lawn edger is the tool of choice. It will leave a cleaner, more professional separation than a lawn trimmer or lawnmower, for that perfectly manicured look.
If you something more fancy than a manual version, you could consider an electric or petrol model.
- Manual edgers are simply a sharp or bladed wheel on the end of a long handle. Cheap and simple, but they can take some effort to use, and the blade must be maintained.
- Petrol is best if you have a big space that is too long for the extension cord required by an electric edger. They tend to be more expensive than electric and cordless models. Petrol lawn edgers have either four-stroke or two-stroke engines. 4-stroke engines tend to be more powerful and emit less pollution; you can also use straight unleaded petrol in them. However, they are heavier to lug around, take up more room and require extra maintenance, such as regular oil, fuel filter and spark plug changes. They tend to work well but may be "overkill" for a typical suburban lawn. 2-stroke engines are the most common type of small petrol engine and require you to add an oil and petrol mix. However, they tend to produce a smoky exhaust and are less environmentally friendly.
- Electric models are relatively inexpensive, easier to start than petrol models and also quieter to use, but you may need a long extension cord. Beware not to run over the cord, either!
- Cordless/battery models are easy to start and don't have the inconvenience of a cord dragging behind them, but you need to remember to charge the battery first. A greater capacity battery will last longer. You may also find that the battery can be used with other garden tools from the same brand, which adds to their convenience.
Prices range from around:
- $55 for a manual model
- $90 to $300 for electric and cordless models
- $200 up to $750 for a petrol model (4-stroke engines will be most expensive).
Look for an edger that feels solid in your hands, isn't flimsy or wobbly, and is easy to manoeuvre on a hard surface. Some lawn edgers require assembly before use; some specialist mower stores will prepare the unit for you so it's ready to use straight away (especially if it's a four-stroke petrol engine).
A height-adjustable handle may be useful if you are rather small or tall.
Ease of use
Check for a definite marking on the blade cover that helps in following the line between the lawn and whatever is next to the edge (a guiding tongue). It should offer good visibility while edging – so you can see what you're doing!
Blades and blade height
Blades are typically made of hardened steel. After a time, you'll probably need to buy a new blade (especially if it frequently comes into contact with the concrete path), so buy a model that lets you buy replacement blades readily. The blade height should be easily adjustable. A blade guard is necessary (lawn edgers should all have these) otherwise you'll be spraying dirt around during edging.
A blade guide prevents the blade hitting, say, the concrete path next to your lawn. However, you'll end up with a wider gap between the path and the grass if you use one of these.
Safety first: It's always advisable to wear steel-capped boots and eye protection when using lawn edgers. And if using an electric model, always use the right extension lead for the job and never use more than one extension cord as you don't want to risk the edger not being earthed sufficiently.