What Power Tools To Choose

Are power tools just Boys' Toys or useful implements that complete a range of garden jobs more quickly, more efficiently and better than traditional methods? Martyn Loach delves into the pros and cons.

Created by Martyn Loach on Friday, 28th of August, 2015.
Updated on Wednesday, 17th of April, 2019.


Of course there's traditionalists who insist on using hand shears for cutting hedges and rakes on the lawn. But they are hard work, and the best thing about power tools is in the name, it's their power and muscle that's used, not yours.

Faced with a 10ft laurel hedge most people would reach for the trimmer rather than the shears. Of course the latter still have their place, clipping box, topiary or small hedges, but then so do pedal cycles – great for short journeys but, when you go to Scotland, a motorcycle might be a better choice.

Hedge Strimmers

If you have a hedge, clearly an electric hedge trimmer is a good idea. The length of the blade will depend on the size of the hedge and how fast it needs to be cut. You also have to take into consideration weight, cutting a large hedge can be hard work using a heavy trimmer.

The type of hedge determines tooth spacing, small leaf hedges require approx 14mm, larger and thicker hedges like laurel require 20mm and leylandii will demand something like 27mm.

As with most garden power tools, check the cable length – you may need an extension lead. It's also advisable to use goggles, gloves and perhaps ear defenders.

A cordless model might be an good alternative, so that you are not restricted by the length of the cord. Less powerful and more suited to a small hedge, an 18V battery pack will run for 35 mins.

After trimming the hedge, a garden shredder will turn the cuttings into a nice mulch. Taking twigs up to approximately 40mm diameter, one of the most important considerations is the noise they make. Specially designed quieter models are available if you don't want to annoy the neighbours.

Shredders won't handle large branches, for these and other larger cutting jobs you require a pruner or chainsaw.

These definitely need respect and safety equipment, perhaps specialist trousers and heavy duty footwear. Make sure the chainsaw length is greater than the width of the branch and let the chain do the cutting, don't apply too much pressure. Be careful that the chain has stopped before putting it down and remember it's difficult and dangerous to cut above head height.

Lawn Mowers

Many people's pride and joy, a lawn can consume an inordinate amount of time and effort, so it's sensible to have a good quality mower. Rotary mowers feature a horizontal cutting blade and wheels make it suitable to achieve straight lines. Hover mowers are more for small gardens where they are light and easily maneuverable.


Key aspects to look out for are adjustable cutting height, decent sized collection box, good cutting width, folding handle for easier storage and safety switch/blade brake.

For smaller, awkward to cut, or uncultivated areas, a grass trimmer or brush cutter is useful. Similar to the hedge trimmer, the larger the cut the shorter the job and look out for these features: a telescopic shaft, adjustable support handle, tilting head, edging roller guide, twin cutting blades and double line feed.

To efficiently remove leaves from the lawn, a leaf blower or vacuum (these can be combined) will save a lot of time and effort, and an electric lawn rake or scarifier will remove matted grass, moss, leaves and other material that prevents healthy grass growth.

Finally, make sure the patio is spruced up with a pressure washer, even the most robust and powerful machines are portable and light to use and the difference in the appearance not only of slabs but garden furniture and ornaments is marked when cleansed of moss, lichen and algae.

Related Articles

Which? Highlights The Dangers Of Cheap Christmas Lights

Which? Highlights The Dangers Of Cheap Christmas Lights

Buying cheap Christmas tree lights from an online auction site, rather from a trusted retailer such as GardenSite, might seem a good idea at the time but you will probably change your mind after reading a recent report from Which?

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Tuesday, 17th of December, 2019.

Henri Studio To Reintroduce Products To UK

Henri Studio To Reintroduce Products To UK

David Coton was delighted to recently meet with Frank Honald, President and Owner of Henri Studio USA, who had flown in from Chicago to discuss the opportunity of bringing their products back into the UK next year.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 22nd of November, 2019.

GardenSite supports Langley School in Preperation for Sutton Coldfield In Bloom

GardenSite supports Langley School in Preperation for Sutton Coldfield In Bloom

As the town gets ready for this year’s Sutton Coldfield in Bloom, those on the route are busy preparing to impress the judges. This includes Langley Primary School who are being visited on the 10th of July to assess the Town’s entry into this year’s Heart of England ‘In Bloom’ competition.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Wednesday, 26th of June, 2019.

Our Guide To Haddonstone Bird Baths And Sundials

Our Guide To Haddonstone Bird Baths And Sundials

Stone Bird Baths and Sundials make handsome features in any garden, as with their other cast stone ornaments they are an interesting mix of traditional and contemporary styles, all finely crafted and expertly designed

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 18th of June, 2019.

comments powered by Disqus

Author

Martyn Loach

Editor in Chief

View Profile

RSS

View RSS Feed

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

Gardening TV Programmes, What's On and When?

Gardening TV Programmes, What's On and When?

There's no doubt that television provides gardeners with inspiration, sound advice and good ideas, that's why we're all looking forward to new programmes and the return of old favourites during 2020.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Tuesday, 13th of February, 2018.

RHS Gardening Predictions For 2020

RHS Gardening Predictions For 2020

Sustainability and a growing awareness of wildlife are two of the key gardening trends identified by the Royal Horticultural Society for 2020, with gardeners in a position where they can make a substantial impact regarding environmental issues.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Monday, 30th of December, 2019.

Which Gardening Magazine Should I Buy?

Which Gardening Magazine Should I Buy?

Gardening is such a popular activity with interest only increasing over recent years that the magazine rack in your local newsagent or supermarket is packed with publications offering inspiration and practical advice.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Thursday, 19th of December, 2019.

What To Do In The Garden In January

What To Do In The Garden In January

Although the days are short and the view from our Garden Centre is dull and overcast, David Coton suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 29th of December, 2017.