- 1 Why Do You Need A Lawn Edger?
- 2 Electric Edger Vs. Gas Edger: Which Is Better?
- 3 What About Manual Lawn Edgers?
- 4 Features To Look For In Your Grass Edger
- 5 Lawn Edger Reviews
The quest for the perfect lawn is endless. We invest in high-quality lawn mowers, in new grass seed, aerators, and lawn sprinklers. But there’s something that many people new to lawn maintenance forget: a lawn edger.
Lawn edgers can produce clean lines of separation between your grass and the driveway, sidewalk, or garden beds. They reduce damage caused by grass spread to these locations, too. And best of all, they provide a clean, streamlined look to the borders of your yard.
Yet while there are a number of different choices out there, picking the best lawn edger doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Let’s go over the types of edgers and some of their features, and I’ll also give you lawn edger reviews for some of the top models on the market right now.
Top Lawn Edger Choices:
- Best Gas Lawn Edger: Troy-Bilt TB516 EC 29cc 4-Cycle Wheeled Edger
- Best Electric Lawn Edger: WORX WG896 12 Amp 2-in-1 Electric Lawn Edger
- Best Cordless Lawn Edger: BLACK+DECKER LST420 20V MAX Lithium Trimmer/Edger
- Best Rotary Lawn Edger: Truper 32100 Tru Tough Rotary Lawn Edger
- Best Hand Lawn Edger: Garden Weasel Edge Chopper
Other Good Choices:
Why Do You Need A Lawn Edger?
That perfectly-manicured lawn won’t edge itself!
In all seriousness, it depends on the type of grass that you have. Creeping grasses like bermuda grass desperately require the use of a lawn edger to prevent spreading. Otherwise, you may find grass climbing over bed edging or even sprawling tendrils out on the sidewalk. This is true of virtually any turf grass and high-traffic grasses. If you spend a lot of time on your lawn, it’s likely you’ll want an edger at some point.
By contrast, if you have a tender, low-traffic grass like fescue, you may be able to get along by simply using a string trimmer to nibble down the edges of your lawn. These grasses typically don’t send out runners, but they do produce seed, so keeping it regularly mowed to reduce seed spread is important.
In short, a good lawn edger has a metal blade which will more easily bite through thick mats of grass. If you have a dense, thick carpet of a lawn, you’re going to want the extra cutting power that a metal blade will give you over a string trimmer.
Electric Edger Vs. Gas Edger: Which Is Better?
Both will get the job done quite admirably. However, there are some differences between the two.
For most residential use, an electric lawn edger is just fine. These tend to be less weighty than their gas-driven counterparts. Further, there are both corded and battery-operated models available.
There’s limited maintenance that needs to be done on an electric edger, as well. For most people, sharpening the blade or replacing it will be the extent of their maintenance. Battery operated models may eventually require a battery replacement. However, if something happens to the motor on your electric edger, and it’s out of warranty, it’s probably cheapest to replace it rather than have it repaired.
Comparatively, gas edgers do require some regular care. Like electric models, they need their blades sharpened or replaced on occasion. Unless you’re regularly using it, they should be emptied of gas for long-term storage, and of course, you’ll need to fill the tank to use it. You may need to do some carburetor care on them from time to time. However, having a gas lawn edger repaired tends to be cheaper than buying a new one.
Gas edgers also have the benefit of not requiring a power source. If you don’t want to be tethered to an extension cord or charge a battery, this may be a plus.
In terms of performance, both actually do the exact same job, but the results may be slightly different. As gas lawn edger motors are typically a bit more robust, they can really rip through matted roots that might have accumulated along the edge of your sidewalk. Electric models have slightly less power, but since they’re lighter weight they’re easier to maneuver, although it might take an extra few seconds in the roughest spots.
Overall, average residential users don’t need the pricier gas models unless they’re doing maintenance on an extremely large property or multiple properties, or have really dense root structures to contend with. Both options will work, the choice is largely up to the individual.
What About Manual Lawn Edgers?
I actually prefer manual lawn edgers for smaller lawn maintenance.
With a hand edger, you don’t need to worry about power or gas or machine care. You may occasionally need to touch up the blade on the edger, wipe excess dirt off, or oil it for long-term storage, but that’s about the extent of maintenance. These lawn care tools will last for generations if stored in a dry place.
Further, a hand lawn edger is very easy to control, and you don’t have to worry about any possible risk of dinging up the edge of the sidewalk or that nice brick planter. It can be used in odd-shaped places with ease.
However, the manual lawn edger is not without its drawbacks. You are providing the power for this device, and so if you have any injuries or mobility issues, this might be more difficult to use. Manual edgers are also much slower to operate. Where an electric or gas lawn edger will power along the sidewalk in a minute or two, you will be spending a bit longer than that doing it by hand.
Features To Look For In Your Grass Edger
Regardless of which type you choose, there’s a few aspects that you should be mindful of when selecting your lawn edger.
While these weigh less than a gas lawn edger would, electric lawn edgers still can have some weight. A cordless lawn edger may have a heavy battery. The lightest models are those which have a power cord, but you will be tethered to a power source.
Electric grass edgers are often constructed of rigid plastic as opposed to metal. Because of this, you’ll want to take a good look at the blade guard that’s on the model you’re considering. A solid blade guard provides more protection against the errant stone that might be knocked out of the ground. Most designs take this into consideration, but it’s better to doublecheck to be certain it’s what you want!
Finally, on electric models, consider your power needs. Be sure that there is some form of cord-lock available on your corded lawn edger to prevent accidental unplugging, and use a cord which is appropriate for your edger so you don’t risk harm to the motor. On a battery-operated lawn edger, make sure that replacement batteries are readily available, and perhaps consider getting a second if you have a large yard to work on.
Typically, gas edgers are heavier than electric edgers, and in part that’s caused by the weight of the gas in the tank. Most residential models offer a smaller gas tank that can relieve some of that extra weight.
In addition, most residential gas lawn edgers use a 4-cycle motor, and are comparable in terms of their capability. There are some available which use a 2-cycle motor, but these typically require you to blend your gas and oil together in the tank. For simplicity’s sake, it’s easier to buy a no mixing required 4 cycle lawn edger.
There are two main types of manual lawn edgers, and you need to consider which is ideal for your needs.
The most basic form of handheld lawn edger features a bladed end, often curved, which is used to simply cut through the grass along the driveway, sidewalk, or garden beds. This style is easy enough that even kids might be able to use it with caution, although they’ll need to be careful with the blade’s edge.
Rotary lawn edgers are also available. These feature a wheel or multiple wheels, and an attached toothed blade. This blade is generally replaceable if it breaks. As you push a rotary lawn edger, the toothed blade will slice through the edge of your lawn.
Since you’re going to be putting some muscle power into either of these, you also need to consider your personal comfort. For bladed manual lawn edgers, there are many different handle styles available. Rotary models require a little less strength, but there’s usually only straight handles available. Choose a style that will be comfortable for you to use.
Lawn Edger Reviews
Best Gas Lawn Edger
Troy-Bilt TB516 EC 29cc 4-Cycle Wheeled Edger
Equipped with a spring assist to make pulling the cord and starting it up easily, the Troy-Bilt TB516 EC 29cc gas edger is also optimized for a cordless starter kit (sold separately). Priced very reasonably for the gas lawn edger category, this is a model designed with the residential user in mind from start to finish.
Multiple height adjustments are available for its 9″ blade, and it offers up to 2.5 inches of cutting depth. At a weight of about 29 pounds, it’s on the light side for gas edgers. Three wheels offer reasonable maneuverability while keeping the edger stable, and a poly shield protects the user from rocks or debris that might get kicked up. And it has a 2-year limited warranty.
It is not meant to be used as a commercial gas lawn edger, so keep that in mind. But for a price that’s a fraction of the competition, you can have the power of a 4 cycle gas lawn edger, and that’s a great thing.
Best Electric Lawn Edger
WORX WG896 12 Amp 2-in-1 Electric Lawn Edger
There were multiple different options that came very close for me, but I ended up choosing this WORX electric edger because it had all the best options in one package. 12 amps is a high power electric option for a lawn edger, which I liked. Three height positions are available to give you variability in your edging capabilities.
Comfort was taken into consideration with an adjustable handle and a comfortable grip that can be pivoted to the side. Lightweight at only 14 pounds, it’s easily maneuverable, and it comes with a three year limited warranty.
If there’s one thing I would change, it would be the description of this as a 2-in-1 device. The manufacturer states it can be used for trenching as well. While this is marginally true, the trench would only be about a quarter-inch wide. For any sort of reasonable width trench, this would be best used to create even sides, and then I’d switch to a shovel to remove the dirt.
Best Cordless Lawn Edger
BLACK+DECKER LST420 20V MAX Lithium Trimmer/Edger
I generally don’t advise string trimmers as a replacement for a standard lawn edger, but for this Black and Decker corded edger, I will make an exception.
The LST420 is part of their 20V MAX line of tools. It features an unusual swivel head so that it can be turned to a vertical position, and has wheels to support it while being used as a normal edger. The rest of the time, you can use it as a standard string trimmer.
While this will have some difficulty with trying to deal with the most insidious root matting, it will work for most lawns. It does not have the capability to change the depth of the edging path since it uses an automatic feed spool.
It’s surprisingly maneuverable, though, and seems capable of handling some light curves as easily as it can handle a straight line, which is unusual for most edgers. All things considered, if you’re looking for a cordless option, this one is surprisingly good for the money.
Best Rotary Lawn Edger
Truper 32100 Tru Tough Rotary Lawn Edger
Do you have an elegantly curved flowerbed? One of those twisted pathways running across your lawn, perhaps? You’ll have noticed just how hard it is to edge any dramatic curves with a powered lawn edger, if not completely impossible.
But the Truper 32100 rotary lawn edger can handle it.
Two wheels support the pair of cutting blades. The toothed blade turns to cut against the stationary flat blade beside it. And because of its compact nature and its style, it will easily glide along nearly any curved surface, cleaning up those edges.
While it only has a straight handle, that’s not a problem, as you can grasp it much like you would a pushbroom and simply walk it where it needs to go. You may still have to use something else in tight corners to finish off the job, but this will handle the majority of it simply enough.
Best Hand Lawn Edger
Garden Weasel Edge Chopper
If you have clay soil, and I do, you know that to get anything down into it, you’ll need to put some weight on it. Garden Weasel knows it, too, and that’s why their hand edger takes top slot as the best manual lawn edger.
A good-sized hole allows you to center your foot directly over the blade and step down, pushing the angled edge neatly into the ground along your driveway or walkway. Then, grasp onto the handle and lift it straight back out and take a half step to the side, and you’re ready to do it again.
I won’t say that this will be effortless, because it won’t. It requires repetitive motion, a little persistence, and a little time. But with this hand edger, you can have a perfectly straight edge without need for cords, gasoline, or batteries, and that’s good enough for me.
Other Good Choices
Greenworks 12 Amp Corded Edger 27032
I’ve developed a fondness for Greenworks products, both for their reliability and for their inexpensive replacement parts. This one also caught my eye, in part because of their outstanding four-year limited warranty. But it’s also got an adjustable blade height, a good 12 amp motor, and is constructed well.
Where the Greenworks loses to the WORX is in its handle construction. The WORX model has a double-grip system which is comfortable and easy to use. Greenworks opted for a single-handled model, and while they do offer a pivoting grip so you can set it for your comfort, it’s just not quite as easy to maneuver.
But it’s awfully hard to beat that warranty period, and it works well enough, even going about a half inch deeper than the WORX edger typically does. Still an excellent choice, it’s close to the best electric lawn edger, but is just that hair’s breadth away.
Ames Steel Handled Edger
Ames makes a solid tool, and this is no exception. This steel-handled manual lawn edger has an added bonus in its serrated blade edge. The teeth help you to cut through tougher sod and sink down into the soil. With a bit of muscle, you can even take on St. Augustine or Bermuda grass.
The only thing that kept this from the top label was the lack of a balanced footplate. You can place your foot on either side of the handle, but then you’ll need to use arm strength to push down on the other side, or shift your foot to the other side to finish the cut.
If you have reasonably soft soil, or are maintaining an existing edge, this will work wonderfully for you. It’ll work well on more delicate root structures, too. But if you’ve got tough grass and haven’t edged it for a while, you might want to rent a power lawn edger for a day to freshen up your edges, and then maintain it with this device going forward.
Radius Garden Root Slayer Shovel
I know, I know. You’re wondering why this one is here. A shovel shouldn’t be in the lawn edger category! But let me tell you why it might need to be.
Many suburban areas have large trees growing along the sidewalks to provide shade. With large trees come large roots. While a powered lawn edger might possibly be able to gnaw through those roots, you might break the blades or do damage to your motor. Manual lawn edgers won’t even stand a chance.
Enter the Root Slayer. With its unusual sawtoothed shape, you can cut through the offending roots along the edge of your sidewalk and keep them trimmed back and out of the way of your future edging work. It will take a little muscle, but it is well worth the investment. Plus, any other roots that get in your way while working in the yard can be eliminated with this device.
I’m not saying that this will replace your edger, because it won’t. But it will ensure that you’re capable of using your edger even in otherwise-impossible conditions. And that’s worth the money.
Hopefully with what you’ve learned today, you too can have the perfect, pristine edge along your grass that you’ve always wanted! Lawn maintenance is a neverending task, but these tools help make it at least a little bit better. Do you prefer a powered lawn edger like a gas edger or electric edger? Or are you a fan of the hand edger? Let me know down below!
Last update on 2018-02-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API