Fred's Guide to Lawn Care Tools

Updated 17th October 2014

Having spent over 35 years caring for lawns and writing 2 books on gardening equipment I decided to put my favourite tools online.

Lightweight Lawn shears

Telescopic Lawn Shears

Long Handled Lawn Shears

Lawn Edging Shears

Lawn Aerators

Lawn Rakes

Grass Shears

Lawn Edging knife

Smartedge Lawn Edging Strip

Lawn Edging - Shear verses Electric trimmers

Which Lawn Edging Shears are Best?

Unless you have a large lawn I think a trimmer is a horrible noisy, heavy , messy tool that will cost you money to run and likely be thrown away in a few years. In comparison a quality pair of lawn shears are simple to use, more environmentally friendly and if looked after will last many years.

 

     

The best Lawn Edging Shears

Lawn edging shears are simple tools that have been around for hundreds of years with few changes. I have tested dozens of pairs and gave one of my coveted Golden Shed Award to the lightweight Aluminium handled CK legend lawn edging shears.

 They had e unique solid forged steel blades that put them in a class of their own. The quality of the blade and the adjusting mechanism  made them virtually self sharpening.

 Made in Germany - but sadly discontinued in 2012  ( f you see any old stock anywhere buy them)

The heavy duty version of these with wooden handles is still available and will last your lifetime if treated well.

 

Alternatively - Simple, Good Quality Lawn Edging Shears

The Bahco P75 shears opposite set the standard for no frills, hard wearing lawn shears.

Extra Long Lawn Shears

 If you  are tall and need the extra length then the Darlac flip-lock edging shears are great.. Or if you want work with another person who is taller or shorter than you then telescopic lawn shears are a good option. I have used the Darlac ones for several years and also like the way they telescope down very small for easy storage. Total weight is only 1.2KG!     Length of Handles 65cm - 105cm

These Darlac lawn edging shears also have a wavy blade profile that some users like as it gathers grass into the cutting area. The downside is a slightly less defined cut that only a lawn perfectionist may notice.

If you just want a really tough, no nonsense , good quality lawn edging shear then the European made Bahco P75 model is ideal and is used by many professionals. Please use link opposite to purchase either tool.

On A Tight Budget?

If your budget is a bit tight then these Wilkinson Sword lawn shears are worth considering. The Teflon coating is also nice if you like to keep your tools clean. Wilkinson Sword are now made in the far east and no longer the real top brand in gardening tools. You can get cheaper shears but you may end up buying rubbish.

 

 

 

 

Bahco P75 lawn edging shears- top quality - no gimmicks

tried and tested by professional for decades

Handle length 90cm

click link below to buy

 Bahco P75 Edging Shear

You will find Bahco shears in most professional gardeners sheds.

(Along with an oily rag and sharpening stone)

  

 Bahco P75 Edging Shear

 Darlac DP812 Flip-lock Telescopic Edging Shear

Using a  good sharpening stone will save your tool and you a lot of effort!

(Use on hedge shears and mowers blades too)

 

Lawn Edging Against Paths and Concrete

 If your lawn has edges against concrete then a fast easy way of trimming them is to use this wheeled edger. (Invented in New Zealand

I tested this gadget many years ago and thought it was really clever. A bit of work may be required to clear a slot for the blade but once this is done the trimmer can be quickly wheeled along like a big pizza cutter !

The tool is about 43 inches long so there is no need for bending and a side handle allows you to push down and get "into the groove"

Once your groove is established and kept clear by frequent use then cutting the edge will take seconds .

      

 

 

 

  

This is my Mum using this!

REMEMBER  - ONLY FOR USE AGAINST PATHS

 

Best Lawnshears for flat surfaces

From the same stable as the Golden Shed award winning shears above these lawn shears have flat horizontal blades for cutting areas of lawn around trees and along the side of sheds and walls.

This type of tool is a great alternative to an electric grass trimmer for smaller areas and is much more pleasant to use.

It will also last a lot longer and make no noise!

These German made CK legend shears are the lightest as they have aluminium handles. If the 56 price tag is too high , I  can recommend the European made Bahco P 74 lawnshears.

They have the normal , heavier steel handles, are slightly longer and have  good quality blades.

Bahco shears are used by many contractors as they are a no-frills well made and durable product.

Unless you use your shears a lot they should not need much sharpening but running a stone over them occasionally is a good habit to adopt.

 

 

 

 

 

Fiskars Launch Hi Tech Weed Puller

(but is it any good?)

If you watch TV then you probably will have seen the advertisement for this new wonder tool to make weeding easier than ever. As part of my work I have been testing weeding gadgets over the last 20 years and have tried dozens of them.

The important thing to realise about weed pulling gadgets is that there are many different types and sizes of weeds and none of the gadgets can cope with them all. Another reason for this is that weeds will be located in different soil types or even lawns.

Compared to most of the ones I have tested I can say the Fiskars weed puller is pretty good at pulling out the larger weeds. It is made from very tough but light fibrecomp material and requires that you have reasonable eyesight and hand eye co-ordination so that you can locate the jaws of the tool around the weed. Once located you press down with your foot and lever the handle backwards to remove the weed.

The tool is described as a lawn weed puller but I found it to equally useful on soil. Wherever you use it remember that a large weed will leave a large hole so have some soil ready to fill the hole if you are doing the lawn.

use the links in the box below for the best price and to help support this website

Now available with a telescopic handle!

 

 

 

 

These top quality shears make a long lasting and environmentally friendly alternative to electric grass trimmers. No noise, no electricity and 99% recyclable.

Not that you will need to recycle them, just keep them well oiled and these top quality shears will last your lifetime.

 

 

 

 

 

I tested the Fiskars lawn weed puller on soil and lawns

It is great for the larger , deep rooted weeds.

(It is also fun and a bit addictive to use)

 

 

 

 

Alternative to Nylon Grass Trimmers

Personally I don't like electric trimmers that cut with Nylon cord. I find that the cord is likely to become brittle over time and break, fail to self feed and can be hard to replace or find replacement cord.

For small jobs I prefer an electric version of the sheep shear that has  metal blades and is battery powered.

This type of tool has been around a long time and is well tested.

 

New Product -  Smaller grass shear with Lithium Ion Battery!

The Bosch ISIO can be converted from a grass shear to a small shrub trimmer in seconds and is surprisingly efficient. I also like the drop in charger base and metal tin that the tool comes in.

 Running time is very good thanks to the Li-ion batteries and I get 20 minutes use which included some woody shrub material. The softer the material you cut the longer the battery will last between re-charges.

The Bosch Isio comes with 2 blades. The shrub cutting blade and the grass cutting blade.

A good accessory  is the telescopic handle which makes the Isio a joy to use on your lawn edges. The handle has wheels for easy cutting on top of the lawn but this prevents  the Isio from being turned on its side to cut vertical edges.

The more expensive Wolf Accu model has clip on wheels that can clip off when doing vertical edges. However whilst this sounds like a good idea I found the wheels fell off and were really annoying.

The Isio wheels are built into the handle, wont fall off but do restrict the edge cutting ability somewhat when used with the long handle.

 

 

IMPORTANT NEWS

NEW IMPROVED BOSCH  ISIO FOR 2014  - MUCH EASIER TO SWAP BETWEEN BLADES

 

 

 

 

 

You also get this blade for shrub trimming!

 

Also available for 2014 - the ISIO battery powered sprayer attachment!

   

 

Bosch  Grass Trimmer Range

NEW IMPROVED 18v version  FOR 2014  -

(WITH TOUGHER LONGER LASTING BLADES )

Pictured right is the Bosch ART 26-18 LI  cordless trimmer. This is a well balanced and easy to use trimmer and has the all important swivelling head to enable you to trim the top and side edge of your lawn. It also has a telescopic handle that adjusts to your height. This battery powered trimmer also has the advantage of using small plastic blades instead of a nylon spool.

Some people dislike the plastic blades as the original ones where brittle Nylon and  tended to break easily when you trimmed against  concrete paths or up against brick walls.  However many users prefer them as they are so easy to replace,  unlike most nylon line spools that are great when new but then seize up with time as they get covered in dead grass , dirt and moisture.

The new 2014 version uses a new type of plastic blade that is 12 times tougher than previous versions and is called the DURABLADE. the image below shows how I cut through some thick weeds with the shark fin shaped DURABLADE.

I have been testing these new blades and can confirm that they are indeed very tough, at least 12 times and I found it very difficult to damage one, even running it along grass growing against a brick wall.

Bosch ART 26 Li Cordless Grass Trimmer

This new model has an 18v 1.5 ah battery and uses the black shark fin like plastic safety blades.

charging time 1 hour - run time 35 mins approx

weight 2.5kg

This Bosch "Power4 all" battery can be used in a range of Bosch power tools

 

AVAILABLE WITH OR WITHOUT BATTERY & CHARGER

 

 

Bosch ART 26-18 Li

This is the new 2014 model with extra tough plastic blades

There is also a smaller version the ART23-18LI

DO NOT CONFUSE THESE MODELS WITH THE OLD ONES THAT USES INFERIOR BLADES

USE MY LINKS TO ENSURE YOU BUY THE LATEST VERSION

LARGER CAPACITY SPARE BATTERY

 

If you want a longer running battery this is the latest Power4all 2ah version!

Click link below to see my new page on

cordless grass trimmers

  

FREDSHED TOP TIP

DON'T USE YOUR HEDGE SHEARS ON GRASS!

 

The wonderful Golden Ceka shears shown right are made from the best quality steel by German craftsmen. However most shears of this type are made specifically for hedges and not grass. If you use hedge shears on grass the blades will go blunt VERY QUICKLY

Not many people know that!

Click link below for hand shears suitable for grass

There are dozens of single handed grass shears available and the majority are poor quality Chinese tools.

I have used the 2 below for many years and am confident of their quality and performance. The Wolf Garten model has been in production ( and used by me) for over 20 years and now has a grass deflector to keep the grass off your borders.

 

(blades rotate to different angles)

The Wolf Professional shears have a neat grass collecting edge.

 

 

Shears like these are designed for cutting shrubs and hedges and not grass.

If you want a pair of shears for grass and soft foliage then these little ones below are the type to get.

 

 

Click link below to see my new page on

cordless grass trimmers

Solar Garden Lights

Clearing Leaves from a Lawn

Traditional lawn Rakes verses Blowers and Garden Vacs

 

Traditional lawn Rake - Best Model

If you like tried and tested tools then the Bulldog Springbok rake is the one for you. This tool is much favoured by professionals and has been around for many years. Unlike most rakes in the shops this one is built for strength with no compromises to cost.

 

e-mail fred@fredshed.com for details

or if you want the very best stainless steel rakes made in Holland click here

 

 

 

Click link below to see my new page on

Solar Garden Lights

 

New even more powerful Garden Vac

Although I personally don't like garden vacs I have tested quite a few and the best was this AL-KO Hurricane.

In 2006 this long established model was up rated to 2400W. There is also a budget 1700W model.

AL-KO is a German company well known for its excellent shredders and good quality garden power tools.

Guild price 90

click here for prices and more garden vacs

 

 

 

 

 

Fantastic Lightweight Leaf Rake

I have tried dozens of rakes over the last 15 years that I have been researching and testing gardening products.

This 65cm wide plastic rake is one of the best as it is so light and effective and is widely used by professional gardeners. It is made in the UK and has extra prongs to hold the leaves and debris in place.

The best feature of this rake is that it is self cleaning and you can lift and deposit debris into a wheelbarrow by just turning it sideways.

Price approx 25

Rake & Grab

 

This product was invented over 20 years ago and has seen several incarnations. It is a reasonable rake and a very good grabber.

A good 2 in 1 tool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Tip To Save Time!

Use your mower to collect the leavers on the lawn in winter.

Even if the lawn does not need cutting the mower will collect the leaves, beats raking any day!

 

 

 

Best lawn aerators - tried and tested by Fred-in-the-shed

The best Lawn Aerator?

One annoying thing about most lawn aerators is that they leave the extracted soil plugs on the ground. If you use one a lot or have a large lawn (and a bigger wallet) there is one model that collects the soil plugs and makes 4 holes. However these tools take ages to use and for most domestic lawns you may as well use a fork. If you have a large lawn then it would be better to buy a powered aerator or get a specialist in who has one of these machines.

If you are thinking of buying those silly spiked shoes then I would say don't waste your money. I suspect that they are also risky to use if you have any sort of weakness or problem with your ankles of lower legs.

TOP TIP - USE LAWN AERATORS ONLY WHEN YOUR LAWN IS DAMP TO ALLOW SOIL PLUGS TO PUSH EASILY THROUGH THE TINES

At the moment the best lawn aerator I know of is made by Sneeboer of Holland. It has been personally designed by my friend Jaap Sneeboer so it will not clog up and each time you push it in the new plug will push out the previous one, in the same way my old but now obsolete Sorby Hutton one used to.

click here for details on the Sneeboer Stainless Steel Lawn Aerator

 

The old Sorby Hutton Professional Lawn Aerator

 

 

 

 

 

Some recommended books

Any book , CD, DVD or product bought via my links to Amazon will help support my work independently testing and reviewing products

   

 

 

Lawnrakers and Scaryfiers tested and reviewed

Electric Lawn Rakers and Scarifiers

 

To keep your lawn well drained and cleared of "thatch" build up I recommend using a powered lawn-raker. (also known as an electric scarifier).

Doing this job by hand is for the super-fit, super-skint or totally insane!

Sadly, like grass trimmers there are a lot of poorly designed and made models available.

The Black and Decker GD200GB had been around for a long time and is a cheap and cheerful workhorse for lawn-raking. It has been replaced by the GD300 with a 600w motor. Bosch made a similar and slightly better built model called the AMR32F lawn raker. It has now been replaced by two 900watt models. One has tines the other has metal blades and will rip your lawn apart.

If you have a large lawn you will need a more powerful lawn aerator. The budget price 400w electric ones are not up to the job and will take ages to cover the distance, or burn out under the strain. There are better and more expensive machines for larger lawns but at 70 these cheapie lawmakers I tested were adequate for use once a year on small lawns

TOP TIP - don't set blades too deep or use on hard dry lawns - this may burn out your motor!

Another option is the Qualcast Classic range of Cylinder mowers that come in petrol or electric versions and have the innovative QX scarifier cassette system. I have used the system and although it is a bit of a pain to fit it does work well.

I am currently testing the new Draper 1300W raker/scarifier which comes with 2 interchangeable cylinders, one with wire blades for raking and the other with fixed metal blades for deeper aerating. I am also testing the Bosch ALR 900 electric lawnraker and have used the Flymo model.

All of the above machines have their pros and cons, all could and should be improved. A common problem with them all is the limited range of height adjustment and small collection boxes. On average I like the Flymo best - for small- medium lawns and occasional use.

 

Other good makes of heavier duty lawn rakers are ...

AL-KO and Wolf Garten (both German)

Please use my links or mail me if you need help choosing an electric lawn-raker

See different makes and heavy duty lawn scarifiers

A good thing to look for is the availability of spares,

Tines may bend or break after use, especially if your lawn is too dry!

 

The cheaper machines use wire tines and are called lawn rakers

 

Black and Decker GD200GB Lawn raker

 

Bosch ALR 900 & Draper 45544 1300W Lawnraker

 

 

compare price of the Flymo Lawnraker 340

 

I am currently testing an electric AL-KO scarifier

AL-KO also make very good petrol scarifiers for larger lawns, see link blow

 

 

Wolf Multichange lawn Scarifier

If you have some spare energy or don't like electric scarifiers a good option is a manual one like this German made tool. Some years ago I owned its little brother that did not have wheels and I must say it was a devil to use.

This new model  Wolf URM3 rolling scarifier is more vor sprung dork tecknic and is much easier to use. For fitness fanatics and masochists everywhere this is the lawn tool for you!

You will need to buy a separate handle for this tool and can use the link  below. The good news is this handle can also fit a huge range of other garden tools too.

click here for best prices on Wolf Multichange tools

click here to buy wolf Multichange handles online

 

 

 

 

It's wheely easy to use!

 

 

Managing Lawn Edges

Edging Irons, Shears and Edging Strips

Unique Solid Forged Lawn Edger

Also known as an edging knife or edging iron this tool is the best thing to keep your lawn edges tidy and separate from bedding areas.

This is the finest example of a half moon lawn knife available and the only one I know of where the blade is made from one piece of steel, forged by hand for maximum strength. The Bulldog Edging knife is made in Wigan and I think its the best of its type.

Most lawn edgers are made from 2 pieces of steel,  welded together. This introduces a weakness in the tool. As users have a tendency to lever the soil away with the tool,  many become bent or broken.

This exceptional tool is actually strong enough to dig with (though I don't recommend it) and also has a solid ash shaft with a generous width T handle.

 

 

 Bulldog Premier Solid Forged Edging Knife

 

Stainless Steel Long Handled Lawn Edging Knife

Whilst Stainless steel is not essential for this tool, a good quality stainless steel edging iron may produce a cleaner cut in wet conditions or if you have clay soil. The one below represents good value and reasonable quality.

 

 

Long handle for long legs

If you have the wolf multichange system a stainless steel lawn edger is available too.

 click for the Wolf Multichange lawn edger RMM

 

 

 

Smartedge - Flexible lawn edge strip

 

Smartedge is a British made innovation for making perfect lawn edges to enhance the appearance and ease maintenance of your lawn edges.

The patented innovation is the A frame mesh that is pinned down to your lawn to hold the edge in place. This "A" frame quickly becomes covered in grass so all you are left with is a nice smooth edge for easy trimming. - in theory.

I found it quite hard to get a straight edge and the level right but maybe it was operator error.?

click here to see latest price on Smart edge lawn edging system

coming soon - solid metal lawn edging -as used by stately homes!

 

Sharpening your lawncare tools

Cutting grass can quickly blunt even the best steel blades so an essential part of lawncare work will be to clean and sharpen your tools.

Traditionally a carborundum stone was used but nowadays tungsten carbide and even diamond sharpeners are available in a range of shapes  sizes and sharpening grades.

 If your blade edge is really blunt you will need something coarser like the cigar shaped carborundum stone.

For a finishing a sharp edge and keeping smaller blades like secateurs sharp the  Bahco sharp -X-E or the Felco dual sided stone are best.

I favour the Felco sharpener for fine edges and the large cigar shaped stone for larger blades like edging shears.

 

 

 

 

 

for free expert advice - on buying tools, (on and off-line) mail me at
fred@fredshed.com 
(please include tool name in subject header)

UK ONLY PLEASE

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ALSO I HAVE CAREFULLY SELECTED THE BEST SUPPLIERS SO YOU WON'T GET FOBBED OFF WITH AN OLD MODEL OR GRADED PRODUCTS.

THANKS

FRED-IN-THE-SHED

 

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