Fred's Guide to Lawn Care Tools
Updated 18th May 2013
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 Edging knife
Smartedge Lawn Edging Strip
Lawn Edging - Shear verses Electric trimmers
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 also have unique solid forged steel blades that put them in a class of their own. The quality of the blade and the adjusting mechanism mean that they are virtually self sharpening.
I have used and recommended this product for over 15 years and know there is nothing better. Oil your shears occasionally and they will last a lifetime.
Made in Germany - sadly now discontinued in 2012 if you see any old stock anywhere buy one.
The heavy duty version of these with wooden handles is still available.
Alternatively - Simple, Good Quality Lawn Edging 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 lawnshears 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!
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.
Bahco P75 lawn edging shears- top quality - no gimmicks
tried and tested by professional for decades
You will find Bahco shears in most professional gardeners sheds.
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!
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
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.
You also get this blade for shrub trimming!
New Bosch Grass Trimmer Range
14.4v & 18v cordless trimmers
Pictured right is the Bosch ART 23 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. This battery powered trimmer also has the advantage of using small plastic blades instead of a nylon spool.
The Bosch range of trimmers was vastly improved in 2008 with lighter and more powerful lithium ion batteries. This break through makes the trimmer lighter AND more powerful!
The 2 Bosch Cordless trimmers are called Accutrim whilst the 3 corded models are called Combitrim as they have a normal tap and go spool and a extra strong spool as well
I really like the idea of plastic blades on grass trimmers and found that they perform well and are VERY easy to change when worn. A pack of 24 for the ART23 and ART 26 Accutrim grass trimmers costs about £5.
The Bosch ART 23 and 26 trimmers use different size plastic blades, and the mains powered combitrim models use nylon spools.
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.
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.
Bulldog have been making garden tools in Wigan since 1780 and are the only significant manufacturer left with a UK factory.
I can supply you with this British made Bulldog Springbok rake for £28 inc UK delivery.
Or use the link below if it is cheaper.
e-mail email@example.com for details
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
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
The Golden Gark
A rake and shovel in one
This truly ingenious tool is very poplar with all of my test team as it is so light and easy to use.
Despite the lightweight it is plenty strong enough to be used on a variety of materials and not just leaves.
The ergonomically shaped shaft is made from aluminium whilst the rake tines and body is polypropylene
This is one of those tools you would sniff at in a garden centre but once you have tried it or seen it being used you will love it.
It works well as a rake and then as a pick up shovel for leaves and garden debris.
I have no idea why it is called a Golden Gark, ( it is red in colour and not Golden)
I also have no idea why it is called a Gark- but it is good anyway.
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
Sorby Hutton Professional Lawn Aerator
Wolf Multichange lawn aerator
If you have limited storage space for your tools then the wolf Multichange system could be the answer.
Wolf offer the largest range of top quality tools and handles to cover virtually every job in the garden, including cleaning greenhouse and conservatory windows.
For lawncare the Wolf Multichange system includes and aerator, scarifyer, lawn edging tool, weeding tools and every type of rake imaginable.
You will need to buy a separate handle for the aerator on the link above. However this handle can also fit a huge range of top quality German made garden tools.
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
A good thing to look for is the availability of spares,
Tines may bend or break after a lot of 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
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.
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.
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.
If you have the wolf multichange system a stainless steel lawn edger is available too.
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.?
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.
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