Electric Power Tools For Gardening

Electric Hedge Trimmers, Shredders, Grass Trimmers, Chainsaws and Blowers

Tested and reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

Updated 17th August 2017

 

 

Electric Lawn Rakers and Scarifiers

Tested and reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

My German made AL-KO electric lawn raker

Click here to buy or get more details

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

Doing this job by hand on anything other than small areas is for the super-fit, super-skint or totally insane!

Sadly, like grass trimmers there are a lot of poorly designed and made lawn scarifiers out there

Here are some of the better ones I have tried and tested over the last 20 years.

The Black and Decker GD200GB had been around for a long time and is a cheap and cheerful workhorse for lawnraking. It has been replaced by the GD300 with a 600w motor.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 It has now been replaced by two 900watt models.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 that will rip your lawn apart.

The Bosch ALR900 is the one with tines and the one to get if your budget is around 130

The Flymo Compact 3400 is a great mid price scarifier and has also been around a long time with mostly very good reviews. I like it and at 80 ish is a good deal with a 750w motor.

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 lawnrakers I tested were adequate for use once or twice 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!

I also tested the AL-KO 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. The Al-KO is extremely effective and is the model I have chosen to keep and use regularly.

Click here to buy AL-KO scarifier or get more details

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 usage. 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 a lot of use, especially if your lawn is too dry!

Fred's recommended powered lawn rakers

My old Black & Decker powered lawn raker (RIP)

Years of service and good results !

use link below for newer model with larger motor

 Black & Decker GD300 30 cm Lawnraker

Bosch 900w and Draper 45544 1300w Lawnraker

The Bosch beat the Draper in my test in every way.

The Flymo came close 2nd

 

 Flymo 750 Watt Lawnraker Compact 3400

compare price of the Flymo Lawnraker 340

 Bosch ALR Electric Lawn Raker, 900 W

use link below for AL-KO 1300w

click to see a large range of heavier duty lawn scarifiers

 

TOP TIP FOR POWERED LAWN RAKING

DON'T KEEP THE POWER ON WHEN YOU TURN THE MACHINE AT THE END OF A RUN

IT IS LIKELY TO DIG A BIT OF A HOLE IN YOUR LAWN.

 

 

 
 

240v Mains Powered Garden Vacuums

Best Garden Vacuums/Leaf Blowers

 Bosch ALS 2500 Electric Garden Blower/ Vacuum

Bosch ALS 2500 Garden Blower/Vac

I have tested a lot of mains electric blower vacs that were great at blowing but poor at sucking.

Petrol models have more power but have otheer issues so I don't review petrol machinery on Fredshed.  This is because of the constant problems people have starting and maintaining the engines. The Chinese ones are often impossible to get parts for too.

One important point that I would like to make

ALL MAINS AND PETROL GARDEN VACUUMS ARE HEAVY TOOLS TO USE

After several years of testing I have decided that I don't really like garden vacs. They are noisy, cover you in dust and a pain in the **** to store. Many suck up stones that trash the blade that is meant to shred the leaves. 

They also work better on blow than suck as wet leaves stick to the ground, this is why you rarely see a contractor using a hand held garden vacuum.

 Contractors do use hand held blowers and blow material onto a sheet in a corner. This is more practical and dedicated blowers are very simple and reliable machines.

I think that the electric garden vacuum can be described as a triumph of marketing over practicality. To obtain the necessary amount of suck some of them have 3000w motors -which is a seriously heavy item.

However if you are big and strong, like noisy machines and really want one please use the link below where you will see a range of them from a reliable Fredshed recommended retailer

click for prices of blowers and garden vacs

Bosch ALS 2500 Garden Vacuum

 

This is one of the lightest garden vacs and is also a bit of a transformer as you can swop the tubes and bag around depending if you want to blow or suck.

It is well balanced and effectively collects the leaves and shreds them too.

As this type of machine is easily damaged by foreign objects or getting jammed up Bosch have built in a safety cut out mechanism that cuts the motor and saves you wrecking it. Whilst this is a clever feature it is a bit too clever for some owners who don't read the manual and believe the tool has failed when in fact it has just cut out and will start again when it has cooled down.

In fact some early models did have a problem with the cut-out sensitivity which has been resolved and my 2015 test sample works reliably .

Petrol Leaf Blowers

These are a similar weight to the mains electric versions but have more power. If you are confident with starting 2 stroke engines then I would rather recommend a petrol machine. Like the electric ones the budget versions mostly use a second tube that has to be switched over for the vacuuming function.

I rarely recommend petrol powered products as many people find them difficult to start and to maintain. Also manufacturers use so many different engines that I cannot possibly keep up to date.

With the increased power and reducing prices of Li-ion battery powered tools I think petrol equipment will become almost obsolete except for the largest equipment used by contractors.

If you do want a small petrol blower for domestic use the McCullogh 25cc petrol blower vac is well priced and has encouraging reader reviews.

click here for prices and more garden vacs

 

 

 
 

 

 Hedge Trimmer or Hedge Cutter? Is there a difference?

Best Mains Powered Electric Hedge trimmers

According to me, a Hedge Trimmer is a lighter weight, smaller bladed machine for removing soft green growth from hedges. The Bosch AHS 45-16 is an example since it has a 45cm long blade and cuts up to 16mm thickness.

A Hedge Cutter is a heavier duty, larger bladed and more powerful machine capable of removing the green growth on hedges and is able to cut back into the older woodier material too. The Bosch AHS 70-34 is an example since it has a 70cm long blade and cuts up to 34mm thickness.

 Bosch AHS 70-34 Electric Hedge Cutter, 700 mm Blade Length, 34 mm Tooth Opening

If a low powered hedge trimmer is used to cut woody material it is unlikely it will do it for long as the blades will blunt and wear or the motor or other components may burn out.

Only the largest (36v and up) battery powered hedge trimmers are capable of cutting woody hedge material.

A high powered mains electric hedge cutter can be better than a cheap petrol model, so you cant judge just on power as the size and quality of the blade is crucial.

To add more complication some models have anti-lock clutches or anti-jam, and sawing-like features.

If you are buying a mains powered electric hedge trimmer then it is likely that you have a large hedge so go for one with plenty of power and a long blade if you have the strength to hold it. More important is the quality of the blade since this is a machine that is going to take a lot of stick! You can also protect your blades from sticky resin and sap by using a special cleaner and lubricant from German company Stihl.

Try to avoid really cheap hedge trimmers, you will most likely be wasting your money as the blades will soon go blunt or the plastic cogs that drive the motor break and turn it into landfill.

Best Mains Electric Hedge Trimmer

Smaller Bosch Hedge Trimmers - Suitable for Light Domestic Trimming

The AHS 50-16 has a powerful motor and decent length blade

 Bosch AHS 50-16 Electric Hedge Cutter, 500 mm Blade Length, 16 mm Tooth Opening

 

These 3 Bosch models are  well made with precision ground  blades and tough motors. 16mm blade spacing ensures that they cut even thick stems with ease.

The AHS 45-16 is the entry level trimmer for small hedges.

The AHS 50-16 is slightly longer and more powerful.

The AHS 60 - 16 has a longer, 60cm blade and the same 450w motor as the 50-16.

For the money I think  the Bosch AHS 50-16 is the best deal.

This is a real, no nonsense workhorse that has been in production many years either as Bosch or Qualcast.

Qualcast is now Chinese owned and made (and best avoided)

A good alternative is the excellent Bosch AHS 60-16 which has a very long 60cm  blade and some really good customer reviews.

If you want a normal size, no nonsense reliable hedge trimmer with quality blades at a low price then the Bosch AHS 50-16 is the one I recommend.

Bosch AHS 50-16 Electric Hedge Cutter, 500 mm Blade Length, 16 mm Tooth Opening

 

Best Mains Electric Hedge Cutter

The Bosch AHS 70-34 Pro massacring my thick old Eleagnus

This model was called the Bosch AHS 7000Pro and is the largest Bosch mains electric hedge cutter available.

This machine is truly awesome and will outperform many petrol machines. If you need to reduce the height of a mature hedge then this is the tool. You will need to be fairly strong as it is BIG!

It has a 700 watt motor, 70cm blade length with tooth spacing of 34mm

12m of cable, laser ut diamond ground blades

Quick-stop blade-brake and high-torque (80Nm) slipping clutch for easy cutting

Blade tip protector for cutting along walls and paths.

Weight - 3.9kg

 

For Heavy Duty Hedge Cutters see links below

Bosch AHS 70-34 Electric Hedge Cutter, 700 mm Blade Length, 34 mm Tooth Opening

 

 

Bosch Long Reach Hedge Trimmer

 

 Bosch AMW 10 HS Multi-Tool with Pole Hedgecutter Attachment

 

 

 
 

Best Mains Electric Grass Trimmer?

Cordless grass trimmers tested and reviewed

After testing most of the popular makes of electric trimmer I was not impressed and after getting caught up in the cable thought " cordless is the way to go"

Many were either uncomfortable to use or had ridiculously complicated nylon line dispensers that were very hard to replace.

I know of at least 2 people who became so frustrated that they smashed their trimmers against a wall and threw them away!

 

Luckily Li-ion batteries have improved the performance of these cordless tools and they are now taking over from mains trimmers as they are easier to use.

Click here for my page on cordless grass trimmers

 

Black & Decker Strimmers and Replacement Spools

My heavy old B&D Strimmer

DID YOU KNOW?

The word "Strimmer" belongs to Black and Decker. If you call any other make of grass trimmer a "strimmer" you could be sued!

When it comes to Strimmers B&D have gone through more models than Peter Stringfellow. So please don't ask me about spares or repairs as I just cant keep up with all the numbers!

Many retailers and websites want to sell you the grass trimmer - but can't be bothered to sell the line and spools you will need to continue using it.

Black & Decker Trimmer Spares

Black and Decker trimmers use 3 types of nylon cutting systems. Manual for the older and low spec models and reflex for later models.

The large machines like the GL680 GL685 and GL690 used the Reflex plus system which has the option of the heavy duty "cat's whisker" type blade.

I quite like the cat's whisker blades as they are easier to fit. Personally I hate nylon trimmer spools as I have wasted many hours trying to fit or fix them. I have also wasted many hours gazing at a rack of plastic spools and lines in B&Q wondering which one to buy!

If you have a Black & Decker Strimmer the most likely spools you will need are the ones below, click for specific model details.

 

Black & Decker A6481 and A 6441 spools, and best value 50 metre line !

Buy the cats Whisker heavy duty line for the Black & Decker GL680 GL685 and GL690 Trimmers

 

click here to buy nylon spool for the GL680/685/690 Trimmers

 

Electric Garden Shredders

Garden shredders are one of my favourite tools. I can get rid of tons of waste and produce weed suppressing mulch that will also put the nutrients back in my soil

I have tested the following shredders

AL-KO SP5000 Silent shredder, AL-KO Powerslider2500R , Atco 1800 Quiet shredder, Bosch AXT 180 Rapid Shredder, Bosch AXT200 Rapid Shredder, Bosch AXT2000 HP Silent Shredder, Bosch AXT2000 Rapid ,  Bosch AXT2200 Rapid Shredder ,Bosch AXT2200HP Quiet Shredder , Bosch AXT25D , Bosch AXT 23TC, Black & Decker GA 1600e , Draper 1800w and 2400W Shredders, JCB GSB 1800 , Makita DSH201 , Powerdevil shredder. Ryobi ESR2400. Flymo Pac-a-shred. Wolf Shredder, Viking GE250.

Fredshed readers have also provided good feedback on

Aldi 2500w, Ryobi RGS 1500 Shredder, MTD 115E shredder, Viking GE35L shredder, and Viking GE103.

Click here for my page dedicated to BOSCH GARDEN SHREDDERS

With links to Bosch Shredder parts and repair tips!

 

Black & Decker Alligator Pruner

 Black + Decker GK1000 Alligator Powered Lopper 550 Watts

This unique tool from Black and Decker combines the features of a small chainsaw with the action of loppers.

The result is a very effective pruning tool that is easy to use and most importantly very SAFE.

The Alligator is light enough for me to use from my wheelchair and the clamping jaws and double safety switches make it much safer than any other powered pruning tool.

The Black and Decker Alligator has a 550w motor and weighs 4KG. It will easily cut 4 inch branches.

This tool is fun to use but you still need to take care with it to protect yourself and also make the tool last longer.

My one got slightly abused and a small cog broke. Luckily Black & Decker spares are easily available and the parts were not too expensive.

My old test model was green, the new model is orange in colour but has the same spec.

There was an 18v battery version but it has been discontinued. The nearest thing to it is the 20v Worx Jawsaw that I have not tried yet but looks good and has great reviews from users.

 

 WORX WG329E.5 20V Cordless JAWSAW Safety Chainsaw with 2Ah Battery Pack

Black + Decker Alligator Chain

 

Mains Powered Electric Chainsaws

If you want to buy a corded electric chainsaw my recommendation is Bosch - They have a wide range, good performance and can be easily contacted for spares and repair.

The range covers all requirements with no fancy gimmicks and all the features, including tool-less adjustment of the chain on the higher end models.

Another good feature of the Bosch chainsaws is the longevity of the range which means that spares are also going to be around longer.

Click here for prices and info for Bosch Electric chainsaws from a Fredshed recommended discount supplier

 

Use above links to find replacement chains for all Bosch and Black & Decker Chainsaws

See my page on cordless chainsaws

 

 

 

DO ME A FAVOUR!

I always wear goggles and gloves when testing garden shredders as thorny branches can get whipped about in your hand or face.

If you use a powered product like a shredder , grass trimmer or hedgetrimmer then please make sure you wear goggles.

It's so easy to damage your eyesight , from a speck of blown dust to a flying thorn.

I use the big Draper goggles and it it is sunny a pair of tinted wrap around glasses.

 

 SAFETY GOGGLES by Draper

 Safety Sunglasses with Green Tinted Scratch Resistant Wrap-Around Lenses and No-Slip Grips, UV 400 Protection. Adjustable

 

If you found my site helpful and would like to make a small donation please use the link below.

Thank you. Fred

 

 

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USE LINKS BELOW TO FIND MORE GARDEN AND DIY TOOLS

 

 

GARDEN TOOLS

 

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Angle Grinders  

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OTHER PRODUCTS

LED Bulbs

Solar Garden Lights  

Torches

Vacuum Cleaners-cordless

 

Fred Walden 2017