There's a certain satisfaction to be had when you see a lush, green lawn with clean, straight edges. Especially when that lawn is yours.
On the face of it, it may seem like finding an adequate lawn edger would be no sweat. But when you study the range of edgers available — and the variety of price tags out there — the task of finding the perfect lawn edger for your needs grows much more daunting.
That’s where we come in. At BestReviews, our aim is to provide consumers with up-to-date, unbiased information about the best products available.
We never accept manufacturer samples; we always buy the items we test. We scrutinize the latest research and talk to experts and consumers to find out which products provide the best bang, and which fizzle out.
Each edger featured in our product matrix is a great tool that would satisfy the needs of a certain population of users. Using the product-specific information above and our shopping guide below, we’re confident that you can find an excellent product to meet your needs.
Should you get a manual, electric, or gas-driven edger? We discuss your options here.
In this technology-rich world, an old-fashioned manual edger may look a bit out of place. And yet, this type of tool offers some definite benefits.
Admittedly, a manual tool probably isn’t the right choice if you’ve got miles of edging to do. But for small flower beds, gardens, and other areas, it’s a smart option for both maintaining and installing edging.
The most popular edgers are those powered by electricity. It’s easy to see why they’re such a trendy choice.
On the downside, you must trail a cable behind you when you use an electric edger. (Unless you invest in a cordless model, that is.) A cord isn’t a deal-breaker, but it’s a nuisance — and if you’re not careful, it could be a safety hazard. What’s more, the power output of an electric edger pales in comparison to the power output of a gas-powered model.
It’s true that landscaping pros tend to use pricey gas-powered edgers. But the market offers some great mid-range gas machines for homeowners as well. If you have a larger-than-average plot of land that requires a decent amount of edging power, this could be the right choice for you.
Gas-powered edgers offer these advantages:
On the downside, gas-powered edgers put out more noise and emissions than electric and manual models. Regular maintenance is essential to their functioning.
Features vary depending on the type of edger you buy. Here’s a brief summary of what to expect from a good lawn edger — be it a manual, electric, or gas-powered tool — as well as some helpful usage tips for each type.
Shape: This type of edger is often shaped like a half moon. However, we note that edgers with a point can be easier to position and guide.
Design: The cheapest manual edger is simply a flat plate with a handle. But for a few dollars extra, you can get a manual edger with a “step.” The step acts as a useful guide against hard landscaping, and it won’t dig into your foot like a straight blade can.
Material: Most manual edgers are made of steel, which is prone to rust. To reduce the chance of this happening, some manufacturers layer paint over steel. Unfortunately, this finish may scratch over time.
Batteries: Obviously, you’re going to have to buy batteries for this type of tool. We recommend that you get the biggest battery available, with a minimum of 20 volts. And we urge you to make sure it’s lithium, not NiCad. Lithium batteries cost more, but they hold their power longer, and they don’t suffer from the “memory effect” that makes NiCad batteries lose performance each time they’re charged.
If you’ve got your heart set on a cordless edger, we would suggest that a “combination” machine — a string trimmer/weed wacker with an edging facility — might be your best option.
Motor: Some manufacturers quote horsepower, but a better guide for this type of edger is amps. The most popular corded lawn edgers feature 11- or 12-amp motors.
Cord Retention Clip: This type of tool frequently comes with a cord retention clip to prevent the cables from coming undone while you’re working.
Blade: A steel blade is a must. Sizes range from six to eight inches, but a larger blade isn’t necessarily a better blade. Bear in mind that quoted blade size has little to do with depth of cut, which may be no more than a couple of inches. Blade depth adjustment is a more useful feature.
Trenching: Some edgers offer a trenching option. This is useful if you want to bury cable for lights or run lightweight hose around the garden for irrigation.
Right- and Left-Handed Operation: The best electric edgers provide left- or right-handed operation. This is great if you're a “mixed” family of lefties and righties!
Blade: As with electric edgers, we urge you to check blade size, depth of cut, and adjustability before making a purchase.
Easy Set-up: Most gas-powered edgers require minimal self-assembly.
CARB Compliance: Machines that are CARB (California Air Resources Board) compliant have lower emissions. It’s a standard created in that state before the federal Clean Air Act came about, and it’s something more and more states are adopting.
Power: Big horsepower numbers aren't alway necessary. But if you’re doing a lot of edging, a machine with more power will make your life easier.
Other Features: Some gas edgers can angle the blade for cutting bevels. Some offer curb hopping capability: the front and back wheels on one side lower so the machine can step over curb stones.
A NOTE ABOUT GAS MOTORS
At BestReviews, we test all kinds of gas-powered machinery. If this is the power source you choose, there's no substitute for a strong, reliable motor. Kohler and Honda both make excellent units for a variety of garden machinery; the Kohler Command is a particularly good motor. But in the edging sector, one brand stands out: Briggs & Stratton. This manufacturer is known for its durable products. If we were in a position where we couldn't decide between two machines based on other parameters, the fact that one had a Briggs & Stratton motor would almost certainly sway us.
Luke owned and operated his own lawn and landscaping business for over a decade. Founding the business and growing it prior to an acquisition, Luke led all procurement decisions, from the purchase of blowers and lawn mowers to weed whackers and tillers. Luke uses all of these machines regularly.
If you’ve got a large plot of land to manage, a dedicated lawn edger is highly recommended. And if you’re creating new borders in your landscaping, nothing quite compares to a great edger.
However, several alternatives exist for people who are looking to save money while still maintaining neat edges:
How much does a good lawn edger cost? A high-quality manual edger will probably cost you around $30. There are cheaper models, but in the “dirt cheap” price bracket, we’d be concerned about quality.
You don't have to spend a fortune to get a top electric lawn edger, either. Somewhere between $80 to $120 should cover it.
The best gas-powered edgers vary in price enormously. Mid-range machines cost between $250 and $300. The very best edgers — professional machines — will cost you twice that, and it's not difficult to spend $1,000 or more.
Lawn edgers are sharp tools. As such, they should be stored and handled with utmost care. We spoke to Luke, our landscaping consultant, for some safety advice: