Easy to handle. Adjusts easily from trimmer to edger. Pivoting head adjusts for edging and trimming. Edging wheel helps keep tool in place for borders and curb cleanup. Electric start with 2 ampere hour battery, which is compatible with other Greenworks power tools. 12-inch cut path. Auto feed advances line as needed. Battery and charger included. Adjustable pole height.
Auto feed does not advance line as expected.
Easy adjustment of pivoting head to convert from trimmer to edger with support wheel. Lightweight at 7.05 pounds, with a 15-inch cut path. Auto feed. Electric. Quiet operation. Constant power.
Heavy for an electric trimmer. String control is not very good.
12 amp motor. 7.5-inch double-edged blade. Spring-assist front wheel controls blade depth. Edges around sidewalks, driveways, paved areas, garden beds, and other borders. Cuts about 1/2 to 2 inches.
Blade and motor might not hold up.
Converts from edging to trimming easily with a pivoting head. Edging setting has a wheel to help stay in line. Electric start. 12-inch cut path. Single line auto feed. Compatible with other Greenworks 24-volt battery power tools.
Battery and charger sold separately. Auto feed for advancing string does not work well.
Works as an attachment with Greenworks cable string trimmers, just swap the handle. Adjustable depth to edge cutting goes to 2.5 inches deep. Works with 7.5-inch edging blade. Wall-hanging hook makes it easy to hang tool out of the way. Other power tool attachments available in the lawn care category.
Motor isn't very powerful. Compatibility issues, check the model you want to use it with to be sure it will work.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
A nice, clean edge finishes a lawn to perfection, keeping paved areas and drives neat and tidy and showing your borders at their best. For many years, edging was a time-consuming manual task with a half-moon tool. Big, gas-powered edgers did exist, but they weren’t practical — or affordable — for most. However, with today’s powered edgers and string trimmer edgers, the job is no longer a chore.
Electric edgers have brought these power tools within most people’s budgets, and they are arguably the most efficient and cost effective of this type of garden equipment. The Greenworks range in particular has proved popular for both its quality and variety.
We’ve been assessing these impressive tools in more detail, looking features that are designed to make your life easier at a very reasonable cost. In the following buyers guide we discuss all the things you’ll want to consider when making your choice.
If you’re buying a powered lawn edger, the question of whether to opt for gas or electric will usually crop up. Gas-powered machinery still offers optimum performance, but for most people electric tools provide more than enough power, and they’re easier to use and maintain. Your decision then is between corded and cordless.
Corded: These edgers are invariably cheaper than their cordless counterparts. In modest yards, they provide an effective and economical solution. Their big drawback is the need for an extension cord. These are not only frustrating to use at times, but they can also restrict your effective range to 100 feet, the maximum safe recommended length.
Cordless: In a large garden, you probably need the freedom offered by a cordless edger. While in the past these have been criticized for a lack of power and the need for frequent recharging, it’s an area that has improved in recent years. Corded edgers still have the advantage in terms of consistent performance, but top cordless models are now very competitive.
Edger: If you’re creating new edges alongside hard surfaces, or edging flower borders and vegetable plots, a dedicated lawn edger with a sharp, solid blade is more powerful and will give you a more well-defined and cleaner cut. The adjustable depth feature on the Greenworks model is particularly useful.
String trimmer: A string trimmer is more versatile than an edger. It can help you maintain and tidy up existing borders, and it doubles as a weed remover in other parts of the garden. If you have driveways or paths that are higher than the surface of your lawn, a dedicated edger may not be practical, whereas a string trimmer’s horizontal cutting action can make the job a breeze.
Blending performance, practicality, and price
This is the perfect solution for the urban gardener. It’s light, easy to use, and designed for maximum efficiency. The 12-inch cut path is wide enough for general-purpose weed removal, the three-position head gets the cutting line exactly where you need it, and the edging wheel helps guide the head precisely. You have the freedom of cordless without a big price tag.
If you’re choosing a cordless edger/string trimmer, you have a choice of a brush or brushless motor. The former is cheaper, but brushless motors make more efficient use of battery power, and that would be the option we recommend.
The batteries supplied as standard with these cordless tools are 2 ampere hours (Ah). It’s important that you buy the right voltage to go with the motor (24 volt or 40 volt), but a larger Ah capacity means more consistent performance for longer. If you consider buying a spare battery so you don’t have to stop working when recharging, 4 Ah and 5 Ah alternatives are available.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that Greenworks Max batteries are compatible with a wide variety of the company’s garden equipment. Once you’ve invested in one, you can see considerable savings on other devices by buying bare tools.
There are two types of line feed generally available: bump feed and auto feed.
Bump feed: This is operated by the user “bumping” the head of the string trimmer on the ground. This activates a button and spring mechanism, which then feeds a set length of new line.
Auto feed: Auto line feed doesn’t require any action on the part of the user. The spool automatically senses when new line is required. The latter has received some criticism from owners, though it’s not a common complaint.
Spools can be single or dual line; in other words, there’s one piece of line or two doing the cutting. Given that the second type has double the cutting edges for the same rotation speed, it will cut faster and perform better in thicker grass and weeds.
When the spool runs out, you have the option of either replacing the whole unit or buying line separately and winding it yourself. The latter takes a little more effort, but it can usually save you money.
Length: The main stem of the string trimmer/edger is usually adjustable for length, enabling you to adjust it for comfort.
Cord lock: This prevents the plug from being pulled out accidentally, something that can be surprisingly annoying!
Hoop guide: A wire hoop guide is fitted to the front of most string trimmers. The line is usually rotating too fast for you to see, so this gives you a clear indication of how far you’re cutting. It helps you avoid slicing through valued plants or stripping the paint off fences.
Daisy-chaining extension cords is not recommended. Apart from the potential safety issues, the power drop over distance will have a dramatic effect on your edger’s performance.
A string trimmer always produces new line as it wears, so the cutting edge stays sharp. With a dedicated edger, you need to sharpen the blade occasionally or you won’t get a clean border.
Inexpensive: The 5.5-amp, 15-inch corded string trimmer/edger is just under $40, not a lot for such a capable tool.
Mid-range: The Greenworks 12-amp edger, at close to $60, offers good value for a dedicated tool. Although you might expect the edger attachment to be less, it’s actually almost $20 more.
Expensive: The most powerful Greenworks cordless string trimmer/edger is the 40-volt model at $120, which includes a 2.0 Ah battery and charger. As a bare tool it’s around $55, a great deal if you already have a compatible Greenworks Max tool.
Extension cord: If you need a heavy-duty extension cord, a good-quality one costs around $25.
When using an extension cord, always plug it into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). It will cut the electricity supply in the event of a short circuit or other problem, and it could save you from what might be a fatal shock.
Excellent capabilities on a budget
A class-leading 15-inch cut path isn’t the only advantage of this model. At a fraction over 7 pounds, it’s also among the lightest. Dual line provides fast cutting, and adjustable length allows you to set the tool for maximum comfort — longer for weeds, shorter for precise edging. The head has all the features you’d expect from Greenworks, making this a comprehensive package at a bargain price.
With a number of similar-looking garden tools available, you might ask whether a standard string trimmer is good enough for the task, and we did look at a couple of alternatives at both ends of the price range. The 13-inch Greenworks 21212 Corded String Trimmer is a perfectly capable tool for the small garden, it weighs only 7 pounds, and it’s one of the cheapest high-quality string trimmers on the market.
At the other end of the spectrum is the immensely powerful 16-inch Greenworks PRO ST80L210 Cordless String Trimmer. It’s a feature-packed, fast-charging, high-performance tool that we think will satisfy the most demanding user. So why didn’t either of these make our recommended list? They both have fixed heads. They’re great for trimming — and if you have hard surfaces above your lawn, they’ll do a superb job of tidying the edges — but when it comes to vertical cutting, they’re just not practical, no matter how cheap or powerful.
Q. Do lawn edgers need much maintenance?
A. One of the big advantages of an electric edger over a gas-powered model is the low maintenance requirements. Pretty much all you need to do is check the cord for damage, make sure nuts and bolts are done up properly, and give it a good clean after use. At the start of the season, you might want to replace the line with a new spool. The line can go brittle over winter.
Q. Does the line in my string trimmer make a difference?
A. It can. Most are supplied with basic round line (largely because it’s the most economical), which does come in for some criticism from users. Square line is more aggressive, but it requires more care so as not to cause accidental damage. There are multisided and twisted versions that are claimed to cut more cleanly and deliver heavy-duty performance, but they have been known to break more often. These alternatives are also more expensive. Thicker line will handle more difficult tasks, but you’ll need to consult your owner’s manual for the maximum appropriate for your tool.
Q. Isn’t a manual lawn edger a more environmentally friendly alternative?A. It is, though it’s still the product of a manufacturing process, which has some impact. It could also be argued that it would be better for you. It will probably keep you fitter than using a powered device! If you have the time to spare, or you have particularly complex or small borders, a manual edger is worth considering. However, many of the best cost as much as a Greenworks powered alternative.
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