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A Guide to Garden Power Tools Selection I


Gardening can seem like a never-ending chore, but with five garden power tools — string trimmer, leaf blower, hedge trimmer, chain saw, and cultivator — you can make the most out of your time outside.

In our daily life, who doesn't love a beautiful garden full of lush flowers and vegetables, or a lawn with perfectly uniform grass immaculately manicured? These outdoor landscapes involve hard work, planting, cultivating, weeding, pruning, and harvesting. Fortunately, we live in an age where garden power tools can alleviate some of the hard work that is necessary to bring about a handsome garden and lawn. We've already discussed the specifics to finding the best lawn mower deal, and now here are five power tools in particular that should find a home in the shed of those of us who aspire to orderly greenery.

String Trimmer: Weeds are the number one nemesis of the home gardener, but the string trimmer allows gardeners to regain the upper hand. This tool uses a rotating monofilament string to cut weeds off at their feet. The string trimmer is also the best solution for edging around sidewalks and driveways, and trimming close to tree trunks where the lawnmower doesn't reach.

String trimmers come with straight and curved shafts. The curved type are good for trimming up close, while the straight shaft models are better for cutting when you need to reach further away from the body, such as up a hillside. The straight shafts are usually heavier and more expensive.

Trimmers vary in the diameter of the circle they will trim. Usually, a 12" cutting path is a good size for home lawn care use. Look also for bump feeding, in which tapping the bottom of the trimmer on the ground allows a new section of string to advance into the cutting zone.

String trimmers, like each of the power tools discussed here, come in three forms: gas-powered, corded-electric, and battery electric. Unlike older models, the modern gas-powered trimmer is not particularly polluting, but it still requires fueling, tug starting, and the occasional tune-up.

The corded string trimmer is best for tackling a large garden or lawn if you don't mind putting up with the nuisance of the cord. They are lighter than gas models, less expensive, and start with the push of a button. Battery-powered models might be a good choice for lighter duty, as they are the most convenient, but their battery life is often limited and can be drained quickly if caught up in tough stands of weeds and grass.