Garden Power Tools Buyers Guide

The amount of waste produced by a garden in the autumn can be daunting to any gardener. Our guide will show you all the gardening equipment you need to keep your garden tidy and healthy all year round.

Garden Vacs and Blowers

If fallen leaves are left on your lawn for too long the amount of natural light absorbed by the lawn is reduced and causes grass to turn yellow. An ideal solution, making light work of leaf collection, is to invest in a garden vacuum.

There are many ranges of both electric and petrol vacuums will suit gardens of all sizes. They should all have the following three functions:

Blow – this enables you to blow leaves, that have fallen on to the grass or have got tangled in flowerbeds, into manageable piles ready for collection.

Vacuum – sucks the leaves up into a collection bag. The higher the wattage of the model, the greater the suction power.

Shred – an internal shredder blade chops the leaves finely, into a mixture that can be scattered on to soil helping to return vital nutrients to the garden.

Garden Shredders and Compost Bins

Shredders help to get rid of bulky garden waste, from clippings and twigs, through to small branches. The Bosch range of shredders can deal with branches up to 32mm thick and now come with a self-feeding spiral blade system that can be reversed if the machine becomes clogged. In addition they’re the quietest shredders currently available on the market.

Recycling organic material by composting is always preferable to having bonfires. Be sure to invest in some compost bins. With the added benefit of being able to produce your own home-grown compost to enrich the soil, you’ll also keep the neighbours happy…

an economical and eco-friendly solution to garden waste!

Hedge Trimmers

An electric or petrol driven hedge trimmer will make light work of the otherwise strenuous task of cutting large or tall hedges. The two-stroke petrol models allow for extra mobility around the garden, whereas the electric versions are lighter, quieter and consequently easier to use than their petrol driven counterparts.

The size of the hedge to be cut will determine the size of blade required, for example if the blade tooth gap is 12mm (1/2″) it will cut up to 12mm (1/2″) diameter branches, or with a blade tooth gap of 23mm (1″), branches of 23mm (1″) can be cut. So be sure to check the type and size of your hedge before buying a new hedge trimmer. It’s also worth bearing in mind that longer blades give a more efficient cut.

Before cutting it’s useful to mark the desired new height and width of the hedge with a guideline such as a string, and cut to this line.

For smaller hedges using a pair of garden shears will give a better finish.

Chainsaws

These powerful tools are ideal for heavy pruning tasks and tree felling. Chainsaws come in both electric and two-stroke petrol versions. Electric powered chainsaws are quieter, lighter and consequently easier to use than their petrol driven counterparts. Maintenance is also simpler. If the power supply is quite a distance from what you want to cut, then a petrol model would be the best option.

All chainsaws should have two-handed switches, and as a safety precaution a short chain stopping time and a chain brake that operates if the saw jerks upwards (kicks back).

Petrol Driven Cultivators

Cultivators are the essential tool to help prepare garden soil for a new lawn. Two-stroke petrol cultivators operate by turning the soil over with steel blades that rotate on a central spindle. These are positioned at the front of the machine and are not protected by a cowl. The blades rotate fairly slowly and dig quite deep.

Pressure Washers

For cleaning patios, fences, garden walls, driveways, house facias, barbeques, garden furniture and even cars, an electric pressure washer will work wonders, taking the effort out of washing. They work on the principle of a garden hose, linked to a suitable water supply, being connected to the washer and when the water flows into it, the pressure of the water is increased producing a high pressure water spray.

Electric pressure washers come with a rated pump pressure from 100-150 BAR, with a water flow rate between 360-530 litres/hour. The higher the BAR rating the more powerful the cleaning performance. An additional feature is their auto-stop facility, activated as the trigger of the hand set is released.

If you do not have a nearby power source a petrol pressure washer is highly mobile, and a convenient solution. They use cold-water with a pump pressure of 110 BAR and have a water flow rate of 450 litres per hour. Features include a large detergent tank fitted with a handle.

Pressure Washer Accessories

A wide range of accessories are available to extend the application of your pressure washer and make it even more useful around the house, garden or garage. These include:

Spray lance extensions – ideal for those difficult to reach areas

Rotary brushes – great for removing traffic film and stubborn dirt

Dirt blaster nozzles – the perfect solution for removing loose paint, stubborn algae and moss from hard surfaces

Biodegradable cleaning agents – ideal for a wide range of stubborn cleaning tasks

General Safety in the Garden

  • When using electrical equipment always use an RCD circuit breaker (Residual Current Device).
  • Dress sensibly by wearing protective clothing, including eye and ear protectors when using garden power tools or implements with sharp edges.
  • Never attempt to adjust any machine while the engine is running.
  • When storing fuel for petrol driven garden machinery ensure it is stored in sturdy purpose-built cans. These cans should also be labelled to show their contents (e.g. petrol, two-stroke) and make sure you place the cans in a cool dry place. When refilling a can use a generously sized funnel to avoid spillage.
  • All electric power tools should be properly insulated and where possible use orange cable so it can be easily seen when laid across the garden.
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