Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Comparing Electric Lawn Edgers

Best Electric String Trimmers and Lawn Edgers Review Part 14: Comparing Electric Lawn Edgers

Electric lawn edgers: lawn edgers are what you use when you want a truly nice vertical edge alongside your lawn. Trimmers and trimmer/ edgers, however good they are, cannot match the clean edge of a true edger. The good news about electric lawn edgers is that choosing electric as a mean of power does not require you to make agonizing choices:  the best electric edger reviews better than all gas edgers, when rated by home owners.

These models did not make the cut

The American Gardener ReadyEdger YE8  by Outdoor Power is a 7.5", 12A, 15 lb edger, which has recently been obsoleted by the newer 30243 model. It is practically the same machine as the Craftsman 79650 (made by Outdoor Power as well), which, in turn, is visually indistinguishable from the Craftsman 79653, which is currently being sold by Sears. The YE8 has a very long track record, extending back to at least 2002, although its reviews are not very good: it gets 40% positive reviews (10/25 between Amazon,  shopping.com and Sears). Users are in general satisfied with its power, but complain about the length of the shaft (too short) , and find the edger awkward and too hard to maneuver. The most significant complaint, which occurs often, is early failure, after a few uses (common), or after the first or second season. Purchasers of the YE8 (as opposed to the Craftsman) had some trouble with Outdoor Power customer support, which not not always efficient or helpful. While the YE8 is not available any more, the Craftsman 79653 is, and is not recommended because of its low reliability.

The $80 American Gardener 30243  by Original Power , is the successor to the ReadyEdger. Feature-wise, it appears indistinguishable from the YE8, although the motor housing is different. The telescopic shaft pivots for more convenient storage. An accessory handle allows the user flexibility in holding and handling. Cutting depth is adjustable. The 12A motor should give it reasonable power for most home owners' tasks. The 30243 doe snot have any reviews yet. Users of the previous models had some complaints about Outdoor Power customer support. Users of the American Gardener YS24 cordless trimmer also expressed disappointment with customer support, although, for most of them, it was due to the fact that batteries with early failure were not covered by the warranty. We were able to get a hold of customer support on the phone easily, and received polite support when we called. Nonetheless, the issue of customer support for Outdoor Power remains open. Because of the poor reliability of the previous YE8 model, and due to the lack of existing reviews, we cannot recommend the 30243 at this time, but will periodically update this review as needed.

The $90 Craftsman 79653 7.5", 12A Edger appears to be visually identical to the 79650, which was largely similar to the American Gardener YE8 model. The Craftsman 79653 gets poor reviews with 35% positive ratings (7/20 at Sears) - feedback is detailed under our review of the American Gardener YE8. The bulk of the complaints have to do with early failure of the equipment. Based on its poor reviews it cannot be recommended.

The Greenworks 27032 edger is a 7.5", 12A edger with a fairly light weight of 13.25 lbs. While it is already displayed on the company site, it does not appear to be available quite yet. Greenworks is a new brand, dedicated to lowering carbon footprint for outdoor tools, and outsourced manufacturing to China. We reviewed and were very impressed by their cordless trimmer edger, but their manual reel mowers left us underwhelmed. It is hard to say what to expect from the 27032 without reviews at this stage.

The $70 Power Glide Electric Grass Edger is a 7.5", 11A edger with an accessory handle and a telescopic shaft. The Power Glide appears to be made for Ace Hardware stores only, and is not easy to find online, which is a concern when looking for spare blades. When researching the model, we were able to find it with a large discount for $40 only, which might indicate that it is being obsoleted. We only found two reviews for it, one positive and one negative. The negative reviewer indicated that he was not allowed to order spare blades from the manufacturer and the local Ace hardware stores did not carry spare blades...  Not recommended at this time.

The $90 Worx WG895 is a 7.5", 12A edger trencher. The weight is moderate at 14.2 lbs. A two-position "ergonomic" handle appears very awkward. The shaft is telescopic. In trench mode, it carries three positions for blade depth, from 1" to 1.5". While we were able to find the WG895 for sale with several online retailers, and found evidence of earlier infomercials for it in mid-2009, we are puzzled not to be able to find this product on the company web site, and are somewhat concerned that it might be in the process of being obsoleted. There were no online reviews that we could find for this model, which could indicate that it is a brand new model instead...

The $350 Mantis 7250-05-02  is an interesting electric tiller edger, with excellent reviews, which combines light electric tilling (3" and 9" deep) with edging. Many users use it as a trencher with good success (although you still have to use a shovel once you have tilled). While the model specs indicate that edging should be effective with this model, we were only able to find one user across all the reviews for the model and its attachments discussing edging -the user simply mentioned it worked well. Many users mention that it really should be bought with the weed reducers (to stop weeds from wrapping around tines) and the tine detangler (a basic maintenance tool), and that Mantis should really include these tools in the package. The warranty for Mantis tools is excellent, with a 5 -year general warranty, and a lifetime warranty on the tines. Reviews are extremely positive about the function of the tool, and very few users complain about early breakage. However, the few which have had to deal with customer support are extremely critical of both the support operators and the support policy: they are left with the impression that the company does not stand behind its products.

The 7250-05-02 gets outstanding 88% positive reviews (incidentally, the electric model gets better reviews that the gas models), with a likely error up to 6% (84/95 on Amazon and Sears). It is an expensive tool, with very poor customer support from Mantis, great success as a tiller, good success as a trencher aid, and little data as to how well is edges. On that basis, we cannot recommend it for edging due to lack of data - but we intend to review this tool in the future as a tiller edger, and will report in more detail what we find out then.

Next we review the best electric lawn edger... So come back soon!

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