A Guide To Lawn Edgers

Keep lawn edges looking sharp with this essential power tool

Perfect lawn edges require regular maintenance. Image: Thinkstock

‘If you’ve got a lawn then it’s a sure bet that you will need some kind of edger. After all, the grass has to end somewhere!’ says Handyman contributor Adam Woodhams. 

The choice of whether to buy a dedicated edging machine or simply make do with a line trimmer is largely based on how much of your lawn is bordered by hard surfaces. 

If you have a lot of concrete paths crisscrossing your lawn, or formal lines of pavers enclosing the grass, a power edger will get rid of unsightly runners encroaching on the hard surfaces quickly and easily.

Both petrol and electric edgers usually feature a depth control and guide wheels for ease of operation. For small areas, an ordinary manual edger may be the best plan.

Using A Trimmer As An Edger 

If your lawn is bordered by both walls and paving, it may be worth buying a line trimmer with a pivoting head that doubles up as an edger as well.

Some models also feature an edge guide and support wheel on the cowl. These allow the trimmer to be used in almost exactly the same way as a dedicated edger, with the main compromise being less precise control over cut depth.

If you have a petrol line trimmer or brush cutter with a split shaft, you can take adaptability to the next level by connecting the motor end to a dedicated edger attachment.

It’s less costly than buying two tools and also saves on storage space.

lawn edger used as a lawn trimmer, handyman magazine, guide to lawn edger Some lawn trimmers are designed to be used as edgers too

Power options 

Petrol and electric edgers offer similar power and functionality, with portability and noise being the main differences. You may also decide to use a cordless trimmer to fulfil an edging function, but for the quietest option you can’t beat a manual unit.


Four-stroke petrol edgers make short work of keeping your lawn’s borders
in check, offering freedom to roam without compromising on power. 

As with four-stroke mowers, they require oil to be added separately to the sump and are fuelled with unleaded petrol. Always use ear protection and safety glasses when operating one.


As long as mains power is available via an extension cord, electric edgers are a quiet and convenient option. They create no emissions and switch on instantly without needing a pull-start. 

Electric edgers offer comparable power to petrol units, but care must be taken to keep the cord behind the cutting edge of the tool at all times.


Although dedicated battery-powered lawn edgers are not available, there are several cordless line trimmers
with an edging function that involves pivoting the cutting head 90º. 

Some models come with a cutting guide that allows them to be used in almost exactly the same way as
a purpose-designed lawn edger.


A manual edger may take a bit of effort to use, but it is the best choice for circular pavers or intricately shaped paths and it creates a perfect edge without the tearing that powered units can cause. 

To use a disc edger, locate the wheel on the hard surface with the blade resting against the edge, hold the handles and push
the foot plate with your foot.

Another type of manual lawn edger is the star wheel edger, which cuts with a scissoring action as the wheel runs along a hard surface. The edger is pushed back and forth manually and edges couch lawns easily.

An offshoot of grandad’s traditional spade edging method is the half moon edger. Pressure is applied by foot in a side-to-side rocking motion to edge kikuyu and buffalo grasses easily.

disc edger, manual lawn edger, handyman magazine, lawn edger buying guide,
To use a disc edger, locate the wheel on the hard surface with the blade resting against the edge, hold the handles and push the foot plate

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