Value for Money: Grass trimmers
You can go cheap or dear with electric models, or knuckle down and put your back into it
Flymo: “The 500-watt engine should be all the power you need, and the 12m cable was plenty long enough for Pricewatch.”
Makita: “It weighs a full kilogram less than the Flymo but, weight apart, in our estimation it came up short against its main rival.”
Spear & Jackson: “The handles are nonslip, and the chrome-plated carbon steel blades are razor-sharp, making light work of grass.”
Challenge: “At 250 watts, it is not the most powerful of power tools, and we would have concerns about its ability to handle a really overgrown garden.”
Challenge Grass Trimmer
This was the cheapest of the electric trimmers we found (it was even cheaper than the common or garden shears) and, at just 2kg, it was also the lightest, so it deserves some credit on both scores. After that, things don’t look so rosy. At just 250 watts, it is not the most powerful of power tools, and we would have concerns about its ability to handle a really overgrown garden. The cable was only 6m long, which seems a bit limiting – although an extension cable would solve the problem of reach. It might be fine in a small and pretty well-maintained garden, though we imagine it would struggle in a garden of any size.
Verdict: Limited appeal
Star Rating: * *
Flymo Power Corded Grass Trimmer
This is a whole different beast to the Challenge. For one thing, it is a whole lot more powerful. And, while at 3.6kg is is a good bit heavier than the most lightweight options, it is still pretty easy to use. It has all sorts of bells and whistles, including a twistable head that, the makers say, will make edging the lawn easier. There is also a foot pedal to flatten the head to provide access to awkward areas. The 500-watt engine should be all the power you need, and the 12m cable was plenty long enough for Pricewatch. The grip is good too. Obviously it is a good bit dearer that some other options, but we would hope it would have a longer life as a result.
Verdict: Will not let you down
Star rating: *****
Makita Line Trimmer
This first thing we noticed about this was the price, which is hardly a surprise – it is five times dearer than the cheapest electric trimmer we found. It is, however, a whole lot better (though we can’t say for sure if it is five times better). The Makita has an adjustable shaft and a rotating cutting head that can be used as a both a trimmer and a garden edger – the Flymo has the same capabilities. At 450 watts it is plenty powerful enough and the 10m cable it grand and long. It weighs a full kilogram less than the Flymo but, weight apart, in our estimation it came up short against its main rival. The performances are very similar, so ultimately it came down to price – and it is a lot dearer than the flymo.
Verdict: Great but very expensive.
Star rating: * * *
Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Hand Garden Shears
When Pricewatch was young, there were no such things as electric grass trimmers. Those keen to have lawns with neat edges had to get down on their knees and clip away with shears. It was time-consuming and – according to parental accounts – not great for the back. But it always delivered a neat job, which is why we included the manual option in our test. You can get cheaper shears, but this is one of the best options on the market. The handles are nonslip, the chrome-plated carbon steel blades are razor-sharp – as the name suggests – making light work of grass. You do still have to kneel, and it does take longer, but it delivers excellent results and, with no electric parts, a product like this will last a lifetime.
Verdict: Does the job but hard on the back
Star rating: ****