A cut above…

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In his column for September, Tim Sykes of Gardenproud, discusses the pros and cons of using electric gardening tools. Read on to find out all you need to know…


As we approach the autumn and winter months, leaf fall and tree debris becomes something of a daily chore in the garden. But this time of year is also great for planting hedges, trees and topiary too. But you’ll need to be armed with the right specialist equipment for each job to ensure they are as stress free and efficient as possible…

I was recently dining in the beautiful parkland garden of one of our great friends. As we sampled the delights of our prawn cocktail starter she remarked on the irritating noise of a distant petrol hedge trimmer.

Unbeknown to me she had recently purchased a Stihl rechargeable strimmer and had become accustomed to its comparatively silent operating. She was convinced that electric was the way forward…

I’ll admit that electric gardening tools have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their convenience and efficiency. With the push of a button, you can effortlessly trim hedges, mow the lawn, or blow away leaf debris. But, like any technology, there are both pros and cons to using them.

So it is important for gardeners to be aware of these factors before making a decision. Therefore for this month’s column I have tried to explore the advantages and disadvantages of using electric tools in order to providing you with the information you need to know…


The benefits of using electric gardening tools:

While traditional gardening tools have their merits, electric gardening tools offer numerous benefits that can greatly enhance the gardening experience.

One of the biggest advantages of electric gardening tools is the convenience they provide. These tools can quickly and efficiently perform tasks that would typically require significant physical effort. They will help make the job easier and less time-consuming.

Unlike petrol-powered tools, electric devices do not require regular refuelling, or as much maintenance, saving both time and money in the long run.

They are a greener alternative to traditional petrol-powered tools. They produce zero emissions and are much quieter during operation, reducing noise pollution in residential areas. Therefore switching to electric helps reduce your carbon footprint and contributes to more sustainable gardening.

Another obvious bonus is they are lightweight and easy to handle, making them suitable for gardeners of all builds and skill levels. They often come with ergonomic designs and adjustable features, ensuring comfort, and reducing the risk of strain or injury during use. Even those with limited physical strength can more easily operate them.

This equipment is available in a wide range of options, allowing gardeners to choose tools that meet their specific needs, with a powered option for just about every gardening requirement. Additionally, most manufacturers offer interchangeable attachments, plus common battery types between tools, providing versatility and allowing for multi-functional use.

Typical run times for a Stihl topiary trimmer (AS26) is 110 mins, while the Stihl HSA 56 hedge trimmer with an AK 20 battery will give you up to 100 mins. That’s more than enough between charges to get a number of topiary balls shaped up, or a run of laurel hedge completely sorted.

While electric tools may have a higher upfront cost compared to the traditional petrol engine tools, they tend to be more cost-effective in the long run. With lower maintenance and fuel costs, along with improved energy efficiency, they will help save money over time. Additionally, the durability of these tools ensures they have a longer lifespan, further maximising their value.

In brief, while there are some initial investments involved, the convenience, efficiency, and environmental advantages make the electric option a worthwhile addition to any gardening routine.


The disadvantages of using electric gardening tools:

While electric gardening tools offer numerous benefits, it is important to consider their drawbacks before making a purchase decision.

These tools can have a lower power output compared to their petrol-powered counterparts. While they are often sufficient for regular gardening tasks, they may struggle with heavy-duty tasks, or when dealing with thick vegetation. In such cases, petrol-powered tools may provide more power and better performance.

Electric tools can have a higher upfront cost compared to traditional petrol-powered tools. This is especially true for high-quality electric tools that are built to last. While these tools may have long-term cost savings due to lower maintenance and fuel costs, the initial investment can be a barrier for some gardeners.

Some batteries have a limited run time, which may restrict the duration of continuous use. If you have a large garden, or extensive gardening tasks, you may need to have additional batteries or take breaks for recharging. This can disrupt your workflow and extend the time required to complete your gardening tasks and increase the cost of the equipment.

While electric equipment is more environmentally friendly during operation, it is essential to consider the environmental impact of battery disposal. Batteries contain hazardous materials that can be harmful if not disposed of properly. It is important to follow proper recycling and disposal guidelines to minimize the environmental impact of battery waste.

So maybe it is time to go electric. Let me know how you get on and if any of you have good and bad experiences to report and I will do my best to pass on these remarks to our suppliers.

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