For some of us, one of the biggest allures of gardening is using those big, noisy toys that make landscape chores less onerous. Or sometimes simply reduce a big gardening project to something much faster and easier. I'm talking about power tools in the garden. They can take the shape of lawn mowers, power blowers and edgers, chipper-shredders, chain saws or other power-assisted tools. There are those who treasure silence in the garden, and those who covet those moments of revving engines slicing through chores in a whirl of human mechanical engineering.
Chipper shredders have been used for landscape clean-up for decades. Chipper shredders are those big, noisy machines that hungrily grind up tree branches and spit them out into piles of wood chips. Due to the power needed to chop up dense wood, chipper shredders are powerful and have even earned themselves roles as dangerous evidence-destroying killers on both the big screen and small in cinematographic murder mysteries. As a result, people approach these machines with fear and respect, as well they should. But not all chipper shredders are intimidating monsters. They come in a whole family of sizes, some are compact and ideal for helping with garden clean-up for the ordinary home owner.
As we become ever more conscious of recycling materials, shredding woody garden clippings not only slows down on landfill usage, but saves the homeowner money. By converting trash into rich and useful materials like mulch and compost, you can save the time and money of having to buy them in bagged form from garden centers. A small chipper shredder can help do the job. Some machines can only handle small branches and leaves, but even this is ideal to help garden waste break down quickly and more easily in a compost pile. Other chipper shredders can handle larger branches that will offer mulch and surface cover for pathways or other areas. The larger machines will still be needed to reduce large tree limbs into wood chips and, since these heavy-duty chipper shredders are so expensive, they are better rented or used by services that will do the work for you.
Push, self-propelled and riding mowers offer a whole realm of possibilities. There are many different models and plenty of bells and whistles. Do some research and decide what features are best adapted to your property. Consider the kinds of spaces you need to navagate, the safety features you want and how much power you will need. Don't waste money on a machine that gives you more than you need. If you have a lot of lawn, a riding mower can make a big, tedious job easy and even fun. If you live in an area where rain isn't plentiful, however, you might want to consider buying the most efficient and minimal cost mowing machine -- especially if you might be considering reducing your lawn area for a more practical, attractive or eco-friendly alternative.
Edgers, chainsaws and other power-assisted tools are plentiful. Don't invest in a power tool just because it might be fun. Power tools are generally not cheap and need proper maintenance. Think about what will make a difference in your gardening needs. If an expensive tool will not be used often, opt to rent rather than buy. If, for example, you do a lot of digging and your hands get tired, you might benefit from one of the smaller power-assisted tools like the "Dig It". Or you can even find power-assisted pruning shears that are wonderful for people with a lot of hedges that need to be trimmed or with hands that are not strong enough to handle normal pruning.
Choose your power tools carefully. What you need depends on the size and composition of your property grounds. Some of these power tools make excellent gifts for the upcoming holidays or for birthdays. You can shop at retail outlets or on the Intenet. Look for second-hand tools to save money. Sometimes you can get a real deal from a friend, an ad in a recycling paper or an online organization like Craigslist. But be careful when shopping for power tools. You want them in good working condition, and you want to buy reliable brands.
Check value for price. Many online sites will show you comparrisons.
Look for ratings and see what users have to say. Don't be disuaded by one or two bad ratings if the majority are good. There are always some naysayers whether deserved or not.
Check out the extras. Sometimes the 'extras' are very useful to you. Sometimes you will just be spending money on something else that can break.
Look at efficiency and maintenance. The real cost has to be calculated not only on what you are spending for your power tool, but how much it will cost or save over time.
Do you want gas or electric? Corded or cordless? Most electric tools are less powerful than gas, but if they are sufficient for your needs, you'll be adding a lot less air and noise pollution.
- Consider eco-friendly products -- products that use minimal energy and are manufactured efficiently.
Check into safety features, especially if you have children or pets. All the wonderful tools and appliances in the world will not be worth injury to yourself or those you love. Make sure your choices are safe choices. Bother to read the accompanying instructions even if you know how to use the tool. And make the effort to wear protective clothing every time you use your power tools. It's easy to be lazy just once and regret it for the rest of your life. The same goes for keeping children and pets at a safe distance
Power tools can make gardening a faster and easier job. Some are even fun to use. Just keep in mind which will work the best for you and use your tools safely. Do your research whether buying power tools for yourself or as a gift.