Turf Tech: Edger & trimmer trends

Competition is keen and customers demand an immaculate, manicured look to their landscapes. If you deliver that coveted well-groomed look, odds are good you rely heavily on your trimmers and edgers.

Luckily, new trends in edger and trimmer design provide better performance, cleaner emissions and improved ergonomics.

Anita Gambill, a spokesperson for Stihl, says manufacturers today focus on building machines with lower emissions to meet increasingly stringent regulations, and with reduced vibration and noise, which makes the equipment much more comfortable to use.

Gambill also sees a trend toward multi-task tools, like Stihl’s KombiMotor line of commercial trimmers, including its KM 90 R, KM 10 R and KM 130 R models.

“They are versatile,” Gambill adds. “All of these trimmers are powered by the same engine family and feature a split shaft unit that allows you to easily change the attachment from a trimmer to an edger to a hedge trimmer – or use any of 13 different lawn care attachments.” According to Gambill, multi-task tools have several advantages:

  • Cost savings. Rather than buying several pieces of equipment with several engines, one power unit can run several attachments with a smaller cash outlay.
  • Space efficiency. One tool can take the place of several on a truck or trailer.
  • Convenience. On large properties, instead of going back and forth to the truck, you can carry one tool and a couple of attachments to the area you are working in.

“If you have a very large company with employees dedicated to just one task – hedge trimming or edging, for example – a multi-task tool might not be the best fit,” Gambill says. “But if your crew does multiple tasks, it can be very efficient and save time.”

Another advantage with multi-task tools is they help reduce tool abuse. “Workers often try to use a trimmer as an edger,” Gambill explains, “if there’s not an edge or they’re in a hurry, or they don’t have an edger with them. That’s not really a good idea. If you can switch out the attachment quickly, you’re much more likely to use the right tool for the right job and get better results with less chance of damaging the tool.”

Gambill says that Stihl works continuously on improving emissions The company’s KM 130 R model is the cleanest in its class according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site. Stihl’s FS 130 R (a dedicated trimmer) and HT 130 (a dedicated pole pruner) are also the cleanest in their respective categories, according to the EPA.

Flexibility is a big plus; but the most common complaints about trimmers are not related to inconvenience, but its noise and vibration. Earplugs can solve the noise issue for the user, but an hour or two with a trimmer can make you feel as though your fillings are jarring loose.

Jennifer Dobbs, sales and marketing specialist for RedMax, says weight and vibration are what makes handling stick edgers and trimmers uncomfortable. Homeowners with small suburban yards who use these tools every couple weeks may not notice, but for commercial landscapers who put a lot of time on trimmers and edgers, even a slight weight or vibration reduction can be greatly appreciated.

One of the changes RedMax recently made was to replace closed guards on their edgers to open ones. “The blade now spins more freely which reduces downtime (the user doesn’t have to un-clog the guard) and the reduction of materials, reduces the weight,” says Dobbs. “We have also integrated the same handle that is on all of our trimmers. It is an almost tacky feeling handle that has some give to it. It aids in reducing vibration for the user and has a more comfortable grip.”

Working with trimmers and edgers proves that Mom was right all along: the right tool makes the job easier; the devil is in the details; and if you clean up nicely you’ll make a good impression.

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