Essential Outdoor Power Tools

The standard method of taking care of the lawn, many years ago, was pushing a manual rotary style lawn mower around. We have come a long way from that labor intensive way of keeping the grass at bay. This does not even mention the other ways of trimming, cutting, raking and generally keeping the yard looking as close to golf course quality as possible.

string-trimmerEssential power tools for outside of the home run the gambit from items to use on the grass, shrubs, and trees as well as in the garden. A short list will include:

  • Lawn mower. Whether electric or gas powered, rotary or circular, walk behind or riding, these are a basic tool.
  • Edge trimmer. This is used to keep the walkways, sidewalks and pathways neat and clean.  Electric or gas powered, this tool rides along the edge of the path and, using a blade or string, creates a break between the grass and the cement.
  • String Trimmer.  This is used to deal with hedges, bushes and many people call it a ‘weed whacker’ because of the strong polyvinyl string that whirls at great speed and actually cuts or whacks the natural material to be cut.
  • Leaf blower.  This is used to assist in cleaning leaves and yard debris off of driveways and sidewalks.  It is also used to move dirt around when setting up gardens. Electric or gas powered, they are often frowned upon more than gas powered mowers on an early Saturday morning.
  • Chainsaw. This will be necessary for yards with thick bushes or hedges and or trees that will need cutting back occasionally. Gas powered, electric or battery powered, these are just the thing for thicker branches.
  • Cultivator.  This is a small rotating tine unit that is just right for working in a garden.  It is able to get between rows and is great for turning soil in any confined space that a larger one would be unable to fit.
  • Wood chipper. While not necessarily essential, a wood chipper is invaluable if you have many trees on your property. There are various sizes of these handy units for breaking limbs and other yard debris down into a mulching composition. Anything from thin, pencil sized twigs to one and two inch limbs can be reduced to a landscaping material that is a natural insulating product.

For help in selecting the best types of these tools, be sure to check out a site like Garage Tool Advisor or Consumer Reports.

Types of engines and electrical safety notes.

chainsawMost of the lawn mowers and wood chippers will have a standard gas motor.  These will have separate locations to fill the oil reservoir and the gas tank.  They will also have air and fuel filters.   Keeping the oil changed, replacing the gas and checking the spark plug after each season will be appropriate to help keep them in working order.

The smaller motors will be two cycle engines which require the careful mixing of oil with the gas.  Replacing the solution after each season is also recommended.

Making sure the electrical cords are not broken is the best you can do for the electric motors other than ensuring you follow any guidelines as far as lubrication is concerned.  Ensure the extension cord is UL listed, rated for outside and heavy duty enough for the equipment you are using.

The most essential outdoor tool is old tech.  It is a pair of safety glasses or goggles for any flying debris that does occur.


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