Skip to Content

Wheel Edger. Tips from Professionals

Edging your lawn, in addition to mowing, gives it a well-groomed look and prevents the spread of grassroots to sidewalks and flower beds. Lawn edgers are designated tools for edging since mowers cannot be used to trim the edges near a sidewalk, flower bed, or driveway.

Wheel Edger:

Lawn edgers may be manual or powered. Manual edgers generally come in two types, step-on edgers and wheel edgers. Wheel edgers are easier and quicker to use and are cost-efficient as well. Manual edgers are best suited for smaller lawns, but powered edgers, such as stick edgers or walk-behind edgers, are better for bigger lawns.

Are Edgers Worth It:

Lawn edgers are the best tool for creating a well-defined boundary around your lawn. A lawn with a clear boundary looks tidier than one with a messy edge, even if both are equally mowed. Trimmers such as hand shears can trim longer grass near the edges, but they cannot be used to edge a lawn, making the edger an essential tool for lawn owners.

A lawn edger gives the lawn a neat look and prevents grassroots growth into unwanted areas. Regularly edging your lawn will save you the time to trim the overgrown grass from pavements and flower beds.

Whether you need a designated edger depends on the size of your lawn and the physical strength you wish to use when edging it. A garden spade could be used to edge a small lawn or a couple of flower beds, but it requires muscle and can be back-breaking. On the other hand, a manual wheel edger will edge your lawn a lot more neatly and easily. A powered wheel edger will be more beneficial if you have a big lawn.

What is a Step-on Edger:

A step-on edger, also known as a half-moon edger, is a manual edging tool. It is the simplest edging tool and consists of a semi-circular (hence the name half-mooned) blade attached to an elongated handle, similar to a spade.

The bottom side of the blade that cuts into the soil is circular, while the top side that attaches to the handle is straight for the user to step on it to apply a downward cutting force.

A step-on edger operates in downward and rocking motions and is very easy to use, especially in narrow spaces. Another name for the step-on edger is the “edging iron”.

What is the Difference between a Wheel Edger and a Step-on Edger:

A wheel edger, also known as a roller-based edger, is driven by pushing a roller wheel along a hard surface, such as a sidewalk parallel to the lawn’s edge. There are two main types of manual wheel edgers; one type is equipped with a steel disk-shaped blade to trim the edge, while the second type uses two star-shaped blades that rotate against one another.

A step-on edger’s operation is in separate discontinuous steps. For each cut, you must push the edger with your foot and then pull it out and down again for the next step. On the other hand, a wheel edger’s operation is continuous and keeps cutting as the user pushes it forward.

A wheel edger is easier to use and works quickly, but it is not well suited for sloped ground. The step-on edger is the right choice for a sloped area.

What is the Best Edger for Your Lawn:

Lawn edgers are quite diverse tools and come in different sizes and power options. The choice of a lawn edger should be based, most notably, on the lawn size and the required physical strength. So, choose from one of the following options depending on your specific requirement:

● Edger for a small lawn:

If you have a small lawn or a couple of flower beds that require edging, go for a manual step-on or wheel edger. A manual step-on edger is pretty cheap, as it costs around 15 to 20 dollars and is easy to use.

A manual step-on edger requires more physical strength and can be used in narrow spaces just as easily.

● Edger for a mid-sized lawn:

A manual wheel edger is fine if you have a mid-sized lawn, but you may opt for an electric or battery-powered stick edger for much quicker edging. Electric stick edgers are lightweight and budget friendly since they usually cost less than 60 dollars.

Most electric edgers come with a rechargeable battery, but some need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. In that case, you need a long enough extension cord.

● Edger for heavier bush:

Opt for a gas-powered stick edger if your lawn has heavy bush, weeds, or undergrowth around the edges. A gas-powered stick edger is similar in operation to an electric stick edger except that it has a gas engine.

A gas engine makes it louder and heavier but much more heavy-duty. Gas-powered stick edgers have two variants: a two-cylinder engine and a four-cylinder one.

Those with a four-cylinder engine are more powerful and much less noisy than two-cylinder ones but are more expensive. A gas-powered stick edger would cost you somewhere around 150 to 250 dollars.

● Edger for big lawns:

Go for a walk-behind-powered edger if you have a vast lawn. A walk-behind edger is quite similar to a lawnmower and is best suited for edging along a long sidewalk or many flower beds.

Walk-behind powered edgers usually cost more than 400 dollars, but you can also rent one. Only a few battery-powered edgers are an option for big lawns, and I recommend checking both the running and charging times before purchasing such a model.

Electric and battery-powered Edger

Electric edgers come in two categories: battery-powered and corded electric edgers.

● Cordeded Electric Edger

Corded electric edgers are lightweight and compact, and they are also quieter compared with gas-powered edgers. Electric edgers also require less maintenance but are generally less powerful.

However, corded edgers have to be near an electric outlet, or you have to purchase a long extension cord.

● Battery Edger

Battery- battery-powered edgers are gaining popularity due to their flexibility, increasing battery capacity, and low maintenance. Battery-powered edgers can be moved around easily and, with the increased battery capacity, are better suited for bigger lawns.

Battery-powered edgers are usually equipped with lithium-ion batteries and are categorized by power, battery capacity, runtime, and voltage. Due to the batteries, they are less budget-friendly compared with a corded edger.

The choice of a battery-powered edger should be based primarily on your required power rating and running time. More powerful edgers can cover a larger distance than smaller ones but generally require more powerful batteries.

Also, check the running time of the machine and the time it takes to charge the batteries. If you have a bigger yard, you don’t want to have to stop all the time to charge the batteries. An option is to purchase a second set of batteries, so you can charge those when using the other set. And swap when they are empty. But this only works well if you use a fast battery charger.

What is the Easiest Way to Edge Your Lawn:

Lawn edgers have made it easy to create a well-trimmed edge around your lawn. Particular battery-powered edgers that require less maintenance than their gas brothers are an easy way to edge your lawn.

Edging with a manual tool takes more physical strength than a powered edger, especially if you have a big property.

However, a manual edger may still be the best option for smaller lawns since it is much more budget-friendly and can be used in narrow spaces around flower beds. For bigger lawns, a powered walk-behind wheeled edger is better.

Besides a lawn edger, a garden spade, a weed whacker, a set of pruning shears, and a garden hose will also come in handy when edging your lawn.

Follow these steps to edge your lawn easily:

● Step 1: Wear Safety Equipment:

Put on a pair of work pants and long boots whenever edging your lawn. Wear protective ear muffs to block the motor’s loud sound if you use a gas-powered lawn edger.

Lastly, wear safety goggles because grass or other material cut during edging may fly around and cause eye injury.

● Step 2: Mow your Lawn before edging:

If you edge your lawn before mowing it, the edges might be bigger or smaller than the rest. This will not give your lawn the neat look you have worked for, and your hard work will go to waste.

I recommend mowing your entire lawn before edging to get that consistent look. Trimming the edges after mowing your lawn also allows you to trim the patchy spots you might have missed in mowing.

● Step 3: Mark Out the Lawn Edge:

If the edge of the grass is unclear, use a rope to mark it out, especially if you are edging for the first time. This gives a nice and straight result. I do not recommend using spray paint for this.

Depending on the size of your lawn, 25-30 feet (7.5-9 meters) of rope would be enough. Mark the edge by leaving a ½ to 1 inch (1.5 to 2.5 cm) gap between the sidewalk or flower bed and the marking rope. You will be trimming the grass exposed in this gap.

● Step 4: Clean the Marked Path:

There must be no firm obstacles, such as rocks, stones, big roots, sprinklers, etc., on the path you plan to edge because they could dent or break the edger blades.

Before you edge, pick up rocks and stones from the marked path or use a garden broom to clean the path quickly.

● Step 5: Trim the Marked Path with a Lawn Edger:

Place the edger blade right by the marking rope, which should not be more than an inch from the sidewalk/flower bed. You could cut a blot through the grass if the distance is more extensive.

Edging with a manual lawn edger is different than with a powered edger. Follow the respective guide depending on the edger you are using:

-Manual Edger:

If you are working with a manual step-on edger, push the blade down with your foot. Hold the stick firmly while setting foot on the edger blade.

When you push down the blade, rock it gently with your foot to cut through the soil. Pry the cut area open by rocking the blade a bit to each side so you can see the line you have just cut.

Then pick up the blade and move it a few inches forward to make the next cut. Repeat this step until the entire marked line is trimmed.

-Powered Edger:

With the blades of your powered edger positioned on the marker, start the motor and walk forward slowly. The only force you need to apply is the forward push, and the powered blades do all the cutting.

If you are using a powered edger for the first time, do not start pushing forward too quickly in excitement. There is a high chance of wobbling off course if you move too fast. A manual wheel edger can be used similarly to a powered walk-behind edger.

The depth of cut should be just enough to hit the grassroots close to the edge but not any deeper. If the cut is too deep, it will damage the grass at the edge and turn it brownish, tarnishing your lawn’s neat look.

As a rule of thumb, I recommend aiming for a 2-inch (5 cm) deep cut. Powered lawn edgers have a knob for adjusting the cutting depth. However, if you are working with a manual edger, control the force you exert with your foot not to dig too deep. Check the cut area after each cut and adjust the force accordingly.

● Step 6: Brush the Trimmings Away:

After cutting 6 to 7 feet (2 m), brush away the trimmings using a lawn broom and check the cut area. If you are cutting through a heavy undergrowth or a bush, use a garden rake to clear out the trimmings.

Inspect the cut area to ensure the line is straight or needs to be adjusted and adjusted accordingly for the next length of cut.

● Step 7: Trim the Longer Grass Blades with Hand Shears:

A pair of hand shears will come in handy if longer unkempt grass blades are along the edge.

After trimming the entire marked edge, go back along the length to look for the longer grass blades. Trim these blades with hand shears so that they fade in with the lawn. This will give your lawn a well-groomed and tidy look.

What Can I Use Instead of An Edger:

You may choose from the many types of edgers, but there are certain alternatives to the use of edgers altogether. Some of these alternatives are listed below:

  • Lawn trimmers: You can use a lawn trimmer as an edger by tilting it upside down. This will make the trimmer’s guard face upward. Edge the lawn by running the string along the edge in this setting, but don’t expect similar results as an edger.
  • Hand shears: Hand shears can trim the edges of flower beds, but they require a lot more effort and are usually not as neat. I only recommend using them for really small areas.
  • Decorative bricks: An alternative to edging is permanently installing decorative bricks (usually at a 45o angle) along the lawn or flower bed edge. To do this, dig a trench deep enough to grip half a brick along the edge. Then install the bricks one after the other. This will give your lawn a decorative look and eliminate the need for regular edging.

How Often Should You Edge Your Lawn:

There is no rule of thumb about the frequency of edging your lawn. Lawn edging should be done when the edge does not look that well anymore. You can expect this once every three mowing sessions. However, some people always edge their lawn after mowing it.