PDA

View Full Version : Edger-cate Me! Explain Edgers to a Noob


Hedgemaster
03-07-2011, 08:09 PM
As you may know, I'm a beginner in the lawn care business. The only experience I have with edgers is the one time I used one of those old, manual, "thought I would die" stick edgers, and the "twist 'n turn" type electric/cordless string trimmers that convert to an "edger". I've used one of those on my own property for many years, as I had no need for anything "more".

Now I need the proper equipment to use on other people's property and I know essentially NOTHING about gas edgers, so I could really use your help.

• I don't know if there are different "types" of edgers for different tasks, or if they all do the same thing.

• Are they only used along sidewalks and driveways, or do you use them for cutting fresh edges along flowerbeds too?

• Straight shaft? Curved shaft?

• Engine power - is it a huge concern?





I do have a Stihl FS90 straight shaft trimmer that accepts gearbox accessories (http://www.stihlusa.com/accessories/interchangeable.html).
The edger attachment is $180. That's a LOT of money for a small chunk of metal, but it's half to a third of the cost of some of the dedicated edgers I've seen, so I'm going to have to wait to learn a bit more before I decide whether I get that attachment or just buy an edger.



Any info you care to share will be helpful!
Thanks in advance!

950thomas
03-07-2011, 08:21 PM
I run all redmax stick edges. I do not use those split shaft combo units those are fine if it is just u but if u are running multiple crews get a dedicated unit

Hedgemaster
03-07-2011, 10:19 PM
It's just me. No crew.

I'm like the Lone Ranger - without Tonto even.

;)



Also, price is going to be a factor. I'm coming off a "no income" winter with no money to waste. There are probably other items I should purchase that would make me more money (like a pole/extension hedge trimmer), but I'm guessing I'll need at least a "basic" edger.

I'm working with a push mower, so keep that in mind. This isn't a large operation that services huge homes - I don't even know how much I'll need an edger at this point.

Hedgemaster
03-09-2011, 04:12 PM
Anyone?????

Bob E
03-09-2011, 09:00 PM
A few years ago I bought one of those 3hp units from H*** D****. It was about $225ish. It's worked well, but showing signs of age now. I, too, am now a solo act. Used to have a Little Wonder double belt unit (about $450 years ago) it was like the Cadillac of edgers. Nice, precise edges. If you can find a decent used one, I would grab it. Don't know your operation vehicle, but if I was working with a push mower (like I did 31 yrs ago), I would have one of those hitch platforms on the back of my car or truck so I could easily load & unload my mower & edger.

If you go with the changeable edger, you will waste time at every job changing between the powerheads. What a Pain!

Liberty Landscaping LLC
03-10-2011, 06:13 PM
I am a one man band myself. I have one of those 3 hp edgers. It is a push behind. I use it at the start of the season to make the first edge cuts. Other then that it's overkill the stick edgers work great for week to week. After the first cut of the season I have a Echo 225vp I think is the model. It has interchangable heads. I LOVE it. It works great in one neighborhood I have 6 lawns I do on one street. I do all the edging. Switch the head do all the waching. Switch the head and do the hedges (normally bi weekly) then. I use the mower with a bagger. Do all the front lawn. The bagger sucks up the hedge clippings and left overs from the edging/waching and the dirt I use the blower for. Go to the next house and do the same process. I use a 52 in Sentar Sport. for the fronts. When thats done I grab my 36 in Sentar Sport with my back pack blower and do all the back yards. Then blow everything down. It saves me a lot of time not running back and forth for tools and I have 3 tools in one. I normally bang out the 6 houses in an hour that way sometimes more if its hot and I get lazy. I include edging in my fee because it takes like 3 min to edge all the sidewalks after the first one of the season. Do you guys charge seperate for it?

MountainViewGreenskeeper
03-10-2011, 09:48 PM
I run all redmax stick edges. I do not use those split shaft combo units those are fine if it is just u but if u are running multiple crews get a dedicated unit

Not that it matters but they arent split shaft. They are gear box attachments witch of coarse go on the gear box not in the middle of the shaft where its weaker.

Hedgemaster I think it really come down to how often you are going to use it. I don't know how time involved switching the gear box attachments are but it must be more than just plug and play like the split shaft kinds are(I have same model as you). If you are doing once a month or more I think the time savings alone would pay for the dedicated unit.

Our situation is a little different: We don't do much of it out here so when the time comes I would like to get another FS 90 and buy the edger, hedge trimmer and weed eater heads that way I have a back up and only use the head needed for the current use for it.

Hedgemaster
03-12-2011, 10:59 PM
Awww... maaaaannn... nobody wants to answer any of my questions?

Are you guys really going to make me resort to going to Home Depot to get "answers"?
:D

Shark1611
03-12-2011, 11:33 PM
I run all redmax stick edges. I do not use those split shaft combo units those are fine if it is just u but if u are running multiple crews get a dedicated unit

Same here. I have two of them. To bad thing is the blades do not last long at all!

jymie
03-12-2011, 11:35 PM
For the initial cut in the spring I use a McLean walk behind edger, from Ace hardware. After that, I use a ECHO stick edger to maintain the edge the rest of the season.

jymie
03-12-2011, 11:40 PM
As you may know, I'm a beginner in the lawn care business. The only experience I have with edgers is the one time I used one of those old, manual, "thought I would die" stick edgers, and the "twist 'n turn" type electric/cordless string trimmers that convert to an "edger". I've used one of those on my own property for many years, as I had no need for anything "more".

Now I need the proper equipment to use on other people's property and I know essentially NOTHING about gas edgers, so I could really use your help.

• I don't know if there are different "types" of edgers for different tasks, or if they all do the same thing.

• Are they only used along sidewalks and driveways, or do you use them for cutting fresh edges along flowerbeds too?

• Straight shaft? Curved shaft?

• Engine power - is it a huge concern?





I do have a Stihl FS90 straight shaft trimmer that accepts gearbox accessories (http://www.stihlusa.com/accessories/interchangeable.html).
The edger attachment is $180. That's a LOT of money for a small chunk of metal, but it's half to a third of the cost of some of the dedicated edgers I've seen, so I'm going to have to wait to learn a bit more before I decide whether I get that attachment or just buy an edger.



Any info you care to share will be helpful!
Thanks in advance!

For flower beds, we use a spade shovel to make the edge, dig down about 3-4 inches and flip it up.

Most edgers are curved shaft? Not to sure, but ours has a slight curve to it.

If you get the attachment for the unit you already have, I am guessing the power is more than adequate to do edging with. The more power the better. But stick edgers are not made to do initial cuts, very hard on the blade.

Shark1611
03-15-2011, 08:56 PM
For the initial cut in the spring I use a McLean walk behind edger, from Ace hardware. After that, I use a ECHO stick edger to maintain the edge the rest of the season.

Never thought about that. Maybe I would use less blades with a walk behind to start up my spring yards.

Golftrick17
03-15-2011, 09:07 PM
Never used an actual edger! Seems like a waste of money to me. I don't know about your area, but around here most people edge with the trimmer. It can take a while the first time if the lawn was never edged, but after that you can fly. Learn to edge with the trimmer and I think it will save you time after the first mowing. As far as straight vs. curve, I would always buy straight if it were an option.

BTW, I have used a shovel in extreme cases to get the edge when an account is new, really does not seem like much more work or time since if it’s that bad I need to scoop up the dirt anyway.

Hedgemaster
03-16-2011, 12:26 AM
I'm having a hard enough time using my trimmer as a trimmer, let alone use it as an edger. :o One little movement the wrong way and it's butcher city.
(If you recall, I'm used to using a cordless trimmer)

I did use my Stihl to do edging once along a sidewalk at a customer's home last fall. It was bad - the grass was overgrown onto the sidewalk by several inches. It seemed to eat up a heck of a lot of line doing it that way and the results were not that great - just "better than it was".



Also, I know that you can use a shovel to edge beds - I did that last year too. About 200 feet of it. That took a while.
That's why I asked if "edgers" were also used for beds. I always assumed they were only used for along concrete edges - I dunno... that's why I'm asking.

I see that there are "wheeled" edgers as well as the "trimmer" type. (I assume that's what a "stick edger" is?)
I don't know what the purpose of the wheeled one is.

As I said in the OP, I've never needed an edger on my own property, so I don't know anything about them.

Norcal
03-18-2011, 02:21 PM
As far as using a string trimmer it is hard until you get used to it. Also its seems most accounts I have that had a previous gardener that used just a line trimmer the line of the grass or where they edged with the line seems to cause an erosion effect along the edge line and it takes a while for that to grow back

In my personal opinion I think a blade is cleaner especially if its the first time to be edged after you establish the line to me it looks more clean and consistent with a blade than with a line. I have used a blade edger to create a line along a flower bed however it is a little tough because there is no guide line like a cement curb or bender board but it can be done. I live in California and everyone here has side walks so we edge allot.

I have a Echo pas 225 combie unit that I bought about a year ago it comes with the line trimmer and the edger attachment for about $400. You can also get other attachment for it. After about a year it is getting a little flimsy where you hook them together there is a little play more so in the edger attachment the little nut doesn't really tighten up the shaft that much and it puts a lot of pressure on the little pin so it sort of makes the hole the pin goes into a little bigger than it should be. If this is all you use keep in mind that that is a lot of use on a single unit if you have a good number of accounts have a back up trimmer

The walk behind edgers are good for straight lines and I would think be better on your back over a long distance the county uses them around the sidewalks at the parks in town.

If you are on a short budget go with the two in one I would say if you can afford it go with the stihl combi deal at least where it connects you have to bolt it together no pins and a wing nut that don't really tighten. The Echo is a little less expensive and still a good unit but when you transport it I would say always break it down and you will save that hole where the pin goes in allot of unwanted stress.

Hope this helps answer you questions
Mac. Leonard's lawn Maint.

Hedgemaster
03-18-2011, 03:52 PM
Thanks for that! ^^^

I was at my local dealer's place today for an open house where everything was 10% off.

I did ask the Stihl rep about the edgers, but knowing that his job is to "sell" his product, I took what he told me with a grain of salt. I value the opinion of those here who have been there - done that.

I was "this close" to buying the edger gearbox attachment for my Stihl FS90R, but I decided to hold off on any "edger" purchases until I'm sure of what I'm purchasing. No sense spending money on something that won't make money for me. I may be better off picking up a used unit to see how much I'll actually USE one - if I decide it's a worthwhile investment, I'll replace it with a better unit.

Norcal
03-22-2011, 07:47 PM
How much is the gear box for the stihl to me if you edge allot it might be worth the money. If you buy used remember it's used but if you only use it once in a while you should get your use out of it. At the same time saving extra hours on your trimmer my plan for this year is to by a solid shaft trimmer and edger and just use that split unit for the hedge trimmer attachment and the pole saw it will also be used for a back up to the solid shaft units.

Good luck with whatever you go with

Hedgemaster
03-22-2011, 08:19 PM
How much is the gear box for the stihl to me if you edge allot it might be worth the money. If you buy used remember it's used but if you only use it once in a while you should get your use out of it. At the same time saving extra hours on your trimmer my plan for this year is to by a solid shaft trimmer and edger and just use that split unit for the hedge trimmer attachment and the pole saw it will also be used for a back up to the solid shaft units.

Good luck with whatever you go with

Stihl gearbox edger attachment is $179. looks well made - has two wheels.

See, I don't actually know how much I'll need it. I started last fall and don't have any weekly clients yet, so I don't yet know how much demand there will be for "edging".



I ended up buying the Stihl articulating hedge trimmer attachment the day of the open house. I KNOW I'll get some use out of that thing.

slcllc
03-23-2011, 12:31 AM
I use an Echo 225 stick edger. It has a curved shaft, but still has plenty of power. Used it for a full season so far, still runs great. Just buy a tune up kit for $10 whenever it starts running a little rough. I use it for the first edge and it works great - I think it was about $250 at Home Depot.

Hedgemaster
07-01-2011, 11:35 PM
Well, I used an "edger" for the first time today. It was one of those retarded Black and Decker, electric Edge Hogs.

The customer (a regular) asked if I could edge along the sidewalk - "I'll leave our electric edger out for you".

Holy CRAP. That was an exercise in stupidity. What are those things good for anyway? I got it "done", but what a pain.


I still know next to nothing about edgers, but I DO know that if I'm going to do this again, it won't be with anything attached to an electrical outlet!

Steve
07-03-2011, 08:44 PM
Was it that it was under-power or what was the problem?

Hedgemaster
07-03-2011, 11:42 PM
Was it that it was under-power or what was the problem?

That was my impression. That and it didn't seem to dig deep enough.




I happened to see a Troy Bilt "walk behind" edger at Lowe's today. Reg price $180 marked down to $135 (factory serviced/return) I have a coupon for $10 that would make it $125... not sure if it's worth it or not. Like I said - I still don't really know anything about edgers.
I've only had this one customer ask me to edge, so I don't know if it makes sense to spend a lot on a commercial unit at this point.

What makes a stick edger better (or worse) than a "walk behind" unit?

wandfsmall
07-04-2011, 10:11 AM
I use an Echo 225 stick edger. It has a curved shaft, but still has plenty of power. Used it for a full season so far, still runs great. Just buy a tune up kit for $10 whenever it starts running a little rough. I use it for the first edge and it works great - I think it was about $250 at Home Depot.

I would recommend a strait shaft stick edger if your going to use a stick edger, you will have a lot longer life as the edger takes torq and the flex cable will cause you problems where the solid shaft will give you better results and a long life.

wandfsmall
07-04-2011, 10:13 AM
That was my impression. That and it didn't seem to dig deep enough.




I happened to see a Troy Bilt "walk behind" edger at Lowe's today. Reg price $180 marked down to $135 (factory serviced/return) I have a coupon for $10 that would make it $125... not sure if it's worth it or not. Like I said - I still don't really know anything about edgers.
I've only had this one customer ask me to edge, so I don't know if it makes sense to spend a lot on a commercial unit at this point.

What makes a stick edger better (or worse) than a "walk behind" unit?


No such thing as factory serviced, the factory does not run a service center that is why they set up local service centers. If your lucky the home depot sent it to one of these, if not they sent it to altiquip and some guy that was likely not qualified worked on it.

Johnny_boy02
07-04-2011, 06:58 PM
Dude, just get a stick edger. You have the FS 90 Stihl trimmer get the edger with the same engine. It will rock your world.

Having to change to a attachment every time would take forever.

I prefer the curved shaft edger because I find it easier to maneuver around curved cement sidewalk, lawn edges, etc.

I use mine to re-edge slightly overgrown flowerbeds all the time.

I have used mine to edge plenty of overgrown edges, it is not the best tool for the job but it works, every couple feet I just stop and pull the trimmed stuff out of the way. It is not perfect but it is much faster than the shovel.

I love edging. I drive around and wish I could edge random strangers yards, I get insulted when I see neglected edges.

I have a Stihl edger, while doing maintenance edging I can run with this thing and it keeps up fine.
http://www.stihlusa.com/edgers/FC90.html

Best tool I have bought.

Hedgemaster
07-04-2011, 10:00 PM
Thanks for the info, although I still don't know why one type is better than the other.

For some reason, getting info about edgers is like pulling teeth. Maybe it's because nobody actually uses them? Hard to say.

I keep seeing people talking about how long it takes to swap out gearbox attachments, yet I have to wonder if any of those same people have ever done so. It takes maybe 30 seconds to take off my string trimmer head and put on the hedge trimmer attachment. I can see if it were needed for every job - then I'd certainly want a dedicated unit, but for occasional use, even if it took five minutes to change it out, it wouldn't be a big deal.

Johnny_boy02
07-04-2011, 11:42 PM
I edge every yard so I guess I just assume everyone does. Lol. If it is for occasional jobs the attachment will work great.

I dont like edging with a trimmer so my edger gets a lot of use.

Hedgemaster
07-22-2011, 11:24 PM
Heh. I had to run to Lowes to grab something right before closing tonight and on the way in, I saw that they still have that walk behind Troy Bilt edger - it's marked down to $75 now (orig $180).

Now that I picked up that cheap 26cc Yard Man split shaft trimmer, I'm debating on whether I should just get the edger attachment for that, or pick up this little 4 cycle, 3-wheel, 29cc walk behind edger. Both are essentially the same price.

Is there an advantage to having this type of edger over a stick edger, or is a stick edger easier to work with?

Now, I realize that this is a "crap" edger, but considering I'm on a budget, and I've only had ONE person ask for edging this season, it makes no sense to go and buy an expensive commercial grade edger of any type. Later? Yes, but for now, I would just like to have the ability to edge if I need to - affordably.


It's essentially this (http://www.lowes.com/pd_167655-270-25C-515-966_?PL=1&productId=3136329) edger, except it has a "complete" handle - not that retarded "partial" handle as shown.

http://images.lowes.com/product/converted/084931/084931841314lg.jpg


What to do? What to do?

MountainViewGreenskeeper
07-23-2011, 12:37 AM
If you already got the split shaft I would go with that since it would be just one more motor to keep up on.

But if you dont care go for it.

Sprinkler Buddy
07-23-2011, 12:48 AM
If things are tight, you can edge with your weed-eater until you can get an edger. Attachments are a pain in my opinion. Your out in the heat and swapping out attachments gets old quick! I would check out some used equipment, craigslist, etc... See if you can't find something in your budget and that is close so you can check it out. Take a friend that has some knowledge of equipment so you don't purchase cheap garbage.

Hedgemaster
07-23-2011, 12:51 AM
If you already got the split shaft I would go with that since it would be just one more motor to keep up on.

But if you dont care go for it.

I guess I can see your point regarding one more thing with an engine to worry about, but I don't think that's a big issue - I simply don't know squat about edgers, so I'm trying to get some opinions/tips/guidance on the differences, pros/cons, etc.

Sprinkler Buddy
07-23-2011, 12:52 AM
"Is there an advantage to having this type of edger over a stick edger, or is a stick edger easier to work with?"

Stick edger much easier to work with. Cutting out beds, getting in and out of trailer or truck, etc...

MountainViewGreenskeeper
07-23-2011, 03:28 PM
Well put it this way they do the same job but the walk behind will be more stable witch will equal a hair, and I do mean a hair, more in speed. plus no changing attachments.

The walk behinds also tend to flex in a few areas. Our business doesn't have one but I remember growing up with one from a box store(couldn't tell you the brand but it was red) and I don't think it lasted more then 2-3 yrs doing 2-3 lawns a weekend.

But again if the walk behind brakes will you be able to replace it for the same price? I don't think so but you may also be in a better financial position then. The attachment one your motor breaks and your only replacing the motor and you still have all the other attachments.

Hedgemaster
07-23-2011, 05:46 PM
The input is appreciated.

I haven't made up my mind yet. I did a few jobs today and the heat was too much, so I came home to some refreshing AC instead of going to buy an edger. lol

Hedgemaster
07-23-2011, 05:48 PM
Well put it this way they do the same job but the walk behind will be more stable witch will equal a hair, and I do mean a hair, more in speed. plus no changing attachments.

The walk behinds also tend to flex in a few areas. Our business doesn't have one but I remember growing up with one from a box store(couldn't tell you the brand but it was red) and I don't think it lasted more then 2-3 yrs doing 2-3 lawns a weekend.

But again if the walk behind brakes will you be able to replace it for the same price? I don't think so but you may also be in a better financial position then. The attachment one your motor breaks and your only replacing the motor and you still have all the other attachments.

Forgot to ask what you meant by that...

MountainViewGreenskeeper
07-23-2011, 09:27 PM
Well if it the same as the one we had it is just a pully on a shaft. So it is constantly spinning, thats not the problem, what is the problem is the part that has to engage the blade AND set depth is the same thing. After a while I'm assuming cause its cheap thin metal the metal bar bends then you start to push harder on it to go the same distance the bar that goes up to the handle to engage it all it just starts to fall apart.

I hope that wasn't to confusing but the part that moves is the part that bends.

The attachment one(I have not used it) has just a wheel that adjust for depth. Witch would be easier and more reliable later in its age.

Hedgemaster
07-23-2011, 11:24 PM
Stupid question, but do you walk backwards when using a stick edger?

I saw a little vid demonstration for one of the attachments and it appears that they are moving backwards.

Steve
07-24-2011, 09:05 PM
I would say whichever way you feel most comfortable doing it and can see what you are doing.

T & K Property Management
07-24-2011, 10:01 PM
Hedgemaster:

I am in the same situation you are right now - one man show for the time being and in the market for an edger. I looked into buying the Stihl multi-unit power head, but after doing a little research, I decided against it.

A friend of mine is a salesman at our local John Deere dealer and they also carry Stihl equipment. I was talking to him the other day about buying an edger and asked what he thought about a dedicated edger v. the power head route. He said that the power head would do the job, but if for some reason the head had a breakdown, then you're down completely. Atleast if you had a dedicated edger and separate trimmer, one breakdown doesn't completely put you out of service. He also told me that the constant connecting and disconnecting of the different attachments may cause wear issues over time.

I'm no expert by any means, but I hope this helps.

Justin
T & K Property Management

Hedgemaster
07-24-2011, 10:24 PM
Hedgemaster:

I am in the same situation you are right now - one man show for the time being and in the market for an edger. I looked into buying the Stihl multi-unit power head, but after doing a little research, I decided against it.

A friend of mine is a salesman at our local John Deere dealer and they also carry Stihl equipment. I was talking to him the other day about buying an edger and asked what he thought about a dedicated edger v. the power head route. He said that the power head would do the job, but if for some reason the head had a breakdown, then you're down completely. Atleast if you had a dedicated edger and separate trimmer, one breakdown doesn't completely put you out of service. He also told me that the constant connecting and disconnecting of the different attachments may cause wear issues over time.

I'm no expert by any means, but I hope this helps.

Justin
T & K Property Management

Thanks for your input. Someone else here pointed out that potential problem (powerhead down=multiple tools down) when I posted that I was looking at trimmers when I started out. I agree that if you are using the edger/trimmer/etc on a regular basis, individual, dedicated units make the most sense.
I'm looking at this from an "occasional use" standpoint, coupled with the fact that I don't want to rack up a huge bill on a credit card.

brian'slawncare
07-25-2011, 12:37 AM
always go with straight shaft. it will always have more power and last longer.

Hedgemaster
07-25-2011, 10:41 PM
Dilemma solved.

I stopped at Lowes tonight while I was out and that little walk behind was gone. Looks like I'll be picking up an attachment for the cheap split shaft trimmer I just bought... maybe I'll luck out and catch one on clearance at W-mart - it's that time of year.