Mark Jennings tried and tested some helpful gardening equipment that make life a whole lot quicker and easier.
As a stay at home dad of two young children, I have to spend a lot of time concentrating on general household chores with little time when the wife's off work to spend in our size-able garden with over-complicated garden machinery and equipment.
It finally looks like summer's here and quite frankly apart from mowing the lawn once a fortnight, little work is done to compliment our adored, but slightly neglected garden. I wanted to try out accessible products that are not only popularly priced, but easy to use being appropriate for today's busy young family.
Gtech ST05 Li-Ion Cordless Grass Trimmer - £69.95
The Gtech 'ST05' grass trimmer is not only very good looking (yes I need to get out more) but very lightweight, only 1.5kg and the small but powerful 14.4v battery Li-Ion battery with 30 minute running time is incorporated neatly into the handle. Being cordless it's ideal for larger gardens like ours, so no need for the inconvenience of extension cables and having had string trimmer heads in the past that constantly snap and tangle instead of uncoiling, the plastic blade option is much less hassle that leave you with nice, neat edges.
But one of the things I liked most about this proficient trimmer is the adjust-ability, not only can you swivel the head through 180 degrees, adjust the handle for comfort, but there's a telescopic shaft that extends and shortens for those hard to reach places or just for comfort making it a genuinely versatile trimmer.
See more at: www.gtechonline.co.uk
Kärcher 'WD3.500P' Wet & Dry Vacuum Cleaner - £149.99
When it comes to uncomplicated simplicity, you can't go wrong with Kärcher's 'WD3.500P' Wet & Dry Vacuum Cleaner. Let's face it, when you want to vac out the car for example, you don't really want to do it with the house vac. This powerful 1400w heavy duty cleaner not only sucks up ample debris, unblocks sinks and water spills but has a blower function that can be used from clearing leaves to blowing up inflatables.
It really does pack a punch with an airflow rate of 68 litres a second and I had no problem clearing up some wood chippings from my front garden in no time at all. Also included is a handy power tool adaptor that means you can plug the 2 metre suction hose onto the back of a jigsaw for instance, plug into the machine and it switches on and off with the vac - ingenious!
See more at: www.karcher.co.uk
WOLF-Garten 'CSA700' Li-Ion Power Chainsaw - £179.99
Another 'handy' item for the garden is the compact cordless 18v Power Chainsaw from WOLF-Garten which is really good for sawing through wood with a diameter of around 70mm is ideal for people like me who've never used a chainsaw before. After you've charged the battery, it takes only a few minutes to set-up and once you've added the chainsaw oil (available separately) and read the safety instructions you're off.
From full charge the Lithium-Ion battery should last you around 40 minutes running time which you can do over 100 dry cuts at 70mm. It's nice and light and at just over 2.5kg you won't get stiff or tired and safety being a must you have piece of mind with the 2 hand safety switch and assured grip. Once perfecting my technique, the quality Oregon cutting chain made light work of of the pile of quite sappy conifer branches that I'm drying out and saving to use in the future.
See more at: www.wolfgarten-tools.co.uk
The Handy 2400w Impact Shredder - £99.99
The Handy 2600w Garden Blow Vac - £41.99
After chainsawing your conifers or other trees, you're left with the problem of easily getting rid of all the unwanted smaller branches, but 'The Handy' 2400 impact shredder will shred all your garden waste up to surprising 40mm in diameter! You may think of shredders being incredibly noisy and dangerous, but with a little common sense are perfectly safe and I expected it to be a lot noisier. Minimal setup is required and it's very easy to move around the garden and use. Just feed the branches into the top of the machine hopper and the powerful 2400w motor with it's sharp steel cutting blade makes it easy work. The blade has two cutting edges, so when it finally becomes blunt can reverse it to use again. You can then either use the waste for composting or it makes for easier compact transportation up to the local tip.
When upon it's time to clean up all the mess 'The Handy' 2600 garden blow vac is perfect for the job. Not only can you either suck up garden waste into the 35L collection bag (can compact leaves 10 times smaller to their original capacity), but also precisely blows any debris away to the corners of your garden perimeter. This blower/vac is very simple to use and the single speed 2600w motor is extremely powerful. With a shoulder strap it makes it effortless to walk around in comfort and with 6 metres there's plenty of cable to access a wide area of your garden. For the casual gardener like myself, this really is a useful product and great value for money!
See more at: www.notcutts.co.uk