If only you could manoeuvre your trusty lawn mower that little bit further to the edges of your lawn – you’re practically millimeters away from achieving the perfect finish but the blades of the mower just can’t quite get close enough to make the cut! For those of us who like neat and tidy, shears are the go-to tool for precision edging. Not to be confused with lawn shears, which cut flat on the surface of the grass, edging shears cut around the perimeter and along borders; edging shears are used for trimming and tidying parts of the lawn a mower is simply unable to access – around garden features or up to the base of walls or steps.
Best Pick Edging Sheers
- The Isio cordless edging and shrub shear set - the perfect companion for day-to-day jobs in the garden
- Anti-Blocking system for stress-free work without interruptions
- Multifunctional: A new range of Multi-Click attachments make the Isio even more versatile than before
- Fast charging and low self-discharge thanks to lithium-ion technology
- Items included: Bosch Isio, charger, Multi-Click grass shearing blade 8 cm, Multi-Click shrub shearing blade 12 cm, cardboard box
A good pair of edging shears, used correctly, will transform unruly grassy edges into neat and tidy borders, precisely finished, creating the perfect picture of an inviting, freshly-cut, well-maintained lawn.
The best edging shears will have a right-angled head that runs parallel to the lawn and garden-bed edges, meaning it’s possible to achieve a neat, accurate cut in a relatively short space of time, with no stress and very little effort.
Only got 5 minutes
Choosing the best edging shears
Length of handle
When it comes to the handle length of edging shears, it’s very much down to personal preference. Long handled edging shears are the most popular option, favoured particularly by those of us blessed with an extra few inches! The additional length makes it possible to use the shears whilst standing upright, minimising the risk of back and neck strain.
Short handled edging shears are the cutting tool of choice for those who like to feel more in control, or whose vision might not be quite what it used to be.
A hybrid of the two is edging shears with telescopic handles: each handle can be adjusted individually, which may benefit people with existing arm or shoulder problems. Telescopic handles can also be retracted for easy storage and portability. Telescopic handles are ideal if multiple people plan on using the same edging shears as they can be adjusted to suit each individual’s height, and/or if you intend on tidying different areas where user access may be restricted.
Blade quality and type
You wouldn’t want your hair cut with a cheap pair of scissors and the same should be said for your lawn. Poor-quality, cheap blades are more likely to ‘chew’ the grass, making it difficult to achieve an even cut; they tend to frequently need re-aligning and sharpening, despite only being lightly used.
If you’re going to the effort of trimming your grassy edges, you want sharp, well-balanced blades made from good-quality steel. Tempered blades (blades which have been heated in order to slightly soften the steel) are best for a clean and accurate finish due to their strength and flexibility. Self-sharpening blades are also worth looking out for as, due to the angle of the blades, they make light contact with each other when in use and so eliminate the need for sharpening the blades by hand.
When it comes to blade length, edging shears with a shorter blade are better suited for curving lawns where the length of a longer blades may make the shears difficult to manoeuvre.
As with any manual garden tool, weight is an important factor to consider. The majority of gardening tasks are physical, and cutting and tidying the borders of your lawn with edging shears is no exception. It’s important to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your body to minimise the risk of injury, or to deter those all-too-familiar aches and pains that have the habit of setting in after a day of green-fingered labour!
Lightweight edging shears, with relatively short blades, usually weigh in at around 1.2kg (2.6 lb). Heavy duty shears can be anywhere up to around 2.5kg (5.5 lb). The heavier models tend to have steel or wooden handles, which are less prone to damage due to their robustness, but weigh considerably more than the lightweight alternatives such as carbon. Some gardeners prefer heavier edging shears as they feel the extra weight provides more stability when cutting, however this is very much a case of personal preference.
In a nutshell, you want a pair of edging shears that you can use comfortably – both in terms of weight and length – and which are durable, made from good-quality materials, with a precise and efficient cutting action.
Long Vs Short
Long-handled edging shears
Long-handled lawn-edging shears are the most popular option of edging shears. For trimming long grass, ideally you want edging shears with the the handles positioned perpendicular to the blades (at 90˚). For general tidying of lawn edges, edging shears with the blades and handles aligned tend to be the preferred option.
With long-handled edging shears the key factors to look out for are:
- Desired handle length to complement height of user
- Appropriate blade length for the shape of your lawn
- Suitable weight for ease of use
When it comes to choosing the best long handled edging shears for you and your garden, you want a model you can lift and use comfortably whilst standing upright; you don’t want to have to be crouching or stooping, putting excess strain on your back and neck.
Short-handled edging shears
Short-handled edging shears are designed to trim and tidy turf in awkward, hard-to-reach places; they’re also great for deadheading flowers and taking care of flowering grasses that some mowers can miss. Ideally, they should be used on dry grass but, providing you have decent shears with quality, sharp steel blades, they will cut wet grass.
The handles on short-handled edging shears are designed so they’re positioned slightly higher than the blades, this should avoid any contact between your knuckles and the ground! The best short-handled edging shears will feature an enclosed ambidextrous handgrip, designed for single-handed use, and swivel blades to access even the most hard-to-reach borders and edgings.
Best Budget – Edging Sheers
- Designed for trimming lawn edges and borders
- Long length handles to reduce bending or straining the back
- Comfortable soft grip handle made from PP+TPR
- 850mm steel tubular handles. 17cm blade length
- Tool head width minimum is 13 mm maximum is 40 mm
Edging shears desirable features
When deciding on the best edging shears for you and your garden, as well as looking at the product specification for key information such as materials and dimensions, it’s worth checking which, if any, additional features the pair of shears have that you’re considering.
An ergonomic handle or carbon blade might not sound like much, but little features like these can make all the difference when it comes to how easy and comfortable a pair of edging shears will be to use and maintain.
- Tubular steel handles with ergonomic, non-slip rubber grip
- Telescopic handles offer adjustability to provide comfortable upright use
- Rust-resistant, carbon or Teflon-coated blades
- Self-sharpening tempered blades with low level of friction
- Lengthy manufacturer’s guarantee
- Self-locking nut and buffers to minimise jarring
Top Tip for using edging shears
You’ve bought a pair of edging shears. They’re made from good-quality materials and have an array of additional features, however you’re finding using them a little tricky…
Consider your cutting technique!
It’s likely that you’re one of many who, when you think of cutting with edging shears, pictures both hands and handles moving in unison – chop, chop, chop. A far more efficient technique is to hold the handle of the lower blade still, whilst only moving the upper blade. The shears will still cut, if anything they’ll get the job done quicker, and having only done ‘half’ the chopping, you shouldn’t be anywhere near as tired! Take our word for it – it works!
Looking after your edging shears
Take the time to look after your edging shears; with a little TLC, they’ll cut cleaner and last longer.
After each use
Cleaning the blades is key due to the build-up of sap; as a result, they’ll require regular cleaning otherwise you’ll find them difficult to open and close. Wipe them down with an oily rag; this should remove the residue relatively easily. The best edging shears will have stainless steel blades, or better still, blades which are Teflon coated. These blades will not rust and Teflon is considerably easier to clean than standard steel.
Every few uses
Check the blade tension hasn’t loosened.
Oil the pivot point of the blades regularly.
The best edging shears will be self-sharpening so you don’t have to worry about keeping an eye on the blades. If you do decide to go for edging shears that need a little help to keep them cutting clean, identify which side, if not both, has a cutting edge, and sharpen, maintaining the angle, using a sharpening kit, water stone or whetstone.
Best of the Rest
- Tubular steel handles for maximum strength
- Polished and lacquered blades for rust resistance. Chrome Plated
- Genuine Spear & Jackson product
- Soft feel grips
- Grow your own great British growing 2018 award winners
- Tubular steel handles
- Foam grips
- 9 inch heat treated carbon steel blades
- Strong and durable
- Ideal for trimming and tidying lawn edges and borders
- PTFE-coated hardened steel blades
- Strong oval steel handles
- Non-slip, rubber-coated grips
- Long handles promote a comfortable working position
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want your shears primarily for edging, hand-held shears should be sufficient. There are some electric shears available, and, although less common, petrol edging strimmers. Granted they’re handy when you need to cut in a hurry however, this time-saving strategy has its downfall – you’ll never get a uniformed, tidy-looking edge to your lawn as you would with hand-held lawn edging shears.
Edging shears are available with a range of handle lengths and the key is to choose the length that feels the most comfortable to use. Sizes of edging shears range from around 32″ up to around 39″. For those of us blessed with supermodel height (5’10 and over), go for shears with at least a 36” handle length to avoid putting any unnecessary strain on your back and neck.