Comparing a garden multi-tool with hedge trimmers, chainsaws, and strimmers- which is better value?
There’s a lot involved in creating your ideal garden. The number of hours spent planning, and then executing those plans with physical labour can almost seem endless at some points along the way.
Once your garden design has been brought to life, you can sit back and enjoy it though right? Well, not for long if you don’t keep it well maintained, and for that, you need the right tools.
So, let’s think about it. You definitely need lawn mower, preferably with a roller to create a nice striped lawn. When comparing like for like power, You also need a petrol strimmer for the edges of that lawn, a brush cutter for harder to shift weeds and vegetation, a petrol hedge trimmer, and even a petrol chainsaw for the big cutting jobs.
Pretty soon, your shed or garage is getting pretty cramped with all those tools in there, but is there any other option? Actually, there is. They are called garden multi-tools. These tools are designed to do the jobs that you would normally tackle with your strimmer, pruner, etc. Think of them of as giant gardening swiss army knives-
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but what are they really?
What is a garden multitool?
Designed to save you both time and space, and perhaps more importantly – money, garden multi-tools are usually powered by a 2-stroke petrol engine that is connected to a long shaft. At the end of this shaft, you can connect the various attachments that come with the tool, and although these attachments sometimes vary, they usually consist of a strimmer head, brush cutter, hedge trimmer, and chainsaw.
Are garden multi-tools expensive?
Considering that you effectively get five tools for the money you spend, I would have to say that garden multitools are not expensive at all and they are easy to use. The cheapest ones I’ve seen available are priced as low as a hundred pounds or so, with more recognised brands costing around double that. I have personally paid more than that for just a decent petrol strimmer alone, so I could never honestly say that garden multi-tools are expensive.
Having said that, there are some high-end brands that leave you feeling a little bit less than flush with cash-
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Comparing garden multi-tools with hedge trimmers, chainsaws, and strimmers which is the better value?
At first glance, you would not be blamed for immediately picking the garden multitool as the better value product. It can do everything that the other tools can do, and more, so of course it’s the obvious choice.
Having tried and tested more than a few of these products, some for the short term, but also many of them over longer periods, I would feel fairly confident in saying that my opinion on this subject holds a bit of weight.
What is that opinion? Well, it isn’t quite as simple as you might expect, as I’ve had good and bad experiences with various garden multi-tools, and also with certain brands of cordless brushcutters, petrol chainsaws, and hedge trimmers when I’ve bought them separately. However, speaking generally, here’s what I’ve experienced.
With garden multi-tools, you are saving money, but don’t let that go to your head and buy the cheapest one available. I would even say avoid most of these products that aren’t from recognised brands and try to get one that is made in the UK, like Parker Brand, as it can be very, very, hard to get spare parts for garden multi-tools that are made in China, and many of them are imported from there.
Because of the low price of garden multi-tools, you kind of expect them not to be premium quality, certainly not up to the same standard as a Stihl strimmer, or a Makita pole hedge trimmer, or even a strimmer with blades for example. However, you still want the tools to work properly and last a while.
Here’s a video explaining the differences between cheaper models and more expensive ones-
Good at first – the garden multitool
From my experience, these tools work really well when you first get them. The engine starts up pretty easily, and the tool heads all do their job as you expect. As time rolls on though, even with proper maintenance, you start to see problems arising. Things like the brush cutter and hedge trimmer blades not performing properly, and the engine becoming more and more difficult to start up from cold.
I’ve also noticed that because of the cost-saving design, some of the cheaper materials that have been used start to wear away, like the starter pull-cord, and some plastic parts had been damaged quite easily from bumping into branches and things like that.
Most of these tools come with free chainsaw safety equipment and harness, but again these are usually cheaply made and won’t last long, so I would recommend buying some better stuff, for your own safety.
How to get the most out of your garden multi-tool
It’s no all doom and gloom though. There are some garden multi-tools out there that have been manufactured to a higher quality, and with a bit of knowledge on how to get the most out of them, you can quite feasibly be still using the tool in a few years’ time.
Take it easy
First of all, don’t expect too much out of your garden multi-tool. Good quality ones are excellent for small to medium gardens and occasional trimming, strimming, pruning, etc. They are not really designed to be taken to their limits on a regular basis, and doing so will just result in them starting to break down prematurely like how I described above.
Store it properly
Where and how you store your multi-tool will also play a big part in how long it lasts. As costs have been lowered in the manufacturing process, these tools tend to get affected by damp conditions more so than with an expensive chainsaw or lawnmower, for example. With this in mind, I wouldn’t leave the tool in a cold shed and even wrap it up in something if storing it in the garage or plastic storage shed. I did this with the last garden multi-tool I bought and it prolonged the life of it by quite some time. It’s not just you that needs to wrap up warm in winter-
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Don’t neglect the fuel
I noticed from my previous experiences with lost-cost petrol tools, and not just multi-tools, that if they are left to sit with fuel in them for extended periods, that fuel can cause damage to the machine. The risk of this can be lowered, however, by simply mixing in a fuel additive to protect the inner workings of the engine. This goes for most petrol-powered tools, and occasionally draining the fuel and replacing it is equally important
Sharpen those blades
Keeping the blades sharp on your hedge trimmer, chainsaw, and brush cutter is very important, and will prevent the motor from having to work too hard, and this will prevent it from becoming damaged from overheating. You should also give the blades a good coating with oil regularly too.
The man in this video has obviously been maintaining his multi-tool, and here’s his opinion after two years of uuse-
Summary- Should I buy a garden multi-tool?
Here’s how I see it. if you have a small to medium-sized property, and you will use the garden multi-tool for light garden maintenance, then these tools can be a good buy. By following the tips above, you should get your money’s worth out of them, but I’d still buy proper safety equipment.
For those of you who are taking care of large gardens that require a lot of work, it is my honest opinion that you would be better off buying the tools separately. Yes, it will cost you quite a bit more for the initial payout, but quality tools that are made for a specific purpose will last you much longer when being put through their paces, and will probably end up saving you money in the long run.