Manual lawn edging tools are an easy and inexpensive way to neaten and define the edges of your lawn, prevent grass roots from spreading to unwanted areas, and create a more manicured, landscaped look in your garden.
This type of lawn edging tool consists of a simple spade-like design, with metal half-moon blades at the end of a long shaft. The blades generally have a rolled lip or treads for your feet to protect your footwear, and to act as a guide so you can insert the tool at an even depth all the way around.
Edging along the soil between your lawn and a gravel driveway or flower bed is a quick and relatively painless job, and can really tidy up and improve the appearance of your garden. It’s something that usually only needs to be done once a year to keep on top of it, so it’s well worth doing.
Last update on 2021-09-23 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
Sold on the benefits of lawn edging? Then read on for our compilation of 5 of the best lawn edging tools on the market, to help you decide which is the best tool to use to re-take your borders, and show your lawn who’s boss.
Our best lawn edging tool is forged from solid steel by an esteemed British brand
Cost: Price not available
This Bulldog Premier Edging Knife is both our best and priciest pick – but it’s worth every penny. The blade is crafted from a single piece of solid steel, which extends up the shaft, so there are no weak points. The rest of the shaft and handle is made from FSC-certified sustainable ash wood.
The blade also has a rolled edge along the top to protect your footwear. The whole tool feels solid and sturdy, and it makes light work of defining garden edges, slicing through hard ground and roots that might be trying to creep their way over borders.
Due to the construction, it is slightly heavier than some similar designs, and the blade is thicker, which means it might take a little more effort to use – but there’s no doubt that this is preferable to it being flimsy and prone to breaking. The 75cm shaft is also fairly short compared to other brands.
Bulldog is a reputable brand – even Prince Charles has been pictured using one of their spades – and they manufacture all their tools in Britain. Tools are tested against and exceed the British standards for bending, so you can rest assured that you’re getting a high-quality piece of equipment.
The main drawback of this tool is that it’s the most expensive one on our list – but we really do think it’s worth it. It might even work out more economical in the long run, as you’re getting something that will last for years to come, rather than something that will break and have to be replaced next season!
- Strong half-moon blade with a rolled edge for your feet.
- Forged from one solid piece of steel – no weak points.
- FSC sustainable ash wood handle.
- A reputable brand, made in Britain.
- Exceeds British standards for bend testing.
- Most expensive option on our list.
- Heavier than some similar designs – requires more user effort.
Our most affordable lawn edging tool, which will still get the job done
If you’re looking for an option that is more immediately economical, this 1000mm Silverline Edging Knife is perfectly capable of defining your borders and comes with an unbelievably low price tag.
It features a pressured steelhead, tubular steel shaft, and treads on the blade, making it comfortable to use, and preventing damage to your footwear (make sure to use these treads to apply the pressure on the blade, not on the handle, as this is a sure-fire way to break the shaft).
The rivets which hold the blade onto the shaft are not the strongest, and a minority of users have experienced problems with it coming apart. One rectified this issue with a more robust nut and bolt.
Sharpening the blade prior to use may also help with this problem, as it will put less pressure on the tool. The blade doesn’t arrive particularly sharp, so it’s probably a good idea to do this anyway, to make your task easier.
Overall, this is certainly not the strongest or most robust design out there, but if you have a relatively small lawn and soft ground, it should tackle the roll of edging just fine – and you can’t beat it for value for money.
- Made from a hammer-finished, pressed steelhead and tubular steel shaft.
- The blade has treads for your feet.
- Excellent value for money.
- Not the strongest design.
- You may need to sharpen the blade before use.
- Blade prone to coming detached from the handle.
A rust-resistant stainless steel edger, from another reputable British garden tool manufacturer
Spear & Jackson are another reputable British-based brand with over 250 years of experience designing garden tools. This Stainless Steel Edger is an example of their expertise in the field and is perfect for edging lawns in soft-average ground.
The blade is made from stainless steel, to resist rust, and is mirror-polished to stop soil from sticking to the surface (not to mention, it looks great!) It also has treads either side to improve user experience and protect your boots from damage.
The shaft is made from polypropylene, and has a cushioned, ergonomic tilted handle, again to make using the tool easier. The plastic shaft makes the tool comparatively lightweight and improves portability. It measures 93cm, so it’s long enough that you shouldn’t need to bend and strain your back.
If you need more assurances, Spear & Jackson provide an impressive 10-year guarantee, showing that they stand behind their product, and offering you peace of mind should anything go wrong. And all this for a very reasonable price!
This may not be quite as strong as the Bulldog model, but it’s still one of the best lawn edging tools available at this price point, and we’re confident that you won’t be disappointed if you choose this to sort out your borders.
- Rust-resistant stainless steelhead.
- Mirror polished to prevent soil adhesion.
- Ergonomic tilted handle.
- Foot treads to improve comfort.
- Reputable, British-based brand, with a 10-year guarantee.
- Not strong enough to use on hard or stony ground.
- Shaft prone to bending under stress.
This carbon steel blade will make light work of soft ground, stray grass and roots
Green Jem’s Carbon Steel Edging Tool is another great-value, mid-range lawn edging tool, that will rise to most of the average homeowner’s border-defining and lawn-sculpting challenges.
The tool has a carbon-steel blade that is designed to stand the test of time. The blade feels sturdy and tackles soft ground and roots with relative ease. It also has a rust-resistant finish for added durability – although it is worth noting that carbon steel is still not as corrosion resistant as stainless steel.
The soft-grip ergonomic handle makes for a reasonably comfortable edging experience, and the shaft comes in a funky orange colour which is sure to brighten up your garden shed.
The plastic handle makes the tool lightweight and portable, but to be honest, it does feel a little flimsy, and as though it might well bend or snap upon hitting a rock or patch of hard ground.
As with all these tools, you should use your judgement, and consider stopping if it feels like you’re putting too much stress on the tool. Providing your expectations are realistic though, this affordable edger could make a seriously useful addition to your garden toolset.
- Strong, carbon-steel head.
- Durable and rust-resistant blade.
- Soft-grip, ergonomic handle.
- Fun, bright orange colour.
- Not suitable for use in hard or rocky ground.
- The shaft feels a little flimsy.
- Carbon steel more prone to corrosion.
This high-quality edging tool features a steel blade, ash wood shaft and lifetime guarantee
The final lawn edging tool on our list is this Steel Edging Iron from Ambassador. As the name suggests, it features a durable stainless steel blade, which is perfect for neatening up the borders of your lawn. It has treads either side of the shaft, to make it easier to insert the tool.
The blade does arrive a little blunt, as is common with many of these tools and is probably due to health and safety, so you may want to sharpen it before use, to ensure it can slice through your soil as easily as possible.
It has a solid ash wood shaft that measures 87cm in length and is designed to absorb the shock of digging into the ground. This gives the tool the feeling of being high-quality and well-made.
This is also one of the features which justifies the slightly higher price tag compared to some similar products with plastic shafts. Although this isn’t the most affordable edging tool on our list, we think it is one of the ones that will last the longest.
Perhaps the best thing about this option is that Ambassador offers a lifetime guarantee, so if you do ever experience any problems or faults, you should be covered. Overall, this is another edging tool that offers quality and durability, for a reasonable price.
- High-quality stainless steel blade.
- Shock-absorbing solid ash wood shaft.
- Lifetime guarantee.
- The blade may need sharpening before use.
- Not the most affordable option.
How To Edge A Lawn
To edge a lawn using a manual lawn edging tool such as the ones featured here, drive the edger into the soil at the border of your lawn, at a 90° angle, rocking it from side to side to ease your entry. Stop when the tip of the blade hits the surface of the soil.
Gently manoeuvre the soil away from the border, and pull the handle back to remove the tool, leaving a defined edge. This should also serve to sever any roots or rhizomes trying to cross the border underground. Repeat this process all the way along the edges of your lawn, stopping when the top of the blade hits the soil each time, to ensure consistency in depth.
Mow your lawn prior to edging to achieve the tidiest possible look. The best time to edge your lawn is when the ground is slightly wet, perhaps the day after it’s rained, as the soil will be softer, and you will find it easier to insert the tool.
How To Keep Lawn Edges Neat
There are several things you can do to keep your lawn edges looking neat. One of these is to use an edging tool to sharpen the borders of your lawn, with the method described above.
Another way to keep lawn edges neat is to install a permanent physical barrier. One type is wooden log roll lawn edging, which can be staked into the ground to create a rustic, miniature garden fence effect between your lawn and the adjoining path or flower bed. Stones can also make for an attractive, natural-looking border.
If you prefer, you can also install a strip of metal or plastic edging as a barrier. This durable type of edging is usually inserted into the ground, and can be particularly helpful if you want to stop grassroots from spreading underground, whilst still being able to mow unencumbered on the surface.
You can install metal or plastic edging by digging a trench between your lawn and the gravel/flower bed, laying the edging against the sidewall, securing it with stakes, and then re-filling the trench with soil. Alternatively, if the ground is soft enough, you can hammer the edging pieces into the ground using a mallet.
Perhaps one of the most difficult to install, yet effective ways, to keep lawn edges neat is to create a solid concrete barrier. This is also done by digging a trench, lining it with gravel and installing a temporary wooden support structure, before pouring the concrete into the trench, and leaving it to solidify. No grass will be getting through that!
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.