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The Best Rotary and Manual Edge Trimmers

A vibrant green lawn is great – and it looks even better when it has clear, crisp edges! Even the best grass can look bad if it’s straggly along the side of the driveway. That’s where a good lawn edger comes in, and we’re going to look at non-powered edgers in this article.

Types of Lawn Edgers

A lawn edger helps you cut a straight edge where your lawn ends and the sidewalk or driveway begins. It cuts not only the grass but also the soil. This gives you a small but noticeable gap that sets off the area. This helps keep everything looking professional!

There are three basic types of lawn edgers. We’ll review the best of two of these here, but let’s at least introduce all three.

Powered

Powered lawn edgers get their job from batteries, plugs, or gas. They’re the biggest and heaviest units. If you have a large lawn or want to supplement your income by mowing lawns for others, this is the way to go. They make quick work of the task. We’ve looked at the best power lawn edgers elsewhere.

Rotary

Rotary edgers have a wheel that cuts through the grass and soil. You push it along with a long handle.

These are simple tools that get the task done. You can use the hard surface adjacent to the lawn as a guide to help keep you edging in a straight line. Some have a single wheel, making balance a bit tough. Others have a cutting wheel and a guide wheel to make things much easier.

Manual

“Manual” isn’t a universal term, but we’re using it to refer to edgers that are shaped almost like a shovel. However, instead of a curved blade, the blade is flat so it can cut a straight edge. 

The bottom of the blade may be straight or rounded; both work well. 

Garden Edgers

Garden edgers are similar to lawn edgers but usually have shorter handles. They’re designed for smaller spaces around flower beds and other garden areas. They almost all fall into the “manual” type, but we’re not including them here because they deserve a review of their own.

What To Look For

We’ll be evaluating both rotary and manual lawn edgers here. Consider both, then take into account the specifics of individual models.

A rotary edger can make the work go more quickly. As we mentioned, they can be a little hard to manage without a balance wheel. They get the job done more quickly than a manual edger but not as fast as a powered model. However, they can struggle if you have hard soil or rocks.

On the other hand, things may go slowly with a manual edger. But they give you more control and make it easier to exert extra force where needed. They can be tiring to use if you have a large area to edge. But they are great if your lawn is small. If you have some tough patches, they can be a great solution used in conjunction with other solutions, too.

Manual edgers should have a wide top of the blade so that you can dig into the soil more deeply. This will help save your arms and shoulders.

Ready to learn how to edge your lawn? Check our quick guide!

Lawn Edger Reviews

Let’s have a look at our recommendations for the best non-powered lawn edgers.

Truper 32100 Tru Tough Rotary Lawn Edger

truper lawn edger rotary style

This rotary edger offers everything you could ask for. With a 48-inch handle, it’s a good height for you to push it along. And the balance is wide – it has two wheels on a wide base to help you keep your edger moving smoothly and in a straight line.

The cutting blade is over 5 inches in diameter and very durable. It does a great job slicing through grass and soil. 

The handle is ash and holds up to regular use.

This model works best when it has a hard surface to roll along. It’s ok but not outstanding if you’re trying to create an edge between, for example, a garden bed and the lawn.

Ames True Temper Deluxe Rotary Edger

true temper rotary lawn edger

Ames offers this quality rotary edger. It has a 48-inch handle and a double wheel for balance, making it easy to keep on a straight line as you get that perfect trim.

The blades are serrated to make cutting easier. The manufacturer also says they are self-sharpening, although we’re not quite sure how they do it. They did seem to stay sharp, though.

It does take a decent amount of effort to push it. That, of course, depends on your size and strength. It seems more like an issue of the wheel sometimes being stiff as opposed to a blade issue.

Razor Back 48-inch Wood Handle Turf Edger

razor back lawn edger

To get a good, easy edge, you may want to go with this one from Razor Back. The half-moon-shaped blade has a nice ledge for driving it in with your foot. At 48 inches long, it’s a comfortable size for most people, too.

The handle is made of sturdy hardwood and will probably hold up better than the blade. The blade is decent but won’t take a repeated beating. It’s good enough for most yards, but it might end up bending or breaking in tougher soil.

Bully Round Lawn Edger with Steel T-Style Handle

bully lawn edger

Bully offers a nice addition to the lawn edger market. It has a T-shaped handle that makes it easier to use, and a wide ledge for your foot. The rounded head is 9 inches wide.

The ledge on the top of the head is wider than most other digging tools. You won’t feel like it’s digging into your foot, even through flimsy shows. It allows you to get a solid amount of force behind it.

The blade itself is durable. We’ve seen some reports of it bending, but they are few and far between.

On the downside, it only measures a little over 39 inches from end to end. The T-handle helps make up for its shortness, but it may be uncomfortable if you have a lot of work to do. 

Alterra 42 in. T-Handle Lawn Edger

alterra t-handle lawn edger

This lawn edger features a unique design and a quality build. It’ll make it easy to get the job done with little effort!

This model has a steel handle with a t-shaped top. The footrest on the head is what stands out. Instead of a ledge on either side of the handle joint, it has a D-shaped space right in the center. It can take some time to get used to since you have to balance yourself differently. But it does allow you to drive the head into the ground more evenly.

It also has a wavy edge that stands out. We’re not sure this is necessary. In some cases, it may make the cutting easier. In others, though, it seems counterproductive. A straighter edge would work better for most jobs.

The tool is durable, though. And at 42 inches, it’s on the short side but still easier to use than some similar tools.

Conclusion 

A lawn edger helps give your lawn that perfect finish. A rotary edger or manual one is easy to use and perfect if you have a small yard. You’ll love how great your lawn looks when it’s got the perfect trim all around!