It is very easy for a gardener to acquire a shed full of specialised tools for various jobs around the garden, trimmers, cutters, shredders, blowers, mulchers and many others that garden centres are keen to insist you must have. This can be a very expensive exercise, and one of questionable value if the tool is used only once or twice a year.
There is an alternative, the Multi-Tool. This a basic framework for attachments which turn the multi tool into the trimmer, cutter, shredder, blower, or mulcher that the gardener needs right then.
The advantages of a multi tool are:
- Buying a multi tool will be much cheaper than buying individual specialised tools
- Versatility and productivity. You can be in the garden and switch between tools without having to trudge to back to the shed, taking tool one back, and collecting tool two. You work rather than walk.
- You maintain only one tool, not many tools with differing maintenance requirements.
The downside is of course, that if it breaks, you lose all the functions supported by the multitool.
There are a good number of multi tools from a range of suppliers, running from the specialised multi-tool to the general purpose multi tool supporting a variety of attachments to meet most gardening needs.
Here are some considerations to bear in mind when selecting a multi-tool.
Multi tools come with three basic power options, battery, petrol or diesel and electric mains power. Each as you might expect has advantages and disadvantages.
The main consideration is battery life. How long can you work before you run out of juice. Is there a desktop charger you can use to charge a spare battery while you work. Does the battery provide enough power. Concerns are often expressed that cordless multi tools are less powerful that their petrol cousins.
Again, how long can you work before needed to fill up again. Another question is noise. Will it be noisy enough to have the neighbours complaining.
This means a cable and usually an extension cable running from the plug outlet to the Multi Tool. The cable usually gets in the way and runs over exactly where you don’t want it to go. Most serious gardeners avoid having electrical cables all over the place.
Does the tool have a range of attachments doing what you need to have done without the need to buy a specialised tool. Does the function work as well as the dedicated tool.
Are the multi tool or attachments compatible with other offerings in the manufacturers product range.
The tool must be light enough to comfortably operate for a while. Does it have a carrying harness or shoulder straps to ease the burden
Can you reach far enough when trimming trees or hedges.
Here are three multi tools you might like to consider.
Black + Decker Seasonmaster
Black and Decker have been well known for many years for producing reliable power tools. The Seasonmaster continues that proud tradition.
It is at a decent price from Amazon and comes with a good range of tools based around a cordless 18 Volt electric delivery system.
- The tool is simple in operation and it is easy to change attachment.
- It is equipped with the useful hedge trimmer, strimmer, chainsaw and leaf blower attachments.
- A further very useful attachment is the extending 2.3 m pole unit. It extends your reach to allow you to work on high and hard-to-reach branches.
- Its battery is compatible with over forty other Black and Decker 18V tools.
The range of attachments has been well-chosen to meet most common gardening requirements:
- The leaf blower is a boon in autumn when leaves and other garden litter need to be tidied up.
- The cutting strimmer is a heavy duty strimmer that can help deal with an entire lawn because of its 30cm cutting width. It has an automatic line feed so you don’t need to stop.
- A hedge trimmer. What more can we say other than it trims hedges and very well too.
- The chainsaw blade, while thought to be a bit short, still has the grunt to power through very thick logs and branches. Using it together with the 2.3 metre extension pole makes it child’s play to deal with tree branches.
For the environmentalists among us, a cordless battery unit with no fuel and noise pollution means that the electric design is a winner.
The Exceed EX52BC is a two-stroke petrol driven multi-tool. The engine has a 52cc capacity and the unit weighs just under 10kg. That will vary according to the attachment in use.
- A comfortable auxiliary handle
- Four functional attachments:
- A Grass Trimmer head with spool
- A 3 Blade Straight Shaft Brush Cutter
- An Adjustable Angle Hedge Trimmer Attachment
- A Branch Pruner attachment/Chainsaw
- An air-cooled 2-Stroke gasoline engine
- An automatic recoil pull starter
- A double shoulder harness strap with pad
- A mixer to mix the 40:1 two-stroke fuel
User opinion seems to be mixed. It seems to be a unit you either love or hate. One gripe we noted was the lack of an operating manual.
Another petrol driven multi-functional garden tool.
Rumours in the market are that it is to be shortly replaced with an upgraded model.
Assembly out of the box is quick and easy, using the Start Guide provided.
The next step is to mix your 2-stroke fuel and oil mixture (40: 1 Unleaded petrol and semi-synthetic 2-stroke oil). Fuel up the machine and you’ll be ready to get up and go and attack the garden.
What you get in the box:
- Hyundai ic52-2r 52cc 2-stroke petrol engine
- Easy recoil start system
- Hedge trimmer,
- brush cutter,
- grass trimmer and
- extension shaft.
- safety equipment, including
- full Face shield,
- ear defenders and
- Shoulder harness
- cutting guard
- easy feed nylon string cutting head,
- three tooth metal blade,
- eight tooth metal blade,
- fuel mixing jug,
- tool kit,
- spare nylon string,
- user manual,
- Assembly guide
The multi tool is covered by a Hyundai 3 year warranty.
User comments are favourable, with the exception of the user assembly guide being a bit of square-wheel English, and in the form of a poor black and white photocopy. Some users claim it is for a different model. There apparently are some YouTube instructional videos.
A full instructional manual is downloadable from the Hyundai website.
It is a very comprehensive purchase pack and the inclusion of the safety gear in the purchase pack is a great bonus. It means that all you need to start is to buy some petrol and some 2 stroke additive.
If we exclude the Hyundai because of doubts about its availability, the best choice lies between the Black and Decker and the Xceed. Despite being more expensive, we feel that the Black and Decker is the better buy. The products have a similar product function, but B&D have a great reputation in the market and their product does what is asked in a simple and efficient manner. Our gut feel is that it will be more robust, and it’s British.
Go for the Black and Decker.
Reviews of other garden tools you might like to have a look at include:
Best Garden Multi-tool: https://bestreviews.co.uk/garden-multi-tool/
Cordless Garden Strimmers: https://bestreviews.co.uk/cordless-garden-strimmers/
Long Reach Hedge trimmers: https://bestreviews.co.uk/hedge-trimmers-long-reach/