Hand tools for trimming and mowing buying guide

Guide written by:
Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff

Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff

120 guides
Tall grasses, brambles or brush taken over your garden? Looking for a simple and sensitive solution? Scythes, sickles and hand mowers are very effective, but it can be a thorny question which to choose! Brush up on your tool knowledge right here with our handy buying guide!

Important features

  • Blade length
  • Handle length
  • Maintenance

Scything: an effective solution?


A scythe is the ideal hand tool for tall grasses and small brush! It consists of a long blade, typically 60-90cm, mounted perpendicular to a handle of length 140-180cm.

Two handgrips (one midway down the main handle and the other at the far end from the blade) allow you to make the swinging movement characteristic of this tool. It does take a bit of getting used to before you master the technique to make quick and efficient scythe sweeps.

When used upright, the scythe can cover large areas of land. The only downside is that you need to regularly sharpen the blade to get the benefit of the full cutting edge (especially if used on tough vegetation such as brush).

And what about the sickle?


The sickle is like a little sister to the scythe. Consisting of a short handle and a small curved blade, it lets you cut vegetation even where the scythe cannot go.

It's used in one hand, making it perfect for tight spaces, small areas or for clearing flowerbeds and borders.

Although less efficient in its own right, the sickle is perfect for finishing and fine-tuning after scything. Its keen blade also needs regular sharpening to maintain its effectiveness.

What's the best solution for my lawn?

Arguably the most economical and environmentally sound way to look after your lawn is with a hand mower. No fuel to burn, no engine maintenance or extension flexes, and absolutely zero noise! Consisting of a roller carrying the mower blades (typical width 40-60cm), mounted on a chassis with a handlebar at the back, hand mowers are very simple to use: you just push.

Just as on mechanical models, cutting height is adjustable (often between 2 and 10cm).

Very limited maintenance (just rinsing blades after mowing and occasional lubrication of the mechanical transmission) makes the hand mower the ideal solution for small lawn areas (< 500m2).

In general, grass cuttings are ejected towards the front; however, some recent models have a basket to collect them - perfect for filling your composter!

If used regularly (once or twice a week in high season), a hand mower offers very similar performance to a mechanical mower. You do have to push it along all by yourself though!...

Any final words of advice?

As always when gardening, especially if using sharp cutting tools, get yourself some safety shoes (if possible ankle-high) offering good protection for your feet!

Also think about protecting your hands with a pair of gloves. If you're worried about flying debris when using your scythe or mower, it's not a bad idea to wear a pair of safety goggles into the bargain.

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Guide written by:

Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff 120 guides écrits

Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff

I'm a trained electrician who started off working in large-scale industrial projects. Most of my early career was spent taking on huge electrical installations. I like to think that no job is too big for me, and after all the experience I'd gained, I started managing teams of electricians.

I like to learn on the job, so around ten years ago, I moved into building and construction. As a site manager, I've overseen the building of small residences, sport facilities, and even theatres!

Working with my hands is something I love to do in my free time as well. For four years now, I've been restoring our home in the Welsh countryside. I even built a conservatory for my wife, who loves watching the sheep behind our house.

Whether it's patios, interior design, roofing, plumbing or electricity - I love giving it all a go! I've even made my family DIY converts and together we've built almost everything we have from scratch. My experience, both in the field and in my workshop, has taught me a lot and I'm happy to share what I've learned. No matter how big or small your project is, I'm here to answer your questions and help you choose the right tools and equipment.

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