If you are a hobbyist gardener, the days of buying costly dedicated gardening equipment and tools have drawn to an end. Say ‘hello’ – and a fond hello at that – to the Gardener’s Best Friend, the Multi-Tool.
A Multi-Tool’s functions include sawing, cutting, strimming, pruning, and/or trimming, and it has from three to six attachments.
In choosing a Multi-Tool, your primary criteria will probably be the engine’s power, the number and types of attachments, and cost. However, you ought to consider other factors such as comfortable handling, build quality, and included accessories like a face mask, gloves, goggles, earmuffs, etc.
It’s also important to look into the length of the warranty and what it covers.
Most Multi-Tools come with a harness and an extension pole. In our opinion, both harness and extension pole are essential, even if you think that all your flora and shrubbery are within easy reach. And just like a harness, an effective locking mechanism increases safety. Attachments have been known to spin out of the housing because of poor locking.
Apart from cost, one practical advantage of going the Multi-Tool route is that your shed or garage will not be cluttered with an excess of gardening implements over time but will have a single piece of equipment that is quite compact and is easy to store.
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Garden Multi-Tools are still in their fledgeling years and quite a few are marred by problems and defects of different kinds; these are frankly reported in our reviews, underneath.
Superb build quality by virtue of metal construction makes a powerful and functional kit rugged and robust with an unexpected ‘extra:’ excellent value.
Ranked at the top of our list, Parker’s Multi-Tool includes a chainsaw, grass trimmer, brush cutter, and hedge trimmer attachments plus extension pole. What is even better is the robust body and housing with its 52-cc 3.40 horsepower petrol motor that uses 2200 watts of power – but what is not ‘better’ is the powerful motor’s loud noise!
This rig has superb build quality and it is rugged, courtesy of its good old-fashioned metal construction. Unfortunately, some plastic components are unacceptably flimsy. However, all attachments are solid, and do a ’solid’ job with the exception of the hedge trimmer which is a bit iffy. Compared to many other Multi-Tools, this Parker kit’s power is palpable.
Notwithstanding the build quality and construction, quality control is a concern because many users have reported early problems and defects with the throttle and trigger, which, every now and again, stop working. Other users have experienced damage or breakage in the attachments.
The manual’s instructions are misleading as they do not fit with what one sees in the box; furthermore, they are also confusing and do not assist in assembly, not that it matters much as assembly is fairly straightforward.
A common complaint is that either the motor does not start at all or that it starts but then sputters and stops. Some users have found it useful to turn to the choke and do a pull-push routine with it for each cord pull. We feel that this complaint is not an engine defect but may be a problem of Parker’s own making.
The instructions in the manual, the label on the motor, and peel-off sticker on the mixer tank specify, variously, a fuel-oil mix of 40:1 and 25:1. Obviously, both ratios cannot be right and the user who plumps for the wrong ratio may well run into motor problems. (It may well be that the 25:1 ratio is for the first few fill-ups with the 40:1 ratio to be used for all subsequent mixing.) Also remember to pump the primer before starting.
Another common complaint is questionable customer support from Parker.
This Multi-Tool is on the heavy side but that is an inevitable price to pay for the durable metal construction. Adjusting the harness and positioning and balancing the Multi-Tool correctly in the harness will make life much easier. That said, it should probably be avoided if you are not a healthy and strong male.
The criteria for our best pick does not include price but it bears mentioning that Parker’s Multi-Tool is not too expensive and is attractively priced, bringing value as a by-the-way ‘plus.’
- Outstanding build quality and the metal construction make this Multi-Tool robust and durable.
- The motor is more powerful than those of most other Multi-Tools to the extent that its power is palpable.
- The attachments’ functionalities cannot seriously be faulted.
- Poor manual, poor instructions, and self-conflicting fuel mix labelling.
- This Multi-Tool’s weight and power are such that it is not easy to hold and control.
- Lax quality control causes some units to be defective, or the attachments prone to damage or breakage.
Oddly, for a value pick it is on the costly side but is also of top quality, being powerful and with a plethora of attachments and extras.
Although this BU-KO product is on the costly side, it is still our value pick because you get so much for the price. This kit is of high quality, has a powerful motor, and comes with an abundance of equipment: five attachments, full complement of protective gear, mixing bottle, a set of tools, and even a funnel!
The attachments include strimmer, hedge trimmer, pruner, chainsaw, and brush cutter, plus a trimmer line and a 105-centimetre extension pole that extends to 3.4 metres.
The 52 cc motor is rated at 3 horsepower and takes 2200 watts of power.
The instructions are hopeless and appear to be out-of-date. Even so, beginners have successfully put together and used BU-KO’s Multi-Tool.
The no-fuss motor starts and runs without any hiccupping which is a clear advantage over many other Multi-Tools. Assembly poses no problems. However, small-framed or unfit persons can find it heavy and cumbersome in use.
The power of the petrol motor and the quality and sharpness of the attachments typically make short work of whatever you are working on, be it branches or brambles. Moreover, the entire unit – while being operated – is well balanced and easy to handle and control.
However, a common issue is that the attachments do not align properly or easily with the motor’s housing, making insertion of the locking pin quite a nuisance. Another frequent concern is missing nuts and bolts, or nuts and bolts coming loose. These issues are ameliorated by the excellent customer service that many buyers speak highly of.
This kit requires a fuel-oil ratio of 25:1 for the first two fills, and then 40:1. BU-KO provides a one-year warranty.
All in all, we think this unit offers terrific value for money, and so much so that on another day we may even have chosen it as our top pick.
- A product of such quality and with such a comprehensive set of heads, attachments, and sundry extras is a fantastic value for money.
- The fuss-free motor which seems to run on demand sets it apart from many another Multi-Tool.
- Excellent customer service with a focus on resolving buyers’ problems.
- Attachments do not align properly with the housing and inserting the locking pin is often a hassle.
- Now and then nuts and bolts may come loose and go M.I.A. – or they may have gone AWOL in the first place.
- The instructions are hopeless and outdated.
A well-designed, no-fuss Multi-Tool whose clear-cut instructions, smooth interchange of attachments, and overall ease-of-use make it a top choice for beginners.
XCEED’s Multi-Tool includes grass strimmer, brush cutter, hedge trimmer, and branch pruner, each with its own pole. Included is a harness, a fuel mixer, and a selection of tools.
The 52 cc motor takes 1700-watt power on this petrol-powered rig.
The lucid instructions are among the best, giving this XCEED an edge over other Multi-Tools, especially for novices – who really should not be too fussed about this kit’s relative noisiness.
It is unusually well balanced in operation and the attachments are very easy to swap out and swap in – clear advantages for those who are not physically fit or strong, and for beginners. A special plus is that the hedge trimmer’s angle is adjustable so that the user can reach over and behind or trim a hedge front without engaging in contortions.
Unfortunately, the harness is insubstantial and poorly designed. You may need to shop for an aftermarket harness.
There have been issues with some units either breaking down or failing to start. We believe that these faults stem from poor quality control, which is a not uncommon problem in the garden multi-tool category. Therefore, purchasing an XCEED can be a bit of a hit-or-miss affair. If you are unlucky you may get a unit that just won’t work or is otherwise faulty, else you will get a wonderful rig which will strim, trim, cut, and prune away as if it is the Energizer Bunny!
The required fuel-oil proportion is 40:1 and it weighs about eight kilogrammes.
Though not the heavyweight champ, this unit is a genuine middleweight contender!
- Good balance and does not feel overly heavy in actual usage; these factors give it a clear advantage over many other Multi-Tools.
- Instructions are excellent – another clear advantage over the competition.
- Overall this kit is so very good that one might choose it as their value pick.
- Some units fail to start at all or break down, which is probably an outcome of dicey quality control.
- Poor quality harness – ditch it and replace it with a better one.
- A little on the noisy side.
This Bosch product is like that little girl with the curl: when the motor works it is very good, but when it breaks down it is ‘horrid’!
This Bosch product is not a Multi-Tool per se; it is only a motor unit. Buyers would need to purchase individual attachments and heads a la carte. All that is included with the model under review is a pole pruner.
Unlike the other Multi-Tools in this set of reviews, this one runs on mains electricity. No carburettor and no intake valves mean fewer things to go wrong. Also, the 1000-watt electric motor is much quieter than most petrol motors.
Bosch has designed and built a very good motor, but the same attention apparently did not go into their attachments. Reportedly, the hedge trimmer and pruning saw are not as effective as they ought to be.
This Multi-Tool is billed as having ‘ergonomic design.’ The handle is adjustable but the Multi-Tool with the hedge trimmer attachment is poorly balanced and difficult to manoeuvre, so the ergonomic claim does not ring true. Many users also find it overly heavy and so much so that extended use is a real challenge. On the plus side, this heavy-duty rig does do a heavy-duty job. In addition, the pole pruner and extension pole make reaching and cutting high branches a straightforward proposition.
While externally sturdy and apparently durable, internal components, such as trigger linkages and housing, are made of brittle plastic. We suspect that these unreliable plastic components cause or contribute to the total breakdowns that have been reported. Regrettably, Bosch has come up with a product that some might rename ‘bosh’.
The price is quite steep for what you get.
- Quiet motor; considerably quieter than petrol-powered motors.
- When the motor works, it works very well and powers the attachments admirably.
- The pole pruner and extension pole are particularly useful and effective.
- Heavy, unwieldy, and poorly balanced with certain heads attached.
- Some internal components are made of flimsy plastic.
- Quite expensive and not a good value for money.
Hyundai’s relatively expensive Multi-Tool is well supplied with attachments and extras; however, actual usage exposes its sub-standard quality and various drawbacks.
Hyundai’s Garden Multi-Function Tool comes with a hedge trimmer, chain saw, brush cutter, pole grass trimmer, and an 80-centimetre extension pole. The generous complement of extras includes a full face shield, earmuffs, and gloves, a tool kit, and a fuel mixing container.
The instruction manual, to all intents and purposes, is useless; the content does not match the Multi-Tool. Alternate manuals are available online but these too are unhelpful. The absence of, essentially, any instructions is a massive negative – but there are more negatives.
The pull-start cord frequently breaks as does the linchpin screw that holds the return spring. We conclude that these are inevitable outcomes of poor materials and low-grade build quality. The end of the housing into which an attachment is inserted is also prone to breaking.
The chainsaw’s chain sometimes sags and the tension is difficult to adjust; the consequence is that the chainsaw is not very effective and the chain sometimes comes off.
As and when this Multi-Tool works, it is very good and effective. The main concern centres on starting it and keeping it going.
Peculiarly for a plastic unit with unsatisfactory build quality, this Hyundai rig is a very heavy one, as found by a majority of users. Compounding the problem, the harness attachment point on the Multi-Tool is in a less-than-prime position.
Hyundai makes a claim of ‘ergonomic design’ but when a piece of equipment lacks durability due to poor build quality and inferior components, whether or not it is ‘ergonomic’ is a question that is rendered redundant.
A heads-up: the motor can heat up so much that you have to take care not to touch that part of the unit nor bring it in contact with easily-flammable material.
This machine takes the standard fuel-oil mix of 40:1.
Very pricy for such a dodgy piece of equipment. At least it is covered by a generous three-year warranty but even that appears to be limited by strict terms and conditions, so caveat emptor.
- An unusually comprehensive selection of attachments and extras.
- Once the motor starts, it tends to work well and keeps running.
- Generous three-year warranty – except that it may not be what it appears to be.
- Absolutely useless instruction manual and no alternative leaves users groping in the dark, making mistakes, and being unable to assemble and/or use this Multi-Tool.
- Extremely heavy; even a well-built man may have trouble using this Hyundai for extended periods.
- Poor quality: the pull start cord, linchpin screw, knobs, etc. simply break.
Tips For Using A Garden Multi-Tool
Using a Garden Multi-Tool is a different kettle of fish from dedicated gardening equipment or even a powered tool such as a chainsaw. This is because the Multi-Tool is a piece of powered equipment, yet it has interchangeable attachments and heads.
One may compare it to an electric drill but the comparison would be misleading because while an electric drill accepts only multiple sizes and kinds of bits, a Multi-Tool accepts tool attachments that are entirely different from one another. For this reason, a Multi-Tool can be hazardous if used incorrectly, carelessly, or without the right safety measures.
First, wear the harness and operate your Multi-Tool with it securely nestled in the harness. This safety-first practice allows you to control and guide the tool and not concentrate on gripping and supporting it. Moreover, if your Multi-Tool is harnessed, a sudden jostle by a swinging branch or a tug caused by a snarl in some tough brush will not jerk the Multi-Tool out of your grasp.
Second, make sure that when you insert an attachment or head into the housing, it is properly locked. If the tool comes loose while in operation, injuries can result. Keep in mind that if this happens, even though the Multi-Tool may be pointed in a ‘safe direction’ the attachment/head can ricochet off a tree’s limb, wall, or paving.
Third, ensure that small children and pets keep well away when you are using a Multi-Tool.
Fourth, wear protective gear – preferably the full complement of goggles, gloves, earmuffs, and face-mask. When sawing or cutting overhead limbs consider wearing head protection.
A final word of advice: while you are attending to one garden task and another small task comes to your attention, you may fall into the trap of taking a short cut instead of switching to the appropriate head. Say, when you are using the brush cutter and you spot a slim overhanging branch, you may be tempted to go, “That branch needs to be pruned and this cutter is just fine for the job.” Do not yield to the temptation, and for two reasons at that.
First, if you use the wrong attachment or head, you will probably make a botch of things.
And, second, misusing an attachment or head may well damage it and make it less effective.