My Lawn Edging Review: McLane 101 Gas Powered Lawn Edger
I began edging and mowing lawns when I was 10 and still edge and mow my own lawn. When I first started lawn edging, I used a hand grass clipper and a butcher knife. Over the years I have used probably every type of edger (push, stick, electric, gas, etc…) so I know what to look for and expect in choosing a trimmer edger. Through this trial and learn process, I personally have eventually moved to having two edgers: a gas powered walk-behind edger and trimmer that does most of my yard and a gas powered “weedeater/weedwhacker” for a few hard to get at places. Using these two types of edgers, I have been able to overcome every lawn edging situation that I have encountered. As to buying a gas powered walk-behind edger/trimmer, I strongly recommend the McLane 101 9-Inch Gas Lawn Edger for your lawn edging needs. A nicely edged lawn makes all the difference in the world in terms of looks! Kind of like waxing your car after you have washed it! The McLane edger is a high quality, easy to use edger that will make your edging work much easier!
My Personal “Must Have” Criteria and Whether the McLane 101 Meets Each Criterion
What to Consider When Buying Your Lawn Edger
- Easy to Start
- Sufficient Power to Do the Job
- Ability to Disengage the Edger/Trimmer Blade
- Four Wheels
- Professional Looking Grass Cut
- Gas Powered Push Type
- Easy to Assemble
1. Easy to Start – If an edger won’t start easily (1 or 2 pulls), I don’t want it. I have had lawn edgers like that in the past and found them to be both frustrating and time consuming. (Based on my own personal experience with McLane edgers and customer reviews, this is one of the biggest pluses of the McLane 101. This McLane edger starts easily!) Criterion: Met
2. Sufficient Power to Do the Job (The McLane 101 Briggs & Stratton engine has a 5.50 gross torque (simply put, the power to get you going) and a 3.5 horsepower (again simply put, the power to keep you going) which is more than sufficient power to edge the normal lawn.) (PLEASE NOTE: The 550 engine uses a Champion RC12YC Spark Plug.) Criterion: Met
3. Ability to Disengage the Edger/Trimmer Blade – Very Important Safety Feature - I will not buy any push edger that does not have this blade disengagement capability. It is too easy to be edging your lawn, when (as sometimes will happen) you have to stop your edger so you can move in front of the edger to move a hose or pick up something that is in the edger’s way, and then unthinkingly step back directly into a spinning edger blade, and believe me your shoe, ankle, foot, or calf are no match for a spinning edger blade. (The McLane 101 has a single lever control on the handle that allows you to completely disengage the blade from turning by moving the lever to the top position.) Criterion: Met
4. Four Wheels – Some edger/trimmers only have 3 wheels, but a 3-wheel setup does not provide the balance (e.g., edging along a raised curb), safety, and ease of use that a 4-wheel setup provides. (The McLane 101 has four 7″ wheels to provide this safety and flexibility but it also has, as an additional feature, a snap on/snap off spacer bar that can be snapped off and then moved to the other side of a front wheel and snapped on to convert the McLane 101 to a 3 wheel setup if you need it.) Criterion: Met
(NOTE: If you would prefer an edger with slightly larger wheels, I suggest you take a look at the McLane 801 Lawn Edger which also has a Briggs & Stratton 5.50 gross torque engine, comes with 8″ ball bearing wheels, and also has a customer satisfaction rating of over 4 stars on Amazon. The McLane 801 is a little more expensive at about $330. It has the same high level of operational quality and performance as the McLane 101. Click here for more information on the McLane 801 Lawn Edger.)
5. Professional Looking Grass Cut (The McLane 101 provides an extremely nice, professional looking cut. A look you can be proud of! Far better than the look you get than when you edge along sidewalks, driveways, and curbs with a stick “weedeater edger or weedwhacker edger”.) Criterion: Met
6. Gas-Powered Push Type – Admittedly, this criterion is my personal preference; but, from years of experience using other types of lawn edgers, this criterion is a definite “must have”. Speed saves Time! Using a push type lawn edger (especially along sidewalks and driveways) will cut your edging time by 75-80 percent. Additionally, being gas-powered, provides the user with greater flexibility and distance of operation. On the other hand, not only is the user of a cord-type electrical edger limited by the length of their electrical cord, but using a cord constantly requires the user to move the cord into different positions in order to be able to continue the edging. Not to mention the time needed to layout the cord when you start and to roll it up when you are finished. (The McLane 101 is a gas-powered push type edger/trimmer.) Criterion: Met
7. Easy to Assemble Assembly of the edger should take no more than 30 minutes. (The McLane 101 is very easy to assemble with just 1 page of instructions. Assembly should take the user no more than 15-20 minutes. Note: The user should be careful in unboxing the McLane edger/trimmer and in positioning and attaching the handle that they do not twist, “kink” or damage the throttle cable.) Criterion: Met
>The clutch/depth control on the handle allows the user to gradually lower the 9″ blade’s cutting surface. This is an important feature because it allows you to gradually lower the cutting surface of the blade (as the blade wears away through use over time) so you continue to have a professional looking grass cut.
> The heavy gauge steel construction of the McLane edger allows the user to be “rough” with the edger/trimmer (that is, you don’t have to treat it with kid gloves when you are using it) and still expect many years of service from it.
>The blade guard and belt guard provide additional protection to the user.
> A rear debris reflector helps provide additional protection to the user when the trimmer edger is being used. The spinning trimmer edger blade sometimes throws back dirt, grass, and small rocks and the reflector helps keep them from hitting your legs, arms and face.
> Replacing an old blade with a new blade only requires the user to have just 2 tools (a 5/16″ allen wrench and a 3/4″ regular wrench) and just a few minutes (about 5 minutes is all). This makes the blade replacement really quick, easy, and simple.
> The edger blade can be tilted to the right or to the left for an angled cut when desired. Angled cuts are often nice to use along flowerbeds and gardens for that extra nice look.
> The edger can be switched to a trimmer and then back to an edger very easily – (just 1 finger to pull back and move the cutterhead angling lever and 1 hand to steady the edger/trimmer itself). This ease of switching back and forth from a edger to a trimmer is especially nice for lawn edging and trimming if you have a lot of trees or metal flowerbed edging in your yard.
Tips On Maintaining The McLane 101 or 801 Lawn Edgers
1. TIP #1: The new 550 series engine is larger and arranged differently from the previous 475 series engine. The positioning of the spark plug on the 550 series engine is more difficult to reach than it was on the 475 series engine. (On the 475 seriues engine the spark plug was located on the top of the edger and was very easy to remove for either cleaning or replacement.) With the larger, more powerful Briggs & Stratton 550 series engine, the spark plug is located toward the rear of the edger but down between two of the engine parts (the muffler and the air cleaner) and consequently is much more difficult to get to. I personally use a 3/8 inch ratchet with a 6 inch extension bar and a 13/16 inch spark plug socket to remove my 101′s spark plug for cleaning. Using the ratchet with the 6 inch extension and 13/16 inch spark plug socket, makes the removal and the re-installation of the spark plug very easy. If you are putting in a new spark plug, the spark plug gap size is 0.030 inch (0.76 mm).
2. Tip #2: You can fill the edger with oil from either the front or the back of the edger – - – just look for the yellow colored twist on and twist off cap toward the bottom of either the front or the back of the edger’s engine. If you are using a funnel with a long hose attachment, you can add the oil from either the front or the back. However, if you are using a funnel without a hose attachment, it is much easier to fill the 550 series engine with oil using the front oil fill. To give you as much room as possible, remove the metal Spacer clip from between the two wheels on the front of the edger and move both wheels over to the far end (that is, the end that is farthest from the side of the engine where the cutter blade is located). This should give you plenty of room to change the oil. I normally use a medium size square-shaped funnel to change my edger’s oil. But, a small size funnel or a large size funnel with a long fill end will also work well. A small funnel will fit down in the open space and a large funnel will rest on top of the nearest front wheel and the edger’s belt – - – although I always hold my funnel in place when I add oil. The Briggs & Stratton 550 series engine has an engine oil capacity of 18 – 20 ounces (0.54 – 0.59 L).
Customer Feedback Rating
Ø “This machine simplified our work tremendously.”
Ø “We love our McLane edger.”
Ø “Excellent edger. Minor assembly. Easy to start.”
Ø “After unpacking, the assembly was very fast and easy. The performance is outstanding and this product is the best I have ever had.”
Ø “The McLane trimmer is easy to manipulate and well built.”
You can purchase the McLane 101 on Amazon. This type and quality of a gas lawn edger can run you up to $450-$500 if you purchase it from a dealer; however, at this time Amazon is selling the McLane 101 for only about $300. In addition, Amazon presently provides free shipping to shipping addresses in the lower 48 states. This is the best price that I have been able to locate among other online merchants. Click here to view the McLane 101 on Amazon.
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