The right tools for the task

by Andy Bryenton

Some jobs are just too big for the kind of equipment that’s made for around the house. When it comes to the demands of springtime in the countryside, tools which have been designed for the pocket-handkerchief lawns and diminutive DIY tasks of a city section might not make the grade.

Take water blasters, for a simple example. A small, electric powered unit is fine when the nearest plug socket is mere metres away, and the biggest task asked of the machine is to wash the road grit off a commuter hatchback. Scale that up to sluicing the mud off a 200 horsepower tractor prior to some in-the-field maintenance with the clock ticking, and you’ll need every component improved — a petrol engine, double the PSI of water pressure on tap, more litres a minute throughput and sturdier fittings and hoses to manage the strain.

Similarly, a lawn mower for a lifestyle block is inevitably going to be bigger than the push mower used on the old Kiwi quarter-acre. With this upscale, it’s not just a consideration of mowing width, power, extra cup holders and style, however. It’s all about the terrain you’ll tackle, ease of operation and safety in the field. The very same considerations scale up when you must switch out a tiny garden shredder for a serious wood chipper with its added horsepower and the ability to chomp through tree limbs. Or even when trading in the old vacuum cleaner, you use in the shed for a proper wet and dry unit, which can be of great use during renovations.

Even the many graduated sizes of chainsaw and brush cutter are designed on a spectrum with urban firewood management on one end and lumber-felling power on the other.

The biggest question, of course, is how to choose. Go too small, and you’ll waste time, put wear and tear on components, and inevitably waste money. Go too large or get the wrong fit and it’s a waste right away, with the added problem that the very biggest tool for the job may be unwieldy to use for long periods of time.

As every situation is different — from steeply sloping farm paddocks to lifestyle blocks to beachfront lawns — the only answer is to take advantage of the experience of your local outdoor power equipment team. With knowledge of small engines, a big range to choose from and lots of customer feedback over the years, they’re qualified to find the right machine for the job to save you time and money.