Best Flashlights

What to Look for in a Flashlight

Best Flashlight

UPDATED DECEMBER 2018

Find the best flashlight for your home and all your needs with our shopping guide that shows you what to look for and how much to spend.

BEST
FLASHLIGHT 2018

BOTTOM LINE

Suitable for use when camping or in your own home, this Outlite flashlight has a non-slip case that is water-resistant. You can use two different security modes in an emergency or three different light modes.

PROS

Designed for indoor and outdoor use, this portable LED flashlight has a rigid outer case that you can use to break through glass. That case is also water-resistant and has a textured grip that keeps the light from slipping out of your hands.

CONS

The biggest issue that many had with this flashlight is that it weighs more than they expected. A few customers also complained that it wasn’t as bright as they wanted.

BOTTOM LINE

The ML300LX is the ultimate flashlight for those who want to feel powerful because it just feels durable in your hands. It has multiple features that you can use that will determine how long the power lasts.

PROS

A handy electronic switch on this flashlight allows you to switch between all features and use the mode that works for you, including a full light mode and a strobe option. That light can last for more than 100 hours too.

CONS

Some users said that the flashlight stopped working after they dropped it on the ground. A handful of shoppers had problems using the focus feature on this model too.

BOTTOM LINE

Power and quality come together in this small flashlight that comes from Maglite. The aluminum body holds up to drops and falls, while the beam helps you see more than 100 meters away.

PROS

With this Maglite, you can see up to 140 meters in front of you. Though it has a smaller design and uses just two AA batteries, it features a concentrated beam that illuminates your path and the area around you.

CONS

This model features a power button that you must switch rather than a simple push button. Some reviewers felt that this smaller flashlight lacked the quality of larger Maglites.

BOTTOM LINE

Perfect for those times when you need to see into a tight space, this penlight is also great for use during an emergency or while at work. It looks just like a pen and slips into your pocket for fast and convenient storage.

PROS

As the best penlight on the market, this small flashlight uses rechargeable batteries that you can charge in three different ways. Its convenient design lets you press a single button to get the light that you need.

CONS

Some reviewers disliked the color of the beam, which has a slightly blue tint to it. We also found a few reviews from shoppers who had problems with the included charger and sent it back for repairs.

BOTTOM LINE

Capable of running up to seven hours on a lower setting, the Fatmax from Stanley is one of the best flashlights for those who work outside. It floats on the surface of any body of water and has a trigger lock for using it without keeping your hands on the case. 

PROS

The bright LED bulbs used in the Fatmax provide more than 2,000 lumens of light. Its lithium-ion battery can last for up to a full year in storage, and you get two charges for fast charging of the battery.

CONS

Though this model will float on water, any exposure to moisture can damage the batteries or other components. Some of the reviews we found came from shoppers who wished it lasted longer though.

Shopping Guide for the Best Flashlight

When the power goes out or a natural disaster strikes, you’ll want a flashlight by your side. The best flashlight for 2018 might be one that you can keep in your emergency kit or one that you can store in a kitchen drawer. You’ll find many different types out there that produce different amounts of light. Some of the best flashlight designs of 2018 will also act as a messenger system that sends out an SOS or another distress system when you’re lost in the woods. We know that finding a flashlight is difficult, which is why we created this handy guide for our readers.

Flashlights come in handy in any number of situations. You can use one when you need to get to your breaker or fuse box when the power goes out and to make sure that your whole family is safe during an emergency. Our list of the best flashlights for 2018 also includes products that you can use when camping or when walking around at work. Police officers and security guards are just some of the professionals who carry flashlights on their bodies. You can start at the top of this page and look over the chart we created of the top flashlights before reading more about these handy little products.

What Makes A Good LED Flashlight?

There’s more to choosing a quality LED flashlight than just looking for the one with the most lumens.

The best flashlight employ a well-designed optics system to create a specific type of beam.

Why Optics Matter

A LED can produce a lot of light, but an optics system is needed to convert it to a useful beam. 

How LED Flashlights Work

LED Chip
A semiconductor that converts electricity into light. The LED chip embedded in an epoxy shell emits light in all directions. 

LED Optics System
The optics system gathers and focuses the light into a useful beam.

Throw vs. Flood

Most flashlight optics are specifically designed to either THROW light over a long distance or FLOOD a small area with lots of light.

Throw

A flashlight’s ability to project light over a long distance.

Good for: Illuminating an area far ahead of you such as when employing a spot or search beam.

Flood

A flashlight’s ability to illuminate a wide area, usually at a close distance.

Good for: Walking in the dark or indoor use such as when the power is out.

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Selection Criteria

Shoppers may want a flashlight that they can keep stored in a convenient spot around their homes, while others want one that they can take on camping trips and other outdoor adventures. Before we ranked the best flashlights for 2018, we decided to look at the different types that you can now buy, including both spotlights and penlights. We checked Amazon to see which flashlights got its nod as Amazon Choice products and which models had the highest and best reviews from customers. As we know that not everyone uses Amazon, we also hit the web and looked at the products that experts recommended.

Our list of the best products includes different types of lights. You’ll find some that you can charge in your car when camping with friends and those that will keep a charge for months at a time. Some of the features that we looked at included the case and the weight. A good case will protect the bulbs and batteries from damage, while a lighter flashlight won’t interfere with your movements. When you use our list of the best products for 2018, you’ll find flashlights that you can use in an emergency and those you can take to work or on trips with you.

Selection Criteria

Why LED

  • Green: No mercury, energy saving, less heat, and long life. LED is the most environmentally friendly light source other than sunlight.
  • Efficient: Efficiency of up to 90% while traditional tube light and panel lights waste 98% of their energy producing heat and not light.
  • Economical: Energy cost of LED light sources is 10 times less than traditional light sources.

Why IE LED

  • Long Life: All IE LED are rated to have a life span of 50,000+ hours
  • Green: There are no hazardous substance used inside L2-LED and all products are RoHS compliant. Stringent new standards on reducing hazardous substance.
  • Durable: LE-LED has no filament or tube to break so it wont shatter when dropped.
  • Pure light: Say goodbye to annoying flickering lights. LE-LED lights provide pure, clear light that makes viewing for eyes much easier.
  • Guaranteed Quality: A 3-year full replacement warranty is offered to all LE-LED products. LED products are certified by UL, CE, RoHS, CQC safety standards.

If you need a flashlight that you can toss in your emergency kit and take when traveling or camping, Outlite has you covered. Though its portable LED flashlight is a little on the heavy side, you can easily store it in your suitcase or vehicle. This light has an autofocus feature that lets you twist the top of the case to adjust the beam down into a concentrated light source. This feature allows you to see up to 600 meters away. You can choose between five different modes too. Two of those modes act as security features, while the other three adjust the amount of light produced.

We think that shoppers will really love the case on this one, which is resistant to both water and drops. Whether you expose the flashlight to water or drop it, it won’t stop working. The case has a small fabric loop on one end that you can slip around your wrist for added security. You’ll also find a wavy ridge around the top of the light that helps you quickly break through auto or home glass. Weighing a little more than five pounds, this flashlight is quite portable and shouldn’t weigh you down.

Types of Flashlights

Our shopping guide for the best flashlights is a handy tool for those who need a new light. Before you look at that shopping guide to see what to look for in a new flashlight, you may want to take a look at the different types that are available. Each style is suitable for a different use. If you need to see the space behind your refrigerator or get a good look inside your walls, a penlight is a good choice because these lights are compact and easy to use. When camping outside with a large group, you might prefer a spotlight that you can use as a lantern. We’ll go over the top types of flashlights that you can use.

Spotlight

The next time that your pet escapes outside in the middle of the night, you should reach for a spotlight to more easily find your missing pet. Unlike most flashlights that produce a thin beam, these lights have a much larger beam that extends further into the distance. Stanley makes the best spotlight that we found, but you will find other options from different companies. A spotlight often has a handle that you hold in one hand, which keeps your other hand free to grab your pet. You can also use a spotlight on the ground to illuminate a large space when setting up a camping site or letting your kids play outside.

Penlight

Though we picked the Coast penlight as the best one around, other companies make similar flashlights. A penlight features batteries placed inside a long and thin case. Most have a clip for attaching the light to your pocket or belt. Those used by medical professionals typically have a disposable design. Once the batteries die, they simply throw away the light and use a new one. Coast and others make penlights that come with batteries you can charge to extend the life of the light. Penlights have a concentrated beam of light that allows you to see a few hundred meters in front of you.

Dive Flashlight

The most unique type of flashlight available today is one called a dive flashlight. While many of the models we looked at are water-resistant, a dive flashlight is the only one that is waterproof. Designed for scuba divers and those who spend a lot of time in the water, these lights are perfect for those who own their own boats too. Even if you drop the light in the water, the case will protect it from that moisture. Most use either plastic or aluminum in their cases. Some of these flashlights will also float on the surface of the water too.

Utility Flashlight 


If you ever used a flashlight before, the chances are good that you used a utility model. These are the most common type available in big box and home improvement stores. Most have a plastic case and a switch on the side made from the same material. You simply slide that switch to turn the light on and off. Utility flashlights are usually not very durable though and may only last for a year or less. Many do not produce the amount of light that you need while outside either. Those reasons are why we didn’t add any cheap utility flashlights to our list of the top products.

Pocket Flashlight

Have you ever found yourself sitting by the side of the road with an engine problem that you could fix yourself but without any light source? Though you can store a flashlight in your vehicle, you may find yourself with dead batteries inside or no way to charge the rechargeable batteries. We highly recommend pocket flashlights for those who spend a lot of time away from home. The batteries in these lights can last for months or even years. You can store one in your console or trunk and even keep one on your person. Some companies even make pocket flashlights that you can add to your key ring.

Industrial Flashlight

Shoppers looking for a flashlight that they can use in any type of situation often choose industrial flashlights. These heavy-duty lights are often larger and heavier than other models. You cannot carry one tucked in your pocket because of the weight. Some shoppers prefer these models because of the sheer amount of light produced. These flashlights can release so much light that you can see the entire area around you and 500 meters or more in front of you. These models come in different prices and designs too. You might want one that has a built-in SOS signal or strobe light for use during an emergency.

Lantern

If you ever used a flashlight before, the chances are good that you used a utility model. These are the most common type available in big box and home improvement stores. Most have a plastic case and a switch on the side made from the same material. You simply slide that switch to turn the light on and off. Utility flashlights are usually not very durable though and may only last for a year or less. Many do not produce the amount of light that you need while outside either. Those reasons are why we didn’t add any cheap utility flashlights to our list of the top products.

Tactical Flashlight

It wasn’t that long ago that buying a tactical flashlight would set you back $100 or more. Manufacturers today now offer these compact models at a much lower price. You can actually get a basic model for well under $20. Tactical flashlights are popular with those who work in security and law enforcement because they can use one as a self-defense tool and as a light. The brightest settings on that light are perfect for disabling an attacker and stopping that individual in his or her tracks. Most tactical flashlights are heavy enough that you can use one to stun that person too.

Headlamp

The main problem that some have with using a flashlight is that they need to keep their hands free to do other things. You may want to use both hands to change a fuse or adjust your breaker, but you may need your hands free to grab your pet or child too. Using a headlamp is a solid alternative to using a flashlight. Headlamps come with a band that has a small light on the front. This light usually sits front and center on that band. You’ll place the band on your head and adjust that band. When you turn the headlamp on, you’ll get the light that you need while keeping your hands completely free.

Emergency Flashlight

If you live in a region where power outages are common, you may want to invest in an emergency flashlight. Unlike traditional lights that rely on either rechargeable batteries or batteries that you can replace as needed, these models do not require any type of battery. Some have a solar design. You simply leave the light sitting outside and let the sun slowly charge it. Others have a hand crank that you will turn to power the internal battery. You’ll also find shake flashlights. These flashlights use the shaking motion that you do with your hands to bring the light to life.

Hunting Flashlight

Those who enjoy hunting will find two types of flashlights designed for them. The first of those is a hunting flashlight, which features a red bulb. When you turn one on, you can use that red beam to search for wild animals in your vicinity. These lights work well because most animals cannot see the color red. When you use a traditional flashlight, you risk scaring away your prey. You can also use a gun flashlight when hunting. Designed to fit onto the barrel of your weapon, these lights are usually water-resistant or waterproof and will clip onto your gun without damaging the stock.

Maglite

Though tactical flashlights are extremely popular with law enforcement, many of those men and women also rely on Maglite flashlights when in the field. Two of the models that made our list of the top flashlights for 2018 come from this manufacturer. Maglite has a great reputation because its flashlights are heavy-duty and will last for years. Most have a heavy handle that actually feels solid in your hand. You’ll find features such as strobe lights and emergency modes that you can use to signal for help and bright settings that stun a potential attacker. Law enforcement professionals prefer these models because they can use the flashlights as self-defense tools too.

Types of Flashlights

While you can use a flashlight in a number of different ways, the Fatmax from Stanley is definitely the best spotlight on the market. Designed for situations where an ordinary flashlight just won’t do, the Fatmax has a bright yellow case that allows others to see you and helps you find the light in an emergency. This case has a handle with a trigger design and rubber pieces that keep your hands from sliding off the light. You’ll also find that you can use this handle as a stand with the trigger lock to use the flashlight while keeping your hands free.

Stanley gives you both AC and DC charging options. You can use the DC adapter to charge the light inside your car, but you can use the AC adapter with any type of electrical outlet. This model comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that runs for up to seven hours. If you keep the light in storage, that battery will last for up to 12 months before it needs charging. That makes the Fatmax the best model for your emergency kit. At just a little over two pounds, this spotlight weighs less than its competitors and won’t cause hand fatigue.
Best Spotlight Stanley Fatmax Flashlight - WITH TEXT (1)

Bulb Types

In addition to looking at the different types of flashlights available, you may want to consider the bulbs that each one uses. Some bulbs are quite affordable and easy to replace. When yours dies, you generally just need to remove the plastic or glass lens from the top of the flashlight before unscrewing the old bulb and screwing a new one into place. Incandescent bulbs are among the most popular because these bulbs are so cheap, which keeps the price of the flashlight down. If you only ever used a light with an incandescent bulb before, it’s important that you look at all the types available.

Incandescent Bulb

As we stated before, incandescent bulbs are among the more popular options and the cheapest. Similar to the light bulbs that you used in your home’s lamps, these bulbs use real glass. They come in different sizes and wattage sizes to help you get the right size for your flashlight. You can often buy a package of new bulbs for much less than you paid for your light. The main problem with these bulbs is just how much heat they produce. You’ll find that heat actually emanates off the bulb, which can make your flashlight too hot to handle. This heat also reduces the lifespan of the bulb.

LED

The most popular option today is an LED bulb. These bulbs are strong and will last longer than any other type. Some users dislike just how bright the bulbs are though. If you want a flashlight that will help you get from your tent to the bathroom at a campground, you need an LED light. Those who just want a flashlight they can use around the house though may find that this light is just too bright. Standard LED bulbs come in a pure white color that actually looks slightly blue. You can also purchase new bulbs in different colors, including red and yellow.


HID

Those who want more light and have more money to spend may prefer a flashlight with an HID bulb. HID stands for high-intensity discharge and refers to bulbs that use both gas and electricity. The electricity produced when you turn on the flashlight causes a spark to move through an area of ionized gas. This creates a large amount of light that appears brighter than any other type of bulb can produce. We didn’t include HID bulb flashlights on our list because these lights are often really expensive. Many are cumbersome and hard to move and use too.


Other Bulb Types

Many shoppers think that flashlights just come with either an incandescent or LED bulb, but you have many different options, including halogen and xenon bulbs. Unlike traditional incandescent bulbs that have just a metal filament inside, these bulbs combine those filaments with pressurized gas. The gas extends the life of the filament, which in turn extends the life of the bulb. Many use either halogen or xenon, but some models also use krypton. Flashlights that use these bulbs are often brighter than those that use an LED bulb. The downside is that the bulbs can break easily. You may find that the bulb doesn’t last as long as an LED one does either.

Maglite has a reputation for making some of the best flashlights around. If you want one that you can use at home and at work, you’ll want the ML300LX. This is the same model that many law enforcement personnel carry and use on the job. Once you get your hands on the ML300LX, you’ll notice how solid it feels. You can use it to knock out a window or stop an assailant in seconds. This model has a case that uses both smooth spots and some texture to help the flashlight remain in your hands or slip out of your grip as needed.

Many shoppers like this model because the electronic switch helps them quickly move between modes. A strobe mode turns the light into a strobe light that notifies others when you need help, while an ECO mode helps you save its battery. There are also full power and low power modes. You’ll need D batteries to use the ML300LX, but those batteries can last for more than 170 hours on ECO mode. Suitable for use as a traditional or a tactical flashlight, the ML300LX also has a focus feature that lets you flood the path with light. It provides light up to 406 meters ahead of you too.
Best Maglite Flashlight Maglite ML300LX Flashlight - WITH TEXT

Signs That You Should Replace Your Flashlight

• Not enough light: A clear sign that you need a new flashlight is when your old one does not produce the light that you need. A good flashlight will produce enough lumens that you can see clearly without squinting.

• Broken pieces: You should also replace any flashlight that has one or more broken pieces. Something as basic as a crack on the top can allow water to penetrate into the flashlight.

• Sticky or dry handle: Another sign that indicates you need a new light is when the old model develops a sticky handle or has dry patches across the handle. This occurs when your batteries leak. The discharge can spread from inside the flashlight to the handle.

• Charging issues: If you buy a flashlight that comes with rechargeable batteries, you may experience some charging issues in the future. Those problems can include the batteries taking too long to charge or the batteries not charging at all. You may need to replace the charger or the entire flashlight.

• Flimsy feel: You should also replace any flashlight that feels flimsy in your hands. A heavy-duty flashlight will feel more solid when you carry it and won’t break when you drop it.

Signs That You Should Replace Your Flashlight (1)

Tips for Keeping a Flashlight in Your Bedroom

  • Keep at least one flashlight in a convenient location near your bed such as in your nightstand or directly underneath the bed. You want to choose a location that you can easily reach during an emergency.
  • Remove any obstacles that might get in your way when you need to find that flashlight. This can include books you read in the past and clothing that you stack on top of the light.
  • You can try storing the flashlight in a small case with a few extra sets of batteries or with a charger. This ensures that you can replace the batteries or charge the flashlight when you need it.

Our choice for the best small flashlight is the Mini PRO from Maglite. Though it looks just like the larger models available from the company, it’s small enough that you can carry the flashlight in your pocket. A mesh pouch comes included in the packaging for safe storing of the light. Even if you drop this light right on the floor or the ground though, you won’t worry about damaging it because this model has an aluminum case that is resistant to shocks. The Mini PRO also has a knurled surface that gives the case some texture to keep it from slipping out of your hand.

Maglite used seals on the Mini PRO that are water-resistant. Even if you use the flashlight while outside in the rain, those seals will keep moisture from getting inside the case. You’ll also like just how bright this flashlight is and how it illuminates up to 140 meters away from the head. To turn the light on and off, you just twist the switch on the case. The Mini PRO from Maglite has a lighter design that won’t weigh you down. It runs on just two AA batteries and will provide light for up to 150 minutes.
Best Budget Flashlight Maglite Mini PRO

What Type of Battery is Best?

Flashlights today come with three different types of batteries or power sources. The best type of battery/power source for you depends on where you live and how often you use the flashlight.

• Disposable batteries: The term disposable refers to products that only last for a short period of time and those that you can throw away later. Many of the cheaper flashlights that we looked at use either AAA or AA batteries. When you use a cheap type of battery, you may only get a few hours or less out of your flashlight, which is why we recommend spending more on your batteries. You’ll also find flashlights that use a smaller and more expensive type of disposable battery.

• Renewable: A good choice for those who live in a region with frequent power outages and those who do a lot of camping is a renewable power source flashlight. Both solar and shake flashlights are examples of this type. You can get the light that you need without using a charger or batteries.

• Rechargeable: Many shoppers prefer rechargeable flashlights because they can get more use out of those models. These lights feature internal batteries that you can charge in multiple ways. You typically get an AC adapter that you can use in a wall outlet, but you may get adapters for charging in your car.

What Type of Battery is Best

WARNING

Do not throw any battery away in your trashcan. Those batteries can leak a discharge or fluid that damages the environment. You should give those batteries to a recycling center instead.

Though many people prefer larger flashlights, a smaller model such as this rechargeable penlight from Coast has a number of great benefits. This penlight has the same design of a pen and comes with a clip on the top that lets you clip it onto your shirt pocket. You can also keep one in your glove box or in your bag. When you need to charge the batteries, you can do so without removing them from the flashlight. Coast allows you to recharge those batteries with an AC or DC adapter or with a USB charger. The flex charging system that Coast designed reduces the charging time of those batteries. You can use the included cap to charge the penlight too.

Not only is this penlight weather-resistant, but it’s also shock-resistant. You can safely use the light in the middle of a storm without worry about rain damaging the batteries. Even if you drop the penlight on a hard surface, it will still work. While this penlight is smaller than the other flashlights on our list, it has a concentrated beam that you can use for inspections. This beam lets you see a defined space up to 20 or 30 feet away from you.
Best Penlight Coast Rechargeable Penlight - WITH TEXT

What Flashlight Modes Should You Consider?

Older flashlights have just one setting, which produces a narrow or wide stream or light when you push the switch on the handle. Some cheaper models may have a switch that lets you select a different amount of light based on how far you move that switch down. Many of the top flashlights have multiple light settings and modes that you can use though.

• High: When you opt for a high beam or high light setting, you can use the flashlight to get a bright stream of light that is bright enough to illuminate some of the space around you as well as the area directly in front of you.

• Eco: Many shoppers like flashlights that have an eco mode because this lets them save on their battery life. An eco mode pulls less power from the battery but still helps you see.

• Strobe: If you find yourself lost, you can use the strobe mode on your flashlight to signal people searching for you. This mode creates a stable pulse that will last until the battery runs out.

• SOS: Another good mode that you can use during emergencies is an SOS mode. This creates the three short, three long and three short dashes in Morse code that can help searchers find your location.

• Other modes: You may want to look at flashlights that feature other modes too, including a low and medium mode. This allows you to adjust the amount of light produced for different situations.

Types of Switches

Once you look at all the best flashlights for 2018, you’ll notice that many feature a different type of switch. The switch is what you use to turn on the light. You may find that you prefer one type of switch over another.

• Click switch: A click switch is a power button that usually sits on the bottom of the flashlight. This lets you turn the light on with one press of the switch. You can access this switch with one finger too.

• Membrane switch: Similar to a click switch, a membrane switch consists of one button on the base of the flashlight that you can press with one finger. These switches have a membrane on top though that is rugged and waterproof.

• Slide switch: Cheap flashlights often feature a slide switch made from plastic that sits right on the top of the handle. You can slide the switch into one or more positions to either turn on the light or adjust the mode. This switch can allow water to penetrate the flashlight though.

• Bezel switch: Some of the more expensive flashlights now available use a bezel switch that requires you use two hands at the same time. You’ll need to apply some pressure to push the switch down before twisting or turning it.

Did you know?

Professional rescue teams typically use flashlights that produce a minimum of 1,000 lumens. That amount of light can illuminate a large wooded area.

Types of Switches

What to Look for in a Flashlight

Amount of Light Produced

The most important thing to consider as you shop for a flashlight is the amount of light that it produces. Most manufacturers use the term lumens when referring to light production. The manufacturer should give you a number and list that the flashlight performed at this level during routine testing. Most shoppers will find that the amount of light they need differs based on how they will use the flashlight. If you want a headlamp or lantern that you can use when walking at night, you only need 100 lumens or less. Flashlights that produce at least 2,000 lumens are great for getting your family out of the house during an emergency and for setting up camp on an outdoor trip.

Warranty

Shoppers often think that warranties only come with expensive products, but you’ll find warranties available on cheap flashlights in the $10 to $20 range. A basic warranty might last for as little as six months or a year, while other products come with lifetime warranties. You should keep in mind that lifetime refers to the expected life of the flashlight and not your own life. When a manufacturer says a flashlight comes with a lifetime warranty, it may only last for five years. The best warranties are those that will cover both manufacturer errors as drops and other user errors.

Visibility Distance

Whenever you need a flashlight that allows you to see clearly outside, you must look at the visibility distance listed in the product description. A good flashlight will let you see at least 100 feet in front of you. Most manufacturers use meters to describe this distance. It’s also important that you look at how the manufacturer measured that distance. Some will only tell you the distance when you use the flashlight at its highest setting. If you use an ECO mode or a mode designed to save on battery life, you usually cannot see as far out in front of you.

Reflectors and Deflectors

The number of reflectors and deflectors found on a flashlight can also help you determine how far the light will shine. Reflectors are small pieces of metal or glass located underneath the glass cover. You may find some located directly behind the bulb itself or around the edges of the bulb. As the light shines, the reflectors catch the light and reflect it further around you. This helps illuminate the space all around your body as well as the area in front of you. Deflectors work in the opposite way and help concentrate the light down into a beam that you can direct anywhere.

Runtime

When a power outage occurs, you have no way of knowing when the power will return. That is why it’s so important that you check the runtime of the flashlight you want to buy. A runtime will tell you how many hours of power you get from that flashlight before you need to replace or charge the batteries. If you purchase a flashlight that runs on standard batteries, the runtime can vary based on the quality of the batteries that you use. You want to make sure that the flashlight will provide you with light for at least one full hour.

Filters

Though we did not include any flashlights that use filters on our list of the best of the best, some shoppers will want at least one filter. A good example is a green filter, which essentially acts as night vision. The green color helps you see things moving in the darkness around you. You’ll also find red filters such as those that come with hunting and gun flashlights that will not spook the animals in your target. These accessories are available for both traditional flashlights and headlamps. You should read the product description carefully and check with the manufacturer to ensure that you understand how to change the filter.

Type of Beam

When it comes to flashlights, you can choose between three different types of beams.

• Fixed beam: A fixed beam, also called a flood beam, is one that never changes. These models do not have a reflector or a deflector on the front and will illuminate any space where you shine the light.

•Spot beam: Flashlights that feature a spot or focused beam concentrates down the beam into a narrower stream. This type of light is perfect for following a straight line or path.

•Adjustable beam: If you want a flashlight that you can use in any type of situation or terrain, an adjustable beam might be your best choice. These flashlights allow you to pick the beam type that you need.

Material

You may not think that the case on the flashlight is that important, but the material used in the design of that case will give you a good idea of how long the flashlight will last. Many cheaper and more affordable flashlights use a plastic case. While you can find some heavy-duty types of plastic, you generally want to skip these models. Plastic can crack and break when dropped. As the material heats and cools in different temperatures, it can also develop some large cracks. Cases made from aluminum and steel are much better. Steel weighs more than aluminum but will last longer.

Size

When you head off on a camping trip with some close friends and family, you might not mind carrying a lantern or a larger flashlight. If you want to do some work around your house or find the emergency kit you stored in your basement though, you need a smaller flashlight that you can carry in one hand. Pocket flashlights are great for use on the go because they usually measure around three-inches long or less. Tactical flashlights are longer and can measure as long as seven-inches. If you are in the market for a spotlight, you’ll want one that is at least seven inches long and around the same height.

Accessories

Like other types of electronics on the market, flashlights often come with some included accessories. If you need to patrol a building for work or find yourself often walking to your car alone at night, you might want one that comes with a lanyard. Made from a braided material such as nylon, the lanyard attaches to one end of the flashlight. You can then carry it around your neck. Other models come with a smaller loop that wraps around your wrist. You may want one that has a clip such as the one found on a penlight for attaching the flashlight to your pocket. Some of the more expensive flashlights also come with filters that you can add to the lens.

Ease of Use

The main thing to look for when choosing a flashlight is just how easily you can use it. If you have larger hands or fingers and have a hard time moving a sliding switch, you might choose one with a simple push button on the tail cap. Ease of use also refers to how well you can hold the flashlight in your hands and move while carrying it. You may want one that weighs just a few ounces and attaches to your key ring, or you might want a spotlight with a handle that doubles as a stand. As long as you pick one you can easily use, you’ll pick the right flashlight for you.

What to Look for in a Flashlight

When to Use a Headlamp

  • When fishing at night
  • Any time that you need to work under your car
  • To do plumbing and other home repairs
  • When running in the dark
    On camping trips

Tips for Using a Flashlight

• Check your batteries: Whether you buy a flashlight that comes with rechargeable batteries or one that needs standard batteries, you should always check to make sure that you have power before an emergency happens. You typically want to check the batteries at least once a month.

• Have extra batteries: When you buy a new package of batteries, you’ll see a best by date on the front. This tells you how long the batteries will last in storage. It’s important that you purchase extra sets and keep them in a convenient place around your home, preferably with your flashlights.

•Diversify your options: Though you might find one type of flashlight that you love and decide to keep multiples of that type around your home, it’s better to diversify your options. When you have a penlight in your bathroom, a spotlight in your garage and a tactical flashlight in your basement, you’ll always have the right amount of light for any job.

•Change the batteries: Don’t forget to change the batteries in the flashlights you keep on hand for emergency situations. The liquid discharge the batteries produce can cause some serious damage. You’ll want to replace those batteries at least once every four months.

•Store safely: The best place to store your flashlights is in an area that is both cool and dry. This ensures that the lights will work whenever you need some help.

Tips for Using a Flashlight - In kitchen and bathroom drawers - Inside a living room cabinet

Top Spots to Store Flashlights in Your Home

  • Inside cabinets in your bathroom and kitchen
  • In kitchen and bathroom drawers
  • Inside a living room cabinet
  • On or by your bedroom nightstand
Tips for Using a Flashlight - Inside cabinets in your bathroom and kitchen

Must Haves for Your Emergency Kit

• Food and water: You need at least enough food and water to get each member of your family through the first few days following the emergency. The best foods include canned goods with easy open tops and granola bars.

• Medication: Make sure that your kit includes the medications that your family takes. You may want to include a phone number for your doctor in case you need to get a prescription filled later.

• Light sources: A good emergency kit should include at least one light source for each person in your home. You may want to include a renewable flashlight and extra batteries for your other lights.

• Clothing: Many people forget to add extra clothing when packing an emergency kit. You never know when you might need dry clothing after a rain or when you might just want a change of underwear.

• Personal information: Your kit should also include personal information. You can write down the names and dates of birth for each family member with a description of what each person looks like or a recent photo.

Must Haves for Your Emergency Kit

What is the Average Cost of a Flashlight?

Many people buy flashlights from big box stores and buy whatever one is the cheapest. When you only spend $5 on a flashlight though, don’t be surprised if that light fails when you need it most. Cheaper models rely on AAA or AA batteries that can die quickly, even if you don’t use the flashlight. Those batteries can also wear down and leak fluids that cause the light to stop working. This does not mean that you should spend hundreds of dollars on a simple flashlight though. You can get a good model for around $50 or less.

The amount that you spend will really depend on the type that is best for your home or your needs. If you want a penlight that you can use daily, you can get one for around $30. Spotlights often cost around the same amount or a little more. One benefit to a spotlight is that it provides more illumination. We recommend tactical flashlights for those who want a light they can carry in their vehicles. You can get one of these models that will let you break window glass and see clearly for as little as $20. Most flashlights, including the ones on our list, retail for less than $100.

What is the Average Cost of a Flashlight (1)

Cost of Flashlight Bulbs

No matter what type of flashlight you buy, you may need to replace the bulb in the future. These lights use either an LED bulb or a traditional incandescent bulb. You can usually get a new package of bulbs for around $5 to $10. Most packages come with two or more bulbs.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Impact-resistant is a term that manufacturers use when describing flashlights that can take a pounding and keep going. Companies must drop those lights a specific number of times against a hard surface such as concrete before stating that it is impact-resistant. A high rating means that the flashlight will continue working after multiple drops.

A: When you purchase a flashlight, you can buy one that is either waterproof or water-resistant. Water-resistant means that you can use the flashlight around water sources without worrying about the moisture damaging the light. Waterproof flashlights can withstand submersion in any water, including puddles and rivers.

A: The word tint refers to the color of the light produced by a flashlight. Though you might think that all flashlights use a plain bulb that produces a bright white line, the color produced can range between models. LED bulbs generally produce a slightly blue light, while flashlights designed for hunters use a bright red color.

A: A small number of flashlights available today use a rotary ring that acts like a power switch. You can turn the ring in one direction or the other to turn the flashlight on and off. Some rotary rings have markings that show you which modes you can use and how far you should turn the ring to reach those modes. Those markings can wear off over time though.

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Best Garden Hoses

Shopping Guide for the Best Garden Hose

Best Garden Hose

UPDATED DECEMBER 2018

Find out which one’s the most lightweight, flexible, and kink-resistant.

BEST GARDEN
HOSE 2018

BOTTOM LINE

This hose both bends and lays flat when you want to ensure that you can handle any job. The bright green and yellow design of the hose makes it easy to see around your yard too.

PROS

With both a male end and a female end, this hose easily attaches to attachments and faucets. It also has a highly flexible design that allows you to use it around trees and other obstacles.

CONS

Some customers found that the hose did not lay flat as the manufacturer stated and that it kept twisting on them. Others have problems with holes developing in the hose.

BOTTOM LINE

With lead-free metal fittings and a polyurethane tube, this hose allows you to enjoy clean drinking water whenever you want. You can pick the perfect size based on the size of your yard.

PROS

The polyurethane used in this hose and its metal fittings keep your water safe for drinking and swimming. Available in multiple sizes, this hose comes with a 10-year warranty too.

CONS

Some customers received hoses with fittings made from materials other than brass. Other reviews pointed out that it was too firm and not very flexible.

BOTTOM LINE

Suitable for light watering and more heavy-duty jobs, this garden hose has an expandable design. Designed for use with warm and cool water, it can handle water of up to 113-degrees Fahrenheit.

PROS

The longer size of this hose allows you to work around your entire lawn and garden. It has a higher pressure rating and can handle water at lower and higher temperatures.

CONS

Some reviewers claimed that parts on this hose cracked after a few weeks of use. We also found that the fittings can crack if you use too much pressure.

BOTTOM LINE

Suitable for use at any temperature, this hose has an expandable design that increases its diameter and length. You can adjust the included sprayer to use one of eight different nozzle settings.

PROS

Available in a 75-foot-long size, this hose comes with its own storage bag that can hold the included sprayer. It expands up to three times in size as water flows through the hose.

CONS

A small number of shoppers complained that the plastic parts broke within the first few times they used the hose. Shoppers also had issues with the flow of water.

BOTTOM LINE

As one of the only garden hoses made from stainless steel on the market, this hose won’t develop kinks or cracks as you use it. It can also withstand sharp temperature changes without breaking.

PROS

Made from stainless steel, this hose is strong enough that even the sharpest of animal teeth cannot cut through it. The hose stays completely cool to the touch on a hot day or when you use it with hot water.

CONS

The smaller diameter of this hose reduces the flow of water that comes out. Some of the reviews we looked at said that it was prone to leaks too.

Shopping Guide for the Best Garden Hose

Whether you call it a garden hose or a water hose, one of these simple hoses is perfect for watering flowers and cleaning your car. The best garden hose for you is one in the length that you need and one that comes with the right fitting on the end. You can learn more about fittings and which ones are best for different types of jobs here in our shopping guide. Length is also important because this tells you how far away you can work from your spigot. You may want one that is long enough to stretch from the side of your house to your driveway or to the opposite side of your yard.

The best garden hoses for 2018 include those from different manufacturers. Our shopping guide helps you take a look at those hoses and learn the most important things to consider. If you’re like most shoppers, you probably want to weigh the factors and consider all the information available to you before making your decision. We’ll walk you through all the top features that shoppers should look at when picking a garden hose to help you find a good choice for your home and yard.

Shopping Guide for the Best Garden Hose

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Selection Criteria

Purchasing a garden hose isn’t something you think about until you discover a kink or a hole in your old one. You may not even think about buying a new one until you decide to move your garden or you move to a new home. We know that you have many things on your mind at the start of gardening season, which is why we did all the research for you on the top garden hoses. Once you read through our shopping guide, you can focus on what you want to plant, ordering seeds and plants and setting up your garden instead of worrying about choosing a hose.

We looked at dozens of different garden hoses, including the pocket hoses that you can wrap up and carry in your pocket and those that flatten when you turn off the water supply. Reading the top reviews of those hoses and checking out the average ratings posted by hundreds of shoppers helped us track down the top five garden products that will last long after the gardening season ends. You can read all our detailed reviews of the top water hoses and use the chart at the top of the page to find some basic information.

Selection Criteria for Garden Hose

If you want a hose that will easily follow along behind you and one that you can wrap around obstacles and hazards, this is your best bet. This flexible garden hose does not retain the memory of how you used in the past as others can. Each time that you use it, you can start out fresh. You can wrap it around the corner of your house, a tree standing in your way or anything else you encounter. It bends and flexes to wrap around those obstacles without any kinks developing in the hose. It works in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 150 degrees Fahrenheit too.

A thin and flexible covering added to the hose is resistant to the abrasions and scratches that can damage the surface and cause leaks. It also features metal housings on each end that are resistant to crushing and breaking. Each end features a different type of adapter. You’ll get both a male and a female adapter. Those ends work with a range of accessories and attachments, including the sprinkler systems you use for gardening and most of your kids’ outdoor toys.

Product Review Flexzilla Garden Hose

Garden Hose Uses

  • Wash your car: Cleaning your car is one of the more popular uses of a garden hose. When you select the right length, you can leave your car parked in your driveway and use the hose to both clean and rinse the vehicle.
  • Fill water features: If you have a birdbath or a pool that your kids love playing in, you need a garden hose for easy filling. You can also use a garden hose to add more water to a backyard pond or to fill a fountain.
  • Bathe your pets: When you bathe your pets inside, you risk water going everywhere and causing damage to your bathroom. As long as you have a tub or a small pool, you can use a garden hose to more easily clean your animals.
  • Water plants: The biggest reason why people invest in better garden hoses is that they want to water their plants and gardens. You can also use a hose to give your lawn a boost and make it look greener than ever before. Hoses that come with a sprayer help you cover a large area without wasting water.
Garden Hose Uses

Up to 50% of the outdoor water that you waste comes from leaky hoses and spigots. Replacing your hose with a new one will help you save on water waste and reduce your water bills.

Whether you want to fill up your child’s pool on a hot day, give your dog a bath or grab a drink of cold water, you need a hose that is free from toxins and contaminants like this one from ELEY. Though we recommend the 50-foot size, you can also pick a smaller or larger size. ELEY offers this in a minimum 6.5-foot size and a larger 200-foot size. Unlike traditional garden hoses that come in a bright green color, this one comes in a pale gray color that helps you distinguish it from the hoses that you use for gardening and other purposes. Resistant to the kinks that can form in other garden hoses, this ELEY hose works with water flowing at a rate of up to 150 pounds per square inch. You can also use it with hot and cold water because it will withstand temperatures of -40 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The metal fittings used on both ends of the hose are free of lead and other heavy metals. It comes with a 10-year warranty that covers both the hose and the fittings.

Material Options

Though there are a number of things you should consider when buying a new garden hose, one of the most important is its material. Materials typically fall into one of five categories. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each material to help you find the right hose for your needs.

Rubber

If you want a hose that can handle any type of job and don’t mind spending more money, a rubber hose is the best option for you. Rubber is both strong and durable. It can handle the most basic of tasks and more difficult jobs too. The downside is that rubber is usually more expensive than other materials. If cost is important to you, you can opt for a hose made from another material that is then reinforced with rubber.

Vinyl

Vinyl hoses are popular with those who want a lightweight hose that is also quite flexible. Many shoppers also like vinyl because it’s more affordable than other materials. A vinyl hose can handle most jobs around your yard, but it’s not strong enough for daily watering or other tasks that require more water.

Plastic

The cheapest option out there is a plastic hose. Just as lightweight and flexible as vinyl, plastic is great for doing simple projects or watering your lawn. If you want a water hose that you can carry around your yard and use on your driveway though, you’ll want to opt for a different material. Plastic can break and crack from regular use.

Polyurethane

Another option that you might like is a polyurethane hose. Hoses made from plastic and other materials can release toxins into the water. While those toxins shouldn’t damage your lawn or plants, it can affect animals and humans who drink that water. If you need to fill a kiddie pool or wash your pets, a polyurethane hose is your best choice.

Nylon

A small number of companies now make nylon hoses too. Often called collapsible hoses, they slowly expand as water moves through the tube. When you shut off the water and it drains out, the hose will collapse and flatten. The collapsible design makes storage easy. Some customers found that nylon hoses aren’t very strong though and that they tend to wear out quickly.

Material Options
Expandable hoses like this Ohuhu model are great for working in a large garden. Measuring 100-feet long, it uses a lightweight material with a knit covering on the surface. As soon as you turn on the water, you’ll see the hose grow rapidly in both length and diameter. After you turn off the water though, it returns back to its original size. You can then easily store the hose in an outdoor shed or garage. Designed for use with up to 12 bars of pressure, it retains its great structure over the long term too. You can carry it anywhere around your lawn and garden for fast and convenient watering.
Product Review Ohuhu 100-Foot Expandable Garden Hose

The material used on this hose is resistant to both kinks and leaks. You’ll also like the solid brass fittings used on each end. This brass will not rust when exposed to water, but the metal forms a tight hold on your spigot and any accessories that you use like such as a sprayer. A convenient switch on top of the metal allows you to turn off the flow of water to the hose itself without touching the spigot.

Other Features You Should Consider

  • Length: You may want to measure the length of your yard or the distance between the outdoor spigot and where you plan to use the hose. This helps you find the length that you need. Garden hoses come in smaller lengths of just seven-foot-long or less. You’ll also find longer lengths of 100-feet-long or more.
  • Diameter: Not all hoses have the exact same diameter. Diameter refers to the size of the opening on the hose. Commercial and professional gardeners and landscapers typically use hoses with a 3/4-inch diameter opening. A larger diameter allows more water to come out but will add weight to the hose.
  • Weight: If you spend a lot of time working in your garden, you should consider the total weight of the hose. Make sure that you look at the weight of the hose when you factor in the sprayer or any other attachments that you want to use too. If the hose is too heavy, you will have a hard time carrying it to your garden and putting it away.
  • Fitting material: The material used in the fittings on the hose is also important. Brass is the most durable type of material used by manufacturers. If you want to save money, you can opt for a hose with stainless steel fittings. Hoses with aluminum fittings are more affordable, but that metal can bend with regular use. You should avoid any hoses that come with plastic parts because the plastic can break within weeks of using that hose for the first time.
  • Pressure rating: You can also check the pressure rating that each manufacturer recommends as you compare garden hoses. Companies use the term PSI, which stands for pressure per square inch. A garden hose with a higher PSI rating can handle faster-moving water.
Other Features You Should Consider
From watering plants to giving your pets a bath, this Buyplus garden hose can do it all. Included with the hose is a sprayer with eight different settings. You can use the full setting to fill a pool quickly or the shower setting to rinse off and bathe your animals. The sprayer also has settings that are suitable for washing your car without damaging its finish and giving your plants a light spritz of water. As impressive as the sprayer is, the hose itself is just as impressive. It features heavy-duty brass fittings that won’t break or crack the way plastic can and a strong interior with a lightweight and flexible outer cover. This cover keeps the hose from kinking and makes it last longer. Though this hose might look small and basic at first glance, it has an expandable design that makes it suitable for all types of watering jobs. It expands quickly when you turn on the water and flattens just as quickly as the water drains out. The hose comes in three different sizes, but each of those sizes comes with a storage bag that fits both the hose and the sprayer.
Product Review: Buyplus Expandable Garden Hose

Tips for Using a New Hose

  • Check for leaks: Many people do not realize the sheer amount of water that they waste on a daily basis when using a leaky hose. Even the smallest of leaks can waste dozens of gallons of water each week. You should check both the fittings and the length of the hose for leaks.
  • Drain the hose: When you leave water in the hose, that liquid can wear down the hose and create cracks or holes. Once you finish using the hose and shut the water off, let it sit for a few minutes. You can also give the hose a shake to remove any excess water before putting it away.
  • Adjust the fittings: No matter what type of hose you buy, you should always check the fittings and make adjustments. Though brass is the best material, fittings can use stainless steel and other types of metal. If the fittings are loose, the hose will leak.
  • Use a sprayer: Instead of just using the hose as-is, you should consider attaching a sprayer. Sprayers usually have several nozzles and a round plastic piece that you can turn to select the nozzle that you want to use. This helps you use just the right amount of water.

Insider Tip

If you find that one or both of the fittings on your hose are loose or that water leaks out from the sides, you should replace the entire hose.

Tips for Using a New Hose
The most unique garden hose that we found is this stainless steel option from Forever Steel. Though it was once only available through television infomercials, you can now purchase it online. Stainless steel is a good choice for those who worry about their hoses breaking. The metal used in this hose is so strong that your pets can’t chew through it. It will also withstand sharp blades without cracking such as your lawnmower running over it. The hose uses a rigid type of stainless steel that won’t flatten when you step on it. This material won’t kink either. Many shoppers also love that this hose doesn’t leak. Even when used with a higher rate or flow of water, the hose will retain its shape and overall design. It is tear-free too. With other hoses, especially those made from nylon, you risk the material either tearing or ripping as you move it across your yard. This hose is so strong and durable that you can drag it across your driveway or yard without it ripping. At 25-foot-long, it’s suitable for most lawns and gardens.
Product Review Forever Steel 25-Foot Garden Hose

How Much Do Garden Hoses Cost?

If you only ever bought garden hoses from home improvement stores before, you might not know how much you should really spend. Those stores sell hoses that range from around $10 to more than $100. The cost will usually relate to the overall length of the hose. Those that measure 50-feet-long to 100-feet-long will typically cost more than one that measures just 20-feet-long.

All the watering hoses that we thought deserved to make our list sell for less than $100. Expandable and polyurethane hoses generally cost more than other types. Spending more on a polyurethane model will help you feel safer though. You can use that hose to fill up your dog’s water dish and let your kids play in the sprinkler without worrying about contaminants or toxins affecting them.

Expandable hoses are popular with a large number of gardening enthusiasts because they can easily carry one from the spigot to the garden without feeling weighed down. The hoses expand to let more water come out and then flatten for convenient storage. Expandable hoses can range in price from $30 to more than $60. No matter what type of hose you want to buy, you shouldn’t spend more than $100.

How to Keep a Garden Hose from Kinking

  • Use the hose on a flat surface
  • Place the hose on a slope to remove all the water from the inside
  • Avoid stepping on the hose or putting any undue stress/pressure on it
How Much Do Garden Hoses Cost

Frequently Asked Questions

A: A sprinkler hose is a special type of hose designed to function like a sprinkler. Made from different materials, they have a series of small holes evenly spaced across the tops and sides. As water moves through the hose, the liquid comes out from those holes to quickly water the surrounding areas.

A: No matter how much time you spend outside, you can benefit from a hose reel. Usually made from plastic, a reel has a crank on the side. When you place one end of the hose on the reel and turn the crank, it slowly rotates and wraps the hose around the reel. This makes it easier to store the hose and extend its overall life.

A: If you have a large garden and don’t have time to water your plants regularly, you might like a soaker hose. Similar to a sprinkler hose, these hoses have holes along the top. You’ll put one inside the ground and put a layer of dirt or mulch over the top. The water comes out from the holes and targets the roots of your plants.

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Best Chainsaw Sharpeners

Detailed Product Review Drixit Chainsaw Sharpener Filing Kit

Best Chainsaw Sharpeners

UPDATED DECEMBER 2018

A good chainsaw sharpener will prevent accidents and keep you steady on your feet.

BEST CHAINSAW
SHARPENER 2018

BOTTOM LINE

With this file set, you can keep everything you need to sharpen your chain nearby. Many shoppers like that the pouch has a roll-up design that reduces the amount of space the set takes up in their pockets and boxes.

PROS

Included inside this roll-up pouch are multiple tools that you can use for sharpening and maintaining your chainsaw and saws. You get both a round file and premium file with a flat edge for working on smaller teeth.

CONS

The quality of this set isn’t quite up to par, which led to some customers complaining about the files bending or breaking. Some reviews claimed that not all of the files worked with their chains.

BOTTOM LINE

Designed for use anywhere, this chainsaw sharpener mounts easily onto most surfaces and has a portable design that lets you take it to job sites. You can pull the chain straight through and sharpen it faster with minimal work on your part.

PROS

As a bar-mounted option, this sharpener is perfect for mounting on a surface in your garage or workshop to give you added stability as you sharpen. You can adjust the angle and length based on how you want to sharpen your chains.

CONS

Many customers found that this sharpener had a steep learning curve and that it took some time for them to feel confident using it. Some also claimed that it didn’t work as well as a standard file does.

BOTTOM LINE

The best electric sharpener is this one, which features a motor with an RPM rating of more than 4,000 revolutions per minute. You can work quickly and still stay safe because of the built-in safety guide.

PROS

Thanks to a safety guide, this model keeps your hands away from both the motor and your chain. It comes with rollers that let you quickly rotate the chain to work on multiple teeth in a short period of time.

CONS

The lack of included instructions makes this model hard to use. While it gets generally positive reviews, some customers did think it used some cheap parts.

BOTTOM LINE

No matter what type of chain or blade you need to sharpen, you can use this set and get some great results. The kit comes with multiple files and sharpening tools and a guide for fast setup.

PROS

This kit comes with all the tools and files that you need for sharpening tools at home or on the job. You can select the right tool for any job and keep all the parts safely stored in the kit.

CONS

Working with manual tools like this set takes longer. A small number of customers complained about the quality of the tools and the materials used.

BOTTOM LINE

As the most compact sharpening tool on the market, this little key ring device is perfect for using while away from home. It comes with other tools too, including a bottle opener and a sharp edge for opening boxes and packages.

PROS

This tool gives you a convenient way to open boxes, sharpen blades and saws and even open bottles. The small size lets you keep the tool right on your key ring and take it with you everywhere.

CONS

The small size of this sharpener makes it hard for some to use. Some of the reviews we came across stated that a few of the included tools didn’t work as well as others.

Shopping Guide for the Best Chainsaw Sharpener

A chainsaw can be one of your best friends or one of your worst enemies. When you have the best chainsaw sharpener handy, you’ll keep that chain as sharp as possible. This helps you cut through old tree limbs and anything else you might have around your home. Choosing from the best chainsaw sharpener 2018 products is tough, which is why we did it for you. Our shopping guide goes over the top chainsaw sharpener 2018 models and designs to help you find one that will work for your needs.

Using a chainsaw with a rusty or dull chain is potentially dangerous. Not only can you harm yourself, but you can harm anyone else nearby when you use that power tool. Working with an old chain that is too dull can make a simple project take much longer too. As you read through our shopping guide for chainsaw sharpeners, you’ll find more than just a few products that you can buy. You’ll also find the benefits of using a sharpener and how much you should pay for one. We also included some tips on using a sharpener for your chainsaw and the top features of the best products.

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Shopping Guide for the Best Chainsaw Sharpener

Selection Criteria​

The next time that a storm downs some tree limbs in your yard, you should take a few minutes and inspect your chain before firing up your saw. As the teeth wear down, you must sharpen each one. Depending on the type of saw you have and how you use it, you may find that you need to sharpen all teeth or just a few of those teeth. Having the right tool for that job will make the task of sharpening your chainsaw much easier. That is why we created a list of the best sharpeners on the market and some tips on using each one.

Before working on this list, we first identified the different types of sharpeners. You can learn more about those types below and see the pros and cons of each type too. We then found at least one sharpener in each category listing. Our list started out with a number of different tools, but we looked at reviews to weed out those that don’t work well. We then ranked those tools based on both customer reviews and our own experiences. Our shopping guide provides you with the top chainsaw sharpeners and information on using one.

Best Chain Sharpener Selection Criteria
While sharpening your chain is something that you should do on a regular basis, you may find that you don’t like taking the time to do this each time you use your saw. When you have this Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener by your side, you can more quickly and efficiently sharpen any chain. As a bar-mounted model, it fits anywhere around your shop or garage. You can use the included clamps to quickly mount it on a table or bar. Once you place the chain inside, you can pull it straight through to sharpen each individual tooth. One nice feature of this model is that it removes only a small fraction of each tooth. This provides the sharp edge that you need but extends the life of your chain, which can save you money in the long run. It also has carbide guides built onto the ends that help you line up your chain and remove the perfect amount each time. Though you can adjust the angle and make other changes to the device, you can also purchase separate guides that will work with it. With this chainsaw sharpener, you can spend less time sharpening and more time working.

What is a Chainsaw Sharpener?

A chainsaw sharpener, also called a chainsaw chain sharpener or a chain sharpener, is essentially a tool that you can use to keep the teeth on your chain sharp. If you ever used a chainsaw with a dull chain before, you know how difficult using that tool can be. Not only do you have less control than you should, but you may find that you need to work extra hard to cut through something as simple as a thin piece of plywood. Those teeth must work together to cut through the material in front of them. With the right saw and a sharp blade, you can tackle both wood and metal as well as other materials.

Some people think that they need a bigger or more powerful chainsaw because the ones they used in the past don’t cut very well. Simply sharpening the teeth can make the saw more efficient. Sharpeners come in different types that will determine how you use one. Some allow you to run the chain through a machine that does all the cutting for you, while others require more work on your part. You can check out all the different types of chainsaw sharpeners a little further down.

What is a Chainsaw Sharpener

Common Uses of Chainsaws

  • Cutting wood for bonfires and fireplaces
  • Removing downed trees after a storm
  • Working on home improvement projects
  • Cutting down and removing dead or dying trees
While bar-mounted options are good for some, others prefer tools that work even faster, which is why they opt for electric sharpeners. We recommend the sharpener from TruePower because it works so efficiently and quickly. Though it does not come with any instructions, you can check out the box and view videos online to see how to use it. This model comes with a long power cord that lets you plug in the machine in your workshop and use it on any counter or table. One feature we really like is the built-in safety guard. Other electric models lack this feature. As you use one, you risk your hands or fingers catching on the chain or inside the machine itself. The safety guard on this model keeps all your digits away from the chain as it moves through the machine and its motor. That motor uses 8.5 amps and produces more than 4,000 revolutions per minute. You’ll also like the rotation rollers that help you quickly insert your chain and move it through the sharpener. This lets you sharpen multiple teeth in less time. It comes with a grinding wheel too that works on other types of chains and blades.

How Does a Chainsaw Sharpener Work?

Though there are three different types of chainsaw sharpeners on the market, each one works in a similar way. The concept involves the use of some type of metal to sharpen the teeth on the chain. When using a manual or hand-held sharpener, you’ll run a file across the tooth until you reach the sharpness that you desire. If you use an electric model, you can adjust the settings and let the metal inside do the sharpening for you. There are also mounted options that hold the chain steady as you drag it through a series of files.

All of the different types of chainsaw sharpeners use the same type of metal files or similar files. Some have a rounded design, but other files have a flat design. You can choose the right one based on how you want to file the teeth and how sharp you want those teeth to feel when you finish. Though some prefer the convenient filing and sharpening that electric models offer, others like using manual design because they feel like they have more control. We recommend learning more about each type before deciding which sharpener you should buy.

How Does a Chainsaw Sharpener Work

Warning!

When using manual files, focus on just one tooth at a time. If you attempt to sharpen multiple teeth, you risk scraping the file across your fingers or knuckles.

If you want more control over your work and/or prefer working on a specific tooth at a time, a sharpening kit might be a better choice for you. This kit from Drixet comes with tools that you can use at home, in your yard, while working in your garage and even while you’re on the job. It comes with both a racer file and three round files that let you file down dull teeth to give those areas the sharp edges that you need. You also get a filing guide that makes it easier to see what you need to do and how you can use the tools when you’re away from home. Also included is a depth guide that you can use to check the height of each tooth and ensure that the teeth are even. If you use a chainsaw with uneven teeth, you’ll leave behind jagged borders. You also risk the chain coming off your saw. Drixet even includes a handle that works with all the included files. Once you insert the tool into the handle, you’ll have something to hold on to as you work. All the included parts fit right inside a small plastic pouch.
Detailed Product Review Drixit Chainsaw Sharpener Filing Kit

Benefits of Using a Chainsaw Sharpener

Before you buy a brand new chain or completely replace your old chainsaw, take a look at some of the benefits of sharpening the chain that you already own.

  • Save money: The biggest benefit of buying and using a sharpener is that it saves you some money. Sharpeners are available for around $10 to more than $100 and will fit any budget you have in mind. Using a sharpener is a cheaper alternative to buying a new chain or saw.
  • Cut more efficiently: Using a dull or worn chain can leave you spending hours to cut down a small tree. With a sharpener, you can sharpen the teeth on that chain and cut much faster.
  • Reduce risk of injury: Sharpening your chainsaw chain can also reduce your risk of suffering a personal injury. A dull chain can actually bounce off a tree that you want to cut, which can cause the saw to move wildly. You may have a hard time getting control and either fall down or cut yourself.
  • Extend the chain’s life: You can also extend the life of your chain with a sharpener. Sharpening the teeth lets you get more use out of the chain and can keep the motor on your saw from wearing out or overheating.
One of the most convenient file sets we found is this set from Katzco. Unlike other sets that come in a hard plastic kit, this set comes with a softer pouch. The pouch rolls up to reduce its footprint, making it easy to carry it in your pocket or toolkit. When you need to sharpen your chains, simply unroll the pouch to find the right tool for the job. This pouch also has a small strap that you can wrap around the back and tie shut to keep the tools from spilling out. No matter what type of filing or sharpening you want to do, this kit comes with all the necessary tools. You’ll get both flat and rounded files that let you work on more than one tooth or just a single tooth at a time. The included hardwood handle works with those files. You can easily insert one inside the handle before getting to work. This set comes with three files as well as a filing guide and a depth gauge. You can use that gauge to cut down to a specific height and use the guide to get some help with your filing and sharpening.
Detailed Product Review Katzco Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit

Types of Sharpeners

Manual Sharpeners
As the name implies, a manual sharpener is one that you will use manually and with your own hands. These tools also go by the name of hand-held sharpeners. We included two sets of files on our list of the top chain sharpener 2018 products because of the high reviews that those sets received. You can use both rounded and flat files on your chain’s teeth. Most sets also come with a gauge that helps you remove the same amount of metal from each tooth, but you’ll also get detailed instructions that show you how to use each file. Manual sharpeners may come in a hard plastic case or a softer roll-up pouch.

Pros:

  • The convenient size of a filing kit allows you to take that kit with you when working around your home or outside.
  • You get different sizes and types of files that will work on different types of teeth and chains.
  • Many sets come with a handle made from wood or plastic that you can insert your file inside before working on your chain.
  • You have much more control with hand-held files and can make adjustments on the fly.

Cons:

  • Some sets may come with files that are too large or too small for your needs.
  • Many users have a hard time making all the teeth on their chains the same height or level.
  • It’s often hard to get the precision that you need with a hand-held tool.

Electric Sharpeners
Many DIY enthusiasts prefer electric sharpeners to manual models because they want to sharpen their chains faster. These machines usually feature multiple files inside. You can adjust the settings and tell the machine how much metal you want to remove from each tooth or use other factors when sharpening the chain. Using one of these sharpeners is easy too because you can just place the chain inside and run it through the machine. Some of the models we found will work on blades too. You’ll find a guard and other safety features that keep your hands away from the motor and other features.

Pros:

  • Electric models let you do all the sharpening that you need faster and with less labor on your part.
  • You can set up all the features on the sharpener and work through the teeth faster.
  • Manufacturers make electric models that at different price points to fit any budget.

Cons:

  • Electric models are the most expensive chain sharpeners on the market.
  • You must wear safety gear to protect your eyes and skin when using one of these models.

Bar-Mounted Sharpeners
A convenient way to sharpen your chains without spending a lot of money is with one of the bar-mounted models. The name comes from the fact that you can mount the device on any surface, but most users mount theirs on either a workbench or a table. You’ll find clamps that let you mount the product onto that surface to keep it from moving. Located on the front is a small opening that lets you insert your chain. You’ll pull quickly to move the chain through the sharpener inside. Many bar-mounted models let you adjust the angle and the depth of your cuts too.

Pros:

  • You can sharpen all teeth at the same time to make each one level with the next.
  • Bar-mounted models will work with most types of chainsaw chains.
  • You can use the clamps to set up the tool on any surface when working away from your home.
  • A bar-mounted sharpener allows you to sharpen all teeth quickly.

Cons:

  • Setting up a bar-mounted sharpener can take time that you don’t have.
  • Some metal shavings can come off as you sharpen your chains and strike you or anyone nearby.
Types of Sharpeners
Keychain sharpeners like this one let you carry the tools that you need everywhere you go. A small metal ring located on the end lets you hook this tool to your own keychain to carry it with your house or car keys. You can also use that ring to hook the tool to your bag or belt loop. Though it uses a cheap plastic housing, it features metal rings that keep that housing from snapping apart when you use the tool on tougher jobs. This micro tool has a built-in sharpener that will work on most blades and chains. You simply place the metal inside the sharpener and give it a hard pull to move the chain through. This sharpener works best on smaller and lighter chains though. You can also use that sharpener as a cutter, which makes it easy to remove packaging from a new tool and to open boxes that came in the mail. It also features other tools that you can use in the field too. You get a miniature screwdriver for repairing your eyeglasses and handling other small chores and an opener that works on most bottles.
Detailed Product Review Columbia River Knife Tool Key Chain Sharpener

How to Use a Chainsaw Sharpener

Using a chainsaw sharpener isn’t as hard as you might think. As you read how each one works, you’ll quickly understand what you need to do to use one. We divided this section into two separate areas. The first section goes over how you can use a manual sharpener. You’ll also find out how to use an electric model in the second section. Make sure that you check out our safety tips section to learn how to stay safe when sharpening chainsaw chains.

How to Use Manual Sharpeners

  • Choose the right file: Choosing between a round and a flat file is the first thing you should do. You’ll also want to slide the end of the file into the handle and press down to ensure that the file doesn’t come out as you use it.
  • Arrange the chain: Lay the chain out on a flat surface so that you can see each tooth on the chain. This lets you measure each change against the other as you file.
  • Use a 45-degree angle: Hold the edge of the file against the tooth at a 45-degree angle. Using a small amount of pressure, carefully rub the file against the tooth. You can touch it with your hand or finger to see if it’s as sharp as you want.
  • Move down the chain: Slowly work your way down the chain, sharpening each tooth with the file. You’ll want to keep an eye on the teeth to ensure that each one has the same shape and size.

How to Use Electric Sharpeners

  • Change the settings: Before you run your chain through one of these devices, adjust the settings. Make sure that you set the depth to the exact measurement that you need.
  • Use the rollers: Electric sharpeners have rollers that allow you to set the chain inside. As you use the machine, the rollers will move each tooth across the sharpener. This also keeps the chain from tangling.
  • Clamp the vice: One benefit of using an electric model is that you get access to a vise that clamps down on your chain. You’ll want to adjust the vice to work with the size and type of vice that you have.
  • Move the grinder: Sharpening your chain is as easy as moving the grinder. You can press this wheel or stone down right on top of your chain to cut and sharpen each tooth. The chain will move along the roller to let you sharpen and cut each tooth to the same specifications.
How to Use a Chainsaw Sharpener

Warning!

  • Choose the right spot or position for the sharpener
  • Use the knobs and other features to adjust the depth and sharpness of your cuts
  • Insert just one tooth of your chain at a time

Tips for Using an Electric Sharpener

  • Check with the chain manufacturer: Always check the instructions that came with a new chainsaw or a replacement blade to see how the company recommends sharpening the blade. You may find that the manufacturer recommends one method over another.
  • Choose a sharpening stone: One benefit of using an electric model is that you can pick the type and size of sharpening stone that works best with your chain type. Though 3/16-inch is the most popular size stone, you may want one that is more narrow or one that is slightly wider.
  • Adjust the angle: Adjusting the angle of the sharpener lets you get the sharp and pointy teeth that you need for cutting through large trees. You can adjust the angle down to 0-degrees or up to a maximum of 80-degrees. Some models have a maximum angle adjustment of just 60-degrees.
  • Repeat on the opposite side: When using an electric sharpener, you’ll run the entire length of chain through the machine to sharpen the teeth on one side. You will then turn the chain over and move it through the machine a second time on the opposite side. Make sure that you adjust the degree to the opposite setting when working on the other side.
Tips for Using an Electric Sharpener

Safety Tips for Users

We want you to stay safe when using any type of sharpener, which is why we created a list of tips that you can use when working on your chains.

  • Put down a towel: When working with files and other manual devices, put a towel down on a flat surface like a table. You can then put your chain directly on top. The towel provides some traction to keep the chain from slipping and sliding as you work.
  • Choose the right surface: If you opt for an electric or a bar-mounted model, make sure that you choose the right surface for that tool. Only use an electric model on a flat surface that does not move or wobble. With a bar-mounted model, attach it to a workbench or a permanent counter that won’t shift.
  • Wear safety gear: Always wear safety gear when sharpening a chain, including goggles over your eyes and gloves on your hands. The friction of metal against metal will produce some sparks that can embed in your skin or land in your eyes. You should cover any exposed areas of your skin as you sharpen your chain too.
  • Clean up immediately: As soon as you finish sharpening your chain, use a brush to remove any metal debris from your work area. You can then use a brush to sweep up any debris on the ground. This reduces the risk that you might injure yourself on those metal shavings later.
Safety Tips for Users

What To Do If You Get Metal in Your Eyes?

No matter how careful you are when sharpening a chain, a piece of metal can still come off and land in your eye. There are some simple things that you can do at home to get that metal out.

  • Flush the eye with a little cold water: If you have a smaller piece of metal near the center of your eye, you can use water to flush it out.
  • Use a cotton swab: For larger pieces of debris that you or someone else can see, you can try using a cotton swab soaked in clean water. When you touch the swab against your eye, the debris may come loose and cling to it.
  • Contact your doctor: If you cannot remove the debris yourself, contact your doctor or visit the emergency room. Get help as soon as possible to avoid the metal shaving scratching your cornea or causing other damage to your eye.

Signs You Should Sharpen Your Chain

Those who use chainsaws more often feel more familiar with those tools and will know right away if the chain needs sharpening. If you have less experience, you might confuse a dull blade with a more serious problem like an issue with your motor. You can look at some basic signs that you have a dull blade that needs sharpening before buying a new saw or blade.

  • You need to use more force: Chainsaws are powerful tools that can do all the cutting for you. If you find yourself pushing down on the saw or using more force to make it cut, this is a sign of a dull chain.
  • The saw smokes: A saw that is in good condition shouldn’t smoke as you use it. Even a small amount of smoke coming from the saw is a sign of a poor chain.
  • No more even cuts: When using a chainsaw, you can put the chain down flush with an object and make a straight and even cut right through it. A dull chain will cause the saw to shake and lead to uneven cuts.
  • Constant pulling: When you turn on your chainsaw, keep a grip on the handle as you slowly lower it down. If you find that the saw keeps pulling in one direction, you need to sharpen your blade.
Signs You Should Sharpen Your Chain

Other Signs to Watch for

  • The saw stops moving through the wood
  • It produces a fine powder or sawdust as you cut
  • You cannot keep the saw in one position when cutting
  • The saw moves so much that you cannot control it

Tips for Safely Using a Chainsaw

  • Maintain your footing: Always use caution when cutting logs and other objects in your yard, especially if you have a sloped or hilly yard. Wearing boots or shoes that provide traction will keep you from falling down.
  • Practice first: Before you run off to tackle an overgrown tree in your yard, practice on a smaller object. This is especially important when using a new chainsaw. You should make sure that you feel comfortable and that you can handle the saw.
  • Wear the right gear: Wearing goggles and other protective gear is just as important when cutting as it is when sharpening. You may want to wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt with a helmet too.
  • Have help nearby: Cutting on your own is potentially dangerous because you might slip and drop the saw on your body. Never do any cutting around your home unless you have someone standing by who can provide help when needed.
  • Be aware of kickbacks: Chainsaws often produce a kickback when first turned on that can knock you off your feet or change your grip on the tool. Kickbacks can also occur as the saw cuts through larger pieces of wood.
Tips for Safely Using a Chainsaw

Tips for Protecting Your Ears

  • Wear earmuffs: Earmuffs that completely cover your ears are a good choice when working outside with a chainsaw. The muffs muffle any of the sounds produced by the saw and keep you safe from debris that flies off as you cut.
  • Choose a helmet: Wearing a helmet can provide you with more protection than earmuffs would, and you’ll also find that the helmet protects your head from any debris. As most helmets do little to protect your ears, you’ll also want to wear earplugs.

How to Keep Chains Sharp

  • Inspect the chain regularly: No matter how often you use your chainsaw, you should inspect the teeth carefully each time that you use it. You can run your hand along the teeth to see if any feel dull to the touch, but you’ll also want to look for signs of dull teeth.
  • Use the starting point: Whenever you use your chainsaw, always place the starting point directly on the object that you want to cut. This point can vary depending on the type of saw and chain that you have. Starting in the wrong spot will cause the chain to wear down faster.
  • Look with your eyes and listen with your ears: Trying to force your saw to cut through something too hard or tough will wear down the teeth and make the motor overheat. As you cut, listen for any unusual sounds and watch for smoke coming from the motor.
  • Take your time: Though you might feel tempted to rush your way through a cutting job, always take your time. Working too fast can damage the motor or cause the chain to slip off. It can also damage the teeth on that chain.
How to Keep Chains Sharp

Who Could Benefit from a Chainsaw Sharpener?

  • DIY enthusiasts: If you love doing work around your home, you might benefit from a chainsaw chain sharpener. Having a chainsaw lets you take care of any emergency that might pop like a tree branch that a storm knocked through your window or a diseased tree that you want to cut down.
  • Professionals: Professionals, including construction workers and landscapers, use chainsaw sharpeners on a regular basis. They know that having a sharp chain will help them cut through obstacles faster and get work done faster for their clients too.
  • Those who want to save money: Anyone who wants to save money can also benefit from a sharpener for their chainsaws. Unless you had someone come out and remove a tree before, you might have no idea how much it costs. A landscaper can charge you hundreds of dollars, and many companies charge even more during the busy season when they have more customers. Having a chainsaw sharpener lets you do some of the work yourself and save some cash.
Who Could Benefit from a Chainsaw Sharpener

How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Tree?

The cost of removing a tree from your home can range from $100 to more than $500. Professionals base the cost on factors such as:

  • The size of the tree
  • Its location in your yard
  • Whether they need to navigate around any obstacles

Best Chainsaw Sharpener Buying Guide – Top Features and Things to Consider

Though we highly recommend each of the top five best chainsaw sharpener 2018 products, we know that you may want to do a little research on your own and check out models from other manufacturers. You might have a chainsaw from a manufacturer like Stihl and decide that you want to use a sharpener from the same company. That is why our shopping guide also includes this detailed buying guide. We already looked at things like the different types of sharpeners and tips on using those models, but we also wanted to give you a list of all the features you should look for and the things you should consider before you buy.

Power and Speed
One important feature worth considering, especially when looking at electric models, is the power of the sharpener. RPM stands for revolutions per minute and gives you an idea of how quickly the motor will run. When looking at a product description, you’ll want to see an RPM rating of at least 4,000 or higher. Some manufacturers will also provide you with information about the overall speed and tell you how quickly you can use their machines to sharpen your chain teeth. The faster you can sharpen each individual tooth on your chain, the faster you can get to work outside and take care of any problems around your home.

User Experience
The amount of experience you have will also play a key role in the type of sharpener that you buy. Older DIY enthusiasts and woodworkers often prefer the kits that come with multiple files. They like knowing that they can work on each individual tooth on a chain and that they can take their time. Those with less experience will often find these sets hard to use. You may have issues getting all the teeth to the same height and sharpness. Electric models and bar-mounted models are more popular among those with less experience because they can follow the included instructions and sharpen an entire chain in an hour or less.

Overall Construction
Regardless of what model or type interests you, you should always look at the overall construction and pay special attention to what customers said about that construction. Many of the reviews we found on file sets pointed out that the included tools weren’t very strong. Some customers even complained that the tools bent or broke the first time that they used them. Construction is equally important in regards to electric models. If the rollers sometimes get stuck or the vice doesn’t have a very tight grip, you may have a hard time getting your chain as sharp as you need it.

Power Supply
As you look at the different chainsaw chain sharpeners on the market, you might think that it comes down to those that require a power outlet and those that use no power. You’ll also find a small number of sharpeners that work with batteries too. These tools offer a convenient way for users to sharpen their chains when they’re not near a power supply and when they don’t want to use their own hands. We did not include any of these models on our list because the reviews on them are mixed at best. Many shoppers found that they could sharpen their chains faster by hand.

Chain Type
Near the top of this page are several charts that show you the different types of teeth that modern chainsaws use and the different types of chains that you can use with those saws. Before you spend your money on any of the products on our list or any other sharpener that you want to buy, you must make sure that it is compatible with your chain. If the device is not compatible with that chain, you may find that it actually wears down the teeth or that it breaks off some of those teeth. You can contact the manufacturer of your chain and ask for help.

Durability
If you work with your hands and/or use power tools on a daily basis, you might notice that manufacturers changed their construction processes over the years. Even tools that once used premium parts and solid metal or wood components now feature some plastic pieces. That’s why it’s so important that you consider durability when choosing a sharpener. When writing our reviews on our top products, we created a cons list for each one that includes some of the complaints that customers had. You can use that information for yourself to determine whether a sharpener is durable enough for your use.

Portability
Despite what you might think, not everyone who uses a chainsaw uses it in the same location every day. Professionals need to take their saws to job sites and to the homes of their clients. Even if you just use a chainsaw a few times a year around your yard, you may want to look at the portability of different sharpeners to find one that you can take with you. Manual and hand-held sets are perfect for using outside when you notice that your chain looks a little dull. With the keychain model we found, you can even carry the tool with you on a daily basis. Electric models are less portable and will require an outlet.

Usage
You should give some thought to how and where you will use that sharpener too. If you keep your chainsaw stored in your garage, feel free to invest in an electric model. You can keep it plugged in and ready to sharpen your chain whenever you notice any dull teeth. Many people prefer bar-mounted sharpeners because they can use one indoors or outside. You can set one up in your garden shed to sharpen your chain before working in your garden. Hand-held products are best for those who don’t mind putting in a little manual labor and those who spend a lot of time working in areas without a power supply.

Safety Features
Before you put down your credit card and place an order, take some time to check out all the available safety features. Even if you have years of experience working with chainsaws and sharpening the blades and chains that power tools use, you will still want to ensure that the tools have some features that will keep you safe. The depth gauges that come with hand-held tools are one example of a safety feature. This gauge lets you cut and sharpen to the depth and precision that you need. Electric models often come with a safety guard too. While you can still make all the adjustments that you need, you won’t worry about cutting or hurting your hands.

Included Parts
Looking at what comes in the box and whether you get more than just the sharpener can help you see exactly what you get for your money. With electric sharpeners, you’ll typically get the machine itself and some instructions, though some of the reviews we saw complained that the products lacked any instructions. These products may come with some removable parts that let you make repairs or clean out the machine too. Hand-held sharpeners generally come with the most parts and accessories. You usually get all of the following:

  • Both round and flat files
  • A pouch or carrying case
  • Some type of handle that works with all included files

Ease of Use
One of the features that shoppers claim is most important to them is ease of use. Using a chainsaw to cut down a tree takes a lot of work and concentration on your part. You may want to focus more on your cutting and less on your sharpening, which might lead you to an electric model. Electric models usually have a steep learning curve though, and you may not get the detailed instructions that you need. Using a hand-held set requires more concentration and can take weeks of use before you feel comfortable working with those tools.

Model Type
You can look at dozens of features and multiple products without still knowing what you want and need. What it all boils down to is the model type that you like best. Some models are just better for certain users than others are. If you want a tool that you can grab and take with you for sharpening your blade anywhere you work, you’ll prefer a set of hand-held tools. Those who want an easy and convenient way to sharpen their chains will prefer an electric model. Bar-mounted chain sharpeners offer the best of both worlds. You can take the sharpener with you and get similar results as you would with an electric sharpener.

Best Chainsaw Sharpener Buying Guide – Top Features and Things to Consider

Chainsaw Sharpener Average Prices

The price that you’ll pay for a good chainsaw sharpener depends on the type that you think is right for your workshop. Among the most expensive are the bar-mounted models. These sharpeners let you place the device in a safe location, make any changes that you want and pull the chain straight through to give it a sharper edge. To get a bar-mounted model, you’ll pay around $100 to $150. The Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener that made our list retails for $140. Electric models can also cut down on your sharpening time. Many customers prefer these models because they cost so little. You can get a solid sharpener for well under $100. The TruePower sharpener on our list retails for just $50 and will fit into almost any budget. Some amateur and professional handymen prefer manual tools like file kits because they can get better control and focus on one individual tooth at a time. These sets are much cheaper than other types of sharpeners. You can get a good set for between $10 and $20. We also recommend taking a look at the keychain sharpeners that fit on your key ring. These tools retail for less than $10 and will go anywhere you do.
Chainsaw Sharpener Average Prices

Frequently Asked Questions

A: The most basic of problems that you’ll have when using a dull blade is that it just doesn’t cut. This can leave you spending more time to cut through a simple piece of wood that it would take to cut that wood with a handsaw. You also risk losing control of the saw and doing damage to nearby areas or hurting yourself.

A: Though some claim that you should sharpen your blade each time that you finish a big job, you can keep track of the amount of work that you do instead. Each time that you use your saw for at least five hours, you should sharpen the chain.

 

A: In addition to knowing the signs that your chain needs sharpening, you can also look at the teeth on that chain. When you first use a chain, you’ll notice precise edges on each tooth that feels sharp to the touch. Dull teeth will look less sharp and may have uneven edges.

A: You should replace your chain when you can no longer sharpen the teeth. Experts also recommend replacing rusty blades or those with missing teeth.

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Best Weed Killers

Best Weed Killers

Best Weed Killers

UPDATED DECEMBER 2018

Get rid of all the weeds and invasive plants in your yard with a weed killer you can easily use.

BEST WEED
KILLER 2018

Compare-N-Save Concentrate

BOTTOM LINE

You can get up to 85 full gallons of weed killing power with one gallon of this Compare-N-Save Concentrate. It can cover more than 20,000 square feet of outdoor space and works on all types of weeds. The only downside is that it takes longer to work than other products do.

PROS

Compare-N-Save comes in a concentrate that you can mix with water to use on your weeds. One bottle makes up to 85 gallons of weed killer, which is enough to cover 25,000 square feet.

CONS

You may need to mix the concentrate with less of the water recommended by the manufacturer to get the results you want. It can take up to four days before you see any results.

Roundup Weed and Grass Killer III

Roundup Weed and Grass Killer III

BOTTOM LINE

Roundup guarantees that you’ll see results in just three hours after using this product on your lawn. One application will kill weeds right down to the roots and resist rain. Though it does come with a power wand, that wand doesn’t work as effectively as some might wish.

PROS

This convenient product comes already mixed and ready for use on your lawn and weeds. It resists rain just 10 minutes after you apply it, and this weed killer works in a few hours.

CONS

The power wand that comes with this weed killer doesn’t work as well as some would like. It may also develop clogs that keep the liquid from coming out.

Spectracide Weed Stop Concentrate

BOTTOM LINE

Kill weeds right down to the roots with Spectracide Weed Stop Concentrate, which can kill weeds in a lawn measuring up to 16,000 square feet in size. It works on more than 200 different types of weeds but may lead to some yellow spots forming on your lawn.

PROS

With one bottle of this concentrate, you can treat a lawn or outdoor space up to 16,000 square feet in size. It works on more than 200 types of weeds and will attack the roots to keep the weeds from growing back.

CONS

This product can turn your lawn and grass yellow. It also may not work on all the weeds growing on your lawn.

EcoSMART Organic Weed and Grass Killer

EcoSMART Organic Weed and Grass Killer

BOTTOM LINE

EcoSMART uses clove oil in its Organic Weed and Grass Killer, which leaves behind a nice scent. As one of the only products safe to use around kids and pets, this weed killer is safe to use around water sources too. Some customers did find that they needed multiple applications on some types of weeds though.

PROS

The top weed killer that will not harm the environment is this EcoSMART product. It will not contaminate groundwater, and it’s safe to use around your pets. It leaves behind a nice scent too.

CONS

You many need multiple applications of this product to completely eliminate weeds in your lawn. Some customers found that it didn’t work effectively on weeds growing in their driveways or sidewalks.

Ortho Weed B Gon

BOTTOM LINE

Get rid of all the weeds and grass growing around your home with Ortho Weed B Gon, which comes with a comfort wand for fast and easy spraying. Designed to work on more than 200 types of weeds, this killer works on ground coverings and invasive plants too. When you follow the recommended guidelines, it won’t damage your lawn.

PROS

Kill more than 200 types of weeds without damaging your grass with this weed killer. It works on ground covers like clover too and begins working in just a few hours. Ortho guarantees that this product will not kill your lawn when used as directed.

CONS

You may need to apply this product several times to treat sturdier types of weeds and grass like crab grass. The spray nozzle can clog on you too.

Shopping Guide for Weed Killers

Even if you take care of your lawn, you may still find weeds and invasive plants encroaching on your lawn. The best weed killers let you fight back against those plants and get the lush lawn that you always desired. Some of the top manufacturers of weed killers 2018 best products give you directions to follow that help you protect your lawn while killing those weeds.

Letting weeds run rampant through your lawn can result in a number of different problems. You risk the weeds stealing the nutrients that your grass and plants need to thrive. Those weeds can also serve as an invitation to pests and wild animals that come into your yard to feed off those plants. If you want to avoid your lawn turning yellow and looking like a jungle, you need to use one of the best weed killers 2018 products.

Use our handy chart to find some basic information about all the products that made our list. You can then learn more about each one in more detail and find out which one is best for the environment and those on a budget. We give you helpful information on using weed killers on your lawn too.

Expert Tip

Wearing  gloves on your hands and a mask over your nose and mouth will keep you safe when spraying or applying a weed killer.

Shopping Guide for Weed Killers

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Selection Criteria​

You can now choose between hundreds of different products to kill and treat your weeds, including products that are safe for the environment and those that will work within hours of applying. To find the best products, we looked at what past customers said about their purchases. Not only did we look at the highest and lowest ratings, but we also looked at the average ratings to see if customers were on the fence about the products they bought.

We then took our top choices out in the field for some testing. Our testers tried these sprays and products on different types of weeds and checked to see how long it took for the products to work. They also looked at whether the products did any damage to grass and other plants nearby and how effectively each one worked on the weeds growing in between cracks in driveways and sidewalks.

As you read through our list of the best weed killers for 2018, you’ll also find out more about how much comes in each package and how many applications you can get out of each one. Use all the details and information we provided to find a product suitable for your weeds.

Weed Killers Selection Criteria
When you want to save time and money as you kill weeds, you need a product that comes ready to use like the Weed and Grass Killer III from Roundup. Within 10 minutes of applying this product to your lawn, it becomes rain-proof and will not wash away as the rain falls. It also works quickly and lets you see results in just three hours after your first application. As it comes already mixed, you can use it right away to fight weeds. This is also an easy to use weed killer because the concentrated formula comes with a comfort wand sprayer. The sprayer extends your reach and allows you to treat weeds without bending over or standing on your lawn. You can keep one hand on the handle located on the top of the product and use your other hand to control the sprayer. Roundup designed this handle to feel comfortable in your hand and to reduce fatigue as you spray. The Weed and Grass Killer III works effectively on most types of weeds. You can use it on concrete surfaces like your patio or driveway to kill weeds growing up through cracks, but you can apply it right to your lawn too.
Most Convenient Weed Killer
When you want an affordable product that will work on most types of weeds, you need a concentrated option like the Compare-N-Save Concentrate. It comes in a one-gallon jug that you can use to make up to 85 gallons of spray. Though you will need your own sprayer, you can use this product to make a more concentrated or diluted spray based on the weeds growing on your lawn. When used as directed, this concentrated liquid can kill weeds growing on a lawn up to 25,000 square feet in size. Unlike other affordable products that simply kill the weeds you see, this product reaches deep into the ground to kill the roots of those weeds. This prevents the weeds from returning. Though it may take several applications to treat your entire lawn, you get more uses out of this product, which helps you save some money. Compare-N-Save Concentrate kills weeds but will not affect your groundwater or lawn.

Did you know?

Compare-N-Save Concentrate contains 41% Glyphosate, which is one of the top weed killing ingredients.

Best Product for the Money - Weed Killers
Save even more with Weed Stop, a concentrated weed killer from Spectracide. This small bottle provides multiple applications and works on more than 200 types of common weeds. Designed to work overnight, this product is easy to use too. You can mix up the right ratio of weed killer to water, spray your lawn with the solution and wake up to find that it worked as you slept. Weed Stop becomes rain-proof in around three hours and will go after the root systems of weeds to kill all traces of those pesky plants. This is the top product for those on a budget because it’s a concentrated liquid that you can mix with more or less water based on the type of weeds you want to fight. Even when mixed with a small amount of water, the formula will target weeds and other pests without killing your lawn. It works on clovers, dandelions and other types of weeds. You can also purchase a ready to use spray that comes already mixed with water.
Top Budget Product

Expert Tip

Only use weed killer when the temperature outside is below 85 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid damaging your lawn.

One of the most effective weed killers on the market that will not harm the environment is the Organic Weed and Grass Killer from EcoSMART. This product is 100% organic and uses only natural ingredients that will protect your lawn and plants while targeting all the weeds on your lawn. It uses clove oil, which is the same oil that you can use to reduce pain associated with a toothache. The clove oil leaves behind a pleasant and slightly spicy fragrance as the product dries. This is also a good product to use if you have kids and animals running around. The organic formula is safe for kids to touch and for animals to ingest. Even if your kids want to play outside and you need to let the dog out while you spray, you can let them safely use your lawn. EcoSMART guarantees that its Organic Weed and Grass Killer will not contaminate groundwater sources either.
Best for the Environment - Weed Killers
Weed B Gon is the best all-around weed killer because it is easy to use and costs less than some of its competitors. The one-gallon size comes with an included applicator that you can use when applying the liquid to your lawn. A comfort wand feels comfortable in your hand as you spray every square foot of your lawn. This handle directs the spray exactly where you need it to go and reduces the fatigue that you felt when using a weed killer in the past. This is also a good choice for most homes because Weed B Gon will work on more than 250 different types of pests and invasive plants, including clover, dandelions and other ground covers. It kills the weeds that you see and the roots that you cannot see growing underground. You’ll see results in around five hours or less.

Expert Tip

When using a weed killer with a sprayer, you may need to wash out the sprayer to clear out any clogs.

Best All-Around Weed Killer

Environmental Impact of Weed Killers

Many customers have questions about the environmental impact of using herbicides and similar products to kill weeds. Any time that you use chemicals outside, you risk those chemicals reaching your water supply. The chemicals can even get inside cracks in your pipes and affect the water that your family drinks. There is a risk of the chemicals contaminating the groundwater and affecting those who live near you too. Herbicides can also make your pets and your children sick, especially if they play around or touch any of the products you use on your lawn while those chemicals are still wet.

The newest weed killers now available work effectively on weeds but will not harm the environment or damage your lawn. You can spray these products right on weeds growing on your lawn and still have green grass as you attack those pesky weeds. These products are safe to use around kids and pets too because most dry within five hours or less.

If you have concerns about using chemicals on your lawn, stick to environmentally-friendly weed killers. Organic products use natural and organic ingredients that you can use safely. Clove oil is an effective and natural ingredient that works on most types of weeds.

Environmental Impact of Weed Killers

How Weed Killers Work

Weed killers typically work in one of two ways. These products can kill the weeds growing above the ground and force liquids deep inside the weeds to kill the roots underground. Weed killing products can also seep through the ground to kill the weeds from the roots up. As you look at the top products for sale, you will find that companies use certain words to describe how those products work. Those words can include:

  • Contact means that the product will only work on any areas of the weeds that it touches
  • Companies use selective to describe products designed to work on specific types of weeds and plants
  • Persistent means that the product will last longer and that it will continue working on any weeds that return
  • Non-selective products will work on any plants, grass or weeds in a surrounding area
  • Post-emergent weed killers work on older and more mature weeds, while pre-emergent products work on younger and newer weeds
How Weed Killers Work-1

New Weed

How Weed Killers Work-2

Mature Weed

How to Apply Weed Killers

Before you apply weed killer, you need to make sure that you get to the root of the problem. You’ll want to identify the types of weeds growing in your lawn to ensure that you purchase a product that will work on those weeds. Our top weed killers 2018 choices work on hundreds of different weeds and will target growth in regions across the country. Use a gardening hoe or a similar tool to lift larger or heavier weeds to expose the stalks beneath. Though you can pull up those weeds by their roots, you can also use a product designed to penetrate their roots to save yourself some time.

Hold the sprayer as close as possible to the weeds as you spray. Depending on the type of sprayer you choose, you may need to pull the trigger multiple times to thoroughly coat the weeds with the liquid. When you use a professional or commercial sprayer, you can hold down on the trigger to release a steady stream of water.

If you have weeds that keep coming back, consider cover those areas with mulch. Mulch will actually suffocate the plants to keep them from growing.

How to Apply Weed Killer

Expert Tip

Keeping your lawn at the proper height will reduce the risk of seeds that grow into weeds from thriving in your lawn.

Ingredients to Look for

The most common ingredient found in weed killers today is Glyphosate. Manufacturers use a different amount of concentration of this ingredient. As it kills on contact, it is common in spot treating products that you spray directly on an affected area of your lawn. Many companies use a combination of Trifluralin and Benefin on annual weeds, which are weeds that grow and die within a single year. Benefin works especially well on crab grass, which can thrive in almost any region of the United States.

Those searching for environmentally-friendly weed killers will want to look for products that use natural and organic plant oils. You may find products that have eugenol listed in their ingredients. Eugenol is another word for clove oil. It is the same ingredient used in many over the counter dental pain products. Clove oil comes from clove buds that companies harvest. It kills on contact and will also reach into the root system of most weeds. You can also look for environmentally-friendly weed killers that contain lemongrass oil. Lemongrass is very effective at killing weeds but will not harm the environment surrounding your home.

Ingredients to Look for in Weed Killers

Benefits of Concentrated Weed Killers

Some shoppers like the convenience that comes from a ready made product. They can grab the bottle and spray it anytime they see any weeds. Concentrated products come with a set amount of liquid that you mix with water and use inside a sprayer of your own. Once you look at the benefits of concentrated weed killers, you’ll find out why so many prefer these products over ready to use weed killers.

  • You set the formula: With concentrated products, you set the final mixture. This lets you add more or less water to target hardier types of weeds.
  • More uses per container: Using a concentrated product gives you more uses and more bang for your buck. Even those that contain just one gallon of weed killer can treat your lawn multiple types.
  • Kill more weeds: You can kill more weeds too because these formulas will usually work on more weed types. With a concentrated product, you can treat the weeds that come back year after year and any new growth that you see.
  • Higher concentration: Many shoppers also find that these products contain a higher concentration of active ingredients. Those ingredients treat all areas of the weeds, including the stalks and leaves visible on your lawn and the roots beneath the ground.
Benefits of Concentrated Weed Killers

Tips for Using Weed Killers

  • Focus the spray specifically on the weeds you want to remove to reduce the damage done to your lawn and other plants.
  • Store any of the product you have left at the end of the job in a safe location such as a locked garage or garden shed.
  • Use the weed killer on a sunny day when there is no chance of rain. Rain can wash away the product before it has a chance to work.
  • Rinse out your sprayer, including both the nozzle or tip and the flexible hose, when you finish to keep the sprayer from clogging.
  • Avoid mowing your lawn for at least two days before you spray to give the weeds time to grow.

Expert Tip

Don not water your lawn or any surrounding plants for at least 24 hours after applying a weed killer.

Tips for Using Weed Killers

Weed Killer Sizes

Though you may want to consider the amount that you get in an average container of weed killer, you also need to consider the number of uses you get out of each one too. We created a list to show you how much square footage each product will cover. Use that information to determine how many times you can treat your own lawn.
  • Roundup Weed and Grass Killer III comes in a container with 1.33 gallons of liquid, which will treat a yard of 400 square feet in size.
  • EcoSMART Organic Weed and Grass Killer will treat a lawn of up to 500 square feet in size and comes with 64 ounces of liquid weed killer.
  • Ortho offers its Weed B Gon product in a one-gallon bottle that can treat lawns of up to 16,000 square feet in size.
  • You can treat a lawn measuring up to 16,000 square feet big with Spectracide Weed Stop, which comes with 32-ounces of concentrated weed killer.
  • Compare-N-Save comes with one gallon of a concentrated formula that can treat up to 25,000 square feet of lawn space.

Top 3 Ways to Control Weeds

Properly fertilize your garden to prevent weeds from taking over.

Weed Killer Sizes-1

Make sure that your lawn has all the water that it needs, even during drought season.

Weed Killer Sizes-2

Use insecticides to kill insects and bugs living outside.

Weed Killer Sizes-3

Average Cost of Weed Killers

When looking at how much weed killing products cost, don’t focus solely on the upfront cost. Concentrated formulas are usually larger in size and allow you to mix the right amount of water with that liquid to get more treatments out of a single bottle. If you choose a concentrated product though, you’ll also need to spend a little more on a sprayer to use that product. With a retail price of less than $10, the Spectracide Weed Stop is one of the cheapest weed killers around. Ortho Weed B Gon and Roundup Weed and Grass Killer III both retail for less than $20 per container. Compare-N-Save Concentrate is one of the more expensive weed treatment products that we found. It retails for around $22. You can also purchase a container of EcoSMART Organic Weed and Grass Killer for around $35. Though concentrated products may cost more, you’ll get more use out of those products.
Average Cost of Weed Killers

Frequently Asked Questions

A: The best time to use a weed killer is in the early autumn or the early spring. Treating your lawn in the early spring helps you kill new weeds. Waiting until the fall lets you kill weeds that would otherwise come back in the spring.

A: Some of the top products on the market will begin working in as little as three to five hours. If you spray in the morning, you’ll see results when you come home from work. Other products take 24 hours or more to begin working. It can take several weeks and multiple applications before you get the results that you need.

A: You can apply a weed killer without exposing the roots first. Many products will kill on contact and then move through the weed’s stalk to reach the roots. You can kill ground cover plants that work as part of a larger system without exposing the roots too. If you find that the plants keep returning, you can spray the product directly on the roots.

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Garden Hose

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Mowers

We have access to thousands of products, and have meticulously and personally hand selected the very best for you to check out.

Your reliable and trusted

Resource of Honest Product Reviews

Let Honest Product Reviews be the place where you can scan through the
best products tips, comparisons and reviews.

The team that worked on this review

Our team of experts are here to provide honest
reviews for best products.
Jenn

Jenn

Editor &
Content Writer

Paul

Paul

Chief Designer &
Program Manager

Asset 9

Karen

Front-end
Developer

Asset 8

Diga

Business Analyst &
Admin Assistant

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Best Zero Turn Mowers

Best Turn Mowers

Best Zero Turn Mowers

UPDATED DECEMBER 2018

No matter what obstacles you encounter, a zero turn mower helps you get around them.

BEST ZERO TURN
MOWER 2018

BOTTOM LINE

Thanks to a steel cutting deck, this mower offers the support that you need for jumping in the seat. The frame on this mower uses the same steel, which makes that frame both durable and flexible.

PROS

This mower comes with loads of features like an air induction design that keeps the engine from overheating. It also features casters on the base for more efficient mowing.

CONS

This mower has a steep learning curve that some had problems with after using the mower. You may also find that the seat pitches you too far forward.

BOTTOM LINE

Ariens designed the Zoom 34 for smaller lawns and added convenient foot pedals and a gear shifter that you can easily reach from the included seat. Its larger back wheels work with its smaller front wheels to help you move effortlessly across your lawn.

PROS

The Zoom 34 has a 34-inch cutting deck that makes it suitable for smaller yards and lawns. This mower comes with a powerful 19-horsepower engine and large back wheels.

CONS

Users who are taller may have a harder time leaning down to reach the gear shifter. The deck on the bottom may feel a little flimsy also.

BOTTOM LINE

Mow your lawn quickly with this Troy-Bilt mower, which features adjustable settings and a comfy seat. It has a maximum speed of 4.25 MPH and a manual design that helps you reach that speed quickly.

PROS

A six-speed transmission and five adjustable settings let you cut your grass the exact way you want it cut. This Troy-Bilt mower has a maximum speed of just over four MPH and comes with a comfortable seat.

CONS

Some customers had issues with the assembly of this mower and with the support offered by the manufacturer. Others found that it would not work on their lawns because their grass was too tall.

BOTTOM LINE

As one of the top affordable zero turn mowers, this model is a good choice for those who want something dependable that will fit in their budgets. It has a 46-inch cutting deck and is compatible with a number of accessories from Poulan Pro.

PROS

This mower ranks as one of the more affordable options for those looking for a zero turn model. It has a large cutting deck that can handle almost any mowing job.

CONS

Some of the reviews of this mower come from customers complaining about the issues they had with making repairs and finding new parts for it. Other customers had problems with the cutting deck.

BOTTOM LINE

Though the high price tag and large size of this mower might turn you off, it will help you mow a larger lawn faster than ever before. It comes with a large motor and a solid deck that adjusts to the depth you want to cut.

PROS

You really can’t go wrong with this lawnmower, which gets mainly positive reviews from customers. It comes on quickly and cuts grass faster than almost any other mower on the market can.

CONS

As this mower is larger and heavier than others, it can leave marks behind on your lawn. You may find that it’s too noisy for regular use too.

Shopping Guide for Zero Turn Lawnmowers

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t look forward to mowing your lawn. By the time you finish, you’ll find yourself tired and sore with bright green stains all over your clothing and shoes. Using the best zero turn mower can turn mowing into one of your favorite tasks. The best zero turn mower 2018 models take some of the hard work out of that chore and allow you to complete the job in half as much time as it did before.

Though we don’t think shopping for zero turn mower 2018 models will change your life, one of these mowers will definitely change the way you think about yard work. These mowers have a turning radius that makes it easy to maneuver around all those obstacles that usually trip you up, including your kids’ play pool, lawn decor and vegetation that you want to protect.

Buying a zero turn mower can easily cost a few thousand dollars or more. This is not an investment that you should take lightly. You need to think about all your options and find a mower that is right for your yard. Our buying guide makes it easy for shoppers to find everything they need to know.

Zero Turn Lawnmowers Shopping Guide​

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Selection Criteria​

Weeding out the worst mowers was the first goal we had in mind when creating a buying guide to the top zero turn lawnmowers. These mowers are quite expensive and can cost twice as much or more when compared to a traditional riding mower. We wanted our readers to find the best models for 2018, no matter what type of budget they had in mind.

Before creating our list, we turned to some of the top shopping sites on the web and looked at the reviews posted by those who purchased these machines. We quickly eliminated any model with an average star rating of less than three and then weeded out those mowers with just one review. If a mower has only one rating or review, it’s a sign that it’s not a very popular model.

After taking an in-depth look at all the top models, we quickly found our top five options. These models all have multiple reviews from customers and a rating of at least four stars on a standard scale of up to five stars. We offer in-depth reviews of each one of those products further down on the page, but you can use our guide to find other useful information about zero turn mowers too.

Zero Turn Mowers Selection Criteria

One of the largest zero turn mowers that you can use on your lawn is this Husqvarna mower. As its larger rear wheels angle down towards its smaller front wheels, the seat slopes down slightly to help you get into the proper position and form for extended mowing. The deck uses a special type of steel that is stronger than the typical metals used on mowers. This allows you to stand on that deck when climbing into the seat without feeling the deck bend beneath your weight.

An automatic choke helps this mower come on easily too. You no longer need to fumble with a cord or fight with the mower before working on your lawn. It also features an integrated transmission that allows you to switch between gears and speeds in seconds. The manufacturer ensures that the transmission will work when making zero turns and any other types of movements.

Husqvarna also added a base to this mower that uses casters to work with the wheels. Those casters ensure that each turn you make goes as smoothly as possible. The casters also keep the mower from jerking you around in the seat and increase your overall comfort.

What is a Zero Turn Lawnmower?

If you ever used a traditional riding mower before, you might wonder what a zero turn mower is and why you should use one of those models over the one you already own. Traditional lawnmowers have a cutting deck located underneath the machine, which allows grass clippings to fly out from the mower. With a zero turn mower, the deck sits on the front or the side of the mower and extends out from the side. These models will work with systems designed by each manufacturer to collect the grass before it spreads across your yard.

The name comes from the fact that these lawnmowers have a much smaller turning radius than traditional lawnmowers have. When you make a turn, the mower will quickly pivot in the direction that you want to move. If you have a yard with a number of corners or unusual angles, you can use one of these mowers to move around those corners without stopping frequently to back up. These mowers also help you maneuver around any of the obstacles found in your yard too like the toys that your kids leave out. Zero turn mowers also have two handles that move the mower to the left or right.

What is a Zero Turn Lawnmower

What is a Zero Turn Lawnmower

  • Larger rear wheels with smaller wheels in the front
  • A foot pedal for adjusting the speed of the mower
  • Large motor with a horsepower rating of 20 or more
Troy-Bilt makes one of the smallest zero turn mowers on the market today. The Premium Neighborhood Riding Mower is a good choice for those who live in quiet neighborhoods and suburbs and those who have smaller lawns. It features an auto choke engine that works with a six-speed transmission to help you reach the speed you want as quickly as possible. Also included is a 30-inch cutting deck that cuts a large section of grass each time you run the mower over your lawn. The five adjustable settings that work with that deck let you cut as much of that grass as you need with each mow. You can cut the grass down almost to the surface of your lawn, which lets you mow less often, or you can cut a smaller section of the grass away to give your lawn a lush look. As this mower uses a manual design, you can easily decide how quickly you want to move. It starts so quickly though that you can mow your grass in less time than you could with other mowers. This premium lawnmower works on even terrains and lawns better than it works on hilly or uneven lawns.

Unique Features of the Troy-Bilt Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower

  • A bracket that functions as a tow hitch
  • A key start engine
  • A two-year warranty from the manufacturer
In-Depth Product Review Troy-Bilt Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower

What are Some of the Benefits of Owning and Using One?

The benefits of using a zero turn mower on your lawn include:

  • Complete jobs faster: These mowers allow you to make quick turns and mow around corners while also moving around potential hazards.
  • Save money: As zero turn mowers work faster than traditional riding mowers do, you’ll save money on the cost of the fuel needed to run that machine.
  • Do gardening: Many models either come with a mulching kit or are compatible with those kits. You can use the kit to lay down mulch and to make mulch and gardening supplies from your lawn clippings.
  • Better cuts: The blades used on these mowers are often sharper and larger than those found on other mowers. Those blades allow you to make better and cleaner cuts that make your lawn look better.
  • Get more out of your investment: The main benefit to buying a zero turn mower is that you will get more out of your initial investment. These mowers typically last twice as long as traditional mowers do, and commercial models can last even longer.
What are Some of the Benefits of Owning and Using One?

Environmental Benefits

The top 2018 models have some benefits for the environment too. When used with a collection unit, you can reduce the pollen in the air that comes from the grass clippings that would otherwise fly out of the machine. You’ll also reduce the emissions produced by the mower because you use less fuel.

Those looking for a zero turn mower with a short learning curve may find the Ariens Zoom 34 appealing. It features two large handles on the front of the mower. You can use one or both handles to steer the mower across your lawn. Though this mower looks large on your computer screen, it comes with a comfortable seat that lets you get as close to the handles as you need, which gives you even better control. The large cutting deck located underneath the mower can cut a swath of grass up to 34-inches in size as you mow. One feature that many shoppers love is just how quickly this mower responds to their movements. Many customers found that they could easily maneuver the mower around obstacles on their lawns like gates, fences and lawn decorations. Convenient foot pedals sit close to the gear shifter located right beside your feet. This design makes it easier for you to change gears based on the slope or design of your lawn and lets you adjust your top speed too. The 34 comes with a power 19-horsepower KOHLERA 600 Series engine that reduces the time between when you turn the mower on and when you hit its top speed.
In-Depth Product Review Ariens Zoom 34 Zero Turn Lawn Mower

What are Some of the Different Types of Mowers?

Zero turn mowers typically fall into two different categories: residential and commercial models.

Residential models are suitable for smaller yards and for those who mow every few weeks or less often. You can get one of these mowers at a more affordable price that is on par with some of the top riding lawnmowers.

Commercial mowers are larger in size and come with bigger motors. These mowers are best for those who take lawn care seriously and those who mow once a week or more often. Many landscaping companies use commercial mowers to mow the lawns of all their clients. These companies may use a mower up to 10 times a week or even more.

You’ll also find some middle of the road models that combine elements of a commercial model but cost just a little more than residential models do. Though these mowers can’t handle daily or weekly mowing, one will handle the regular mowing that you do in your yard. You’ll find features on these models such as:

  • An adjustable deck
  • A taller or higher seat with extra padding
  • Cruise control
What are Some of the Different Types of Mowers

Winter Uses

If you live in a cooler climate with cold winter temperatures, you can leave your zero turn mower out during those colder months. These mowers are compatible with:

  • Snow brushes
  • Snow blades
  • Snow brushes

Using any of these accessories lets you clear away the snow and ice that builds up on your lawn and driveway.

With a 3.5-gallon fuel tank, the zero turn mower from Poulan Pro provides you with enough power to mow your entire lawn without refilling that tank. It features a 22-horsepower motor from Briggs, which is one of the more powerful motors available on residential mowers. That engine comes on quickly without any struggles and will last for years or more. The engine works with the EZT transmission that the manufacturer included on this motor. That combination ensures that you always reach the speed that you want and allows you to effortlessly switch between gears and settings. Located on the side of this mower is a conveniently located access panel that makes it easy for you to do any maintenance work on the mower. Many customers like that the seat on this one has a taller back that is 15-inches-tall and taller than those found on other models. You can actually lean back and get in a more comfortable position as you mow. A 46-inch cutting deck uses an adjustable design to let you select the depth at which you want to cut. You can cut down to a four-inch depth or remove just over an inch from your lawn.

Poulan Pro Mower Accessories

  • Grass Baggers that help you collect all the grass that you cut from your lawn
  • Mulch kits that easily connect to your mower for mulching
In-Depth Product Review Poulan Pro P46ZX Zero Turn Lawn Mower

Top Features to Look for in Zero Turn Mowers

When it comes right down to it, there are a number of things that you should look for in terms of features. The top features include:

  • Engine: Though zero turn mowers all feature different types of engines, you want one that has a high horsepower rating and a fast speed. You’ll find some models with a top speed of between four and 10 MPH.
  • Deck size: The size of the deck tells you how much grass the mower will cut as it moves across your lawn. While you may feel confident with one that has a 30-inch cutting deck, you’ll want a cutting deck of at least 50-inches for a larger lawn.
  • Overall comfort: If you have the chance to try out different models before you buy, you should make sure that the mower you buy feels comfortable. The top of the seat should stop at your neck or shoulders, and the seat should fit comfortably without requiring that you sit too far forward. If there is a gap between your back and the seat when you put your feet flat, you can place a rolled-up towel or a pillow behind your back.
Top Features to Look for in Zero Turn Mowers

Tips for Using Zero Turn Mowers

  • Wear some type of protective gear on your ears as you mow. These mowers are quite loud and can actually damage your ears when used regularly.
  • Check the slopes around your lawn carefully before using a zero turn mower. You should never use one at an angle greater than 10-degrees.
  • Avoid using the mower on heavier or larger items, including patios, sidewalks and even your driveway. When the blades come into contact with concrete and similar materials, it can bend or break the blades.
If you have more money to spend on a zero turn mower and want a mower that will last for years, your best bet is the Commercial Zero Turn Mower from Husqvarna. This mower can handle the toughest of jobs, including the frequent mowing done by landscaping companies and the maintenance that golf courses require, which lets you know that it can handle your own lawn too. It uses air induction technology that circulates air around the deck to ensure that it cuts as much grass as possible and that the motor doesn’t overheat. The 25-horsepower motor provides the performance that you need when working on a lawn with a number of hills and valleys. This motor allows you to move across any type of terrain without stopping to adjust the deck or any of the settings first. In addition to a set of rear wheels and a set of front wheels, this motor has a set of casters located around the deck that keep the deck from catching on lawn decorations or anything else in your yard. It comes with a stamped steel deck and a warranty that covers the first three years of ownership.
In-Depth Product Review Husqvarna Commercial Zero Turn Mower

How Much Should a Zero Turn Mower Cost?

While you can get a standard push mower for around $300 or less, riding mowers generally cost more. A traditional riding mower with a larger turning radius can cost $500 to $1,000, and some models cost even more. The price of zero turn mowers is higher because these mowers come with more features that help you quickly and efficiently mow your lawn.

The cheapest model we found retails for around $1,500, but most of the top models cost between $3,000 and $4,000. If you need something even larger like a commercial mower, you’ll spend at least $5,000 to $7,500 or even more. You may find that you can get a good used car for less than you would spend on a mower.

When you set your budget and know exactly how much you want to spend on a zero turn mower, look for models at the top end of your budget. This will help you find one with a solid deck made from forged steel or another durable material and a 20-horsepower motor or a motor that produces even more horsepower. The more you spend, the more features you will get.

How Much Should a Zero Turn Mower Cost?

Frequently Asked Questions

A: An alternative to a zero turn mower is a machine called a lawn tractor. Tractors look like traditional riding mowers but are compatible with different attachments and accessories that let you mow, bag up any debris created as you mow and lay down or use much.

A: As you shop for zero turn mowers, you may find that these machines use different types of fuel. Though some use the same gasoline that your car does, others use diesel that you can get from the gas station. You can also purchase a mower that runs on propane, though these aren’t very popular.

A: Depending on the model that you buy, the grass that you cut will either come out from underneath the side of the mower or the back of the mower. When you use a collection bag, you can attach the bag to the cutting deck and let it collect the grass as it comes off the mower.

A: There is a steep learning curve associated with zero turn mowers. It may take a few attempts before you feel comfortable using the handles to manoeuvre around your yard.

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