Reviews

The 12 Best Lawn & Garden Products of 2023, According to Our Tests

We mowed, trimmed, scrubbed, and watered using over 130 products before choosing just 12 for this end-of-year list.
The Best Lawn and Garden Products

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for BobVila.com

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Yardwork, gardening, washing cars, and watching birds: There’s just as much to get done outside the house as inside. To make sure you have the right tool for every task, our global team of writers and editors spent countless hours researching, testing, and reviewing hundreds of products across dozens of categories. After tallying each tested item’s rubric score, we got down to choosing the select few to feature in this comprehensive best-of list. So whether your goal is to create curb appeal, feed your family fresh veggies, or get the boat ready for launch, we’ve got you covered with this review of the best lawn and garden gear we tested this year.

1. Stihl MSA 140 C-B Battery Chainsaw Kit

A person using the best battery chainsaw option to cut the end off a felled tree
Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

Our top pick in the best electric chainsaw category comes from a revered legacy brand, and it’s packed with performance details and user comforts. In our tests, the Stihl MSA 140 C-B battery-powered chainsaw was one of the quieter saws, but it also produced high torque with very low vibration for efficient cutting and a comfortable user experience. It cut smoothly for over an hour per charge, and almost no vibration transferred through the handles.

The short, 12-inch bar helped when working selectively around dense branch growth, and the lightweight 8.6-pound body and motor made it easy to cut branches at chest height without causing excessive back and shoulder strain. This Stihl would be an excellent primary yard maintenance chainsaw for pruning, yard cleanup, and light tree work, and it could serve as a backup limbing saw for serious woodcutters.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best electric chainsaws guide.

Get the Stihl battery chainsaw at Ace Hardware or Stihl

2. Worx WG430 13-Amp Electric Leaf Mulcher

A man placing leaves into the Worx leaf mulcher
Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

This electric leaf mulcher from Worx is designed solely for shredding leaves, which it does quickly and efficiently—much faster than any blower/vacuum-type leaf mulcher we tested. We dropped leaves into the hopper by the armload (or basket full), and they were gone before we could pick up the next load, allowing us to fill a 30-gallon trash bag with shredded leaves in less than 5 minutes.

The upright model operates via a heavy-duty 12- to 14-gauge extension cord, and its rugged 13-amp motor provides an 11:1 mulch reduction ratio. The trimmer lines shredded five bags of leaves and other fine yard debris before we needed to replace them, which took under 2 minutes. For users with a lot of leaves to shred, this mulcher does the job quickly and efficiently, even bagging the material for disposal.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best leaf mulchers guide.

Get the Worx leaf mulcher at Amazon.

3. Fiskars StaySharp Max 18-Inch Reel Mower

A person using the Fiskars StaySharp Max reel mower to mow their lawn
Photo: Mark Wolfe for Bob Vila

At a premium price compared to other reel mowers we tested, the Fiskars StaySharp reel mower delivers a performance that justifies its price. Weighing a hefty 52 pounds, the mower’s build feels heavy duty but works smoothly and efficiently. The ergonomic handle is extremely comfortable, and the machine moves almost effortlessly over all but the roughest ground.

Boasting hardened steel StaySharp blades that reduce the need for resharpening, this model also includes two small front rollers to help balance and stabilize the mower. Additionally, it features InertiaDrive, a chain-driven design that powers the mower through thicker grasses.

Notably, this was the only manual reel mower we tested that could mow effectively with sticks and other debris on the grass. It was a pleasure to mow with this tool, and the finished cut was clean and even.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best reel mowers guide.

Get the Fiskars reel mower at Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, Walmart, or Fiskars.

4. Ego Power+ 21-Inch Self-Propelled Mower

Ego Lawn Mower Review
Photo: Debbie Wolfe

Our choice for the best self-propelled electric mower could have also been tapped as a runner-up for the best overall choice. In our tests, the Ego Power+ mower was comfortable and easy to use in all conditions. We liked the simple speed adjustment for the self-propelled pace—a lever located on the left side of the handle. Its 56V, 7AH battery offers up to an hour of runtime per charge and recharges within 60 minutes.

Ego got it right on the basics, too. The oversized wheels roll smoothly over rough terrain and make for easy operation. The handle adjusts for different user heights and folds up neatly for storage. Choose from rear bagging, side discharge, or mulching with the included equipment.

Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best electric mowers guide.

Get the Ego electric mower at Amazon (2 batteries), Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, or Acme Tools

5. Stihl HSA 26 Grass Shears

The Stihl cordless garden shears with attached hedge trimmer next to a hedge
Photo: Mark Wolfe

The Stihl brand continues to expand in customer loyalty thanks to overall quality and important design innovations, and the HSA 26 shears are a great example of both. They feature a balanced, lightweight design that minimizes user fatigue, an efficient motor that delivers blade speeds up to 2,200 SPM, and a strong battery that powers up to 2 hours of trimming time. When outfitted with the grass shear attachment, the tool weighs just 2 pounds, 1 ounce.

When tested alongside the rest of our cordless grass shears lineup, the Stihls shears were the obvious winner in every subjective category. They operated with a smooth, fast motion that cut effortlessly and never bogged down in tough foliage. They’re also perfectly balanced thanks to the stick-style battery that attaches inside the rear of the handle.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best cordless grass shears guide.

Get the Stihl cordless grass shears at Ace Hardware, Blain’s Farm & Fleet, or Acme Tools.

6. Greenworks 40V 8-Inch Cordless Pole Saw

The Best Pole Saw Option
Photo: Mark Wolfe

With 40 volts of power, the Greenworks cordless pole saw offers top-notch cutting ability in a convenient battery-operated saw. Earning the top spot in our pole saw tests, we especially liked the combination of convenience, weight, and reach that this saw offered. Plus, the bar is mounted at a slight angle to the handle, making it safer and easier to cut branches in a downward direction when standing back away from the line of fall.

The Greenworks pole saw is lightweight at just 9.3 pounds and is particularly easy to handle, thanks to the inclusion of reduced vibration technology. Its generous length makes it great for reaching high-up branches, and its telescoping bar extends for a nearly 9-foot working height. The cutting bar is 8 inches, substantial enough to enable users to cut through out-of-reach branches up to about 6 inches in diameter—even those that are dry and hardened.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best pole saws guide.

Get the Greenworks pole saw at Amazon or Northern Tool + Equipment (updated model).

7. Stihl FSA 60 R Battery Trimmer

The Best Lawn and Garden Products Option Stihl FSA 60 R Battery Trimmer
Photo: acehardware.com

It makes sense that the Stihl FSA 60 R would be a top performer in our test of the best battery trimmers since Stihl is a brand known for industry-leading outdoor power equipment. In our tests, this string trimmer easily and cleanly sliced through all kinds of grass and weeds, including tough tree saplings up to about ¼ inch thick. It also has an amazing level of operating comfort—using it required significantly less effort than some of the other trimmers that weighed about the same. Also, vibration was minimal, so we had plenty of energy to keep working after trimming.

This string trimmer weighs less than 10 pounds and works for about 25 minutes per charge. Other standout features include a variable-speed throttle trigger, trigger interlock, battery retainer latch, EasySpool cutting head, bump guard, and hang loop.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best battery trimmers guide.

Get the Stihl battery trimmer at Ace Hardware, Blain’s Farm & Fleet, or Acme Tools.

8. Liberty Garden 712 Hose Reel

Man turning on Liberty hose reel
Video: Glenda Taylor

The Liberty Garden hose reel is an attractive, durable, traditional-style mounted reel with solid steel construction and a weather-resistant coating. It can hold up to 125 feet of ⅝-inch hose and includes a 5-foot leader hose and a wire storage basket for additional nozzles and tools.

Right out of the box, this hose reel impressed us with its quality. It came mostly assembled—we just had to attach the handle and mount the reel to our wall using the included hardware. We especially liked the pull-up handle on top, which allows for 360-degree rotation, and the reel can be locked into eight secure positions, which makes rolling up the hose a snap from any direction.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best hose reel guide.

Get the Liberty Garden hose reel at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Northern Tool + Equipment.

9. Wasserstein Bird Feeder Camera Case

A bird perched on the Wasserstein bird feeder camera case that's mounted to a tree
Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

Wasserstein is a creative smart-home company offering accessories to support and expand the functionality of popular smart devices. It supports products from Nest, Ring, Arlo, Alexa, Google Home, and more. We tested the Wasserstein bird feeder smart camera case, equipped with a Ring Stick Up HD security camera, for 30 days. It was easy to set up, adaptable to different mounting options, and offered an excellent view of birds on the feeder as well as action in the landscape beyond.

This camera bird feeder features a fast and simple snap-together assembly that requires no tools, and its design offers a wide viewing area for birds of different sizes. Refilling the feeder is easy and can be done without taking it down, and its durable polycarbonate construction is designed for years of all-weather use.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best bird feeders guide.

Get the Wasserstein bird feeder at Amazon or Best Buy.

10. AeroGarden Harvest Indoor Garden

The AeroGarden Harvest with its light shining on a full tray of large green plants
Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

AeroGarden is arguably the top name in indoor gardens, and right out of the box, it was clear that the Harvest indoor garden was well designed to grow fresh, delicious herbs. The system comes ready to go with six pods, non-GMO seeds, and plant food. Measuring 11 inches by 8 inches by 15 inches, this indoor garden is small enough to fit on a kitchen counter and comes in white or black to match.

We set up the AeroGarden by filling the water tank, adjusting the LED light to the surface of the grow deck, and dropping the pre-seeded pods into the growing ports. We turned on the power, and the AeroGarden automatically turned the lights on and off while periodically circulating the tank’s water. The plants grew quickly, and in just 4 weeks we were harvesting small snips for cooking.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best indoor gardens guide.

Get the AeroGarden indoor garden at Amazon, Walmart, or AeroGarden.

11. Vego Garden Modular Metal Raised Garden Bed Kit

The Vego Garden raised bed system in full production growing numerous garden plants
Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

We avoided raised bed gardening for years, assuming it was just a fad that would eventually dwindle. These types of gardens also require more frequent watering, which is not a chore we want to spend extra time doing. However, with one of our testers dealing with lower back pain, we gradually turned to container gardening. Enter the Vego Garden 6-in-1 modular metal raised garden bed kit, which turned us into raised bed garden converts.

Not only did gardening in these taller containers help alleviate our tester’s back pain, but the modular design of the Vego Garden kit allowed us to customize the layout and easily move the bed if needed. The kit is made from corrosion-resistant, nontoxic steel, is lightweight and easy to transport, and comes in four color options.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best raised garden beds guide.

Get the Vego raised garden bed at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

12. Gardyn Home Kit 2.0 Hydroponic System

A close-up of the Gardyn hydroponic indoor garden system growing multiple heads of lettuce next to an indoor brick wall
Photo: Jenn Ryan for Bob Vila

Gardyn is an indoor hydroponic gardening company that makes vertical garden systems designed to fit into small spaces. The company’s mission is to reimagine the future of food with organic produce that is accessible to everyone. After testing the Gardyn Home Kit 2.0 system in my home for the last 6 months, I fully recommend it.

In my test, the Gardyn system was easy to use, beautiful to look at, and fun to maintain—plus it produced ample high-quality produce. The Gardyn home kit uses exclusively organic and non-GMO plants, and the substrate matter in the pods is made from natural mineral wool. Although the entire system takes up only 2 square feet of space, its design allows for vertically growing up to 30 full-size plants at once.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best hydroponic systems guide.

Get the Gardyn hydroponic system at Amazon, Walmart, or Gardyn.

13. Ryobi 2000 Pressure Washer

A person using the Ryobi pressure washer 2000 PSI to clean a concrete patio
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

The only electric pressure washer I’d used before this one delivered painfully weak water pressure—my garden hose with a jet nozzle performed just as well. However, the Ryobi 2000 surprised me during testing by providing a lot more power than I expected. With a 13-amp electric motor and 2,000 psi of force, it can tackle tasks such as cleaning driveways, decks, windows, boats, campers, and other solid surfaces around the house.

With flat-free wheels and a telescoping handle, this compact pressure washer proved easy to roll from spot to spot. It weighs just 29 pounds—about 100 pounds lighter than my gas-powered pressure washer, so I had no problem lifting it to the bed of my pickup. The Ryobi comes with a 25-foot high-pressure hose, and its electric operation means no gas fumes. If you’re shopping for a pressure washer, the Ryobi 2000 is an excellent pick.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best electric pressure washers guide.

Get the Ryobi electric pressure washer at The Home Depot.

14. Truly Garden Hori Hori Garden Tool With Sheath

A person cutting the root ball of a plant using the Truly Gardnen hori hori knife.
Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

Based on utility, durability, and working comfort at a reasonable price, we couldn’t find a better hori hori knife than this model from Truly Garden. In our tests, its blade was sturdy enough to prevent bending while levering in hard clay soil but still light enough to work comfortably with for hours. It also has the sturdiest of all the leather scabbards in the group we tested and features a handguard, unlike some models.

The Truly Garden hori hori garden tool includes a diamond sharpening rod, which allows users to sharpen both the straight edge and serrated edge of the knife. It features a full-tang stainless steel blade, which extends through the comfortable beechwood handle and is held solidly in place by three steel rivets. Additional features include measurement markings and a leather sheath with a convenient belt loop.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best hori hori knives guide.

Get the Truly Garden hori hori knife at Amazon or Truly Garden.