What do Cheech & Chong and the Skil Isio Shrub and Grass Shear have in common? They love grass! However, unlike the 70’s-80’s comedy duo, the Isio also loves small hedges, shrubs and especially topiary! Prior to the Isio, you had two options when it came time to trim a patch of grass or a small shrub:
1) Grab some manual shears and use your hand and arm muscles to repetitively chomp away. This option involves possibly breaking a sweat . . . not cool! We all know gardening involves enough labor as it is.
2) Pull out the gas powered or electric hedge trimmer. This option lacks precision. Would you want your barber/hair stylist using a machete to cut your hair? And as far as the gas powered option, do we really need a smog belching noise-maker for this? I think not. Noise and fumes are bad for the topiary garden vibe.
Thanks to the Isio, you can now handle light-duty garden trimming with minimal fuss. For evaluation purposes I ran around our yard trimming the grass, a couple small hedges and some stuff like ginger stalks that this tool probably isn’t designed for. The Isio grazed on grass with an insatiable appetite. Before you go calling the DEA, assume “grass” equals “lawn” other than in the initial Cheech & Chong reference. It even devoured tough crab grass, not that I have any of that growing on our perfectly manicured lawn. Trimming small hedges went great as well. However, if you have hedges that have thicker branches near where you’re trimming, the Isio will bog down. It’s not a tree trimmer, ok?
After 20 minutes of aggressive trimming, I ran out of stuff to trim without going into my neighbors yard. As a battery test, I set the Isio to continue running (not actually cutting anything). The blade kept chugging away enthusiastically for another half hour. After putting it through it’s paces, I found the Isio to be a great gardening tool for the light duty work it’s designed for. It’s size and fit in your hand make it very easy to maintain a lot of control over your work. Great for that topiary of a wooly mammoth that you’ve always wanted in the front yard.
I tried both trimmer/clipper attachments that come with the tool. My only real complaint about the Isio is the blade accessory change . . . it’s finicky. Popping the cover and current blade off is easy, but then getting the new blade properly lined up is a bit of a pain. It would be nice to see a quick-change option that doesn’t involve exposing the inside of the tool on a future model. However, depending on your usage, you may find you only need one of the blades anyway. I found the longer trimmer blade to be the most useful for the grass and hedge work I did.
Recharging is a snap with the included charging dock. And the Isio has a handy integrated indicator light that glows during charging until it’s fully charged. The SKIL 8120 3.6-Volt Lithium Ion Isio 2-N-1 Cordless Shrub And Grass Shear is available for about $80. Or, if you’re lucky enough to be reading this article in June, it’s also up for grabs in the June HomeFixated.com Free Stuff Giveaway!