Tool Box: Portable power to your elbow

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The Independent Online
A PORTABLE power source merits serious consideration if you have a large garden, since it obviates the need to trail umpteen yards of flex behind an implement linked to the domestic electricity supply. Versatility is another attraction: a small generator can also be used to provide light and power for anything from a greenhouse to a tent.

I have been using a Honda EX650 AC/DC generator lent by Mowers and Machinery of Nantwich, Cheshire. Running on unleaded petrol, the engine started at first pull and - surprise, surprise - made no more noise than a normal human conversation.

A typical hedge trimmer requires 350W of electricity. The EX650 will generate 550W until the cows come home, or as much as 650W for no longer than 30 minutes. In ideal conditions, the tank's 2.8 litres of fuel should keep the current flowing for almost five hours.

Drawbacks? Though compact and beautifully engineered, the generator weighs 23kg (just over 50lb). Lighter but less powerful options may suit your gardening requirements. Listed at pounds 616.88, the Honda EX650 slots in near the top of a six-model range priced from pounds 445.33 to pounds 728.50.

Honda UK Ltd, Power Road, London W4 SYT (081-747 1400).