Yard work equipment making fall cleanup easier

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There's new equipment on the market that may make your weekends more enjoyable. Consumer Reports ShopSmart has a round-up of items that will make yard work a little less back-breaking.

Neely Bower takes pride in her yard, keeping it neatly landscaped all year round.

"It's hard work, but it's relaxing," she says.

Consumer Reports ShopSmart says that for women who do lots of yard work, having the right tools is key. Editor Lisa Lee Freeman and yard equipment expert Peter Sawchuck have a few options that will get the job done.

Gas-powered mowers are heavy, noisy, and require a lot of maintenance. Instead, consider a Black and Decker electric mower for $450. Electric mowers work with the push of a button and are much quieter.

Keeping the lawn leaf-free can be challenging, and a full-sized leaf blower can weigh almost 25 pounds. Stihl's $280 lightweight backpack leaf blower makes the job much easier.

Gas-powered string trimmers are also heavy and hard to start. With Ryobi's $130 battery-powered string trimmer, all you need to do is push a button and pull the trigger. If you're serious about yard work but would rather not deal with a chainsaw, ShopSmart has another Black and Decker option in which the blade is kept hidden.

"It's basically a mini-electric chainsaw, and even though it's small and compact and easy to use, you can prune trees and shrubs. You can even cut firewood and fallen branches. And it's a lot less scary than a regular chainsaw," says Freeman.

If you already own any gas-powered yard equipment, mixing gas and oil to fuel it can be very messy. Consumer Reports recommends Tri-Fuel. Tri-Fuel costs around $6 a quart, but is conveniently pre-mixed and ethanol-free, which helps prevent problems from starting.

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