When you are gardening and growing in earnest you need tools that you can depend on. There are dozens of options in garden hand tools, and over the years I’ve trialed and tested many. Little things to look out for are a hanging hole in the handle for easy storage. A comfortable handle that doesn’t rub, look for a shaped handle that fits neatly into your hand. Try them first for weight and balance, it’s surprising the difference between them.
This pick of five are some of the reliable versions available now. In no particular order.
Fiskars Premium Planter Trowel and Weed Fork:
The great thing about this set is that they are really lightweight, the trowel weighs just 143g and the weed fork just 124g. The handles are made from a durable FiberComp TM, complete with a hanging hole, but the handles are not shaped underneath. They have a soft grip band down the length for improved user comfort. They are great choice when weight is the paramount consideration. The trowel is scooped quite deeply so it holds a decent amount of soil, the tines on the fork are narrow and easy to control so that they don’t damage roots. The tool heads are strong and durable and made from corrosion resistant stainless steel. Price £12.99 each. Fiskars tools are available from a range of online garden centres and stores including Amazon.
If you are short on storage then consider a compromise. A spork, such as this one from Crocus, is a webbed fork that is both trowel and fork (and hoe) in one. Designed to carry soil like a trowel, cultivate like a fork and hoe with it’s sharpened blade. One tool for all jobs. It’s a neat design and a good choice if you want just one tool. This one costs £23.99. from
Wilkinson Sword Stainless Steel Hand Trowel and Hand Fork:
These tools are a good general choice for your garden. The tool heads are nicely designed for weeding and planting and are made from stainless steel. The trowel head is deep and sharpened; the fork tines are shaped and strong. They are comfortable to hold because the handles are shaped and there is a hanging hole on each tool too. They are nicely balanced and a good weight, not too heavy and not too light. Priced at £9.99 each. Also available in a long handled version for £12.99 each.
Sophie Conran Trowel and Fork from Burgon & Ball:
Everything about these tools is lovely, from the gift box they arrive in, to the design and feel of the tools in use. The trowel is shaped to hold soil, so you can dig a planting hole in a fraction of the time; the soil goes where you put it. It’s great for scooping out compost too. The fork tines are shaped and sharpened to cut through the soil like a hot knife through butter. Reach tool features a waxed beech wood handle with a brass ferule and Lovely mirror stainless steel that is easy to wipe clean. They are a nice size and weight and possibly more suited to gardeners with a lighter grip and smaller hands. No hanging holes. Priced at £14.95 each.
Spear & Jackson Select Stainless Gift Set:
This three-piece gift set is great value for a gift for a new gardener. The set includes a stainless steel weed fork, a trowel and a transplanting trowel. The transplanting trowel has depth marks on the tool head to enable you to plant at specific depths, the handles are shaped, rubberised and comfortable to hold and use. The tools feel strong and the stainless steel heads are easy to wipe clean. The transplanting trowel is pointed and digs into the soil easily; all the tools have a hanging hole for storage. £17.99 for the set. Widely available at garden centres.