Best garden tools

Tools

When you upgrade your garden tool collection, purchase storage solutions for the new items as well. Popular options include mounted tool racks, garden carts and sheds.

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High-quality gardening tools

Gardening is fun, relaxing and rewarding, but it’s still hard work. Quality garden tools make tending to the garden easier and more enjoyable. 

Most gardeners have staple tools like rakes, shovels and trowels, but there are many more worth adding to your collection. In addition to hand and manual tools, it may be helpful to have electric or gas-powered equipment like leaf blowers or augers. 

If you’re ready to expand your garden tool collection with these tools and more, read this buying guide. 

What do I need to know before buying new garden tools?

Quality matters

Well-made garden tools may last through years — or decades — of use. Lower-quality tools are prone to breaking and have shorter lifespans. 

If you’re curious how to find good-quality tools, including if you’re on a budget, here are a few pointers:

  • Handles and other points of attachment on garden tools should be stable and secure. If they feel loose or jiggle, steer clear of them.
  • Interchangeable pieces, especially on gas or electric garden equipment, should snap into place easily without moving or shifting once they’re attached.
  • Garden tools should have decent weight to them. While there are some lightweight garden tools, those that feel flimsy or unusually light aren’t as durable.
  • Well-made tools are often backed by long or lifetime guarantees from reputable manufacturers.

Opt for ergonomic designs

Before you land on a garden tool or piece of equipment, take a good look at the grip. Garden tools should have ergonomic designs — this means the tool is comfortable to hold and manipulate. In addition, you shouldn’t need to contort your hands or body to use it. 

Some garden tools, like this hand trowel, have textured or molded grips that are less likely to slip out of hands. There are also tools with anti-fatigue gel handles. This feature is seen in garden tools that require considerable dexterity, like hand pruners. 

Establish a budget

To some, gardening is an affordable pastime, but not everyone. Purchasing garden tools and equipment, especially for beginner gardeners, may cost a couple hundred dollars. No matter your budget, it’s important to establish one before you embark on your search. 

It’s helpful to know that manual garden tools are generally more affordable than gas or electric ones. If you’re buying the latter, keep in mind there’s an ongoing cost for gasoline for gas-powered equipment. Electric and cordless garden equipment draw power when they run or charge, though their occasional use may not significantly impact your electric bill.

Best garden tools

Rake

15-Tine Forged Bow Rake

If it’s time to get rid of moss so healthy grass can grow, choose a quality rake. Razor-Back 15-Tine Forged Bow Rake has a heavy-duty steel construction. The cushion grip is comfortable to hold, even during longer raking projects. 

Pruning shears

Fiskars 91095935J Steel Pruning Shears Bypass Pruner

Those who spend considerable time pruning benefit from ergonomic pruning shears. This pair by Fiskars features a low-friction coating to improve grip without digging into palms. 

Cultivator

Sun Joe TJ604E 16-Inch 13.5 AMP Electric Garden Tiller/Cultivator

If you need to cultivate large areas in your garden, try an electric cultivator. It pulverizes dirt without the hard work, plus you’ll save your back with the easy-push design. 

Weeder

34 in. Aluminum Handle and Blade with 4 Claw Weeder

It’s no small task to pull up weeds from the roots. Save your back and buy an upright weeder. This one by Fiskars has a long handle and wide foot platform to prevent unnecessary bending and maneuvering.

Trowel

Ergo Gel Grip Hand Transplanter

Gripping a trowel for extended periods can be uncomfortable. Consider a trowel with an ergonomic grip, like this one from Ames. The handle is equipped with a soft gel insert, plus there’s a pronounced thumb depression for a secure grip.

Best digging tools

Shovel

25.75 in. Wood Handle Super Socket Digging Shovel

A heavy-duty shovel can last through years of use, such as Razor-Back Wood Handle Shovel. This particular model is designed with Power Step edges to give you more leverage as you push it into soil. 

Posthole digger

14-Gauge 5.5 in. Post Hole Digger with Fiberglass Handle

Posthole diggers have a reputation for vibrating during use, but not this one by Bully Tools. Its solid craftsmanship includes 14-gauge rounded steel blades that minimize movement while penetrating ground.

Auger

ONE+ 18-Volt HP Lithium-Ion Cordless Earth Auger with 6 in. Bit and 4.0 Ah Battery and Charger Included

If you regularly wrangle tough, dense soil, consider an auger, like Ryobi ONE+ Cordless Earth Auger. It has an anti-kickback design for smooth operation and weighs 50% less than gas-powered augers. 

Best tree and hedge tools

Grass shears and hedge trimmer 

Sun Joe 7.2-Volt 2-in-1 1250-RPM Cordless Grass Shear

If you’ve been manually trimming grass and hedges, upgrade to a cordless grass shear and trimmer. Powerful and efficient, these devices are helpful for precision cuts and shaping.

Branch lopper

DualLINK 4 in. Coated Non-Stick Blade with Anti-Blister ComfortGEL Grips Bypass Lopper

Trimming dense overhanging branches fatigues arms quickly. For comfort while you work, take a look at Corona DualLINK Bypass Lopper. It has a four-bar cutting system that slices through branches easily and quickly.  

Tree pruner

PowerLever 1-1/8 in. Cut Capacity Steel Saw Blade 15 in. Fiberglass Pole 14 ft. Tree Pruner

Some tree pruners are heavy and cumbersome, which is why it’s worth using a lightweight fiberglass tree pruner instead. They’re much easier to maneuver and more comfortable to hold during involved pruning projects.

Chainsaw

Greenworks 40V 12inch Cordless Chainsaw

If you need to cut down thick branches, you’ll need a reliable chainsaw. Greenworks Cordless Chainsaw has a robust 12-inch steel chain that cuts through branches with minimal kickback.

Best landscaping equipment

Edger and trencher

BLACK+DECKER Edger & Trencher,

One of the most versatile pieces of gardening and landscaping equipment is a 2-in-1 edger and trencher. Convenient and easy on the back, they do the hard work of tackling overgrowth, tidying up walkways and digging trench gardens.

Leaf blower

120 MPH 473 CFM 18-Volt x2 (36-Volt) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Blower Kit with Four 5.0 Ah Batteries

Raking leaves manually can be time-consuming. Upgrade to a cordless leaf blower, like this one from Makita. It offers up to 28 minutes of runtime on a full charge and weighs a mere 9 pounds to minimize fatigue during use.  

Wheelbarrow

6 cu. ft. Steel Wheelbarrow

When it comes to hauling large amounts of dirt, plants or mulch, a wheelbarrow makes the task possible. Opt for a heavy-duty wheelbarrow, preferably one constructed with professional-grade steel so it stands the test of time.  

Best gardening accessories

Gloves

Superior Garden Rose Women's Medium Gloves

Everyday garden gloves may not offer the level of protection you need for certain projects, like pruning rose bushes. Protect your hands and forearms with these extended gauntlet gloves. They’re made of lightweight synthetic leather and are machine-washable.

Garden kneeler

TomCare Upgraded Garden Kneeler Seat Widen Soft Kneeling Pad

Take it easy on your knees and use a garden kneeler, like this one by TomCare. The design features an extra-thick foam pad and comes with dual pockets to hold garden tools. It has a weight limit of 330 pounds and can be used as a kneeler or a seat.

Bucket

5 gal. 70mil Food Safe Bucket White

A bucket has an unlimited number of uses for gardening, including toting around tools or transporting small amounts of soil. Buckets can also be used as makeshift planters.

Compost bin

82 gal. Enviro World Compost Bin

Compost bins are considered a smart supplementary tool for gardeners. FreeGarden EARTH Enviro World Compost Bin is a good starter bin, given its low-maintenance design and beginner composting guide. As an added bonus, it’s made from 100% recycled material.

 

Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

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