Hand tools such as trowels and forks are used regularly in the garden so it's important to choose the best ones for you. This section features all kinds of hand tools including ones with large easy-grips and multi-change tools.
Top tips for choosing hand tools
Traditional stainless steel or polished aluminium tools glide easily through the soil and are easier to clean.
- Plastic and composite tools do not make as much impact in the soil as metal and they vary widely in quality. The best ones are strong and very light but are still best suited to use in lighter soil.
- Avoid choosing cheaply-made pressed steel tools. Forks and long handled trowels made in this way are likely to bend with the force used when digging, particularly if you have balance or coordination problems and use the tool for support.
- If you have a weak grip, choose tools with contoured grips to give more control and padded grips with a larger diameter may be easier to hold if you have arthritis
Digging with a weak wrist can be easier with upright style handles which can be fitted with an arm support to help prevent you dropping the tool.
- Wrist straps and finger guards are also useful and the strap can be used to hang tools in the shed or on a garden trolley.
- Consider the tool ranges with interchangeable heads – you choose a handle which is the right length for you and then buy separate tool heads such as a trowel or fork. You simply the click the handle and tool head together as needed. Although these tools are more expensive to buy, they are usually good quality and can be used with long handles and shorter handles depending on the job you are doing.
Forks and trowels
These tools are available with different length handles and are generally made in metal or plastic. The plastic tools tend to be thicker and are more difficult to push through the soil. The better metal tools are made of stainless steel and although wooden handles are traditional, look out for the modern soft cushion grip style handles.
Small hoes and soil cultivators
Hoes work with either a 'push-pull' or 'chop' style action. There are also specialist hoes that pull weeds and remove them with the roots attached.
Cultivators are useful for breaking up weed free soil that does not need digging. These tools have prongs, blades or wheels.
These tools have handles and interchangeable heads – you choose a handle which is the right length for you and then buy separate tool heads such as a trowel, fork or cultivator. You simply the click the handle and tool head together as needed.