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How to choose gardening equipment and tools

When choosing and buying most products today, you are often faced with a wide range of different models and brand names. This is certainly true with gardening equipment and tools, but by following a few hints and tips you can keep things simple and avoid expensive mistakes.

All the equipment and tools mentioned on this website are available from good garden centres, from garden shopping websites, hardware stores or in a few cases direct from the manufacturer.

You will also find more information and advice on choosing tools in the gardening task sections listed in Equipment and tools to help you. If you have problems finding products to buy, the manufacturer’s website addresses are listed and you can contact them to find your local stockist.

Thrive’s top tips 

  • Trowel with arm support
    It helps if you can try products out before you buy ­– consider the weight of the product, your grip size and strength, and how balanced the item feels in your hand.  
  • Look for the lightest products with wide handles as they will be easier to grip. Trying products in your hand is important though particularly if you have a small hand, a weak grip or limited movement in your hand.
  • Check what material the product is made of to ensure it is right for the job you want to do. For example, stainless steel tools slide through soil more easily and are easy to clean. Traditional solid forged steel tools are the strongest, they are also quite light and long lasting. Plastic, carbon fibre and aluminium tools equipment and tools will be lightest. 
  • A selection of tools
    Quality can be difficult to assess when choosing between different brands and types of product. Think about whether you want a product to last a long time or whether you’re happy to replace. Consider spares and servicing and how long the manufacturer’s guarantee lasts.   
  • Power tools are a good option for many jobs, including trimming hedges and grass. Products can be battery or mains powered. Check you can cope with the weight and always use a residual circuit breaker with mains powered products.  
  •   Multi-change tools
    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 rake, brush, 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.  
  • When choosing products with long handles, check the length allows you to work without bending too much and that you can keep your back straight – good posture when gardening will help prevent stresses and strains.