Growing a garden is, in a way, like raising a child. You prepare the soil, plant a seed, and tend and watch it grow and flourish. Although it may seem simple, growing and maintaining your precious greens can’t be accomplished without a proper set of tools.
Gardening tools come in various shapes and sizes and serve a multitude of purposes. To introduce you to the lovely world of gardening, and get you started on the path, we picked out ten essential garden tools for any gardener—a pro or an amateur.
Our Top 3 Recommendations
10 Best Gardening Tools for 2021
DeWit Potting Trowel
- Hand-made from sustainable material
- Virtually unbreakable
- A lifetime warranty
- It’s expensive
When you think about gardening, a hand trowel is probably the first thing that comes to mind. It’s an essential tool that any gardener uses, and its defining feature is that it is durable and rust-proof.
The first on our garden tools list is the best of the best—a Dutch DeWit trowel of beautiful design and outstanding quality.
DeWit hand-made this tool in the Netherlands, using the wood of FSC-certified forests and heat-treated boron steel for the handle and the blade, respectively.
This trowel reminded us of old garden tools with its construction, and that was their intention.
It’s eco-friendly, sustainable, and unbreakable—ideal for starting your kit with the essential gardening tools. We were impressed with that effort alone!
The blade is large and curved to keep the soil from spilling out, making potting plants easier. It also digs, scoops, breaks roots and moves earth.
You can get this trowel from Tierra Garden or Amazon for the price of 64 bucks. It’s expensive, we agree, but the manufacturer guarantees it won’t break for a lifetime.
Radius Garden Pro Stainless Steel Shovel
- Professional quality
- Sharp blade breaks through hard soil
- Ultra-comfortable handle
- A lifetime warranty for the continental US
A shovel also belongs to a group of must-have garden tools. It’s used to dig through soil and must be strong and sharp enough to dig through different densities of dirt, remove rocks and break roots. The handle functions as a lever for lifting heavy materials requiring strength and a comfortable hold.
The shovel we selected is made by Radius Garden and belongs to their PRO line of Stainless Steel tools. They manufacture professional gardening tools suitable for any user. Radius Green believes gardening is for everyone, and as such, they create tools that are highly durable and easy to use.
The blade is rust-proof stainless steel and makes digging into hard-packed soil no trouble. It’s large, slightly cupped, and has a wide-foot placement to maximize force to the ground. The shaft is carbon steel and encased in non-slip resin (polypropylene).
Using it is easy (like any shovel), but this company ups it a notch by creating a first-class circular handle with an ergonomic thermoplastic elastomer grip for max comfort. Their Pro-Litetools are excellent gardening tools for seniors because they feature ergonomic handles and lightweight materials! We also recommend Radius Garden spades.
Whatever tool you choose, you’ll be glad that Radius Garden offers a lifetime warranty for the continental US.
Nisaku NJP650 Hori-Hori Weeding & Digging Knife
- Hand-made from the finest Japanese materials
- Sharp and rust-proof blade
- A faux-leather sheath for safety
- No handguard
Hori-hori, a Japanese gardening knife, doubles as a digging and a cutting tool giving you several high quality garden tools in one. In the Japanese language, “hori” means “to dig,” and they’ve used this type of knife from the 16th century to harvest wild vegetables and bonsai trees.
The Hori-hori knife is concave in shape and has razor-sharp edges, one of which is serrated, and there are inch markings on the blade (for measuring the depth while planting).
Nisaku Japanese gardening tools have a unique design and a long history in Japan of hand-crafting and hand-forging tools from fine wood and strong stainless steel.
Their best-seller, an NJP650 model, has both a straight and a serrated edge so that you can use it for digging, weeding, planting, cutting, measuring, planting bulbs, and harvesting. It sports a 5.25-inch long wooden handle and has a 7.25-inch rust-, scratch-, and element-proof blade.
For safety and storage, the knife comes in a faux leather sheath that you can easily attach to your belt or hang in a toolshed with your other tools for gardening. Some have complained that the sheath isn’t genuine leather, and the tool doesn’t come with a handguard, so be extra careful not to slide your hand down.
Miya Bow Rake
- Fourteen sharp tines
- Works as a soil loosener and as a debris remover
- Customizable length
- Easy to assemble/disassemble
- A three-year warranty
- Sometimes the holes on the handle and the blade are not aligned
Any set of garden hand tools isn’t complete without a rake. Rakes come in different shapes and have different uses: removing leaves and debris (lawn rake) or flattening and loosening the soil (bow rake).
For its multifunctionality, we picked a bow rake.
Miya rake features a blade with 14 sharp tines and a multi-piece handle for length customization. Having the option of shortening pole length makes any tool adjustable to make kids gardening tools, allowing you to introduce gardening to your kids.
The blade attaches to the pole by a bolt and nut, while pole sections are connected by screws; it’s easy to assemble/disassemble, store, or carry around. You can choose from 5ft and 6ft options.
At times it needs to be re-adjusted as the handle and blade don’t always align perfectly, but for under 30 bucks, it’s still one of the top gardening tools. It’s lightweight and adjustable, making it perfect for anyone despite age or strength. Not to mention, It comes with a no-slip grip and a three-year warranty.
Flexrake Classic Hand Fork
- Good quality for the price
- Heavy-duty oak handle and steel prongs
- Crafted in a traditional way
- It’s not a heavy lifter
Of the different types of garden tools, hand forks are in the top ten most beloved gardener’s friends, used for cultivating soil and weeding. Flexrake makes classic tools following the tradition of old, hand-made gardening tools with modern heavy-duty materials. They offer an antique and charming aesthetic design with durable and quality utility.
Their Classic hand fork is forged from tough steel, with a genuine oak handle and leather hanger. With its simplistic look and nostalgic feel, it does the job as well as high-end DeWit products, proving that sometimes the best garden tools don’t have to come at a high cost.
It won’t rust when left in the ground or easily break, but it isn’t designed to withstand heavier jobs such as pulling heavy plants or digging through hard soil. We advise you first to break up the dirt or lightly cultivate it with a bigger tool.
Felco Ergonomic Hand Pruner
- Precise cuts
- Ergonomic handles
- Replaceable blades and springs
- A limited lifetime warranty
- High price
No list of gardening tools names is complete without a good pair of pruners. Gardeners use pruners (pruning shears) to trim and prune plants, twigs, and softer branches or to remove dry parts and overgrowth (for visual looks and plant health).
The ergonomic hand pruner from Felco is comfortable and easy to use with just one hand, avoiding blistering and straining while cutting through tough branches.
Felco is a Swiss company that makes top-quality gardening shears, saws, and pruners. All of their gardening tools have ergonomic handles, with usability as a primary feature. They use hardened Swiss carbon steel to forge the blades of every tool and give a limited lifetime warranty.
The handles of their one-inch capacity pruners are aluminum and ergonomically made. The tool has a revolving upper handle and a cushion shock absorber for comfortable use and softening the impact from cutting. Felco’s tools are impeccably precise and ensure clean cuts, perfect for your gardening tools list.
This pruner also features a wire-cutting notch, a sap-groove, and adjustable and replaceable blades.
All professional and amateur gardeners should add a Felco item to their arsenal. Go with this company for any cutting tool you need.
Felco tools are pretty pricey, but they last a lifetime, and if they don’t, they come with a company lifetime guarantee. They are conveniently available; we found them just browsing the section of Sears gardening tools (on the Sears website).
DeWit Two-Tine Cultivator/Diamond Hoe
- Cultivates every type of soil
- Removes even the most stubborn weeds
- Soft ergonomic grip (the only thing not made from steel)
- A lifetime guarantee
We chose DeWit’s short-handled 2-in-1 cultivator/hoe combo as our choice for a quality hoe. Even the world-famous Monty Don said that digging is easier with a short-handled hoe because it reduces strain on your back and hands.
DeWit’s gardening hand tools are all designed and forged for the utmost durability, and this tool is made from boron steel (hardened) and has a tubular steel handle. The only thing not made of steel is a soft grip part of the handle.
Because it’s so heavy-duty and sharp, it will break up even the hardest of soils, and two tines will cultivate the soil, removing any stubborn weeds and roots.
Even if DeWit’s prices are a bit steep, think about it this way: they offer incomparable quality, every tool carries a lifetime warranty, you support an ethical business. Choosing to invest in high-end garden tools may cost a bit extra at first, but trust us is cheaper in the long run, and you’ll get tools that you won’t have to replace!
WOLF-Garten Bulb Planter
- No more hand digging
- Solid and easy to use
- A 10-year guarantee
- No such thing
WOLF-Garten is a German brand that makes excellent gardening tools and sells various handles of different lengths. Gardeners who like bulb flowers know how much easier it is to use a planting tool than to manually plant everything yourself.
This WOLF-Garten steel (zinc-coated) bulb planter is a perfect addition to any gardener’s planting tools and equipment, as it’s convenient, easy to use, and requires no handle.
It will plant bulbs (or can be used for bedding plants) up to 2.3 inches (6 centimeters) in diameter, and the depth markers are written conveniently on the side of the tool (in centimeters).
Not only is this tool an almost effortless time-saver, but it also comes with a 10-year guarantee. The longer the guarantee, the more confidence the brand has in its own product! You should too—WOLF-Garten means business!
Gardening watering tools: Dramm Watering Can and Watering Hose
- High-quality equipment
- Sturdy materials
- A lifetime guarantee for each tool
- If you tilt the can, water will spill out
Every outdoor and indoor gardener will benefit from a well-made, sturdy watering can. US-made Dramm makes heavy-grade watering tools (such as watering cans, hoses, sprinklers, nozzles, rain wands) from durable materials that will last for years, and they make them in different colors.
We chose this brand because they make the best gardening tools for watering, and we chose the most important two; a watering can and a watering hose.
Dramm’s 2-liter watering can (they also have a 7-liter option) is made of injection-molded plastic, is light and well-balanced to carry and maneuver. The long spout with a removable sprinkler rose is perfect for watering plants that are harder to reach. Its design allows for easy emptying and cleaning.
Like most watering cans, however, you do have to get used to carrying it level to prevent splashing or pouring out.
A watering hose is a staple among the tools used for gardening, so you have to get one that will last long and resist the elements well if left outside. Dramm’s premium rubber hose does just that. Made from resistant rubber, it is kink-resistant and withstands up to 160°F (hot water) and -25°F (cold water).
The nickel-plated coupling makes it resistant to crushing, and it comes in multiple sizes and colors. Dramm tools come with a lifetime warranty, so if anything goes wrong, you know that you’ll be covered, with high end gardening tools, and money well spent.
Spear & Jackson Kew Gardens Neverbend 3-Piece Carbon Gardening Tools Set
- The set contains three essential gardening tools
- Resin-coated carbon steel blades
- Hardwood handles
- A 15-year warranty
- It’s difficult to find
We already picked some of the tools featured in this 3-piece carbon gardening toolset, but we had to include these ones because of the brand!
Spear & Jackson joined their forces with London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site, Kew Gardens, and their horticultural team to bring you one of the best gardening tool sets you can get. It’s a perfect gift set for an avid gardener dear to you (or for your own dear self).
Kew Gardens work on securing a sustainable future and protecting and preserving plant species. On their 300 acres in London, they’ve planted more than 30,000 species of living plants—the most diverse collection in the world.
Both Spear & Jackson and Kew Gardens have a long tradition of manufacturing high-quality tools and are well respected in the UK and abroad. With every purchase, you help support Kew’s research.
The set contains three basic gardening tools: a carbon steel hand trowel, transplanting trowel, and a hand weed fork, all coated in epoxy to improve the resistance to rust, elements, and alkalis from the soil.
Spear & Jackson tools have hardwood ash handles, are weatherproof, and are FSC approved. These tools also have longer tangs to help stop you from scraping your knuckles, and each tool comes with a 15-year warranty.
What Types of Gardening Tools Exist?
We categorize these tools by the purpose they serve.
- Digging tools prepare the soil for planting by loosening, mixing, and turning it. For this purpose, we mainly use a hoe, a mattock (for hard ground), a shovel/spade, a digging fork, a hand fork, or a hand trowel. You can also use a multifunctional hori-hori knife for digging. Tools of this type are probably the most critical must-have yard tools.
- Planting tools, such as a bulb planter, can also make holes in the ground but are mainly used to move the soil. For example, use a transplanting trowel for moving the plant from one container to the other or from a container to the ground.
- Raking and Cultivating tools remove debris and fallen leaves and cultivate the soil, flattening it before planting. This type of gardening tools includes different types of rakes (bow rake, fan rake, metal rake) and cultivating forks.
- Pruning tools include different types of secateurs, shears, saws, and loppers, and we use them for removing dry parts of the plant or a tree to keep it healthy and pleasant-looking.
- Weeding tools, such as weeders and weeding forks are used to remove unwanted plants and roots.
- Hauling tools move debris and materials from one place to another. We use buckets, carts, and wheelbarrows to accomplish this.
- Edging tools serve the purpose of trimming the lawn edges and creating paths and clear lines. Edging gardening tools usually have a sharp blade and a horizontal ledge on which you can step to push the blade into the ground.
- Watering tools are used to water the plants. These are watering cans, hoses, garden sprinklers.
- Spraying tools help you spread chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
- Power tools for gardening use electricity or batteries to work. The most common power tool for yard work is a lawnmower.
People Also Ask
There are many great brands and manufacturers of hand tools; some specialize in one tool type, some do it all.
For the best cutting tools (pruners, shears, secateurs, scissors, loppers), you should go with Felco, a Swiss brand that mainly produces durable, sharp, high-quality blades, shears, and knives of every kind.
If you want the best hand trowels, forks, small hoes, weeders, and such, DeWit or Sneeboer will work for you.
The tools professional gardeners use must be highly heavy-grade, not prone to breaking or rusting. Those tools are also, most often, much more expensive than gardening tools made for amateur and light-duty use.
Although professionals work on more demanding projects than amateur gardeners or homeowners, everyone’s basic gardening tool kit consists of the same tools. These are:
- Hand trowel
- Hand fork
- Pruning tools (secateurs, loppers, hedge shears, pruning saw)
- Garden knife (or a hori-hori knife)
- Watering can
- Hand gloves
Professionals will most likely use some motor tools (types of cutters and pruners, for the most part): brushcutter, three pruners, hedge cutters, motorized scythe.
Most common gardening hand tools include:
- Hand trowels
- Hand forks
- Pruning saws
- Hedge shears
- Garden knives
- Hori-hori knives
Water cans, buckets, wheelbarrows, and gardening gloves are also a must.
Monty Don is one of the world’s most famous horticulturists. He’s been in the spotlight from the late ’80s, writing, gardening, and hosting various shows, most notably Gardeners’ World and Monty Don’s American Gardens.
People have noticed (and Monty himself stated many times) that he tends to stick with the same tools for years; he found what works the best for him.
Some of his favorite gardening tools are:
- Bulldog spade (made for him in 1990)
- Haws watering cans
- Bufford Garden Company hand-forged garden tools
- Various rakes
- Sneeboer Tools’ planting trowel
- DeWit’s sprake (Spork tools designed by Robert Todd)
- Jekyll trowels
- Square-tined hand forks
- Opinel pruning knife
- Gränsfors Bruk ax
- Niwaki’s Tobisho secateurs
- Jakoti hand shears
- Austrian scythes
- Japanese tripod ladder
- Felco bypass secateurs (No. 2 and No. 8)
- Small draw hoes and swan-neck hoes.
Monty Don says these tools “should make your work easier and more pleasurable to do, and they should also look good. Just like your garden.”