If someone were to ask me what gardening tools I could not live without, my answer would be a trowel, gloves and pruners. While I do have one pair of heavy duty, expensive pruners that I’ve had for a few years, at the beginning of each landscape season I buy several inexpensive pruners because I know I have a habit of misplacing them. It’s shameful, really, how many pairs of gloves and pruners I have gone through over the years. My garden trowel is a very different story, though. I have had the same favorite garden trowel for about ten years now. So what is a trowel and why is it an essential tool for every gardener to own? Continue reading for garden trowel information.
In masonry, a trowel is the flat tool that is used to apply and spread mortar or plaster. This type of trowel is different than a garden trowel, though. A garden trowel is a small handheld shovel or spade. Garden trowels usually have wooden, plastic or rubber coated metal handles. The actual shovel part of a garden trowel can be made of various types of metal or even plastic, sometimes the metal blades are coated or painted.
These hand held shovels are available in different widths, generally one to five inches (2.5 to 12.7 cm.) across. Which width you choose is a matter of personal preference, though certain widths are better for specific jobs. Garden trowels can also have flat, curved or even scoop-shaped blades.
My beloved garden trowel is a pretty basic one with a stainless steel blade and wooden handle. If memory serves me right, I paid $6.99 (USD) for it about ten years ago. Through the years, I have purchased other garden trowels, usually because they look neat. All these other trowels have ended up broken and in the trash. Garden trowels that are not made of stainless steel have a nasty habit of bending, breaking or rusting. Over time, painted or coated blades chip and begin to rust. I’ve also had many problems with the rubber on the handles of trowels ripping off or disintegrating. I will admit, however, that even wooden garden trowel handles can crack or swell if exposed to the elements for too long.
Proper cleaning and storage of any garden trowel will increase its life. Trowel blades should be cleaned, sanitized and wiped dry after each use. Like pruners, infected garden trowels can spread diseases from plant to plant. Garden trowels should never be left outdoors at any time of the year, and they should be stored in a garage or shed through winter. The best way to store garden trowels, when not in use, is by hanging them up. Most garden trowels have a hole at the end of the handle for hanging.
When to use a gardening trowel depends on the job at hand. Garden trowels are used for digging small holes, such for planting bulbs, annuals or perennials. It would take a lot of time and effort to dig a hole for a tree or shrub with a garden trowel.
Garden trowels are also used to dig up weeds. In small, tight areas, a narrow width blade will work better to dig out weeds or to install small plants or bulbs. Flat trowel blades work better on weeds with long taproots. Wider trowel blades and scoop-shaped blades work best for digging up small plants, digging holes for perennials, or scooping up soil when potting plants.
For a trowel to be effective, it needs to be properly maintained and cared for.
(Nicole Galpern at flickr.com)
Tools perform best in the long run if they are properly maintained and cared for. This is true for any tool including a garden trowel.
Maintaining a garden trowel involves cleaning, sharpening the blade, and proper storage.
To clean the trowel you will need a bucket of water, an old rag, a wire brush, sand and oil.
Start the procedure by dunking the trowel into the bucket of water. This loosens the dirt.
Next, wipe off the trowel with the rag. The rag can also be used to wipe off some light dirt from the handle.
If there is any dirt that does not come off with water and rag, then use the wire brush to scrape it off. The wire brush is also ideal for removing rust spots on the blade.
Once the dirt is cleaned from the blade, you need to oil it to protect it from rust. It is suggested that you use oil that does not have petroleum in it like vegetable or linseed oil. Don’t forget to coat the handle if it is made of wood to preserve and waterproof it.
To apply the oil, first fill the bucket with sand and oil. Move the blade of the trowel up and down in the sand a few times to clean off any small pieces of dirt and to lightly coat the blade in oil. Once that is done, dip the handle into the bucket and move the trowel up and down to clean it off and coat it with oil.
You should sharpen the blade of the trowel every couple of years or so. It is suggested that you use a hand file for this task. The work will assure that the blade will cut through tough soil and roots.
Hold the trowel tightly onto a level surface with your non-dominant hand.
Use your dominant hand to place the file on the edge of the blade at an angle between five and thirty degrees.
Push the file downwards along the edge of the blade away from your body.
Between each stroke lift the file from the tool and place it back at the starting point.
Repeat the process all around the edge of the blade.
Use a clean rag to rub on some vegetable or linseed oil.
Store the trowel in a dry place like a tool shed to assure that moisture doesn’t get to it. Moisture can lead to rust on the blade or a rotting handle. Using a tool rack will help keep the shed neat and when you notice that the trowel is missing, then you know you must have left it near the garden.
This ergonomic garden trowel comes with a patented blade that allows optimal performance in all conditions, which means that you can use this unique blade in all kinds of soils. It is made of die-cast aluminum, thus it will never rust and is exceptionally lightweight.
The handles of the trowel are over-molded and made with comfortable non-latex, thermoplastic grip. Therefore, they are easy to use and give you a perfect grip. These trowels require very less hand strength and are great for people who have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Due to all this, it is on top in our list of best 15 best garden trowels.
Fiskars Ergo Trowel is designed in such a manner that it can be easily used with a good grip. The handle of this trowel is such that it does not let your hand stress and it doesn’t fall off from your hands when digging.
The head is made of cast aluminum and is rust proof, and it digs the soil easily. It is also very easy to store. The best thing is that it comes with a lifetime warranty too.
Fiskars Big Grip garden trowel helps in reducing hand fatigue and helps you to work at a fast pace. It has extra-large handles with extra soft grips to provide you a high level of control and comfort during use. The heads of this trowel are made using aluminum, due to which they are rustproof.
You can dig, remove weed, loosen soil, and do a lot more with this trowel.
If you love your garden and you spend extended time there to keep it beautiful, then you will know the importance of a garden trowel. This model from the house of Homes Garden is one of the best garden trowels out there.
It features a 13 inches long handle that prevents you from bending too much when you are working in the garden. Thus, both your back and hands remain free from the impact of fatigue.
Garden Trowel by Edward Tools is made using heavy-duty carbon steel that helps you in releasing the healthiest soil quickly. It also has depth markers to make measurements when planting.
The Ergo Grip handle has excellent design and is very comfortable even when you are removing heavy or rocky soils. Therefore, if you want to complete your work quickly, it is the best hand trowel to go for.
This stainless steel garden trowel from Garden Guru is a multipurpose super-strong gardening tool that can be used for removing stubborn weeds, transplanting, mixing materials and doing many more gardening tasks. The blade of this tool is thick, durable, and full, and it is also rust-resistant.
This powerful trowel is specially designed for professional use. The ergonomic handle of this trowel is large and thick, and durable with thumb rest and finger grooves that make it very convenient to use.
It provides a firm grip and reduces hand fatigue, thus you can use it for hours without getting tired. This brand ensures 100% customer satisfaction, and the tool kit comes with a daily maintenance and care guide too.
One of the essential tools in gardening is a spade, and this tool from the brand name of Prudance helps you in different ways for diverse gardening tasks. You can trust upon Prudance for best quality, high performance and excellent customer service.
This trowel is made using the most excellent quality stainless steel suitable for all types of gardening tasks. It is robust and rust-proof, and you can successfully use it to remove even rocky soil and hard rocks easily. The ergonomic design helps to reduce the stress and fatigue of hands.
Are you tired using trowels that keep slipping from your hands? If yes, then this model from Corona is just for you, because it comes with anti-slip thumb risers and finger guards to give you a firmer grip. These risers and guards ensure safety and comfort to gardeners.
It is a lightweight trowel that has a stainless steel alloy head that will neither break nor rust. This company has been in existence since 1920 and is making robust tools since then.
Are you looking for a high quality trowel that can help you do all your gardening related tasks, and that can still stand strong during the most robust jobs? If you love working in the garden and you are tired of broken trowels and shovels now, and then this trowel by CFCT is all that you need.
It has a robust one-piece design which does not shiver or loosen during use. The neck of this trowel is stiff, and won’t break while digging. Aluminum blade makes it lightweight and rustproof too.
It comes with a soft Ergo grip and non-slippery thumb padding. Thus, it will reduce any hand and wrist strain and provide you with a strong and sturdy grip. Hexagonal Arc surface of the handle allows it to fit in your hand well.
This Bend Proof Garden Trowel by CFCT is one of the most sturdy and heavy-duty trowels currently available in the market. It is a one-piece design that will neither rust, bend nor break. It is longer and wider in size than others, that allows you to collect more dust and dirt in one scoop.
The sharp blade helps you to dig deeper. Thus, it is far better than regular scoops. It feels great in hands, and it is quite light in weight too. No doubt, it is an excellent option for avid gardeners.
Often gardeners spend hours finding the right tools and perfect combinations that make their work easy. But what if you can buy a great mix of tools with just a few clicks and no time-wasting research. Yes, that’s why this 3 in one tool kit is part of our top 15 best garden trowels.
It is a great money-saving tool kit for gardening that comes with a Shovel, Rake, and Spade. Thus, you can do transplanting, cultivation, weeding, mixing and filling fertilizer, sand, seeds, tuning earth, and much more using the tools of this kit.
They feature high-quality plastic-handles, stiff neck, and sharp and high size blades for ease of use. With so many great reviews, affordable pricing, and five star ratings, it is one of the best garden tool kits to buy for gardening solutions.
This garden space by Cate’s Garden is made up of stainless steel, which is known to be one of the most robust materials in current times that provides durability and longevity to the tools. It has many other advantages as well that make it stand out from other tools available out there.
Along with that, this beautiful and robust trowel is made using Ash wood handle that provides it added strength, flexibility, and durability. Because wood is a shock resistant material, it makes your hand comfortable while working. Wooden handle and metal blade make this spade an eco-friendly alternative.
All in all, it is an excellent tool with high grip, sharp blade, and ergonomic design that makes it unique and user-friendly.
This trowel from the house of A.M. Leonard is precisely what you require for heavy-duty and sturdy gardening tasks.
It is large and has a curved blade with a pointed tip that helps you to dig easily. It can hold a large amount of soil as well that makes your work easier and quicker.
The handle comes with a cushion grip that makes it easy to maintain and saves you from hand blisters and tiredness. It is a one-piece design that makes its neck stronger, so that it does not break from the junction.
If you are looking for a reliable and robust trowel that is made to last for an extended period, then this is the best alternative that you can have.
The head of this garden transplanter trowel is slim, so that it allows easy transplanting, and you can use it to transplant vegetables, perennials, and small plants. Premium quality stainless steel makes it heavy duty, rust proof, and corrosion-resistant.
The handle and blade are both polished beautifully. It has sturdy tang and ferrule that makes the trowel long-lasting and durable. The wooden handle is made using ash wood that is one of the most robust lumbers known for its strength and flexibility.
It also comes with a measurement mark that makes it easier to mark depth when planting. The company provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and if you are not happy with the quality and performance of your tool, you can return and get your money back.
This kit by Zuzuan is everything you need for gardening, as it comes with a 3 basic gardening tools, including a hand trowel, a transplant trowel, and a cultivator hand rake.
Therefore, you can do all your gardening tasks with this kit, like planting, transplanting, tilling the soil, breaking up the ground, cleaning waste, removing weeds, and mixing soil with fertilizer, etc.
These tools are made up of heavy-duty aluminum alloy, and they are polished using high-quality paints that make them anti-corrosion, rustproof, and durable. Sharp blades allow you to cut the hardest of soil and roots.
The handle is made using TPR rubber and has an ergonomic design that allows you to work comfortably. Your hands and wrist won’t feel any pressure while working because of its design, and the tool will not fall from your hand due to its non-slip design.
The head of the hand trowel is large enough to replace the soil quickly. Transplant Trowel comes with measurement marks that are very easy to read, and it is excellent feature for planting bulbs and seedlings at the desired depth.
The cultivator hand rake is thick, has a sturdy structure, and does excellent work in decomposing soil for ventilation, cleaning up waste, and removing weeds.
Heat the part of the material that will become the handle until it softens. (Leave the blade part cold.)
I used a piece of 1 inch diameter pipe to form the softened material around. I wrapped it with a mail order catalog to protect my hands from the heat, and to help keep the handle uniformly cylindrical.
Heat, wrap with the catalog, and squeeze with your hands. Hold it until the plastic cools and rigidifies.
On the first attempt, I got the handle at an angle that was not to my liking. I decided I wanted it to run parallel to the blade direction.
When I put up the ceramic tile in my kitchen, I actually used a hand trowel. Now, I’m not talking about a garden trowel, but a trowel to spread the paste with.
We had two different kinds. One had little jagged edges on one of the short sides and on one of the long sides. The other trowel-like thing actually had a rubbery kind of surface.
These things worked great when we were trying to get the glue on the wall. You used the straight edge sides of the complete metal one to goop the stuff on there with. Then you used the jagged edges of the hand trowel for wall texture. This created a better surface so that the tiles would stick more securely.
The little rubber trowel-thingy we used after we had hung the tile. Very nifty tools indeed!
Every gardener knows that a good hand trowel is irreplaceable! They do everything – literally everything – that you need them to!
I come from a background where the only garden we had was a huge vegetable garden – far too big for using a hand trowel. So, when I first began my own flower bed as a young, newly married woman, I tried to use a big old shovel and hoe. Boy, did my husband get a kick out of that!
Luckily for me, his grandmother had been an avid gardener and he was able to help me choose the correct tools for my garden.
Now nine years later, my two kids have their very own little trowels and things that they use. There are some awesome varieties with favorite cartoon characters available, but we went with a little bit cheaper sets at our local Dollar Tree store.
Whenever they have their own families, they will know what garden hand tools are! letshearit June 14, 2011
When buying a hand trowel for the first time it pays to know what you are looking for. If you need other gardening tools such as a small rake or weeder, you can sometime find great combination tools that let you do of all the jobs with one gadget.
I like the hand trowels that have a longer handle and come with a long spike tool at the end of the handle. This is great for dislodging roots of unwanted plants and making small holes for planting seeds in.
Often these multi-purpose tools save you money in the long run, and they also save space. Plus, I find it's great not having to worry about forgetting things in the garage.
If you have children and are interested in teaching them a bit about nature and gardening, there are hand trowels, and other tools available in safe plastic version.
Most hand trowels are actually quite sharp, so I wouldn't recommend letting a young child use them in case they get cut. A good idea when choosing a set of plastic garden tools for your young one is to let them come with you to the gardening supply store. Letting them choose their own set can be fun and helps them get involved. At this time, you could also choose some plants to grow together.