Bruce owns a small farm and loves to grill since his early childhood. He’s a professional cook, but hiking and enjoying the great outdoors is his no less favorite part of life.
Last updated: January 21, 2021
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One of the most useful accessories needed for gardening is the trowel. It can be used for mixing, scooping, digging and breaking the soil during the process of weeding, planting, mixing earth with fertilizer or transferring garden plants into pots. Unlike the traditional shovels, these are very short, scoop-shaped and with a more ergonomic handle. Today, there is a wide variety of models on the market. For this reason, we bring to you in this post, all the information you need to know to get the best garden trowel without buying twice or spending a lot of money.
To come about this selection, we reviewed 48 best products on the market and narrowed them down to just 8. Among these, we found the Wilcox All Pro 202S Trowel the best and, hence, is the Editor’s Choice. We picked it because it has a thick and durable stainless steel and rustproof construction and can break up stubborn clods. So you can compare and make the best choice, we also have 7 equally outstanding products.
In making our selection of the best garden trowel, some of the important features we considered include the material, blade, handle, dimensions, warranty, among others. The structure of the article is divided into three – we have a comparison table, a section that contains detailed reviews of each product and also a buying guide. The buying guide includes in-depth information on what a garden trowel is. It also includes features to consider; possible uses of the tool; how to use and maintain the trowel and answers to some frequently asked questions.
"Almost as curved as an umbrella’s plastic handle, the Radius Garden 100 features an easy-to-grip thermoplastic, non-latex, ergonomically designed and patented handle. The handle helps the user make a grip which offers additional leverage, reducing wrist and hand stress."
"The Big Grip Trowel features a very large handle with the so-called Softgrip handle and blade, with both measuring 13 inches in length. It is a trowel with which you can shovel twice as much soil as with other models."
"This gardening tool has a length of 13 inches. However, it is a trowel with a longer handle and a lightweight carbon steel blade that is powder-coated against rust. In addition, it is especially durable and bend-proof."
"The Edwards Tools trowel is a heavy-duty carbon steel garden trowel offers better leverage while working around rocky or heavy soils. It features depth markers for more consistent and easier measurement during transplanting or planting."
"In fact, it is a product made for several professional applications. Not just for hobby or subsistence farming or gardening, it is a rugged model suitable for many outdoor assignments due to its durable stainless steel blade."
"This modell features is made of high-quality, tempered and hand-forged Swedish boron steel. The blade is narrow and has sharp edges. This, therefore, makes it suitable for digging the earth, planting bulbs as well as making other gardening tasks."
We start our list of the best garden hand trowel with the Wilcox All Pro 202S Trowel, a model with a 3-inch full tang. Made of stainless steel (440BA), the blade has sharp beveled edges with markings at the depth. Overall, the trowel measures 14 inches with a plastic handle and a hand strap made of leather. Although it’s a bulb planting tool, it is also ideal for breaking hard clods and the planting of deep bulbs.
Thanks to its durable material, be assured that the trowel won’t break or bend while in the middle of your gardening activities. Made in the US, the trowel is one piece of a tool (full tang) which is built to be long-lasting. The manufacturer could even vouch for its reliable quality. Hence, they bestowed upon it a lifetime warranty (although limited). It is great for treasure hunting, transplanting and all-round gardening activities.
The front of the blade is sharp-pointed. Therefore, you can use it to dig and break the most stubborn earth. Made of ergonomic plastic as well as a practical strap, the trowel is designed to be used for several hours, comfortably. Measuring 14 x 3 x 0.2 inches in dimensions and 11.8 ounces in weight, it’s amazing how Wilcox is able to combine lightness and durability in a single product.
The task of moving debris, earth, transplanting, weeding, digging, and planting is always very exhausting. Therefore, it is essential to choose a trowel with finishing materials that makes its use more comfortable. Hence, the handle must be made of ergonomic materials that are pleasant to the touch – and this is what the Radius Garden 100 Garden Trowel offers.
By far the best trowel gardening tool with the most ergonomic handle, this is a product of Radius Garden, a specialized company whose main objective is to produce ergonomic trowels. Almost as curved as an umbrella’s plastic handle, the Radius Garden 100 features an easy-to-grip thermoplastic, non-latex, ergonomically designed and patented handle. The handle helps the user make a grip which offers additional leverage, reducing wrist and hand stress.
Featuring a full tang and a blade of 6 inches length and 3.25 inches of width, the trowel is made of highly reliable die-cast aluminum material. It is very light, weighing just 7 ounces. This makes the cast aluminum garden trowel recommended for people who have limited strength, with arthritis, carpal tunnel pain syndromes and other problems which may affect tool handling. Smaller in dimensions than the Wilcox model, the Radius Garden model measures just 11.5 x 3.25 x 3.6 inches. Finally, the trowel also comes with a lifetime limited warranty.
As its name suggests, the Fiskars model is suitable for people with big grips. The Big Grip Trowel features a very large handle with the so-called Softgrip handle and blade, with both measuring 13 inches in length. It is a trowel with which you can shovel twice as much soil as with other models while having total control of the handling. In fact, the 4-inch blade can hold up to 1 pound of weight. It also has sharp edges for easy insertion, digging and shoveling of the earth. The handle is uniquely designed. It has a padded hang hole for easy storage by hanging.
It is ideal for turning the earth, loosening earth, weeding, aerating, lifting up and transplanting plants and digging the soil during planting processes. The extra-large head is made of cast-aluminum that is polished. With sharp edges, it enters and moves the soil faster. As an added advantage, the trowel is designed to resist rust and corrosion.
Finally, unlike the first two trowels, this model is backed by a lifelong warranty.
Another good quality garden trowel from Homes Garden, this gardening tool has a length of 13 inches. However, it is a trowel with a longer handle and a lightweight carbon steel blade that is powder-coated against rust. In addition, it is especially durable and bend-proof. These qualities make it usable during bad weather or for uses around rocks. It is a great tool for weeding, smoothening, transplanting, moving and planting.
Designed in an olive green color, this helps the trowel blend well with the green scenery in your garden. The handle is made of soft polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with a hang hole for easy storage. The handle design is ergonomic, as it features a gel grip that cushions your hand, providing maximum comfort.
The Homes Garden is a provider of exceptional products. To assure prospective buyers of the quality, you have up to 10 years of warranty, although it is limited.
The Edwards Tools trowel is a heavy-duty garden trowel made of carbon steel stronger than regular stainless steel models. Thanks to the ErgoGrip handle wrapped around by an ergonomic rubber, using the trowel heavily for several hours makes gardening works a breeze. It also offers better leverage while working around rocky or heavy soils. It features depth markers for more consistent and easier measurement during transplanting or planting.
The carbon steel trowel is built to resist breaks. Despite its sturdy and heavy construction, the trowel weighs just 7 ounces, the joint lightest trowel alongside the Fiskars model, out of all the amazing products reviewed so far. The blade is so wide and measures 3.6 inches.
And finally, you may get unsatisfied, or the product may suddenly break down during use at any point in its lifetime. That, however, isn’t a problem. Edwards Tools claims it will provide you with a replacement as the model is covered with a bumper warranty that limitedly covers it throughout its lifetime.
What we liked:
Strong and heavy-duty carbon steel
Lightweight but durable
Comfortable handle and grip design
What could be better:
Made of rust-prone and bendable material – carbon steel
The CFCT Bend-proof Garden Trowel is an aluminum product designed differently from the other models in this guide. The lightest model in the review by some numbers, this small garden trowel model has a dimension of just 12.2 x 2.8 x 2 inches. It weighs just 6.4 ounces. Not just a lightweight and small model, it is a trowel that is truly built to withstand bends and rusts, considering it’s made of aluminum.
It is a solid and single-piece construction with grading marks which can be used to transplant. Its one-piece design is an assurance that it won’t bend. This also ensures the blade will not loosen, break or detach during heavy uses. It is advertised to be made of soft grip and a handle material that is easy to hold. However, our major concern is in its ergonomic side as it doesn’t have a rubber or plastic handle.
Meanwhile, it can double as a scooper as well as a seed or plant transplanter. The blade has numbered measurements in centimeters and inches. Hence, it is designed for easy reading. Finally, there’s a 10mm hang hole for easy storage. However, the warranty status is not stated.
Beautiful and beastly, the Garden Guru model is a super aesthetic hand trowel. But it can be deployed for multi-uses such as weeding, garden bed digging and transplanting. In addition, you can use it to scoop fertilizer or mix soil together with compost. In fact, it is a product made for several professional applications. Not just for hobby or subsistence farming or gardening, it is a rugged model suitable for many outdoor assignments. It can be used for metal-detecting in search of lost treasure, gold mining, and you can add it to your list of needed tools for the summer camping trip.
The blade is made of high-quality and polished stainless steel while the handle features an excellently designed material. The grip is thick and large and features, on the top, an ergonomic Thumb Rest and Finger Grooves at the bottom. It is the best garden hand trowel if you need a comfortable grip design which can reduce fatigue and hand stress.
Now, here’s the part we all like! If you run into unexpected problems with the product, the manufacturer promises to correct such or give a replacement free of charge. This is as the product is guaranteed for its entire life.
What we liked:
Built for multipurpose, professional and hobby uses
Another gardening tool with small dimensions, the DeWit Transplant Trowel is a specialized Dutch-made transplanter. It features the most sturdy blade material in this review. It is made of high-quality, tempered and hand-forged Swedish boron steel. The blade is narrow and has sharp edges. This, therefore, makes it suitable for digging the earth, planting bulbs as well as making other gardening tasks. Thanks to the narrow and small width of the blade, it is ideal for use in confined and tight areas.
It is strong but still manages to be very light. It weighs just 8 ounces and measures 14 x 1.5 x 2.25 inches in dimensions. The handle is made of European Ash hardwood from certified forests.
Finally, all tools from DeWilt comes with a lifetime warranty. So, the forged garden trowel is guaranteed for life at an under-$20 price.
What we liked:
Great value for money
Features sharp edges
What could be better:
May bend or twist while using it to dig
Things to Consider
There are so many types and models of garden trowels on the market. To help you distinguish the grain from the chaff, we’ve presented to you 8 of the best garden hand trowel models. Now, you still need some specific purchase information before heading to the market. Firstly, we’ll tell you what a garden trowel is. Then, we’ll highlight some features you have to consider before choosing your model, some of which we considered while drawing up this list. In addition, we’ll show you what the tool is mostly used for, how to use and maintain it, and finally, answer some FAQs.
What is a garden trowel?
As earlier mentioned, the garden trowel is a scoop-like type of shovel mainly used in the garden. Also called a mini shovel or a garden shovel, it has smaller dimensions. The width doesn’t usually exceed 3.5 inches, and the total length rarely gets up to 15 inches. Unlike traditional shovels, the hand trowels are usually very ergonomic by the handle. They feature easy-to-grip materials which can be made of hardwood, plastic, rubber or aluminum. Further down in the buying guide, we’ll see what they are used for and how to put them into best use.
Features to consider when buying a garden trowel
A garden trowel cannot be chosen at random or be haphazardly chosen. They need to have some required features. Or else, it may break down even during the first use or give you unnecessary fatigue. To get the best model at the first try, below are some of the features to watch out for in a garden trowel.
When buying a trowel, you should look at the quality of the materials. In the first place, because it is a tool that is used for heavy work and, almost always, outdoors. Therefore, its materials must guarantee durability and resistance. The best blades are made with steel tips, covered with anti-rust coating, which do not deform, as it features the Garden Guru Garden Trowel. Before choosing a trowel, you must know what type of work you want to use it for.
Trowels intended to do basic gardening jobs may not be built to dig into hard soils or make renovations. In the case of gardening work, it is recommended that the trowel be rather small and light so that it is easy to handle. And the blade must be end-pointed. If, for example, the trowel is going to be used to move dirt or earth, it is recommended that it be longer and wider.
In the choice of the blade, choose heavy-duty materials such as stainless steel or boron steel. Carbon steel, however, rusts easily. The length of the blade will depend on the type of use you want to deploy it for. Always ensure the model is a full tang, like Wilcox All Pro 202S Trowel, irrespective of the use you need it for. These types have blades that run into the end of the handle, providing more sturdiness.
The handle of a hand trowel is a differentiating factor from the traditional shovels. Beautiful design is not much of a factor, but they must be very ergonomically designed, just like the Garden Guru Garden Trowel. Some products such as the Radius Garden 100 Trowel come with patented grip and handle technology.
The choice of the handle will determine how interesting you will continue to see the task of gardening. So don’t choose a handle that’ll make you despise the hobby. Hence, the handle should be of a solid and easy-to-grip material like rubber, solid wood, or safe and reinforced plastic. The grip will also be better if it has a non-slip ergonomic material finish or a piece of wood.
An extra-large hand trowel like the Fiskars Big Grip Trowel may not be suitable for most women or people with smaller grips. They are also more prone to bending and may not be suitable for digging. So, be careful with the dimensions.
The choice of dimensions will depend on the use, the user and the used blade material.
For those looking for small hand trowels, you can find models with a total length of between 12 to 14 inches but with a width that doesn’t surpass 3 inches. These are most suitable for hard digging, weeding, and transplanting. Meanwhile, if you need a model for weeding, loosening soil, aerating, and transplanting, a trowel with a wide blade that measures up to 4 inches may be what you need. Whether you can use it to dig will depend on the sturdiness of the material. For example, a wide model with cast-aluminum or baron steel will be suitable for this purpose. Most stainless steel garden trowel models may not be perfect for this task.
Since there is a wide variety of models and brands of trowels on the market, when buying them, it is advisable to have the support of a recognized brand. Otherwise, you run the risk of acquiring a trowel of very poor quality, which will make you lose all your money. Hence, we give you a list of the most recognized brands in the manufacture of hand trowels and shovels. This helps to make your search easier, ensuring you can acquire the product that best suits your needs.
DeWit: DeWit is a 5th-generation Dutch tool manufacturing company. With decades of presence in the market, this brand specializes in manufacturing useful tools of high quality and with the least possible environmental impact. Its line of tools is very varied, and its products are among the best sellers in online stores. It is a notable manufacturer of garden trowel sets, one of which is the DeWit Forged Transplant Trowel.
Wolfpack: This firm has been dedicated to the manufacture of a large number of high-quality tools, thanks to its durable materials tested under strict quality control tests. Its products with colorful and friendly designs are among the best sellers in online stores.
Silverline: Founded in 1978, this brand has been recognized with international awards for the high quality of the tools it makes. All its products have been certified under ISO standards, and are manufactured with the least environmental impact. They are also among the best sellers in online stores.
Hand trowels are gardening tools intended to serve gardeners for long years. However, we’ve seen a couple of times when users reported that their trowels broke even during the first use. To correct issues such as these, a product with a considerable warranty offer is only recommended. Our recommendation is that you should only choose a model that is guaranteed for life. At least, it has to be covered by 10 years of warranty. Most of the products chosen in this guide have the latter or the former. All models in the review have a lifetime warranty (although limited), except for the Homes Garden Hand Trowel and CFCT Bend-Proof Garden Trowel which have a 10-year and unspecified warranty status, respectively.
Other additional features to watch out for in your hand trowel may include the inclusion of a hang hole for easy storage and hanging. In the absence of this, a good leather strap, as there is on the Wilcox trowel, will also serve the purpose of easy hanging. But the latter may easily remove, depending on the model.
What is a garden trowel good for?
Depending on the dimensions, design, and quality of the construction material, a garden trowel can be used for diverse purposes.
1. In the garden, they can be used for digging, weeding, transplanting, manure-to-sand mixture, soil loosening, soil smoothening and seed planting.
For camping, it is a tool that can be included in your backpack. You’ll find them useful for digging holes for the mounting of tents and similar tasks.
For professional uses, they are also a great tool for the mining of mineral resources. You can also use them for metal detection while searching for your lost treasure. They are in fact useful for metal detectorists.
How to use a garden trowel?
Not everyone is cut out for hard tasks such as gardening. But gardening can be a good activity for those who need new practical ways of exercising out, getting therapies or keeping the hobby farm goal alive. For these, the garden trowel is useful, easier to use and is handier than shovels.
To use your new garden trowel in plant cultivation in your backyard garden, just follow the steps below:
Place the sharp tip of the trowel in the soil.
Now, add more pressure from the handle, until you feel that the tip of the blade is now touching the soil.
Next, with your hand still on the handle, press down the handle in a clockwise manner towards you at an angle exceeding 45°. This process will see the trowel pull the soil from the ground.
Now that you have a hole dug, lift up the soil, while still being on the trowel. Pour it into a provided container and repeat the steps until you have the right hole size suitable for plant cultivation.
Care and maintenance tips
Like shovels and trowels used for masonry, the garden trowel must be cared for immediately after each use and properly stored. They are prone to corrosion and will easily rust if not well cleaned, maintained and stored. For this purpose, here are some care and maintenance tips:
Immediately after use, dip the trowel in a bucket of water. This lets all the accumulated dirt to soften for easy cleaning.
Next, use an old rag or a dedicated towel to wipe down the dirt while still in the water
If you still have some sticky matters on it, then you’ll need a brush with metal bristles. Use the brush appropriately, and it should be clean thereafter. Using the metal bristle brush will also help get rid of any developing rusts.
Maintainance and storage tips
After you’re done with the first stage, put it out to dry to prevent the formation of rusts if the water should remain on it for long.
Next, to prevent it from rust, apply some non-toxic linseed oil or vegetable oil on the surface. This is especially important for products that are not polished or are not of stainless steel or aluminum material.
Just like knives, the sharp edges will get blunt depending on the frequency of use. So, you have to sharpen it at least thrice annually to keep it in shape. For this, you can use a hand file. Don’t forget to apply oil after filing.
On storage, ensure you store it in a dry place that is devoid of moistures that will initiate corrosion. Most models have a hang hole or hang strip. Use this appropriately.
Yes, there are. A good alternative to the garden trowel is the potting scoop. The scoop also has a wide blade but is deeper. You can use it to scoop compost from the bag into pots. Because it is deeper, it can hold more earth than a typical garden trowel. However, you can’t use it to dig. Garden trowels are far more versatile than the potting scoops.
Yes, you can. A model such as the Garden Guru can do well with this type of task. In fact, most models which have wider blades (for example, 3.5 to 4 inches) will be suitable for snow removal. One of the advantages of garden trowel is their versatility. They can be deployed outside their traditional purposes of design.
If you need the trowel for digging or other heavy-duty uses, in addition to other specific purposes, a long blade with stainless steel material may not be suitable. For this purpose, what you need is a short, sturdy blade with a narrower body such as the DeWit Forged Transplant Trowel. Boron or carbon steel will be a great choice for this purpose.
In search of the best garden trowel, among the 8 selected models, we found three which are really outstanding. The overall best and the Editor’s Choice is the Wilcox All Pro 202S Trowel. This is thanks to its full tang and its strong 16-inch length, which can break into stubborn clods. It is also backed by a limited lifelong warranty. The Radius Garden 100 Trowel is renowned for having a high value. Asides, it has a very ergonomic, curved and thermoplastic handle and is also backed by a lifetime warranty. Finally, if what you want is a trowel with a low price whose value exceeds its price, then choose the Fiskars Big Grip Trowel. Despite being a budget model, it comes in a wide 4-inch size, has a big-grip handle and comes in a cast aluminum design that is polished to be rust-free.