Whether you refer to it as a little shovel, hand shovel or mini-spade, a solid garden trowel is a much-needed tool for your daily gardening activities. This small, handheld shovel has multiple applications when you’re gardening and is just a handy tool to have around.
When searching for the best garden trowel, you’ll want to focus on quality over cost.
Best Garden Trowels in 2023
1. Edward Tools Bend-Proof Garden Trowel
2. TFun Stainless Steel Hand Trowel and Transplanter
3. Dewit Forged Transplant Trowel
4. Radius Garden Ergonomic Hand Scooper
5. Fiskars Ergo Trowel
Here’s a quick guide to help you make the right choice, to know which kinds of trowels you’ll need and show you the leading trowels available today.
What is a Garden Trowel?
While the name may not sound familiar to everyone, a garden trowel is simply a little shovel which you can use one-handed when gardening. These same style mini-spades are used extensively in masonry to spread mortar or plaster when laying bricks.
However, in your garden, a good garden trowel has far more applications. It’s easily one of the most important tools in your shed.
If you’re wondering what tools professional gardeners use, you can be sure a solid garden trowel is in their arsenal. The trowel is made up of two connected parts, the handle and the blade.
Unfortunately, plastic or cheap trowels aren’t a great option as they tend to be as malleable as the soil within which you’re working. The best garden hand trowels are those that are made of superior quality materials, purely because they really can last you a life-time when looked after correctly.
We recommend finding a trowel made of a strong, coated metal to maximize use and longevity.
Garden Trowel Uses
A trowel actually has many applications, which is why you’ll also find a large variety of shapes and sizes available.
The most common garden uses include:
- Digging Up Weeds.
- Planting New Plants or re-potting.
- Digging Holes in which to plant bulbs, annuals and perennials.
- Smoothing out soil after planting.
- Removing small amounts of debris from soil.
Scoop shaped blades will function better when digging and planting. Whereas flat trowels work best when trying to remove weeds with long taproots. Plus, you’ll also find wonderfully narrow trowel varieties which are great when working in tighter areas.
Most Common Trowel Blade Types in Australia
Which type of trowel will depend on your gardening needs. There are multiple stock-standard varieties available, which can cover all your basic planting and weeding needs.
Still, you may find some differently shaped trowels for more specialized applications. It all comes down to blade shape and size. Different shapes and sizes can be used for different applications.
Here’s a look at the most common blade types:
- Traditional Blade: This blade will be large with slightly curved edges. This is the most common blade available and fares well with most gardening tasks.
- Transplanting Blades: These blades are long and thin with a pointed tip. These are great for moving seedlings and smaller plants.
- Dixter Blade: These blades are again quite long and thin, with a rounded end. These are mainly used to plant foliage in rock garden or to remove deep rooted weeds.
- Ladle Blade: A ladle blade will be far smaller and rounded with curved edges. These are used best to dig holes or scoop soil.
- Potting Blade: These blades will have higher curved edges to help hold soil and compost. They are also manufactured to fit perfectly into pots to make for easy transplanting.
- Tissot Blade: This is a fully flat blade with a large V-shape at the end. These are great to aid in dividing plants or digger in harder soils like clay.
- Planting Blade: This blade is pointed the end and is quite a lot smaller than your usual trowel. These are ideal for replanting flowers.
Whichever variety you’re looking at, you’ll find that you can use most in a variety of applications during your gardening.
Best Garden Hand Trowel Reviews
When considering the best brand for garden tools, it really does depend on preference. Some people will want to buy tools all from the same brand, and others will consider the leading products from different brands.
Either way the most important factor is that you’ll want your garden trowel to be made from quality materials that won’t bend or break as you’re working and will last you for a long while.
These are the 5 best garden trowels available now:
Edward Tools Bend Proof Garden Trowel is one of the most heavy duty garden trowel tool in the market.
It has a ergonomic rubber grip contoured finger grips and palm rest for comfort and efficiency.
With its heavy duty polished stainless steel that is rust resistant, bend and break proof making it best for digging through heavy and rocky soils.
This multi-purpose Tfun Stainless Steel Hand Trowel and Transplanter are made from a high grade material making it strong and corrosion resistant .
It comes with a tick marks which helps measure planting depth.
The handle of this trowel is made of beech for a secure hold and slip resistant.
It also comes with a hole at the top of the handle making it convenient to store during off-season or simply when not in use.
Dewit Forged Transplant Trowel have a 7"L x 1.5" W x 2.25"H dimension and weighs 0.5 lbs.
It is lightweight yet strong with unrivaled Dutch made quality that will serve it's purpose for a long time.
Dewit Forged Trowel have sharp edges and arrow blade making it ideal for transplanting bulbs and doing precise tasks.
Also, it is perfect when working in tight spots and confined areas.
Radius Garden Aluminum Hand Scooper is use for mixing soil, plant larger liners and fill garden beds and pots.
It can also be use in stirring hot coals in your outdoor grill.
Radius Garden Ergonomic Aluminum Hand Scooper have ultra lightweight die-cast aluminum serrated blade designed to rip open soil bags or cut through roots.
Its blade is sharp and stronger than steel and is rust resistant.
Fiskars Ergo Trowel is a durable tool that is ideal for digging, spreading and smoothing the soil.
Also good for transplanting and cutting through tough turf.
Its polished aluminum head is rust resistant for a lasting value. The handle is ergonomically designed to reduce hand and wrist fatigue while weeding.
Also have a lifetime warranty.
Best Garden Trowels in Australia
Best Garden Trowel for 2023
The Edward Tools Bend-Proof Garden Trowel is our pick as the best garden trowel for 2023! As the most sturdy, heavy-duty trowel on the market, it’s well-priced for any budget and should last you a lifetime.
Made from a single piece of stainless steel, the trowel is bend-proof and ideal for working rocky gardens and heavy clay soils. It has an ergonomic rubber grip for comfort and is oversized to help move more soil quickly. It also comes with a lifetime warranty!
Best Value Garden Trowel
For best value, it’s hard to beat the 2-in1 offer of the TFun Stainless Steel Hand Trowel and Transplanter. With sturdy wooden handles and high-grade steel heads, the trowel and transplanter are corrosion-resistant and built to last.
They feature useful depth markings to help you measure planting depth with ease, and the handle holes make them easy to store on a hanging rack. Sturdy, multi-functional and well-made, these practical tools are a must-have for any gardener.
Premium Choice Garden Trowel
The elegantly-crafted Dewit Forged Transplant Trowel is our premium choice garden trowel. With its unrivalled Dutch-made quality, lifetime guarantee, and handcrafted design, it’s not just a trowel – it’s an heirloom.
It has a narrower blade than many competitors, which allows you to dig more precisely and into tighter corners with ease. The trowel is constructed with hand forged tempered Swedish boron steel and an ash handle from FSC certified forests, ensuring it lasts many lifetimes.
These trowels have a heritage dating back to 1898, combining historical craftsmanship with gardening expertise to craft trowels that stand the test of time.
What to Look for in a Garden Trowel?
Regardless of brand, when looking for the best garden hand trowel you’ll want to search for certain features that will ensure optimal, comfortable usage of your tool.
You’ll want to look for:
- Comfort. Check to see if your prospective trowel has an ergonomic grip or finger grooves on the handle for comfort of use.
- Size. Size will depend on usage, but your average trowel should be between 3.5 to 12.7 cm thick.
- Material. You’ll want to look for a solid material, preferably stainless steel or a coated steel. It’s best to avoid plastic as it tends to break over time or loosen at the grip.
- Solid Connection. You may find that some trowel heads will have a connecting rod to the handle. You’ll want to ensure the rod is thick and solid or it can break in harder soils.
Maintaining Your Garden Trowel
Proper care maximizes tool life span and that applies to not only your garden trowel, but all your garden tools. Be sure to fully clean your garden trowel between uses.
It is also recommended to sanitize your trowel, especially when working with diseased plants or weeds, as this can help minimize the spread of disease between your plants.
You will also want to keep your garden trowel in your garden shed, as it can become susceptible to rust and other factors when exposed to the elements. Most garden trowels come with a handy hole at the base of the handle for easy hanging.
Garden Trowel Frequently Asked Questions
What is a garden trowel?
Garden trowels are easy, lightweight tools for digging, weeding, and mixing planting mediums. The term trowel simply refers to any small hand tool that can slice and hold whatever medium you are working with, and isn’t just limited to gardening, with trowels commonly used in various forms by plasterers and painters.
What is the difference between a garden trowel and a spade?
The only real difference between a garden trowel and a spade is size. Spades are capable of bigger work, and working through larger beds and borders, while trowels are handy for quickly planting bedding, and churning your potting compost.
Trowels are also useful for weeding, creating planting drills, and working soil lightly.
Can a trowel be used for weeding?
Garden trowels are great for weeding, but if hand forks are more effective at lifting the entire root. However, the main rule of weeding is ‘see it, pull it’. So if you’re out in the garden with nothing but a trowel, get down on your knees and dig out that weed!
What is a Dutch trowel?
Dutch trowels are useful for shaping and pulling soil. Their flat face and pointed tip make cutting through loose soil a breeze, and the flat face is particularly good for bulb planting, and creating drills as it is capable of holding more earth than narrower curved trowels.
Is a mattock a trowel?
Mattocks are digging tools that look similar to pick axes, with two sharp sides, each oriented on a different angle to the handle. They are ideal for hoeing earth at the same time as pulling up weeds, but are bulky and can be difficult to carry around the garden.
Why is it called a trowel?
Trowels got their name from the Latin ‘trua’; “a stirring spoon, ladle or skimmer”. To this day they still serve that same purpose, no matter where they are being moved, either to skim, dig, lift or scoop soil from one place to another.
What is a short spade?
Short spades work in much the same way as trowels, but allow you to work faster. They require more strength to use as they have much wider faces, and shorter handles, and are generally used from a kneeling position to scoop soil backward, rather than lifting.
Are plastic garden trowels any good?
If you’ve ever been tempted by a cheap plastic trowel for the garden, avoid that temptation, they will snap under pressure, and if left outside can be damaged by the sun and become brittle. They are much less useful than solid timber and metal trowels and will need replacing quickly.
Can you use a trowel to plant bulbs?
Trowels are often more effective for planting bulbs than bulb planters, as they do not compact the soil, and can be used to both remove the soil, and slice into lawns without leaving any sign of damage.
Simply slice a hole with the trowel and drop your chosen bulb into the earth before sealing the fissure back up.
What should I look for in a garden trowel?
The most important thing to consider when buying a garden trowel is the strength of the connection between the handle and the blade. Trowel blades can be incredibly tough, but if the connection at the handle is weak it can easily snap.
Equally, metal handles or timber handles are much better than plastic handles.
What tool does every gardener need?
Don’t just stick to your basic garden tools like spades and forks when stocking your new shed, think of the small things too. A trowel is probably the most overlooked garden tool, but it is an essential part of any gardener’s tool kit.
What is a Japanese trowel?
Japanese trowels are flat-faced blades, used for digging soil, also called hori hori trowels. Their thin face makes them ideal for bulb plants but their sharp edge can often cause problems when weeding by cutting through thicker roots and encouraging new growth.
Find the Right Garden Trowel for You
When it comes to finding the best garden hand trowel, you can go with your preference and whichever trowel feels best in your hand. If you care for it properly, you’ll be using it for a really long time.
Just be sure to choose a solid material that can keep up with all soil types.
Thanks to our handy guide, you should be able to find the best garden trowel with that perfect balance of comfort and quality, guaranteeing you years of happy gardening.