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7 Best Mattocks in Australia (2024 Buyers’ Guide)

Mattocks aren’t the best known tool in the shed, but they’re one of the most useful. For heavy duty digging or even just light soil preparation, mattocks make a useful alternative to garden trowels, forks and spades.

In this guide, we’ll share our experience of a year in the garden with a mattock, and the difference it made to us, as well as reviewing some of our favourites from trusted brands, and budget options to suit everyone.

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Our Rating

Price

1. Spear & Jackson Cutter End Fibreglass Handle Mattock

Spear & Jackson Fibreglass Handle Mattock
Best Mattock in Australia

2. Fiskars Pro IsoCore Pick and Mattock

Fiskars Pro IsoCore Mattock
Premium Choice Mattock in Australia

3. Spear & Jackson Mini Mattock with Hardwood Handle

Spear & Jackson Mini Mattock
Best Value Mattock in Australia

4. Spear & Jackson Pick End Fibreglass Handle Mattock

Spear & Jackson Pick End Mattock

5. Garden Master Forged Steel Mattock

Garden Master Mattock

6. Draper Fibreglass Mini Mattock and Cutter

Draper Fibreglass Mini Mattock

7. Cyclone Garden Mattock

Cyclone Mattock

Mattocks Australian Buyer’s Guide

What are Mattocks?

Mattocks are often confused with pickaxes, but there’s one big difference; pick axes have a prying side, and a breaking side, designed to crack through rock and lift old concrete, paving slabs, and tree roots. 

Mattocks have two very different sides; one flat side, parallel to the handle, perfect as a gentle alternative to an axe, or creating narrow drills in the soil; the second side is at 90 degrees to the handle, and can be used to slice through roots, or dig at a more comfortable angle than a spade or trowel.

Perhaps the most useful part of any mattock is its comfort. While it was traditionally used as a more manageable alternative to a pickaxe, they are now used as much for digging as cutting and have handles in various lengths to accommodate all users.

Different Types of Mattocks

There are two different types of mattock, and each has a very different use. Long-handled mattocks and short-handled mattocks have both retained the same name over the years because they are equally useful at most tasks but, depending on how you garden, it’s important to pick the right tool.

For instance, if you’re buying a mattock simply for breaking, you can probably do that with a pickaxe anyway. If you’re buying it to work through heavily compacted soil on mass, you’ll need a long-handled mattock to take the strain off your back.

If your main aim in the garden is neatly preened rows of vegetables with weed-free space between them, then a short-handled mattock is the best choice.

What to Look for When Buying a Mattock

By their nature, mattocks have to be built to take a beating. They are used for everything from stonework to soil sculpting, so choosing a mattock that can cope with hard graft is essential.

As a bare minimum, they should be built with tight-fitting heads and hardwood handles, but the best mattocks on the market have sturdy fibreglass handles and snuggly connected carbon steel heads.

In terms of price, mattocks can vary anywhere from $30 to $300 due to the differences in size and materials used. When you’re looking for the best mattock, it’s not all about price, and much more about how comfortable you’ll feel with it.

Large mattocks have more force for chopping and breaking, while smaller mattocks are excellent tools for digging while kneeling.

How to Use a Mattock

Mattocks aren’t just digging tools, you can use a mattock in place of a hoe or a rake, and it’s ideal for weeding as the deep blade can get right to the base of deep tap rooted weeds and pull it out of the ground without compacting anything.

By far the best use I’ve found for my short handled mattock though is soil preparation. I work a no dig garden, and aim to disrupt my soil as little as possible. The gentle nature of short handled mattocks allows me to kneel at a reasonable distance from my crops and dig out channels for seed sowing, while also being narrow enough to weed between them.

Best Mattocks in Australia

1. Spear & Jackson Cutter End Fibreglass Handle Mattock 

Spear & Jackson Cutter End Fibreglass Handle Mattock

Spear & Jackson Cutter End Fibreglass Handle Mattock

One of the sturdiest mattocks we’ve ever come across is this fibreglass long-handled mattock, with a solid cast head by Spear & Jackson. As a rule, Spear & Jackson are a good go-to brand for garden tools. 

Their manufacturing is reliable and well respected, and their tools are comfortable to use, and considerately proportioned for comfort. If you’re looking for a decent mattock on a budget, you won’t find better than this.

Pros

  • Comfortable handle
  • Lightweight
  • Durable head
  • Securely manufactured
  • Good value

Cons

  • None

2. Fiskars Pro IsoCore Pick and Mattock

Fiskars Pro IsoCore Pick and Mattock

Fiskars Pro IsoCore Pick and Mattock

Perhaps the most modern mattock on the market is this pick mattock from Fiskars. Not only do Fiskars make some of the best garden tools you can buy, but they push the boat out on design and durability too.

This insulated, steel handled mattock reduces vibrations and impact shock massively, and makes it insanely comfortable to use, while its pick head gives you more potential use options.

It might be more expensive than most mattocks but, honestly, it’s worth the investment for a bit of luxury in the garden from time to time.

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • Secure head, with pick
  • Vibration damping handle
  • Trusted brand

Cons

  • Expensive

3. Spear & Jackson Mini Mattock with Hardwood Handle 

Spear & Jackson Mini Mattock with Hardwood Handle

Spear & Jackson Mini Mattock with Hardwood Handle

It might have a hardwood handle, rather than more modern fibreglass, but this short-handled mattock is ideal for casual gardeners who are just looking for a straightforward tool to ease their workload.

Like all hardwood tools, you’ll need to look after this mattock, and store it indoors and away from harsh weather, but it’s one of the most comfortable tools you’ll ever use for digging.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Easy to use
  • Comfortable
  • Well built
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Timber handled tools need to be stored properly

4. Spear & Jackson Pick End Fibreglass Handle Mattock

Spear & Jackson Pick End Fibreglass Handle Mattock

Spear & Jackson Pick End Fibreglass Handle Mattock

Because mattocks aren’t regulated tools, their design can vary, even within the same manufacturer, as this Spear & Jackson mattock proves. One side is a traditional mattock, while the other is a pick, making it ideal for both digging and prying roots and tough materials out of the ground.

If you’re not looking for a traditional mattock but still want a durable and useful multipurpose tool, this might be the one for you.

Pros

  • Improved reach
  • Useful pick end
  • Good value
  • Trusted brand
  • Durable manufacturing quality

Cons

  • Pick end can limit use

5. Garden Master Forged Steel Mattock

Garden Master Forged Steel Mattock

Garden Master Forged Steel Mattock

Garden Master’s forged steel mattock is just perfect for heavy duty digging. Its hardwood handle is perfectly shaped to accommodate the mattock head snuggly, and its double sided blades are useful for channelling and digging.

You get what you pay for with garden tools, and this well-proportioned mattock from Garden Master proves that, with a comfortable hardwood handle that looks good and performs well.

Pros

  • Durable head
  • Comfortable hardwood handle
  • Traditional mattock head
  • Good value

Cons

  • Mattock head could rust in time – forged steel
  • Heavy

6. Draper Fibreglass Mini Mattock and Cutter

Draper Fibreglass Mini Mattock and Cutter

Draper Fibreglass Mini Mattock and Cutter

On paper, this mattock from Draper should be up there with the best but, in reality, its handle leaves a lot to be desired. The head is perfect; well-cast, well designed, and well weighted. The handle is well manufactured and secure. But, it’s just not particularly comfortable.

If your main concern is practicality over comfort, then this is a great mattock, but if you prefer your tools to be easy to handle, look for something with a more ergonomically designed handle.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Well made
  • Practical double-edged head

Cons

  • Uncomfortable grip

7.  Cyclone Garden Mattock

Cyclone Garden Mattock

Cyclone Garden Mattock

Cyclone’s long handles garden mattock is ideal for deep beds, where traditional hoes and Dutch hoes aren’t quite enough to reach into the centre. The angled digging blade is ideal for weeding, while the sharp pick is great for prying bulky objects from the soil.

What stands out instantly though is the length, at nearly 1m long, making it one of the largest mattocks you can buy.

Pros

  • Very long handle
  • Easy to use
  • Comfortable for digging while standing or seated

Cons

  • Head is not very securely fitted

Our Mattock Top Picks for 2024

Top Rated Mattock

Best Mattock in Australia
Spear & Jackson Cutter End Fibreglass Handle Mattock


Not only is this mattock well made, it’s really nicely balanced too. I’ve always chosen my garden tools based on a mix of comfort and practicality, rather than focusing on one thing over the other, and it’s rare to find something that ticks all the boxes, but this Spear & Jackson Cutter End Mattock does that and more.

For a comfortable, practical and traditional mattock with modern materials, you won’t find a better mattock on a budget than this.

Premium Choice Mattock

Premium Choice Mattock in Australia
Fiskars Pro IsoCore Pick and Mattock


The Fiskars pick mattock is ideal for heavy duty work, and incredibly comfortable too. Capable of everything from light stone work to heavy ground work, its insulated handle makes tough jobs much more comfortable.

There’s a premium to pay for tools of this calibre, but if you want the best, there’s always a price. Thankfully, you’ll enjoy every second of this investment as, like me, you’ll end up using this Fiskars mattock over any other garden tool for 90% of garden jobs.

Best Value Mattock

Best Value Mattock in Australia
Spear & Jackson Mini Mattock with Hardwood Handle


If you’re happy with simple tools that get the job done, and you’re not fussed about finding premium or innovative tools, then this traditional mini mattock from Spear & Jackson could be the one for you. Its pick end is handy around the garden, while its digging blade is ideal for cultivating top soil.

Mattock Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a pickaxe and a mattock?

Pickaxes are designed for breaking through stone and lifting heavy roots from the ground. They are generally quite clumsy tools to use. Mattocks are generally smaller and more compact and can be used to chip and chisel soft stone, dig and chop through roots.

How do you dig with a mattock?

Mattocks have two faces, one for chipping and breaking, the other for slicing and digging. To dig rows and drills for vegetables, simply pull the flatter side of your mattock through the soil towards you, creating neat channels as you go.

What size mattock is best?

Mattocks come as hand tools, and long handled tools. Personally, I find shorter mattocks most useful in the garden, as they are more versatile and can be used in place of trowels and hand forks quite easily, reducing the need for multiple tools on the plot at any one time.

Can a mattock split wood?

Mattocks can be used to split dried wood and fire logs if you are in a bind without your axe or hatchet. Their blades are not as sharp, and they are not able to exert quite as much force, so they are not ideal for the job, but are capable.

Make splitting logs easier by reading our guide to choosing the best log splitters for 2024

How sharp should a mattock be?

Mattocks don’t need to be sharp to do their job. They have a fairly blunt tip on both sides, usually sharpened to about 45 degrees or less, as they split and dig using pointed force.

Why is a mattock called a mattock?

Mattocks are an old tool, likely introduced by the Saxons to Europe. They get their name from Proto-Indo-European translations of ‘met’ (to cut), which was later used in old English to refer only to cutting soil (‘mattock’, meaning fork).

How do you use a mattock to remove a tree stump?

Use your mattock to break up and drag away any soil surrounding the stump and its roots, then cut through old roots with an axe. If you have a sharpened mattock, or pick mattock, you can sometimes break smaller roots with that.

Then strike the mattock beneath the stump and use it to pry what’s left out of the ground. For a faster, more efficient way for dealing with stumps, check out our in-depth reviews and buying guide of the best stump grinders in Australia

How do you clean a mattock?

Mattocks, particularly old fashioned steel models, rust incredibly easily, so should be scrubbed back with a wire brush regularly. If they are looking generally dirty, clean them using soapy water and dry them thoroughly before putting them into storage.

Make Digging and Chopping Easier with the Best Mattocks for 2024

If you’re still on the fence about mattocks, think of this one final bonus; they’re great for your back. Rather than digging at 90 degrees to the ground, your arm is always parallel to the soil, as is the handle. That spreads the pressure of digging more evenly, and reduces how much you need to bend and twist to dig small areas of earth.

Far from being fiddly tools, mattocks are easy to use, and incredibly practical, replacing trowels, hoes, and spades all in one simple package. Any mattock is a useful investment, but the best will last you a lifetime.

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About the author 

Gary Clarke

Hi, I'm Gary Clarke, gardening enthusiast and former landscaper. I have had privilege of sharing my gardening knowledge at Aussie Green Thumb since early 2020.

I have a passion for using native Australian plants in Aussie gardens and I always try to promote growing fruit trees and vegetable gardens whenever possible.

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