When you are shopping for garden tools you want to buy ones that are going to last and not break, meet your needs to do the job you are using them for, ergonomically make them work for your body size and shape, and get the best value for the money spent.
When using hand tools in the garden you will put them under a lot of stress since the ground may have rocks, clay soil, or just compressed soil that you are digging in and the last thing you want to do is have your hand tool bend or break from this.
I will go into detail about what you need to look for and what I would recommend are the best garden tools for you to purchase.
Best Materials used in making Handtools
When researching hand tools you want tools that are made of strong materials to hold up to the work you need them to do.
The first thing to evaluate when choosing hand tools is to look at what the blade and handle are made of to know if they will hold up to the job.
Aluminum blades are light but very weak and they will not hold up to the job intended. Stay away from these even though the cost is very low.
The strongest materials for the blades are forged steel, carbon steel, or stainless steel, in most cases they will be more expensive but they will also last you much longer than Aluminum.
Evaluate the way the tool is made is the joints between the blade and handle loose or strong, if it is not strong it will be more likely to break.
Next, you need to know what the handle is made of, plastic is not as strong and does not absorb shock when put under pressure. A composite of fiberglass is better but still may not absorb the shock the best. Wood is the best for strength and absorbing the shock when digging.
Now that you know what type of materials the tools should be made of you can move along to the next steps in choosing the best hand tools.
The fit of handtool to meet your needs
Each tool is not made universally to fit everyone, one tool that fits a man with larger hands does not fit a woman with smaller hands, so it is important to go out to try the hand tool to see how it feels in your hands even if you are not going to buy it from that particular store. There are also online businesses that will make them to fit you by having you answer some questions about your size and hand size to fit the tool to you.
When you pick up the tool determine how it fits your hand, you want a tool that is comfortable in your hand and not too large or too small when you hold it.
Next, you want to evaluate the weight of the tool, if it is too heavy you will not be able to work very long using the tool, again you want to only evaluate the tools that are made out of the strongest materials which will weigh more but you still want a hand tool that is not too heavy.
Once you have found the best fitting tool and the tool brand made out of the correct material your choice is to buy from a local shop or go online to find the tool. It can be worth your time to research since you may find a better price online or you can use that price to negotiate with the local shop to get a better price.
My recommended brand of hand tools
These recommendations are based on the tools meeting or exceeding my expectations in personal use highlighted by an *, and those that I have determined are made of the highest level of materials while still being a good value based on the price. You will have to determine if they are made to fit you since that is a personal choice I cannot determine for you.
*T Fisher hand tools
Forges their garden tools in Bozeman Montana since 1999, Tuli Fisher is the owner and is a member of the British Artist Blacksmith Association his tools have been recognized for their style, versatility, and craftmanship. Their tools are made with forged steel that is handcrafted.
They can be purchased directly from them or through many high-end garden shops. There are many tools to choose from that will meet your gardening needs.
I own several of these hand tools and I highly recommend them for their fit and durability. The price is comparable to other high-end garden tools and these are tools you will pass along from generation to generation.
- Great price
- GEL GRIP cushions the hand for maximum comfort
- Sized to fit your hand
- Stainless steel tools
Ames tools are made in the USA since 1774, they are crafted with gel grips made for an ergonomically fitting hand grip cushioning your hand. The blades are made of stainless steel for durability.
They can be purchased at many large gardening centers or online. They are less expensive than hand-forged steel but I have found them to hold up to daily work in the garden and have a very comfortable fit.
Red Pig Tools
They hand forge the steel to make your tools, building them to be strong and sharp to fit the user. They are handmade in Oregon. They are known for making custom tools and repairing those old tools that need special care.
The handles are made with wood to fit and look great.
Their website provides you with customizing the tool to fit your height to make it one of the best ergonomically correct tools you can buy.
You can purchase products from their website.
Even though I have not purchased and used any of these tools yet, they are on my short list of companies to purchase future hand tools or larger tools needed for gardening.