Best Garden Hand Tools: List of Esential Tools and Their Uses

garden hand tool - cutting shears

Not everyone is blessed with a green thumb.

Luckily with enough practice and the right equipment everyone is able to take part in the rewarding activity that is gardening.

Being one of the most important practices of a self-reliant lifestyle, it is important to educate yourself on the problems that could arise while growing your own plants and which garden hand tools are the best to facilitate the transition from becoming a novice gardener to a professional grower.

Gardening has grown significantly in the past few years. Once thought of as a practice limited to those with land to spare, it is now an activity that can be carried out from the comfort of a small city balcony maybe even a windowsill.

Gardening has become the next step to self-sufficiency for most millennials. Following I will highlight some of the best garden tools to make your experience rich instead of frustrating.

Best Garden Hand Tools - Our List

If you lack experience in the gardening department it’s important to head to a home improvement store to buy your first set of tools.

Even though you can’t plant peppers or dig a hole you can touch the tools and mimic how you are going to use them. You don’t want to end up buying something that will result in discomfort later. Many online stores are available and this is a great way to go if you have a busy schedule but before purchasing tools online make sure that they are returnable.

Gardening Gloves

Highest rated Gardening Gloves

best gardening gloves

The first set of problems we might encounter is not directly with the plants but with ourselves. In order to prune, plant, cut, etc. you will use your hands.

Wether dealing with thorny plants or those that cause skin irritations you want to protect your hand as much as possible. Gardening gloves are a must from the moment you start planting. They will not only protect you if you have cuts, they usually prevent cuts and nail breakage.

They keep you hands warm in cold weather and maintain your hands warm and dry. Most importantly they prevent contact with soil-borne and bacterial infections. Depending on the weather, season and kind of work you are executing there are various glove types to choose from.

(Related post: Best Waterproof Gardening Glvoes)

Garden Shovel and Garden Hand Trowel

Best Selling Garden Shovel

radius garden shovel

Highest Rated Garden Trowel

fiskars garden hand trowel

One common issue gardeners encounter is plant death, poor growth and slow decline after transplanting a plant.

Many times these issues are due to not digging a correct hole for the plant. In part this is due to miscalculation as well as using the incorrect tool to dig the planting hole.

When digging holes for trees and shrubs I recommend using a round-headed shovel, it is more precise and allows you to work faster when it comes to bigger projects.

Many people confuse shovels and spade, using the terms interchangeably but spades, can be used for digging, serve more for moving soil and slicing though soil and roots.

Trowels and Soil scoops are adequate for smaller projects, when you are digging holes for seeds or transplanting smaller plants such as cacti.

(Related posts: How to clean rusty garden tools, Sharpening garden tools)

Garden Leaf Rake

Highest Rated Leaf Rake

adjustable garden leaf rake

Depending on where you live you will find that each location has it’s ups and downs when it comes to gardening.

In places where there are various seasons you will encounter tree’s going bare, filling your garden with dried up leaves. After all the hard work and organizing required in gardening, it’s important to maintain cleanliness.

An essential in your tool kit is a rake. Usually inexpensive, you can purchase one to remove leaves and falling debris. Take all the leaves and add them to your home compost pile.

Pruning shears

Highest Rated Pruning Shears

fiskars pruning shears

Most growers know what pruning is but don’t fully grasp the goals of it.

Pruning improves quality of foliage and stems. In decorative gardening it trains the plant, promoting a certain shape. no matter the purpose of you plants, pruning will maintain plant health allowing air flow and light penetration.

Purchasing the correct pruner can avoid damage to plants and discomfort for the gardener.

Long handled pruners are recommended for branches more than 3/4 inch thick while a small hand pruner will allow you to cut back clumps, larger flowers and scoring and slicing root balls before transplanting.

Weeding Tool

Hori Hori Garden Knife

hori hori knife

Weeding is one of the controversies of the gardening world.

Though most go with the notion that weeding you plant is the best others state that weeds are a natural part of the garden habitat. Weeds compete with the plants that you are trying to grow, consuming nutrients and water meant for your cherished plants.

A fight with weeds will leave your plants weakened so if you are interested in avoiding the battle I suggest investing into a trowel, weeder, or a dag. These are all short handled tools that will allow you to work a bit faster since they are overall easier on the wrist.

One excellent tool to have is the hori hori. Though there are tools meant only for weeding, I mention the hori due to its excellent ability to perform five jobs. Aside from it’s ability to weed, it can be used for digging, planting, cutting roots and dividing small plants, as well as using it as a crevice tool.

(Related post: Best Japanese Garden Hand Tools)

Additional Recommended Tool

Though planting is an ancient practice technology has been incorporated to improve the life of plants. If your plant does not receive enough light it’s leafs will start losing the rich green color and start getting lighter.

Lack of light will stunt the plant’s growth or cause it to lean looking for a way to get closer to natural light. One way to avoid this is by purchasing an EasyBloom plant sensor.

plant sensor being set up
plant sensor connected to laptop

It’s a stake that you stick in the soil near the patch of garden you want to plant in, after a few days you plug the usb drive from the EasyBloom into your computer and it will provide you with data concerning the area. The amount of sunlight and moisture in the area, allowing you to decide what is the best plant for that patch.


The benefits of gardening are many.

It fights depression, raises your self-esteem and improves brain health.

As with any hobby tools help. They will improve the condition of your plants and impulse you to continue your practice. I recommend trying some of the mentioned tools in your garden and noting the differences after incorporating them.

All things grow when love, energy and time are invested in them. To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow!

About the Author Susan Clark

Susan Clark is our editor-in-chief. She’s a proud mother of two loving home improvement activities.

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