Digging Trowel Garden Trowels

Garden Trowels Buying Guide – Dig Small Holes with an Affordable Gardening Tool

Last Updated on October 24, 2022 by Editors

Gardening has become a hobby for millions of Americans. You’ve heard of spades and shovels, but did you know that there are also garden trowels? These handy little gadgets come in various shapes and types and are often used to dig holes or remove weeds from flower beds. They are gardening hand tools that you can use to complete many different tasks during your gardening sessions. However, if you are buying a trowel for gardening for the first time, picking a perfect one might be an overwhelming task for you.

Think about a trowel for gardening as any other type of garden hand tool. If you choose to buy one and it is the wrong type or has the wrong blade or handle material for your gardening needs, you will have to spend more money to purchase the correct one. In this guide, we will explore some important points to note before buying garden trowels, so you can choose the best trowel for gardening that best fits your needs.

wilcox 14 garden trowel best garden trowels
Wilcox 14 garden trowel – The Wilcox All-Pro 202S 14″ All-Pro Trowel 16-gauge thick stainless steel blade with a 14″ length and a non-slip heavy-duty plastic red handle. it’s a multipurpose tool that is made in the US and comes with a lifetime warranty. Check Latest Price

What is a Garden Trowel?

Garden trowel is a small garden tool with a flat or curved blade. It’s like a mini shovel or mini spade. It is a lightweight, portable and convenient one-handed garden tool. Generally, trowels for gardens are multi-purpose hand tools. Whether you need them to lift flowers, vegetables, seeds and other plants or dig holes at shallow depths, you are going to use them nearly every day.

What is the Function of the Garden Trowel?

Normally, gardening is difficult if you don’t have the proper hand tools. On the flip side, it is a lot easier to work in your garden if you use the right garden tool. The purpose of a small garden trowel is to dig the soil. You can use garden trowels to break up soil, loosen it and prepare it before you plant and dig holes.

If you want to plant seeds with precision, plant or transplant your flowers and other plants and remove nasty weeds, these hand tools for gardening are great to have. Moreover, you can use them to scoop soil, refill the holes, turn over and mix compost, fertilizer and manure.

However, you should have in mind that the trowels for gardening are small hand tools, This means that you can just use them to dig rather small holes, move a limited amount of material per scoop etc.

Where to Use Garden Trowels

Generally, there are many different garden trowel uses. If you ask a professional gardener, a specialized tool like a gardening trowel is necessary when you have to plant and transplant small plants and flowers. These small hand tools for gardening will help you when you do garden activities in confined spaces.

What is the difference between a garden trowel and spade?

The trowel tool allows precision when you are digging in and around plants in tight areas. Yes, it is similar to a shovel or spade but is smaller and narrower. Typically, you use it for digging small holes and moving dirt around in small spaces. On the other hand, a spade or shovel is designed to be used to create trenches and dig holes in larger areas.

In addition, sometimes it is uncomfortable to use a shovel or spade to do some work on your garden beds. On the other hand, a hand garden trowel tool will help you to avoid such pains.

Who Makes the Best Garden Trowel?

You don’t necessarily need a special troweling tool for your garden, but it does make things easier. Trowels are useful for moving dirt around, digging holes, and even planting seeds. If you’re just starting out in gardening, then you probably don’t need anything fancy.

However, if you plan on doing serious gardening, then you’ll want a quality trowel. A good garden trowel is going to be lightweight, durable, and comfortable to use. You want something that feels sturdy in your hand and won’t break easily.

Wilcox Garden Trowel

Wilcox All-Pro is a manufacturer that specializes in designing heavy-duty garden tools. The trowel tools are made in Iowa, USA and have excellent quality and durable design. The brand makes some of the best garden trowels. Our favorite is the Wilcox 14 garden trowel!

Fiskars Garden Trowel

The Finish company makes some of the best tools around. Fiskars makes a wide variety of tools including garden tools like grass shears. Most of their gardening products are durable and reliable.

DeWit Trowels

DeWit designs effective and durable hand tools for gardening such as trowels and bulb planters. They make many different types of hand tools. Dewit garden tools are made in Kornhorn, a small village in the Netherlands. If you are shopping for the best heavy duty garden trowel, then make sure sure to check the company’s tools.

DeWit Tulip Trowel Garden Trowels
The DeWit Tulip Trowel. Made of boron steel, has an ash wood handle and excellent build quality. Check the latest price at Amazon.

Radius Garden Trowel

Even though most tools of the brand are made in China, Radius Garden has some of the greatest gardening tools available. The brand is famous for its root slayer product line which includes hand trowels. The best hand garden trowel with serrated edge is made from Radius Garden.

Different Types of Garden Trowels

When you are searching for the best garden trowel tool for your garden activities, you should consider the type. There are some specialized types of trowels for gardens on the market that will make you do your gardening jobs with even more ease.

1. Planting trowels

The planting or transplanting trowels have narrower heads than other hand trowels for gardening. This narrow head enables them to direct seeds in planting holes. Additionally, you can use the plant trowels to dig in your vegetable or flower beds and transplant plants from –  or to – other areas.

2. Digging trowels

Garden trowels for digging are small garden spades. These digging garden tools have a blade design that enables them to penetrate soil easier than other gardening trowels. Usually, the hand tools that belong to this type of gardening trowels have a sharp blade.

metal garden trowel to dig soil and dirt garden trowels
A metal garden trowel tool to dig soil and dirt

The blade has a sharpened or pointed tip that helps the blade to cut through soil. Some of these soil digging tools have serrated edges with saw “teeth” on the sides of their head that helps them to cut through tough roots even easier.

3. Weeding trowels

Typically, these hand weeding tools have narrow and flat heads that help them to get rid of weeds without much hassle.

4. General-purpose garden trowels

It is OK to have trowels of each type in your garden tool shed. However, most of the times you don’t need all of them. Typically, one or two simple garden trowels are sufficient. These hand trowels for gardening are equally great to dig, transplant, scoop material or remove weeds. Generally, these are the best garden trowels to have. Some of them even have a unique design.

What Should I Look for in a Garden Trowel?

Apart from choosing a general-purpose garden trowel tool or a more specialized type, there are several more important considerations you need to make before buying one. Therefore, you need to choose the best garden trowel for your needs. Like other hand tools for gardening, the correct material of blade and handle is a crucial factor for your gardening trowel. If you choose the right trowel for your garden, it will take a long time before you think of replacing it. Below are the most important considerations for anyone looking to get things done with a garden trowel.

Blade materials

Nothing makes gardening more frustrating than working with the wrong tool. Even the best plastic or fiberglass garden hand trowels are not able to dig the type of soil that trowels with metal heads can dig.

  • Fiberglass and plastic
    Typically, garden hand trowels with blades made of plastic or fiberglass are rather light duty. They bend and deform very easily when you are not using them in soft, loose soils. On the other hand, they don’t rust like some gardening trowels with metal blades.
  • Steel and Aluminum
    The metal hand trowels for gardening that are made of stainless steel are easy to clean and rust resistant. Their maintenance is very easy. The same applies to the aluminum ones. Gardening trowels with blades made of carbon steel maintain their cutting edge longer. However, you have to oil them very often because they rust very easily.
  • Titanium
    There are few garden trowels with blades made of titanium. We mean solid titanium and not a gimmick one like “titanium coating”. They are lighter than steel ones, they don’t rust and soil does not stick on them. Moreover, they are extra durable and as strong as the steel ones. Unfortunately, you have to spend a small fortune to purchase one. Nevertheless, if you plan to buy a hand trowel to use every day and do not have a problem spending much more money, then you should consider purchasing the best garden trowel you can afford.
plastic garden trowel to dig soil and dirt garden trowels
A plastic garden trowel to dig soil and dirt.

Blade width and length

Longer and broader blades will help you to move soil out of the way quicker. On the flip side, garden trowels with shorter and narrower heads can move only a small volume of soil with each scoop . However, trowels that have narrower blades are the best to use if you want to use them to dig up and remove weeds.

Handle material

Metal (usually aluminum), plastic, fiberglass and wood are the usual materials for garden trowel handles. Our personal preference is the traditional wood handle garden trowel because wood is a natural shock absorber and we like the feel of wood when we hold it. However, wooden handle trowels for gardening need some extra care. For example, you must use oil to finish the wooden handle once a year or sand it when needed.

Handle length

There are few garden trowels on the market that have very long handles. Most of the long handled trowels look like small shovels! The longer length of the handle gives you additional leverage when you try to pry small rocks.

metal garden trowel to move soil and dirt garden trowels
A steel garden trowel to move soil and dirt.

Extra goodies

  • Many handles have ergonomic designs that make the garden trowels more comfortable to use.
  • Also, many trowel’s handles have a hole that you can use to hang the hand tool for more convenient storage.
  • Furthermore, there are many garden trowels on the market that have measure marks stamped on the surface of their blade. This is an extremely handy feature because it helps you to measure the depth  in inches of the holes that you just dug with your trowel. In the United States, most gardening trowels use incremental marks based on the imperial system. However, some models on the market have both the imperial and the metric systems.

Price of garden trowels

Hopefully, most hand held garden trowels on the market are very affordable. In our opinion, when you have to choose between a 10 dollars trowel for gardening and a superior garden trowel that costs just a few bucks more, then choose the best. In the long run there is a big chance that it will save you money because it might last longer. Moreover, sometimes the expensive models are more effective to use.

Where to buy garden trowels

Amazon has a wide list of the best garden trowels for sale. There you will find stainless steel garden trowels with inches, small, narrow, with ergonomic design, and more. Need more than one? Opt for the garden trowel set when you buy garden trowels.

How do I Clean my Garden Trowels?

If you’ve been using your garden trowel for a while, then you know that it gets dirty over time. To keep it clean, you should wash it regularly. Use water to clean your trowel, and let it dry before storing it away.

How do I Care for my Garden Trowel After Cleaning it?

After washing your gardening tool, you should store it somewhere safe where it won’t get wet. Make sure to dry it thoroughly before putting it back in storage. If you live in a humid area, then you might want to put your trowel in a sealed container to prevent moisture damage.

What Can I Use Instead of a Garden Trowel?

Gardeners often use these tools to dig holes for planting their seeds and transplanting seedlings. However, here are some alternatives to using a garden trowel tool.

1. Shovel or Spade

Shovels and spades are awesome alternatives to garden trowels. Use your spade to dig holes and your shovel to scoop out and move soil.

2. Post-hole Diggers and Dig Bars

For deep holes use a posthole digger or an earth auger. If you meet obstacles grab a digging bar and use it to remove them

3. Garden Hoe

Garden hoes are great for weeding and breaking apart clumps of soil. They are also great for loosening compacted soil.

4. Garden Fork

Garden pitchforks are great alternatives to trowels. They are great for aerating, turning over soil and compost, breaking soil clumps of soil or dirt clods, and spreading mulch.

5. Your… Hands!

If you don’t want to use any gardening tools, then you should consider using your hands. Using your hands is probably the easiest way to get rid of weeds with small roots and move a small amount of soil around. Just make sure to wear protective gloves!

6. A Manual Weed Wacker

If you need to remove deep-rooted or other stubborn weeds then a manual weeder is the best gardening tool. Or, use a weed rake.

In Summary

The garden trowel is an essential hand tool for gardening. Once you know what features to look for in your trowel garden tool, the rest is just a decision based on your garden’s soil type or your budget. Look for the type of garden trowels you are most interested in. Finally, choose a garden trowel with a depth gauge on its blade if you don’t like to carry a measurement tape while you are doing gardening tasks.

Gardening is a relaxing activity and whether you are a hobbyist, a beginner or a professional gardener, you should seek the most convenient way to complete your gardening work. The best garden trowels are sturdy, they can dig and make a hole to plant new plants, remove weeds, scoop soil, and will last you a very long time.

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