Last Updated on June 19, 2023 by Editors
Garden tool handles or shafts are an essential part of any gardener’s toolkit. They make the tools more comfortable to use, which in turn makes gardening easier and more enjoyable. However, as time goes on, a garden tool handle will inevitably wear out or break. When this happens, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. Replacement garden tool handles are available in a variety of lengths and styles.
This article will explore the different materials of handles that are available for garden hand tools. It will also discuss the pros and cons of each material so that you can make an informed decision about which is best for your needs and your hands.
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The most popular garden tool handles
Garden tool handles come in a wide variety of materials with pros and cons for each. The most common material is wood, followed by metal and fiberglass. Below is an overview of each material type with examples so you can see what to expect when you purchase a handle for your tool:
1. Wood garden tool handles
The most common material for garden tool handles is wood. Wood garden tool handles are often made from yellow birch, oak, maple, hickory, or ash wood.
Wooden handle advantages
- Wooden handles are both inexpensive and durable.
- They do not get hot during the summer or very cold during winter.
- Wood handles feel great and wood acts as a natural shock absorber.
- In the case you need a wood handle replacement you will find it without trouble.
Generally, wood garden tool handles are affordable, feel better and wood can absorb shocks which is great for striking tools. For example, it is more common to find a maul or a gardening axe with a wooden handle than an axe with a steel or fiberglass handle.
If the wooden handle of your garden tool is not severely damaged, then you can repair it with ease. In addition, you can replace them if they are damaged beyond repair. If you need a replacement for garden tool handles, you can find it almost anywhere.
Wooden handle disadvantages
- They are, however, extremely sensitive to environmental factors such as moisture.
- They are subject to weathering or rot.
- Furthermore, the wood handle must have a straight wood grain pattern or else it will break.
- The wooden handles require some maintenance in order to remain functional and safe to use.
2. Fiberglass handles
Fiberglass tool handles for garden tools are very popular these days. There are several factors that contribute to the popularity of fiberglass.
Fiberglass handle advantages
- They are durable.
- Fiberglass handles are waterproof.
- They do not splinter.
- They are resistant to corrosion.
- Require minimal maintenance.
- Fiberglass handles are lightweight.
- They are available in bright colors.
Fiberglass handle disadvantages
- Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight or high temperatures causes severe damage to fiberglass handles.
- They cannot be easily replaced.
- They are expensive.
- Many inexpensive fiberglass handles are really cheap in quality.
3. Metal garden tool handles
Generally, the metal handles of garden hand tools are made of steel or aluminum. The aluminum handles are lighter in weight. Their weight makes them ideal for garden tools that are used for light gardening tasks.
Steel handles are more common than aluminum. They are heavier and more suited for garden tools that need to be heavy in order to penetrate or pack down soil. However, the feedback is their most important disadvantage because most of them are hollow.
Steel handle advantages
- Steel handles are durable.
- They are strong.
- Heavier than wooden or fiberglass handles. The extra weight can make some gardening tasks easier.
Steel handle disadvantages
- Steel handles get extremely hot in the summer and very cold in the winter.
- The hollow steel handles vibrate and recoil.
- They will rust.
What is better? Wood or fiberglass handle?
Overall, fiberglass handles for garden tools are better than wooden handles. They are waterproof and more durable than wooden ones. However, garden tools with fiberglass handles are more expensive. Furthermore, the fiberglass handles (replacements) are more expensive than wood garden tool handles and more difficult to replace.
Which is the best material for tool handles? Our suggestion:
If you have the budget opt for garden tools with fiberglass handles. Otherwise, stay traditional and use tools with wooden handles. Their price and other benefits makes them the clear winner for most garden hand tools.
In our hands-on experience, there is an important reason why most people prefer wooden handles for their hand tools. In the beginning of this article we mentioned that they can be repaired with ease. For example, you can use screws, nails or handle wedges to secure broken tool handles.
Where to find replacement garden tool handles?
Due to the nature of the garden tools’ use their handles will eventually need to be replaced someday. In case you need to replace them, visit your local hardware store. If you are going to buy handles online then check Amazon. There you will find garden tool handles and d-grip handle replacement for every need and every budget.
How do I protect my garden tool handles?
If you want your garden tool handle to last longer you should do some proper maintenance. The steel handles can rust and wooden handles can be damaged by moisture if you do not take good care of them. Fiberglass handles do not require any special care.
Wood handle maintenance
- Remove the dirt and use a dry clean rag to dehumidify it really well
- Finish the handle once a year with a finishing oil (use linseed/flaxseed oil) to protect it.
- Furthermore, the wooden handle may require light sanding with fine sandpaper to remove splinters.
- Store it in a location that has dry environment
Steel garden tool handle maintenance
- Clean your steel handle and use a cloth to dry it.
- The best way to protect a steel handle is to lubricate it with boiled linseed oil or WD-40. Make sure to remove any rust first.
- Store it in a dry location like a garden tool shed.
Garden tool handles are essential components of any gardener’s toolbox. They are made of wood, metal or fiberglass. If you have the money, choose tools that have fiberglass handles. Alternatively, choose tools with wooden handles because the replacement garden tool handles low price and other advantages that we mentioned in this article.
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