Top Ten Essential Gardening Tools and What They Do

Top Ten Essential Gardening Tools and What They Do

No matter if you are first starting out or have been gardening for years a good set of tools are one of the most important things you need to have fun gardening. From pruning, weeding, planting, digging and harvesting, you need a tool that is right for the job.

It’s very easy to buy too lots of gardening tools if you don’t know which is one is best. These tools take up space and cost a lot of money and they might not even be the tools you need. In this article, we will show you the top ten essential gardening tools and what they do.

Top Ten Essential Gardening Tools and What They Do

1. Wheelbarrow

I can’t tell you how many times I have needed my wheelbarrow. Carrying things can be tiring especially if it’s a big load and when gardening you usually have to carry a lot. Doing all this carrying on your own can also get you hurt, again I can’t tell you how many times I pulled my back out before I finally got a wheelbarrow. It makes it so easy to carry and move large heaps of soil, mulch, gravel or anything garden related, even plants.

When looking for a wheelbarrow, you need one that is easy to handle, and again you need to consider what you are using it for. A light material like plastic may not last long, but is easy to handle. On the other hand, it cannot do heavy jobs. A steel wheelbarrow lasts longer and can do heavy jobs but will be heavier. We also recommend you get a wheelbarrow with two front wheels to make it more stable, it is really frustrating when you load your wheelbarrow up only to have ti topple the minute you try to go over a bump or around a corner.

2. Hand Trowel

This is another tool that is essential. It’s best for planting, digging and weeding. When buying a hand trowel, you need one that is strong and comfortable in your hand. Look for a stainless steel blade as they are not prone to rust and will will last longer, saving you money.

3. Pruning Shears 

Pruning shears are used for cutting off branches that are getting out of hand. They act like scissors but are much more robust. They are best used for green wood and plants. On the other hand, anvil pruners are used for deadwood as they can cause flesh wounds and injuries to live plants. When looking for garden shears, you need ones that are very sharp and fit easily in your hands. Not only because of handling but because you don’t need them destroying the rest of the plant while pruning.

As a side note if you want more information on the best pruning shears, check out our list of the best gardening shears.

4. Steel Fan-Shaped Landscape Rake

Now that you have finished your gardening, you want to pile all the rubbish in one area then spread mulch in your garden. A fan-shaped rake is what you are looking for. It has a wide shape that allows you to cover more ground at a time. They come in a variety of sizes and styles. Finding one that is adjustable might be helpful in your gardening.

5. Fork Hoe

When gardening is mentioned, this might be the tool that comes to mind first. The fork hoe is used in digging and planting, thus making it an essential tool in gardening. Again depending on your type of garden, a different type of hoe might be needed. Hoes are mainly used for preparing gardens and weeding. When finding a good hoe, you need one that is comfortable to handle and has a long reach. A sharp blade or forks to handle the rough grounds

6. Spade

Spades or shovels as they are commonly known are an essential tool for any gardener. You cannot remove soil from a hole without a spade of some kind (unless you have a tractor). They are used mainly to move dirt, lift dirt, or edging. A good spade needs to be stainless steel and strong and should have a firm handle so that it doesn’t break.

7. Loppers

These look like giant gardening shears and do something similar but have a lot more leverage and are therefore able to cut through thicker branches. Hedges can also be a pain for most gardeners especially during the rainy season when they grow very fast. Loppers can be a great tool to help in cutting down thick shrubs without hurting yourself.

You need to get loppers that have long handles which can cut hard to reach branches. Again the longer they are the better the leverage when cutting thick branches. Just like all the other tools, you need to consider the type of garden you have and what you need to use them for. If you don’t have shrubs in your garden, you need to consider small size loppers instead of the bypass type.

8. Garden Hose

Water is life, and this is not only for humans and animals. That’s why you need to get a hose that is long enough to reach even the farthest part of the garden. Additionally, find an adjustable nozzle that helps control the water pressure and also the speed at which water is being dispersed. We also recommend an expandable hose if you have a very large garden, it makes it easier to reach.

9. Weeding Tool

Just as the name suggests, it is used to remove weeds in your garden. This a tool that many gardeners have found to be essential in making their work easier. Instead of using your hand to uproot weeds and putting a strain on your back, the weeding tool is used to cut the weeds at the roots making it easy to cover more ground.

10. Hori Hori

Also known as a garden knife is a tool that works in two ways. Firstly, it has a serrated site that can be used to cut down stubborn weeds and roots. Secondly, it is used to cut strings, open bags, separate plants, plant bulbs and many more.

Importance of Gardening Tools

Whether large, small or medium-sized, gardening tools are essential for all gardeners. These tools can handle or accomplish what is not humanly possible. It would be so difficult working on a garden, without tools if you think about it. It is best advised to get the right tool for the task so you can avoid strain and ensure that the tool lasts longer. That being said, below are some of the main reasons why you should consider buying gardening tools.

  • They make work easier – e.g. a wheelbarrow makes it easier to transport manure or anything else around the garden. Without it, carrying items on your back makes you strain and wastes more time carrying one thing at a time as opposed to transporting a lot at once.
  • They also help in saving much energy for an individual – if you have the right tools, you are able to save so much energy. Additionally, the wrong posture while gardening will bring about back pain and other health avoidable complications.
  • They are much faster – tools help you work quicker and thereby saving a lot of time for you. No matter how much you would like to save in monetary terms, having an efficient gardening tool saves you a lot of time. You can always recover the money invested in the purchase of the tools from your harvest. Time, on the other hand, can never be recovered.

Top Ten Essential Gardening Tools and What They Do

Care and Maintenance of Garden Tools 

Now that you have your gardening tools, the big question now comes: can I manage to care and maintain the tools properly? This is because tomorrow you are going to need those tools. You don’t want to wake up and find that your Hori Hori rusted and cannot be used again, and then you have to go back to the shop.

Regular maintenance of garden tools is required to ensure continuity and productivity of the tools. Again, due to different infestations of bacteria and fungi, cleaning them ensures that they do not spread the infestation to other plants.

Again, keeping them clean and sterile ensures your safety in case you injure yourself. This means that you will not be affected by things like rust, bacteria and other infestation that may have been left on the tool. Here are some tips on how to care for your tools.

Rinse your digging tools after gardening and remove any caked-on residue off them. Also, wash with water to keep them clean and sterile.

Ensure that the loppers, shears, pruners are scrubbed properly with soap and water before storage. Ensure that you dry them thoroughly to avoid rust.

If by any chance the tools came into contact with dead or diseased plants or chemicals that could be harmful, soak them into bleach and water. Then rinse them in plain water and finally pass them in alcohol-based water for sterilization.

Linseed oil when boiled can be used to treat the wooden handles and protect the metalworking parts of the tools. Alternatively, when applied to the metal parts, the metal is protected from rusting.

By keeping a bucket of sand mixed with plant-based oil such as linseed oil, you can dip your blade, tines, or teeth into the sand several times. Make sure that the sand is damp and not wet for this exercise. Doing this applies the oil on the metallic part while giving it a quick and easy clean.

Don’t use petroleum products as they can be combustible. Even so, they can easily poison your soil.

Store your tools and a cool, dry and well-ventilated storage room.

What to Consider When Buying These Tools

When tending to your small kitchen garden or farm, you will need tools that can enable you to do your job easily and efficiently. There exists a large variety of different brands of the above-mentioned tools. There are also many places to get these tools like company websites, in hardware stores, or gardening centres.

Top Ten Essential Gardening Tools and What They Do

You can also get them by directly ordering from the manufacturer. But what is the ideal tool? It is advisable to consider a tool with the factors below, so as to avoid going back to the shops to look for a better tool to replace the last one. Which will honestly cost you more at the end of the day? Some of these important factors to consider are mentioned below:


You cannot compromise quality. Each tool requires knowledge of the best quality in terms of material and durability. It may, however, be difficult to distinguish the best quality given that the market is flooded with multiple brands. It is, therefore, best to listen to fellow gardeners and do some research on the best tools. Additionally, consider the durability guaranteed by the manufacturer. Also, a good tool will be easy to service and the spare will be equally easily available.

The Material

Among the topmost preferred materials by gardeners are stainless steel and forged steel. Stainless steel is the most preferred since it is also easy to clean and does not rust. Also, unlike other materials, it slides in and out of the soil with great ease. Forged steel is preferred by other gardeners because it is stronger, not heavy and is durable. Galvanized metal is also known to be durable. Other materials such as plastic, aluminum, fiber and carbon are known for being the lightest materials.

Cost of The Gardening Tools

The balance between a cheap and expensive tool is the quality of the tool. You don’t have to buy an expensive tool for efficiency. At the same time, a cheap tool may end up being more expensive in terms of repairing and buying a better tool. Interestingly, you may find good tools at a lower price in garage sales since you can strike a bargain. A good tool ensures healthy plants and a healthier you. With a good tool, you are able to avoid working strenuously and blisters as well.

One with A Try Out Before Purchasing

A tool that allows you to try out before purchasing is ideal. This would enable you to try out the weight of the tool in your hands. You will also have an idea of how the handle feels in your grip while working with it, before considering it for purchase. Additionally, you will be able to find out how this tool balances in your hands.

Tools with Interchangeable Heads

First, consider the handle. It should be comfortable for you and of good length. You can now buy the tool heads that are separated. These are such as folks or trowels. The price of these tools may be higher. However, they offer great service since you can change the handles to a shorter or longer one. This will depend on the kind of task you are carrying out. Convenience is highly guaranteed.


With longer handles, it is advisable to consider the length that is convenient to your back. Ensure you can work in a straight posture. Ensure that you do not bend too much using the tool. This will help you avoid straining your back and other health issues associated with too much bending.


For your grip, consider lighter tools. They are easy to work with. Before purchasing, test how the tool feels in your hand. Is it light enough and are the handles wide enough?

Care and Maintenance

Look for gardening tools of good material that are easy to clean. Moreover, those that are durable are more cost-saving. Ensure that the spares are easily available as well.

Power-Operated Gardening Tools

Needless to say, machines always make work easier. Whether electric, motor, battery, or powered in any way. They are fast, efficient and save a lot on your energy. However, consider the amount of weight you can work with and carry.


When considering the purchase of a certain gardening tool, like the hose pipe, a hoe or any other tool, it is important to have in mind this question: do I need another extra part to complement this tool. Example, when buying a hosepipe, do you need a regulator as well?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a gardening tool?

A gardening tool is any machine or equipment used in a small kitchen garden or large farm. They may be power operated machines or hand-held manually operated tools. They are of different kinds. They also serve various purposes for example: weeding, planting seeds or spreading chemicals among many others.

What oil can I use for my gardening tools?

The most advisable oil to use is boiled linseed oil. Petroleum oils are toxic and are left in the soil while using the tools. Linseed oil naturally comes from a plant called the flax plant. The best thing about this kind of oil is that it can be applied to both the wooden parts and the metallic parts of your gardening tools.

What do I use to sharpen my tools?

There are many sharpening tools available locally. However, the most preferred and affordable sharpening tool is a file. Specifically, the flat file. When sharpening your tools, ensure that you are wearing protective gear such as goggles and gloves. This will prevent the pieces of metal from the sharpening process to get into your eyes. Your hands will also be safe from cutting. At this time, it is also advisable to avoid any distractions such as phones to prevent accidents.

How do I clean my tools?

Cleaning, oiling and sharpening your tools is essential for durability, healthier plants and ease of use. Use warm water to clean your tools. A brush with stiff bristles will help you get rid of the dirt that is stuck on the tools. When it is all out, you can now scrub your tool. Additionally, you can incorporate some elbow grease in the cleaning. Once you are done, you can leave them to dry naturally. You can as well dry them using paper towels or a towel.

The grain of the wooden parts of a tool is bound to rise due to moisture from the garden. After your tools are dry, you can now use sandpaper to smoothen the wooden parts.

What are some of the essential hand tools to have in a garden?

Some of the essential hand-operable tools to have in a garden are a spade, trowel, Hori Hori, sprinkler, shears, hoes, rakes, among others. Ensure that these tools are light weight and have good handles. These make them easy to use.

What is the best way to store my tools?

Do not leave your tools outside at any time or leave them on the floor. You will need them again. After cleaning the, store your tools in a workroom, a pegboard, a garage, a shed or a basement. This enables the tools to remain dry and free from rust. Larger tools, trowels and small spades can be hung up in a well-ventilated area. A pegboard also ensures that the tools are stored in good order and are easily accessible.

What should I do to make sure my tools last longer?

To ensure that your gardening tools serve you longer, you use the tools only for its recommended use. Also, ensure proper cleaning, oiling, sharpening and storage. Most manufacturers will have the best maintenance guidelines for their products. Follow them. These two tips will ensure that your tools are durable and give you the best service.

How can I disinfect my tools?

After cleaning and drying the tools, disinfect them using bleach. Additionally, isopropyl alcohol and ethanol are also recommendable. You can wipe the tools with a cloth using any of these disinfectants. Another way is by dipping them in and then removing them to dry.

How do I remove rust from my gardening tools?

It is recommended that the tools are left overnight to soak in a mixture of water and vinegar. The ratio of the mixture should be 1:1. In the morning, scrub off the rust with a brush in circular motions. You can as well use steel wool in this process. After, rinse the tools first using soapy water, then with clean water.


Whichever type of garden you may have, these are the essential tools you need to use on a day to day basis. Whether your planting, pruning, clearing hedges or whatever it is, these are the most basic tools you need.

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