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The best garden tools in 2023

Make light of routine gardening with our selection of the very best tools for digging, cutting, pruning and tending your garden

Gardening is almost impossible with your bare hands, and a miserable experience with poor tools. Getting some of the best tools into your shed won’t make you a better gardener overnight, but it will make for a faster, more efficient, and far more pleasant experience.

Whether it’s a fork or a pair of secateurs, a little investment of time and money will lead to you owning a tool that will last and be a pleasure to use. While it may be possible to buy something cheap from the supermarket, these are rarely well built and will bend, break or seize up as soon as you put any strain on them, or lose their sharp edge quickly. Small parts can fall off, paint can flake, rust creeps in. There’s a maxim that is well worth remembering here: buy cheap, buy twice.

Spend a little time researching, and a little more money on a purchase, and you’ll end up with something that’s fit to be used – after all, we don’t buy tools to hang them in the shed and look at them. Tools need to stand up to the rigours of digging, chopping, raking, and all the other jobs gardens demand. They need to be cared for too, but start with decent materials and that becomes an easier task.

So what are the best garden tools that everyone should have in the shed? Here are a few suggestions of our tried and tested favourites.

READ NEXT: Keep your tools safe with these top garden sheds

Best garden tools: At a glance

The best garden tools you can buy in 2023

1. Wolf-Garten Multi-change: The best multi-tool system

Price: Handles (~£5-£50); Tools (~£10-£65) | Buy now from Wolf Garten

We are huge fans of this tool system from Wolf Garten. The idea is that you buy a handle, maybe two or more, and then purchase different attachments to click onto them.

There are many types of handle, aluminium and wooden, telescopic, and different lengths. The range of tools that is available is broad, too. There are multiple versions of every type of head you could want: cultivators with a hoe on the back for a versatile weeding tool, dutch hoes, double hoes, a soil miller, seed sower, ten different rakes and two tools to remove moss from lawns. There’s also a lawn edger, two trowels, two weed extractors, a pair of tree loppers and a fruit picking basket. There’s even an end to wash your windows and another to fish in your pond with.

There aren’t options for a simple garden spade or fork, but this isn’t a huge surprise: these digging tools would strain the quick-release connection between handle and head too much. In any case, the metal tang and quick release mechanism grip firmly onto the available tools, and we’ve had no problem with it ever bending in use with the heads we’ve tried.

The beauty of this system is its versatility. You only need a few ends to make a solid tool lineup, as many do multiple jobs. And if you want to put a trowel on a six-foot handle, there’s nothing stopping you – it makes a superb weeding tool. Combine an 18in handle and a double hoe and you’ve got a garden tomahawk that’s great for removing weeds between plants you want to keep and smoothing the soil over afterwards.

Key specs – Length: Depends on tool; Weight: Depends on tool; Materials: Wood, aluminium, plastic

Buy now from Wolf Garten

2. Bulldog Wavy Blade Hedge Shears: Best cheap hedge shears

Price: £13 | Buy now from Zoro

This small pair of shears is lightweight and easy to control, yet its blades are still capable of dealing with just about any type of hedging, as long as it’s not too thick.

The blades have a wavy edge, useful for trapping foliage in the chopping zone and making sure it gets cut. Blade tension is adjustable, and there are both bumpers between the handles to absorb the shock of clicking them together, and the handles themselves have a soft-touch coating for a more comfortable grip.

The only problem with these shears is that the relatively smooth handles can be a bit slippery if you’re gardening in all weathers and not wearing gloves.

Still, they’re well made, and come with a blade cover for when they’re not being used.

Key specs – Length: 90cm; Weight: 900g; Materials: Steel, plastic, rubber

Buy now from Zoro

3. Roamwild Multi-Digger: Best garden fork

Price: £60 | Buy now from Amazon

The job of a garden fork is to lift the soil, breaking it up and leaving it crumbly, with smaller lumps than before. We’re amazed, therefore, why more people haven’t thought of the Multi-Digger’s primary innovation: it has extra blades between some of its tines to ease the breakup process.

It’s also light as a feather thanks to its fibreglass construction, while the large ergonomic handle and gently curved shaft allow for a more efficient digging action.

It’s the business end that should get all the accolades, however. Not only are there extra blades, but the central pair of tines are formed into a spike, allowing you to attack the soil without fear that your fork will become clogged with lumps of soil.

It’s hugely satisfying to see this kind of improvement to an ancient design, applying 21st-century ideas and materials to a simple amalgam of wood and iron. There’s a similarly-designed spade too, with a saw on the blade for cutting through roots.

Key specs – Length: 102cm; Weight: 1.6kg; Materials: Fibreglass

4. Fiskars Solid Spade Pointed: Best garden spade

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

Another ancient design, and another attempt at improvement. Just sticking a pointy end on a spade improves its digging ability markedly, especially during the early stages of hole creation when you’re still breaking the surface.

There’s a version of this spade with a rounded edge too, if you want to use it for edging but the pointed tip is the real standout feature if what you want to achieve is a hole in the flower bed. The long handle will help taller people to dig without hurting their backs, and Archimedes would surely approve of the extra leverage this applies to the soil whatever your inside leg measurement.

Spades are at their weakest where the blade joins the handle, and there have been a number of different approaches to this problem over the years. The Fiskars Ergonomic moves the join to the blade itself, where it’s welded to the shaft, which runs up through a plastic sheath to the D-shaped plastic handle on top. It’s not impossible to bend it, but it can put up with a lot of force that would bend the joint if it was halfway up the shaft.

Key specs – Length: 117cm; Weight: 1.8kg; Materials: Boron steel, plastic

5. Gentleman’s Hardware 6-in-1 Wooden Garden Multi-Tool: The best garden multi-tool

Price: £26 | Buy now from Amazon

Rather than carry a pair of secateurs, many gardeners prefer a multi-tool that combines a pruning tool with other blades, often stored in the handles. This way, when you’re pruning your roses, you don’t need to swap to a knife to cut a piece of string to tie up an errant shoot, and if you need to cut through a woody stem, there’s a saw blade in there too.

A close cousin of the classic Leatherman beloved of builders, these tools combine several cutting appliances in one, and fold up so the blades are completely covered by the handles.

Wilkinson Sword makes one with a plastic case, but the best we’ve seen is this model by Oliver Bonas, which has wooden handles and a brass and titanium finish. Tools include secateurs, knife, saw, weeding tool and bottle opener. The blades aren’t very large, but they will do the job, and it’s much more convenient to carry than five separate blades.

Key specs – Length: 10cm; Weight: Unknown; Materials: Wood, aluminium, plastic

Buy now from Amazon

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