A good garden fork is a must-have tool for every gardener. Versatile and affordable, you can use it for various gardening tasks including digging, turning soil, weeding, aerating, and just about any landscaping project you can think of.
While it may seem like any fork is suitable for your needs, there are a few things you may want to consider first. There are lots of products to choose from, some better suited for specific tasks, so it helps to know a few things before you buy including what you need it for, the condition of your garden, and even your height.
To help you find the best garden fork for your needs, be sure to check out our recommendation for five of the best garden forks
Top Digging Forks Reviews
Sporting a unique head design and made from strong, durable yet lightweight materials, this is one of the best on the market for all kinds of gardening tasks. As you can see from the head, the design is not like most others, with the two central tines tapered towards each other.
Because of this unique design, the tines are even more efficient at piercing deep into the soil, penetrating faster and deeper than most others. It is especially effective for dealing with clumpy soil, easily breaking it down without sticking to the tine.
If you want a great tool for cultivating then this is well worth consideration!
Other impressive aspects include the fibreglass construction, with the handle and shaft made from strong but lightweight fibreglass. In fact, this is one of the lightest forks available, weighing less than 1kg!
Also, the oversized handle combines both a T and D shape handle, allowing you to use the most comfortable grip for any tasks. At 102cm, it is slightly longer than average, ensuring comfortable handling for longer periods.
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Silverline Border Garden Fork Review UK
If value for money is your priority, be sure to check out this affordable option. Coming with an excellent price and great construction, it offers the perfect balance between high performance and low cost.
As it is designed mostly for maintaining borders and beds, it does have a smaller design than some others, measuring 90cm, although this is fine for most people that aren’t too tall. Moreover, this compact design makes the tool lighter and better suited for working in confined spaces.
The head is made from enamelled steel, with the epoxy coating offering a durable finish, while the shaft is made from polypropylene. Both are strong but lightweight, with the tool weighing just 1.8kg, so you can use for longer periods without much effort.
There are four flat-sided, sharp-ended tines so it is good for digging, although it may struggle with tougher soil heavy in clay or roots. It is best left for routine maintenance on your borders and beds rather than lots of digging and cultivating.
That said, for such an affordable price it is hard not to be impressive with the tool, which offers some of the best value for money on the list.
Fiskars Light Digging Garden Fork
Fiskars are known for producing excellent quality tools and this digging fork is no exception. Made from quality materials and showcasing amazing construction, this tool is one of the most durable on the market.
Made from high-quality steel, the four tines are flat-sided with sharp ends, making it perfect digging around the garden. It easily penetrates most soil types, although it does function best with looser soil in beds and borders, while you can use it for light cultivation and weeding.
While rounded tines typically dig into lawns with more ease, the quality of the tines here mean that you can easily use the fork for aerating a lawn as well as digging soil.
The handle is made from aluminium, helping to keep the weight low for easier use over longer periods. It is D-shaped so easy to get a strong grip of, while the spacious foot grips mean you should find it easy to get enough force to dig deeper.
This is also on of the longest tools on the list, measuring an impressive 113cm in length. Taller people will certainly appreciate it, as it promotes proper posture without causing aches and pains, although shorter people may not find it the most comfortable to use.
Spear and Jackson Stainless Border Fork
As a renowned manufacturer of gardening and agriculture tools, Spear and Jackson know a thing or two about what it takes to make quality, lasting digging forks. This tool is made from quality materials and showcases excellent construction, making it likely to last for many years of hard use.
Made from mirror polished steel, the head of the fork features the standard four-tine design. These are flat sided with pointed ends, making it effective for digging deep into the soil, even those that are thick with clay and/or roots.
The coating makes the steel head rust-resistant, so it won’t deteriorate easily and should last for years. The handle and shaft are made from polypropylene, making it durable but lightweight for easier digging.
The fork head is somewhat smaller, so if you have large feet it may be tricky to get enough purchase when using the feet plate.
Measuring 97cm, it has a good length and should be comfortable to use for people of most heights. At 2kg it is on the heavier side, although the quality of the steel head and tines does make the slight weight increase worth it for most. Just be mindful if you tire quickly.
Fiskars Ergonomic Garden Fork
Another excellent offering from Fiskars, this is one of the more versatile options on the list, with the fork suitable for almost all your gardening needs. Made from quality materials and featuring an ergonomic design that emphasis comfortable use, this is a great option for those dealing with tougher digging challenges.
With both the head and shaft made from high-quality, welded steel, expect ample digging power for even the toughest soils. There are wide feet plates and the angle of shaft and angle make it much easier to get the purchase needed to penetrate and remove soils heavy in sand or clay.
At 1.2m, it is also one of the longer tools on the list, making it comfortable to operate for most people, even those that are on the taller side. The ergonomic handle design also ensures comfortable operation, with the D-handle having a unique angled position for easier use.
While it excels at digging, it is suitable for virtually any task you can think of, including aerating, weeding, transferring, transplanting, mulching, composting, and more. The strength and durability are so impressive that you can use it for both light and heavy duty tasks with ease.
Garden Fork Uses
As a highly versatile tool, there are many uses for it in and around your garden. In fact, there are so many different uses that you may want to consider what you are using it for, as some are designed to make specific tasks easier.
That said, you will find that the tool should be great for most gardening tasks that require a good fork. Here are some of the most common uses throughout the garden:
Digging and Moving Soil Around
Perhaps the most common use, the narrow and sharp tines on the fork are perfect for digging deep into soil, even if it has a lot of clay or roots. Moreover, the tines pierce through compacted soil with ease, making them more efficient at digging up soil compared to a spade.
Cultivating soil is a timeless garden practice where you break up and loose the hard upper layer of soil to prepare it for planting. The tines are ideal for this, easily digging into compacted soil and breaking it up to allow more air and water to pass through, leading to healthier plant growth.
Furthermore, cultivating helps break up weed sprouts in the soil, killing them off once they are exposed to the surface for too long. So, by cultivating your soil you do some major weed control ahead of the upcoming growing season.
Tilling is also possible, which is essentially cultivating but at a much deeper depth in the soil.
As mentioned, when using the tool to cultivate you remove a lot of weeds sprouts to prevent future growth, and this same method applies to more established weeds too. Again, the tines are the perfect shape to grab the entire weed, including all the roots, removing it completely from the soil without too much disruption.
Turning over a compost pile is an essential component of composting, ensuring it remains aerated enough to break down. There are fewer tools better suited for this, with the fork tines easily grabbing clumps of compost, allowing for easier aeration to encourage faster composting.
Moving a plant from one area of soil to another is often challenging without a suitable tool. Forks are great for this because they easily grip all delicate root system without causing any damage, ensuring safe and healthy transportation from one area to another.
Things to Consider When Buying a Garden Fork
Buying the first product you see is not always a good idea. Yes, these tools are versatile so one will work for many tasks, but it still helps to consider a few things before buying to ensure you get the right one for your needs.
Firstly, avoid buying anything that is too cheap. These are inexpensive tools, so you don’t need to spend too much to get something high quality that lasts for many years. If the price is incredibly low, it usually indicates the tool is made from cheaper materials and has poorer construction, making it more likely to break.
Now, here are some things to look out for when buying:
As the core component of this tool, you want to ensure that the tines on the fork are decent quality and suitable for your needs. You want the tines and fork head to be made from a strong and durable material, with hardened steel and carbon steel being good options for this.
Avoid products made from alloys with aluminium, as these are not the best for fork tines. The material is lightweight but malleable, so the tines may bend if used on anything too tough.
Not only should you consider the tine material but its overall shape and design. Flat tines are best for most gardening tasks that require digging and moving, as they are the right shape to penetrate the soil and turn it over.
However, some shapes are more suited for other tasks. For instance, round tines are not good for cultivating but great for aerating a lawn, while tines with blunt ends are suitable for harvesting deep rooted vegetables.
Finally, make sure there are four tines on the fork head. Anything more is necessary, being mostly reserved for harvesting crops or moving hay.
Generally, the longer the handle the easier it is to use. Anything too short may see you frequently bending over, increasing the chances of developing aches and pains after a long day in the garden.
Most products come with a standard 30”/74cm handle, which should be fine unless you are especially tall. Be mindful of anything shorter than this, otherwise you may be lurching over a lot when using it.
Also, consider the material used for the handle. This doesn’t need to be the same durable metal as the tines and head, as this would just make it too heavy and cumbersome to use. Instead, look for a strong but lightweight material such as wood, plastic, or carbon fibre. Be mindful that some plastic handles tend to break if they are too cheap.
Finally, consider the handle shape, although this is mostly down to personal preference. T and D shaped handles are available, the latter often considered more comfortable and durable, but again this is all down to your own preference.
Shaft and Construction
The shaft material is often the same as the handle, although this is not always the case. Regardless, you want a material that is strong and lightweight like the handle, avoiding anything that is going to add too much weight and make it tougher to use.
How the shaft connects to the head is important too, as this indicates how durable the tool is. For example, a riveted or bolted head offers plenty of durability, while single piece forks are also available and offer even more durability, although they are often heavier as a result.
Last update on 2022-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API