Garden Tools: Which Tool Is Suitable For What?

The range of garden tools is huge, there is a suitable tool for every activity. The equipment depends on the size of the garden. But also the soil conditions and the type of planting are decisive in the selection. The better the quality of the garden tools, the longer they will last. Ergonomically shaped tools not only make work easier, they also prevent damage to health. To avoid back pain, make sure you maintain an upright posture when gardening.

Gartengeräte liegen in einer Schubkarre im Garten. © fotolia Foto: K.-U. Häßler
Buying good quality is worthwhile – usually they last longer.

Good grip and firm handle

When buying garden tools, you should check whether they fit well in the hand and offer grip security. The easiest way is to test different tools for their handling in the garden center. High-quality products do have their price, but the investment is usually worth it. Nothing is worse than having to discover after a few weeks that, for example, the rose or hedge shears no longer cut sharply or the handle causes blisters on the hands.

Ergonomische Gartenschere © NDR

Tools for the ground : spades

Spaten © picture-alliance / Helga Lade Fotoagentur GmbH
Handling the spade usually requires the full use of the body.

The spade – a classic among garden tools. It is mainly used for digging up heavy soils. But the spade is also used for work such as transplanting perennials and woody plants and cutting off lawn edges. Full physical effort is required for handling. The length of the spade is ideal if the handle reaches to the elbow when the arms are hanging down.

Spades with aluminum handle are useful. They not only make the heavy work of digging easier, but also usually have another big advantage: the handle can be adjusted to the respective size of the worker. The spade should only go up to the hip – the shorter or longer the handle, the more strenuous the work with it.

Spade, digging fork and hoe: wooden handles are best suited


Almost as important as the spade is the shovel – from picking up and transporting sand, soil, compost to gravel. The digging fork belongs in every well-stocked tool collection. The fork should preferably be made of iron or stainless steel, the handle of wood. This is because a wooden handle cushions better than one made of fiberglass or metal. In addition, it is easier to replace. Of course, the hoe should not be missing. It is used to smooth the soil. The heavier the soil, the smaller the hoe blade should be.

Loosening, crumbling, smoothing: soil cultivation equipment

Hack-Harke © NDR

The garden rake is an all-round talent. You can use it to smooth, level and rake. It is usually made of metal and wood. Equally indispensable is the cultivator, also called a trident. It facilitates weeding in particular. Its specially curved tines are gentle on the plants in the process. If you have a lot of deciduous trees in your garden, you should definitely get a rake or a leaf broom. You can also use it to rake up grass clippings wonderfully. Plastic leaf brooms are lightweight and particularly durable.

All-in-one tools: Specialty retailers offer garden tools that can be transformed from a rake to a shovel, broom or hoe at the touch of a button. This is useful for saving space and money.


Garden kneeler: For tasks such as weeding, a kneeler can make the job easier. In the middle there is a kind of cushion made of plastic, on which the knees are placed and thus protected. This is fixed by a metal frame. By turning this garden helper over, the knee bench becomes a seat and can be used, for example, when cutting berry bushes.


Textile tape for a firm grip: In order to still have a firm grip on the garden tool with a smooth handle, textile tape provides the necessary anti-slip effect. It is wrapped around the handle and provides like a work glove, for the necessary grip.


Store garden tools well: Moisture and dirt are the biggest enemies of tools. Therefore, garden tools should be stored in a dry place and cleaned regularly. Especially in the fall – after the last work – tools and equipment must be completely cleaned of dirt. Some tools should be greased in the fall. The same applies to small tools, such as rose and lopping shears or even joint scrapers.

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