Did you know that there is more to take into consideration when buying gardening tools than just the brand? Large garden tools come in a variety of sizes, and (like on many occasions) size does matter! Most people don’t even realise that they have a choice when it comes to size, but not only do they have a choice, but it’s important that they pay attention to it.
Being an average sized 5′ 8″ tall, you’d think I wouldn’t have many problems getting garden tools that ‘fit’ me and yet I do. Shockingly enough I have difficulties, forks and spades don’t generally fit comfortably in my hands. My arms are not very long and I really need to get slightly longer shafted versions.
And this brings me to my main point.
Whenever you buy a tool make sure you test it for your hands, your arms and, most importantly, your back.
Large tools should be comfortable at all times, for example, spades should be at the right height for you when resting on the ground, as well as when actually digging. Whenever possible, you want to avoid bending your back unnecessarily as this only leads to pain … and pain is bad. We don’t want pain!
Someone older who already has back issues would require a different type of tool to someone who is younger, fitter and stronger. It’s especially critical for someone tall to ensure that the equipment is correct for them – the taller you are, the worse it will be for your back and legs to use a tool that is too small for you.
When it comes to hand tools like trowels, claws and forks, make sure you hold them and try them out properly if you can. They need to fit into your hand comfortably and you need to be able to maintain a good grip. I have smallish hands and have difficulty with some secateurs. Buying ratcheting secateurs is not a bad thing if that is what you need to help you. As you get older hand strength can be lost so try to use different tools to compensate. Using a powered tool is not cheating!
Another thing to consider is weight. Some people prefer lighter weight tools while I prefer to use heavier ones. This is just personal preference, but it’s another thing you really do need to consider before you hand over your hard-earned cash.
Always make sure that you consider the quality too. A budget range may only cost a quarter of what the premium line will, but they are not likely to last more than a couple of years! Some of these cheaper items won’t hold a decent edge and will require more regular resharpening.
In summary, my advice is simply to make sure that you shop around. Pick up and hold the tools, get a good feel for them, and be sure that they’re the most suitable ones for you and your circumstances. Tools can be an expensive investment, but buying the right ones will make your gardening experiences much better.