Gardening · General · Problems

Talking tools

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.



21 thoughts on “Talking tools

    1. The difference between my tool sat home and the stuff at work is amazing.

      Some is crap, but the older stuff, obviously really expensive at the time but well maintained was amazing. Which only goes to show that quality lasts.

        1. The newer stuff that was good was a brand called ‘Bulldog’ (I have Bulldog at home). The cheap stuff was ARCO. Utter crap. None of it held an edge and practically bent in the wind. >.>

          The older stuff was Spear and Jackson. Quality construction… But expensive.

          The pity is that no quality tools are made in the UK now. Bulldog was the last. Now they moved their forging to India and only assemble it in the UK now. But the forging method is still the same as it was over here. So there is still that.

  1. Very good advice! As a small person with small hands I can say that I have trouble finding tools that fit me. Even finding gardening gloves is a challenge! Since it is so hard to find a good fit to begin with I never mind paying more for something that will last a very long time!

    1. It may sound silly… But have you thought to look in the kids section for gloves? As long as they fit and are well made they will do.
      Also if you look online you may be able to get ladies sizes rather than the standard S/M/L ‘Gloves’.

      1. Oh, yes, actually, that is where I generally find my gloves! Since I am vegan however I won;t buy anything with leather so that add another layer of difficulty. But I have been pretty successful in recent years at a particular garden store so I am very happy about that! 🙂

        1. I’m one that thinks Goatskin is far better. But thats me. *shrug*

          There are other options though. Nitrile gloves are the main replacement for workwear. It’s strong, durable, fairly cheap and it will fit in with your lifestyle.

          Fun fact: Nitrile is the same substance used to make the ‘grippy’ parts of the gloves.

          1. I’m not sure what my gloves are made of. I just know they are green, “junior” size, and not made from any animals. 🙂 will have to check the label. Nitrile, huh? A very fun fact, and will have to see if I can find any gloves made out of it!

                1. Ah… Sorry, can’t help on that one. I’m not sure what they call it over there. But I’m sure a talk with someone at a local garden centre will be able to help?

  2. Me being the GREAT SWEDISH GARDENER- with a HUGE balcony= the smallest littliest garden- mostly in pots I use SMALL Tools! BUT you would love it out there! Flowers, fruits,vegetables all over. Last summer only room enough for 2 small chairs. Everywhere plants!
    Have a great monday!

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