21+ Garden Hand Tools Every Gardener Must Have

By: Chenell - Lead Writer and Gardening Advocate

Gardening can be quite a task, especially if you are doing it by yourself. For some reason, many of us just want to just get started without getting the right tool for the right jobs.

If that’s the case then you need these garden hand tools for your perfect garden. Sure you could manage vegetable gardens without a single hand tool, but why in the world would you want to when all of these are really easy to use and have great features.

Best Garden Hand Tools

Here are some of the best gardening tools, in order from necessities for beginners, to some more obscure, but still SUPER helpful tools.

The first few tools are things that come in a gardening starter set, however I wouldn’t recommend buying them as a set. They’re usually cheaply made and not really made for lasting longer than a single season.

Plus, if you have bad hands or arthritis, do yourself a favor and spend a few more dollars to get the ergonomic versions.

1. Garden Trowel

The secret handshake of garden hand tools has to be the trowel. It’s perfect for digging holes, transplanting, mixing soil and more. A comfort grip handle makes it easy to use all day long, so keep an eye out for those when finding one to buy.

garden trowel

Pro Tip: Get a trowel with a bright neon color handle. I’ve lost my green trowel in the garden so many times because it’s hard to spot after putting it down and walking away. A bright orange or pink color is perfect for spotting in the dirt or grass!

2. Pruning Shears or Snips

A pair of pruning shears is GOLD as a gardener. Whether you’re trying to cut through tough stems, or pruning your tomato plants, a sharp blade on your pruning shears is critical.

I get these orange ones so they stand out in a green garden if I were to put them down and potentially forget where I placed them 😉

3. Hand Rake

A hand rake or hand tiller can help break up tough soil and help when planting seeds. It’s one of the more popular gardening tools, and for good reason.

Again, go with bright colors and ergonomic handles.

4. Cultivator

A cultivator is perfect for aerating the soil, so seedling roots have more spaces to spread out, and loosening the dirt. It also doubles as a weeding tool because it’s got three points of contact to grip weeds with ease.

If you’ve seen my weed tool post then you’ll know exactly why this is one of my favorite garden hand tools.

5. Garden Hoe

This garden tool is a must-have when it comes to maintaining your garden beds. It’s perfect for cutting away the unwanted growth, but also loosening soil when you need to add more compost or when planting new seeds and seedlings in the same area.

Most come with a hardwood handle for stability and support.

6. Garden Fork

A garden fork or spading/digging fork is another one of the must-have gardening tools. It’s perfect for loosening and lifting garden soil, and also uprooting pesky weeds with deep roots.

Make sure the handle is long enough for your height, as 30 inches is the general height for most of these.

7. Heavy Duty Gardening Gloves

Hand tool? Maybe not, but they definitely protect your hands! A good set of gloves is not something to skip over when gardening. While I love the feeling of fresh dirt on my fingers, there is also some really old pieces of glass and old iron in my garden. I wasn’t expecting that!

Having gardening gloves around has helped save the skin on my fingers countless times.

8. Hori Hori Knife

While it has a very unique name, the Hori Hori knife has a lot of functionality. It can be used as a trowel, weeder and cultivator, its blade can even be sharpened to make it like a mini sword. Well not really but you get the idea – this is one versatile garden hand tool!

Top Pick
Nisaku Hori-Hori Weeding & Digging Knife
  • 7.5 inch Japanese stainless steel blade
  • Wooden handle for comfortable use
  • Comes with protective sheath
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9. Watering Can

Another multi-functional garden hand tool is the watering can. You will use this not only when you are watering your plants, but also for creating furrows or raised beds, mixing soil/potting mixes and even sowing seeds.

10. Dibber

You may not have heard of this one before, but a dibber is quite useful! It helps you create holes to drop seeds into, instead of just sticking your finger in the dirt and hoping you didn’t go too deep (that’s what she said?).

Make sure to pick up a dibber with measurements to help with how deep you’re planting your seeds and bulbs. This tool makes holes, while also showing you how deep the hole is.

DeWit Wooden Dibber with Brass Tip

This dibber is super durable and comes with measurement markers so you know how deep your holes are.

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11. Rake

Sure, it seems super simple, and more of a leaf gathering tool. However, a rake can be used for a ton of garden tasks:

  • Raking leaves
  • Leveling out the ground
  • Moving mulch and dirt around

If you’re in the market for a new rake, I would make sure you get one with the handle on the front. Talk about saving your back!

ErgieShovel Rake with Second Handle
  • 54 inch shaft
  • 16 tines
  • Extra handle for saving your back!
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12. Shovel

Another seemingly obvious one, but when you’re digging holes, you might need a decent shovel.

You can get both a hand shovel and a full sized one for larger holes. I use my shovel for turning compost as well since it gets quite deep.

While there are plenty of types of shovels, a long handled digging shovel should do the trick when breaking ground.

13. Watering Wand

This one sounds fancy eh? Instead of just hosing down your garden with the super soaker hose, try one of these instead.

Watering wands are like super dainty hoses that spray water on your plants, but allow much more flexibility in terms of how precise you can be with aiming, and they don’t spray your plants too hard. Here are some of the best watering wands I’ve found.

best garden tools

14. Folding Saw

This can replace the hedge shears above if you prefer using a small compact knife, vs larger shears. Folding saws work great for cutting through small branches and even some thicker logs.

I use my folding saw to cut the tops off of my pumpkins as well when picking them!

Folding Saw with 8 Inch Steel Blade
  • Compact design
  • 8 inch steel blade
  • Sharp teeth for cutting through all kinds of rubbish
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15. Grass Whip

AKA a weed whip, this tool is super helpful when trying to clear brush or grass for starting your garden.

I used a grass whip to clear taller grasses and old plants when prepping the garden for planting this year. Such a time saver.

AMES Double Blade Grass Whip with Hardwood Handle, 30 Inch
  • Handle Length: 30 inches
  • Handle Material: Hardwood
  • Blades: Serrated Steel

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16. Loppers or Hedge Shears

Even if you don’t have hedges, these are great for cutting through bigger items like branches and thicker plant stems.

Loppers are by far one of my most used garden tools. Between chopping down pesky weeds with sharp thorns, trimming shrubs, and trimming branches that are growing in a bad direction.

They also have retractable handles making it easier to reach taller branches.

17. Claw Weeder

18. Compost Aerator

You need to get air into your compost pile pretty regularly to help the decomposition process. But it can get heavy when you’re dealing with wet, compacted material.

I discovered this tool recently, and it’s the best compost aerator I’ve found so far. It used to take me around 20-30 minutes to turn my 12 foot long compost pile, but with this tool it only takes around 3-5 minutes anymore. And it’s SO much easier because I don’t have to try and dig my shovel into the bottom to turn it.

Lotech Crank Compost Aerator

This thing tears through compost piles like it's nothing. The crank handle helps make quick work of even my 12 foot long compost pile without breaking your back.

Length: 45 inches
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19. Garden Jute or Twine

Jute is what I use to I build my Florida weave trellis to keep my tomatoes from falling over. It worked out really well last year and is really flexible since you can just add more levels as the plants grow.

Aside from trellising, you can use jute for all kinds of garden tasks.

20. Grafting Tape

Grafting tape is super useful for tying plants to a trellis (as opposed to using jute) and using it to tie orchids to their support sticks.

21. Leaf Scoops

Leaf Scoops epic for those early fall days when the leaves start falling from the trees into your yard and all over your lawn. They are like big claws that help you pick up piles of leaves much faster than if you were to just use your bare hands.

Rugg Original Leaf Scoops

These make cleaning up leaves from your yard much easier if you're doing it by hand. At less than $15, these are well worth it!

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22. Fruit Picker

A fruit picker does just what it sounds like, it’ll pick your fruit for you. This is super helpful if you have tall trees (or short legs!) and need help reaching those apples and oranges!

fruit picker hand tool

23. Hookaroon

A hookaroon is essentially a medium length handle with a metal hook on the end. It’s GREAT for helping manage cut wood and larger logs around the yard.

Many people call this a “back saver” because you don’t need to bend down as much or carry all the weight with your back anymore.

Fiskars Hookaroon 28-Inch, Orange/Black

Need help cutting wood and hauling heavy cords of wood? This tool will save your back!

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24. Steel Tamper

A tamper can be used to flatten dirt, stone, and other materials around the yard. This is great if you’re looking to level out parts of your yard before sowing grass seed or planting vegetables.

How to Maintain and Clean Your Garden Tools

Since a lot of garden tools have steel blades or metal parts, it’s important you don’t leave them outside when they’re not in use.

If you do, they’ll be exposed to the elements, including rain, animals, and more. All of this can lead to rust, which is going to shorten the life of your tools.

Also, getting rust on your pruning shears or other instruments you use to trim or prune plants is just a recipe for spreading disease and other bad stuff around.



Hi - I'm Chenell! I lived in the city for almost a decade, but after moving to the suburbs in 2020, I decided the logical millennial thing to do was to learn how to grow my own avocado toast. That's what this site is all about. 🥑

You can get access to all of my free resources and get some epic dad jokes (and helpful gardening stuff) emailed to you each week by signing up here.

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