Best Garden Tools…How Do You Know?

The phrase “best garden tools” is a bit subjective. If you’re a “gardener” only once a year when spring rolls around, then a less expensive tool from one of the big box stores might be “best” enough. On the other hand, if you’re an avid gardener that depends on your tools to work as hard as you, every time you pull them out of the shed, then you’re looking for a tool that is a bit more substantial…a garden tool built by gardeners for gardeners.

Today, far too many tool companies have to satisfy their stockholders and as a result, the tools are made less robust. It may be a cheaper grade of wood for a handle, some plastic incorporated or stamping the cheap steel a little thinner, but it all adds up to a poor quality, disposable tool and more dividends to the shareholders.

So, what makes for the “Best Garden Tools”? Well, one might think that as simple as the typical garden tool is, there wouldn’t be too much to it, but there’s more than meets the eye.

First of all, there’s the design. Better garden tool makers have been refining their designs for decades or even hundreds of years. A little more angle here, a little less there can make a big difference as to how the tool feels and performs. They tinker with the thickness of the steel so it’s heavy enough for its purpose, but not so heavy as to tire the gardener out. It may be a design change for the way we garden. Today, raised garden beds are popular and some tool makers are making mid-length tools that are easier to work in those smaller gardens. The list of tweaks that these tool makers have made over the years is long and for the better garden tool makers, it’s never ending.

Now let’s look at the metal used in garden tools. A tool of lesser quality has thin steel that comes from a large roll, cut to size, stamped to its final shape and counted as X number of units per minute versus X number of units per day for the better tool makers. The best garden tool makers have tinkered with their steel formulas to get the strongest steel available and start out as a block of steel before being heated and hand forged into its final shape.

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