A garden trowel is one of the most essential tools for green thumbers—and one of the most useful. A reliable instrument can not only dig planting holes but also remove weeds, divide plants for propagation, mix compost, and so much more.
"Gardening without a trowel is like trying to eat soup without a spoon," says Veronica Lorson Fowler, a Master Gardener in Iowa. Fowler is a one-time garden editor for Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications, and author of several books about gardening. "It's a basic gardening tool that even casual gardeners shouldn't be without and has practically unlimited uses."
Besides consulting with Fowler, we researched the top garden trowels and evaluated them for their overall comfort, sturdiness, and ergonomics.
Here are our choices for the best garden trowels.
Edward Tools Garden Trowel
Durable rust-proof carbon steel
Ergonomic rubber handle
Depth markers for easy measurements
Some reports of bending and breaking
This sturdy, thoughtfully designed garden trowel from Edward Tools is an excellent choice for everyday gardening tasks. The heavy-duty carbon steel blade measures nearly 4 inches wide, which means it shouldn't bend or break in rocky soil. Its curved shape and pointed tip neatly dig and transfer soil. The blade also features depth markers for easy measuring and more consistent planting. An ergonomic rubber handle provides a comfortable grip and better leverage in heavier soils. Weighing 9.6 ounces, this trowel is lightweight and easy to maneuver.
Although this trowel is advertised as bend-proof, we found some reports of bending and breakage over time. The good news is that it’s backed by a lifetime guarantee, so be sure to request a replacement if you encounter any damage or defects.
Price at time of publish: $9
Handle length: Not listed︱Blade length: Not listed︱Blade material: Carbon steel︱Handle Material: Rubber︱Weight: 9.6 ounces
Expert Gardener Steel Trowel
Ideal for small gardening tasks
Lightweight and easy to maneuver
Comfortable, non-slip handle
Lacks depth markers on the blade
A few reports of breakage
Despite its incredibly low price tag, this steel garden trowel from Expert Gardener is surprisingly high quality. Lightweight and easy to maneuver, this tool is ideal for basic gardening tasks, including digging, shoveling, turning, and scooping. With a working width of 3.3 inches, it’s perfect for digging deep holes and scooping generous amounts of soil. The curved rubber handle gives a more comfortable grip, and its bright yellow color makes it easy to find when you've set it down. .
We couldn't find any information regarding a warranty, though we did find a few reports saying the trowel broke after several uses. Still, the Expert Gardener Steel Trowel is an effective and affordable gardening tool—even if it’s not quite as sturdy as its counterparts.
Price at time of publish: $5
Handle length: Not listed︱Blade length: Not listed︱Blade material: Steel︱Handle Material: Rubber︱Weight: 0.55 pounds
Radius Garden Ergonomic Hand Trowel
Patented for optimal comfort
Ideal for limited hand strength
Lightweight, easy to maneuver
Reduces stress on hands and wrists
May bend or break in rocky soil
This ergonomic trowel from Radius Garden is specifically designed for users with limited hand strength, arthritis, or carpal tunnel syndrome. Its curved, thermoplastic handle is comfortable to hold for extended periods. By providing extra leverage, it minimizes stress on hands and wrists when digging. With an overall weight of 7 ounces, this garden trowel is ultra-light and easy to maneuver.
The blade is made of aluminum—a fairly strong material—but it is lighter than stainless steel and carbon steel options. While this trowel is well suited for light-duty tasks, such as potting, it may struggle or break in rocky soil. On a positive note, this product is backed by a lifetime warranty to ensure customer satisfaction.
Price at time of publish: $14
Handle length: Not listed︱Blade length: Not listed︱Blade Material: Aluminum︱Handle Material: Thermoplastic︱Weight: 7.04 ounces
Best in a Set
ESOW Garden Tool Set
Includes three tools for various tasks
Ergonomic, soft-grip handle
Built-in hooks for easy storage
Available in three colors
Some reports of breakage
This trio of gardening tools, which includes a hand rake, transplanter, and trowel, is ideal for handling a variety of gardening tasks. You can use the hand rake to loosen and aerate the soil. The transplanting trowel is ideal for relocating smaller plants and flowers, and it features depth markers for easy measuring. The oversized hand trowel allows you to move larger amounts of soil faster. Each tool features an ergonomic soft-grip handle that reduces stress and fatigue while working.
Made of heavy-duty cast aluminum, these tools are extremely sturdy and resist rust. Another convenient feature is the hole at the top of each handle, making them easy to store when not in use. This set is available in three color choices: cherry red, cactus print, and grass green. Since tools come nicely packaged in a box, they make a great gift for gardening enthusiasts. While most reviews are overwhelmingly positive, we did find some reports of the tools breaking after several uses. However, this set is backed by a one-year warranty for added peace of mind.
Price at time of publish: $31
Handle Length: Not listed︱Blade Length: Not listed︱Blade Material: Cast aluminum︱Handle Material: Rubber︱Weight: 1.6 to 1.28 pounds
"If you want to see how dry your soil is and if it's time to water, use a trowel to dig down a couple of inches and then put your finger in the hole to determine moisture levels." — Veronica Lorson Fowler, Master Gardener and author of several gardening books
Best for Weeds
Wilcox 13" All-Pro Stainless Weeder
Specially designed for stubborn weeds
Non-slip, comfortable handle
Easy carrying and storage
On the pricier side
Lacks protective sheath
"A flick with the long side or the pointed end of a trowel wipes out tiny weeds," says Veronica Lorson Fowler, author of several garden books, whom we consulted for this roundup. This 13-inch weeder from Wilcox All-Pro features sharp, V-shaped cutting edges and an extra-long handle for additional leverage. Made of heavy-duty 16-gauge stainless steel, this tool can tackle tough weeds such as Queen Anne’s lace, thistle, and burdock. Featuring a non-slip plastic handle with ribs and grooves, this tool is comfortable to hold while working. It has a hanging loop at one end, so you can store it on a wall or hang it on a belt buckle.
While most other garden trowels tend to struggle, bend or break in rocky ground, this weeder seems indestructible. What’s more, all Wilcox All-Pro tools come with a lifetime warranty and are made in the United States. Note that the blade is very sharp and doesn’t come with a protective sheath. Please use caution when carrying it.
Price at time of publish: $24
Handle Length: Not listed︱Blade Length: Not listed︱Overall Length: 13 inches︱Blade Material: Stainless steel︱Handle Material: Plastic︱Weight: 8.8 ounces
CFCT Bend-Proof Garden Trowel
Durable, bend-proof design
Ergonomic handle with non-slip thumb pad
Lightweight and easy to maneuver
Hole in the handle for easy storage
On the pricier side
Limited to small garden jobs
Thanks to its one-piece design, this garden trowel from CFCT shouldn't bend or break at the neck when digging in rocky soil. The blade is sharp enough to cut through grader soil, and its curved shape makes it ideal for scooping and transplanting. It also features depth markers for quick reference when measuring. The handle is ergonomically designed to reduce stress on the hand and wrist. It has a thumb rest for additional leverage, as well as a non-slip comfortable grip.
With a low overall weight of just over 6 ounces, this garden trowel is extremely lightweight and easy to maneuver. Compared with our other picks, the blade is fairly narrow—just 2.5 inches wide—making it best suited for small garden jobs rather than extensive digging. Made of aluminum, this trowel should resist rust and last for years if you properly care for it. We found very few reports of breakage, which further attests to its durability. Thanks to a hole in the handle, this trowel is easy to store.
Price at time of publish: $20
Handle Length: Not listed︱Blade Length: Not listed︱Blade Material: Aluminum︱Handle Material: Not listed︱Weight: 6.4 ounces
Edward Tools Bend-Proof Garden Trowel
Oversized for more efficient digging
Strong and bend-resistant
Ergonomic rubber handle
Comes with a lifetime warranty
A bit heavy
A few reports of bending and breaking
Measuring 3.6 inches at its widest point and featuring wide concave edges, this oversized garden trowel from Edward Tools allows you to scoop soil more efficiently. The manufacturer claims this is the most heavy-duty trowel on the market and backs it with a bend-proof promise and a lifetime warranty. Its strong stainless steel blade can dig in rocky and heavy clay soil without bending or breaking. The ergonomic handle is equipped with contoured finger grips and palm rest, making it comfortable to hold for extended periods. A hole at the end of the handle facilitates easy storage.
Despite the manufacturer’s claims, we found some instances of the trowel bending and breaking after several uses. Additionally, some may find it a bit on the heavy side and slightly awkward to maneuver. Although the trowel weighs less than half a pound, heavy or compacted soil certainly can add to its heft.
Price at time of publish: $8
Handle Length: Not listed︱Blade Length: Not listed︱Blade Material: Stainless steel︱Handle Material: Rubber︱Weight: 7 ounces
Wilcox 10" All-Pro Fine Point Trowel
Sharp tip for precise digging
Grooved, non-slip handle
The Wilcox All-Pro's sharp, pointed tip can cut through stubborn weeds and fibrous roots with ease. With depth markers stamped on the blade, it’s easy to reference for accurate measurements. The handle, which is coated with heavy-duty plastic and features built-in finger grooves, provides a comfortable and secure grip. For enhanced portability, this trowel features a leather wrist strap at one end. When you’re finished working, hang it on a wall for easy storage.
This garden trowel is pricier than other options, but its durability sets it apart from the competition. Made of heavy-duty stainless steel, it lives up to the manufacturer’s “unbreakable” claim. We didn’t find any reports of it bending or breaking—even after rigorous use. Plus, this trowel comes with a lifetime warranty and is made in the United States.
Price at time of publish: $19
Handle Length: Not listed︱Blade Length: Not listed︱Overall Length: 10 inches︱Blade Material: Stainless steel︱Handle Material: Plastic︱Weight: 1 pound
The Edward Tool Garden Trowel earns our top spot thanks to its durability, ergonomic design, and impressive performance in various types of soil. Users with limited hand strength should consider the Radius Garden 100 Ergonomic Aluminum Hand Trowel. This trowel significantly reduces stress on the hands and wrists, making it ideal for users with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other mobility issues.
What to Look For in a Garden Trowel
Cylindrical or oval-shaped handles, rather than those with flat edges, are usually easier and more comfortable to hold. Features such as ribs, finger grooves, and palm rests help improve the grip. Ergonomic handles reduce strain on the hand and wrist, making it less painful to perform repetitive motions. An ergonomic garden trowel is a great choice for gardeners with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other hand problems.
Handle: Shape, Length, Grip
A garden trowel’s handle length has a direct impact on comfort and maneuverability. For optimal ergonomics, look for a handle that measures anywhere from 4 to 5.5 inches in length. Anything shorter than that can be awkward or uncomfortable to hold unless you have very small hands.
Material: Blade and Handle
All the trowel blades in this roundup are constructed of stainless steel, carbon steel, or aluminum.
- Stainless steel blades often feature a one-piece design, which means they’re less likely to bend or break under pressure.
- Carbon steel is one of the most durable choices out there. These types of blades are nearly impossible to break.
- Aluminum is another fairly sturdy option, but it is lighter than its steel counterparts and better suited for light-duty tasks.
All the picks in this roundup have a rubber or plastic handle. These softer materials allow for a secure and comfortable grip and tend to be more ergonomic than wood and fiberglass options.
Garden trowels have two main types of blades: flat or scooped.
- A flat blade is intended for more-precision gardening and allows users to dig and plant in tighter spaces. If you transplant smaller plants or plant seeds or seedlings, a flat blade is the way to go.
- A scooped blade—or one that is more curved—is ideal for digging in larger spaces. Since scooped blades have a larger capacity than flat blades, they are perfect for mixing soil, digging deep holes, and adding mulch to flower beds. "Use it like a giant spoon to mix, say, garden soil with amendments or fertilizers, either right in the ground or in a bucket or wheelbarrow," says Master Gardener Veronica Lorson Fowler.
Whether they’re made from steel or metal, all our top picks are designed to resist rust and corrosion. However, you can extend the life of your garden trowel with proper care. Be sure to clean the blade and wipe it dry after each use. Also, store the trowel in a safe location, out of the elements.
Why would you use a garden trowel?
A garden trowel is a multi-purpose tool that is useful for planting, digging, scooping soil, and removing weeds. Garden trowels come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials. Lighter tools are better suited for smaller gardening tasks, while heavier garden trowels do a better job of breaking up compacted soil. Many trowels come with depth markers, so you can accurately determine where to place plants, bulbs, and seeds.
How should you clean a garden trowel?
To prevent rust, thoroughly wipe dry the blade of a garden trowel after each use. You can spray off stuck-on dirt and soil with a garden hose. You can also soak your tools in hot water, adding about half a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent per gallon to remove residual soil. If you notice any rust or pitting, you can use a wire brush or steel wool to scrub it away.
How should you store a garden trowel?
You should store a garden trowel indoors to protect it from the elements and preserve its lifespan. Some models have holes built into their handles and can easily hang in a garage or shed when not in use. A hanging loop is also convenient for storage and portability.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Sage McHugh, a lifestyle writer for The Spruce who specializes in the home and garden sector. To select the best garden trowels for this roundup, she considered dozens of products, carefully evaluating their comfort, sturdiness, ergonomics, and durability. For expert insight, we also interviewed Veronica Lorson Fowler, a Master Gardener and author of several gardening books based in Iowa.