In this guide we’ll take a look at the best garden forks.
I’ve compared digging ability, strength, comfort and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What Is The Best Garden Fork?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
Classic-style garden fork which won’t rust or let you down!
This Spear & Jackson Traditional Stainless Steel Digging Fork will make a great addition to your tool shed. Its four tines are made from strong stainless steel which is easy to clean and won’t rust. What’s more, the durable hardwood shaft will stand up well to even the toughest terrain, and the ergonomic handle creates a comfortable gardening experience.
Everything We Recommend
More Detailed Garden Fork Reviews
Spear & Jackson Traditional Stainless Steel Digging Fork Review
This Spear & Jackson Traditional Stainless Steel Digging Fork is an elegant and classic garden tool, the type that looks right at home standing in a vegetable patch.
The head and tines are made from mirror-polished stainless steel and the hardwood shaft is weather proofed. This is a garden fork which has been made to stand the test of time!
The shaft has been constructed from just one piece of hardwood, split to form a wishbone handle in the traditional way. The steel tines shrug off even heavy clay soils and make this tool easy to clean and maintain.
It’s a well-balanced fork that is comfortable to use. One things I will say is that I have come across more ergonomic and modern style; however, if you prefer a traditional wooden tool, you’re not going to find that discomfort is an overwhelming issue.
This timeless piece is the best garden fork around, it looks great and will last for years making it a good value edition to your tool shed.
Rolson Ash Handle Digging Fork Review
This Rolson Ash Handle Digging Fork is a great value gardening fork by a reputable gardening brand.
It has a carbon-steel head with an attractive heat-treated hammered finish. The steel won’t rust and the tines are easy to clean. The light-tone handle is made from ash which is lightweight and relatively durable.
As digging forks go, this is quite short at just under 100 cm so would not be the most suitable for taller gardeners.
Height limitations aside, this is a practical garden fork that offers excellent value for money. It’s ideal for occasional/light use, but I would go for one of the other products if you have a lot of digging to do.
Spear & Jackson Select Stainless Border Fork Review
This Spear & Jackson Select Stainless Border Fork has a stainless steel head and a polypropylene shaft. Of particular interest is its comfy, ergonomic handle which makes it pleasant to use even during long gardening sessions.
The shaft measures 72 cm and the head is 23 cm, and its 4 stainless steel tines are quite closely distributed – so it’s quite compact. This fork is therefore ideal for use in more confined spaces, although also works well over larger areas.
However, if you have really heavy ground or a lot of roots and stones, then a digging fork may suit you better. Plus, if you are very tall and have quite big feet you may find the smaller dimensions of this fork hard to get to grips with.
This fork is a great tool that is light, comfortable to use and affordable. It may not be as suitable if you have a lot of heavy work to do, but will turn light soil with ease.
Fiskars Garden Light Digging Fork Review
This Fiskars Garden Light Digging Fork has been specifically designed to reduce back strain and make gardening work lighter and easier – music to our ears for all us gardeners!
It is incredibly well made, and looks very stylish to boot.
The shaft and handle are made from lightweight, plastic-coated aluminium resulting in a tool that is very comfortable to use. The hardened Boron steel head is durable, strong and rust resistant whilst the D-shape handle is ergonomically designed and plastic coated for comfort.
The tines are sharp, making it easy to dig down into the the hardest soil, plus the solid construction, ergonomic design and light materials mean this fork is sturdy yet comfortable to use over long periods.
I like the fact that the plastic coating on the handle goes almost all the way down to the head. This means that when you are lifting material, you don’t have to grip cold, slippery metal.
This is a more expensive garden fork; however, it is made to the high standards that I expect from Fiskars tools. It is also really comfortable to use and a stylish addition to the tool shed. If you want a gardening fork that will offer you a lifetime of reliable use, this is the best garden fork to invest in.
Kent and Stowe Carbon Steel Border Fork Review
This Kent and Stowe Carbon Steel Border Fork has carbon steel head and tines which gives it good strength and durability. The wooden handle has a traditional split wood wishbone design.
The design of Kent and Stowe tools is based on drawings and designs of tools from the 1800’s paired with modern manufacturing processes. This garden fork is well balanced and comfortable to use. It is ideal for working in borders and raised beds and is perfect for those of a smaller build, however, I would not choose this tool if I had very heavy clay.
This is a traditional tool that offers excellent value for money. It’s the best garden fork for borders and raised beds.
Things to Know Before Buying a Garden Fork
A garden fork is an essential tool for anyone who prides themselves on their plants! I’m a firm believer that every gardener should have one of these in their garden shed, and that is should be a high-quality model which will really help get the job done. Gardening forks are especially useful when it comes to loosening soil and weeding.
There’s a range of garden forks to choose from, in various designs and sizes, but for most gardeners a digging fork or border fork is all that’s needed.
Take a look at the following tips to help you make an informed decision when looking for the best garden fork for your garden.
Digging forks are generally used as an alternative to spades, as they are easier to push into the ground. Rather than having to lift heavy soil with a garden spade, digging forks break through the soil seamlessly and tend to be easier to use.
Digging forks are perfect for vegetable beds or digging undisturbed soil. They’re also the best option for heavy soil like clay. With four, strong tines, a good garden digging fork will be able to cope with most gardening jobs.
Border forks are slightly smaller than garden forks. These are ideal for tighter spaces such as raised beds and borders. In general, they’re not meant for the same size tasks as bigger digging forks, but they’re lighter which makes them ideal for smaller gardeners who don’t have the strength for a heavy fork. Ultimately a border fork will be able to do the same job as a digging fork, it’ll just take a bit more time.
Garden forks are usually made from carbon steel or stainless steel. The handles can be made from either metal or wood.
Carbon steel forks are stronger than stainless steel, although they are more likely to rust. However, carbon steel forks are sometimes coated with resin which should protect them from rusting, so this is something to look out for.
Stainless steel forks have greater resistance to corrosion and rust thanks to their high chromium content. Stainless steel forks are useful if you have clay soil, as the soil doesn’t stick to them as easily. Both carbon and stainless steel are very lightweight.
The traditional garden fork has a wooden handle; the upside is that wood is a great shock absorber, making gardening less uncomfortable. However, wood can rot and weaken over time and is heavier than polypropylene or metal. Using a fork with a wooden handle for an extended period might end up being quite hard work, compared to using a fork with a lighter handle.
Metal handles are another good option. These are more durable but they don’t offer nearly so much shock absorption.
Garden forks come with handles in various lengths. For most people, a 72 cm shaft will be ideal, but if you are taller than average you might want a longer design. Using a garden fork which is too short for you will hurt your back.
Many forks have a D handle for ease of use, while others have a T handle. For most people, a D handle is more comfortable. If you have very large hands however, you may find a T handle easier to grip.
A garden fork that’s too heavy will be harder to use, so if you struggle with mobility or you’re not particularly strong, I recommend looking for a lightweight model which doesn’t compromise on quality.
More important than the weight is the handle design, as a heavier fork with an ergonomic handle will be easier to use than a lightweight one which has a bad design.
Garden Fork FAQs
You should clean your garden fork regularly to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Soil left on the shaft and head may cause wood to rot and metal parts to rust. Clean all dirt from the tool after use. You can do this with a wire brush; however, really caked-on mud may require the use of hot soapy water as well. Leave the fork to dry after cleaning.
Some people keep a bucket of sand mixed with a little linseed oil in their shed. They then push each of their tools into this bucket after use and this protects the metal from rust.
You should also be careful to only use your fork for work that is suitable. Garden forks are not designed to dig up rubble or large tree roots and you may damage your tool if you attempt such heavy jobs.
Twice a year, in spring and autumn, sand the handle with a medium-grit sandpaper. Then, rub a generous amount of linseed oil into the wood to create a protective, waterproof barrier. Make sure you store wooden-handled tools in a cool, dry place.
If your wooden handle breaks, you can usually buy a replacement part. These can be simply fitted, usually with just a couple of screws.
Forking the soil can be done in the winter to prepare your garden for the spring. It should be done on soil around shrubs or other plants where a spade would disturb the roots. It will aerate the soil and improve its health.
To fork your soil, you should first remove weeds and large stones from the ground. Loosely spread compost over the soil then begin to lift the soil using your fork. Shake the soil to break down any lumps, then put it back on top of the surface soil.
Roughly level the surface before spreading more compost over the area.