12 Essential Gardening Tools For Every Gardener

By LaytonLast update: 2024-07-11

Every gardener has a favorite gardening tool — the one they always keep within arm’s reach, use over and over again. Below are our summarized most Essential Gardening Tools every gardener should have.

1. Digging Spade or Shovel

A spade and shovel are both useful tools to own, however, if we had to choose between the two, we would go with a spade. A spade gives you nice, straight, and clean edges. It's also great for planting, transplanting, and slicing through tough roots. Some gardeners prefer a shovel for digging holes and scooping soil. Whichever you choose, make sure it has a comfortable, ergonomic design with a strong handle and a sharp cutting edge.

Spades are made in many shapes and sizes, for a variety of different functions and jobs, and there are many different designs used in spade manufacturing. People often mistakenly use the term shovel interchangeably with spade—but, strictly speaking, shovels generally are broad-bottomed tools for moving loose materials, whereas spades tend to have an edge better designed for digging.

2. Garden Hoe

If you're weeding an entire garden, removing unwanted roots, moving around a lot of soil, or digging trenches, a garden hoe is your best friend. A good garden hoe cuts through tough soil and difficult obstacles with ease. Whether you're digging, chopping, planting, cultivating, or weeding your garden or flower bed, you want a garden hoe at your side!

List of 5 garden hoe categories:

  • Digging hoes: for digging and tilling, with a chopping action
  • Draw hoes: for weeding, with pulling / scraping action
  • Reciprocating hoes: for weeding, with a scrubbing action (has a blade that moves)
  • Flat hoes: for weeding, with a push-pull action (has a blade that lays flat on the soil)
  • Sweeping hoes: for weeding, with a sweeping action (handle held fairly straight up)

3. Pruning Shears

pruners are small hand held tool for use on smaller plants and shrubs. Sometimes called secateurs, they are designed to be operated with one hand and so pruners are spring loaded. By having a spring between the blades, these pruners open automatically after each cut, and are held closed my means of a locking mechanism. Leverage is minimized, but some pruners are strong enough to cut through branches of up to about an inch.

There are also pruning shears that look like straight-bladed scissors with a spring between the blades, typically used more delicate pruning requiring limited leverage. They're a two handed tool built more for speed than strength and they're good for shaping large areas of small growth, like putting the shape onto a hedge.

4. Lopper

Another cutting tool, loppers are basically long-handled pruners used to trim hard to reach areas and cut thicker branches. The long handles provide the leverage it takes to cut through branches up to an inch or more in diameter. There are anvil and bypass types, just like pruners. Handles generally range from 16 to 36 inches.

The lopper is a large tool used for lopping off or pruning twigs and branches of trees and large shrubs up to 2 inches in diameter. They look like pruning shears with long handles, designed to be operated with two hands, which enables one to get a good amount of leverage to cut and trim the thicker branches in larger shrubs and trees.

Typically one blade is concave, which helps to keep the branch that is being cut from slipping out of the cutting surface, and they are generally manually loaded meaning the user opens and closes the blades.

There are two types of loppers, bypass and anvil.

  • The bypass loppers have blades that move past each other, functioning like a scissors, they allow for smooth clean cuts. Best for close, clean cuts on live branches
  • Anvil pruners are pruners that have 1 side with a blade and the other side has an anvil (flat bottom) jaw that has a groove in it, the blade then makes a smash cut with the stem against the anvil jaw or side. Best for chopping dead shoots and branches

5. Pruning Saw

A pruning saw is ideal for those branches that are too big for pruning shears or loppers. Whether you are cutting branches or removing roots, a pruning saw is up for the challenge. This saw is also handy to have with you when camping or hiking. A long-reach pruning saw helps you safely get to those higher branches without having to climb a ladder.

Pruning saws come is different sizes and types. Be sure you are using pruning saws that best match the job you are tackling. For branches that are too thick for hand pruners, use a pruning limb saw. If the branch to be pruned is in a tight area, use a pruning limb saw with a shorter blade.

Common types of pruning saw:

  • Pole Pruner: pole pruning saw is a saw attached to a long handheld pole that makes it easier to prune far or deeper branch.
  • Handheld Pruning Saw: This is the most common type of saw used for easy jobs that are indoors or outdoors.
  • Straight Blade Pruning Saw: Straight blade pruning saws are best used for green wood and sap.
  • Curved Blade Pruning Saw: as opposed to straight blades, are best for heavy-duty cutting. The curve adds toughness in your cut that will make woods feel like bread.

6. Leaf Rakes

Leaf rakes are the ones with large heads and wide plastic tines. Although good for keeping lawns looking pristine throughout the year, they really come into their own in the autumn for gathering up leaf debris and grass clippings.

Sometimes, you may find the other forms of rakes such as shrub rakes, bow rakes, hand rakes and it’s important to choose the correct rake for your task in hand.

A shrub rake is built very much like a leaf rake. It has a smaller fan of tines, though, allowing it better access to the ground beneath shrubbery, around fencing, and in other tight areas of your landscape. Depending on your landscape and your needs, a shrub rake may be a worthy addition to your shed, especially considering that even top-quality tools of this type sell for under $20

A bow rake is generally considered homeowners’ best bet for leveling dirt, sand, and other materials that are heavier than leaves. The tines of a quality bow rake are made of metal and are shorter and thicker than those of a leaf rake (and spaced more widely).

Hand rake is a smaller version of a shrub rake or bow rake. It has a short handle and is more or less the same size as a garden trowel. A hand rake is what you want to use in and around flowers and smaller plantings.

7. Watering Hose

Watering Hose is also called a garden hose which is used to water plants in a garden or lawn, or to convey water to a sprinkler for the same purpose. Hoses are used to carry fluids through air or fluid environments, and they are typically used with clamps, spigots, flanges, and nozzles to control fluid flow.

The hose types are dependent upon your desired application. A few common garden hose types are light, medium, & heavy duty, soaker, sprinkler, and commercial/contractor.

Light & medium duty garden hoses are made from cheaper materials, typically a low-quality vinyl or a reinforced vinyl. These hoses kink easier, may have plastic fittings, and are offered in smaller diameters. The lifespan on these hoses is shorter because they tend to harden over time. These hoses are perfect for those gardening on a budget and don’t use the hose on a daily basis.

Heavy duty garden hoses are perfect for homeowners that want a high-quality hose to last many years. These hoses offerer high-quality metal couplings, anti-kink technology, and some are even backed with a manufacturer lifetime warranty.

Sprinkler and soaker garden hoses are designed for professionals and homeowners to effortlessly water lawns, gardens, and flower beds. Some are constructed to withstand the elements with UV protective coatings, while others are designed to be placed slightly beneath the surface.

Garden Hose Sizes: The size of a garden hose refers to its diameter. This is an important consideration when choosing the right garden hose for your project. The wrong size could mean you might not have enough pressure to get the job done properly. Most standard hoses' inside diameter measures 5/8", with 1/2" and 3/4" sizes also available. As you probably guessed, a smaller diameter means less water. 1/2" hoses are perfect for light hand-watering tasks where flow rate is not a large concern; the 5/8" size covers pretty much every home-based application, and can deliver nearly twice as many gallons per minute. 3/4" hoses are usually reserved for commercial applications, and can deliver nearly three times the amount of water that a 1/2" hose will.

Garden Hose Lengths: The length of the garden hose you select should be determined by your personal needs. You can find hoses in lengths of 25', 50' or 100'. Choosing a hose that is too short will prevent you from getting the coverage you need. Selecting a hose that is too long can yield frustration, especially if you are trying to navigate confined areas.

A shorter garden hose is great for watering plants in containers or filling pet dishes. It works best when you have a small coverage area and don't need a lot of pressure. A longer garden hose is more efficient at covering larger areas and tackling cleaning projects.

If you select a long garden hose, be sure to choose a hose that provides kink resistance. You'll also want to make sure you get a hose that doesn't kink at the spigot, and Swan has many of these available. Most of them use a special hose armor that helps to prevent such kinks.

One important thing to remember: It is much more efficient to get the garden hose dimensions you require than it is to couple multiple hoses together. Using multiple hoses can create more wear and tear, and it also makes the process of watering more tedious and tiresome when you need to move a hose.

8. Wheelbarrow

A wheelbarrow is a small hand-propelled vehicle, usually with just one wheel, designed to be pushed and guided by a single person using two handles at the rear, or by a sail to push the ancient wheelbarrow by wind. The term "wheelbarrow" is made of two words: "wheel" and "barrow." "Barrow" is a derivation of the Old English "bearwe" which was a device used for carrying loads.

The wheelbarrow is designed to distribute the weight of its load between the wheel and the operator, so enabling the convenient carriage of heavier and bulkier loads than would be possible were the weight carried entirely by the operator.

Below is some buying guide you may consider before choosing the right wheelbarrow for your job:

  • Material: Steel or Plastic? Most wheelbarrows are going to be made of metal through and through, since that guarantees a certain level of strength and stability. However, a wheelbarrow with an all-metal body and frame can be heavier than models that use other materials in the bodies; the plastic ones are going to have the lowest load capacities, but will also usually be the most affordable and it is a great option for use in the small flower garden.
  • Handles: The handles can be made of either wood or steel; wood is lighter and more flexible, which can make it more comfortable for many users. Steel handles are stronger, and often found on higher capacity or contractor-grade models.
  • Wheels: One or two?Traditional wheelbarrows have one wheel that's positioned under the tray.Such design provides a great level of maneuverability and is also very handy to move between garden rows. The dual wheel wheelbarrow provides greater stability, but it sacrifices a degree of maneuverability. Two-wheeled models are perfect for the transportation of heavy and unbalanced loads.
  • Bed size and shape: keep in mind that these may not have as much depth or as high a load capacity. Take some time to get rough measurements for the objects you plan to move, and you’ll be able to find a wheelbarrow with a big enough bed to handle it all.

9. Gardening Gloves

Some people love the feel of the dirt in their hands – it just kind of makes you feel alive. I’m one of those people and if you are too, you might be thinking “what the heck do I need gardening gloves for?”

Even those of us who don’t mind getting our hands dirty still need a good pair of gardening gloves. Digging in the dirt with a hand shovel may not seem like the hardest chore, but after a few hours of it your hands will start to feel it. If you want to avoid unwanted blisters a pair of gardening gloves is something you should seriously consider.

10. Weed Eater

A weed eater is on of the most important garden tools for cutting grass, take care of your bushes and tree trunk. A weed eater also known as "String Trimmer", "Whipper Snipper", "Weed Whacker", "Weed Whip", "Line Trimmer" (in Australia and New Zealand) or "Strimmer" (in the UK and Ireland).

Before you start looking for the best lightweight weed eater, you should know which type of them fit your need. The gas-power weed eater are much heavier than electric ones so if you're looking for a lightweight string trimmer machine, the electric option is most recommended.

There are two types of electric weed eater, it is difficult to exactly compare the two options's heaviness in general, it means that it doesn’t really matter whether you will get a corded or a cordless weed eater; they can both weight similar or even the same.

11. Lawn Mower

A lawn mower that chop up the grass clippings very finely and push them back into the lawn as mulch. The mulch adds nutrients back into the lawn. Mulching lawn mowers are designed with a high deck and are shaped so that the mulching blade spins leaves and grass more than once as it cuts them into small pieces.

In an organic lawn care environment, mulching makes perfect sense as the benefits are agronomic, financial, and environmental.

12. Backpack Sprayer

A sprayer is a device used to spray a liquid, are commonly used for projection of water, weed killers, crop performance materials, pest maintenance chemicals, as well as manufacturing and production line ingredients.

Backpack sprayers are standard equipment in most operations. They are convenient and well-suited for smaller application jobs, such as treating individual plants or small areas, spot-spraying weeds and for even larger jobs on terrain where other equipment can't go.

Most sprayers with small-sized tanks of 2-4 gallons will require you to push a pump to release the substances through a hose. These products are the most popular because they are used to cover medium surfaces.

However, sprayers used for industrial purposes or needed to cover a large area will require the help of a battery that makes pumping easier, without causing hand fatigue when operating them. Usually, the battery is rechargeable and lasts for a couple of years, depending on how often you use the sprayer.


Before you invest in a tool, spend some time in your garden figuring out what you actually need. If you don’t have trees and high hedges then loppers are a waste of money. At the very least you will need a hand trowel and hand fork with some secateurs and garden shears. If you choose good quality tools and look after them they’ll last for a life time.

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