Written by Terry Smith
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Best Bulb Planter Tool Reviewed UK
This article was last updated on August 7th, 2021 at 3:33 am
Planting bulbs can be quite tiring work. Digging trenches in your beds, placing the bulbs, and then replacing the soil on top, is all labour intensive and will have you sweating in no time. ‘Surely there is an easier way to plant bulbs’, is what I guess you’re thinking, and there is; by using the best bulb planter tools. Coming in a range of sizes, colours, and designs, bulb planters are the ideal tools for tackling this type of job, speeding up the process and making things easier on you at the same time.
This article has been written to present to you your best options if you are thinking of ordering yourself a bulb planter tool. We have tried them out, and here we give you our honest opinions on them in our reviews.
Types of bulb planter
Before we dive in with the reviews, here is a quick guide to the different types of bulb pater tools you can buy.
Short handled bulb planter
If you don’t mind spending a bit of time on your knees, and you don’t have that many bulbs to plant, a short-handled bulb planter will probably be all you need. These simple devices are generally low-cost, very reliable due to their simplicity, and very easy to use. It’s simply a case of pushing the tool into the soil by the handle, twisting it one way and then the other, and then retracting it. This will remove a small chunk of soil at the desired depth that you can place your bulb into and then replace the chunk of dirt on top.
There are some short-handled bulb planters that are spring loaded, and these can take quite a boot of hand strength to operate properly, but they do save you time that you would normally spend knocking the soil clump out of the tool head by pushing it out using the spring action. For more suggestions you can read our article: How to Use a Bulb Planter
Don’t like the idea of working down low on your knees? Or perhaps you have back problems that prevent you from using a kneeler comfortably? Not to worry, you can always buy a long-handled bulb planter tool instead. Usually around the same size as a garden spade, and having a very similar handle, long-handled bulb planters allow the user to remain standing and use their foot to push the cylinder-shaped head into the soil.
This type of bulb planter tool will cost you more than the short-handled variety, and there doesn’t seem to be as much choice when it comes to quality products, but they are available, and do save you a sore back and knees.
Drill powered bulb planter
For people who intend to plant a lot of bulbs, the only sensible option is to use a drill powered bulb planter. Basically, these are corkscrew shaped drill bits that you attach to a power tool and then use it to drill cores into the ground for your bulbs to be planted in. Using one of these bulb planters makes the holes fairly effort free, and extremely quick, but you still have to cover the holes you’ve made once you’ve planted the bulbs, so it’s not all plain sailing. If you already own a power drill, then just buying a drill powered bulb planter bit is very cheap, but if you have to buy the drill too, it starts to get a little more pricey.
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Best Bulb Planter Tools Reviews
As promised, here are our reviews of the top bulb planter tools available for home delivery. We’ve tried to offer up a selection of the different types of bulb planter we outlined above, and chose to review products that are currently popular with customers.
1. GARDENA Bulb Planter
If I had to choose a product to be my number one short-handled bulb planter, then I’d have to go for this one made by Gardena. It is just such a well-made product, feeling very robust and as durable as they come. Made from a combination of high-quality steel and coated with ‘duroplast’, Gardena’s bulb planter comes with not only a one or two-year warranty, but a 25 years! . That’s how confident the company is in their product. For comfort, the handle has been made of plastic rather than steel like the rest of the product, but this is also made from quality materials, and is very comfortable to hold.
One of my favourite things about this bulb planter tool, is that the mechanism for releasing the soil back into the hole is very easy to use, and doesn’t require you to have hands like the hulk to operate it. Over the years I’ve tried out some similar products that left me with very tired hands after only a few bulbs, but this one can be used by anyone. To help you get the right depth when digging your holes, there is a clearly marked scale on the planter, and this too has been well done, so you shouldn’t have problems with the numbers fading off after a couple of months.
The only downside to this bulb planter tool, is that you do have to pay more for it than your average planter. However, considering the extra-long warranty and the quality of the product, I would have no quals about handing over my money for it.
An excellent product.
2. Garden Planter Bulb Auger Drill Bit
Planting a lot of bulbs takes a long time, just ask any experienced gardener and they’ll tell you. In my humble opinion, if you do plan to plant a load of them, you’d be better off buying a bulb planter bit for your power drill, and this low-cost model is surprisingly good for the money you pay for it.
Costing less than ten pounds for the smallest version, I wasn’t expecting much if I’m completely honest, but I am always happy to be proven wrong under the right circumstances. This bulb planter bit can be purchased in various sizes from their Amazon product page, and there are too many options to go into here, so I’ll leave it up to you to follow the link for a closer look at that.
We tried out the smallest 4x22cm version and I have to say I was impressed by its performance. We kept the drill on low speed mode, and placed the end of the bulb planter into the ground. On pressing the trigger, I was happy to see that the bit remained nice and stable while drilling into the soil, and this is all to do with the tip of the bit, which has been machined to a precise point.
The soil we were using the tool on was wet clay soil, and it did an admirable job. I would have liked to have tested it on harder soils, but time constraints meant we didn’t get round to it, but I think the tool would hold its own as long as you went steady at first. This bulb planter tool will fit on any standard power drill, but you are advised to use a good quality one that has a slow speed setting, and also one that is cordless, unless you want to drag an extension lead behind you all day.
3. Spear and Jackson Traditional Stainless Long Handle Bulb Planter
Some of us, and I’m talking about myself here, suffer from a bit of a stiff back from time to time, so having a tool that allows me plant bulbs without having to bend or kneel down is very high on my list. Spear & Jackson have long been known to produce quality gardening tools, and are frequently featured and mentioned in our ‘best of’ lists. With this long-handled bulb planter tool, they have done it again, offering us a fairly priced product that outshines the competition.
First of all, this tool looks fantastic. I love the combination of the weatherproofed, hardwood handle and shiny, mirror polished, stainless steel head. It gives a traditional look and feel to the tool which many with love. The stainless steel is not just for striking looks though, it also has practical purposes such as preventing premature rusting, and helping to reduce soil adhesion when it comes time to clean the tool. I like that this bulb planter has a very long handle. I’m not the tallest bloke in the world, but with some other long-handled bulb planters I find myself stooping over. Thankfully, with this product that wasn’t a problem and it feels very comfortable to use.
I felt that the Spear & Jackson long-handled bulb planter was lightweight, but without feeling flimsy in any way. The good sized, T-shaped handles are robust, as are the metal foot pegs you use to push the tool into the ground. As a nice touch, Spear & Jackson have included both metric and imperial measurements on the depth gauge on the tool, so even the most die-hard tradition of us will be happy to use it.
I saw some negative feedback from a handful of customers who complained about the durability of the tool, but I was more than happy with the one we got out hands on. After doing some more checking, it seems that the vast majority of recent buyers are pleased also, so it might have been a bad batch that was sent out a couple of years ago. To sum up, Spear & Jackson have done a great job yet again with this bulb planter tool, and I would have no problems recommending it.
4. FLORA GUARD 2 Piece Bulb Planting Tool Set
At the time of writing, this was available at a reduced price of 16.99 with free delivery in the UK. That’s a pretty good deal for a set that includes a bulb planting tool, gardening gloves, and a metal dibber. The bulb planter is the short-handled type, and is made from good quality metal with an electroplated finish to ward off corrosion and prolong the working life of the tool. It also features a comfortable, plastic, handle that is spring loaded so it is easy to release the soil back into the hole to cover your bulbs.
The shiny cylinder head of the bulb planter has a diameter of 2.3 inches, and has markings in centimetres and inches to help you get the right depth of hole. What’s more, these markings are scribed into the metal so you don’t have to worry about paint wearing off.
Also included in the set is a metal dibber. If you’re not sure what a dibber is, I’ll explain. It’s basically just a hand tool that you use to poke precise holes into soil. They are used for planting seeds and very small bulbs. This one is well made, like the bulb planter, and I was impressed for such a low price.
The third component of this set are the gardening gloves. I’ll admit that these aren’t anything special, but they’re not bad either, and I never turn my nose up at extra stuff. For the money, this is a great set. The tools are solid and sturdy, and even look pretty good, and I think this is a product worthy of a spot on our best bulb planter tools list.
5. Linkstyle Auger Drill Bit Set Garden Planting Tool
This drill powered bulb planter set is sure to get you finishing the job in double quick time. Included in the box are not one, but two different sized bulb planter bits, a pair of gardening gloves, and two small transplanting tools. The main components are of course the bulb planter attachments for your power drill, and they are as good as any I’ve seen. Constructed out of very strong steel, and coated with a thick layer of paint, I can see them lasting a fair old while and you will definitely get your money’s worth.
As for the gardening gloves that come with the planter bits, they are made from a combination of waterproof latex to keep your fingers dry, and breathable nylon for comfort. There are four plastic claws included, that you can sip over the fingers of the glove and these can help you to dig into the soil when carrying out various tasks.
When using both of these drill powered bulb planter tools, I found that they remained stable as they corkscrewed their way into the soil, even if it was thick or really hard, as long as the speed was kept slow and steady. The sharp point on the tip digs in nicely first, and this helps to guide the rest of the bit into the soil in a smooth motion.
These bits will fit any 3/8” power drill, and have a non-slip hex drive that keeps them sitting firmly in the chuck of the drill, making the whole digging process easier. There’s not much to say about the transplanting tools that you get as part of the set. They are small plastic tools and there’s nothing special about them. They’re not bad, and it’s nice to have a few extras, but it’s nothing to write home about.
If you’re not too bothered about the gloves and transplanting tools, you can just buy the planting tools separately at a lower price, and even buy just one size of them rather than both if you wish. All being considered, these are good quality bulb planting tools and priced very fairly in my opinion.
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Best Bulb Planter Tool Buyers guide
Before you part ways with your hard-earned cash, take a look at this buyer’s guide so you can make a better-informed decision on which product to buy.
How much should you spend?
Although it is never a good idea to buy the cheapest version of any product, you can get away with saving a few pennies on your bulb planter if you’re only going to be working on very soft soil. For soils that are harder to work with, like clay soil for instance, you will need sturdier tools to handle it, and that unfortunately means having to spend more.
Obviously metal tools are the most durable and that’s really what you want to be looking at, but make sure the metal has some kind of coating that protects it from rust or you won’t be getting much of a working life out of it. For Long-handled bulb planters, a wooden handle is preferable because it is more comfortable to hold than cold metal, and the same goes for plastic handles on short-handled bulb planters.
This only applies if you want to buy a long-handled bulb planter, but it is still important. The vast majority of these products are around a metre in length, which is ok for most people to use without stooping over. If you’re on the taller side, this might be too short for you and you should look for products that have a telescopic handle or just one that is longer than the norm.