3 Best Long Handled Bulb Planters Reviewed UK (November 2020 Updated Review)
Anyone who has spent time planting bulbs in the ever-dropping Autumn temperatures will tell you how tiring it can be. That is, if you do it the old-fashioned way and dig up an entire garden bed. But what if I was to tell you there’s a much easier way to plant those bulbs?
Bulb planting tools are a great way to not only lessen the manual labour involved, but to also speed the process up. And if you’re not one for spending time on your knees or stooped over, a long-handled bulb planter is probably the type that you want to spend your pennies on. For more details please see: How to use a bulb planter
In this article you will find our reviews of the most popular long handled bulb planters at the moment, designed to help you make a faster, and more informed decision, and leave you with a product that you can be happy with.
Table of Contents
What is a long-handled bulb planter?
A long-handled bulb planter consists of a long handle, often resembling a spade or some similar garden tool, and a cone shaped head. To use one, you only have to position it where you intend to plant the bulb, use your foot to push the cone into the soil, give it a few twists, and then pull the tool out, along with the soil.
These tools are designed to make holes that are just the right and depth size for planting the most common types of bulbs, and so it takes out a lot of the guesswork.
What are the best long-handled bulb planters available in the UK?
With the covid-19 situation, it is getting harder and harder to get our hands on good quality products, but we have done our best here to search through the ones that are available at the time of writing this article and give you our honest opinions on them. We will update this page as the situation changes and more products become available in the future.
1. Traditional Long Handled Bulb Planter By Kent & Stowe
First up is the traditional long-handled bulb planter from Kent & Stowe. Comprising a wooden handle and metal planting head, this bulb planter weighs in at around 1.7kg, so it can be carried around and handled by most without getting fatigued too quickly.
The end of the planter cone is serrated and designed to cut into the soil easier, and if used correctly, it does the job well. However, like a lot of these lower cost tools, they aren’t built to cut through dense clay soils, or straight into lawns, and should be used on a well-watered bed or similar for best results.
At 101cm long, the Kent & Stowe traditional bulb planter is a good length to prevent most people having to bend over too much when operating it, and you can actually plant quite a few bulbs in a short time once you get used to the twisting action.
Quality-wise, it’s about what you’d expect for the price and will last as long as you take it easy and don’t try slamming it into hard soil or stamp on the foot rests too hard.
I liked the fact that the measurement markings on the planter head were clear to read and etched into the sides. They seemed like they were there to stay, and I doubt that they would wear off anytime soon.
Overall, I’d say this tool was worth the money, and works well if used properly. Those of you with heavier hands and feet should probably look to pay more for something that will take more punishment.
2. Draper Tools Long Handled Bulb Planter
At just over 1.2kg in weight, this Draper long-handled bulb planter is quite light for a completely metal construction.
It measures 96cm long, and so is slightly shorter than the Kent & Stowe model, but it’s not really enough to be noticeable. At least not by myself anyway.
Made from chrome plated, carbon steel, this is certainly a nice-looking bit of gardening ‘bling’, and the Draper name labeled on the handle is one that should inspire confidence. Having said that, this is a low budget bulb planter, and this means that you cant just abuse the tool and expect it to live forever. No, this bulb planter will cut through soft soils without any issue, but it is not meant to be used on clay, and won’t work well at all on that kind of land.
I saw online that some people had problems removing the plug of soil from the tool once it had been removed from the ground, but I think a lot of this comes from inexperience using these kinds of tools. Instead of trying to dig out the soil by hand, I simply started to make another hole, and it pushed the soil out of the tool for me. This worked most of the time, but I can see that very soft/wet soil might get stuck in there once compacted, and need you to use something to poke it out.
Although the handle and shaft are made of metal, they are only thin and so a little care needs to be taken or you could end up bending the bulb planter out of shape. There is also no rubberised grip part for comfort when holding the tool, but a good pair of gardening gloves will make this a non-issue.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for and for its current price of around 18 pounds, you can’t really grumble too much.
3. 2 X Countryman Long Handle Bulb Planter
If you don’t mind paying a bit more, you can get this set of two countryman long-handled bulb-planters from the Faithfull store via Amazon. This tool instantly felt much stronger and better put together than both the Kent & Stowe and Draper models we tested out. The wood used for the handle is of good quality, it feels solid and gives you the confidence to apply a lot of force down through the bulb planter. The same can be said for the metal head, with the cutting cone and footrest being able to take a good amount of pressure.
The thing is though, you will need to apply quite a bit of force to make this long-handled bulb planter cut through the soil, as for some unknown reason, the makers of this product decided not to make the end serrated, or even that sharp. I fixed this by grabbing my trust angle grinder and sharpening the bottom edge and after that, this tool worked marvellously.
Another thing to note, is that there is some extra weight that comes with the solidity and sturdiness of the countryman long-handled bulb planter, and this might make it a good choice only for people who don’t mind a bit of workout for the arms and shoulders.
Personally, I didn’t mind it at all, and thought it was a fair trade-off for the quality and durability of the tool.
At the present time, the three long-handled bulb planters above are probably your best options unless you really want to dig deep and spend a lot on a top—tier gardening tool from a specialist supplier. For most people though, either the countryman or Kent & Stowe models should do the job just fine, as long as you use the right tool for the right type of soil. If you have dense soil, like clay, you’d better go for the countryman long-handled bulb planter, but for softer soil types, the Kent & Stowe will do a great job.
Long-handled bulb planter- buyer’s guide
If you’re heading out in search of the perfect long-handled bulb planter, here are a few things to consider before parting ways with your money.
What soil are you going to be working on?
The type of soil that you will be digging into should certainly affect your buying decision. Most low budget long-handled bulb planters work just fine if you have nice, soft soil, but will struggle, or even break under the stresses of trying to work in clay soil.
If you have clay soil, it is our advice, that you pay more, and get a stronger, more durable tool.
These tools come in a variety of materials, but the most common is either fully metal, or a metal head and wooden handle combination. Wooden handles are usually more comfortable to use for extended periods than metal ones, but they can be prone to snapping if the wood is cheap. Metal can be extremely durable, but if it is too thin, or low quality, it will bend under a bit of strain. You also have to be careful of rust and corrosion with metal, so look for something that is coated with a rust resistant material.
Long-handled bulb planters come in a variety of sizes, but most are around 1 metre in length. While this is fine for the majority of people, if you are quite tall, this might still mean that you have to stoop a lot and defeat the purpose of having a long-handled bulb planter. There are models out there that are built longer, so you might be best looking out for one of those if you are blessed with long legs. Obviously, for the more vertically challenged among us, you should look for something with a shorter handle to make things as comfortable as possible.
If you’re going to be wielding a tool for a long period of time, it should be light enough so that you don’t get fatigued too quickly.
The problem with lightweight products though, is that, generally speaking, they tend not to be as sturdy or durable as heavier ones, especially if they are lower cost models. Finding a good balance between weight and strength is tricky, but there are long-handled bulb planters out there that strike that balance well.
Quick release feature
One of the most annoying parts of using a long-handled bulb planter is when the soil gets stuck in the head. Some models have a quick release feature that helps you to remove the soil with some kind of mechanism, and this can be extremely helpful. You do usually have to pay extra for these models though.