Written by Terry Smith
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Best garden trowel and fork set [UK]: Garden hand tool gift sets reviewed
This article was last updated on May 9th, 2022 at 8:06 am
I was thinking it’s been a good while since I updated my garden trowel and fork set page for the best picks available and what better time with gift ideas on the horizon. It’s the kind of garden tool you buy once in a lifetime when bought right and for that reason I reckon it makes a super gardening gift as well. I tested the best known brands and quite frankly, I’ll never buy a cheap garden trowel and fork again. I’ve put together a little video proving my point on that test if you check out my top pick the Spear and Jackson trowel and fork set. Perhaps it’s worth watching the test here to prove that point. It takes less than a minute to show you what I mean about cheap garden trowel and fork sets:
Good quality wooden handles with high carbon steel at the business end really do last. And not only that, it’s about the only tool for planting and weeding that we all use.
Prop Tip from testing: Never, never, never buy cheap on a garden trowel and fork set. My testing showed me within reason, you absolutely get what you pay for and the right set (like the ones I’ve tested) will last a lifetime. Buying numerous cheap sets is a total waste of time!
My picks for the best garden trowel and fork set:
- Spear and Jackson 3056GS/12 Neverbend Stainless Hand Tool Gift Set – [test and proven] Best garden trowel and fork set. Works brilliantly as gift
- Bulldog Pedigree Tools – Stainless Steel Long Handled Trowel and Fork Set – [tested and proven]Best long handled trowel and fork set, must have for an easier reach
- Spear and Jackson Kew Gardens 3056KEW Stainless Steel Gift Set – Alternative best garden trowel and fork set if Neverbend is unavailable
- Draper 65960 Carbon Steel Fork and Trowel Set Best budget trowel and fork
- Spear & Jackson HANDTOOLSET1 Natural Stainless Steel Trowel and Weed Fork Set – Beautiful looking trowel and fork set
- Oakenleaf 3 Piece Garden Tool Set Extra Large Stainless Steel with Timber Handle Trowel Fork and Multitool
- Burgon & Ball GRH/TFBOXPASS Passiflora Gift Boxed Trowel & Fork Alternative trowel and fork set for gifting
How to pick the right garden trowel and fork set?
You want a set that has a strong handle, a good ferrule that connects to the metal shaft. You want a strong shaft that won’t bench under leverage pressure and a handle that simply doesn’t break or fall off. Ideally the fork is rigid and strong too. Generally you don’t get too many problems and theres not so much to worry about on the trowel. Each of the sets in this article have been carefully considered with those criteria in mind. Whilst we are at it, here’s how to use a hand trowel properly:
Here’s a look at just how long you should be expecting a set to last, these are twenty years old now:
So with that in mind let’s get on and pick some of the best garden rowel and fork sets:
1. Spear and Jackson 3056GS/12 Neverbend Stainless Hand Tool Gift Set
This three piece garden trowel fork set is the best available in the UK right now as far as I am concerned. Why? Most are two piece sets, this has a transplanting trowel as well. When I mentioned just how versatile having a set is and how much you can accomplish, I was specifically talking about planting. it’s surprising to see just how many sets don’t have one and that’s what makes them a bit unique and a lovely gift idea too. I have to say after buying and testing a set for a quid, to compare it to this, was a two minute affair. Here’s the short video backing up my thoughts on the matter:
Firstly, like my good old set above, these are quality stainless steel with a nice hardwood handle so as long as you clean them up every so often it’s hard to imagine ever buying another set again. No problems at all with the strength and you can dig up any mud you like without worry:
The fact they look good is an added bonus too. the only issue I’ve seen which happened inside the warranty period is a break on the neck where it’s welded. The 10 year guarantee comes in handy here! But to be fair they’ll almost certainly last longer, they age so well.
Size wise these are pretty nice, just under a foot long with half being handle, half being shaft. They are pretty much standard length and ideal for planting, weeding, transplanting, and it’s no trouble to dig a fairly substantial hole if you don’t want to use a larger fork or spade. They’ve been designed for a gardener and when you compare the quality directly with a cheap set there’s no contest:
The Kew trowel set is practically identical – so if this isn’t available then that’s the obvious choice. If you prefer a ‘sharper’ trowel and fork set then perhaps take a look at the Spear & Jackson Natural Stainless Steel Trowel and Weed Fork Set as that is a decent comparison in terms of quality. Otherwise, you will absolutely be pleased with this set. If you’re not then please feel free to email me and call me a plonker 🙂 However, I wouldn’t make such a clear cut recommend unless I had tested it for myself first against many other sets. What a wonderful gift this makes too! 🙂
- Looks lovely, ideal for a gift set
- Genuinely well made
- Fairly priced for quality, especially handy having a transplant trowel too
- Trustable ten year guarantee – what you expect from Spear and Jackson
- The odd break on the welded joint
- I’ve seen some units bent with picture evidence, makes the name Neverbend seem not quite right!
2. Bulldog Pedigree Tools - Stainless Steel Long Handled Trowel and Fork Set
The stainless steel long handled trowel and fork set from Bulldog Pedigree Tools is a real winner in my mind. My backs been playing up over the last few years and I just don’t have the same reach. And while I can get down, it’s only thanks to the super garden knee pads I’ve got. This gives me a sensible alternative to that, and allows me to either crouch down, or sit on a stool whilst planting. In fact, there’s little point me describing this when the guys that made this product have taken the perfect picture:
I mean ok, some of can’t crouch, but then it means we can work from a stool or milk crate very easily. It doesn’t work for the entire process obviously, but for the arduous digging part it really relieves some strain. If you want to cut a stick to length and test first, that’s not a bad idea? The length is 18 inches, or a foot and a half if you prefer.
As for the actual build quality, it’s really right up there. The trowel and fork are tightly fit to the long handle which is important as you get extra leverage and more pressure on the handle. It has a nice leather loop for hanging, a small detail but nice touch if you like hanging your tools neatly in the shed. I’ve seen a couple of reports online about poor quality welds. Sadly almost all sets suffer from the odd dud but with the extra pressure you can apply from long levers, it exacerbate the problem with this set.
My only gripe is I’d love to see the price drop a bit. It’s a beautiful idea but an extra tenner for a bit of turned Ash feel excessive given what Spear and Jackson ask for the same traditional looking set without extension.
- Long handle is a game changer – makes life much easier
- Well built and rarely known to break
- Nicely priced and lovely tool idea – they look really good despite the long handle which ‘should’ feel awkward but doesn’t
- Really saves the back when combined with a stool
- The odd tool snaps at the weld – a reasonable problem given the longer handle and pressure created from extra leverage
- A bit on the expensive side for what is essentially an extra bit of Ash handle..
3. Spear and Jackson Kew Gardens 3056KEW Stainless Steel Gift Set
I thought I would include this set from Spear and Jackson just in case you don’t like the look of the top pick so much. This is in many ways the same as the top pick but costs a few quid more. In some respects it’s worth it as a gift. The mirror polished steel adds a nice touch and gives the feel of a luxury set, the handles are a darker and nicer looking wood in my opinion, it’s endorsed by Kew Gardens, and comes with a ten year guarantee. It’s pretty difficult to envisage this not lasting the duration with prominent backing! After all, these have been designed and developed in conjunction with Kew gardens horticultural team. This has in turn resulted in these tools being officially licensed, used and recommended by the leading specialists. Kew gardens grows over 30,000 different species of plants and has a collection of 14,000 trees. Each purchase of the Kew Gardens collection helps to continue the vital work by the experts in London.
The set is two trowels and a fork, like the previous top pick. I really do think the transplant trowel addition is a nice touch and makes a much better rounded set than the two piece. For a few quid extra it has to be worth it. The transplant trowel fares much better in compacted soil too. So brings real advantage.
With that said, of the thousands os sets they’ve sold, I can only really see one or two negative reviews online. One claiming they came rusty! This must have been a one off blip, because as you can see from the picture they come up like the description says “a mirror finish”.
The question is does the aesthetics improvements amount to the cost difference? I’ll leave you to decide that but it does look the business…
- Looks beautiful – the mirror polish finish sets them off
- Quality build – backed by Kew Gardens
- Transplant trowel is a nice touch
- Full ten year warranty is handy given the price
- It’s priced high but you get what you pay for
- The odd one will break
4. Draper 65960 Carbon Steel Fork and Trowel Set
Next up is something very different to the top quality luxury sets I’ve been reviewing. This is the Draper 65960 Carbon Steel Fork and Trowel Set. They are budget, and no thrills. the handle is fitted well to the metal shaft with plated ferrules. This gives a pretty strong connection that rarely fails.
Going into great detail on these would be a waste of your time. The handle is 5 inch long and overall pretty small which can be an advantage depending on how you look at it and what you want them for. They work spot on, look alright, and have some wrist straps if you find that helpful or not. They are good enough quality, and the price is spot on.
I notice they had a run of bad reviews early on in the year. My guess is a bad batch got shipped over. Draper are always budget and useable, at a minimum sensible. You can be sure the current batch is much better hence the disappearance of bad reviews recently. If you just want to work on the garden and not worried about a show piece like the Spear and Jackson Kew Garden set then this isn’t a bad shout at all.
- Typical Draper pricing
- Very useable trowel and fork for the money
- Very few failures considering number of items bought
- Handle well secured to shaft – almost no failures noted
- Clearly the odd manufacture dud – you might get one if unlucky but replacement offered.
- Not as aesthetically good as the others in this review, don’t make a good gift basically.
- Small – this may be an advantage or disadvantage depending on how you look at it but for me its a con.
5. Spear & Jackson HANDTOOLSET1 Natural Stainless Steel Trowel and Weed Fork Set
One word describes the Spear & Jackson Natural trowel and fork. BEAUTIFUL. The polish mirror looking stainless with the dark wooden handles. Are you supposed to dig with these or hang them up to look at? 😀 And what is more impressive, a few years down the line they look almost better with a bit of age on them!
Apart from the handles looking good, the ferrules are moulded onto the shaft hard. There are practically no easy failures anymore – a few years ago they appeared to have a problem but looks fixed, probably by now you would expect that based on the other two reviews from Spear & Jackson.
If you’ve got heavy clay like soil that sucks down as you try to pull it up? I would actually say this set, maybe not the fork but certainly the trowel is one of the most durable available in the UK at the moment.
You’ll note around the internet that the comment positively outweigh the negative 100 to 1. For most people, this will be the last trowel and fork set they ever buy, unless a gift for someone else…
- Look stunning with stainless polished and dark wooden handles
- Very strong – not many known failures UK wide
- Very well priced considering.
- Trustable warranty on this brand
- Fork prongs are a little too flexible
- Double the price of Draper so not ideal if you just want a bargain
- The odd one snaps on the shaft weld but very rare.
6. Oakenleaf 3 Piece Garden Tool Set Extra Large Stainless Steel with Timber Handle Trowel Fork and Multitool
Next up on the list is a very nice set from Oakenleaf. It’s rather interesting too actually. Rather than go for a standard 3 piece trowel set with a transplant spade, they’ve gone in the middle and made this almost a 4 piece set with a weeder built into the spade as well. Not only that, the spade will get through seriously tough soil no problems at all. The best way to describe this then really is a lovely looking 4 piece set. I know one thing, it’s a rare thing to find a product with NO negative feedback online.
The first thing you’ll notice when in your hand is just how big and solid they are. This is no small Draper budget trowel and fork. It’s solid and will last equally as long as the rival top brands.
Surely a contender for the top fork and trowel set then? Well no in my opinion, I feel like the Spear and Jackson range offer better value for money and as they sit are about a tenner cheaper when compared.
So what else is there to like? The handles look nice, the ferrules are firmly attached to the handles and creating a strong bond to the stainless shafts. Overall though, I just don’t think they look quite as good as the Spear and Jackson range. What do you think about that?
- Look nice – polished chrome and wooden handles do go nicely
- Very well built – much larger and more sturdy shaft and welds than cheaper sets
- Interesting inclusion of a weeder on the spade – very useful
- Most expensive set on the list
- Maybe not as good looking as the Speak and Jackson from Kew Gardens or natural
7. Burgon & Ball GRH/TFBOXPASS Passiflora Gift Boxed Trowel & Fork
There’s a lot of design and history considered in this trowel and fork combo. the use of Japanese artistry taken from over 130 years ago laid the foundation for the patterning. Essentially a Chrysanthemum pattern then. 😀 If you look beyond the design and name, they are still a quality set.
And where they really score is a one off luxury gift. They are priced well for a present, super strong, very interesting with lots of history behind them, and unique. All the makings of a gift you spent a great deal of time selecting 🙂
Given the price is up there you would expect a serious bit of kit and definitely that is the case. These are big, strong, and look great. The problem for me though is they don’t look as great as the Spear and Jackson but that is of course a personal preference thing. However, I do think these are stronger than Spear and Jackson. Certainly you buy these and it’s a once only thing.
- Super well built – really strong shaft and joint to handle
- Lovely design
- Clearly a professionals choice – can withstand loads of leverage pressure
- Makes a lovely unique gift
- Pretty pricey given the options available
- Don’t quite look as good as the Spear and Jackson
Choosing the ideal garden tools may seem easy especially when choosing something as simple as a hand trowel and fork set but of course no one wants to end up buying an inferior product, do they? Well I hope by reading our best hand trowel and hand fork sets review has helped you make the right decision.
Why buy a trowel and hand fork set?
Now I know modern tools like electric weed burners for example do the job better individually, but there’s nothing like an all round trowel and fork set to get almost all tasks in the garden covered. From the point you dig over a border a trowel and fork is all that’s needed to plant, weed, and maintain a border. Sure, specialist edging shears make life easier, but they in no way match the wide variety of use you get from a simple fork and spade.
For those with green fingers, this widely used and versatile duo of hand trowel and hand fork are the go-to pieces of equipment for most gardeners and is primarily used for light to moderate work. The hand trowel and hand fork often thought of as the most used piece of kit in a gardener’s arsenal. Whether you are a grounds keeper, landscaper or like most of us just enjoying being outside tending to your garden the hand trowel and hand fork can be used in a variety of ways. To say the very least the gardening hand trowel and hand fork can be used to dig and shovel soil. This well known pair of gardening tools can also be used to carefully dig, turn or loosen soil (much like the larger fork) to allow plant roots to transport moisture and nutrients to create stunning looking features your gardens flower beds or plant pots.
There is nothing worse than wasting money on a product that will look good but bend or break easily. For that reason, we are going to be reviewing the best had trowel and hand fork sets in the UK right now. We are going to look at a selection of products from well-known gardening equipment manufacturers. They will be comprised of the standard two-piece sets and other three-piece sets we feel warrant looking at when buying gardening hand forks and hand trowels.
The hand trowel and hand fork go hand in hand with one another and are a well-known set and have a whole host of uses similar to a grubber or weeder. And with so many different sets to choose from it’s hard to know which ones are going to withstand the rigours of gardening. When choosing the ideal set, you need to search for a design that is going to last but at the same time remain comfortable to use for long periods of time. The tools should not be causing hand pain or discomfort from overuse.