Written by Terry Smith

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UK’s best garden brooms: heavy duty stiff and soft headed yard brooms tested for sweeping up leaves and finer substrate

This article was last updated on April 23rd, 2022 at 5:29 am

How annoying is it when you need to sweep up some heavy nasty muck and all you have is a soft bristled broom? Don’t worry, each and every one of my picks will clearly tell you what you’re buying – be it stiff, medium, or soft bristles. They both have their uses by the way – The stiff broom does much better on tarmac and concrete, pulling up stuck down leaves and other bits if crud. The soft broom works especially well when the problem is finer and dry (like sand) – you can’t use a stiff broom for this expecting to leave your area completely clean and so the best garden brooms work in totally different ways from each other.

Garden brooms reviewed

You’d think writing an article about broom heads and handles would be boring. If that’s the case, Trig from Only Fools & Horses is a genius 😀 I hope to find you the best broom for you in this article without too much boredom! Seriously though, as I allude to in the first paragraph, no two brooms are the same 😀

Back on track 😀 What makes the best garden broom aside from bristles? Certainly the quality of handle (that needs to be rigid), how well built the head is – nothing worse than a head that wears quickly, or worse the bristles fall out easily and the connection between the two and without trying to insult anyones intelligence, heres what to look for when buying the best brooms. From there we want the best value possible so let’s take a look at the best brooms:

Best garden broom: Newman and Cole 12 inch Wooden Broom Head with Stiff Bassine Natural Hard Bristle
Best stiff broom (easily most heavy duty): Garden Brush Heavy Duty Outdoor Yard Broom with Stiff PVC Bristles best of the best for a stiff broom but if you don’t like PVC bristles take a look at the Newman and Cole
Best soft broom: Newman and Cole 10 inch Wooden Broom Head with Soft Natural Coco Bristle
Best workshop broom: Bulldozer
Best wire broom: COTTAM Heavy Duty Steel Wire Broom Head
Professional pick: Bulldozer soft and stiff bristle mix
Budget pick: Twin Pack of Traditional Wooden Sweeping Brushes

What to look for when buying a garden broom

There’s a few important thing to understand and that is mainly you’ll be buying either a broom head of full broom, soft bristles, stiff bristles, PVC bristles, and brooms designed for both wet and dry conditions. So let’s clear these up quickly:

Soft bristles

Soft bristles are almost always what you find indoors but occasionally you need one outside. It might be that you’ve painted the garage floor, or your patio and pathways are smooth. In these situations you almost certainly want to have a soft broom at the ready. I’d recommend the Newman Soft Natural Coco Bristle but would be quick to point out that you’ll almost certainly want a stiff broom too. So a great option on a budget is to look at the Twin Pack of Traditional Wooden Sweeping Brushes which has both soft and stiff brooms.

Soft bristle brooms are still my favourite for the time being

Stiff bristle

Stiff brooms come in two main formats. You’ve got the natural Bassine which can be found on picks like the Newman and Cole or the SilverlineThese are pretty stiff and great for getting leaves up. Being organic material they are not the most ideal to get wet because they’ll fail quicker but I’ve never had a problem. By contrast you could take aim at the PVC Bristle – these are absolutely superb for the wet. You will have to accept the balance though – they are rubbish for finer cleaning – this is exactly why having more than one broom is handy – they all do a different job well but the Bassine are more of an all rounder like the Bulldozer as opposed to specialist.

Head only or broom handle included

I’m not trying to insult your intelligence – please keep your eye open for whether they are supplied with a broom handle or not. Many of the listings here like the Newman or the COTTAM are head only. It’s so annoying to buy the wrong thing or have to wait because we only partially ordered!

Broom material – PVC vs Natural

You’ve essentially got this battle between synthetic nylon bristles and natural bristles. I prefer the natural bristles but I have to say for the softer brooms they are really getting to the point there ain’t much in it. also the PVC stiff bristles are by far more sturdy than the natural variety – it’s just they don’t pickup all debris then they sweep – their focus is wet leaves on concrete etc which they do very well.

Two years after initially writing this review, way back when there were not many reviews, I already knew Newman and Cole for their quality brooms. Nothing has changed in that time and they are still what I call the best garden broom overall. They have a natural bristle that will catch some of the finer debris as well as a hard enough bristle that it’ll pull up wet leaves and stuck down mud in the wet. It’s not the ultra hard almost plastic like bristle, it veers toward heavy duty but being a natural bristle can help with some finer substrate like sand to an extent.

Now remember this is the head only, this replacement broom brush head comes with a connector bracket that you literally screw into your old wooden pole, or new one – just follow the link and there are loads to choose from.

Being 12” or 300mm if you prefer wide, I feel this is pretty much the ideal size for pottering around the garden. Some like the Bulldozer are a whopping two foot wide and I feel these are far better suited to pottering around the home and don’t get me wrong, you can easily sweep large areas like patios, paths, driveways and other larger areas in the garden.

In terms of construction, its been designed as a heavy-duty and hard-wearing natural bristles – this is one of my major gripes on the cheaper brooms – they fall out. Not a problem on this one rest assured. I have noticed a few people complaining about the connection breaking since I bought – given the tens of thousands sold a few unfortunate manufacturer duds can be forgiven in my opinion.

2. 11.5 inch Sweeping Brush Outdoor Broom − Garden Brush Heavy Duty Outdoor Yard Broom with Stiff PVC Bristles

You probably now are starting to realise the difference between the slightly easier to use natural Bassine stiff broom material like the Newman, and what is coming here: the stiff PVC bristles that is probably the best design for wet weather.

Now on average I really don’t like this type of broom, but if you’re asking me to sweep up stuck down leaves and debris in the middle of Winter then this is your go to broom. It’s not just good on tarmac and concrete either – if you’re trying to clear much out of the grooves of your decking then this is the way forward. Note though, the bristles are quite wide apart therefore totally useless for finer material – that’s just not it’s intended work

If however you are really struggling to get rid of much and don’t fancy a wire broom like the COTTAM then this is the go to. It really is the best of the best in terms of being a stiff broom.

This is literally the stiffest broom available but if you’re like me and don’t like the PVC prongs then you’re probably going to be better off with the Newman.

3. Twin Pack of Traditional Wooden Sweeping Brushes - Stiff Outdoor Yard Sweeping Brush and Soft Coco Broom with Handles

Next up is the best budget pick by far. You get a decent stiff broom and a nice soft broom too. Both are what I would call Jack of all trades. Certainly not the best at each discipline but for the money it’s a bargain. If you need a nice set for an upcoming building project or don’t use them al the time, I’d highly recommend taking not of this pair or garden brooms.

And don’t let me play them down too much. The hard bristle broom has Bassine bristles the very same as the top pick Newman and Cole and the Silverline. Being ten inch heads they aren’t the biggest. These definitely aren’t your pick if your after a wide broom – but as a sturdy set for pottering about, you can see why I’m happy with these as the budget pick. You get two heads, and two handles.

The connection between head and broom is basic – just glued in. This will fail at some point – you can either put a metal strut across or screw in from the base if you want to prolong the life of these brooms – particularly the stiff one as that’ll be doing the heavier work.

support brace on broom – to stop it breaking on heavier work

Unlike the Newman stiff broom, this is absolutely ideal for sweeping up finer material. Basically you want this broom if the areas you’re sweeping are slippery or smooth. But what you don’t want to do is let this get too wet. It’s not as robust as the stiffer broom.

You’ll love how well this picks up all debris that dry though – you would have no problem using this indoors and get a comfortable home quality clean too. The coco bristles are natural and biodegrade, so it’s nice on the environment too unlike the synthetic plastic bristle brooms (though I appreciate they sweep up pretty nice too).

Remember you’re only buying the head – these will fit your standard 1 1/8 inch wooden poles. My preference is just to screw then in and go. You’ll find it’s snug, I am sometimes tempted to chamfer but I opt to ram it in (and hope the connection doesn’t break) and then you know you’ve got a sturdy solution for years to come.

Before I start my rant – this is without question the best workshop broom I have ever owned.

I have to tell you from using the Bulldozer Heavy Duty Yard Brush it is not all that in terms of this claimed heavy duty, sorry guys, I normally rate your stuff brilliantly but this one doesn’t work for me. When I bought it perhaps I made a mistake – I bought into heavy duty yard brush. You just can’t name your item that and then throw in a mix of soft bristles to make it more a Jack of all trades but in my workshop with finer dust and a mix of wood chippings this is the real deal to be fair.

Had they name this medium stiff and soft broom or something slightly similar, it would have been bought for the right purpose – sweeping up finer dust and the net result: this would have been a five star item. I’ve had mine for years and it takes a long old time to wear it down.

Bulldozer garden broom

Now, that’s not to say it isn’t cracking quality – I really do like it. I use it all the time for sweeping up saw dust and wood chippings in more workshop and for that purpose it’s a beast. But cleaning up wet sand and set leaves – no definitely not the best.

At first I didn’t like the metal handle because it had a bit of flex if I was rushing – once I slowed down I realised this was doing the work for me – I mean look, after having a right whimper it’s still my professional pick without question.


Before we get moving here this broom requires a 1 1/8″ handle.

This really is for heavy use outdoors in patios, garden, flagstones and decking. If you’re looking to remove algae or kill moss then this broom is just the ticket – you can then get away with a hosepipe and no need for a petrol pressure washer.

The brush comes with a zinc-plated socket that has been designed as corrosion-resistant to withstand wear and tear and rain. Crucially though, that socket is so well built a brom handle just won’t fail – well I’ve literally seen a handful of failures in thousands of sales – that pretty much tells you everything you need to know about this wire broom in terms of quality.

Whilst not a broom for sweeping, this broom really is efficient at cleaning – removing moss and algae in no time at all. I would recommend testing patches if you’re going to use it on something like sandstone, it may scratch and leave a different looking finish. But block paving and brickwork will be fine

This garden broom from Silverline has been created for environmental-conscious property owners, or at least that’s how they sell it because the Newman and Cole 12 inch Wooden Broom Head is exactly the same material and doesn’t mention it.

This broom head needs a 29” mm diameter handle – or an inch and an eighth if you prefer old money. Just like the Newman this is definitely an outside broom and a good alternative pick if you aren’t a Newman fan (I am).

When you buy Silverline you always know you’re getting mid range quality at excellent prices. And given the price of this broom and what I know about the budget Twin Pack as well as the quality of the Newman it’s hard for me to make this my top pick. Though a good alternative and outside choice.

There’s the old complaint of bristles falling out – to be expected given the low price if I’m being fair and most will attest like me it’s just a good old fashioned value for money garden/yard broom.

About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

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