Whether you are an experienced or new gardener, preparing the right tools is important for growing healthy plants. And a lightweight and durable fork is one of them. This heavy-duty and handy tool can make a significant difference in your daily tasks in removing sod, breaking the soil, removing waste, or tilling the garden.
In this guide, I will give you several useful tips and review some of the best garden forks on the UK market to help you make a quicker and easier decision.
What You'll Learn Today
- Why do we need a garden fork?
- Key considerations and key features to look for when purchasing a garden fork
- Top 5 best garden fork reviews
- Frequently asked questions
Why do we need a garden fork?
As you become a more experienced gardener, the gardening toolbox tends to expand accordingly to meet increasing demands. You might need pruners to cut roots, a trowel to dig small holes, or a spade to perform big tasks.
While it is possible to get everything done with those tools, they are not always the most efficient options for your gardening jobs. A garden fork can be a great alternative as it comes with a smart design that can serve various applications at the same time.
With a garden fork, you can move compost, scoop up and spread mulch, dig rocky and clay bed, aerate and turn the soil, and remove weeds or plants with massive roots.
All tasks can be done with a simple tool, thus making everything more convenient and quicker. Even more, using a garden fork can help you alleviate ache and pain as it allows for an upright working position. That’s why it is one of the must-have tools for every gardener.
Key considerations and key features to look for when purchasing a garden fork
a) Types of garden forks
There is a variety of garden fork styles for various applications. They can vary in weights, materials, shaft length, shape, and other factors. Make sure to understand their differences and choose the best one for your needs.
- Spading or digging forks have 4 long tines with sharp ends to penetrate and dig up the soil. They are ideal for oxygenating, sifting, or breaking up soil. Also, you can use them to dig up stubborn roots or bulbs.
- Hay forks or pitchforks typically feature 2 or 3 prongs with long shafts. This type is useful in turning compost or clearing waste after tree trimmings or landscaping.
- Trenching forks have similar designs and looks with digging units, but they are used for heavy-duty tasks. They have thicker and sturdier prongs to deal with uncultivated and stubborn soils.
- Border forks have narrower heads and shorter shafts to work in narrow areas
- Potato forks can have up to 10 prongs with blunt ends to lift potatoes when harvesting
b) Head and tines
Those are probably the most important parts of a garden fork. If possible, it is always better to choose a unit with a forged steel head and tines. This is a durable material that will not break or bend under average applications. Cheap products are often crafted aluminium and would bend easily if used for heavy-duty tasks.
c) Tine shape
The decision over tine shapes depends on your purposes. It is important to know that round tines aren’t ideal for turning or digging the soil. Instead, go for units with flat-faced tines for better performance. For harvesting tasks, you might need blunt tips to pick up fruits or veggies.
A long handle can help you minimize the effort when working. Ideally, a standard handle typically ranges from 30 to 40 inches in length. The best material options for this part include fibreglass, hardwood, or steel. You can choose a model with a D-shaped or T-shaped handle, depending on your preference.
Top 5 best garden fork reviews
1. Fiskars Digging Fork Light 4 Prongs
With a length of up to 113 centimetres, this digging fork by Fiskars enables every gardener to manoeuvre and work around simply with ease. It features 4 hardened steel tines that are sharp and durable to turn and loosen the soil, especially in loose and soft conditions. Also, you can use it to rake out weeks or stones and aerate the lawn. This fork always ensures an optimum working height to save your back from pain and ache.
The handle features lightweight and sturdy aluminium. This makes it more convenient to work and move around. With the plastic sleeve, you can maximize the grip and insulate from cold during the winter. What’s more, the optimum anti-shock surface design allows for a firm and comfortable grip in all working conditions. The perfect combination of those features brings more comfort for gardeners even after extended periods in the plot.
What I like about it:
- Plastic sleeve to maximize grip
- Firm and comfortable to hold
- Lightweight shaft to reduce fatigue
- Ideal for composting, harvesting, and turning the soil
- 4 prongs crafted from hardened steel
2. Bulldog 7103LPH48N Digging Fork With Long Handle
For those people who are looking for an inexpensive yet durable digging fork for their garden tasks, look no further with this latest model from Bulldog. Just like the previous counterpart, it is designed with an extra-long handle to make it simpler and more convenient to dig around. More importantly, you can work for hours in the optimal posture without back pain or ache. This simple tool is ideal for nearly all tasks in your garden and properly.
The head is carefully forged from a single piece of steel. This ensures long-lasting durability for all working conditions after many years. This part also features a traditional design, making it ideal for most tasks in your garden. The shaft is buried deep inside the socket to ensure it will not come apart when using. Socket and head is a single piece, so you won’t have to worry about weak points or welds.
What I like about it:
- The head is forged solidly
- Ideal for most garden tasks
- Extra-long and wide handle
- Simple to use and manoeuvre
- Durable and sturdy construction
3. Fiskars SmartFit 4-Prong Garden Fork 105-125 Cm Boron Steel
The SmartFit is a telescopic fork by Fiskar with an adjustable length from 105 to 120 centimetres. It features 4 prongs for loosening and turning stony and hard soils. You can also use it to collect waste, cut roots, and aerate grass. This is a one-tool-for-all thanks to its ergonomic shape and versatile design. The whole unit is crafted from boron steel to ensure long-lasting durability.
With an ergonomic design, you can work in an upright position, thus minimising the risks of backache and muscle strain. The handle has a D-shape that is ideal for all sizes and shapes of hands. Also, this part is coated with a layer of comfortable material to reduce fatigue when using. The cutting blade can easily sink into the ground for effortless operation. Overall, this is a versatile fork that can be the ultimate solution for most tasks in your garden, both light-duty and heavy-duty alike.
What I like about it:
- Work in upright positions
- Prevent backache and muscle strain
- Ergonomic handle for all hand sizes
- Boron steel for high durability
- Great for cutting roots and removing grass
4. Spear & Jackson 4550DF Stainless Steel Traditional Digging Fork
Spear & Jackson has been making and selling high-quality gardening tools for more than 250 years. And this digging fork is one of the best options that contribute to its popularity. The handle is crafted from premium hardwood, which gives a durable and attractive finish. With a V-shaped design, you can grip the fork securely and comfortably without fatigue. This product combines natural and modern materials with advanced technology to bring a timeless classic.
The head features mirror-polished stainless steel to resist rusts and lower soil adhesion. This makes it much simpler to dig the ground and clean waste. The wooden shaft comes with a weatherproof finish to ensure safe use in all weather conditions. This fork is specially manufactured and tested to minimize defects and ensure high-quality standards. The cleaning and maintaining process is simple and quick in a few simple steps. You can learn more about these things and how to use properly in the provided instructions.
What I like about it:
- Resist rusts and corrosion
- The finish is weatherproof
- Comfortable and long handle
- Enhanced durability with hardwood construction
- Lightweight and easy to use
5. Spear & Jackson Professional Neverbend Garden Fork
The Neverbend series is another high-quality yet inexpensive fork option for every gardener, both experienced and new. With extra-wide tines, it is specially designed for lifting potatoes and other crops. The socket and head feature solidly forged carbon steel that can endure any working conditions without wear and tear. To improve resistance to humidity, scratches, soil alkalines, and rust, the head is coated with epoxy. A weatherproofed shaft crafted from hardwood delivers greater sturdiness.
Despite its heavy-duty design, this garden fork weighs only 2 kilograms, which is lightweight enough for easy manoeuvrability. The handle is long enough to deliver an optimal working position. This can help you minimise pain and exhaustion. The forward tile allows gardeners to adjust the angle for easier digging.
What I like about it:
- The shaft is crafted from weatherproof hardwood
- Epoxy-coated finish to resist rusts
- Extra-wide tines to lift plants
- Forged carbon steel socket and head
- Easy manoeuvrability with a long handle
Frequently asked questions
What is a garden hand fork used for?
Garden forks are an invaluable part of any gardener’s arsenal. They are fantastic for digging vegetable beds, weeding, lifting vegetable at harvest time, and for digging up stubborn roots. Hand forks are designed to fit in the hand, so they are considerably smaller than the longer digging forks, but they are still incredibly useful.
Garden hand forks are most commonly used for:
- Getting the smaller roots out is easiest using a garden hand fork; you are on your knees so closer to the soil and more easily able to see those little roots.
- Whether it be easing out deep vegetables or helping remove deeper roots, a hand garden fork is a good friend to any gardener,
- Some vegetable crops need to be lifted from the ground but can be damaged by the larger forks, so a hand fork is a really good option.
How to replace a garden fork handle?
Although the metal parts of this garden tool tend to last forever, the handles sadly do not. Hard use or being left out in the rain can decimate to wood – but fret not! You can easily replace your garden hand for handle. And if you can’t do it yourself at home, there will be scores of people out there who can help you do it.
- Clamp the fork head in a bench vice to keep it stable.
- Drill out the old screws that hold the handle in place. If it is riveted in place then you will need to use rivet pincers.
- Remove the broken shaft – if you are left with stubborn pieces that won’t come out, you can “persuade” them with the help of your drill.
- Insert the new shaft, tapered end first, and make sure it fits. If it is slightly too large, you can file or plane off the excess wood. If it is too small then you will have to go back to the shop and buy a larger one!
- Tap the end of the shaft gently with a rubber mallet to drive it home.
- Insert a screw into the hole and screw the whole thing together. You will have to tighten the screw over time if you notice it working loose.
How to straighten garden fork?
This is not a large tool with mechanical components that you have to take back to the store to have someone fix for you, luckily! You can easily straighten a garden hand fork a home by yourself.
- Take the fork in one hand and lay it against a flat surface. Ideally you should have at least one tine that is straight that you can use as a marker for the angle you want the bent one to be at.
- Using a hammer or rubber mallet, gently tap at the bent tine until it lies as straight as the other two tines.
Bear in mind that although you can straighten a bent fork, chances are that it will have become weaker at the site of the bend, so it may go again, or even break, if you use it for hard digging. It might be an idea to have a spare or two on standby!