20 Most Essential Gardening Tools You Should Have: The Complete List

In this article we look at the best gardening tools you should have in 2019, namely we talk about the 20 most essential garden tools that will make your life easier.

As the weather slowly warms and the days get longer our thoughts inevitably drift in the direction of what improvements we can make in our gardens this spring – at least it does for “green-thumbed” folks like you and me!

essential gardening tools list

A beautiful garden is a place we can enjoy with family and spend time with friends while leaving the stress of the working week behind. Before you can enjoy your garden though, you have to cultivate it and that requires the right tools for the job. Not to worry, all of the gardening tools you’ll need are readily available and easily available.

Here are the top 20 most essential gardening tools you should have:

1. Weeder

If you want to tackle weeds, but you don’t want to pollute your garden with harmful chemicals the best solution is a simple weeder. These are small hand tools with a forked end that’s ideal for digging individual weeds and removing them by the root.

If used correctly you can remove all of the offending plant so that it doesn’t come back to haunt you! Be ready for some hard work though – removing weeds one at a time is a time consuming process. On the bright side you’ll get to spend quality time outdoors, soaking up that valuable vitamin D!

The Vremi Garden Weeder is a really sturdy, comfortable to use weeding tool. It’s great for loosening and pulling up those long, hard to reach dandelion roots!

2. Garden Scissors

Scissors are an essential, but often overlooked tool for any real gardener. The reason is simple – they’re a highly versatile piece of equipment that can be used to do a lot of simple chores.

You can use them for opening seed packets, for delicate pruning jobs of small flowers, and at a pinch, you can even use them for digging out weeds if nothing else is available. (Just make sure you clean them thoroughly afterwards!)

A gardener has to be ready to improvise when the right tool is not at hand – with a little imagination you can accomplish anything in the garden with very few tools.

The Very Sharp Multi-Purpose Scissors by RiverView Enterprise, with their reinforced blades, are suitable for both left and right Handed people to use. A no-nonsense, durable pair of scissors for the garden at an excellent price.

3. Soil Knife

A soil knife is another versatile tool, but surprisingly not one that the average gardener has in his/her tool box. These tools are of Japanese origin and are sometimes referred to as a Hori-Hori.

They’re ideal for all kinds of jobs that involve digging and cutting. However, the serrated blade is usually sharp on both ends and at the point, so it’s probably a good idea to keep it out of reach of small children.

soil knife

If this is the first time you’ve ever heard of one of these then you may want to head out to the local hardware store and pick one up – you’ll be glad that you did.

The Japanese made Nisaku NJP650 Hori-Hori Weeding & Digging Knife, is made from high quality stainless steel, features a full width, bend-resistant tang with a concave blade for easy digging. It has a serrated side and a sharp side which makes it a versatile and very useful garden tool. It comes in a strong leather sheath.

4. Hand Trowel

When my wife and I bought our first home one of the first tools we bought was a trowel. Our garden needed a lot of work as the previous owners weren’t exactly green fingered!

You can use a trowel for digging out areas for plants and flowers as well as refilling the holes when you’re finished. They’re also ideal for digging out any weeds that have encroached on your garden plots. I’ve even used one for a little edging work from time to time – there may be more specialized tools for this, but they’ll do at a pinch.

The True Temper Hand Transplanter Trowel is a well-made, nice sharp pointed trowel for transplanting work that requires precision cutting and digging.

The Fiskars Big Grip Trowel is an extremely durable, cast aluminum trowel which will stand up to heavy duty handling, unlike many other trowels which often break at the weak spot between the handle and shovel end. By contrast, this Fiskars trowel is extremely robust and won’t let you down.

5. Pruning Shears

We have a beautiful Chinese Cherry tree in our front yard, but every spring it’s an unholy mess to behold. After a winter of very little attention, the branches have a habit of sprouting all over the place. That’s why I always make sure I have a good pair of pruning shears in the garage ready for action.

They have to be sharp though if you’re going to use them on small trees. It’s a good idea to sharpen them every spring so that you’re not frustrated by trying to prune with a dull pair of shears.

garden pruning shears

The FELCO 2 Pruning Shears are great for most gardeners. You really can’t go wrong with these professional quality, classic pruning shears which have been proven time and again by horticulturists and farmers the world over.

6. A Good Old Water Hose or Sprinkling System

Once you’ve finished laying out your garden, it’s a great feeling when you can stand back and admire the finished article – but that doesn’t mean you’re done for the rest of the year! Keeping a garden looking nice and just the way you want it requires regular maintenance.

Other than sunshine, what’s the one thing that flowers and plants simply must have? Why water of course! That’s why a good quality hose for your garden is indispensable – and while you’re at it, you might also wish to consider a sprinkler system.

The Gardguard 50ft Expandable Garden Hose is both durable and lightweight, has solid brass fittings so it won’t rust, and comes with all the attachments you need including the spray gun.

The easy to set up Lawn Sprinkler by Wshan gives great coverage (adjustable spray up to 16 feet) and comes with a hose attachment as well as a rotary butterfly sprinkler.

7. Curved Blade Digging Shovel

A full length curved blade digging shovel is a staple gardening tool in most garden sheds and for good reason – if you want a beautiful garden it’s a must have.

You can use a full length curved shovel for many heavy duty digging jobs including planting trees and large shrubs. They’re also great for working over a lot of soil in a short period of time.

In the early spring I typically use mine to loosen up the soil to get it ready for planting before using the rake to break down the lumps and get the soil into that fine, smooth finish ready for planting.

The True Temper Forged Round Point Digging Shovel by Ames has a forged steel blade, a comfort step for secure footing and a sturdy 45-inch hardwood handle. A really useful digging tool!

8. Full Flat Digging Shovel / Spade

A round shovel isn’t the only shovel you should have in your garden shed though. They do have their limitations. Specifically, they’re not great for edging work.

If you’re trying to move a section of grass to make a new garden plot, a curved shovel will only get you so far. Once you’ve dug out your plot it’s time to trim the edges and for that you need a full length flat shovel.

With a flat straight edge you can finish plotting out the perfect garden section and make your yard look exactly how you’d envisioned it.

The Spear & Jackson 4450DS Traditional Stainless Steel Digging Spade is a rugged, well-balanced spade which you will be proud to own. It has a mirror polished, sharp stainless steel head for maximum rust resistance and minimal soil adhesion.

The one-piece weather-proof, hardwood shaft is split to form a wishbone handle and will prove its worth time and again.

9. Leaf Rakes

Anyone that spends a lot of time in the garden likes to rake up all the leaves up in the fall and then again in spring – along with any other debris that’s built up over the winter months.

The best tool for this job is a leaf rake with a large fan like blade. The bristles are typically made from a soft flexible metal or plastic material that allows you to lightly rake the whole surface of all the debris, but still leaves the soil in place.

It’s one of the first garden tools I ever used as a kid when it was my job to rake the leaves – I had to earn my allowance somehow!

leaf rake

The all-singing, all dancing Gonicc 63-Inch Professional Adjustable Garden Leaf Rake, is a welcome and truly innovatory product. It has a telescopic handle, which means that whatever height you are, you can adjust it to suit.

Additionally the rake head can be adjusted from a 7-inch rake to 22 inches simply by opening the easy to use locking lever. This makes it extremely versatile for getting into all the corners as well as opened out wide for use on the lawn.

10. Garden Rakes

Leaf rakes are invaluable, but they’re horribly frustrating if you’re trying to use them as a finishing tool on your soil. For that you need something a little more rigid and that’s where a garden rake which is specifically made for cultivation, comes in.

If you’re not familiar with these they have a solid flat blade set at an angle at the end of a long pole with several solid “tines” sticking out from the edge of the blade.

Their rigid nature makes it much easier to break down the surface of the soil and give it that nice, neat raked over and well cared-for look.

The traditional Bully Tools 12-Gauge 16-Inch Bow Rake with Fiberglass Handle has a business end made from extra thick 10 gauge steel. It has 16 steel tines and the handle is a high-strength, triple layered fiberglass handle with a wooden core. A solid, well built rake which will last a lifetime.

11. Pruning Saw

You would normally associate a saw with cutting wood for various woodworking projects, but a good-quality hand pruning saw is also a tool that every gardener should have.

Pruning shears might be great for plants and small branches on trees, but larger branches require something with a little more cutting power. A pruning saw is perfect for this because it designed to cut on the pull stroke, which gives you greater control when sawing branches.

hand pruning saw

Sure you could go with a small chainsaw, but they can be expensive and are really not necessary for 99 percent of all gardening jobs.

The Silky 270-33 Series Curved Blade Hand Saw with Scabbard, is a professional quality Japanese pruning saw with a 13-inch curved, hard chromium blade.

The blade has a full tang, (the part of the blade which goes into the moulded rubber handle), which makes it very stable in use. These Silky saws can either be used by hand or mounted on a Zubat Professional pole, which adds greatly to its usefulness.

This is one of the sharpest pruning saws you can buy and great care is advised when handling it. It cuts with a pull action and comes with a tailor-made rugged polypropylene, scabbard.

12. Garden Hoe

In medieval Europe working with the earth was backbreaking work because they didn’t have the benefit of modern technology. One thing they did have which made their lives easier, was a primitive version of our garden hoe.

This simple innovation made the job of planting seeds a whole lot easier and while our modern garden hoes may be made from modern materials and designed to last a long time they are essentially the same tool.

They allow you to quickly dig a shallow trench in the soil that’s ideal for planting seeds just below the surface. If you’re planning on having a vegetable garden a good garden hoe is essential.

The Japanese Nisaku NJP1014 Handheld Long Handle Stainless Steel Garden Draw Hoe features a 6-inch stainless steel blade is rust resistant and has a polished wood handle which is durable and easy to grip. Perfect for tasks such as shaping soil, removing weeds, clearing soil of old crops and harvesting rooted vegetables.

The shank is forged in one piece with the blade. This ensures an extremely durable, bend resistant hoe with lots of levering power.

13. Gardening Gloves

Some people love the feel of the dirt in their hands – it just kind of makes you feel alive. I’m one of those people and if you are too, you might be thinking “what the heck do I need gardening gloves for?”

Even those of us who don’t mind getting our hands dirty still need a good pair of gardening gloves. Digging in the dirt with a hand shovel may not seem like the hardest chore, but after a few hours of it your hands will start to feel it. If you want to avoid unwanted blisters a pair of gardening gloves is something you should seriously consider.

Gardening Gloves

These great Garden Gloves for Women and Men have puncture-resistant coating, 3 times thicker than normal ones which reduces cuts and scratches while providing excellent grip and bare-hand sensitivity.

They are made from breathable fabric. The perfect choice for weeding, planting, digging, landscaping, picking fruit, flowers, or vegetables. Machine washable, these gloves come in small medium and large sizes – so they will fit your hand – like a glove!

14. A Wheelbarrow

When you’re digging out new gardens or taking care of a weed infestation you’re bound to have a lot of waste material. All of that has to go somewhere and even if you have a backyard compost heap you still have to get it there.

Unless your idea of fun is carrying each individual shovelful of debris over to the compost heap, then a wheelbarrow should be in that garden shed of yours.

You can save a lot of time and effort with a good quality wheelbarrow – just make sure those tyres are properly inflated before you get to work!

The Best Choice Products Dual Wheel Home Wheelbarrow is constructed from powder coated steel, polyurethane, and rubber for a rust proof performance.

The thick padded loop handles double as a stand and make pushing the wheelbarrow comfortable and easy to lift. The dual 13-inch rubber wheels are sturdy and pneumatic, making it easy to manoeuvre over various types of ground. The deep barrow provides an ample 5 cubic feet of space.

15. A Small Stool

Before I talk about the next item on our list it’s probably important to define what we mean by a tool. In our humble opinion a tool is anything that makes your life a little easier and makes it possible to perform a task with less effort than would otherwise be necessary.

That’s why a small stool makes our list of essential gardening tool. If you really love gardening and plan on spending several hours a week working on your yard you’ll be glad you invested in a small garden stool. They save you from a lot of joint pain and they’re definitely a lot easier on your knees.

Abco Garden Kneeler and Seat

The Abco Garden Kneeler & Seat makes it easy to kneel in the garden without hurting your knees or back. It comes with a soft foam padding to provide a welcome cushion for your knees – it also helps protect the knees of your pants!

The strong metallic frame provides support for hands and back when kneeling down and standing up. This kneeler can be flipped over to convert it into a comfortable seat when needing a break and it can be folded flat for compact storage.

16. Knee Pads

If a stool’s just not your thing, but you still want to save your knees then you may want to consider a good pair of knee pads. Kneeling down to dig in the garden will take it’s toll on your kneecaps over time. If you just can’t stand the pain in your knees any longer it’s definitely time for a pair of knee pads.

The VUINO Heavy Duty Knee Pads protect your knees against cuts or scrapes on any terrain. They have a soft gel core and durable foam padding to cushion and give great comfort when kneeling.

These quality knee pads are designed to work with the natural hinge action of the knee and have adjustable velcro straps to make sure they stay in place and don’t slip down when in use.

17. Leaf Blower

There are a couple of different ways to get rid of the leaves in your yard and it really comes down to personal preference. I’ve always used a rake and I’m perfectly happy with my choice.

Some people think this is just a little bit too time consuming though and my father definitely falls into this category. For him, his leaf blower is the best invention since the toaster and there are a lot of people that share that opinion.

It certainly makes short work of blowing the leaves into a corner where at the flick of a switch it then sucks them all up into the bag, ready for emptying on the compost heap.

The Black+Decker BV6000 High Performance Blower, Vac and Mulcher has 2 speed selections and comes complete with its own disposable leaf bag system. This top-quality electric leaf blower is ideal for clearing driveways, sidewalks, decks, and garages of debris and fall leaves from the yard.

Easily switches from blower to vacuum mode, the heavy-duty vacuum eats up leaves, grass clippings, twigs, pine needles, and other lawn debris. The mulch mechanism is excellent – it allows you to grind up to 16 bags of mulch down to one.

18. Weed Trimmer / Brush Cutter

There is an easier way to get rid of weeds than using a manual weeder like the one we’ve already mentioned in this article. You can always go with a good-quality weed trimmer – or a strimmer as it’s sometimes called and I do have one in my shed as well. I prefer to use mine for larger more daunting tasks, but it is a great option if you’re pressed for time.

A brush cutter is a heavier duty version for keeping on top of rougher areas. For more information, check out our guide to the best brush cutters on the market.

The main drawback with these machines is that they don’t cut off the roots of the weeds, so they will grow back. I use both a weed trimmer and manual weeder depending on the job and my mood.

The Greenworks 21212 Corded String Trimmer features a simple to maintain design with a 13-inch cutting path. It has an automatic dual line feed, adjustable telescoping shaft and a 180 degree rotating handle for easy edging and trimming. (Don’t forget, you’ll need to use an extension cable with this trimmer).

19. Lawn Mower

It may seem obvious, but no garden is going to look to good if you don’t look after the lawn. That’s why every garden shed simply has to have a good lawn mower in it. Some prefer gas mowers, some electric, and others still prefer the manual push mowers, but whatever your choice you need a mower.

The size of your garden is often the deciding factor – if you have a large garden you’ll be glad of the freedom a gas lawn mower gives you but if you only have a small patch to look after then an electric lawnmower may be all you need. Push mowers are fine on the flat but uphill? Mmmm! Not so sure that would work!

The Greenworks 25142 Corded Electric Lawn Mower delivers enough power to cut through tough grass. Its durable 16-inch cutting deck gets the job done quickly and efficiently. And its 2-in-1 feature provides both mulching and a well designed rear discharge mechanism which blows the clippings into the supplied bag.

This top-rated electric mower has a 5 position height adjustment which allows for the perfect height of cut on all types of grass. It also comes with a 150 feet extension cord.

20. A Digging Fork

If you need to break up the soil a standard garden rake is okay, but a digging fork is better if you want to get real penetration. You can really get some depth with one of these. That’s why it makes our list at number 20.

Fiskars Ergo D-Handle Steel Garden Fork

The Fiskars Ergo D-Handle Steel Garden Fork makes mixing, turning, loosening and lifting loose materials like soil, compost or mulch easier than ever.

The welded steel construction is far more durable than wood and won’t flex like fiberglass. The angled D-handle keeps your wrist in a neutral position to reduce strain, and pointed boron steel tines make penetrating hard soil easy.

The mid grip, teardrop-shaped shaft provide exceptional comfort and control. The powder-coated steel resists rust and offers easy cleaning and a hang hole allows for convenient storage in your shed or garage.

Start Digging!

So there you have it. These are the 20 tools no gardener should be without if they want their garden to be the envy of the neighborhood. I’m sure there’s probably a few more that you can think of, but this is a pretty solid foundation to set you on the right track.

Good luck with your garden!