All You Need To Know About Garden Forks

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Everyone with a garden of any shape or size is going to benefit from a garden fork. They can be used for turning and preparing your bedding area, aerating your lawn, loosing soil and much more! Providing you purchase a good quality garden fork then there is absolutely no reason why it will not last for decades to come – so buying the right one is essential!

The size of your garden and bedding areas will really determine the garden fork that is going to be right for you. You also need to think about whether you want to pay for high quality build materials or whether you are looking for a cheaper option. We have compared some of the best garden forks – here is all you need to know.

Best Pick – Spear & Jackson 4550DF

Spear & Jackson 4550DF Traditional Stainless Steel Digging Fork, Blue
  • Traditional digging fork.
  • Mirror polished stainless steel head.
  • Rust resistant with minimal soil adhesion.
  • Weather proofed hardwood shaft for greater durability.
  • One-piece hardwood shaft, split to form a wishbone handle.

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

In A Hurry?

For anyone that is feeling desperate to get started in their garden, or maybe your garden is already your pride and joy and you are wanting to upgrade your current tools to get the most from the time you spend in the garden. Keep reading for the essential factors you need to consider in your garden fork purchase. 

Types of Garden Fork

You may think that all garden forks are the same  but there are actually a variety of different forks depending on the job that you are wanting to complete and the style of ground/soil that you are working with. These include:

  • Digging fork – used for vegetable gardens, lawns, flower beds 
  • Trench fork – Great for hard ground, digging trenches (obviously) and bigger jobs in your garden
  • Border fork – smaller fork so handy for those smaller areas that you might be working on, or just for anyone that is wanting a lighter tool to work with. 
  • Compost fork – As the name suggests, perfect for anyone that has a compost heap that they are working with as will allow you to turn and work the compost using the fine points on the end of the tines.
  • Hand fork – A much smaller fork which is going to be better suited for anyone who is working in smaller bedding areas or tubs and pots. 
  • Pitch fork – A pitch fork is less likely to be suitable for general garden use, but this has less tines which are more spaced out, so if you are working in a particularly stony area then it may still be an option for you. 
  • And many more! 

Handle and Grip 

The handle and grip on your garden fork is the part that you are going to be holding onto and involved with the most so you need to make sure that it is strong but also comfortable. Most handles are going to be made from metal however they will have some plastic aspects that will help to add to the warmth of the handle. 

You also want to consider the size of the handle and the shape to check that it is going to be a right fit for your hands. Some will have angled handles that are going to reduce the amount of fatigue when working and the overall effort that you have to put into the job you are completing. There are also models that have a double handle which allows you to put double the force in whilst you are working which is great if you are working on trickier ground. 


The shaft or neck of the fork can be made from a range of materials depending on the durability and price that you are looking to pay. More often than not you will find this is made from metal, such as stainless steel or carbon steel, which is going to be strong and weather resistant for a long time (providing you don’t leave it out in the rain for weeks at a time!). However, this material can be heavier and more expensive, so if you are worried about the weight of your garden fork it may be worth looking for one with some plastic incorporated into the shaft. Admittedly, plastic doesn’t have the strength that metal has, but it is going to be durable and light so could be the right option for you. We love the best garden forks that use some of both in the shaft to give you the best of both worlds when working. There are also plenty of garden fork shafts that are made from wood – this is a more traditional material but it is one that is still so common due to its durability and strength. It will often require maintenance if you are wanting it to last over time but they do tend to be slightly cheaper!

NOTE: If you are going to be working on particularly hard ground then chances are you will need to have one hand on the shaft of the fork and the other on the handle. Plastic can be a warmer and softer material that will reduce friction on your hands in these situations. 

It is important to mention that quite often a garden fork will actually be made up of two parts, the tines or “fork” part of the tool and then the shaft and handle, both of which are connected together by a socket. The purpose of this is because the tines will be made out of the most durable materials so they will be able to last forever, however the handle may need replacing over time. By purchasing a garden fork that is split in this way you will have the option to just replace the handle, saving you money in the long run. However, it is worth mentioning that the fork being made out of two materials and having this join in the middle is potentially going to make it weaker, so you are more prone to a damaged fork (particularly if you are working in difficult ground). 

Head or Tines 

Whether you call the base of your garden fork a head, or refer solely to the tines on the fork this is going to be one of the most important parts of this garden tool. The number of tines that you find on your fork really depends on the type of fork that you opt for but for standard garden forks they have 4 tines. 

It is so important that the head of your garden fork is made out of the best material that you can find, this will help it to be durable and strong when you are working in the garden. Look out for models that are made from steel as this is going to be strong but also relatively light. Another plus to opting for steel is that the mud and soil will struggle to stick to this the same so you will be able to move through the ground easier (and it will be easier to clean your tines when you have finished working for the day!). 

TOP TIP: Make sure to check how sharp the ends of the tines are on the garden fork you are looking at. The sharper the better as this will greatly reduce the amount of effort that you have to put in to getting the fork into the ground. 

Size and Weight 

Most garden forks are going to be quite similar in size, although there are variations so it is a factor that you need to consider. Most are going to be just under a metre in length (including both the head and the shaft) but we did find some that were quite a bit smaller so possibly more practical for if you are transporting your garden fork to different places. Equally, if you are taller then make sure to opt for a longer model or you could find the work damaging to your back. 

The weight of your garden fork is going to have a large impact on how easy it is to work with, especially if you have a lot of bedding areas and will be using your fork for extended periods of time. If you are conscious of the weight of your garden fork then look out for models that have a plastic handle and shaft as these will be lighter. 

TOP TIP: If you are going to be working on harder ground then look out for a wider head of the fork. This will hopefully give you space for you to put your foot on the edge of the fork and push down more into the ground. Some won’t be wide enough for you to do this and this will leave you at a disadvantage in stony or clay ground! 

Best Budget – Silverline GT21

Silverline GT21 Muck Fork MYD Handle, Black / Wood, 1100 mm
  • Heavy duty, forged-steel, 4-prong head
  • Lacquered wooden shaft and MYD handle
  • Corrosion-resistant finish
  • Suitable for moving manure, straw and hay
  • Head L x W: 330 x 210 mm

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Greatest Garden Fork Features 

Now that you know the main features you need – here are some of the little extras we found on the best garden forks. 

  • Look out for ergonomic, comfort grips that are made out of softer (but still durable) materials. This will allow you to work for longer without developing blisters and sore patches on your hands. 
  • Colour – Most garden forks are going to come in relatively neutral colours such as black and green. However, it can be better to go for a brighter colour in your garden (particularly if you are starting with a more overgrown garden) as it will be impossible for you to lose a bright yellow garden fork in your garden. 
  • Telescopic Garden Fork – If you are short on space in your shed, or maybe need to have the option to take your garden fork to different places with you, then you may be best looking out for a telescopic garden fork. It is important to mention that these aren’t going to be as strong as standard garden forks, so we wouldn’t recommend them for bigger jobs, but they are considerably more portable due to the ways in which they slot into themselves to shrink the handle down when not in use. 
  • Insulated – We would recommend looking out for garden forks that have an insulated material over the handle and shaft of the fork – particularly if the area that you are working in your garden is a bit “unknown” as to what could be underneath! This will stop you from getting a nasty shock if you hit any buried electrical wires! 
  • FSC Certified wood – if you are looking for a wooden garden fork then make sure to check whether the wood is FSC certified – this is going to be wood that has been sustainably grown and cut so much better for the environment. 

If you are looking to get yourself and your garden kitted out then why not purchase a garden spade at the same time?

Best of the Rest

Draper Garden Tools Set - 2 Piece |Carbon Steel Garden Fork and Spade |Gardening Hand Tools Set |"Y-dee" Handle | 16566
  • Convenient – High-visibility Easy Find plastic-coated steel-cored shaft for effortless retrieval
  • Versatile -Introducing our signature “Y-dee” handle for smooth operation, guaranteed
  • Resistant – Featuring Blade and Tines made from fully hardened and tempered carbon steel material

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Roamwild Multi-Digger Garden Digging Spading Fork – Fibreglass Light Weight Gardening With Unique Dual Soft AIR Light Grip Technology & Soil Lump Cutting Bladed Tines
  • Roamwild Multi Digger Garden Digging Spading Fork Fibreglass Light Weight Gardening With Unique Dual Soft AIR Light Grip Technology and Soil Lump Cutting Bladed Tines
  • Brand : Roamwild
  • Product type: SHOVEL SPADE
  • Mulit Digger Fork
  • Digging fork forks pitchfork pitchforks tiller garden tools tool spading broadfork hand tillers cultivators boarder rototiller gardening

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Spear & Jackson 1994EL/09 Select Stainless Border Fork,Blue
1,799 Reviews
Spear & Jackson 1994EL/09 Select Stainless Border Fork,Blue
  • Stainless steel head
  • Polypropylene shaft
  • 28 handle
  • Blade/head size - 230 mm (9 Inch) x 138 mm (5.1/2 Inch)
  • Grow Your Own 2022 Great British Growing Award Winners

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I look after and maintain my garden fork? 

If you are wanting your garden fork to last and stand the test of time then it is important that you treat it right and look after it. The main way that you need to do this is by cleaning your fork after use. This will remove any dirt or debris left over on the tines and help to reduce rust and rot on your fork. For garden forks with wooden handles you will need to be prepared to sand and treat your fork annually (at least) if you are wanting the wood to last.

What can a garden fork be used for? 

A garden fork is used to dig and turn soil in various parts of your garden. This allows the soil to be aerated and also makes it easier to remove any weeds. This is also an essential part of bedding area maintenance if you are wanting to ensure that your plants are getting the best nutrients right to their roots.

Can you replace the tines on a garden fork?

Depending on the type of garden fork and the material will determine if you can replace the tines on the garden fork. Some will have heads that can be replaced so that the whole head can be replaced, others will be made from one piece of material so these cannot be replaced.

  • Performance
  • Features
  • Ergonomics
  • Value
About Thomas Paxton 368 Articles
Hey there, I'm Thomas Paxton, your Tool Guru with a Twist! I've been knee-deep in the world of tools since I was a little tinkerer in my dad's shed. Now, I'm running my own website where I share my passion for tools and gardening products through buyers guides and insightful tips. I've got the knowledge and experience to break down complex concepts into simple, easy-to-understand language. I purchased Tools Review from Mike Jones at the start of 2023, he has done a sterling job of building the site and I hope I can continue in his success! When I'm not writing guides, you'll find me in my garden or garage, putting my skills to work and pushing the boundaries of creativity. So, whether you're a pro or just starting out, join me on this adventure, and let's conquer DIY projects together!

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