10 Basic Gardening Tools Everyone Should Have, According to Experts

Gardeners share the basic tools they can't live without—and neither should you.

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Composite of essential garden tools
Photo:

Courtesy of Pottery Barn, Amazon, L.L. Bean

Ask any person with a green thumb and they'll tell you the same: A good set of tools makes your gardening endeavors that much smoother. Along with expediting the planting process, reliable gardening tools can save you money in the long run.

"When we use the wrong tool for the task, it is more likely to break, bend, or be less effective," says gardening expert Melinda Myers. "Quality tools last longer, so you will spend less money replacing tools that do not hold up to the task." So, how does one separate the superior options on the market from the so-so? Start by considering the weight of the tool (it should feel substantial!)—but you don't want something that's too heavy to actually use. "Heavier tools can add weight to help with digging, but also require more strength and energy needed to use them," says Myers.

Additionally, you'll want to choose tools made from sturdier materials. This especially applies to the handles, which can break easily if composed of something less durable. "Consider the weight and maintenance needs of handles, especially wood verses fiberglass," Myers says. "Fiberglass handles are less likely to break than wooden handles and do not shrink and expand with moisture."

Clearly, a lot goes into choosing the right gardening tools, which is why we asked our experts to share the options they deem essential for an avid gardener.

01 of 10

Razor-Back PowerEdge Wood Handle Round Point Shovel

Razor-Back PowerEdge Wood Handle Round Point Shovel
Courtesy of The Home Depot

You can't dig holes without a reliable shovel, which is why our experts suggest investing in one that will make it easier for you to burrow plants into the dirt. "Invest in a shovel with a long handle that's securely attached to the blade," says gardening expert Melinda Myers. "If you can find one that has a foot step at the top of the blade, even better." This shovel has a 48-inch wood handle that's designed for rigorous use, while the base provides extra space for foot placement to help drive the blade deeper into the ground.

Price at time of publish: $34.98

02 of 10

L.L. Bean Gardening Scoop

gardening scoop
Courtesy of L.L. Bean

You can't remove soil and mulch from bags without a quality soil scoop—and the more comfortable the handle, the better. Constructed from solid stainless steel with an ergonomic beechwood handle, this sleek soil scoop is designed with a deep well and rounded, enclosed sides that prevents soil and compost from spilling everywhere when you transfer it to a pot or planter.

Price at time of publish: $44.95

03 of 10

Martha Stewart Japanese Stainless-Steel Hedge Shears

Martha Stewart Japanese Stainless-Steel Hedge Shears

Courtesy of Amazon

While pruners are great for cutting smaller branches, stems, and leaves, you'll want to get your hands on a superior set of hedging shears to handle bigger shrubs. Martha's own iteration is certainly up to the task. "Hedging shears work better than pruners for trimming hedges and shaping larger evergreens," says garden and landscape designer Amber Freda. "The longer blades help create a more uniform look and work much faster than pruners."

Price at time of publish: $64.99

04 of 10

Ergie Systems 24-Tine Leaf Rake Steel Shaft Strain Reducing Steel

Ergie Systems Steel Shaft Strain Reducing Steel Leaf Rake

Courtesy of Home Depot

No gardening toolbox would be complete without a trusty landscape tool for raking leaves, lifting grass, and spreading mulch around. "Steel rakes are sturdier than plastic ones," Freda says. "And a fan-shaped head will help you rake in leaves faster." This option has an added handle that connects to the steel shaft to help reduce the strain on your body so you can work longer.

Price at time of publish: $30.29

05 of 10

L.L. Bean Gardening Trowel

gardening trowel
Courtesy of L.L. Bean

A sturdy aluminum trowel with an ergonomic handle will make digging holes for smaller plants, like annuals, herbs, and vegetables, a breeze. This option is durable thanks to its stainless steel build which comes in handy when you're digging in heavy clay soil, Myers says.

Price at time of publish: $39.95

06 of 10

Razor-Back Fiberglass Handle Forged Steel Bow Rake

steel rake
Courtesy of Home Depot

A heavy-duty rake with a fiberglass handle like this one will work wonders when you're preparing soil for planting. "An iron rake allows you to rake the soil to the proper grade (slightly crowned in the center or smooth)," Myer says. "It also comes in handy when spreading mulch."

Price at time of publish: $28.98

07 of 10

Pottery Barn Bypass Secateur Garden Shears

garden shears
Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Designed with two sharp blades to quickly cut through branches, stems, and leaves, a durable pair of bypass pruners can help save your plants from insects and disease. "Having two sharp blades results in a clean cut that closes quickly, helping to reduce the risk of insects and disease moving in through the wound," Myers says.

Price at time of publish: $49.50

08 of 10

Fiskars 4-Claw Stand Up Weeder

Fiskars 4-Claw Stand Up Weeder

Courtesy of Amazon

Having a reliable weeding tool in your gardening arsenal will help save your back in the long run. "Weeding tools really help remove weeds more easily than by hand," says Freda. "Try a standup variety that will keep you from having to bend over as much." This option has a long shaft and easy-eject design that keeps you from having to kneel or bend over as you remove weeds from your garden. The four serrated, stainless steel claws firmly grab weeds for permanent removal.

Price at time of publish: $61.99

09 of 10

Barebones Living Hori Hori Ultimate

Barebones Living Hori Hori Ultimate
Courtesy of Barebones Living

If you aren't already hip to Hori Horis, then now's the time to get on board. A special knife that doubles as a saw-and-trowel-in-one, these tools are designed to dig and cut right through stubborn weeds and roots. "A Hori Hori allows you to remove weeds—roots and all—with minimal disturbance to surrounding plants," Myers says. "The serrated edge is great for dividing plants and for digging small holes."

Price at time of publish: $69.99

10 of 10

Pottery Barn Geared Bypass Garden Loppers

bypass lopper
Courtesy of Pottery Barn

If you're tending to a lot of shrubs in your garden, keep a bypass lopper on hand to help you cut through them quickly (without hurting yourself). "The longer handles extend your reach allowing you to access those hard to reach stems and those larger in diameter," Myers says. "Some bypass loppers have ratcheting action or other methods that increases the power with less effort on your part."

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