Garden & Lawn

5 Best Garden Forks – I Compared Border & Digging Forks

Last updated on September 27th, 2021

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There was a time when a garden fork would last a lifetime and would even be passed down to the next generation. Unfortunately there are so many cheap imports now available, we have shortlisted the best digging and border forks to just 5 of the ones that will stand the test of time

Whether you are an amateur or professional gardener, the garden fork is one of the most useful gardening tools you can have. Whether you’re turning over your beds, forking your borders to aerate the soil or aerating the lawn, the garden fork is a great tool that can be used for many important tasks around the garden.

Most of us who are old enough to remember the old ‘black forged garden tools’, that our grandparents used will probably know that these tools would last a lifetime. Unfortunately, you will struggle to find any true British made forged garden forks these days, most are imported from the far east and although they can look very high quality, most simply are not.

After hours of intensive research and testing, we have come up with 5 excellent quality garden forks, narrowed down from around 15, which we think are the best currently available.

Our ‘Best Pick’ is the Spear & Jackson Traditional Border Fork because we consider it to be the best fork for most gardeners thanks to its very strong one-piece hardwood shaft with its split wishbone handle and strong stainless steel tines.

Read on to see which other garden forks we recommend including solid-forged steel forks.

BEST PICK

Spear & Jackson Traditional Border Fork
Very comfortable to use, great for working in more confined areas around and between plants as the fork is not too wide. Slides in and out of the soil easily and is fairly lightweight and comfortable to use. This garden fork also comes with a 10-year guarantee for extra peace of mind.

The 5 best border and digging forks which have been included in our review are listed below:

  1. Spear & Jackson Traditional Border Fork – BEST PICK
  2. Bulldog Evergreen Border Fork – BEST PROFESSIONAL BORDER FORK
  3. Spear & Jackson Select Border Fork – BEST PICK FOR SMALL GARDENS
  4. Bulldog Digging Fork – BEST PROFESSIONAL DIGGING FORK
  5. Faithfull All Steel Digging Fork

What to look for in a good garden fork

With literally hundreds of different garden forks available to buy, both in garden centres and from online stores such as Amazon.co.uk, the problem is, even cheap garden forks can look the part with their shiny stainless steel tines and beautiful wooden handles.

So how can you tell if the more expensive garden forks are better and stronger than the cheaper garden forks? Well, you’ll be surprised to learn that the most expensive garden forks are not necessarily always the best garden forks.

Below are some points to think about before buying a shiny new garden fork.

  • Material: Most garden forks are made from ‘Polished Stainless Steel’, they look the part . The best  stainless steel garden forks are very strong (including our best pick), however, there are many stainless steel forks that are inferior and the tines do not take much pressure to bend or worse, break.  This is actually where most stainless steels forks break first when put under too much pressure. Solid forged steel forks are stronger, see below.
  • Solid forged steel is the strongest without a doubt, if you are after a good garden fork that can handle forking even the most compact and stony ground then you need to buy a garden fork manufactured from solid-forged steel. Unfortunately there are not many manufacturers that still make garden tools this way, however, there are still a few models left. Bulldog tools are one such company and we found their forks were very strong although they are usually heavier.  Solid forged tools are so strong that the shaft is usually the first part to break when put under immense pressure unlike stainless steel forks.
  • Shafts: Look for shafts that are manufactured from hardwood as they are usually weatherproof and the strongest. Some forks have polypropylene shafts, these are also very strong and weather resistant but need to be stored in a shed when not in use as the sunlight light can cause the colour to fade and the shaft to become weaker. If stored correctly, they are extremely strong and many models even come with a 10 year guarantee. Some forks also have steel tubular shafts, often with forged steel tines attached, these forks are probably the strongest types but they are usually heavier in comparison to most other types. These forks are probably not the best choice for home gardeners but are great for trade and professional use.
  • Guarantee: Look for a fork that comes with a guarantee, a good quality fork should come with a 10 year guarantee. All the models that made it onto our ‘top 5’ list come with a 10 year guarantee. Usually if the item becomes faulty within the first 30 days you need to return it to the retailer you purchased it from such as Amazon, but once the 30 days has passed you usually need to return it to the manufacturer for a replacement.
  • Type of fork: There are many types of forks but the two types that most gardeners will be interested in are ‘border forks’ and ‘digging forks’. Border forks usually have a narrower head making them more suitable for using in confined spaces, for example, between plants and on narrow borders. Digging forks are usually much bigger and suitable for working larger plots such as allotments and larger beds.

The 5 Best Garden Fork Reviews

Border Forks

1. Spear & Jackson Traditional Border Fork

BEST PICK

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Spear & Jackson 4552BF - Traditional Border Fork, Blue

This Spear & Jackson Traditional Border fork is constructed from a single peace of finely finished weather-proofed hardwood, this has been split at the end to form a traditional wishbone handle. This ensures that the shaft is very durable, strong and less likely to break when put under excessive pressure.

The fork end is manufactured from stainless steel that has been mirror finished, this ensures it is very strong, preventing the tines from bending and helps prevent the soil from sticking to the tines or at the very least, keeps it to a minimum.

Its weather-resistant and can be used in all conditions, come rain or shine without damaging the garden fork.

Our recommendation

Overall it’s a fantastic garden fork as we expected being manufactured by Spear & Jackson, their tools are usually good quality. It’s particularly lightweight when compared to most other garden forks making it attractive to all gardeners. I think it would be excellent for older people who may not want to use heavier garden tools.

It is very comfortable to use and is great for forking in more confined areas around and between plants as the fork is not too wide.

There is also a matching spade which is also a great tool, you can view the spade version here.

Overall an excellent garden fork that we would recommend to anyone looking for a decent garden fork to use around the garden. It also comes with a 10-year warranty for extra peace of mind.

If you looking for a garden fork for intensive professional use, then we would recommend the Bulldog garden fork reviewed below. It is made from solid forged carbon steel so is designed for professional use.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


2. Bulldog Evergreen Border Fork

BEST PROFESSIONAL BORDER FORK

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Bulldog 7104772890 Evergreen Border Fork

This Bulldog Evergreen Border Fork is constructed from ash to form the handle and is finished with an ergonomically designed forward angled ergo D handle with grips, this ensures it is very comfortable to use, even over longer periods of time.

The fork end is manufactured from ‘solid forged’ carbon steel and this ensures it’s very strong and prevents the tines from bending or breaking. The fork is also finished with an epoxy coating to help prevent the soil sticking to the tines when used and protects them from rust.

Our recommendation

This is another fantastic garden fork, however, it is slightly heavier than our ‘Best Pick’ which is the main reason, we didn’t make it, our ‘Best Pick’ although it does have another advantage over our best pick.

This garden fork is made from ‘Solid Forged’ carbon steel, which means it is very strong. In fact, it is stronger than our ‘Best Pick’, this means it would be the better option for professionals gardeners and landscapers as it would cope with more intensive use. After our research, we discovered that Bulldog are one of the only manufacturers that still manufacture solid-forged garden tools. 

There is also a matching spade, also manufactured using solid-forged carbon steel, you can view the spade version here.

Overall another excellent, high-quality garden fork that we would recommend to anyone looking for a garden fork for more intensive use. It also comes with a 10-year warranty for extra peace of mind.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


3. Spear & Jackson Select Border Fork

BEST PICK FOR SMALL GARDENS

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Spear and Jackson 1994EL/09 Select Stainless Border Fork, Blue

This Spear & Jackson Border Fork is part of the ‘Select’ range. The shaft is constructed from polypropylene which is incredibly lightweight, durable and very strong.

The fork is manufactured from mirror finished stainless steel that is very strong and reduces the likelihood of the tines bending as well as also preventing the soil from sticking to the tines by reducing the soil adhesion.

Fully weather-resistant which means it can be used in all weather conditions.

Our recommendation

Well, we really like the design and the polypropylene shaft is probably stronger than even the best hardwood shafts, I have nothing to back this up, but it just feels like it would take a lot of pressure to snap the shaft. The handle is very comfortable and the tilting action is a nice feature that seems to make it much easier to use.

It would be better suited to shorter gardeners, some smaller ladies may find this a comfortable garden fork to use as its also lightweight as well as being smaller. It does have the added benefit of coming with a 10-year warranty for extra peace of mind.

We found that overall it was very lightweight and a fairly strong garden tool, however, there are quite a few customers who have reported that the tines (the spiky ends) have snapped when in use. Because of these reports, we think it may not be ideal for very heavy or stony soil as this is when the tines tend to snap on forks. We did not record any problems, but as this fork is made from stainless steel it can happen more easily than with solid forged forks.

There is also a matching spade which is fantastic, you can view the spade version here.

If you are small and are looking for a fork for working your beds and borders and the soil is not extremely compact, this is a great option. If it does break, you always have the 10-year guarantee to fall back on.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


Digging Forks

4. Bulldog Evergreen Digging Fork

BEST PROFESSIONAL DIGGING FORK

Buy on Amazon

Bulldog 7103772890 Evergreen Digging Fork

This Bulldog Digging Fork is part of their ‘Evergreen range’. It is specially designed for professional use and for gardeners who are looking for a strong, reliable garden fork. The shaft is constructed from ash and is finished with an ergonomically designed forward angled non-slip handle.

The fork is manufactured from ‘solid forged’ carbon steel that is extremely strong, which means the tines are less likely to bend or break. The steel fork is coated with an epoxy coating and this means it goes in and out of the ground easily and helps to protect it from rust.

Our recommendation

Just like the Bulldog Border Fork we have reviewed, their digging fork is probably one of the strongest digging forks currently available.

As it is constructed from solid forged carbon steel, this would be the best option for professional gardeners, landscapers or anyone who is looking for a garden fork that can handle more intensive digging work. 

There is also a matching spade which is also manufactured using solid forged carbon steel, you can view the spade version here.

Would highly recommend this digging fork over any other digging fork we have researched. It has been made to last and also comes with a 10-year warranty for extra peace of mind.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


5. Faithfull All Steel Digging Fork

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Faithfull FAIASFMYD All Steel Fork Myd, 12.2 cm*107.2 cm*27.2 cm

The Faithfull All Steel Fork has been designed for the tradesmen and is manufactured from carbon manganese steel that is incredibly strong. The digging fork has been coated in epoxy which protects it from the effects of rust.

The shaft is made tubular steel for extra strength and is welded to the socket to give it a strong smooth join.

The square forks are manufactured from solid-forged steel that is correctly tempered to ensure they are extremely strong, which means the tines are extremely difficult to bend or break. 

Finally, the shaft is fitted with an MYD hilt and fitted with a smooth wooden section to ensure its comfortable to use, even over long periods of time.

Our recommendation

The is the only full steel fork we considered worth reviewing, what makes this garden fork really stand out from the others, is the steel forks are solid forged. 

As it is constructed from solid forged steel, this would be best suited for professional gardeners, landscapers or anyone who is looking for a garden fork that can be used on the hardest of grounds where stainless steel forks may not be up to the job.

There is also a matching spade which is also manufactured using solid forged carbon steel, you can view the spade version here.

This is probably the heaviest fork we have reviewed, with this in mind, if you are after something that is lightweight then this digging fork is not for you, maybe consider the Bulldog range of garden forks. 

If you are after a very heavy-duty fork that won’t break the first time you put it into stony soil, this Faithful All Steel Fork is worth considering and will be up to the job.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


Final Conclusion

As you have probably gathered by now, there are a few things to think about before purchasing a garden fork, hopefully, we have given you a good idea of which fork might be right for you. The main question to ask yourself is, do you need a border fork for turning over soil and forking around and in between plants or do you need a larger digging fork for working larger areas?

Most gardeners would probably be pleased with our ‘Best Pick’ The Spear & Jackson Traditional Border Fork, that is unless you need a larger digging fork, in which case, The Bulldog Evergreen Digging Fork is one of the best digging forks we ever seen.

BEST PICK

If you are looking for a border fork for soil that is particularly heavy or you have stony soil where stainless steel forks might not be the best option then the Bulldog Evergreen Border Fork is probably the best choice.

It is also important to note that all of our recommenced garden forks come with at least a 10-year guarantee for extra peace of mind. This shows that the manufacturers stand by their products.


Last update on 2021-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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