Best Garden Fork – We compare 5 forks from top brands to see how they compare
BEST GARDEN FORKS
Whether your a amateur or professional gardener, the garden fork is one of the most useful gardening tools you can have. Whether your'e 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 your'l struggle to find any true British made forged garden forks these days, most are imported from the far east and all though they can look very high quality, most are simply not.
After hours of intensive research and testing, we have come up with 5, narrowed down from around 15, which we think are the best garden forks 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.
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 handle's.
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 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 to much pressure. Solid forged steel forks are stronger - see below.
Solid forged steel is the strongest - Without doubt, if your after a good garden fork that can handle forking even the most compact and stony ground, you need to buy a garden fork manufactured from solid-forged steel. Unfortunately there are not many manufactures 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, however there 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 usually 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. It 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, however they are usually heavy when compared 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 which 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 came 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. Once the 30 days has passed you usually need to return it to the manufacture for a replacement.
- Type of fork - There are many types of forks but the two types which 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 more confined spaces like between plants and on narrow borders. Digging forks are usually much bigger and suitable for working larger plots such as allotments and larger beds.
OUR TOP 5 RECOMMENDED GARDEN FORKS
Best Border Forks
Spear & Jackson Traditional Border Fork Review
**OUR BEST PICK**
BEST FOR MOST GARDENERS
This Spear & Jackson Traditional Borders 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 its very strong, preventing the tines from bending and helps prevent the soil sticking to the tines or at the very least, keeps it to a minimum.
Its weather resistant and can be used in all conditions rain or shine without damaging the garden fork.
Would we recommend - Overall its a fantastic garden fork as we expected being manufactured by Spear & Jackson, their tools are usually good quality. Its particularly light weight 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 very comfortable to use and is great for forking in more confined areas around and between plants as the fork is not too wide.
Overall an excellent garden fork which we would recommend to anyone looking for a decent garden fork to use around the garden, it also comes with 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, its made from solid forged carbon steel so is designed for professional use.
Bulldog Evergreen Border Fork
**SOLID FORGED CARBON STEEL** BEST FOR PROFESSIONAL & AMATUER GARDENERS
This Bulldog Evergreen Border Fork is constructed from ash to form the handle and is finished with a ergonomically designed forward angled ergo d handle with grips, this ensures it very comfortable to use even over longer periods of time.
The fork end is manufactured from 'solid forged' carbon steel, this ensures its very strong and prevents the tines from bending or breaking, the fork is also finished with a epoxy coating to help prevent the soil sticking to the tines when used and protects them from rust.
Would we recommend - This was 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' however it does have another advantage over our best pick.
This garden fork is made from 'Solid Forged' carbon steel, this means it is very strong , in fact its 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 manufactures that still manufacture solid-forged garden tools.
There is also a matching spade which is also manufactred using sold-forged carbon steel, you can view the spade version here
Overall another excellent, high quality garden fork which we would recommend to anyone looking for a garden fork for more intensive use, it also comes with 10 year warranty for extra peace of mind.
Spear & Jackson Select Border Fork Review
**BEST FORK FOR SMALLER GARDENERS**
This Spear & Jackson Borders fork is part of the 'Select' range, the shaft is constructed from polypropylene which is incredibly light weight, very durable and very strong.
The fork is manufactured from mirror finished stainless steel which is very strong and reduces the likelihood of the tines bending as well as also preventing the soil sticking to the tines by reducing the soil adhesion.
Fully weather resistant which means it can be used in all weather conditions.
Would we recommend - 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 which seems to make it much easier to use.
It would be better suited to smaller gardeners, some smaller ladies may find this a comfortable garden fork to use as its also light weight 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 a very light weight 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, this can happen more easily than solid forged forks .
If your 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 brake, you all ways have the 10 year guarantee to fall back on.
Best Recommended Digging Forks
Bulldog Evergreen Digging Fork
**SOLID FORGED CARBON STEEL** BEST DIGGING FORK FOR PROFESSIONAL GARDENERS
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 a ergonomically designed forward angled non-slip handle.
The fork is manufactured from 'solid forged' carbon steel which is extremely strong which means the tines are less likely to bend or break. The steel fork is coated with a epoxy coating which means it goes in and out of the ground easily and helps protect it from rust.
Would we recommend - Just like the Bulldog Border Fork we reviewed, their digging fork is probably one of the strongest digging forks currently available.
As it is constructed from sold-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.
Would highly recommend this digging fork over any other digging fork we have researched. made to last and also comes with 10 year warranty for extra peace of mind.
Faithfull All Steel Fork
**ALL STEEL DESIGN**
Made From Carbon Manganese Steel
The Faithfull All Steel Fork is designed for the tradesmen and is manufactured from carbon manganese steel which is incredibly strong and is 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 which gives it a strong smooth join.
The square forks are manufactured from solid-forged steel which is correctly tempered to ensure their extremely strong which means the tines are extremely difficult to bend or break.
Finally the shaft is fitted with a MYD hilt which is fitted with a smooth wooden section to ensure its comfortable to use, even other longer periods of time.
Would we recommend - The is the only full steel fork we considered worth reviewing, what makes this garden fork really stand out from many others, is the steel forks are solid forged.
As it is constructed from sold forged steel, this would be best suited for professional gardeners, landscapers or anyone who is looking for a garden fork that can be used in very hard ground where stainless steel forks may not be up to the job.
This is probably the heaviest fork we have reviewed, with this in mind, if your after something that is light weight this is not for you, maybe consider the Bulldog range of garden forks.
If your 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.
Finals thoughts and 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.
If your 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.
Its also important to note that all our recommenced garden forks comes with at least a 10 year guarantee for extra peace of mind, this all shows that the manufactures stand by there products.