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Elizabeth A. Klose

Professional Gardening Expert

Best Spring Garden Hand Tools & Best Home and Garden Tools

Featured On:

  • HGTV
Garden tools are our best companions in the garden.

Choosing the best garden tools for this section was a challenging task. To narrow the list down to the best ten was like asking “what family member do you love the most”. We all have our favourites, but love them all!

The theme of this collection assembles the best tools that all gardeners must have in their garden maintenance arsenal. These tools are all manual, “powered by you” tools. They are “the right tools for the right task,” able to tackle the majority of your garden maintenance chores.

At the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture we determined, through years of research and first-hand experience, the best tools to issue to our staff and students. They maintain 100 acres (40 ha.) of gardens and plant collections, so their tools must be strong, reliability durable to withstand rigorous use and are comfortable to handle for long periods of time. The tools include favourites used by the landscape industry. The secateurs (small hand pruners) and loppers are also the tools of choice by the fruit and vineyard operators who prune millions of trees and vines each year. The Best of the Best garden tools is a compilation of the best tools as selected by the experts themselves. You also deserve the best tools to tend your own garden!

The best friend in the garden is the wheelbarrow. It is the soldier upon whose shoulders carry the burden of our toil. It is the unsung hero who literally gets all the dirty jobs, along with the trusty hoe and spade. Under appreciated, the wheelbarrow is therefore placed on the top of my list. The loppers, shears, and secateurs are the finesse team of garden maintenance tools. When properly used, these tools contribute to plant health care, training, form, and structure. The weeding tools are the “bouncers.” They weed out the opportunistic uninvited guests to the garden party. The spade is the support team motivator. It is the trusted tool to help you plant a future in your garden to enjoy for the seasons and years to come.

The best spring garden tools must be strong, reliable and durable to ensure you have the best for gardening. Pick the best home and garden tools with our suggestions on must-have tools.

Best Spring Garden Tools by Elizabeth A. Klose

The Best You Can Get

  • Sinclair Erie Wheelbarrow (Model 1035 Contractor)

    Elizabeth says: Reputed as Canada’s number one wheelbarrow as chosen by industry professionals, this premium crafted wheelbarrow is a result of 125 years of crafting quality. Manufactured in Ontario, Canada, strong and durable enough for the commercial trade, this wheelbarrow is our wheelbarrow of choice at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture. Able to haul loads of soil and sod to tools and garden debris, it is easy to handle, manoeuvre, and easy to clean and store away. Chosen as number one for good reason!

    • 6-cubic-foot, seamless, reinforced tray - no bolts to catch debris
    • Sturdy support design features for lateral stability
    • Long hardwood handles with 26” handle span enables leg clearance and comfortable leverage and handling
    • Well balanced, able to travel on rough terrain and turns on a dime
    • Narrow nose and ideal position of dump point features allows for easy pouring of contents
  • Felco (No. 2) Pruners

    Elizabeth says: Felco, founded in Switzerland, is renowned for its bypass-style pruners. Model #2 is the standard pruner (secateur) of choice by professionals and gardeners alike around the world. Felco has manufactured versions of the same design for over 50 years, crafts other models and blade sizes, including swivel handle ergonomic and left-handed versions of this classic, all to suit any gardener’s needs. They are comfortable to handle, able to cut through any 1” branch with ease. Blades are easily removed for sharpening, and all parts including the spring mechanism are readily available, a testament to its popularity. The accompanying holster is highly recommended, with the clip-on hip cone holster being the most popular. It conjures up visions of the Wild West when you draw your weapon to a friendly duel in the garden and is a safe haven for your secateurs when not on use.

    • Swiss steel 2
    • Blade and spring assembly replacements readily available
    • Molded plastic covers the alloy aluminium 8 ½” handles for comfortable grip
    • Toggle closer to keep the secateurs closed when not in use
  • Bahco Loppers

    Elizabeth says: This series of Bahco Professional Vineyard and Landscape Loppers are all made with super light weight aluminum handles with soft handle grips and bumper pads for comfort and reduces fatigue. These loppers are an industry favorite used to prune live or dead wood in bushes trees and vines. Light weight yet strong, they have a sleek curved cutting by-pass mechanism with an in-tube assembled blade and a forged strong counter blade with a sap groove. Blades can be taken apart for sharpening and cleaning.

    • Ultra light weight
    • Comfortable to use
    • Three lengths to choose from: P-SL-40 16 inch, P-SL-45 18 inch, P-SL-60 24 inch
  • Bahco Professional Hedge Shears (P51)

    Elizabeth says: Bacho is renowned for their high performance pruning and shearing tools. For shearing conifer upright shrubs, sculpting a topiary or precision hedge trimming, these are the shears that the professionals reach for to get the job done. They are well balanced and light weight for easy handling. The sturdy, heavy-gauge steel blades are razor sharp with a tight by-pass for clean cuts. The base of the blade has a heavily serrated section, for cutting larger twigs up to ½ inch. The blades are capable of cutting 15 mm. diameter wood.

    • Molded hand grips
    • 22” (57 cm.) length
    • Rubber shock absorber bumper pads for comfort
    • P51H model has 30” long handles for extended reach
  • Garant Grizzly HD Garden Spade (GFGS2FD)

    Elizabeth says: Garant, a Canadian company manufacturing tools dating back to 1895, has a long successful history of making strong and durable tools. The Grizzly series is the professional product line. The “HD” stands for “heavy duty” tempered steel heads and blades. You need a heavy duty spade for the heavy duty jobs in the garden. Have you ever broken a spade in the middle of a tough job? This one will not let you down. The blade on this spade slices though the toughest soil profile and splits perennials with ease. It also can do the same task of edging garden beds like a half-moon edger. The cutting blade edge can also be sharpened with a heavy file.

    For the discerning gardener with an affinity towards stainless steel, there are other manufacturers that produce tough strong spades with the elegance of a stainless steel blade that rinses cleanly and always looks like the day you bought it. It is similar to using the good silverware for everyday use. However, if I had to choose just one a spade, the Grizzly, the work horse of them all, is my selection.

    • Weighs 4.5 lbs. (2.04 kg.).
    • Steel “D” grip handle on a solid ash handle.
    • Forward turned boot step on the blade shoulder.

You will be happy with any of these

  • Felco (No. 6) Pruners

    Elizabeth says: Felco of Switzerland has been crafting premium quality by-pass pruners (secateurs) renowned for its precision cut and ease of use for over 50 years. The hardened steel blades can be adjusted for tension, and have a small wire notch at the base for snipping soft wire. Felco #6 are as well balanced and have the same quality workmanship and virtues as the most popular #2 model. The difference is that these secateurs are lighter in weight and the handles and blades are shorter – perfect for the small-handed gardener or for pruning in tight spaces. No gardener should be without their Felco’s.

    • Hardened Swiss steel 1 5/8” blades
    • Molded plastic covers the alloy aluminium 7 1/4” (19.5 cm) handles for comfortable grip with smaller hands
    • Easily disassembled for cleaning and sharpening
    • Toggle closer and rubber cushion shock absorber pads for soft closing
  • Fiskars Power Gear Hedge Shears

    Elizabeth says: The Fiskars Company was founded in Fiskars Village, Finland, in 1649 and is known internationally for its line of home and garden ware, outdoor recreation equipment, among other consumer goods and services.

    The unique gear design of these shears results in a quick cutting action with minimal leverage effort, making this model a favorite for ease of use without fatigue. Handles are strong, yet light weight with padded grips. The 9-inch, precision-crafted blades are hardened stainless steel, covered with a non-stick coating to resist corrosion and makes cutting and clean up a breeze. They are reputed as being “the only hedge shear to be awarded the Arthritis Foundation® Ease-of-Use Commendation in the United States, and Arthritis Friendly in Canada.”


    • PowerGear® mechanism maximizes leverage to make cutting easier
    • 22 inches long
    • 9-inch blade cuts cleanly along the entire blade edge including the tip
    • Rubber shock absorbing bumpers
    • Well balanced and light weight (730 gm.)
  • Stihl Folding Saw (PS 30)

    Elizabeth says: Stihl, renowned for its line of chainsaws, has been manufacturing precision quality built saws since 1926. Founded in Germany their products are distributed across the globe at dealerships whose service equals the factory specification standards.

    The trim design of the PS 30 folding saw folds conveniently within the soft grip handle for safe carrying and blade protection. A quick release mechanism allows the blade to fold out and locks into place. The razor sharp blade is curved for quick clean sawing of branches too large for loppers.

    • Hardened chrome-plated blade finish
    • Saws through branches up to 4.5” diameter
    • Comfort grip handle
    • Measures 14.8” in open locked position
  • Hori Hori Knife

    Elizabeth says: Also known as the Japanese Farmer’s Weeder Knife, this tool is now a standard issue in the collection of tools that every student receives when they arrive at the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. It gained notoriety when international exchange students from Japan claimed they were the best all purpose tool. We became believers and the Hori Hori Knife has been a favourite in our tool box ever since.

    Made in Japan, this part knife-part trowel is very versatile. The Japanese term “hori” means “digging” and dig it does! It can be also being used for planting, dividing, cutting and weeding out weeds with stubborn tap roots. It can be used like a trowel with a scooping or and dagger-type motion. It comes with a vinyl sheath and a belt strap which keeps it conveniently and safely by your side. It is a well-made, durable multi-purpose tool.

    • Serrated edge on concave blade
    • Smooth sharp edge on the other side of the blade
    • Available in carbon-steel or stainless steel (the sharper version)
    • Strong hardwood handle
    • Approximately 12” long
  • Ames True Temper Nursery Hoe (1844300)

    Elizabeth says: The origin of the Ames company dates back to 1774 and True Temper back to 1808. These two tool giants merged in 1999 as Ames True Temper - one of the oldest manufacturers of hardware, lawn, and garden non-powered tools.

    We have coined this hoe the “Dutch Hoe”. It is the favorite long handled scuffle hoe and weeding tool. It has a unique design and the perfect blade angle for throwing up a pristine flower bed edge at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture. The blade angle is such that it lays flat on the soil and the pushing- pulling action on the handle allows the blade to skim into the top thin soil layer, severing the weeds at the roots. Its size and design permit working in tight spaces around plants without chopping feeder roots, unlike the chop hoe. It is my choice of tool for redirecting new mulch in and around plants, and of course for throwing up the finishing edge when the job is all done! Avid gardeners have also been known to use it in the winter to chip ice off the sidewalk!

    • Forged steel bent shank
    • Forged steel blade 7” x 4”
    • Smooth 60” wooden handle

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