Whether you're a newbie gardener or a seasoned green thumb, a trowel is a must-have. They're smaller than spades and easier to maneuver, with a sharp edge and curved blade. Their shape makes them the ideal partner for a variety of jobs, from digging up weeds to planting bulbs to transplanting seedlings.
For a solid well-rounded trowel, we recommend the Bend-Proof Garden Trowel from Edward Tools. The wide blade makes for easy scooping and digging, and the stainless steel construction is super sturdy. If you're looking for more options, check out the rest of our 10 best list below and see our buying guide reviewed by a master gardener and homestead blogger for tips on how to choose the best trowel for your gardening needs.
Gardening trowels break down into two main components: the blade and the handle. When choosing a trowel, take the type of tasks you'll be using it for into account and choose a size, shape, and material accordingly.
Trowels come in a variety of designs that are ideal for different types of gardening work. Whether you’re weeding, digging in gravel, or transplanting seedlings, the shape of the trowel blade can help make your job easier.
The traditional trowel has a wide, triangular-shaped blade with a rounded tip. The sides curve up, creating a scoop. If you want a trowel that can be used for a range of tasks, this is a good option.
The wide, curved blade can be used for scooping dirt and planting flowers, while the tip works for digging and breaking up soil. Some trowels have a ruler engraved on the blade to help you measure depth while planting.
If you want to use your trowel primarily for transplanting seedlings, bulbs, and small plants, look for one with a narrower blade. Transplanting trowels are longer and thinner than traditional trowels, with a pointed tip. Their unique shape allows you to easily maneuver small plants into tight spaces and handle delicate seedlings with more care.
While traditional trowels work fine for soft soil, compacted, weedy, or rocky soil might require a more specialized tool. Trowels made specifically for digging have a thin blade and pointed tip. They may feature sharpened or beveled edges as well.
This shape helps you punch through hard soil and gives you leverage so you can easily pry it up. These trowels may also have wing-like protrusions near the handle to help pull out weeds and roots.
Trowel blades can be made from metal, fiberglass, or even plastic. When choosing a material, look for the right balance between strength and weight.
Stainless steel is a popular option that’s both durable and affordable, if a bit heavy. It makes strong, heavy-duty trowels that work well for compacted soil and rocky dirt.
In addition, the surface resists rust and corrosion, so your trowel won’t get ruined by wet soil or weather. Because stainless steel maintains its shiny surface, it’s a good choice for trowels with engraved rulers.
Carbon steel is sturdier than stainless steel and can hold a sharp edge for longer, making it a good material for pointy trowels or trowels with beveled edges. Carbon steel is often coated since it has a tendency to oxidize. Instead of a shiny finish, it will have a dark, matte appearance.
Aluminum is another metal used to make trowels. It’s not as strong or durable as stainless steel and carbon steel, but it’s much lighter and rust-resistant. It’s a good choice for tasks that require more maneuverability, or for people whose hands and wrists tire out quickly.
Plastic trowels are super lightweight but aren’t nearly as strong or durable as metal. They’re most popular among backpackers, but can also be a good inexpensive option for light gardening work with soft soil. They're also great for container gardens where the soil isn't as compacted!
The trowel’s handle will determine how comfortable it is to use. When it comes to the material, wooden and synthetic handles help absorb some shock, while metal handles are more sturdy. If you wear gloves when you garden, a soft handle may not be necessary.
In addition to the material, look for an ergonomically shaped handle that’s molded to fit in the palm of your hand. Some even have grips for your fingers. This will help prevent strains and related injuries to your hands.
There’s also the length of the handle to consider. Short handles are ideal for planting in pots, as they allow you to maneuver around small spaces. On the other hand, long-handled trowels are great for digging as they provide more leverage.
As with other garden tools, trowels should be cleaned and stored properly to maintain their quality. Many come with a hole or strap at the end so you can easily hang them up and keep them off the moist ground.
If your trowel needs to fit into a small space, make sure to check the dimensions. You can even find foldable trowels that are super portable.
While a traditional trowel shape is the most versatile, sometimes you want one that's specially made for digging, weeding, or transplanting. Our list includes a variety of shapes and sizes to fit every gardening style.
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Amy Jeanroy.
Garden Guru Lawn & Garden Tools
Bend-Proof Garden Trowel
14" Stainless Steel Garden Trowel
DeWit Forged Hand Trowel
Heavy Duty Carbon Steel Garden Trowel
Super Strong Garden Trowel
Bend-Proof Garden Trowel
Stainless Steel Mini Folding Trowel
Versatile and Ergonomically-Designed
This Pointed End Makes Digging a Breeze
A Handmade Trowel With a Sharp Blade
Carbon Steel With Depth Markings
A Comfortable Handle to Reduce Fatigue
Serrated Edges for Slicing Through Roots
A Lightweight Trowel With a Narrow Blade
Constructed From One Piece of Sturdy Aluminum
A Mini Trowel That Folds Down to Save Space
A Traditional Shape for All Your Gardening Needs
|Material||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Boron steel||Carbon steel||Stainless steel||Carbon steel||FiberComp||Aluminum||Stainless steel||Aluminum alloy|
|Dimensions||6 in. blade||14 x 3 x 0.2 in.||12 x 1.5 x 3.5 in.||Not provided||13.25 x 5.5 x 3.38 in.||12.75 x 3.5 x 2.25 in.||11 x 2.75 x 1.75 in.||12.2 x 2.76 x 1.97 in.||8.75 x 4 in. extended; 5.75 x 4 in. folded||12 x 3 in.|
|Weight||7 oz.||11.8 oz.||8 oz.||9.1 oz.||6.4 oz.||2 lbs.||0.32 oz.||6.4 oz.||3.2 oz.||5.6 oz.|
|Dimensions||6 in. blade|
|Dimensions||14 x 3 x 0.2 in.|
|Dimensions||12 x 1.5 x 3.5 in.|
|Dimensions||13.25 x 5.5 x 3.38 in.|
|Dimensions||12.75 x 3.5 x 2.25 in.|
|Dimensions||11 x 2.75 x 1.75 in.|
|Dimensions||12.2 x 2.76 x 1.97 in.|
|Dimensions||8.75 x 4 in. extended; 5.75 x 4 in. folded|
|Dimensions||12 x 3 in.|
Having the right gardening tools can make it easier to dig, weed, plant, and water. Check out some more of our favorite gardening gear below!
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
Home electronics, PC, camera
Cosmetics and skincare
Food and drinks
Kids and baby
Interior and furniture
DIY and tools
Sports and fitness
Books, CDs, DVDs
Cars and motorcycles
Housing equipment and renovation
Smartphones and mobile phones
Investment and asset management
Credit cards and loans