This time of the year I always find myself longing for additional new garden tools to make all of our efforts in the year ahead a little easier and more productive. It never fails, every year there is a new wave of specialized tools that catches gardener’s attentions. More often than not, these specialized tools end up being rarely used, taking up space, or breaking down. I like to buy tools that have withstood the test of time and are not going to fail me during the year.
Every gardener has that handful of garden tools that are constant companions. Each tool in its own way makes those monthly chores that much faster and easier. For a tool that truly lasts and becomes a constant asset, I like to treat it like a long term investment and really do my homework. Here are the 3 rules I go by when buying garden tools:
1. Garden tools need to work efficiently while maximizing efforts
This was the main driver for our latest investment in a broadfork. We spent too many years either manually double digging or using rototillers that would constantly break down and fail. The broadfork changed everything allowing us to loosen up our soils quickly with minimal labor.
2. The tool needs to be unbreakable and last for a lifetime
It may seem like this is asking a bit much to ask for a tool to never break, but the best tools are built to last. Yeah all of our tools won’t last forever, but knowing that I can rely on a tool for an extremely long time is invaluable. There is nothing worse than breaking an essential tool like shovel at the beginning of a long day of work. Investing in a tool that lasts keeps you productive in the garden and even saves money long term.
3. Buy garden tools with great warranties
You never know what task you might put your garden tools up to. Even the best tools might end up in more than one piece. I have definitely broken a few ‘unbreakable’ shovels. That is the curse of hardpan clay. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you can actually return the item for a replacement (or refund). There are many companies around that have wonderful warranties.
Because of these rules, we end up focusing our garden tools purchases with a handful of companies. Here are some of my favorite garden tool companies (that don’t break the bank):
Felco makes their pruners to last. Because anything with a moving part seems to have a shorter life, they offer replaceable parts as well. Felco pruners hold their sharpness longer giving you a better cleaner cut. Felco pruners truly may last your entire lifetime. They are definitely my favorite, but they do carry a little higher price.
Fiskars makes all kinds of garden tools. They may be known for scissors and pruners, but they have an incredibly diverse selection of garden tools and stand behind all of their products with a lifetime warrantee. Plus, Fiskars is a more economical option as well. We definitely have our share of Fiskars tools and have not had to test out the warranty yet.
Ace Hardware carries a number of different lines of garden tools and back their products with a lifetime guarantee. These tools are a solid economical choice especially for your basic shovels, rakes, and hoes.
Corona is another company known for their pruners. They make solid garden tools and guarantee nearly all of their tools for life. I have been happy with everything I have used.
Meadow Creature is one of the finest manufacturers of the broadfork, our new favorite garden tool. They are built to last a lifetime and back it up with a lifetime warranty. It doesn’t hurt that they are also made to work in hardpan clay.