3 Trusted Garden Trowels That Get the Job Done


This three-point trowel doubles as a garden fork.

Tested by Marty Neely, FAPLD

A hard trowel is a valuable friend to every gardener. I was thrilled to discover the DeWit tulip trowel and add it to my favorite collection. The 4½-inch long head is made from boron steel that has been heat-treated for strength, and has a curved blade that can remove large amounts of soil. With a unique spiked shape, this tool makes short work of the most stubborn soils, even clay, and cuts through roots with ease. The sturdy ash handle is well balanced and easy to maneuver. This troll is sure to serve you well for many years.

DeWitt Tulip Trowel

The 4½-inch long head is made from boron steel that has been heat-treated for strength, and has a curved blade that can remove large amounts of soil. With a unique spiked shape, this tool makes short work of the most stubborn soils, even clay, and cuts through roots with ease.

Price: $45.00 at time of writing

Serrated garden trowel

With a serrated side, this option cuts through roots quickly.

Courtney Olander experimented.

Every spring I refresh the pots on my back deck in anticipation of summer. Some plants come off easily, while others are rooted and won’t budge. In the past, I’d just wrestle and tug at these rickety old plants, but I quickly learned that it’s worth investing in a sturdy trowel for the job. My favorite is Barry & Bird’s Stainless Steel Garden Trowel. Using the serrated edge of the trowel as a saw, I cut the roots until the plants gently poked out. This trowel has a durable wooden handle as well as centimeter and inch measurements engraved on the face, making it useful for planting bulbs in the fall.

Berry and Bird Stainless Steel Garden Trowel

This trowel has a durable wooden handle as well as centimeter and inch measurements engraved on the face. A serrated edge facilitates digging, weeding, cutting roots and opening soil bags.

Price: $16.99 at time of writing

Garden trowel with beveled edge

A sharp beveled edge easily pierces the soil.

Tested by Mark Dwyer

I’ve bent and broken countless trolls due to a combination of poor construction and heavy use. That all changed when I started using Wilcox brand trowels. I’m especially a fan of the 10-inch Garrett Metal Detector Troll. Yes, this trowel is marketed for use with metal detectors, and if it’s tough enough for that job, it’s certainly tough enough for gardening. This handy, multi-purpose troll is made in the USA and comes with a lifetime guarantee. It has a narrow, 2-inch-wide stainless steel blade that is non-bendable and includes an engraved depth gauge. The beveled edge on the tip stays sharp, and the comfortable, no-slip handle is a welcome bonus.

Garrett Metal Detector Troll

This trowel has a narrow, 2-inch-wide stainless steel blade that is non-bendable and includes an engraved depth gauge. The beveled edge on the tip stays sharp, and the comfortable, no-slip handle is a welcome bonus.

Price: $15.00 at time of writing

Wilcox All Pro Troll

This 11-inch garden trowel has a 3″ wide stainless steel blade with a pointed tip and a handle encased in heavy-duty plastic. A convenient depth gauge is stamped on the surface with measurements in centimeters and inches.

Price: $19.80 at the time of writing


Marty Neely, FAPLDowns and operates Marti Neely Design and Associates in Omaha, Nebraska.

Courtney Oleander is a landscape designer based in Seattle.

Mark Dwyer Edgerton is the garden manager for the Hospital Healing Garden in Wisconsin, and runs landscape prescriptions through MD.

Photos: Courtesy of contributors

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