The Best Garden Forks in Australia for 2022

Some garden forks are meant to be used for cultivating, others for digging holes, harvesting root vegetables, or even for aerating the soil under turf.

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So, what should you look for in a good garden fork? First and foremost, make sure that it’s going to fit your needs.

Secondly, you’ll want to ensure it’s made from durable materials so you don’t end up with a fork that bends or snaps.

Below, we list our picks for the best garden forks in Australia, followed by a guide on what to look out for when choosing.

Our top pick: Cyclone Garden Fork

The Cyclone Garden Fork is a lightweight but strong tool that is suitable for a range of garden tasks.

It features 4 tines (prongs) that are roll forged from a single piece of steel for extra strength and durability. The oval tines are factory sharpened, with 60mm spacing at their points.

The square socket provides additional strength, while the comfortable grip makes it easy to use.

The Australian Hardwood handle is lacquered and sealed, which protects it against weathering and splintering.

Best for digging: Truper Tru Tough Spading Fork

Where the Cyclone is an all-around garden fork, this garden tool from Truper is more specifically designed for digging.

This high-quality fork is designed for digging, turning and aerating soil in beds and gardens.

The clear-coated grey-steel finished head has four thick, sturdy tines that can stand up to heavy soils.

It has a North American ash handle and a d-grip handle that helps with balance and control.

The Truper Spading Fork is great for turning in compost or creating a new garden bed. It is suitable for both flower beds and vegetable gardens.

Best hand fork: Spear & Jackson Garden Hand Fork

The Spear & Jackson Garden Hand Fork is a lightweight yet sturdy hand fork that is perfect for weeding and cultivating light soils.

The soft grip handle provides a comfortable grip that can be used with either the right or left hand, while a 1.4 mm carbon steel blade allows you to easily remove weeds from your garden without damaging other plants

The thumb grip provides extra control and precision while the finger guard is a helpful safety feature.

Types of garden forks

There are many types of garden forks, each suited to a slightly different task. We’ve summarised the most common ones below:

The digging fork, or spading fork, is one of the most essential gardening tools. It’s used for breaking up the ground and digging soil. These garden forks are strong and durable.

A border fork is a smaller and lighter version of a digging fork. It usually has four prongs and is good for light garden work and working around other plants.

Pitchforks were traditionally used for throwing sheaves of hay. They have a long handle and two or three tines, which are used to grab the hay so it doesn’t fall off. The tines are round, thin, curved, and widely spaced so that vegetation slides off easily.

A mulch fork (also known as a compost fork or a manure fork) is similar to a pitchfork, but with more tines. It features a long handle that provides leverage when shifting lightweight materials like bark, mulch, or compost.

A broadfork is a multi-purpose garden tool that you can use to dig, turn, and aerate soil. It has two long handles with tines on a crossbar; you can put your foot on the tool and drive it into the ground while holding the grips.

A weeding fork, or hand fork, is a small garden tool used to pull up small plants and seedlings. The three sharp prongs make it easy to dig up weeds in your garden.

A potato fork is used for harvesting potatoes and other root vegetables. The tines are sharp enough to get under the potato but not so sharp as to puncture it.

What to consider when choosing a garden fork

Shaft material

When you’re shopping for garden forks, one of the most important things to look at is the shaft material.

This shaft can be made out of wood, steel, aluminium or fibreglass.

Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s worth knowing what they are before you make your purchase.

The most common are wood or steel:

Wooden shafts are fairly lightweight and require little maintenance but are known to snap under pressure. If you go with a wooden handle make sure to buy from a reputable brand so you know they’ve used strong hardwood.

Steel shafts are the most durable but they are too heavy for most people, especially when used for extended periods. You also face the problem of rust, unless it’s stainless steel.

Head material

Like the shaft, the head should be strong so the tines don’t bend, resistant to rust, but not so heavy that the fork feels unbalanced and hard to use.

Aluminum is lightweight and won’t rust, but it can also be subject to bending if you’re using it on hard terrain or soil.

Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion but not as strong as forged steel.

Forged carbon steel is generally the best material for garden fork heads. It’s stronger than aluminium and stainless steel, but is subject to rust.

Look for a mirrored non-stick finish on the tines if you’ll be digging in soil like clay, as it reduces the amount of soil that sticks to the fork head.

Tine shape

The shape of the fork’s tines is a critical factor in determining how well it will perform.

  • Flat-faced tines: This type of fork is best for digging into hard soil and breaking up large clumps that have formed over time. It can also be used to aerate your garden bed, which can help break down compacted soil while simultaneously allowing water to penetrate more easily.
  • Pointed tip tines: These forks are designed for digging into tough soil like clay or rocky areas. They’re ideal if you have soil with lots of roots or other obstacles.
  • Round/blunt tip: These types (also known as “round point”) work well when harvesting vegetables because they won’t damage delicate crops during harvest time.

Handle shape

Handles on garden forks can be either T-shaped or D-shaped.

While it really comes down to personal preference, many people find that D-shaped handles are more comfortable to use.

Head to handle attachment

When it comes to attaching the head to the handle, there are several different options:

  • Welded: The most durable connection, but not compatible with non-steel handles such as wood.
  • Rivoted or bolted: This is the method used on high-quality garden forks to connect a wooden handle to the head.
  • Insert: Less durable option as the head isn’t as tightly secured in the base of the handle. Try to avoid this attachment type if possible.

Soil type

Soil type is an important consideration because it affects what kind of fork you need.

For instance, if you’re working in clay-based soil, the amount of force required to dig into the soil is likely to be much greater than when working with looser or sandy soils.

Therefore, you’ll want a sturdy digging fork that can handle the extra pressure.

FAQ

What is the difference between a garden fork and a pitch fork?

A pitch fork was traditionally used to throw hay. It has a long handle and long thin, curved, tines (prongs) that are widely spaced so that vegetation slides off easily. A garden fork that is designed for digging will be stronger, have a T or D-shaped handle, and have wider tines.

What is the difference between a pitch fork and a manure fork?

Pitchforks and manure forks (also known as a compost forks or mulch forks) are very similar. They both have a long-handled design with narrow tines, however, a manure fork generally has more tines.

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Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY, and is always up for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking delicious meals from fresh produce picked from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.