- Hand Rakes And Uses – When To Use A Hand Rake In The Garden
- What is a Hand Rake?
- Hand Rakes and Uses
- Home & Garden Store SM SunniMix Small Hand-held Iron Garden Soil Cultivator Shrub Rake Garden Supplies for Working in Tight Spaces Hand Tools
- Lawn & Garden Hand Tools
- How to choose the right rake
- Different types of rakes
- Shrub rake
- Thatch rake
- Plastic leaf rake
- Metal leaf rake
- Garden rake
- 10 Best Leaf Rakes in 2020
- Leaf Rake Buyer’s Guide
- Transplant Trowel and Cultivator Hand Rake with Soft Rubberized Non-Slip Ergonomic Handle Garden Gifts Facmogu 3Pcs Garden Tool Set Cast-Aluminum Heavy Duty Gardening Kit Includes Hand Trowel
- The Right Rake for the Job
- Bottom Line Up Front: Our Favorite Hand Cultivators
- The Handiest Tool for Your Garden
- The Best Hand Cultivators Reviewed
- Ready to Tear Things Up?
Hand Rakes And Uses – When To Use A Hand Rake In The Garden
Hand rakes for the garden come in two basic designs and can make many gardening tasks more efficient and effective. This article will explain when to use a hand rake and what type will work best for each situation.
What is a Hand Rake?
Hand rakes are small versions of other rakes you use in your yard and garden and are designed to work in tight spaces and close to the surface. They are ideal for smaller areas, garden borders, and places where a large rake won’t fit or will damage plantings.
Hand Rakes and Uses
Here are the most common types of hand rakes along with how and when they’re used in the garden.
Garden Hand Rakes
Garden hand rakes look like bow rakes but smaller, like a trowel, and have a short handle. They have strong, stiff tines designed to dig into the soil to turn or till it. These rakes are especially good for getting tough weeds or smaller stones out of a garden bed.
Because they can get into tight spaces, you don’t have to worry about garden hand rakes damaging your plants like you would with a large rake. With the short handle, you have much more control, making them ideal for using in flowerpots, too.
Lawn Hand Rakes
Lawn hand rakes are smaller versions of a typical lawn or leaf rake and have short handled flexible tines. They are ideal for cleaning up dead leaves and plant materials and other debris in garden beds.
Their small size lets them get in around plants without disrupting them, making them perfect for spring garden clean-up when new growth is just emerging from the soil. They can also be used to remove small areas of thatch in lawns where a large rake would not fit or cause damage.
Using a hand rake can make gardening in tight spaces and small gardens much easier and more efficient, and saves delicate plants from damage. But they do require you to get down close to the soil, so make sure you have knee pads, too!
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Lawn & Garden Hand Tools
Plant the Seeds to Something Beautiful With Garden Tools From Lowe’s
At Lowe’s, we know what it takes to make your garden grow. Our wide selection of landscaping tools, which includes shovels and spades, post-hole diggers, garden rakes, garden trowels, pitchforks and garden hoes will help you make a space ready for planting. Put on those work gloves and prepare your plot with a garden fork and some weeding tools. Pickaxes, sledgehammers, axes, hatchets and splitting mauls make short work of clearing out large limbs and branches, while smaller blooms stay trim and tidy with garden hand tools, hand pruners, secateurs and hedge shears. Use garden shears and garden scissors to maintain homegrown herbs and vegetables. Need to tame those unruly bushes? Get ahead with hedge trimmers, tree trimmers and pruning shears. Tired of raking leaves? Grab a leaf blower. And when you’re done for the day, handy wheelbarrows and yard carts can help haul off debris and limbs. Ready to get growing? It all starts at Lowe’s. Check out our garden center and landscaping supplies to take your yard to the next level now.
How to choose the right rake
Different types of rakes
Where would we be without the humble rake? Leaves and garden debris would go ungathered and soil would remain lumpy and difficult to sow in — all in all, garden chores would be a lot more difficult. Take a look at the rakes below and you’ll probably see some that look familiar and maybe some that don’t. It turns out, there are many types, and choosing the right rake for the task at hand will make things a lot easier on you. Let’s take a look at a few rakes you can use to make your lawn and borders look beautiful!
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Get your packed perennial border cleaned up in no time.
What to look for in a shrub rake
A plastic head and lightweight aluminum handle make a shrub rake like this lightweight and easy to haul around with your hand tools. Hand held shrub rake models can also be handy in the garden.
How to use a shrub rake
The 8-inch head on this rake is narrower than others so it gets in between plants without a problem. The long handle reaches into the backs of borders that are hard to reach otherwise. Once you’ve gotten rid of all the debris, use this handy rake to help spread mulch or compost on the beds and around your plants without tearing leaves or breaking stems.
Thatch, the accumulated debris that builds up at the base of your turf grass, is a problem. It can harbor pests and disease, doesn’t have much nutrition and won’t hold water or protect roots from the cold in winter. So removing this accumulated debris is the job of the thatch rake.
What to look for in a thatch rake
Some thatch rakes are one-sided but this model has two — the sharp crescent-shaped blades remove debris, and the round side is for cultivating. Use it when you’re done to prep the area for seed. Adjustable thatch rakes let you choose the angle that works best for the amount of thatch you have.
How to use a thatch rake
Thatch ½ inch deep or more needs raking. In large areas you may want to use a power dethatcher. But in small spaces put the tip of the razorlike tines just barely into the soil and pull toward you to remove the thatch and push it away to get the debris out of the teeth. Repeat across your lawn.
Plastic leaf rake
You can cover a lot of ground relatively quickly in the fall when you use a wide-headed plastic leaf rake—this one is 30 inches across!
What to look for in a plastic leaf rake
Because of the repetitive nature of leaf raking, comfort is key when you’re choosing one of these tools. There are actually lots of different features and widths available — try several out at the store before you buy.
Check out those with curved handles and assess the weight and balance. The one in these photos has another interesting feature — the tines are joined together so the head won’t get clogged with leaves.
How to use a plastic leaf rake
With a sweeping motion gather any leaves or debris in your lawn. Be sure to take frequent breaks so you can avoid repetitive motion-related injury.
Metal leaf rake
Clean up the lawn or your border with a metal leaf rake.
What to look for in a metal leaf rake
These rakes come in a variety of widths and some are even adjustable. Look for one that has an enamel-coated head to avoid rust. And a stress distribution bar helps keep tines from twisting.
How to use a metal leaf rake
This is a good multipurpose rake. Its springy nature is perfect for working debris out of evergreen and deciduous shrubs, carefully fluffing up a ground cover in spring or working the thatch out of the lawn if you don’t own a thatch rake. It’s also good for raking leaves from the lawn but the narrow tines can sometimes get clogged with skewered leaves or snag on a vine or ground cover.
A garden rake is meant for moving soil — you can break up and move clods of dirt and smooth soil with both the tines and the back of the head. Prepping your lawn or vegetable garden this way makes it a more hospitable place for seeds and tiny new plants.
What to look for in a good garden rake
There are two types of garden rakes: a flat-head and a bowhead. The flathead rake’s head attaches to the handle, forming a “T.” The bowhead, in the photo above, has arching supports that give the rake more stability. The best ones have a head made of forged high carbon steel.
How to use a garden rake
Lightly pull the head back toward you, lift up and repeat to clear debris and big chunks out of an area. Break up soil clods by bouncing the head on them. Then smooth a planting area with the flat side of the rake.
10 Best Leaf Rakes in 2020
Leaf Rake Buyer’s Guide
The handles of leaf rakes are available in a wide range of different materials such as wood, metal, and plastic, all with different advantages and disadvantages that are worth considering when you’re looking to buy a new leaf rake. Some leaf rakes come with handles made from plastic. This is a gamble; plastic can be lightweight but is often not sufficiently durable or survivable to be worthwhile.
Harder and stronger plastics such as polypropylene can be a good option, balancing a lightweight with a relatively high level of strength and durability, but other types of plastic are best avoided, as many kinds of plastic become fatigued through exposure to sunlight or other outdoor conditions, eventually becoming brittle and breaking.
Once broken, the materials are useless for any other household function, and have a high environmental cost, taking thousands of years to decompose and often being difficult to recycle. If you like the idea of the lighter weight of plastic leaf rake handles, consider buying a fiberglass handle instead, as these offer the same lightweight but with far more durability and resistance to fatigue and damage.
You might also like these cordless leaf blowers!
Hardwood handles are generally the best overall choice, as they are comfortable to hold and sturdy enough to last for a very long time. In addition to this, in the event that the head of the rake breaks, the hardwood handle is easy to reuse and, should it prove impossible to reuse, comes with little to no environmental cost and can biodegrade naturally.
Metal handles are a great alternative to hardwood, as they are generally lighter and just as long-lasting. The one major disadvantage of metal is that it can become uncomfortably cold when stored in colder climates, making the act of raking uncomfortable and unpleasant without sturdy gloves.
Should a metal handle become unusable for some reason, its recyclable nature ensures that the environmental impact of disposing of a metal handle is minimized as long as it is recycled appropriately.
Plastic vs. Metal Tines
The tines of a garden leaf rake can be made from either plastic or metal, and each of these options has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. In general, plastic tines are far less durable than metal tines, but their flexibility allows a plastic leaf rake to scrape leaves and other debris from grassy areas without damaging the grass itself, leaving the ground beneath the rake in good condition without any damage.
It is generally not recommended to use plastic headed rakes as scoops, however, as this can cause easy breakage of the plastic no matter how carefully you use the rake. Avoiding using a plastic tined leaf rake as a scoop can reduce breakages by as much as 90%!
Snow shovels make an excellent alternative for scooping leaves, and using a snow shovel instead of a leaf rake for scooping can help to keep your plastic leaf rake in operational condition for much longer.
Metal tines, however, can cause damage to the ground beneath them; their rigid nature scrapes the ground and can tear grass and other plants easily. They tend to be far longer lasting, though, as long as they are stored properly.
Metal tines last far longer than plastic when used in a similar manner, and have the added bonus of being durable enough to use for scooping as well as raking without worrying about the risk of breaking the tines in the process.
The very best metal headed leaf rakes are those with a head that attaches to the handle with a spring loaded brace. The spring built into this brace allows for more flexing during regular use of your spring loaded leaf rake, enabling the tines to stretch and flatten a little as you pull the rake towards you, catching more leaves with each pass.
This added flexibility enables spring rakes to trap even wet, heavy leaves without risking damage, increasing the performance of your leaf rake in a wide range of less than optimal weather conditions to give a boost to your yard clearing experience and reduce some of the worry of damaging your leaf rake in more intense raking scenarios.
Caring for a leaf Rake
A leaf rake should be cared for and cleaned after every use in order to keep it in the best condition possible throughout its life span and keep it working properly for as long as possible. This is particularly important for metal leaf rakes, as these can develop rust and corrosion problems if not properly maintained, which can lead to breakages and a substantial reduction in lifespan.
A simple wipe down with a rag should be more than enough, clearing dirt and moisture from the metal tines of your rake and ensuring that there’s nothing stuck to the rake that could potentially cause problems such as rust or corrosion if left on the rake when you put it into storage after use.
If you live or rake in colder environments regularly, avoid metal handled rakes when possible, as the metal can become uncomfortably cold, making raking an unpleasant and challenging task in cold weather.
Did you know?
A decent leaf rake ought to last you at least 5 years with regular seasonal use. Some of the more durable options available could last decades if properly maintained, but 5 years is an excellent minimum benchmark.
Transplant Trowel and Cultivator Hand Rake with Soft Rubberized Non-Slip Ergonomic Handle Garden Gifts Facmogu 3Pcs Garden Tool Set Cast-Aluminum Heavy Duty Gardening Kit Includes Hand Trowel
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The Right Rake for the Job
Autumn leaves are falling, which means pumpkin donuts and lattes are available at your favorite morning pit stop. And if you own a home, it probably means your weekends now include that annual rite of yardwork passage: raking.
I lived in NYC for the last 20 years, so it’s been a long time since I last picked up a rake. Standing in the garden tool section of our local big box hardware store to select one, I was a bit overwhelmed. There are a lot of different types of rakes—a lot. I surely don’t need, nor can I buy, them all. So which should I choose? A quick search through my favorite gardening resources provided answers.
Leaf rake. Photo: believejay.blogspot
If you’re raking leaves, what you need is a leaf rake, also known as a lawn rake (view example on Amazon). Sold in varying widths (up to 30″), it has a long handle with tines that fan out in a triangle. The tines are generally made of either metal, plastic, or bamboo. Metal is the most resilient, but perhaps not quite as effective as plastic tines when moving large quantities of leaves, especially if they’re wet. Bamboo tines are the most fragile, of course, but are much gentler on plants, if you are raking over groundcovers or garden beds.
Shrub rake. Photo: Hawaiidermatology.com
A shrub rake is built very much like a leaf rake. It has a smaller fan of tines, though, allowing it better access to the ground beneath shrubbery, around fencing, and in other tight areas of your landscape. Depending on your landscape and your needs, a shrub rake may be a worthy addition to your shed, especially considering that even top-quality tools of this type sell for under $20 (view example on Amazon). When purchasing, pay special attention to the length of the handle and note that some handles telescope in and out, a function that may be handy in some yards.
Garden bow rake. Photo: Twigandbloom.com
A bow rake (view example on Amazon) is generally considered homeowners’ best bet for leveling dirt, sand, and other materials that are heavier than leaves. The tines of a quality bow rake are made of metal and are shorter and thicker than those of a leaf rake (and spaced more widely). Basically, this type of rake is a workhorse—definitely something you want at your side if you have a gravel driveway, if your yard care routine includes seasonal mulching, or if you plan on doing any hardscaping projects yourself.
A hand rake is a smaller version of a shrub rake or bow rake. It has a short handle and is more or less the same size as a garden trowel. A hand rake is what you want to use in and around flowers and smaller plantings. The short handle gives you greater control in those tight spaces; just be prepared to get down on your knees with it. Expect to pay around $10 even for a model that can last for many years (view example on Amazon).
Thatch rake. Photo: easylawncarehelp.com
A thatch rake is not for raking leaves at all. It’s for removing thatch—a layer of organic material between your lawn and the soil surface. Unlike most other rake types, a thatch rake features sharp blades on both sides of its head. One side breaks the thatch up; the other side removes it.
Armed with the right rake, I’m ready for fall. Of course, our newly planted trees may not produce enough leaves to require raking this year. Nevertheless, I’m prepared.
And a city girl can dream, can’t she?
So what do you turn to? The answer is simple:
A hand cultivator!
Bottom Line Up Front: Our Favorite Hand Cultivators
- OXO Good Grips Gardening Cultivator
- Ames Ergo Gel Grip
- Yard Butler Hand Garden Tiller
- WOLF-Garten Mini Weeder
- Asano Japanese Ninja Cultivator
- Radius Garden Ergonomic Aluminum
- Fiskars Composite
Note: the links above lead to pricing, customer reviews, and more information and specifications on Amazon, Jet, Wayfair, or other major retailers.
The Handiest Tool for Your Garden
Sometimes called gardening claws – or even gardening cultivators, hand rakes, claw rakes, grubbers, or stubby rakes – hand cultivators are a must-have hand tool for every gardener.
Think of them almost like mini rakes for your hand. (In fact, mini rake is not an uncommon nickname for these tools, too!)
Instead of being designed to sweep up large materials like leaves, sticks, or hay with both hands like your typical rake, these little claws are wielded with one hand, and are small enough to fit in your palm.
The tools are adept not only at removing garden debris from around the base of your live plants, but also for weeding and cultivation. With three to five prongs, these compact tools serve many important functions. Claws with 4 or 5 prongs are a lot better at this type of debris removal than those with 3, since their tines tend to be closer together to aid with the capture of materials.
When soil compaction, moisture, or other factors weigh down soils around your plants, quickly going through and “fluffing” up the earth around their bases gives them a boost of aeration and nutrition, especially to their roots.
I myself can attest to how much this helps plants: after doing some quick cultivation, it’s not uncommon to see them jump up 2 or 3 inches within a couple of weeks – all thanks to my trusty hand claw!
Let’s take a look at our favorite selections.
The Best Hand Cultivators Reviewed
This is not a hugely diverse category of gardening tools. Nevertheless, there are quite a few different types you can choose from and purchase.
We’ve collected our favorites to share with you here. Each type is built a little bit differently with regards to ergonomics, heavy-duty capabilities, secondary uses, specialized functions, convenience, and more.
1. Our Top Pick: OXO Good Grips
From a wholly unique company comes a wholly unique product: the OXO Good Grips Hand Cultivator.
A little bit of background on OXO: for over 25 years, this innovative company has designed unique spins on common gardening and household products to make them more efficient, ergonomic, and user-friendly.
In addition to a comfortable handle, this tool also boasts a unique tine configuration: longer outer claws and a shorter inside tine.
These are designed for getting really, really close to the stems of plants, enabling you to weed around them more thoroughly than ever before. A genius idea not seen in other models, this product definitely stands out!
With durable stainless steel construction for rust protection and resilience, the three prongs vary in length, allowing for very tight cultivation and weed removal around smaller plant stems. This is a feature that you won’t find in other similar tools.
OXO Good Grips Gardening Cultivator available on Jet.com
But here’s something else that I love about it:
The handle allows you to hold it in two different positions, depending on how far away from your hand that you want to weed. This is like two tools in one, comfortably operable at two different lengths!
In addition, the handle is made with pro-comfort, non-slip grip materials. At 15 inches long and 3 inches wide with a 2-inch prong depth, it weighs 1.04 pounds.
OXO also offers a product guarantee, providing a replacement or refund if you are ever dissatisfied, as long as the item was likely defective and only used as a household item.
Using the contact form on OXO’s website to get in touch, I did not yield a timely response – and was not able to determine where this item was manufactured, the gauge of steel used for its construction, or the material used to make the handle. In terms of customer service, this bumps them down a few notches.
Many users love how amazingly comfortable this tool is on the hands compared to most other hand cultivators.
It’s excellent not only for weeding really close to plants (as it is uniquely designed to do), but also for breaking up chunks of clay when need be.
Check prices and read customer reviews now on Jet.com.
2. Great Egronomics: Ames Ergo Gel Grip
The Ames is one of the few manufacturers left that make things in the USA. Although some of the components may be sourced from overseas, the bulk of their tools are made in Ames, Iowa, and in other factories in the United States.
Ames 1995300 Hand Cultivator Ergo Gel Grip Cultivator
This particular model features longer stainless steel prongs that are wider than those found on many models, allowing you to easily scrape around delicate plants without damage.
The handle is composed of polypropylene with fatigue-reducing gel padding designed to reduce hand cramps. This is particularly useful if you are digging in harder ground; the soft handle reduces pressure on the palm and fingers.
As with the Fiskars model described below, you’ll find a hole in the end of the handle for hanging conveniently in a storage shed. The tool is 11.5 inches long and 3.2 inches wide at the ends of the tines.
Ames offers a 90-day guarantee against manufacture’s defects, and this is a nice tool to keep at hand.
Get prices and more information on Jet.com.
3. Best for Heavy Duty Jobs: The Yard Butler
Also known as the “Terra Tiller,” Yard Butler offers our favorite heavy duty option.
Just looking at it, you can tell that this grubber is built to tear through your beds and containers like nobody’s business!
It also comes with a multipurpose head attachment, not only with three prongs for weeding and cultivating, but also with a hoe blade for digging deeper into chunky soil.
If you want the roughest, toughest option available, this is the one for you.
Let’s start with the head attachment. Unlike the other tools reviewed here, it’s double-sided, in the tradition of some of the more old-school gardening gizmos you’ll find out there!
One side offers a three-prong claw for cultivation, while the other side provides a spade for hoeing and deeper cultivation purposes. Both are made of heavy duty steel.
Weighing in at one pound, it has a 15-inch handle with an extra-wide 9-inch head. Note that it’s significantly smaller according to Amazon, but this information is incorrect.
A nice extra perk: the hoe blade comes pre-sharpened!
Yard Butler Hand Garden Tiller, available on Amazon
Overall, this little cultivating machine deserves professional grade status.
With this tool in hand, you should make easy work not just of cultivating, but also hacking away at hard-packed earth as well – something other lighter-duty cultivators may not be capable of without inflicting wear or damage.
And yes, Yard Butler covers your purchase with a warranty. Within 30 days, you can get a refund, exchange, or credit with the company, no questions asked – minus shipping costs.
The company goes above and beyond by offering an additional lifetime guarantee. Any defects in manufacturing or materials are covered with a replacement or repair, with no cost for shipping – that is, if the tool is used for its described purposes, and is not damaged due to misuse or abuse.
Tough enough to pry big roots and rocks out of the ground, or even to dig through tough, gravely soil, this tool is surprisingly strong.
Keep in mind that this tool will need occasional re-sharpening with use.
The soft handle grip may slip with frequent use, though this is easy to fix.
Some buyers reported that this mini-tiller is too heavy to be a hand tool, though this only attests to its heavy duty potential. Regardless, some gardeners with arthritis give great reviews, saying it’s still manageable for them.
Check prices and read customer reviews now on Amazon.com.
4. WOLF-Garten Mini-Weeder
This convenient hand cultivator from WOLF-Garten, a German tool company founded in the 1920s, in an excellent option. It’s not just ergonomic, it’s also customizable to different lengths for varied use.
Unlike the OXO above with its convenient hand-holds, in order to customize, you’ll have to invest in handles that are sold separately.
What you do get when you buy this specific model: a removable hand cultivator tool head on a shorter handle for close, small work. And it also fits into various other WOLF-Garten tool handles for a wide range of uses.
This means your humble hand cultivator could be transformed into something akin to a larger, stand-up hoe cultivator, if you so desire.
Doing some research on the history of WOLF-Garten, I found that the company was bought out in 2009 by MTD Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio-based tool manufacturing company. They have many production facilities in the US, Canada, and Europe.
WOLF-Garten Mini Weeder-Cultivator available on Amazon
This customizable product has a lightweight but very sturdy design. It is 5.3 inches long, 4.3 inches wide, and has a 2.8-inch tine depth.
A 10-year guarantee is offered against product defects, as long as the original purchaser can provide proof of purchase.
The warranty does not cover general wear and tear, lack of maintenance, misuse, abuse, accidental damage, neglect, tools that have been modified in some way, or rust damage.
The key thing to keep in mind here is that the option to switch out handles means this model does not offer the sturdiness of one-piece construction that is found in some other tools.
Some buyers have complained that the removable handle feels awkward and not quite sturdy enough to handle tough tasks, with some noticeable shifting and movement between the handle and head attachment.
Others mentioned that the detachable nature also makes it awkward to pull out tougher weeds with the claws.
Many users have expressed a lot of love for the short handle, saying it fits into practically any space. But some had a harder time using it in containers and flower pots.
Check prices now, and read customer reviews on Amazon.
5. Best Asian Style: Asano Japanese Ninja
Our top choice for a five-tine cultivator is this unique Japanese gardening tool from Asano-Mokkou-Sho Co. Ltd. Five tines make this model more efficient at weed removal and raking of small material around plants, rather than cultivating the earth or completing other more heavy-duty hand cultivator tasks.
More closely spaced tines make it adept at capturing raked plant material. Keep in mind that these tines are also thinner than what you might find on other garden claws, and thus more vulnerable to breakage when used on harder materials like rocks and compacted soil.
The Asano Ninja features five sharp tines made from tough high-carbon Japanese steel, and a beautiful wooden handle. The steel is forged to the outside of a larger mass of softer iron, a design that provides a sharper cutting edge.
Less curved and more angular than what you’ll see on most models, the tines are about three inches long. With a total tool length of 9 inches and width of 5 inches at its widest point, this tool weighs about 0.5 pounds. This is important to note: you may find conflicting measurement info on Amazon.com, which we believe is inaccurate.
Asano Japanese Ninja Cultivator, available on Amazon
This tool is great for any hand cultivator use that you can come up with: weeding, mixing, moving materials, aerating, cultivating, and more. Not what you’d expect from a simple 5-tine cultivator that is supposedly better for completing lighter jobs!
Though most laud the beautiful craftsmanship, a few users have stated that they wish the handle was a little longer, and that the unfinished wood handle may cause some problems like eventual rot, splintering, or blisters.
In response to these complaints, finishing the handle with an all-natural finish or linseed oil is recommended, as is wearing gloves while gardening.
Keep in mind that this is a relatively large cultivator. If you want a tool that will be of use in your smaller flower beds, potted plants, or containers, this may not be the best choice.
Breakages have been reported in instances when customers used the tool in really tough, rocky soils. Keep in mind that this is not a heavy duty tool.
Read customer reviews and check prices now on Amazon.com!
6. The Ergonomic Option: Radius Garden
What about a gentle, ergonomic option for those with inflammation and pain issues? Enter the Radius Garden Ergonomic Aluminum Hand Cultivator to save the day!
This tool’s unique shape is designed to make its use easier on the hands and body. It’s also well built for getting underneath and close to plants, without bothering their foliage too much.
For those who love a pop of color, it comes in several bright and cheery options including green, blue, and purple.
When I reached out to the Radius Garden company for more detail on the specifics of their products, I quickly received a very rapid response – which speaks well for their level of customer service!
All products from Radius are designed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and manufactured in China.
Radius Garden Ergonomic Aluminum Hand Cultivator available on Amazon
With an ergonomic handle designed to bring less stress and fatigue to the hands and wrists of gardeners with carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, or fibromyalgia, this tool is one of a kind in the hand cultivator market.
The colorful handles are made of Santoprene, a thermoplastic, non-latex (and thus hypoallergenic) material that provides a comfortable, non-slip grip.
The metal tines are made from a high-quality aluminum and magnesium combo that’s both strong and lightweight. Each tine is also uniquely ridged and angled to help it drag and glide through dirt in a way that is effortless, while penetrating deeply.
According to Radius, this item is 13.5 inches long and 6.75 inches wide, with a 3.125-inch-long tine depth. It weighs in at 8.3 ounces. Take note: these measurements differ a bit from the reported dimensions on Amazon.com.
Radius provides an unlimited lifetime warranty, guaranteeing the product against breaks or defects if used for its intended (and home-based) purposes, and not for professional use whatsoever.
Great for surface-level work, it does a great job weeding and moving around soil, and cultivates exceptionally well.
Though many with arthritic hands or nerve pain love the ergonomic grip, some have found the tool to be too heavy for use by people who suffer from weak wrists. Others described it as being a bit larger than other tools they’d used.
Read more reviews of this product and check prices now on Amazon.
7. The Most Economical: Fiskars Composite
For our standard choice, we went with Fiskars’s much-loved composite hand cultivator. If you want to start out with a basic model – nothing too fancy or specialized – then this will be your go-to.
We chose the Composite specifically for its wide-range use: cultivating and aerating soils up close to your plants, weeding small, shallow-rooted baby plants that you don’t want to compete with your main crops, and even some grass removal duties.
Fiskars Composite Cultivator
Fiskars’s tool covers the basics, and then some.
One of the most notable details about this cultivator, in contrast to others like it: it has one-piece construction to help prevent breaks of any kind.
This may seem like overkill for a small tool that’s designed for small tasks, but we’ve learned that valuing quality when you make a purchase leads to a longer period of usefulness in the garden – with no need to make repeat purchases due to breakage every couple of seasons.
The dimensions of the tool, according to Jet.com, put it at 11.2 inches long and 3.2 inches wide, with a 2-inch tine depth. This model has three tines.
With larger tines than most other cultivators, Fiskars explains that this is intended to increase soil contact, which may better assist with the clearance and capture of weeds.
Quite unusual for Fiskars, rather than being manufactured from the traditional steel, it uses a FiberComp design. Known as “Nyglass,” this nylon/fiberglass composite won’t crack, break, or bend. This makes the tool lightweight, rust-proof, and reportedly “stronger than steel.”
The head, tines, and handle are all made with this material. At the end of the handle, a hanging hole is included to make the tool easy to store without taking up much room.
Fiskars provides a lifetime warranty on this product with protection from any defects or workmanship errors for as long as you own it. The product may be repaired or replaced (as Fiskars sees fit) as long as the damage was not due to misuse, abuse, accidents, environmental factors, or neglect.
In summary: it’s simple, works great, and won’t fail.
It’s excellent for general composting, soil mixing, container gardening, and even worm composting, since it turns soil so gently in small places.
For vermiculture, this would not harm your worms at all! You are able to move soil and scraps without doing any damage.
With a beautiful and pleasing design, the FiberComp materials certainly make it sturdy without compromising aesthetics.
Knowing that it won’t rust, bend, or break provides peace of mind to frequent gardeners, and this single-piece tool is built to last while being lightweight. Overall, this item offers excellent value.
Check current prices and customer reviews on Jet.com now.
Ready to Tear Things Up?
You came. You saw. You read up all about the best hand cultivators out there.
Now, it’s time to conquer!
Which hand rake, claw, or grubber fits your needs?
Will it be something ergonomic? Heavy-duty? Double-sided with two uses? Or just your average gardening claw with a wooden or composite handle?
Whatever you choose, it’s sure to help you on the path to gardening success.
Do you have your own insights to share regarding experiences with these tools? Something we might have missed? Let us know in the comments below!