Our 10 Favorite Eco-Friendly Gardening Tools

Keep your garden beautiful with these earth-friendly picks.

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No matter whether you have a large suburban lot or a few containers on a balcony, your garden will provide food and shelter for local wildlife, birds, and pollinators. If you grow fruits and veggies, you’ll have the additional benefit of knowing exactly where your food comes from, and not to mention that you’ll gain new respect for how hard our farmers work the first time aphids chow down on your nasturtiums.

Weeding, digging, and watering are all necessary garden chores but you’ll get the job done more efficiently with the right tools. Instead of buying a throwaway product, look for quality tools that will last for years so you don’t create additional waste. This is definitely a time when you get what you pay for; most cheap tools barely last a season. Of course, it’s always smart to look for secondhand tools at flea markets and garage sales, though you may not always find what you need.

Ahead, our top picks for the best eco-friendly and durable gardening tools that will help your garden thrive for years to come.

Best Splurge Watering Can: Haws Traditional Watering Can

5
Haws Traditional Watering Can

Terrain

If you’re looking for a beautiful, classic watering can, this is one every serious gardener covets. The 2-gallon can is handmade from galvanized steel and is powder-coated for corrosion protection. It’s made in England (where they know a few things about gardening!) with nearly the same design used since the company’s founding in 1886. The brass rose (where water pours out) is removable so you can pour a gentle shower or a steady stream of water. Let's face it: It just looks good. Yes, it’s indulgent but it’s a balanced and comfortable-to-hold can that will become an instant heirloom.

Best Budget Watering Can: Behrens 2-Gallon Steel Watering Can

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Behrens Silver 2 gal. Steel Watering Can

Courtesy of Ace Hardware

This vintage-look watering can is made of 100% galvanized steel, so it will stand up to many years of heavy usage. Plus, it can be recycled at the end of its useful lifespan and converted into new steel products. The rose is not removable, so keep this in mind if you prefer heavy streams of water, as opposed to a wide shower. The can holds 2.5 gallons so it’s ideal for large beds or multiple containers, and it has two handles for better control. Although it is galvanized, it should be stored in a sheltered area to reduce the risk of rust forming.

Best Trowel: Wilcox All-Pro Heavy-Duty Digging Trowel

4.5
Wilcox 14-inch Trowel

Amazon

Constructed with a pointed tip from heavy-duty 16-gauge stainless steel, this trowel will provide years of usefulness to every garden chore from planting to weeding. The tool has a molded no-slip grip, and weighs just 11 ounces so it feels substantial yet not too heavy in your hand. The steel rinses clean easily and is made from one solid piece, so it’s less likely to snap off while you’re digging. The trowel is made in Iowa, by a company founded in 1966, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Best Hose: Water Right Light Hose

Water Right Light Hose

Gardener's Supply Company

One study showed some hoses may contain lead and hazardous chemicals such as phthalates; even if you don’t plan to drink from your hose on a hot summer day, do you really want to spray that on your veggie garden?

Hoses labeled safe for drinking, such as our pick here, are a more sound environmental choice because they’re long-lasting and won’t spring a leak after one season. This one is made in the United States and is drinking water safe (meeting both FDA and NSF standards for drinking water applications), BPA and phthalate free, and kink-resistant. It comes in 25, 50, and 100-foot lengths and three colors so you can spot it easily when it’s uncoiled in the garden. They’re also easy to carry around; the 50-footer weighs only 3 pounds.

Best Digging Knife: Nisaku Hori-Hori Tomita Weeding Knife

Nisaku Japanese Hori Hori Garden Landscaping Digging Tool With Stainless Steel Blade & Sheath, NJP650
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

Whether you need to dig up a clump of weeds, plant bulbs, or divide perennials, this digging knife is your new best friend. With a slightly curved razor-sharp 7.25-inch long stainless-steel blade and a wooden handle with storage sheath, the knife has both smooth and serrated edges for just about any task in the garden. Made in Japan, it lasts for years and is an excellent all-in-one tool for both new and experienced gardeners. The faux leather sheath conveniently snaps to your belt or tucks into your gardening apron so you have it on hand for any task.

Best Hand Rake/Cultivator: Fiskars Cultivator

Fiskars Cultivator

Walmart

If you’re looking for a small rake for raised beds or containers, this reasonably-priced choice is a great option. It has three sturdy cast-aluminum tines, which resist rust, and an ergonomically-shaped handle that reduces hand fatigue. It will last just about forever, unless you lose it. The company’s sustainability initiatives include reducing emissions to achieve a carbon neutral status through Business Ambition for 1.5°C, as well as 100% renewable or recycled packaging.

Best Shovel: Bully Tools 82515 14-Gauge Round Point Shovel

Bully Tools 82515 14-Gauge Round Point Shovel

Home Depot

A round point shovel is the most versatile in the garden, useful for planting trees and shrubs, dividing perennials, or turning over soil in beds. Unfortunately, if you have clay or rocky soil, wooden handles aren’t always up to the task and may break with moderate usage. This shovel has a strong fiberglass handle with a D-grip, so it’s easier to grasp and control. The 14-gauge steel stands up to most digging tasks. It’s also made in the United States, providing jobs to the local community and reducing the pollution associated with transportation from abroad.

Best Pruner: Felco F-2 Classic Manual Hand Pruner

FELCO F-2 Classic Manual Hand Pruner

Felco

Whether you’re trimming shrubs or doing a fall or winter cleanup, every gardener needs heavy-duty pruners. Yes, this Swiss-made pair is pricier than the ones you can pick up for $10 or so at big box retailers. But those last a season or two, while these are preferred by pros and will last a lifetime. This model, first developed and sold in 1948, has hardened steel blades and forged aluminum handles with a comfortable, ergonomic grip; they can cut through branches up to an inch thick. An adjustable bolt allows you to customize blade alignment to your preference. Most importantly, all components can be replaced when worn, which means these should be the last pruners you’ll ever have to buy.

The company supports organizations such as the Old Vine Project in South Africa and African Women Rising, which supports women in Uganda affected by war.

Best Splurge Garden Tool Set: DeWit 3-Tool Bundle with Holder

DeWit 3-Tool Bundle

Who says garden tools have to be boring? These beautiful tools are handmade in Holland by a fifth-generation company. The set includes a trowel, cultivator, and Cape Cod weeder, which looks like a little hoe, as well as a hanger for handy storage. The handles are European FSC-certified ash, a hardwood that will last for years, while the heads are made from Swedish boron steel. After extended use, oil the tools with linseed oil to prevent drying and cracking of the hardwood. Every DeWit tool comes with a lifetime warranty.

Best Budget Garden Tool Set: Fiskars Softouch 3-Piece Garden Tool Set

Fiskars Softouch 3-Piece Garden Tool Set

Amazon

Whether you just got the gardening bug or are looking for reasonably-priced hand tools, this three-piece set includes a trowel, transplanter and a hand rake/cultivator. They’re made from cast aluminum, so they will resist rust and stand up to most basic gardening tasks. They also have a soft, contoured handle for a more comfortable ergonomic feel in your hand, and they’re lightweight enough for almost anyone to use from kids to people with diminished hand strength.

Final Verdict

We love the Felco F-2 Classic Manual Hand Pruner, which allows you to replace all components when worn so it should be the last pruner you ever buy. Another favorite product is the Wilcox All-Pro 202S, 14-inch Stainless Steel Garden Trowel, which has a solid feel in the hand and a sturdy point for digging and weeding in all kinds of soils.

What to Look for in Eco-Friendly Gardening Tools

Durability

Look for products that have favorable reader reviews; for many products, this is your best source of real-world performance. However, you should also give your tools a little TLC so they last longer, which means using linseed oil on wooden handles, rinsing off dirt, drying any metal components when they're wet, and storing in a covered shed so they’re not exposed to the elements, which will shorten their lifespans.

Warranty

Quality products typically come with at least a one-year warranty, while others have limited or lifetime warranties.

FSC-Certified Wood Parts

If the product has a wooden handle, look for FSC-certified wood to protect our forests.

Second-Hand Tools

When possible, shop flea markets, garage sales, and sources such as Facebook Marketplace.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger wants to help readers invest in quality gardening tools that will last for many years. To make this list, we researched the market and evaluated product reviews, features, durability, warranties, and also considered our own experiences in the garden.

Arricca SanSone has been obsessed with plants since she was a kid in her parent’s and grandparents’ gardens. She grows heirloom roses, perennials, herbs, and edibles in an ever-increasing series of raised beds and containers.

View Article Sources
  1. "Garden Hose Study." Ecology Center, Ann Arbor, MI.

  2. "FAQ." Water Right.