10 Gardening Tools Worth Splurging On
Don't "cheap" yourself. Sometimes it pays to splurge and get real quality, especially with gardening tools. Here are some examples.
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Have you ever tried to use an old pair of hedge shears that were stiff and dull? Or tried chopping down tough ornamental grasses with a cheap pair of hedge shears? A pure waste of time...and the recipe for blisters, too, thanks to all the extra cuts you have to make. These 21-inch hedge shears from Centurion Brands might cost a bit more, but you also get more to like. The 8-inch blades are made of hardened forged carbon steel and the strong steel handles are capped with comfortable contour-molded grips. A couple chops might not make a difference, but you'll appreciate those handles when you're dealing with tough grasses or a king-size hedge.
Pole Saw and Pruner
I speak from experience when I tell you, don't waste your money on entry-level pole pruners. Decades ago, my father had the Cadillac of pole pruners, complete with wooden handles and multiple extension poles. It was still going strong after many years before it went missing. On the other hand, I had a chintzy pole pruner that brought new meaning to the word flimsy. The loppers gummed up easily, the saw was always loose, the pole was wobbly, and the so-called locking mechanism gave out more than once, causing the extended pole to come down suddenly and pinch my hand. Dang! Get a good one, like this heavy-duty 14-foot Corona MAX RazorTOOTH pole saw and pruner. It has a powerglide rope pull system for the loppers and quick-cutting 13-inch curved saw blade. There's also a limited lifetime warranty. Need to do more than just pruning? Read our tips on cutting down a tree safely.
I've used a number of loppers over the years. The less expensive ones are okay for occasional use, but more than once mine became loose and lost their cutting efficiency after I tried to remove a branch that was a tad too large. These 34-inch loppers will put an end to that worry because they can cut branches up to 2 inches in diameter. That's usually work for a saw, but how nice to have option of using convenient loppers instead. Moreover, these loppers have a double-gear drive cutting mechanism that easily slices through thick branches and makes cutting 50 percent easier. Learn pruning tips to keep shrubs healthy and handsome.
Garden Tool Set
There's a 15-piece gardening tool set on Amazon for 10 bucks. Now, I ask you, what kind of quality will you get at 75 cents per tool? The way most of us use tools, we'd be lucky to get one season out of them. Just looking at the pictures, I could envision the cheap handles detaching from the tool heads. It's happened to me before. On the other hand, I have some heavy-duty Fiskars hand tools going on 20 years and showing no signs of breaking. Instead of a cheap set of 15 tools, buy two or three quality hand tools like these. You'll get fewer tools, but fewer headaches too. If you do end up with a lot of gardening tools, here are some clever ways to store them properly.
I like this multitasking gardening tool because it handles a variety of tasks, from digging to opening bags to liberating root-bound plants before planting. I know that if I have this in my toolkit, I've got a head start on a lot of the gardening tasks I'm likely to face. The sharpened blade with serrated edge effortlessly dig into hard ground and won't bend or break while digging, thanks to a polished cast-aluminum head. Don't want to splurge on this tool? Learn how to make your own root-cutting shovel.
When I looked this tool up on Amazon, I noticed a little box in the corner saying "lower priced items to consider." Nope, not gonna fall for it. A shovel is way too important to settle for something inferior. I've had a Fiskars shovel very similar to this (slightly shorter handle) for 20 years now and it is my absolute favorite. It's sturdy as can be, has a nice step plate to save wear and tear on my foot, and a D handle to make tossing heavy loads easier. I have half a dozen shovels and they all sit in the garage while this one does all the work. Need to store that shovel and other long-handled tools? Here's how.
The other night I was poking around my garage and I noticed that I had three folding pruning saws hanging on the wall. At one time, I thought they were okay. And they'll still do in a pinch. But they barely ever get used because my fourth folding pruning saw is the best of the bunch. It cost a few dollars more, but it's worth it. I keep the Corona RazorTOOTH folding saw in my truck—where it's always available, even when I'm out and about. My other pruning saws became loose after use and felt cheap overall. One even has a bent saw blade (I'm not even sure how that happened!). But my Corona is going strong after five years of regular use. Meet 12 must-have garden tools, one of which is this saw.
There are brand new gas-powered lawnmowers that cost less than $150. And if you've got a small yard that's easily traversed, you can probably get by with that. Not so with larger yards that require more mowing time or for uneven lawns or hilly terrain. I like my Honda-powered self-propelled Craftsman. It's easy to start, rugged and dependable. About the only complaint I've had with it: mine is front wheel drive so the tread on the plastic wheels wears down after a few years and loses traction, so you have to get replacement wheels. A rear-drive unit would probably take care of that problem. Either way, a better-quality mower is going to last you quite a bit longer. The ergonomics are superior, too. Read our tips for buying a walk-behind lawn mower.
I bought a super heavy-duty two-wheeled wheelbarrow 15 years ago and have barely used it. Why? Because one of the tires is always flat and no longer holds air. Then I got wise and bought a wheelbarrow with a flat-free tire. I also made sure to get a wheelbarrow with a steel body because I once had a plastic body wheelbarrow that split wide open when I tried to haul rocks with it. This Kobalt unit from Lowe's is my best friend in the garden. I wouldn't want to tackle my yard chores without it. Want to save space when storing your wheelbarrow. We show you how.
I got one of these about 10 years ago and have been very happy with it. Back at my old house, where a silver maple and honeylocust competed to see which could drop more junk on my patio, I had to use the blower a fair amount. But what I really liked was its ability to vacuum and mulch leaves. I'd blow everything into a corner, flip a switch, then vacuum up the debris, where it would be shredded and collected in the bag attachment. Then it was just a matter of spreading the chopped debris as a mulch in the garden. Sure, I could have gotten a blower, but one with a vacuuming and mulching feature is worth the extra dough. Here are some other handy gardening tools you might like.