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3 December 2021

Best garden forks

Find out which garden forks topped our tests from brands including B&Q, Spear & Jackson, Screwfix and more, and what you need to know to get a garden fork that's right for you.
Joey Willoughby-Rainsford

Digging forks are an essential part of any gardener's kit. They're used to prepare beds for planting, as well as to harvest root veg and dig out perennials and shrubs, and they're especially useful for gardens with heavy clay or compacted soil. 

In September 2021 our researchers joined forces with the Which? Gardening team to put a selection of 10 garden forks through their paces.

We tested garden forks from a variety of retailers including Homebase, Screwfix, Toolstation and B&Q, as well as from brands such as JCB, Spear & Jackson and Fiskars, assessing their build quality, durability, comfort and ease of use.

Pricing and availability last checked 2nd December 2021.


In need of a digging spade as well? Then check out our best garden spades.


The best garden forks

Only logged-in Which? members can view the garden forks test results below. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetised list of the digging forks we tested. 

Join Which? now to get instant access to our test results and Best Buy recommendations below. 

Burgon & Ball Standard Digging fork

Burgon & Ball Standard Digging fork

Cheapest price: £42.99 available from Burgon & Ball. Also available from B&Q, Amazon

Weight: 1.97kg

Shaft length: 61cm

Handle width: 13cm

Tines: 28cm x 18cm (HxW)

Total length: 109cm

This digging fork from Burgon & Ball has a Y-grip shape handle made from FSC-certified hardwood and the tines and sockets are stainless steel.

What did our team of researchers and Which? Gardening experts make of this RHS-endorsed garden fork?

To find out log into your account or join Which? today and gain instant access to all our reviews and recommendations.

Fiskars Xact Soil Work Fork Large

Cheapest price: £49.56 available from Amazon

Weight: 1.85kg

Shaft length: 82cm

Handle width: 12cm

Tines: 27cm x 18cm (HxW)

Total length: 120cm (also available in a smaller size of 108cm)

The manufacturer says the tines of this fork are made from steel while the handle and upper portion of the shaft are made from 'fibreglass reinforced synthetic material' (in other words plastic). 

How did this Fiskars Xact Soil Work Fork fare in our tests? 

Find out by reading our full reviews. Log in or join Which? now to get full access to our results and recommendations.

Hawksmoor All Steel Digging Fork

Cheapest price: £14.98 available from Toolstation

Weight: 2.13kg

Shaft length: 60cm

Handle width: 12cm

Tines: 29cm x 18cm (HxW)

Total length: 100cm

Excluding the wooden section of the handle, this digging fork is all steel with a solid forged head welded to the socket. 

How comfortable and easy to use was this Hawksmoor fork? 

To find out, log into your account or join Which? now to get full access to our reviews and Best Buy recommendations.

HomeBuild Carbon Steel Fork

HomeBuild Carbon Steel Fork

Cheapest price: £9.95 available from Homebase

Weight: 2.01kg

Shaft length: 60cm

Handle width: 11cm

Tines: 29cm x 19cm (HxW)

Total length: 100cm

This digging fork from Homebuild has steel tines and a steel socket, with a plastic-coated shaft and handle.

Easily the cheapest fork we tested, see how it fared against the rest of our selection. 

To read the full review and the rest of our results log into your account or join Which? now. 

JCB Professional Solid Forged Garden Fork

JCB Professional Solid Forged Garden Fork

Cheapest price: £38.99 available from Amazon

Weight: 2.28kg

Shaft length: 61cm

Handle width: 13cm

Tines: 29cm x 20cm (HxW)

Total length: 98cm

The tines and socket of this digging fork are solid forged carbon steel. The shaft and handle are coated in plastic.

See how this garden fork from JCB compares to the other forks in our test. 

Read our full review by logging into your account or joining Which? to find out.

Magnusson Fork

Magnusson Fork

Cheapest price: £23 available from B&Q

Weight: 2.39kg

Shaft length: 78cm

Handle width: 15cm

Tines: 30cm x 19cm (HxW)

Total length: 119cm

This digging fork from Magnusson is claimed to have a carbon steel socket and tines with a nylite composite handle.

It's one of the larger forks in our selection, but how did it compare with the others? 

To find out, check out our full review by logging in to your account or joining Which? now to get instant access to all our results and Best Buy recommendations.

Roughneck digging fork

Roughneck digging fork

Cheapest price: £22.49 available from Screwfix

Weight: 2.16kg

Shaft length: 69cm

Handle width: 12cm

Tines: 28.5cm x 18cm (HxW)

Total length: 107cm

This digging fork from Roughneck has a lacquer-coated carbon steel socket and tines with a fibreglass handle.

How did the Roughneck digging fork fare in our tests?

To read the full review and find out, log into your account or join Which? today. 

Neverbend digging fork

Neverbend digging fork

Cheapest price: £29.99 available from Screwfix. Also available from Amazon

Weight: 2.23kg

Shaft length: 62cm

Handle width: 13cm

Tines: 29cm x 19cm (HxW)

Total length: 99cm

This garden fork from Spear & Jackson's Neverbend range has an epoxy-coated carbon steel socket and tines, a wooden shaft and a rubber gripped steel handle.

Neverbend by name, but was that the case when we put it to the test?

Check out our full review by logging into your account or by joining Which? today.

Stanley Fatmax Fibreglass D-Handle Fork

Stanley Fatmax Fibreglass D-Handle Fork

Cheapest price: £27.48 available from Amazon, Toolstation

Weight: 2.28kg

Shaft length: 79cm

Handle width: 15cm

Tines: 29cm x 18cm (HxW)

Total length: 118cm

This garden fork from Stanley Fatmax has a fibreglass handle and heat-treated steel tines.

Stanely Fatmax is a name seen in many sheds up and down the country, but how did this garden fork do in our tests?

Log into your account or join Which? today to find out.

Spear & Jackson Select Stainless Steel Digging Fork

Spear & Jackson Select Stainless Steel Digging Fork

Cheapest price: £29.94 available from Amazon

Weight: 2.25kg

Shaft length: 63cm

Handle width: 19cm

Tines: 30cm x 18cm (HxW)

Total length: 103cm

This digging fork from Spear & Jackson has mirror-polished stainless steel tines, which the manufacturer claims are rust-resistant, and a polypropylene (plastic) shaft with a non-slip grip on the handle. 

What did we think of this garden fork? 

To find out, read our full review by logging into your account now or joining Which? today.


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Anatomy of a garden fork

Anatomy of a garden fork
  • Handle grip: The part of the fork you hold, located at the top of the shaft. 
  • Shaft: The section of the fork adjoining the handle to the socket.
  • Socket: The section of the fork adjoining the shaft to the tines.
  • Tines: The bottom part of the fork used for digging and turning soil.

What is FSC certified?

FSC logo

FSC is a global forest certification system.

The label allows consumers to confidently purchase wood, paper and other forest products made with materials from well-managed forests.

FSC-certified products are worth looking out for as it means that these trees were grown as part of a well-managed forest, protecting forest plants and animals.

For more information visit their website and learn about the FSC-certification system.

Is a wooden handle better than a plastic handle?

Is a wooden handle better than a plastic handle?

To find out which is better we spoke to our Which? Gardening experts, who use gardening tools including forks all year round on an almost daily basis. 

They said that while wooden handles can irritate the hands over prolonged use, this can easily be avoided with a good pair of gardening gloves. 

It's also worth noting that wood is better able to absorb shock and vibrations.

Plastic handles, on the other hand, often boast a textured or rubber grip, but they can become brittle over time, especially if left out in the summer sun.

Which? verdict

On balance, our experts feel a wooden handle is better due to the overall comfort and durability.

Does height matter when choosing a garden fork?

Does height matter when choosing a garden fork?

When purchasing a gardening fork it's important to consider your own height compared with the different lengths of forks. 

If you have back problems or can only work for shorter periods, consider a fork with a longer or angled shaft to help you bend less and take the strain off of your back. 

Bear in mind if the fork's shaft is too short for your height, this puts extra strain on your back. 

We recommend going to purchase the fork in person if you can. This way you can get a feel for the length and weight that's right for you. 

To check the overall length, hold the fork as you would if you were about to push it into the ground. The handle height is right for you if you're leaning over it slightly. 

Then hold the fork as if you were lifting soil. 

Are the areas you're holding comfortable? And can you reach the base of the shaft easily without stretching?

How to care for your garden fork?

How to care for your garden fork?

Our Which? Gardening experts shared three tips to ensure your fork is kept in good condition for the next job in your garden.

After each use:

  • Clean the tines: After each job wash off the mud from the tines and socket and then make sure you dry it. 
  • Store inside: Keep in your home, in a shed or outhouse, just make sure you don't leave your spade to the mercy of the elements.

When storing wooden tools for winter:

  • Clean the tool: Remove soil and dirt with a stiff brush and/or damp cloth. 
  • Lightly sand: Lightly sand any rough patches across the wood.
  • Oil a wooden handle and shaft: Apply a coat of linseed oil or teak oil with a brush or cloth.

Pain-free digging

Pain-free digging

Are you a safe gardener? Check out these tips to help prevent injury and back pain while using a garden fork.

To avoid back pain:  

  • Never use a fork or spade that doesn't suit your height or strength.
  • Keep your back straight.
  • Stretch your back, legs and arms regularly and avoid digging for more than about 10 minutes without a break.

If you're concerned about this type of pain, please check out the NHS guide to back pain for further information and advice.

To avoid injury:

  • Always wear stout footwear to avoid stabbing your feet.
  • Never use a fork as a lever as it might snap.

How we tested garden forks

How we tested garden forks

Following feedback from our Which? Gardening members and working closely with the Which? Gardening magazine team we developed tests to put these products through their paces.

Build quality

To start the testing process a pair of researchers weighed and measured each of the forks and then examined the build quality of each. 

Our Which? Gardening experts all examined the build quality of each digging fork. 

We considered the finish of each fork, including any rivets, edges, mould lines and welding or forge marks. 

Comfort, while using and ease of use

For these two tests, our researchers used each of the forks to turn the top layer of soil and remove weeds from a Which? Gardening vegetable patch.

The researchers worked in pairs and recorded their observations and opinions while using each of the forks. 

Consideration was given to how comfortable the fork was to use and how easy or difficult the length, weight and design made turning the soil.

Durability

To measure the durability of each fork we examined them before they were used and then looked at them again after all other tests were completed. 

We then got two of our researchers to stand and jump on each of the forks to test the strength between the socket and the shaft.

How we choose the garden forks we tested

For this project, we considered garden forks (sometimes called digging forks) from a variety of major UK retailers.

To be considered the forks needed to cost £50 or less. 


We purchased all the forks we tested.