8 Best Spading Forks of 2021 [Reviews]

closeup on gardener's feet standing in soil with spading fork

A spading fork is an essential garden tool for digging up plants, turning soil, or aerating your garden beds, but what is the best spading fork for you and your yard? 

With so many models out there, it’s hard to know where to begin. That’s why we rounded up the 8 best spading forks overall, ranked by weight, reach, affordability, durability, ergonomics, and suitability for heavy-duty work. 

In our buyers guide we’ll offer some extra information so you can become even more knowledgeable when making this purchase. 

Top 8 Spading Forks – Reviews

1. Overall Top Pick: True Temper 2812200 4-Tine Spading Digging Fork 

True Temper 2812200 4-Tine Spading Digging Fork with 30 in. Hardwood D-Grip Handle, 30 Inch

The True Temper 2812200 steals the top spot with a balance of attributes: it’s lightweight, has a long reach, is easy to use, and this spading fork is easy on your wallet. 

Here are the details: 

  • The lightweight design makes this spading fork ideal for tilling large gardens without straining your back. 
  • This tool has a long reach, giving you plenty of leverage for digging. 
  • The square, flat tines give you plenty of lift when moving soil. 
  • We also like the D-grip handle. It’s easy to wield while allowing for plenty of leverage. 
  • The price tag is hard to beat. 

The only drawback? There are models with stronger handle materials out there. If durability is your No. 1 concern, you might want to keep shopping.

Worth noting: This is a well-balanced all-around garden tool. If you’re looking for something specialized, there are better spading forks to try. 

Specifications:

  • Handle Material: Hardwood
  • Length: 46.25 inches
  • Weight: 3.74 lbs
  • Price Range: Inexpensive

Pros:

✓ Inexpensive
✓ Lightweight
✓ Good length

Cons:

✗ Durability could be a little stronger

2. Runner-Up: Radius Garden 25302 Pro-Lite Carbon Steel Digging Fork

Radius Garden 25302 Pro-Lite Carbon Steel Digging Fork, Green

Our second favorite spading fork overall is the Radius Garden 25302, which offers great durability at a low price. The fiberglass handle should last years, while the price was in the bottom third of models we surveyed. 

Bonus Points: The ring-style handle makes digging easy and comfortable. The thin, English-style square tines are also perfect for digging up potatoes and other root vegetables. 

Downsides: This model is a little on the heavier side of the spectrum, so keep that in mind if you don’t want to strain yourself. 

Bottom Line: The reach of this tool is just slightly above average, making it a versatile gardening tool.  

Specifications:

  • Handle Material: Fiberglass
  • Length: 45 inches
  • Weight: 4.89 lbs
  • Price Range: Inexpensive

Pros:

✓ Durable
✓ Inexpensive
✓ Comfortable
✓ Versatile

Cons:

✗ A little on the heavy side

3. Longest Reach: Gardena 17002 NatureLine Spading Fork 

Gardena 17002 NatureLine Spading Fork

Are you looking for a long-handled spading fork? The Gardena 17002 could be the perfect match if you …

  • Need some extra leverage in digging up the soil
  • You’re trying to move compost a good distance in one shovelful
  • You’re a tall person and don’t want to pull your back bending over all day. 

This spading fork’s long wood handle offers more reach than any other model we surveyed. The curved, hardened-steel tines are perfect for easy digging and soil penetration. We also like the ergonomic D-grip. 

Every model has its downsides. You’ll find the Gardena 17002 is a little on the pricier side. It also weighs a bit more than most of the other spading forks on our list. So, if you don’t like working out in your backyard instead of the gym, there might be another model for you. 

Specifications:

  • Handle Material: American ash
  • Length: 49 inches
  • Weight: 5.41 lbs
  • Price Range: Expensive

Pros: 

✓ Long reach
✓ Ergonomic design

Cons:

✗ Kind of heavy
✗ More expensive

4. Lightest Weight: DeWit Perennial Fork with Short Handle 

DeWit Perennial Fork with Short Handle

The DeWit Perennial Fork with Short Handle is a simple, easy-to-use hand fork — and its exceptionally low weight makes this model perfect for someone with a small garden.

Some Highlights: 

  • This model features a half-sized ash handle with a T-grip for easy use. 
  • Its three-pronged boron steel forkhead is ideal for digging bulbs and separating plants without damaging them. 

Downsides: This tool won’t help you much for heavy-duty outdoor work. If you have hard soil or a lot of ground to aerate, you might want to consider something a little bigger. We also think the price could be a little lower for the size. 

Bottom Line: This is a great tool if you have a small garden or like to take your yard work at an easy pace. 

Specifications:

  • Handle Material: Ash
  • Length: 23 inches
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs
  • Price Range: Medium

Pros:

✓ Easy to use 
✓ Very lightweight

Cons:

✗ Could be a little less expensive for its size

5. Most Affordable: Worth Garden Stainless Steel Digging Fork 42”

Worth Garden Stainless Steel Digging Fork 42'' Pitchforks Unbreakable 4 Tine Spading Fork with D-Grip Steel Handle, Garden Tool Great for Men & Women

The Worth Garden Stainless Steel Digging Fork is inexpensive yet doesn’t skimp on durability. 

Some Highlights: 

  • We’re impressed with the steel handle. 
  • The sharp, narrow tines pierce through most types of soil and are perfect for aerating a garden. 
  • The medium weight and length make this steel garden fork versatile for most gardening chores. 
  • The D-grip handle is easy to use.

Pluses and a Minus: The Worth Garden Stainless Steel Digging Fork is an all-around model at a great price. The three-year warranty only sweetens the deal. However, if you need a spading fork for breaking up hard soil or taking on heavier projects, there are more specialized garden tools on the market. 

Specifications:

  • Handle Material: Steel
  • Length: 42 inches
  • Weight: 4.74 lbs
  • Price Range: Very Inexpensive

Pros:

✓ Inexpensive
✓ Durable
✓ Versatile

Cons:

✗ This spading fork is very middle-of-the-road. 

6. Best for Heavy-Duty Projects: 5-Tine Heavy Duty Pitch Fork for Gardening

5-Tine Heavy Duty Pitch Fork for Gardening - Long Handled Digging Fork Garden Claw Weeder

If you have exceptionally hard or rocky soil, you might need a tool that can take on the tough jobs. Consider this 5-Tine model from Ymachray. With a steel handle and forged tines, this tool moves a lot of dirt.

This fork is by far the heaviest on our list. This could be a blessing or a curse depending on your strength and needs. The extra weight can give you some much-needed leverage, but it also can wear out your back. 

Pluses and Minuses: The claw-style head provides great soil penetration. You’ll find this model at the middle of the price range pack. It’s a little on the short side though. The reach could be longer for something designed for heavy work.

Specifications:

  • Handle Material: Steel 
  • Length: 40 inches
  • Weight: 6.34 lbs
  • Price Range: Medium

Pros:

✓ Durability
✓ Heft
✓ Claw-style digging head

Cons:

✗ Harder to lift
✗ Could have a longer reach

7. Most Ergonomic Design: Roamwild Multi-Digger Garden Digging Spading Fork 

Roamwild Multi-Digger Garden Digging Spading Fork – Fibreglass Light Weight Gardening with Unique Dual Soft AIR Light Grip Technology & Soil Lump Cutting Bladed Tines (Fork)

The Roamwild Multi-Digger is a great spading fork for anyone who needs a garden tool that’s comfortable and easy to use. 

Some Highlights: 

  • We like the dual-grip comfort handle and the energy-efficient design. 
  • We like the innovative forkhead. The middle two tines connect to form a wedge for breaking through compacted soil. 
  • The Roamwild is made from a durable fiberglass handle and steel tines. 

The drawbacks? You’ll find this spading fork a little heavier than some of its counterparts. This won’t be a problem for quick work, but the weight can add up if you plan on spending your whole afternoon digging. 

The Roamwild Multi-Digger is also on the pricier side of the spectrum. If money is tight now, you might want to keep looking. 

Specifications:

  • Handle Material: Fiberglass
  • Length: 40.16 inches
  • Weight: 5.32 lbs
  • Price Range: Expensive

Pros:

✓ Ergonomic handle
✓ Durable
✓ Blade for cutting through compacted soil

Cons:

✗ Expensive
✗ Heavier
✗ Limited reach

8. Most Durable: Radius Garden 203 PRO Garden Stainless Steel Digging Fork

Radius Garden 203 PRO Garden Stainless Steel Digging Fork, One Size, Original Green

The toughest, most durable spading fork on our list is the Radius 203 Garden Pro. If you’re looking to buy a spading fork once in your life and no more, this could be your perfect tool. 

Here’s why: Not only is the handle made from high-quality resin-encased carbon steel, but this company provides a lifetime warranty. If this spading fork ever breaks, Radius will replace it. 

Overall, this is a versatile garden fork, as the thinner, English-style tines can take on most gardening chores. The weight and reach are both in the middle range. 

The only real downside is going to be the cost. If you want a tool that lasts a lifetime, it’s going to be an investment. 

Specifications:

  • Handle Material: Resin-encased carbon steel 
  • Length: 42.9 inches
  • Weight: 4.85 lbs
  • Price Range: Expensive

Pros:

✓ Durable
✓ Lifetime warranty
✓ Versatile

Cons:

✗ Expensive

Buyers Guide

Let’s start with what a spading fork is, how it’s used, and why it’s a handy tool to have in your shed. 

So, what is a spading fork? 

A spading fork has tines mainly used for digging up garden plants to transplant, but you can also use this tool to turn soil, move compost, or aerate your yard. A spading fork’s long handle gives you more reach and leverage than a simple hand trowel. 

A spading fork is also useful when you want to transplant or repot large plants without destroying their root systems. The forward step, sharp tines, and long handle give you the digging power of a shovel without cutting through the root crown. 

Want to see a spading fork in action? This video shows how to use a spading fork to turn the soil in a garden.

What all of this means: A spading fork is a great tool for serious gardeners with larger plots.

A spading fork is often confused with a pitchfork, though. The tools are different. Pitchforks typically have thinner tines and are used for moving hay. A spading fork has thicker, flatter tines for digging around in the dirt.

Now that we know what a spading fork is and how it’s used, let’s run down important considerations when purchasing one. We’ll cover the factors we looked at in ranking the top eight spading forks, as well as some of the choices you have in materials and styles. 

How We Ranked the Best Spading Forks

When we set out to rank the best spading forks, we looked at the weight, length, handle material, and cost. 

Weight: The spading forks on our list range from about 1 to 6 pounds. Heavier and lighter forks both have their pros and cons. 

A heavier tool will take more effort to move over and over again. While 1 or 2 pounds might not seem like a big difference, if you plan on gardening all afternoon, the extra weight adds up to more effort. 

That said, you may want a garden spade that weighs a little more for heavy-duty work. A heavier shovel can give you more leverage in digging up hard-packed, stubborn soil. 

Length: The spading forks we evaluated run from 23 to 49 inches. Length is an important consideration when selecting a spading fork. 

Here’s why: Longer handles will give you more reach for moving soil and more leverage for digging. Shorter people, however, may find a long handle awkward, unwieldy, or hard on their backs. 

Cost: A good spading fork usually costs between $30 and $70. Before purchasing your next garden tool, consider determining how much you are willing to spend. 

Handle Materials: The three most common handle materials for spading forks are: hardwood, fiberglass, and metal. 

Here are the pros and cons of each handle material: 

  • Hardwood handles: Hardwood is pretty much the standard for spading fork handles. Pros and cons: Hardwood handles are easier to replace and they usually are more affordable. But wood handles break more often than fiberglass or metal handles.
  • Fiberglass handles: When it comes to strength, a fiberglass handle is a step up from wood. But while a fiberglass handle will break less often, it will be harder to find a replacement. Why? Because fiberglass handles are less common, they  sometimes are more expensive. 
  • Metal handles: Metal is the least common handle material of these three. Metal handles are going to be very strong, but they are also going to be the heaviest. A steel shaft is also usually more expensive than either hardwood or fiberglass. 

Types of Garden Forks 

There are several different garden forks from which to choose. Let’s review the different styles so you know what to get for your garden. 

Pitchfork

Pitchforks are specifically designed for taking care of livestock. They have very thin tines designed for picking up and tossing hay, straw, or mulch. Unless you have a barn, you probably won’t need one. 

Spading Fork

These handy tools are designed for digging, like a spade. Spading forks have flat-faced tines for lifting and loosening the earth. You can also use them for transplanting plants or turning and aerating soil. 

Potato Fork

These forks are specialized for digging up root crops like potatoes, turnips, or radishes. Their tines have blunt ends to keep from impaling the skin of your harvest. 

Border Fork

A border fork is the smallest type of fork on our list. These hand tools are designed for small gardens, raised beds, and borders. They’re perfect for any job for which a full-sized garden fork would be overkill. 

Broad Fork

The broad fork is for taking on outdoor chores on a much larger scale. This tool typically has two handles and a broad head with up to six tines. These forks are mainly for small farms or very large gardens. 

FAQ About Spading Forks

1. What can I do with a spading fork?

Spading forks are perfect for turning, loosening, and aerating soil. This allows plenty of space for your roots to spread out and get all the water and nutrients they need. You can also use a spading fork for transplanting large plants without damaging the root structures. 

2. How should I maintain my spading fork?

Clean off your spading fork after each use. You can simply spray it down with a hose or use a scrubber for caked-on dirt. Afterward, dry thoroughly. You don’t want metal components to rust. Store your tools in a dry, well-ventilated area. 

3. What’s the best garden fork I can get for the money?

Based on our attributes of reach, weight, and cost, we would recommend the True Temper 2812200

4. What are some of the most trusted brands for spading forks?

In this article, we run down products by DeWit, True Temper, Radius, and Roamwild. You might also consider checking out reputable brands like Bully Tools, Spear & Jackson, Ames, Fiskars, and Truper.

5. Where can I buy my new spading fork?

These models are all available from major retailers like Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Amazon. You can also buy them directly from the manufacturer.

How to Choose the Best Spading Fork for Your Needs

Our 8 Best Spading Forks list should make it easier to find the right spading fork for your yard. As you shop, keep in mind your priorities. 

  • Are you looking for low cost or high durability? 
  • Do you need a spading fork for light work or heavy-duty jobs? 
  • What’s the best handle length for your work style? 

Consider writing out a list of your priorities to narrow down your options. 

And take a spading fork for a spin, if you can, at a garden center before you make a purchase. Is the length right for your height? Does the weight feel right for the amount and type of work you will do with your spading fork?

That said, you don’t need to take on all the garden chores yourself. If you’d like someone else to transplant shrubs, aerate the soil, or turn your garden bed, you could always hire a landscaping pro near you

Digging in your yard or garden, moving mulch, transplanting young trees and shrubs —  a spading fork is a great tool to make all of these tasks easier. Now you know what to look for online or the next time you head to your garden center so you will get just the right spading fork for your needs.

Main Photo Credit: Yulia YasPe / Shutterstock

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Cory Ferrer

Cory Ferrer

Cory Ferrer is a LawnStarter writer with a background in communication, creative writing, and education. He spends his free time exploring Denver, taking long bike rides, and browsing used bookstores.