Best Garden Border Fork
If like me you like to have nice borders around your garden, then you will know the importance of owning a good quality garden fork. The fork is not something that you will need to use every single day, but when you do need it, it is important that you own a good one.
The big question is what actually makes a good gardening fork, and one that is especially suited to digging up borders. You can of course also make use of a fork for flower beds and also for vegetable gardens.
What most people, and even some experienced gardeners don't know is that there are three distinct types of garden forks. These are:
- A garden fork
- A border fork
- A hand fork
In this article though, we are going to focus on the best border fork for digging borders, and which types of garden forks are the best to use.
I have worked on garden borders for longer than I care to remember. For many years I actually used just a general type of garden fork, before finally discovering there was a difference in the types. Hopefully I can help explain those differences just below.
What Garden Border Fork Do You Need?
Below I have given some more detail on the three different types of forks that can be used in the garden.
The Standard Garden Fork
This is the one that most people will be familiar with. This is classed as the general purpose digging garden fork. It can be used to dig borders but is better for using on larger flower beds, and on vegetable gardens.
These garden forks have four, strong tines and a long handle. They can deal with any type of digging. It is also worth noting that they are great for working on soil types that are made from heavier clay.
The Border Fork
The border fork is slightly smaller than a garden fork. That makes them much lighter than a standard garden fork, and are also much easier to handle and use.
They are perfect for working in what are classed as tight spaces. That of course includes borders and raised beds. They are also ok to use on smaller flower beds.
As a side note these are also a better choice for those who are no longer as fit as they used to be. I am just over 60 now and a smaller fork like this is a perfect choice for digging borders.
As they are lighter you just won't suffer as much from user fatigue, as you would from handling a larger and heavier fork.
The Hand Weeding Fork
The hand weeding fork is a good choice for getting down close to the border and removing weeds. They can also be used to break up the ground just before planting.
The disadvantage of those is of course that they mean you have to kneel down or bend over to get close to the ground.
So as you can see you have some choices to make. If the fork is only going to be used to dig borders, or raised beds, my strong recommendation is to buy a good quality garden border fork.
If you plan on using it to also dig larger flower beds, or work on something like a vegetable garden, then just buy the slightly larger garden fork.
There are only two real requirements for any type of garden or border fork:
- It has to be able to do the job quickly and effectively
- It needs to last as you don't want to be constantly having to buy tools all of the time.
My strong advice is therefore to spend just a little bit extra on your purchases, and buy forks that will last. In other words they won't bend, break or rust.
Top 12 Buyer Rated Garden Border Forks
Just below you will find our top 12 list of border forks. We have ranked these by customer satisfaction ratings from online buyers.
The percentage number beside the fork name, is the average buyer satisfaction rating scored out of 100%.
Underneath the table you will find a summary review of each fork.
- Amtech U1500 Border Fork (98%)
- Bulldog bbf border fork (97%)
- Spear & Jackson Select Stainless Border Fork (86%)
- Spear & Jackson - Traditional Border Fork (86%)
- Kent and Stowe 70100216 Carbon Steel Border Fork (84%)
- Spear & Jackson Elements Border Fork, Blue (82%)
- Kent and Stowe VBPHUKA1094 Stainless Steel Border Fork (82%)
- Wilkinson Sword Carbon Steel Border Fork (80%)
- Spear & Jackson Neverbend Carbon Border Fork (78%)
- Bulldog 7104772890 Evergreen Border Fork (76%)
- Kingfisher CS550 Digging Fork Carbon Steel Handle (72%)
- Rolson 82642 Ash Handle Border Fork (70%)
No 1 Choice - Amtech U1500 Border Fork
This fork has a drop forged steel head, with a "D" shaped handle and a 2 feet handle. The price point is very attractive and it gets excellent buyer ratings.
Comes with a 3 year guarantee
PROS: Buyers thought this was a very high quality fork and very good value for money, as it was half the price of better known gardening brands. Buyers also liked the size of this and said it was ideal for working on borders.
CONS: Buyers said this fork was heavier than some other brands.
No 2 Choice - Bulldog BBF Border Fork
This is from the British Bulldog brand and the head is made from one solid forged piece, which makes it very strong. It also has a traditional hand turned wooden ash handle. This fork has been forged in Britain.
Comes with a lifetime warranty as all Bulldog tools have this.
PROS: Buyers thought this was a very high quality fork that is light in weight and works like a charm. Buyers also said this fork is built to last and they loved the lifetime warranty.
CONS: So far we have not seen any bad reviews.
No 3 Choice - Spear & Jackson Select Stainless Border Fork
This fork has a mirror polished stainless steel head with a lightweight polypropylene shaft with a 28" forward tilting handle. The head size is 230 mm x 138 mm (9 x 5.5")
Comes with a 10 year guarantee
PROS: Buyers thought this was a very high quality fork and very good value for money, as it was half the price of better known gardening brands. Smaller ladies really liked the size of this fork. Buyers also loved the handle and the way it was shaped.
CONS: A few buyers said the tines broke as soon as they hit a stone. One buyer said the tine actually sheared off.
No 4 Choice - Spear & Jackson Traditional Border Fork
This is one of the biggest sellers online. It is in every way a traditional border fork with a shaft of 71.12 cm in length. It has a mirror polished stainless steel head, which helps make it resistant to rust, and helps prevent soil sticking to the prongs.
It has a weather proofed hardwood shaft and a wishbone handle.
Comes with a 10 year guarantee
PROS: Buyers thought this was good value for money and a strong and reliable fork. Buyers said that this border fork was good for beds, digging up potatoes, or for digging holes for plants.
CONS: A couple of buyers said the fork split up the shaft. A few others said that the tines bent too easily.
No 5 Choice - Kent and Stowe 70100216 Carbon Steel Border Fork
This fork has a carbon with a 95 cm shaft length. The full length is 1040 mm and the head size is 227 x 137 mm.
The shaft is made from ash wood and is split to form a traditional YD handle. The shank has been extended for improved strength.
Comes with a 10 year guarantee
PROS: Buyers thought this was a very well made fork of extremely high quality. Buyers said it is light, stylish and looks the part in any garden.
CONS: 1 or 2 buyers said the tines bent after a few uses.
No 6 Choice - Spear & Jackson Elements Border Fork
This fork has a hardened carbon steel head that has been hammer finished for added strength. The head has also been epoxy coated and that helps make it resistant to rust.
The shaft is made of ash and has been weather proofed. The actual handle is a D shaped handle made from polypropylene.
Comes with a 10 year guarantee
PROS: Buyers thought this was a very high quality fork and very good value for money, as it was half the price of better known gardening brands.
CONS: Buyers said this fork either broke or the tines would easily separate or bend under pressure.
No 7 Choice - Kent and Stowe VBPHUKA1094 Stainless Steel Border Fork
This fork has a stainless steel head, with a "D" shaped handle and an FSC approved ash handle. It has an extra long crank for added strength. The handle is 95 cm long.
Comes with a 15 year guarantee
PROS: Buyers thought this fork looked great and very like a proper traditional border fork. Buyers also thought this was a good length and suitable for people up to around 5 feet 8 inches.
CONS: A few buyers said this was not as sturdy as they would have liked. Like other forks a few buyers also said the tines bent on difficult ground.
No 8 Choice - Wilkinson Sword 1111203W 95 cm Carbon Steel Border Fork
This fork has a carbon steel head. It has been given a black epoxy finish to help prevent rust and give this fork more durability. It has a wooden ash handle and soft grip.
Comes with a 10 year guarantee
PROS: Buyers liked the price point, and they liked the fact that the black coating was very good at keeping the soil off when digging. Buyers who were smaller really liked this fork.
CONS: Some buyers said that their fork broke when put under pressure. Some said the tines broke and others said they were bent.
No 9 Choice - Spear & Jackson Neverbend Carbon Border Fork
This fork has a solid forged carbon head and socket where the hardwood shaft is well buried. The head has been hammer finished and also epoxy coated. The grip handle has a forward tilt which does make digging easier.
Comes with a 15 year guarantee
PROS: Buyers who used this fork a lot said that it was tough and worked really well, as long as you didn't push it against stones. Buyers liked the digging shape of this fork.
CONS: 10% of buyers said this fork did bend despite the name. A few buyers said it was too heavy.
No 10 Choice - Bulldog 7104772890 Evergreen Border Fork
The carbon steel head is a solid forged border fork. The socket is extra long which makes the fork durable. It has an ash shaft.
The hilt of the fork has a forward angle which makes digging easier. The handle has a non-slip grip.
Comes with a lifetime guarantee
PROS: Buyers said this is a well made and high quality fork, that comes with a lifetime guarantee. This is a British made fork. It is the perfect size for borders.
CONS: A small number of buyers said that a tine bent, and they got it replaced under the lifetime warranty.
No 11 Choice - Kingfisher CS550 Digging Fork
This fork has a carbon steel head, with a soft grip handle.This is one of the cheaper forks available on the UK market. It has a "D" hard plastic shaped handle.
PROS: Buyers liked the price point and said that it did a very good job for most digging jobs. Buyers who were tall thought this was a great choice for them.
CONS: Some buyers said this fork had issues with tines bending..
No 12 Choice - Rolson 82642 Ash Handle Border Fork
This fork has a carbon steel head which has a hammered finish. It has an ash wooden handle.
Comes with a 1 year guarantee
PROS: Buyers thought this did a good enough job. They said it was well made and sturdy, and ideal for smaller people. Buyers also said it was lightweight and very easy to use.
CONS: Some buyers said the plastic handle broke. Some buyers said it was too small for them.
Garden Fork Buying Guide
Below we have included a buyer's guide for anyone who is considering buying a garden fork. In this guide we explain what these are used for, and what the key features are to consider, when buying one.
General Information on Border Garden Forks
It is worth remembering that border forks are designed for one main reason. They are used for working in tight spaces like borders around gardens, and also for working between plants on flower beds.
They are not meant for heavy digging. The reason for that is that these are small and lighter than a normal digging fork. So if you plan on any heavy digging or using a fork to take out roots etc, then a border fork is not designed for that.
Where this can get confused is that smaller people do find normal garden forks to be heavy and large. The same applies to anyone suffering from ailments and who still wants to continue gardening.
The bottom line here is that a garden border fork should only ever be used for light digging in borders and flower beds.
Size Really Does Matter
This type of smaller fork is ideal for smaller people who will feel very comfortable using a fork of this size. Taller people, and certainly anyone over 6 feet tall will struggle using one of these. You can find the odd one of these that is slightly longer, but always check the length.
The head of a border fork is also much smaller than that of a normal digging fork. When it comes to digging borders this is an advantage as you can get in and around flowers without causing the roots much if any damage.
However the disadvantage is that it makes this type of fork unsuitable for digging up wider areas. Now as we mentioned some smaller people will prefer to use this size, but they should know that it will just take longer to complete the task.
Types of Head
The head of the fork is made up of the tines (prongs) and a small shaft that then leads up to a socket. The socket is where the head is then joined to the shaft and handle.
Only the Bulldog brand makes what is called a one piece, or solid forged head which means the head is made from a single piece of steel. Most other heads are made by joining the tines to the shaft using a weld.
The head is smaller and all of them are made of steel. Some will be made of carbon steel, stainless steel or a hardened steel.
You may also see the terms heat treated, hammered and mirror polished. When a head is made the metal will be hammered. Often it is hammered more than once and this does add extra strength.
Likewise all heads will be heat treated as this also added strength. Just like the hammering process, the head can be heat treated several times, and again this will add strength and toughness to the metal head.
The mirror polish simply means that the metal is polished and coated. This stops soil sticking to the tines or prongs.
Many of these heads are coated with some type of epoxy. This makes it much more resistant to rust. It also stops soil from sticking to the prongs.
Types of Shaft
Most shafts are made of wood such as ash or some type of hard wood. This wood is weather treated for obvious reasons. The wood on the shaft is usually hand turned which does make it smooth.
The shaft is embedded inside the socket, and the deeper that shaft is placed, then the stronger the fork will be.
All of these smaller border forks are good at digging. You do however get a much more effective digging technique if the shape of the fork has the right design.
With the better forks the handle will tilt slightly forwards. That tilting makes the pulling back action on the fork have more leverage. That of course makes it easier to dig.
The hilt is the part on the fork where the head meets the tines. Often you will also see that angled. That has the same impact as a tilted handle and simply provides more leverage.
Hopefully we have provided you with enough information to be able to buy the best garden border fork. Our main advice is that only buy one of these if you plan on using it on a border, or for light digging around flower beds.
If you do that, then these will last you many years. They are much lighter and easier to use, and many smaller people prefer to use these, when compared to using a standard sized digging fork.