Thanks for taking the time to read my article on the best garden fork with a long handle. Hopefully we can help answer that question for you, as you are clearly looking for a very specific type of garden fork.
For most gardeners in the UK, a garden fork is something that you may only use a few times a year. As you may already know a garden fork is used for a few different purposes.
However using one with a long handle does make it a great deal easier on the back and on the shoulders. The long handled forks are also a much better choice for taller people.
Most garden forks do come with a pretty standard size and shape of shaft. These are of course suitable for the average size of person.
However for taller people, or for those who have back problems, the standard sized length of shaft is not always the best option.
So on this article, we are going to focus on the best garden fork with a long handle, and which types of garden forks are the best to use.
To avoid some confusion, when people search for a garden fork with a long handle, they can actually mean one of two things:
- A hand style weeding fork that actually has a long handle or shaft
- A digging fork with a longer shaft than a standard digging fork
We will cover both types here just so as you the reader has the full picture.
Top 3 Forks with Long Shafts or Long Handles
Just below we have included our top 5 picks for garden forks with long shafts. Below that you can find a complete buying guide.
TOP PICK - Spear & Jackson Kew Gardens 5510KEW Stainless Steel Weed Fork with 40-Inch Handle
- This one is from the very popular gardening brand of Spear & Jackson. This particular long handled weeding fork was developed in conjunction with Kew's horticultural team.
- That resulted in this fork becoming an officially licensed tool which is used and recommended by Kew Gardens
- It has a stainless steel head that goes through soil with ease
- Designed to be resistant to rust, has minimal soil adhesion and much easier to clean than other forks
- Comes with a 1.016 metre length (40") handle for greater reach and weighs 565 grams
- It is FSC approved and has a weatherproofed hardwood handle
- Buyers gave this one an 88% buyer satisfaction rating
- Comes with a 10 year guarantee
- Most buyers said that due to the length they no longer had bad ache
- Ideal for taller people and stopped them from having to bend down all of the time
- Great tool to be able to reach to the back of deep flower beds
Bulldog 7103LPH48N Long Handled Digging Fork
- This one is also from the Bulldog brand and as the name suggests is a long handled digging fork
- It has a traditional, solid forged head and socket
- It has an extra long plain FSC ash handle
- It is 59" long
- Buyers gave this one a 78% buyer satisfaction rating
- Buyers appreciated the longer handle and that it gave them a lot more leverage when digging out plants
- Almost every buyer said that this stopped them from experiencing back pain when using the normal shaft garden forks
- Please note a few buyers said that the forks bent too easily
Best Long Handle Hand Fork- Spear & Jackson 5110WF Traditional Stainless Steel, Long Handled Weed Fork, 12-inch
- This is your typical traditional hand weed fork but it has a longer 12-Inch handle
- The head is made from stainless steel and has been mirror polished, which makes it move easier through the soil, and also makes it easier to clean afterwards
- It is rust resistant
- It has a wooden hard wood shaft which has been weather proofed for greater durability
- Buyers gave this one a 92% buyer satisfaction rating which is an excellent rating
- Weighs just 222 grams
- Great for weeding and the longer handle allows you to have more power for the same effort
- Buyers said great for weeding out weeds such as bindweed
- Get for getting into borders and raised beds
Manufacturers of garden tools refer to both fork length and either handle or shaft length. In essence they are referring to the length of the actual fork from the tines to the handle.
In the diagram above there is the shaft length and then that is joined to the head of the fork, using a socket, at one end, and to the handle at the other end, to give the overall length of the fork.
Understanding the Importance of Shaft Length Compared to Your Height
As a general rule of guidance, the best way to measure the right length of a garden fork to suit your height is to understand the following. With the tines (prongs) standing on the ground, the handle of the fork should reach your lower chest.
If you get that right, that will mean you can avoid having to stoop, or be bent over, and that of course will help prevent back pain, and over use of the arms.
A standard garden fork will have a shaft length of around 28 inches (700 mm) This standard length is suitable for people with heights between 5 feet 2 inches and 5 feet 8 inches (1.65 metres - 1.73 metres)
So if you are taller then this, the standard length is not a good choice.
People taller then 5 feet 8 inches will be better advised to buy a fork with a 32 inch shaft (800 mm shaft) You can get them longer than that and right up to 54 inches (1.4 metres)
Have a look at the table below to get some very good guidance on matching the length of the fork to your frame and height size.
Under 5 feet 2 inches
26-32 inches (660 - 800 mm) or less
From 5 feet 2 inches to 5 feet 8 inches
32 inches (800 mm)
Over 5 feet 8 inches
54 inches (1.4 metres)
Fork Lengths for Different Garden Tasks
Now in the ideal world the shaft lengths shown above are ideal for what is termed general digging with a garden fork. When we refer to general digging we mean working on borders, flower beds and vegetable gardens.
However, there are a few small exceptions to this length of shaft rule. which we explain below.
Longer shafts do offer stronger digging power simply because there is more leverage. That makes them ideal for digging deeper holes and also for digging trenches.
So when picking a shaft length for this type of task, then you should pick a longer shaft length than normal. However, this is not work that we do all the time of course, so if in doubt, buy a standard length if you are doing general digging on a regular basis, rather than digging holes and trenches.
Longer shafts are also better for cutting through lawns and edges, and also for dealing with deep rooted weeds. But again, most gardeners will not do a lot of this, so again it would be best to match the shaft length to your frame size, as we have explained above.
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.
This article is of course about garden forks with longer handles and shafts. We did however want to mention the benefits of shorter shafts, and standard shaft sizes. Again this refers to the actual task being completed.
Garden forks with short shafts do give you a lot more control, and are a very good choice when working mainly with borders, flower beds and raised beds. They are also a good choice when working in any cramped or confined space such as a greenhouse.
There are telescopic forks available on the UK market. These allow you to quickly and easily change the length of the shaft, which is a good idea if you plan on using your garden fork for a variety of tasks.
It is worth considering a telescopic fork for a couple of main reasons:
- If one or more people of different heights may be using the fork
- If you plan on different types of digging, for example flower beds and trenches
Many gardeners buy what is called a garden fork/weed remover. These are usually a 3 prong fork, with the main purpose being the removal of tougher weeds.
Long Handled Weeding Forks
Now these are different to the actual digging and border forks that we have explained above. Most gardeners in the UK will be familiar with the standard hand held small digging and weeding fork. We have included an image below just to be clear.
These are very useful to have around the garden. In the main they are used around borders and flower beds to loosen up the soil, and also to remove weeds.
They work great, but the major drawback is that you have to get close to the ground, and that can be back breaking work. To counteract this problem , manufacturers have made these with either a longer handle, or with a longer shaft.
- The longer handle gives you the benefit of more leverage, but you still have to get pretty close to the ground - still that is preferable to many gardeners, as long as they get a stronger fork with more leverage
- The hand weeder with a longer shaft means you don't have to bend over, so much easier on the back, for anyone with ailments and also for the elderly gardener. You also get much better leverage
Both the longer handle style and the longer shaft style help keep your knuckles off the ground, and as such keep your hands that little bit cleaner.
Conclusion On Garden Forks with Long Handles
Hopefully you are better informed about how to go about buying a garden fork with a longer shaft. Generally speaking when manufacturers speak about long handled garden forks, they are referring to hand type forks with a long handle.
Their purpose is to be able to weed and cultivate without having to bend over and that helps prevent back ache. They are also useful at reaching hard to reach places at the back of flower beds and rockeries.
When it comes to longer shafted digging forks, there are not a great deal of these on the market, and can be hard to find. Even the telescopic garden forks are made more like weeders, than actual digging or border forks.