How We Test Gardening Tools

how we test gardening tools

Here at, gardening tools are put through extensive testing before we recommend them to our readers who rely on effective, durable tools to tend to their farms, homesteads, and gardens.

As experienced gardeners ourselves, we developed a standardized testing methodology to evaluate the true performance of shovels, hoses, wheelbarrows, pruners, and all other gardening equipment.

Testing Criteria

When testing gardening tools, our editorial experts assess the following factors:

  • Durability: Tools are put through realistic, repetitive gardening tasks like digging, pruning, lifting to simulate long-term wear and tear. We inspect for any cracks, leaks, loose parts, or other durability issues.
  • Functionality: We evaluate how efficient, easy-to-use, and versatile tools are for essential gardening jobs. This includes ergonomic design, maneuverability, adjustability, and other features that impact functionality.
  • Soil Penetration: For digging tools, we determine how easily they can cut into soil, break up compacted ground, and scoop dirt. Testing is done in clay, rocky, and standard soil types.
  • Safety: We thoroughly inspect for sharp edges, loose screws, slippery handles, or other potential safety hazards. Comfortable, protective grips and guards are also assessed.

Testing Protocol

Our hands-on testing protocol includes:

  • 2 weeks of in-house testing: Our gardening experts use tools for pruning, planting, weeding, aerating, and digging.
  • 1 month reader evaluations: Tools are sent to readers across varying gardening needs and environmental conditions.
  • Follow-up interviews: We interview testers to discuss pros/cons and get qualitative feedback.
  • Safety inspections: Tools are inspected for conformance to any applicable safety regulations.

We take gardening tool testing very seriously since we know reliable equipment is imperative for our readers’ livelihoods. Only those that meet our stringent performance benchmarks earn our recommendation. Please let us know if you have any other questions!