An ideal weekend for me is taking a trip to the local garden centre and having a good look round. I don't always buy anything but I think it just gives you great ideas for your garden. Well I say I don't always buy anything however there is a lovely coffee shop attached which I can't pass by, but a latte and a slice of coffee cake doesn't count! I usually find the garden tools are usually a bit on the expensive side but occasionally they have special offers on.
When I last went they had a promotion on Spear and Jackson tools and I saw this 12" trowel at the front of the display which was on offer for £4.49 reduced from £8.99. I already have a trowel which I use but this one looked really good quality and was half price.
The handle is made of ashwood and is covered with a clear varnish which makes it waterproof so shouldn't matter if you leave it out in the rain. It has a soft feel grip and a leather wrist strap which you can slip around your wrist when you are using it or use it to hang on a hook for storage.
The handle is tilted up from the blade so you don't catch your hands when scraping along tiles or block paving to remove weeds. It stays cool to the touch even when you are using it for a long time and it feels quite solid without feeling heavy. The Spear and Jackson logo is engraved onto the handle.
The blade is quite rounded but is very sharp on the edges and you can cut through roots and weeds easily without too much pressure. It has a mirrored polished stainless steel head which is rust resistant. The curve on the blade enables you to carry a good clump of dirt without spilling and it is really shiny and reflective. The dirt doesn't seem to stick to the blade and just seems to fall off easily, it only needs a quick wipe before putting away which is probably down to the quality of the steel.
I have recently used it to dig up some last years potato's as I didn't want to use a large fork as I wasn't really sure what else was buried there and I had to dig down about six to eight inches which the fork went through no problem. The dirt was fairly compacted and there were quite a few pebbles in this area and I struck some of them with the trowel but it didn't mark or scratch it at all.
All in all it feels and looks like a quality product and I am very pleased with it. I am sure that it will last many years and will have a look at the garden centre next week to see if the hand forks are on offer so I can have a matching set.
The trowel measures 320mm in length with the blade measuring 150mm. It weighs 0.3kg and has a 10 year manufacturer guarantee.
This trowel is for sale at Screwfix for £6.99 and costs £9.99 at Homebase so I had it for a really good price. I would definitely recommend this product as a good quality tool for your gardening needs.
I bought the Spear and Jackson Elements hand trowel about 18 months ago after one of my others disappeared somewhere in the garden that I work in. [It has recently re-surfaced in the compost heap!] I have several trowels in my possession for just that reason. I also need to keep at least one at my allotment, so I have three that I use on a regular basis, apart from those that belong to my workplace. The Spear and Jackson trowel has become my favourite and it is the one I am reviewing today.
WHY I CHOSE THIS TROWEL
I bought my tool from Amazon as it cost only £3.49 there, compared to £4.99 in my local garden centre. I didn't actually pick it up and try it out when I saw it at the latter place which caused my head gardener some alarm. He told me I should have held the towel in my hand and felt how it was balanced, how heavy it was, how comfortable the handle is etc. And you thought all trowels were created equal! Feeling chastened, I hoped my purchase would prove a good one. In it's favour is the fact it is made by the well known garden tool maker Spear and Jackson. It has an hammered finished epoxy coated head which is said to improve resistance to scratching, rust and the affects of alkalines in the soil which can also cause damage to the metal. The handle is made from the traditional ashwood, with a clear lacquer to make it weatherproof. This is obviously essential as I do tend to sometimes leave the trowel outside and this is bound to be when it is wet or when I have left it in damp soil. I like the fact the top of the handle has a hole in it, through which is threaded a leather loop to allow me to hang the tool up neatly when I do bring it inside. As a vegetarian I would rather this wasn't made of leather, but I have in any case replaced it with a different cord now.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS AND USING THE TROWEL
The trowels epoxy finish gives the metal end a bronzed appearance that is rather smart and unusual. This and the wooden handle give it the appearance of a good quality tool. The trowel is wide - wider for example than a specialist transplanting trowel- but this makes it a good general purpose tool for me. Although I have access to the narrow headed trowels at work, I find I rarely need to reach for one. The extra head makes shifting soil quicker and easier and the tapered tip still allows you to use it in more confined spaces - for example when transplanting young plants in a small area. The whole metal part is solid looking, and matches it's appearance in action. There is no bending of the neck if you dig into firmer soil and the join between the handle and the metal parts still feels rock solid. One of my previous favourite trowels bent at the neck after 6 months and this Spear & Jackson one is still going strong after 3 times as long. It is fractionally heavier in the hand compared to a solid plastic handled one, but yes it does feel balanced, and it isn't the heaviest I have used by far. This makes it comfortable on the wrists if you need to use it for extended periods as I do. The handle helps with this too as it is tapered in the centre to allow you to grip it comfortably. I marginally prefer those trowels that have little insets for your fingers to sit in, as I find them slightly more comfortable. However, this trowel is still nice to use. I have just used it to plant 80 shallots and 220 onion sets, as making a small individual planting hole works better in our soil that pressing the sets in directly. [[Less compacting of soil around the roots.] If I can still love a trowel after that, it must be doing something right!
This trowel does not have any measurements markings on it as some do to allow you to use it as a quick guide to tell how far apart you are spacing your transplants or how deep you are making your hole. I did find this feature useful in a previous trowel at first, but I have to say the markings quickly become obliterated by soil as you work so I don't really miss them. In any case, I know that the handle of this trowel is around 15cm long and the whole trowel 30cm so I can use that as a rough planting guide if I need one.
The supplied leather strap started to get a bit tatty after a year, so I snipped it off and replaced it with some plaited cord. This is easy to do as the handle hole to thread it through is nice and wide. Apart from that, the trowel still looks in good condition. There is no sign of weathering on the metal although there are a few scratches on the handle. I do use it a lot though, and you would have to peer closely at the wood to see most of marks.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS TROWEL?
I would as it is great quality for the low price that I paid. I suspect it will last me for some time yet, providing I don't loose it in the compost heap of course! At the time bought the trowel from Amazon, it was available for standard free delivery but now it is one of the "add-on" items that are only despatched free with qualifying orders over £20. You can of course pay for it to be delivered on it's own. I do agree with my head gardener that no one trowel will suit everyone as regards weight and size, so it probably is a good idea to try before you buy but this one suits me perfectly. You will also find the Spear and Jackson trowel at garden centres, and through other online horticultural suppliers.
[This review is also on Ciao under the same user name.]
I bought this Spear and Jackson trowel at the same time that I purchased a fork, I have larger versions of these (but not Spear and Jackson brand) but I wanted a smaller version.
I bought these not really knowing the brand, so they were not recommended to me, it was a shelf impulse buy really. I have not had any problems with the trowel at all though. The handle is made of wood and there is a leather loop at the end which makes hanging them up easy.
The metal scoop is connected well to the handle and it is a nice weight to use. I have had problems with the fork in that the first one I purchased, the wood snapped but, the trowel has had no such problems. It was not the most expensive trowel I could have bought but it also wasn't dirt cheap, I wasn't expecting perfection but it is not far off it.
This is a good price for a good product, I would recommend it to anyone who wants a hand help trowel for doing basic garden work.
Sadly no fairies (shame - imagine how much publicity/ dosh I would have made!) but I did find something that I thought had been lost forever - my Spear & Jackson Elements trowel :)
You may think I am a sad person, maybe I am, but if you,like me, like to potter around the garden then you will agree that it is important to have the right tools for the job. Then the more you use them and then lose them (unfortunately a common occurence in both our house and garden) and the more replacements you buy then you realise you miss your old tools. Hence the reason I preferred my old trowel to finding (possibly dodgy fairies) at the bottom of the garden.
I paid the princely sum of £1 plus p&p on eBay as apparently the owner had been given 2 for their wedding anniversary - so I reckon it was one of my best bargains because it was brand new. I think the trowels sell for well over £3 now.
Dooyoo have provided a good picture but it isn't clear that the actual metal is hammered. I think this important as the design prevents unwanted weeds and ready-to-be planted bulbs being dropped quite so easily because it is not totally smooth. There is an an epoxy coating on the trowel which helps reduce rusting, peeling or scratching. It may give off some kind of smell which dogs don't like (our 2 gnaw at all our garden tools) or it may be the texture but I know the dogs are not interested in this thank goodness!
The handle is lovely too - I love anything wood and this is ash which has been weatherproofed but still feels like wood and has retained its lovely colour. There doesn't seem any way in which the handle can become separated from the trowel part due to the fab, yet simple design.
It looks smart too with the logo proudly bearing the maker's name. I am guessing the weight is just over 1 pound which is good for me because any heavier would not help my weak back. It measures approximately 5" which suits me fine.
It has a good quality leather strap too which is a simple but welcome addition meaning it can be hung up in the shed/ garage/greenhouse so it does not get displaced. However, I cut mine off because I only have small hands and I found it was getting in the way of my weeding, planting and general use. Silly me - no wonder I could not find mine- I forgot that hubby and I built a snowdog (as opposed to a snowman) last winter....
- very sturdy yet not too heavy
- lovely smooth handle
- well designed trowel which can easily be cleaned by running under a hosepipe/ tap
- great price
- pleasure to use
- highly recommended with maximum star rating from me
The Spear & Jackson Hand trowel from the Elements range is a gardening tool ideally suited to digging and planting seeds and other small plants. I've used the product extensively in 18 months I've owned the product mainly on my vegetable patch. The product cost me £3.49 from Amazon UK and has been an essential and durable gardening tool that I consider very important.
The hand trowel looks of a good sound professional appearance. The handle is grooved and ergonomically suited so it's easy to hold. The product features a hole at the top of the handle with a loop of leather string through it which allow it to be hung up in your shed. The handle is made from ash which is a light coloured wood but tough and built to last. There is also a black logo to the handle which in gold font reads "Spear & Jackson Elements Range". The metal trowel is securely attached to the ash wood handle and is grooved and indented. The metal is quite shiny and is coated with epoxy making it more durable against rust and damage. The trowel is light when you hold it and I weighed it at just under half a kilogram in weight, but is very sturdily built. Overall I was pleased with the appearance of the trowel, the light ash wood handle finishes the product off nicely.
Ease of use
The product was easy to use as the ash wood finished handle is smooth and very well sanded. The handle is also ergonomically shaped so it is comfortable to use and provides good grip. I have average sized hands and I found the size of the handle was very well suited to my needs. The handle was also not too thick, we can be a problem as grip can suffer with large thick tools.
The product was very cheap to buy from Amazon and I was unsure of the quality of the trowel despite it being manufactured by Spear & Jackson. The product has been used extensively for about a year and a half and the metal head of the trowel is still in great condition, rust free and unbent. I think the epoxy coating of the head prevent scratches to the metal and have helped keep it rust free. The head is also easily cleaned of dirt with a bit of water and a quick wipe. The handle has not shattered or splintered either and the handle and head remained firmly attached, not coming loose over time. I think the durability of the product is excellent for small scale gardening needs but if you were to hit hard rocks over a long period of usage I could see the head bending or chipping away. But for the cheap price, the durability and materials used are very high quality.
The real selling point of the product for me was the price. I picked the S&J elements hand trowel online on Amazon UK about 18 months ago and paid only £3.49 for it. For a top brand, with a pleasant polished ash finish and epoxy coated head , this is fantastic value for money. I've seen a Draper stainless steel trowel online and it retails for about £5.70, so the S&J elements hand trowel compares very favourably with its competitors. I personally think you can't go wrong with the price for the high quality you get.
To conclude, I think the S&J elements range hand trowel is a superb product and durable investment. I've used the trowel for well over a year for my small scale gardening needs and it remains in perfect undamaged condition. The head hasn't scratched or bent and still remains firmly attached to the ash handle. The ash handle is light, strong and solid and is a pleasure to grip. It is slightly ergonomically shaped to provide better comfort and the brown leather hanging strap at the top of the handle was a sound idea. The only drawback I can find with the product is that the product is quite easy to lose in light coloured shrubbery. I would like to see maybe bright red or orange paintwork to the end of the handle so it is more visible to find when you put it down in the garden. This is only a minor drawback and for the bargain price of £3.49, Spear & Jackson have made a brilliant gardening tool. I hope you found my review helpful, thank you for reading.
© Revo9 (2011)
*Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*
This sturdy hand trowel is practical and hard wearing. It features a hammer finish epoxy coated head for improved resistance to rust, scratches, humidity and alkalines in the soil and also a weatherproofed (clear lacquered) solid ash handle for great durability.