Folding pruning saw
Used to cut through branches up to 10 centimetres in diameter.
What to look for: A blade that cuts cleanly (even through green wood), which promotes quick healing, then folds safely away in a bright handle that’s hard to lose in the underbrush.
Garden spade (also called a border spade)
A straight, square-edged blade is great for digging, preparing beds for planting, combining soil mixtures, edging beds and slicing through sod.
What to look for: Comfortable treads, small blade and lightweight fibreglass handle can help prevent arch and muscle fatigue.
Transplanting spade (a.k.a. rabbiting, drain or trench spade)
Use it for digging planting holes, transplanting and uprooting large, nasty weeds such as thistles.
What to look for: A long and narrow curved blade lets you dig among established plants without damaging their roots. A fibreglass handle is strong and lightweight while rolled treads are flat and comfortable.
Use these for pruning rosebushes, shrubs and trees, and for trimming and deadheading herbs and flowering plants.
What to look for: With a rotating handle, these require less force to cut than conventional models, and help prevent blisters and fatigue. The bypass blades also create cleaner, faster-healing cuts than anvil blades, which crush as they cut.
With four steel tines, this is ideal for turning and breaking up soil or compost as well as digging out and dividing perennials.
What to look for: Widely spaced tines minimize root damage when you dig, lift or divide plants and help you gently pry apart tangled roots.