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5 Inexpensive but Essential Gardening Tools to Get Growing (2024)

Finding and buying the correct set of tools is one of the initial barriers to taking up gardening as a hobby. But while there are plenty of garden suppliers marketing a broad range of products, it’s possible to begin growing plants of your own with a few simple items. This article will introduce you to the five inexpensive but essential gardening tools that are all you need to start gardening today.

5 Inexpensive but Essential Gardening Tools to Get Growing

The 5 Essential Gardening Tools You Need

Keeping your garden toolset to only five tools is no easy task. But it is possible to do this while maintaining a reasonable budget. Here are the five tools you’ll need most to begin growing your favorite plants:

  1. Garden containers
  2. Hand trowel
  3. Hand pruners
  4. Garden gloves
  5. Watering can

Read on to see why each of those items made it onto this exclusive gardening tool list.

Garden Containers

The first item that you should add to your basic garden equipment set is a container in which your plants can grow. Containers allow you to have complete control over the quality of soil in which your plants grow. They also give you flexibility in choosing and changing your plant’s growing location, among many other advantages.

Growing your plants directly in the ground is an entirely viable option. But doing so is often a larger endeavor than container gardening and can require a larger toolset. Since we’re limiting our list to just five essential items, we suggest keeping your gardening ventures to a manageable scale. Choosing a high-quality container is the ideal way to do just that.

The best containers give your plants ample space into which they can spread their roots. The containers you use should also allow for excellent drainage to avoid standing water and the adverse effects it can cause. Among the best container options is fabric grow bags, the materials of which are permeable and breathable.

Recommended Fabric Grow Bags

Hand Trowel

A hand trowel is nothing more than a smaller version of a shovel. You can easily hold a hand trowel in a single hand while using it to dig soil and apply materials like fertilizer to your plants. Hand trowels are incredibly useful when you want to plant or transplant any small plant.

Having a hand trowel is a must if you want to keep your equipment list simple. You’ll find yourself using this tool as often as any other in your day-to-day gardening tasks. For that reason, it is worth learning what makes one hand trowel better than another.

Choose a hand trowel with sound construction. The blade should consist of a durable metal material and should have a solid connection to the handle. Since you’ll be getting plenty of use out of your hand trowel, you should spend time finding one that is well-built. Fortunately, most of these items remain at an affordable price.

Hand Pruners

Pruning is one of the most crucial tasks in gardening, and hand pruners are the basic tool you’ll use to get the job done. Hand pruners are lightweight tools that let you snip dead, broken, and diseased branches from your plants. Pruning is vital to keeping your plants in good health and altering their growth habits to suit your preferences.

There are few legitimate replacements for a reliable set of hand pruners. And since pruning is at least a seasonal task, stocking your garden toolset with a pair of hand pruners is absolutely necessary.

Hand pruners come in different sizes and styles, but most are fairly straightforward. A quality set of hand pruners has a sharp blade and a comfortable grip. The sharpest set of hand pruners that form best to your grip is the one you should select over the other options.

Garden Gloves

The primary goal of gardening is to raise healthy plants, but you shouldn’t neglect your comfort and safety in the process. Wearing garden gloves is the perfect way to avoid cuts, callouses, and abrasions on your skin.

You may wonder if a pair of garden gloves truly belongs on such a short list of essential gardening tools. However, if you do, you’re likely estimating the discomfort that can arise from performing repetitive garden tasks without gloves.

There are many garden glove styles. Some styles are more durable and offer waterproofing and other protections, while other pairs give you greater comfort and mobility. Consider your gardening goals and the plants you’ll be dealing with when choosing the best pair of garden gloves for you.

Watering Can

Even the greenest of garden enthusiasts knows that plants need water to survive. A medium-sized watering can is perhaps the best tool to use to supply that water. Many watering cans are easy to transport from one plant to another and allow you to pour water evenly over the soil.

Without a watering can or some other way to bring supplemental moisture to your garden soil, you can’t expect your plants to survive. That’s why a simple watering can is the item we’re using to round out our list of the five essential gardening tools.

We suggest prioritizing watering cans that have sound construction, as those are the ones most likely to last long under repeated use. Metal watering cans often rank highest in that category. However, if you are looking for an inexpensive option, you can go for a plastic watering can instead. 

What to Look for in Gardening Tools

You likely know that there are plenty more tools you can add to your gardening repertoire. And while each has a specific use, all the top gardening tools typically share some similar traits. Here is what you should look for in a gardening tool, regardless of which one it may be.

Comfort and Ease of Use

Your gardening tools must be practical above all else. But what’s almost equally important is comfort and ease of use. If your tools are complex and lack comfort, you won’t enjoy using them for hours in your garden.

Find tools that feel good to hold before you settle on a purchase. The best way to do that is to test each tool in person. But if that is not an option, the least you can do is consult online reviews from others who have used the tool you’re considering.

Durability and Longevity

It’s easy to select the most affordable tool in any category. But if you do, you risk buying a tool that will not last. Gardening is a long-term endeavor, which means your tools must stand the test of time.

Evaluating a tool’s materials is the best way to determine its durability. While some tools consist of plastic that is easy to break, others are comprised of wood, metal, and other materials that have a longer life span.

Price vs. Practicality

While finding comfortable and long-lasting tools may lead you to avoid the cheapest garden tool options, you should also value affordability. The many garden tools on the market make it easy to get distracted by what is supposedly the latest and greatest garden gadget.

A more sensible approach to buying gardening tools involves weighing price against practicality. You’ll want to avoid buying expensive tools that you don’t get much use out of. Our suggestion is to focus on buying the tools you’ll use most often in the garden. Choose the reasonably priced tools within those categories that satisfy the common traits of quality garden tools we just described.  


A Few Gardening Basics

Setting yourself up with the five tools from the list above is an excellent way to begin. However, beginner gardeners should know some essential gardening tips as well. The following sections will introduce you to a few basic ways to use your gardening tools to keep your plants alive and healthy.

Planting and Transplanting

Planting and transplanting are fundamental gardening skills. You can use your hand trowel to dig an initial planting hole in your garden container. When your plant grows, its roots will begin to fill the space within your container. At a certain point, you’ll need to use your hand trowel again to loosen the soil, remove your plant, and transplant it to another, larger container.

Watering and Fertilization

Much like a human being, plants need water and fuel to grow. It’s your job as a gardener to establish the correct schedule for watering and fertilization based on the needs of the plant species you own. Supplying water is as easy as using your watering can, and at times, you can apply water-based fertilizer by the same means.

Pruning and Deadheading

Pruning your plants with a sharp and sterile pair of hand pruners keeps them healthy and attractive. It’s best to remove any declining branch or stem so that your plants can allocate growing energy elsewhere. You can also prune your plant to make pleasing shapes. You can use your pruners to remove spent flowers through deadheading, which tends to improve and increase future blooms.

Final Thoughts on Essential Gardening Tools

It’s surprising to learn that you can build a full set of gardening tools with just five items. But the list above shows that it’s possible. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to start your gardening hobby, the five tools above are all you need.

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