The gardener’s right hand, especially for planting, a trowel deftly scoops out the soil, then snugs it around the plant. It can also pry up weeds, measure out amendments and divide small rootballs.
**Handle:** Traditionally made of wood (ash, beech or maple), handles also come in metal, plastic and PVC, often covered with a gel or rubber grip for greater comfort. Fat, oversized handles are easiest on the hands. Ergonomic handles are curved, putting less strain on the wrist.
**Blade:** A dished shape with a rounded point, it can be forged of carbon steel (strong and inexpensive) or stainless steel (rustproof and easy to clean but pricier). Blades with measurements are useful for planting bulbs, etc. at precise depths. One-piece trowels (with handle and blade in one moulded piece) are made of aluminum, plastic or composites. They’re durable and lightweight but not up to heavy digging.
**Weight range:** 2.5 to 10.5 ounces
**Price range:** $2 to $40