Turning compost can be hard work (although it’s also excellent exercise!) It does help, though, if you have the right tool, and a good compost fork can make the job both easier and more efficient.
Unfortunately, there are not many compost forks available – if you discount manure forks. And it’s true that while compost forks are often called manure forks, there is a difference in their usage.
Manure forks are often used for separating manure from straw, and some of the best manure forks wouldn’t be suitable for composters.
In contrast, compost forks have been specifically designed for the job of turning compost. They often come with long, thin tines which are ideal for piercing compost material, an ergonomic design for comfort and a longer handle to give you more leverage.
So in this blog post, we’ll focus on the best compost forks around, and follow it up with a buying guide to help you choose which one is right for you.
Compost forks at a glance
|Best for||Not so good for|
|Fiskars Ergonomic Compost Fork||Ergonomics||Heavy-duty compost turning||Check price: Amazon US | Amazon UK|
|Fiskars Xact Composting Fork||Lighter weight||Leverage due to shorter length||Check price: Amazon US | Amazon UK|
|Garden Weasel Compost Fork||Maximising compost aeration||Manoeuvrability||(Currently not available)|
Best Overall: Fiskars Ergonomic Compost Fork
The Fiskars Ergonomic Compost Fork is designed to help gardeners of all levels efficiently turn compost piles. The handle provides an ergonomic grip for long-lasting comfort, and the durable tines help break up clumps of materials quickly and evenly. This tool also has a rust-resistant coating that ensures it will last for years through tough outdoor conditions. The lightweight design also means it is easy to lift and manoeuvre – which can be a lifesaver if you are turning a heap all afternoon!
All in all, this is a great tool to have on hand in any garden or outdoor space. It’s easy to use and helps with breaking up composting material in no time at all. The ergonomic handle and design ensure it will reduce fatigue after extended use, and its rust-resistant coating makes sure it will last for years of gardening fun!
- Ergonomic design makes it easier to use than traditional garden forks
- Long handle and 40° lifting angle minimise strain on your back
- Lightweight materials make it easy to carry around
- Durable construction ensures it will last for years
- Can be expensive compared to regular garden forks
- Not suitable for heavy-duty tasks such as digging up roots or rocks
Fiskars 1003687 Xact Composting Fork Large
The Fiskars 1003687 Xact Composting Fork Large is a great tool for gardeners and composters. It has a long handle made of Soft Grip material, which makes it comfortable to use and provides greater control. The four tines are made of steel, making them strong and durable. The fork is also lightweight, so it’s easy to carry around the garden or compost pile.
While this is designed for dual use (soil and compost) the fork is well-made and easy to use and aids the turning of compost. The handle is comfortable to hold and provides a good grip.
Still, it’s worth noting that this is designed for both composting and garden forks. That can be seen in the shorter length too – 120 cm v. 136 cm for the Fiskers Ergonomic compost fork. If you’re looking for something that can do both, that might be ideal, but for a dedicated compost fork, my choice would still be the Ergonomic one.
Overall, the Fiskars 1003687 Xact Composting Fork Large is an excellent tool for anyone looking for a reliable way to turn their compost or move materials around in their garden. It’s well-made, comfortable to use, and comes at a reasonable price.
- Durable construction, with steel tines and fibreglass, reinforced synthetic material handle.
- Long 120 cm handle provides greater control and comfort.
- 4 tines make it easy to lift, turn, and spread loose material like grass, hay, weeds, leaves, compost and other garden waste.
- Lightweight design makes it easy to use.
- May be too large for smaller gardens or compost piles.
- Handle may not be long enough for taller users.
Garden Weasel Compost Fork
The Garden Weasel Compost Fork is unfortunately not currently available, but we’ve kept it here in the hope that by the time you are reading this, it has come back into stock!
This is one of the most popular tools for stirring and aerating compost piles. It has a durable steel construction with a comfortable grip, making it easy to use for hours at a time without fatigue. The tines on this fork are spaced closely together, allowing for precise stirring and aeration of your compost pile. This makes it ideal for breaking down clumps of material so that your compost breaks down faster, although it can make it trickier to turn compost which has clumped together.
Handily, it comes with a lifetime warranty, ensuring that you’ll never have to worry about replacing it due to wear or tear.
- Sturdy construction
- Comfortable grip
- Lifetime warranty
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Durable steel frame
- Wing tip design maximises pile aeration
- Closely spaced tines can make it difficult to pierce new compost heaps with compact, woody material.
- Can be difficult to manoeuvre in tight spaces
- May not be suitable for larger compost piles
- Can be difficult to get hold of!
Compost Fork Buying Guide
Choosing the Right Material
The first step is choosing a material that will work best for your needs. Metal forks are strong and durable but can be more difficult to use in tight spaces due to their weight and size.
Plastic forks are lightweight and easy to manoeuvre but may not last as long as metal forks. Plus, their construction can sometimes make it harder to pierce compost heaps when they are at an early stage and contain tougher compost materials which have yet to break down.
Wooden forks have been around for centuries and can be surprisingly effective despite their old-fashioned look. They are also lighter than metal or plastic forks, making them easier to use in tight spaces or on uneven ground.
The length of the tines also matters when selecting a compost fork. The length of tines can range from 23 cm (9 in) to 45 cm (17.7 in). Longer tines allow you to reach further into compost piles and make it easier to turn them over without having to bend down as much.
The motion of lifting and turning compost is different from bending over and digging. When looking for a compost fork, choose one with a longer shaft than a regular digging fork. For those with larger frames, a longer shaft of around 90 cm (35.5 in) is recommended. For more petite frames, look for a shaft of 660mm (26 inches) or less.
The weight of your compost fork should also be taken into account. If you typically spend your days building muscle in the gym, a heavier compost fork may well do you! If you struggle with heavy weights, look for a lightweight alternative.
Caring for Your Fork
Finally, it’s important to take care of your fork once you have it so that it lasts longer and works better when you need it most. Always store your fork in a dry place where it won’t be exposed to moisture or extreme temperatures.
Keep it clean by using a soft cloth or brush after each use, especially if you’ve been working with wet materials like manure or leaves. Sharpen dull tines regularly with a file or stone so they stay sharp and don’t slip when digging into tough compost materials with a high wood or lignin content.
Finding the right compost fork isn’t difficult if you know what type of tool you need and how it should be cared for once you have it in hand.
By taking into consideration the different types of forks available, selecting the material that will work best for your needs and caring for your tool properly, you’ll be able to find the perfect compost fork for you.
A pitchfork is a larger agricultural tool often used for lifting and turning over hay. It has two or three tines, is typically made of wood, and is often quite heavy.
A compost fork, on the other hand, is typically made of metal and has four to five curved or angled tines. It’s designed specifically for breaking up soil, compost, mulch, and other organic materials in gardening. It’s much lighter than a pitchfork since it only needs to penetrate the top layer of soil instead of lifting large piles of hay.
Garden forks, also known as spading forks, have four tines that are typically square or round in shape. These tines are designed to penetrate the soil and are ideal for turning over soil, aerating it, and removing weeds.
Compost forks, on the other hand, have long thin tines that are made for lifting lightweight materials such as compost. They usually have between four and six tines and are less suitable for digging.