Broadforks are garden tools that are a perfect middle ground between a scuffle hoe and a full-on tiller. They’re a hand tool, but they can cover plenty of ground.
Best of all, broadforks will help you irrigate and aerate your soil without disrupting the delicate biome that makes the difference between good soil and great soil. Every cubic foot of healthy soil contains millions of organisms that help plants grow, and deep tilling can disrupt their lives. Since broadforks penetrate the soil, rather than completely turn it over, they preserve more of those benign organisms than a tiller.
A broadfork is a perfect aeration tool for market gardeners and crop-growing homesteaders. A tiller attached to a tractor is a much better tool for large-scale organic farmers, but a broadfork will be a great help to anyone aerating a plot that’s a few hundred square feet in size.
How to Choose The Right Broadfork
There are two considerations when it comes to the size of your broadfork: the size of you and the size of the plot you’re aerating. A broadfork needs to be large enough to be an efficient tool, but it shouldn’t be so large that you can’t use it comfortably.
You’ll be using your broadfork over the course of a few hours, and you’ll be making repetitive motions. That’s why you should be sure that you can handle and step on it comfortably.
Curved Or Straight
Your soil will dictate this choice. Curved broadforks are better for soft, moist soil. Straight broadforks are more effective in thick clay. Make sure you take a look at your homestead’s soil before you choose a curved or straight design.
Broadforks available for sale online range in cost from approximately $30 to $200. Most broadforks fall in the $85-$150 range. The most important factors in the cost of broadforks are:
- Material (steel, aluminum, or fiberglass)
- Handle and head length and width
- Handle material
The least expensive broadfork we’d recommend is the Bully Tools Broadfork. The cost is low because it’s made out of fiberglass as compared to steel.
The most expensive broadfork on our list is the Meadow Creature broadfork. The cost is high because the broadfork is handmade in a small, local shop and is made out of indestructible alloy steel.
The Best Broadforks On Amazon
Bully Tools Broadfork
- Handle length: 54.5”
- Head width: 20.25”
- Tines: Curved, 10.75”
The Bully Tools Broadfork is one of the more affordable options available. It’s also one of the larger broadforks on this list. The handle measures 54.5”, the head is 20.25” wide, and the tines go 10.75” into the ground. Both handles feature rubberized grips. Made in the U.S. with high-grade fiberglass handles, this broadfork is designed specifically for commercial use, so you know it will hold up to wear and tear at the family farm or garden.
Estimated Price: $130
- Handle length: 48”
- Head width: 14”
- Tines: Straight, 13”
The LAM Landfork is simple, but it’s rugged. Its steel components are welded together on order. The super-durable materials and by-hand manufacture mean that it will last forever.
One Amazon commenter wrote that the landfork is built “like a battleship.” However, the handles do not have a grip and could give you blisters if you use the landfork for a long period of time.
Estimated Price: $180
- Handle length: 40.9”
- Head width: 14.2”
- Tines: Straight, 9.4”
The DeWit broadfork features a design unique among the broadforks on this list. Instead of two separate handles, like the other models, the DeWit features a handlebar parallel to the head. That construction could be easier on your wrists.
Estimated Price: $180-400
- Handle length: 46-48”
- Head width: 19-20”
- Tines: Curved, 12-16”
Meadow Creature’s broadfork is made at the company’s small machine shop on Vashon Island, Washington.
They offer a variety of sizes to suit the needs of people and fields of various sizes.