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Trowel Buyer’s Guide

Use our buyer’s guide to find the best trowel for the job.

When it comes to hand tools, one of the most versatile is the trowel. There are masonry trowels used to level, spread and shape mortar and concrete. There are also gardening trowels, used to dig up dirt and weeds like a small shovel. So whether you’re doing some brickwork or digging in the garden, we’re here to help you pick the right trowel.

Masonry and Concrete Trowels

Trowel Buyer's Guide
Whether you’re laying bricks or digging in the garden, a trowel is a tool you’ll definitely need.

Pointing trowel – Used to repair mortar joints, these trowels come in two common heel shapes: the Philadelphia and the London. The heel is the back edge of the blade where it’s connected to the handle. A Philadelphia has a sharp, square heel and a broader blade, perfect for laying concrete block. The London has a rounded heel and a smaller blade, and is commonly used for laying brick.

Brick trowel – Brick trowels are like a larger version of the pointing trowel. They’re used to pick up and spread a lot of mortar. The blade’s shape gives you great control of the mortar.

Margin trowel – These small trowels are used to fit in tight spaces where a pointing trowel won’t fit. They’re also great when you need to apply stucco behind electrical and plumbing fixtures.

Finishing trowel – A finishing trowel is used to smooth off concrete. It brings water to the surface of the concrete, leaving a smooth finish.

Tuckpointing trowel – When masonry joints start to crumble, you’ll want to reach for a tuckpointing trowel. Concrete is loaded up on a brick trowel and then you “tuck” the concrete with the tuckpointing one to repair the masonry wall.

Pool trowel – They’re used for jobs where the finished coat needs to be smooth with minimal lines. Pool trowels have rounded edges, which help to reduce the stroke lines when putting on a finishing coat of concrete. The round edges help prevent the trowel from digging into the wet concrete.

Gardening Trowels

Traditional garden trowel – Garden trowels are used to dig up weeds, dig small holes and pry stones from soil. They’re great for smaller jobs where a shovel won’t fit.

Transplanter – A transplanter is used to dig up bulbs and young plants, and transplant them to another area. Their long blades are meant to handle the long roots of a young plant without damaging them. There are measurements on transplanters, which can help you determine how deep to bury the bulbs or roots.

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