The 5 Best Pickaxes (2020 Review)

 The 5 Best Pickaxes (2020 Review)

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Pickaxes, also referred to as mattocks, are useful tools to have if you’re an avid gardener or perform yard work. While a pickaxe and mattock have slightly different blades, both can help you break up matted soil or dig a hole for a new plant, improving efficiency and keeping your hands from getting tired. To learn what pickaxe model to buy for your gardening needs, read our guide below.

Best Grip: Hooyman Pick Mattock With Heavy-Duty Forged Construction

This pick has a fiberglass handle with a rubber coating. While most fiberglass picks have a rubberized grip, this one in particular turns sticky when it gets wet to provide extra grip. This pick arrives in one piece, with the handle epoxy sealed to the head, preventing the head from falling off during use.

Key Features

  • 36-inch fiberglass handle with rubberized grip
  • 5-pound head
  • Handle is epoxy sealed to the head

What Customers Are Saying

This product has an average rating of 4.7 stars from about 150 Amazon customers. Eighty-two percent of customers gave it 5 stars, and 12% gave it 4 stars. Satisfied customers said this pick is well-built, making it durable enough to perform heavy-duty tasks, like digging up compact soil or pulling up roots. Some customers said they liked how heavy the pickaxe was because it helped them break up soil, while others said it was too heavy for them to handle.

Most Custom: Truper 31614 Pick Mattock

This pick mattock from Truper has two weight and handle options. You can purchase a wooden or fiberglass handle that’s 2.5 or 5 pounds to fit your gardening needs. The handle on this pick is also shock absorbent, so you won’t damage the handle from overstriking.

Key Features

  • 36-inch wood handle or fiberglass handle with rubberized grip
  • 2.5- or 5-pound head
  • Good for picking and cutting

What Customers Are Saying

This pickaxe has an average score of 4.5 stars from roughly 250 Amazon reviews. Eighty-eight percent of customers gave this product 4 or 5 stars. They praised this well-balanced pick and liked how the handle was light and the head was heavy, allowing them to break through soil without any trouble. However, some customers said that they received a used tool, as if the company had shipped them a tool that a previous customer had returned.

Most Versatile: TABOR TOOLS Pick Mattock With Fiberglass Handle

This product from TABOR TOOLS can be used to loosen soil, cultivate gardens, and dig holes, among other tasks, making it useful for both gardening and archaeological purposes. This tool is lightweight, only weighing about one pound, preventing your hands and arms from getting tired during use.

Key Features

  • 15-inch or 35-inch fiberglass handle with rubberized grip
  • 1-pound head and handle
  • Good for breaking, loosening, cutting, cultivating, and picking

What Customers Are Saying

This product has almost 650 Amazon reviews, which is more than any other product in this review. It has an average rating of 4.5 stars, with 89% of reviews being 4 or 5 stars. Satisfied customers said this tool was great for smaller projects, like getting on your hands and knees to prepare a flower bed. However, several customers had issues with the head sliding down the handle.

Best for Digging: FITOOL Forged Adze Pick

This pick from FITOOL is a customer favorite for digging. Its dual head allows you to dig small holes with its skinny blade and trenches with the larger and flatter blade. The manufacturer also heat-treated and tempered this tool to give it extra strength and durability.

Key Features

  • 15-inch fiberglass handle with rubberized grip
  • 1.4-pound head and handle
  • Good for rooting, weeding, and breaking up soil

What Customers Are Saying

Over 460 customers gave this product an average score of 4.5 stars on Amazon and 89% of these customers left 4- or 5-star reviews. Customers used this product for a wide range of gardening tasks, most of which were related to digging. However, some customers were missing the piece that secured the head to the handle and experienced the head sliding down the pick during use.

Most Heavy-Duty: Nupla Pick Mattock

This product from Nupla is on the heavier side of gardening picks and mattocks. The head alone weighs five pounds and, with the addition of the handle, the pick weighs a total of eight pounds. When customers swing this pickaxe, the weight produces enough force to break up soil, making it ideal for bigger projects.

Key Features

  • 36-inch fiberglass handle
  • 5-pound head
  • Best for breaking up thick soil

What Customers Are Saying

Only 55 customers have reviewed this product on Amazon, with 91% of them giving it a 4- or 5-star rating for an average of 4.5 stars. Several customers commented on how this tool did a great job of pulling out roots and breaking up compact soil. However, some customers had issues with delivery, with one customer only receiving the handle and not receiving the head.

Buying Guide

Before buying a pickaxe, compare important factors like weight, handle length, and handle material.

Weight

Pickaxes are usually advertised based on the weight of the blade. Common pickaxe weights are two pounds and five pounds. Five-pound pickaxes will be more difficult to swing, but the force created will be greater than that of a two-pound pickaxe. Note: a pickaxe handle will add a few more pounds to the entire weight of the tool.

Handle length

Depending on what you’re using your pickaxe for, you’ll likely purchase a two-handed or one-handed model. Two-handed pickaxes are 34 to 36 inches long and are best for heavy-duty tasks like breaking up soil. You can use a two-handed pickaxe by standing up and swinging it over your head and down into the ground. One-handed pickaxes are 16 inches long and are great for digging small holes or pulling out rocks from the soil while on your hands and knees.

Handle material

Pickaxe handles are typically made out of hardwood or fiberglass. Historically, pickaxe handles made out of hardwood could be sanded down to create a custom grip. However, wood handles are susceptible to expansion and contraction during weather changes and can rot or splinter.

Fiberglass handles require little to no maintenance because they aren’t susceptible to expansion, contraction, rot, or splinter. A common feature of fiberglass handles is a rubber grip to prevent slipping. However, fiberglass handles can become brittle if exposed to too much sunlight, which limits where you can store them.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a pickaxe and a mattock?

The terms pickaxe and mattock are used interchangeably, which is why we included both in this review, but they’re technically two separate tools. A mattock has a broad blade on one end of the head and a pick or axe on the other, which makes it good for digging, prying, and chopping. A pickaxe has a pick on one side and a chisel on the other, making it good for prying.

What are some common uses for a pickaxe?

Pickaxes are commonly used in landscaping and farming. If you’re trying to break up matted soil or dig a hole for a new plant, a pickaxe may be a good tool to use.

How should I clean my pickaxe?

Here’s a step-by-step process to follow after using your tool:

  1. Use a stiff brush to wipe away any dirt from the blade.
  2. Dry the blade off with a microfiber towel if it’s wet or damp.
  3. To prevent the blade from rusting, apply a thin layer of oil before putting it away.
  4. If your pickaxe has a wooden handle, apply oil to the handle to prevent rotting or warping.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.

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