There’s nothing quite like eating your own homegrown apples, but it can be tricky to harvest them, even on fairly small trees. So we’ve put together a selection of the best apple-picking tools that can help you gather in your delicious crop.
These useful tools make harvesting both easier and safer, avoiding the need for stretching, bending and climbing ladders. And they can be used for other types of tree fruits too, such as pears. As well as long-handled or extendable pickers to reach high into the branches, there are tools that you roll across the grass to gather up fallen fruits, ideal if bending is a problem. We’ve also put together some tips on how to use long-handled pickers at the end of this article.
To make sure your fruits stay in good condition once picked, check out our guide on how to store apples. You may also like our round-up of best apple presses and best jam-making kits and equipment. And to ensure your future apple harvests are plentiful, see our essential apple care guide.
FIVE TIPS FOR HARVESTING APPLES
- Choose a dry day to harvest your apples – it’s not a good idea to store moist fruit, as it will encourage fungal diseases and they will spoil.
- Before picking, check apples are ripe and ready by cupping them in the palm of your hand and giving it a light twist - if it comes off the tree into your hand then you’re ready to go.
- Don’t be tempted to throw them into a basket once picked as they will bruise and go bad more quickly. Instead, place them in carefully.
- Sort through the apple harvest and remove any apples that have been nibbled by insects or show signs of disease.
- Don't wash apples until just before using to prevent spoilage and keep them in a cool after picking to increase shelf life.
Best apple picker tools in 2023
Browse our selection of fruit pickers, below;
Kent & Stowe Telescopic Fruit Picker
This telescopic apple picker is lightweight so it should be easy to lift and use for reaching high up fruit. The foam cushion gently supports apples as they are retrieved, preventing bruising during the picking process. The extendable handle also means the picker is suitable for a range of trees and heights.
Wolf-Garten RGM Multi-Change Adjustable Fruit Picker
This long apple picker allows you to collect fruit easily without the use of a ladder. The telescopic handle is adjustable so it should work for whatever height tree you’re trying to access. The tool also features a strong collection bag which gathers the fruit as you work and it comes with an impressive 35-year guarantee.
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RRP for the picker: £19.75
RRP for the handle: £25.95
Darlac Telescopic Easy Reach Large Fruit Tree Apple/Pear Picker
This aluminium fruit picker features an extendable handle to function at different lengths and is capable of harvesting apples, pears and more. The soft “fingers” of the tool enclose the fruit to bring it carefully back down from the tree.
Burgon and Ball Wooden Handled Apple Picker
This apple picker is made by respected brand Burgon and Ball. The wooden handle should be sturdy and stable for working with. The metal cage forms a protective cage to catch fruit with and the foam liner prevents damage to the fruit while working.
Easy Grab Apple Wizard Tool
This handy tool can collect several apples in a single roll and works on both flat and uneven ground, providing the grass isn’t overgrown. It can also double as a golf and tennis ball collector around the garden, as the wire collection basket is made from industrial grade steel with a break-resistant handle.
Rolling Apple and Fruit Picker
Another rolling apple picker, this tool gathers fallen fruit by rolling over them and collecting as it goes. The telescopic handle is lightweight and can be adjusted to suit you needs. The picker can also hold up to 10 apples at a time, depending on their size.
Fiskars Fruit Picker
This apple picker head can be attached to coordinating telescopic handles (this one fits the 228-400cm model) to easily collect fruit from trees without needing a ladder. Reinforced with fibreglass, the tool should be strong and durable. The cotton collection bag is also washable.
RRP: £30.12 for the picker
RRP: £69.99 for the handle
Gardena Combisystem Fruit Collector
This barrel cage fruit collector can collect fruit of various sizes without the need to bend over. The shovel spout on the side also allows users to access harder to reach areas. The tool head connects to the Gardena Combisystem handle (bought separately) and has a 25-year warranty included.
RRP: from £44.99 for the collector
RRP: £35.94 for the handle
How to use a long-handled apple picker
These tools usually comprise a padded basket on a long or extendable handle. There’s a bit of a knack to using them, but just follow these simple steps:
- Positioning: Choose a branch with several ripe apples, so you can collect a few in one go. Stand under it, then place the picker’s basket beneath one of the apples, adjusting the position or extending the handle if necessary to make sure it surrounds the entire fruit.
- Twisting: Use a twisting motion to detach the apple from the tree. Try not to tug on the fruit, as this could damage both the tree and the apple. It should come away fairly easily if it’s ripe.
- Collecting: Keep the basket as close to the apple as possible, so it falls gently into the padded basket, without any bruising.
- Emptying: Regularly empty the picker’s basket into a garden trug or bucket, to avoid overfilling it and dropping any fruit. Unload the apples carefully, so they don’t get damaged.
This product guide was last updated in August 2023. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.