In a nutshell

This exceptional trowel lives up to its name and has been awarded a BBC Gardeners' World Best Buy. It's built to last and offers great versatility alongside a stellar performance at ordinary trowelling tasks. It has sharpened and serrated edges for cutting through roots and compost bags, a depth gauge for accurate planting and even a hammer for stakes and small posts.

What we tested

  • Blade/handle
    A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
  • Comfort
    A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
  • Performance
    A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
  • Value for money
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
Overall Rating
A star rating of 4.8 out of 5.


  • Two blade edges for easy cutting through roots, soil and compost bags
  • Hammer end on handle for stakes
  • Measuring gauge for seed and bulb depth
  • Comfortable handle
  • Very strong and sturdy


  • Relatively expensive

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Best Buy review video - the Kent and Stowe Capability hand trowel

In this in-depth video review Alex David explains why the Kent and Stowe Capability hand trowel was awarded BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy status.

What is the Kent and Stowe Capability hand trowel like?

The stainless steel, rust-resistant head has one sharpened side and one serrated blade, which join into a pointed tip. This blade is sharp, but not dangerously so - it can easily open a bag of compost but you’re unlikely to injure yourself on it. The blade is also stamped with a depth gauge to 10cm (4”) and its actual length is 15cm (6”). The handle is made from smooth, breathable ash and on the end is a small hammer for hammering in stakes and posts. It also has a leather strap for hanging it up in a shed or greenhouse after use.

Is the Kent and Stowe Capability hand trowel comfortable?

The smooth wooden handle means there’s little chance of developing blisters even after prolonged use. It's carved to fit comfortably in the hand, but doesn’t have finger grooves, so it suits a range of users and it feels very well balanced, precisely where the blade and handle meet, because the hammer provides an excellent counterweight to the blade. This also means that you can generate some extra force when striking into the soil. The trowel feels substantial, but not heavy or clumsy.

Does the Kent and Stowe Capability hand trowel perform well?

This trowel is very strong and durable. It cut well through even compacted, dry soil and the serrated edge is very helpful for opening bags and even cuts through tough roots. Though this trowel is at its very best when dealing with stubborn weeds, it’s surprisingly nimble when planting. The gauge is especially useful, making it easy to get the depth of your seeds and bulbs exactly right. We found that after use there was little soil left on the blade. Despite its size, the hammer is effective at hammering in stakes.

Is the Kent and Stowe Capability hand trowel value for money?

When you name a trowel after the legendary English garden designer Capability Brown, it had better live up to its name. Fortunately, there’s no such problem with Kent and Stowe’s Capability Hand Trowel. It is expensive for a trowel, which is our only quibble but this capable (sorry) Best Buy has so many functions it’s more like a Swiss Army knife than a simple hand trowel. It's certainly an investment, but for one of the most essential tools in the garden it's great value.


For more reviews, read our round-up of the best garden trowels.

Product Specifications

BrandKent and Stowe
NameKent and Stowe Capability Hand Trowel
ModelCapability Hand Trowel
Blade materialStainless steel