An article in Redding.com discusses ergonomic gardening tools:
Gardeners with painful disabilities needn’t have such a tough row to hoe. A great many garden tools are marketed with the word “ergonomic” in bold type on the labels, meaning they’re intended to maximize the efficiency and quality of someone’s work. But claims are one thing and performance is quite another.
The article lists several factors to consider when selecting an ergonomic gardening tool:
- Watch the weight — Any tool that feels heavy may become tiring with hard and repetitive use. Conversely, any tool that feels too light may be too flimsy to last. Look for tools that feel sturdy while providing control and reducing effort.
- Test for balance and sensitivity. Tools should distribute their weight evenly or toward the working end, such as at the head of an ax or the point of a shovel.
- Study grip size. Find something soft and comfortable. Overlarge grips can tire muscles and strain nerves in fingers and wrists over time. Non-slip grips generally are safer and help prevent blisters.
- Tools should be easy to maintain. Look for quality materials and practical, proven designs.
The bottom line: Trust your instincts. “If it hurts, don’t do it. If you are using a tool incorrectly, it is not ergonomic.”