When you think of a simple, yet nearly indispensable hand tool for a variety of landscaping or yard work, the venerable mattock has to be near the top of your list. Its history dates back thousands of years to the Bronze Age, and this pickaxe-like tool has not only stood the test time but has existed as if it were locked in a time loop. Its basic design has never changed. Well known as a tool you can dig or chop with, the best mattocks have the same appearance: A long or short handle mated to a durable, mostly steel head which features an intimidating combination of a cutter at one end, and an axe blade at the other.
Depending on where you live, and what your specific needs are, there are four types of mattocks to be aware of: A pronged mattock has a cutter at one end of the head, and long, curved prongs at the other; Pointed mattocks feature a wide, wedge shaped head and performs the same kinds of tasks as a garden spade; A Pick mattock has an axe like blade on one end of the head; and short handled mattocks can be used with one hand or for smaller tasks which require close-in work.
The Best Mattock
Marketed as a gardening tool, this Tabor Tools small pick mattock has a comfortable 15-inch handle and makes common gardening or landscaping tools easy and effective. It is the best mattock we looked at, based on features and design. Thanks to its diminutive size and weight, this is a great tool which can be used by one hand while you use the other to clear dirt or debris from the spot you are working on.
If you have ever seen pictures of video footage of archeologists performing field work, chances are you will notice someone carrying or using a mini pick mattock. It is an ideal tool for the initial task of loosening soil or breaking up harder soil or small rocks.
A 1-pound combination head.
Ideal tool for multiple applications, such as preparing soil to plant flowers or vegetables, or light excavation work around the yard.
15-inch fiberglass handle weighs less than wood counterparts and is extremely durable and weather resistant.
A slip-free grip built into the handle surface.
Easy to store on a peg board or shelf.
- BrandTABOR TOOLS
- Weight1.26 pounds
For nearly 400 years, the name Fiskars has been associated with simple, hand-held tools that fulfill a variety of needs, with its iconic orange-handled scissors perhaps being the company’s most recognizable product. As any parent over the last several decades know, Fiskar brand scissors have been on a child’s school supply list from one country to the next. But not surprisingly, the company also makes one of the best mattocks you can buy in its famous IsoCore 5-lb pick. This is a serious mattock pickaxe. Some common tasks you can use the IsoCore pick for include digging footings for decks or severing and removing tree roots.
The key feature of the IsoCore line, especially a tool like the 5-lb pick which gets considerable use, is the ability of the pick to control shocks and absorb vibrations long associated with breaking up hard dirt, rocks, or tree roots. The IsoCore lineup is famous for transferring four times less vibration and shocks to the user’s hands, not to mention extreme destructive power and an industry leading, lifetime warranty. The weight combined with the short handle ensure the tool can be used for longer stretches at a time, resulting in less fatigue or muscle cramps commonly associated with physical work.
Dual-use design: Use the pick end to break up hardened or dried earth, and the mattock end as a hoe to till soil.
Absorbs shocks and vibrations thanks to its IsoCore shock control design. This is possible due to the placement of an insulation sleeve on the handle to capture shocks before they travel to your hands.
Riveted head is nearly indestructible and will bit slip off even when maximum force is applied.
The handle has a slight flare so it will not slide during the swinging motion. It also features a dimpled grip and palm protection.
Striking capabilities meet or exceed international and ISO standards.
- Weight8.1 pounds
Featuring a classic design – all-steel head and wooden handle – the True Temper Cutter Mattock exudes power and durability. Its 36-inch Hickory wood handle is designed to protect against overstrikes or slipping from your grip when in use, and the 5-pound forged steel head is ready for any challenge.
The True Temper Cutter Mattock’s handle length gives it an advantage over a smaller handle mattock. If you are in the business of tree removal, you know how difficult it can be to chop up and yank out roots. Not everyone has access to a powered back hoe, so a sturdy mattock is your next best option. A few quick and well-placed strokes of the blade are sure to sever smaller roots, allowing you to pull them up for access to the deeper ones.
Hickory wood handle.
Forged steel head with a cutter at one end and an axe blade on the other.
Handle guard offers protection against overstrikes.
Slip-free design of the handle allows to work without worry.
5-pound head ideal for breaking up hardened earth, roots, or rocks.
- BrandThe AMES Companies, Inc
- Weight6.88 pounds
It is time to address the 800-pound gorilla in the room when it comes to hand tools. Size is not everything, and you can often get as much work done with something compact and lightweight as you can with anything described as full size. This translates to quality over quantity. So, do not be fooled because this Hart mattock has the word “mini” in its name.
If you work on a farm or perform other agricultural work, the Hart Mini Mattock will come in handy for helping pull, lift or drag small objects such as bales of hay, sacks or animal feed, or broken fence posts. Its utility is not limited to only destruction, cutting, or digging. It is an ideal garden mattock.
Fiberglass handle with anti-vibration and slip-free protection.
Offset pick with unique PowerFin™ design for heavy-duty work.
Lightweight at only 1.5-pounds.
Integrated tool hanger in handle for easy storage.
“Mini” size is ideal for close-in work.
- Weight2.3 pounds
Designed and manufactured in Mexico, Truper’s Collins Pick is durable yet lightweight. From its brightly orange-colored, forged steel head to its 36-inch fiberglass handle, this is a mattock that is all business. As you would expect from a global company with a nearly 50-year heritage, the pick’s design is thoughtful and has been perfected from years of consumer feedback. The carbon steel head makes short work of digging or cutting, while the poly guard on the handle deadens shocks or vibrations before they reach your hands.
Though lightweight at a little more than 4-pounds, the Collins pick is nonetheless suited for physically intensive chores which require deft and striking power. Trenching for an inground sprinkler becomes more efficient compared to using a shovel and breaking or pulling up tree roots is simple compared to the strain of using a simple axe. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best wheelbarrows.
2.5-pound forged carbon steel head.
36-inch fiberglass handle.
Poly guard at the base of the handle to absorb shocks.
Weighs only 4.2-pounds.
Lifetime warranty due to manufacturer defects.
- BrandTruper Sa De Cv
- Weight4.2 pounds
Tips To Follow When Using A Mattock
Common Sense Tips to Follow When Using A Mattock
Two people will have differing opinions when it comes to safely using a pick mattock. What is “common sense” to one person may never occur to someone else, so it is always best to proceed with caution. A mattock with a steel blade and a heavy wooden or fiberglass handle is not a toy. It should always be handled with care, for your well-being and the safety of anyone nearby. Here are some tips to remember when using this kind of tool.
- If possible, wear appropriate safety equipment, such as gloves and safety goggles.
- Take a moment to examine the mattock before you use it. If the blade is chipped or the head or handle is loose, it is advisable to get a new one or use another tool.
- Your immediate work area should be clear of bystanders, co-workers, or animals by a radius of at least three times the length of the handle.
- If you are using the mattock to excavate in a built-up or populated area, call the local utility company to have them mark the presence of underground water, electrical, or cable television lines.
- Watch out for other obstructions, like low-hanging branches, gutters, roof eves, or power lines.
- When using a mattock, you should not wear loose clothing, jewelry, or anything else that will entangle with the handle or blade.
- When carrying the mattock, it should be held at the side of your body, with the head facing the ground.
- No matter how heavy or sharp the mattock blade is, this type of tool is not to be used to cut or shred tires, inner tubes, or other rubber-based products. The blade will simply bounce off the intended target, or ricochet backward and endanger you or anyone else nearby.
- When not in use, a mattock should be hung up on a peg board or otherwise stored in a secure, weather resistant location. Any tool made of steel will eventually rust or decay.
- If you are cutting at hard earth or rocks with a mattock, do so in measured swings and remove debris in between blade strikes.