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What are the different types of handle grip?

Shop for Garden Forks

T-grip and D-grip handles A handle grip helps you to hold and control the fork. There are two types of handle grips:

  • The T-grip (or crutch)
  • The D-grip (or YD-grip)

Both styles offer support when digging or scooping; the choice is a personal preference.

T-grip (Crutch)

T-grip handle This style of handle gives a better grip for either very large or very small hands, which don’t fit easily around a D handle.

It is also ideal for grasping with both hands either side to apply more force downwards when digging in heavy soils.

The T-grip is secured on the end of the shaft with glue and/or rivets.

D-grip (or YD-grip)

D-grip handle This handle grip can be made from plastic, wood, metal or fibreglass or a combination of two of these materials.  It is then either:

  • Mounted on a shaft and secured with glue and/or rivets – these grips tend not to hold up under extensive use
  • Formed in one piece along with the handle – these are usually the sturdiest grips.
Make sure you allow extra width for gloved hands When considering the type of grip, check that your gloved hands can easily slip through the size of the handle so you can easily manoeuvre the fork and work efficiently.
Cushioned handle grip

Cushioned handles

Look for a cushioned handle.  This will:

  • Give a softer grip, making the shovel easier to hold
  • Lessen the impact on the wrist and hand
  • Reduce clamminess on hot days where moisture or perspiration may interfere with your grip
Foam handle grip Alternatively, there are foam handle grips available as separate items from most hardware stores.

These are easily wrapped around the top of the handle…

Foam pipe insulation …or you could measure and cut a piece of foam pipe insulation, cushion the top of the handle and secure with adhesive, if necessary.
Makes digging a whole lot easier!

Ergonomic handles

Some tools have a special ergonomic handle tilted at a forward angle. This helps prevent your wrist from having to bend and flex continually thus reducing strain on your hands.

No need for blisters anymore! Other ergonomic handles include the ‘O’ grip.

The O shape minimises hand and wrist stress by giving more room for large hands, accommodating gloved hands or for gripping with both hands.

In addition, its outline fits to the contour of your hand, providing extra comfort when gripping.

This gives extra leverage when lifting and pitching

No handle

Some of the longer shafts usually do not have a handle on the end at all.

The extra length of shaft provides a wider arm span for improved leverage and control of the shovel.  This is useful for prising out deep-rooted plants and giving extra clout when throwing shovel loads of material into a pile.  For more information on leverage, see our page: What is leverage?

The long shaft also eliminates stooping for the taller person.