Best Bulb Planters

Updated December 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

21 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
352 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best bulb planters

Last Updated December 2019

A well-landscaped house not only helps to beautify the neighborhood as a whole, but it also gives the homeowner a sense of pride. The greatest obstacle to a beautifully decorated lawn is the work that’s required to landscape it. Rather than purchase new seeds and flowers to plant every spring, consider planting perennial bulbs that will bloom year after year. For that, you need a bulb planter.

Planting individual seeds or flowers can be backbreaking work, but planting bulbs doesn’t need to be. You can choose from bulb planters with different handle styles and lengths, manual or powered versions, and planters with extra features to help ease your workload.

Get ready to beautify your yard and enjoy the wonders of nature. We’ve done the research required to find the best bulb planters out there and compiled them into a top-five list. Explore our list and read the following guide to help you find the best bulb planter for your needs.

The general rule for planting bulbs is to be sure they’re planted at a depth of about two to three times the diameter of the bulb itself. For example, a bulb that’s two inches wide should be planted between four and six inches deep.

Key considerations

Handheld

Soil release: This type of bulb planter has handles with grooves for your fingers. The planter grabs the soil that needs to be displaced in order to plant the bulb. Once the bulb is in the hole, you release the soil to cover the bulb. While this type of bulb planter is small and easy to store, it also requires you to kneel in the soil or bend over to operate it. That can be a negative feature for those who have back problems or who have trouble standing up from a kneeling position.

Dibber: A dibber is a pointed device that’s used to make holes in the ground so seeds or bulbs can be more easily planted. A dibber is also a handheld bulb planter, but it works differently than one that grabs the dirt. You simply twist the dibber in the dirt to make a hole deep enough to press the bulb into; you then manually cover the bulb with the displaced dirt.

Spade/knife: This type of bulb planter is similar to a handheld garden trowel, but the spade portion is slightly narrower. The handle has a cushioned grip for comfort. You simply dig into the dirt, making twisting motions to create a hole deep enough for the bulb. The spade is curved and can be used as a small trowel to remove excess dirt from the hole.

Long-handled

Bulb planters with longer handles can be easier to manipulate and require less bending than handheld versions. They usually have a T-shaped handle at the top with a spade or soil plunger at the bottom. You simply place the bulb planter on top of the soil where you’d like to plant your bulb and press down on the handle to push the planter to the required depth. Pull it back out of the soil before inserting your bulb. Those bulb planters with plungers hold the displaced soil, while those with spades may “pop out” the core of the hole for you to replace manually.

Manual vs. powered

Manual bulb planters are for those who can handle a bit more effort. They require some strength to push the planter into the soil and lift the soil out of the hole.

A powered bulb planter (bulb auger) is usually attached to a drill, and the drill does the difficult work for you. The drill spins the auger to dig a deep enough hole for the bulb. These look like mini ice-fishing augers.

EXPERT TIP

Know the type of soil and its density before using a bulb planter. Some soils, such as clay, require you to soften them with water or break them apart before you can successfully use a bulb planter.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Ruler

Some bulb planters include a ruler on the spade portion (or the portion that goes into the ground), so you know how deep the hole is. The measurements are usually in increments of an inch.

Footrest

Some long-handled bulb planters have a footrest to step on so you can use all your body weight to dig the hole. This type of bulb planter requires less arm strength, and some believe it’s easier to use than a handheld version.

Quick-release

A quick-release feature is found on bulb planters that grab or hold the displaced dirt while you plant the bulb. A lever or button releases the dirt back into the hole you just put the bulb into. It reduces the time it takes to plant each bulb, which is useful if you’re planting many bulbs.

Multi-tool

Some bulb planters are marketed as multi-tools because they can be used for several purposes in the yard and garden. For instance, a long-handled multi-tool may plant bulbs, sample soil, and help pull weeds.

EXPERT TIP

There are bulbs that bloom in spring and bulbs that bloom in summer, and each must be planted at a different time of year. Know which type you have and when they should be planted.


Staff  | BestReviews

Bulb planter prices

Inexpensive: The most affordable bulb planters are manual handheld versions that cost between $5 and $10. These planters work efficiently for one season, but if you plan to use one every year you might need to upgrade at some point.

Mid-range: You can find handheld or long-handled bulb planters for $11 to $20. These planters are made of slightly better materials, but it’s possible they will only last for a season or two. Many have basic features like a quick-release function and a footrest.

Expensive: Spend more than $20 and you can find long-handled planters that will last for several seasons. These have all the features required for efficient planting. They’re made from durable materials, and some are multi-tools.

EXPERT TIP

If your soil is dry and grainy, it could be difficult to dig efficiently. Keep a watering can handy to dampen the soil. That way, it will clump together and be easier to remove in a consistent fashion.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Mix it up if you have hard soil. If you have hard-packed soil that’s difficult to dig, try using a combination of bulb planters. First use a dibber to break up the soil, and then use a handheld planter to insert the bulbs.
  • Plant your bulbs at a consistent depth. Before planting numerous bulbs, decide on a depth and stick to it. Inconsistent planting can affect the look of your flower garden.
  • Stay safe. If you’re using a bulb planter that attaches to a drill, follow the necessary safety precautions you would use if you were drilling into wood or other materials. Wear safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself.

Other products we considered

There are many different gardening techniques and strategies, so, naturally, there are numerous different ways to plant bulbs. We’ve selected a couple other bulb planters we think are worth mentioning. Try the ProPlugger 5-IN-1 Lawn and Garden Tool to keep the garage neat and tidy. You’ll no longer need a spade, shovel, hoe, and bulb planter. Spend a little more and you can own five garden tools in one that helps to plant, weed, and dig. Keep an eye out for the CFCT Weeder/Bulb Planter if you’re into trying something different. The design of this tool is something you don’t see every day. It’s ergonomic, so your hand won’t get tired after digging dozens of holes for your beautiful bulbs.

If you’re using a drill with a bulb planter, be sure you know how to operate the drill in outdoor conditions. Use an extension cord that is rated for outdoor use. Also, don’t operate an electric drill in misty or rainy weather.

FAQ

Q. What happens if I plant a bulb too deep?
A.
If you plant a bulb too deep, it’s possible it will suffocate in the dirt and rot. The bulb may still grow, but the plant will look compromised. A way to identify bulbs that were planted too deep is to look for those that don’t produce any blooms.
 

Q. Can I just throw the bulb in the hole, or does it need to be placed a specific way?
A.
It absolutely should be placed a specific way. Place the bulb in the hole with the roots down and the pointed end up.
 

Q. The measuring guide has worn off my bulb planter, what should I do?
A.
If you can’t afford a replacement, use some duct tape or masking tape on the tool as a measurement marker. Measure the correct depth with a ruler or tape measure, and place the tape on that spot as a guide.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey