Brick Trowel Review for 2024 – What’s the Best Brick Trowel?

When’s the last time you thought about your brick trowel?

“It’s been a long day… sitting on the line laying brick after brick.  I’m used to it now, been doing it for years. But after a big day… I still feel it. You know, in my wrists and hands all the way up through my shoulders…” Acting as the backbone for any brickie, a reliable brick trowel is as good as a man’s hands. So why do you pay it so little thought?

It’s easy to get attached to the masonry trowel type you started with as an apprentice. But did you know that if you have the wrong trowel your body could pay for it in the long term?

It is often good to switch it up and try something new. You never know there might be a better match out there for you.

Can It Be Better?

Of course! Brick trowels have a long history and a great deal of innovation behind them.

There’s something to be said about the most useful bricklaying tools. Immensely helpful yet deceptively simple.

So come with me with your bucket of tools, it’s time to think about your trowel…

London Trowel vs Philadelphia Trowel

Some brickies don’t know what the different brick trowel types are called – they just know there are straight heel ones or the round ones… and really that’s ok.

But have you ever wondered WHY?

Brick trowels have a long history and a great deal of thought behind them. There are reasons for these different blade shapes. Each of them handles mortar differently.

There used to be a much wider range on the market. But here in Australia, you can narrow it down to the Philadelphia, London, and Wide London.

So what’s the low-down?

The sharp angle of the London’s heel, forces the mud to be loaded further forward on the trowel making it great for laying bricks.

The angle of the Philadelphia’s heel is flatter. This means there’s more room for mud, so masons prefer it for blockwork.

But wouldn’t the bigger always be better? A bigger blade must move mud faster?

Maybe in the short term, but not when you’re working day in and day out….

A study in 2002 conducted in America by the Construction Safety Association of Ontario found that bigger isn’t always better or faster.

If a trowel is too heavy for you it puts strain on your wrist. This will slow you down, and you’re more likely to get injured. And we all know, life is too short for preventable aches and pains.

Standard Shank Trowel or Low lift Shank?

The difference between a high lift trowel and a low lift trowel is just the length of the shank. Shank lift changes the feel of the trowel and can be also used to prevent wrist fatigue and injury.

The lift that’s best for you is one that keeps your wrist straight.

The most common shank lift in Australia is the ‘standard’ high lift shank. This is best when you are working at a height below your shoulders. It also does a good job of keeping your fingers out of the mortar.

A low lift trowel is usually best when you are working at a height above your shoulders.

While many brands don’t give an option in shank length, WRose from the USA still gives you the choice.

Welded vs Solid Forged Steel Brick Trowel

No matter the shape of your blade, you want to make sure that from the handle to the toe there’s a solid piece of steel.

Cheaper trowels have a spot weld at the heel they won’t last nearly as long as a well-made solid forged trowel.

best brick trowel australia

If you want to test the durability of your brick trowel, wack the base of your handle against something hard. The metal of your trowel will ring… and the longer the ring, the better the steel.

Beautifully Balanced Trowel Blade

Did you know that it is easy to test the balance of your blade?

Just hold your blade by one finger in the middle of the shank with the handle pointing up. A well-balanced trowel will hang vertically.

Most brickies prefer a blade that gets thinner towards the point of the trowel. The tapering of the blade sets the balance of the trowel to near the handle. A light tipped trowel, feels lighter to use than one that is front heavy.

There are exceptions to this rule. Thereare some brands across the globe that actually make custom Right Hander and Left Hander trowels.

Durability when Cutting Bricks with your Trowel

It’s becoming a common complaint that trowels don’t last as long as they used to. If this is a problem for you, it could be a couple of things.

Blades are designed now with FLEXIBILITY in mind.  And it’s important because it’s also designed to reduce tension on your wrist and give you the feeling of more control.

BUT increase flex has its downside too… Trowels with more flex wear faster and can get ‘dings’ when cutting bricks.

The other thing to think about is that not all steel is equal. Trowels in Australia are made from carbon steel, and while a trowel can say high grade- there can be quite a variance.

Trowels from different brands and countries of origin will have variances in their steel composition, how they are made and their degree of flex.

Brands like the WRose give brickies two options of flex. The ‘Standard’ or ‘Limber Brick’ Trowel. Standard flex trowels have a thicker trowel blade than a Limber flex trowel.

Other leading brands like Marshalltown brick trowels only make type of blade. It’s a flexible blade and has been likened to the Limber flex blade of the WRose.

What works for you, might not work for the bloke working next to you. But there is one thing that is pretty much guaranteed… The better quality trowel you begin with, the fewer worries you’ll have down the line.

What type of brick trowel handle is the most comfortable

Hard labour comes with aches and pains, there’s no way around it. However, you can decrease problems and work more efficiently by taking comfort into account.

The handle of your brick trowel is the most obvious culprit.

Your handle could be made of leather, wood, rubber, or in some cases even plastic. Each has their own benefits and risks.

Plastic while durable, it has the disadvantage of being slippery once it gets wet.

Wood is seen on traditional trowels. Unfortunately, it can also be slippery and can split if water gets to it. Without a plastic cap on the end, wood will often mushroom from tamping.

Leather is incredibly stylish, but it won’t last as long as plastic or wood. They’re more comfortable and a great choice if you don’t mind replacing your handle from time to time. But leather may absorb sweat, which can make the trowel heavier and more difficult to manipulate or ‘spin.’

Last, but not least, there’s rubber. You’ll see this type of handle used in most newer models of trowels and it gives amazing benefits to your comfort. Like leather, they will need to be replaced as they wear out.

When it comes to comfort, your opinion matters most. Look for a handle that both suits your hand size and work style. There’s no wrong answer here.

What are the best brick trowels in Australia?

Listed in no particular order, the following trowels are what brickies have told us are the best trowels in Australia.

Marshalltown Brick Trowels:

  • Marshalltown Brick Trowels comes in Plastic, Wood, Leather, and Soft Grip Handles.
  • Various sizes available
  • Solid Forged Carbon Steel
  • Sizes other than 12” are generally a special order.
  • Made in USA

WRose Brick Trowels:

  • WRose Brick Trowels comes in Plastic, Wood, Leather, and Soft Grip Handles.
  • Various sizes available
  • Solid Forged Carbon Steel
  • Choose between Limber flex or Standard flex,
  • Choose between Low Lift or Standard Lift.
  • Made in USA by Kraft Tool
  • Options other than 12” size, Standard Flex, or Standard Lift are generally a special order

Ox Tools Brick Trowels

Marco Pro Brick Trowels

  • Marco Pro comes in a 12” brick trowel
  • Comes with a Plastic Handle.
  • Solid Forged Carbon Steel
  • Made in Germany

WHS Brick Trowel – Tyzack by Spear and Jackson

  • WHS Brick Trowels come with a Soft Grip Handle.
  • Solid Forged Carbon Steel
  • Comes in 12”
  • Note: Cheaper grade trowels by Spear and Jackson are spot welded and sold at chain stores to DIYers. The Tyzack Range is what we recommend for professional bricklayers.

What’s the ultimate best brick trowel?

If you want to start a brawl in a pub full of brickies just ask this question. There is no single BEST brick trowel.

Every brickie has different needs and these needs can change from job to job.

The goal is to find the trowel (or trowels) that’s best for you. It’s a process that can take time and determination, but having a reliable supplier behind you will help.

Never be afraid to get adventurous with your next trowel, it could be the extension of your arm you were looking for. And when you consider how much income they help you earn, they are a pretty small investment for yourself and your business.

If you want try something different, here at CDBS Construction Centre we have all the above brick trowels for sale. With our first-class suppliers we can special order any trowel that is not part of the standard range.

Just give us a call on 02 6242 8996 or visit our brick trowel product page because we know that not all trowels are created equal.

Where to Get Your Next Brick Trowel

Local shops are great, but nothing can beat the variety of the internet.

You’ll want to vet your options, check out our range of professional brick trowels. We are proud to stock a wide range and only durable solid shank brick trowels, built for professionals.

With a little work, you’ll find both the brick trowel and the supplier meant for you!

If you’re concerned about a new shop, check out our quality testimonials. We are a professional tool shop that focusses on quality bricklaying tools and diamond blade supplies.

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