Border forks are great for borders, weeding, lifting and compost. They are also great for small places, ladies and smaller people with small feet. I tend to use mine for all my main digging rather than a bigger fork as I find the larger forks too heavy to work with.
I would not recommend these as your main digging tool unless you are a smaller person and struggling with the larger ones. I would say anyone with up to a size 5 (38) foot could use one of these if they wanted to. Larger feet tend to slip off the edges. Mine do sometimes, but feel this is a good compromise for me personally rather than struggling.
They should be the same in all ways as a larger fork but just not as heavy and wide. Though of course these days there are stronger an lighter materials even for bigger forks.
Below are some examples of Border Forks from the low, mid and high price ranges along with what you can expect to get and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Great Value for a Budget Fork
This is a great tool for someone who is shorter as it is smaller and at just under 2kg which is quite light (about the weight of an average laptop). This will make it easier to use and work your plot.
This fork has extremely good feedback for a tool in the lower end of the price range. It is also a traditional ash wood which many people will love.
It is made of heat treated carbon steel and is epoxy coated to protect it from rust which is always important if you are getting carbon steel as opposed to steel.
What drew me to this fork is the shaft is made of ash. I like many others love the traditional wood finish. Also I took note of the fact is looks like the grain is fairly straight.
The handle also looks comfy and easy to grasp and well positioned for easy digging.
While it is well made and quite good value for the price I feel that it isn’t suited to the heavier clay soils and would be OK for the lighter soils.
In my view it would be better if you need something stronger to go for the mid or higher range of forks.
Spear & Jackson - Elements Border Fork