How to Choose a Garden Sieve


Why Use A Garden Sieve? There are several different reasons for using a garden soil sieve in your allotment or garden.  You may want to remove stones or weeds or make your soil much finer.

Many gardeners prefer fine soil when they are planting out small seeds directly into the soil as this saves the seed from having to struggle against large clumps of soil or stones thus aiding growth.

Another reason is that when things like carrots hit stones they can become flawed or even split into two.  Having a fine soil around them will help them to grow straight and strong.

Not everyone will sieve their soil or compost.  It will depend on your own preferences and if you feel this will help you.

Metal Garden Potting sieve Photo
Garden Potting sieve

When to Sieve Compost

Ideally, when potting up seeds and seedlings you would want seed compost.  However, if your budget doesn’t allow for the more expensive compost and you buy normal compost rather than seed compost you can save money by getting a compost sieve and using that to make your compost much finer.

Types of Sieves for Different Uses and Soil

There are many different types of sieves each with varying uses.  They range up from only a few pounds to hundreds.  Which one you decide on will depend not only on your budget but your space and the amount you will use it.

Choosing a Hole Size

There are different sizes of holes.  Smaller ones are ideal for seeds while the large ones are ideal for your plot.

The Basic Designs

The basic designs are usually round although some are square or rectangular.  They come in plastic or metal circular designs.

Metal Garden Potting sieve Photo
Garden Potting sieve

The most popular design with gardeners is the metal circular metal potting sieves.  These come in three sizes 6mm, 7mm and 12 mm (1/4 3/8 and half inches) and are great value for money.

They are well made and quite sturdy and do the job by keeping back all the rubbish like stones and weeds and giving you a fine soil.  They can also be used to remove any gravel from the soil if you have used it for extra drainage and no longer need it.  They are much stronger than the plastic ones.

These are coated so this will help prevent any rust on your sieve.

Metal Garden Potting Sieve / Riddle Medium 6mm 1/4 Inch Mesh

Although the smallest is more suitable for potting and the medium for soil it can be a matter of personal choice and requirements as to which one you decide you need.

The Rotary Soil Sieve for Faster Results

Rotary Soil Sieve Photo
Rotary Soil Sieve

These are great if you have a condition that makes it harder to do normal sieving.  Or if you have a larger amount to do.  They make the job easier and save your back, which in my view is always a bonus!  Again these are well made and very robust.  They have a spring-loaded handle which when turned applies some pressure this saves you a lot of work.


These are great value for money, however, at around £40 they are a bit more expensive than the normal sieves so would only be worth the extra if you needed them for health reasons or did a lot more work with your sieve.

Clarke Rotary Soil Sieve CRS400


The Electric Rotary Sifter

Scheppach RS400 Electric Rotary Sifter Photo
Scheppach RS400 Electric Rotary Sifter

This is a fantastic tool and deserves a mention, though I suspect for most of us it is either too big or too expensive to get.  There are those though that will find this a brilliant help around their allotment or garden.  Where it comes into play is if you have very large quantities of soil that needs to be sieved.

What I like about it is that it is faster than the normal sieves at 3m cubed and deals with the stones and unrotted compost.  So if you have a plot filled with stones this would work wonders.  You do need an electricity source as well and probably an extension lead due to the short cable so unless you have access to a socket it won’t be any good for your plot.

Scheppach RS400 Electric Rotary Sifter

Soil Sieve Hire

If you have a one-off large job then perhaps rather than paying out and having to store a large machine you would be better off hiring a sifter from your local tool hire for a short time.


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