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Winter can cause tons of issues with your gardening tools if you aren’t careful! With colder temperatures, snow, and constant changed in weather, your tools can become susceptible to damage in a variety of ways. In this article, we will go over different types of tools, and what can happen to each if you aren’t careful!

What happens to plastic tools if stored outside?

Plastic tools such as metals tools that have plastic handles, tools that are completely made of plastic, or even tools that are wrapped in plastic are especially susceptible to cold temperatures. These colder temperatures can cause the plastic to become frail, brittle, and crack during their time outside.

If you plan on leaving your plastic tools outdoors in the snow, you can likely count on the fact that they may break the first time you pick them up in the spring, or they won’t be quite as effective as they once were.

What happens to wooden tools when left outside?

One big characteristic of wood, is that it expands and contracts with the temperatures outside. In the winter (at least where I live) this can mean being 60 degrees one day and -10 the next day. With these changes in temperature come expansion and contraction of the wood, and can loosen screws, misshapen handles and more.

Another big issue, is that the wood can soften from being wet for long periods of time, and is able to loose its rigidity, making it less effective of a shovel or other tool.

What about power tools?

While the other types of tools on this list are technically able to hang out outside, you should never leave your power tools outdoors (even in the summer). These tools rely on electronics, batteries, and engines to run, and water settling on them for long periods of time can cause them to completely fail and no longer be usable. Combine this with the fact that power tools are expensive, can result in some hefty price tags at the end of the day. In the end, just bring your power tools inside for the winter.


Regardless of what kind of tools you own, you really should be bringing them into a storage shed, your house, or garage during the winter. Nothing good can happen to them when hanging out in constantly changing temperatures, snow, rain, and other weather.