Are you looking for a manual transplanter? In this guide I will explain which are the best models and how to choose the perfect bulb plant for you.

A manual planter is a simple and all in all economical garden tool, designed to facilitate planting of bulbs and seedlings in the ground. If you have already faced the sowing phase, you know that doing it by hand means breaking your back and getting various pains and aches in your knees in return. Well, thanks to a tool like the bulb planter you can finally do it, preserving not only the health of the plants, but also yours.

What is the planter and how it works

First, I want to specify that in this article I will not tell you about the automatic transplanter. The latter is a real towed agricultural machine, to be connected to a tractor and designed to plant plants and bulbs autonomously.

In practice, the aforementioned machine manages, by itself, to complete each phase of sowing: it opens the furrows, deposits the plants, closes the furrow and compacts the soil around the roots of the seedlings. It is able to do this as it integrates the hopper, the coulter, the bulb distributor and the rammer in a single structure.

The manual planter is a much simpler device, and describing it is not difficult. It is in fact a tubular metal or plastic stake, with two specific mechanisms. On the head there is a system that allows you to easily insert the bulb, while at the base we find a tip that sinks into the ground. In summary, here are the parts of the structure:

  • Hard plastic or metal tube
  • Tip that opens (tooth)
  • Opening handle or lever

How does it work? Again, there is nothing complicated: the tip is connected to a handle or handle, which you can use to open it once it is inserted into the soil. When you do this, the tube will plant the bulb by itself in a vertical position, and in fact often the manual transplanter is also called a “bulb shooter”. Here is a summary of what happens:

  • The bulb is inserted into the hole in the head of the tube
  • The bulb thus slides all the way down and reaches the tip
  • You insert the tip of the bulb plant into the soil
  • You push or press the handle, which will open the tip of the stake
  • Once opened, the stake will spread out releasing the bulb into the hole
  • The opening movement of the tooth pushes the earth around the plant

Advantages of the manual planter

First of all, you will work with a straight back and therefore you will avoid putting strain on the spine and lower back, since you do not need to bend over all the time. For the same reason, your knee joints will thank you too. Secondly, the bulb planter is super easy to use and smart too. The tube system, in fact, allows the bulbs to fall in a vertical position, and to rest on the ground effortlessly.

Then consider that this tool for planting seedlings gives you the possibility to speed up the sowing operations not a little. It means that you can also use it if you have to sow very large areas, and in fact even professional growers use it. In addition, it has an overall low cost (around 40 euros), and depending on the model you can also use it on heavy, stony and stony soils.

As for the speed, know that I can easily plant about 15 seedlings per minute, thanks to the manual transplanter. All the dirty work will be done by the seedling, which alone will root the bulb in a conical or cubic cube, placing it perfectly at home. Finally, it is a very versatile tool, because you can use it to plant plants belonging to horticultural, floricultural or nursery species.

Reviews of the best plant bulbs

1. Catral Planter With Reinforced Tip

This seedling planting tool is probably one of the best sellers online, for a very simple reason: it has a reinforced tip that can adapt to any terrain, and that works great even if you use it on a mulch sheet. It is not a light instrument, so much so that it weighs 4 kilograms, but it is due to the great strength of its metal structure.

  • Height: 90cm
  • Inner diameter: 80mm
  • Weight: 4 kilograms
  • Reinforced toe
  • Metal frame

This manual planter, while quite heavy, can be used effortlessly and automates all sowing operations, speeding them up. The reinforced tip, then, allows you to take advantage of the tool even on very hard bare ground. Even the handles are special, as well as comfortable to use: they can in fact be detached, so as to give you the possibility to use the Catral with one hand.

How to use? Simply insert the bulb into the opening hole at the top of the tube, plant the tooth of the tip in the earth, operate the lever to drop the plant and finally pull the tool out of the ground. I have tried it in my vineyard and I assure you that it is not only easy to use, but also very resistant. It is excellent for plants with medium or small alveolus, due to the large diameter, and speeds up the sowing operations by a lot.


  • Metal tube structure
  • Robust and easy to use
  • Very large internal diameter
  • Reinforced toe
  • For plants with small and medium alveolus
  • Plant seeds, seedlings, and even potatoes


  • In really hard ground it doesn’t go very deep

2. Muggioli Multiplanter Large Mpl seeder

If you are looking for the best manual transplanter for quality / price ratio, this Muggioli product could be just the thing for you. The bulb planter in question has in fact a resistant structure but a low weight (3.3 kilos), with a regulator that allows you to establish both the opening and the depth of the tooth. It is easy to use and each component has been made of galvanized steel.

  • Height: 97cm
  • Inner diameter: 65mm
  • Resistant structure in galvanized steel
  • Opening and depth adjuster

This bulb plant is easy to use and also very resistant, thanks to its solid galvanized steel structure. It has an internal diameter of 67 mm, so it means that you will not be able to insert bulbs larger than this size. To underline its lightness, considering that it weighs about 1 kilo less than the average (3.3 kilos in total). In summary, you can also use it with one hand.

The use is the usual: you will have to stick the tooth in the soil, insert the bulb or the plant inside the tubular, pull the handle of the seedling and then extract the tool from the ground. Once this is done, you can compact the earth with your foot, to obtain a more professional result. The advantages are several: in addition to its robustness and ease of use, it is very quick and greatly facilitates the planting of plants and the sowing of potatoes.


  • Price below average
  • Resistant structure in galvanized steel
  • Possibility of adjusting opening and depth
  • Lighter than other tools


  • It does not have a very large diameter
  • In case of hard soils, it is better to work the soil

3. Manual Transplanter Planter (3 Sizes)

This manual transplanter has many arrows in its bow, first of all the possibility to choose between 3 different diameters (40, 60 and 80 millimeters). It means that you will be able to select the best option for your planting needs, and to best plant your bulbs or plants. The structure is very resistant, as it is made of galvanized steel, and the length is perfectly in the medium (about 88 centimeters).

  • Inner diameter: 40, 60 or 80mm
  • Length: 88cm
  • Weight: 2.2 kg
  • Body made of galvanized steel
  • It is possible to use it with one hand
  • Convenient and very easy to use

The Transplanter seedling planting tool, as I mentioned earlier, has a solid galvanized steel structure and tends to last for many years, even if you will use it continuously. It is really simple to use, since you can operate it with one hand, and it allows you to speed up the planting phase a lot. Not to mention its lightness, considering the weight of only 2.2 kilograms.

All you have to do is insert the plant or the bulb in the tubular, plant the tip in the soil and operate the lever, using only one hand as mentioned. You won’t have to bend over or strain your back, and you can use it for any plant, garden or flower, or for tubers such as potatoes. Furthermore, we are faced with a 100% made in Italy product, destined to last a lifetime. Remember, however, to pay attention to the diameter of the model you choose.


  • Very resistant materials
  • Possibility to choose between 3 different diameters
  • Can be used with one hand
  • Lightweight, comfortable and easy to use
  • Very versatile


  • Pay attention to the diameter you choose
  • Hard soils must first be cleared

4. Cribbio Planting for Bulbs, Seeds and Plants

I decided to close this ranking of the best plant bulbs with the tool produced by Cribbio. It is a really useful back-saving device and with some great features, so much so that it is one of the best sellers online. However, it must be said that it has a very particular type of structure, without tubular and with a small cone where the bulb can be inserted by hand.

  • Cone and non-tubular structure
  • Shoulder plate holder tray included in the package
  • 80mm cone diameter
  • Perfect for sandy and stony soils

Its opening mechanism is somewhat reminiscent of that of scissors, with two large handles that – when pressed – allow you to open the cone located at the base of the tool. How to use? You have to insert the bulb or plant inside the cone, then plant the latter in the ground, operate the handle and extract the tool. Then you can use the bit to compact the earth around the root ball, or feet, depending on your preference.

Consider that the diameter of the cone is 80 millimeters, and that the package also includes the universal head holder tray, which you can wear thanks to its shoulder strap. Of course, it cannot boast the convenience of models with a tubular structure, but it is a more than valid alternative. And the presence of the tray, of course, adds an important extra in terms of comfort and versatility. In summary, it is a vegetable plant that I recommend you try, especially if you have a lot of plants to carry.


  • Versatile and easy to use product
  • Particular cone structure
  • Headplate holder included in the package
  • Price slightly below average


  • Less comfortable than tubulars
  • Better to clear the hard earth first

How to choose the manual transplanter

1. Diameter of the tube

First of all, I advise you to pay close attention to the diameter of the pipe, because the maximum size of the bulb or clod that you can plant depends on it. Consider that, to give you a practical example, with a manual planter of 70 millimeters in diameter you can insert bulbs up to a maximum of about 67 millimeters. Also watch out for very large pipes: a diameter of 80 millimeters is not suitable for clods or bulbs of 40 millimeters, because the plant could tip over to the side when you put it inside the tubular.

2. Types of land

The more resistant and higher quality bulb planters do not fear very hard soils, such as stony ones. The credit goes to the reinforced tip, able to penetrate even the most difficult earth. On the other hand, mid-range tools are not capable of drilling into hard earth, and are especially recommended for less demanding terrains. If you decide to use them even in difficult conditions, be sure to clear the soil first, or you will struggle.

3. Types of handle

Almost all manual models are equipped with an opening system that can be activated with one hand (pistol), but there are also products with a lever that requires use with two hands. What are the advantages and disadvantages? Usually the former are quicker and faster, but the latter ensure greater control over the sowing phase. It also depends on the weight, since a tool for planting seedlings – if heavy – requires two hands to support the structure.

4. Ease of use

Once again I have to mention the weight, which affects the ease of use of a planter. It is clear that the lighter ones are much easier to use, but they are often not very resistant (I refer to the plastic models). The steel bulb shooters, on the other hand, are heavier and a little more tiring, but they are reliable and professional tools, therefore of absolute quality.

5. Accessories supplied

Some models of manual transplanters also have a universal head tray, which is very convenient when you have to carry many plants or bulbs with you. It does not end there, because on the market there are also models with a foot to adjust the depth, and a small rod to distance the plants from each other, to give more order to the sowing.

Useful tips for use

Today I explained to you what a bulb planter is, how it works and which are the best models. Before saying goodbye, however, I want to underline some tips that will be useful to you during use.

  • Remember to pay attention to the diameter of the tube, and to use only compatible plants or breads. Generally, a diameter of 80 millimeters is sufficient for medium or large seedlings.
  • The tip may or may not be suitable for hard ground. The tooth shape is excellent because it allows the tool for planting seedlings to sink better into the earth. However, if the clods are very hard, it is always better to loosen the soil before using the seedling.
  • You can also use these tools to punch in the correct place i sheets for mulching, so as to facilitate this operation.
  • Depending on the material, this tool can use its weight to better penetrate the ground. Steel, being heavier, guarantees better performance on hard earth, although it may not necessarily penetrate very deeply.