When you try to conjure the image of the best garden shovel, it may have a round or pointed tip, it could have a long handle or a short one, or it could be curved slightly on the edges, or it might be straight up and down with a sharp nose. The point is that there are so many different types of shovels out there and what may be perfect to you is inadequate to another gardener.
Is there such thing as the best shovel for gardening? Is there one out there that can do all the things? Maybe, maybe not. So, it’s worth exploring.
10 Best Garden Shovel For Your Garden
Let’s go over the 10 best garden shovel for you and your garden.
1. Fiskars D-Handle Garden Spade
Like the Fiskars Long-Handle Shovel, the Fiskars Spade has a 14-gauge steel blade welded to an 18-gauge steel handle that won’t break or bend even during the heaviest garden jobs. The edge of the blade is sharp, so you’ll slice right through sod, hard soil, compacted roots, and tough weeds without much of a struggle. And the rubberized D-shaped grip gives you a little bit of extra leverage when needed. This is a useful tool for moving garden debris of all types.
The Fiskars garden spade is 47 inches long and weighs just under five pounds, so it’s light enough for long sessions but heavy enough that it can throw its weight around.
The square head is great for edge work or sectioning our garden plots.
2. Kent and Stowe Stainless Steel Digging Spade
This beautiful, handmade spade has a stainless steel blade with an integral FSC ash shaft and Y handle. It has a long, double riveted socket and wide foot treads. Awarded the BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy badge, it’s well designed and extremely comfortable to use.
3. Ames D-Handle Poly Scoop
The molded polyurethane blade of the Ames D-Handle Poly Scoop can easily handle most light to medium-weight material. It’s perfect for shoveling grass clippings, leaves, mulches, composts, grain, or manure. While it does have a wooden handle, the weight of the wood provides a comfortable heft to the tool. This might have some trouble with super-wet snow or soil, and isn’t advised for heavy rock, but for most other purposes it fits the bill.
4. Radius Garden Root Slayer Shovel
The Radius Garden Root Slayer shovel has a unique O-handle grip to increase wrist comfort and leverage while digging.
The indent on the tip of the blade helps the shovel cut through roots without slipping off, which reduces frustration. The cutting power continues up the blade sides where serrated edges tear through tough grass or soil conditions.
Longevity is another feature, with a carbon-steel blade under a durable powder-coat finish and a resin coat over the carbon-steel handle to prevent rust.
5. CO-Z Mini Folding Shovel
This shovel features design for the military, and it weighs 1.8-lbs, making it easy to stow away in your rucksack. You get a carry pouch included with the shovel, and it’s a great tool to stash with your emergency gear in your car.
This model has a re-enforced steel blade, making it a great cutting and chopping tool, with a thick shovel blade for robust use. The CO-Z is an Amazon Choice product, and with the quality involved with the design and construction of this tool – we’re not surprised.
Suitable for use in the wilderness, on public land, or in your local camping spot. The CO-Z is a fantastic multi-tool to add to your kit.
6. Gerber E-Tool Folding Shovel
Gerber is a leading name in utility knives, and when they decided to enter the shovel market we could expect something small, practical and functional, and that is what we’ve got. Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade is a light (2 pounds), small and foldable tool that can find its place in any storage unit, no matter how confined it is.
The shovel features serrated edge on one-half of the blade which provides extra digging power. It is made of a powder coated boron carbon steel spade which makes it durable even for heavy-duty use. On the other side, it is compact and lightweight, so you are also getting the perk of portability if that is something you value in a shovel.
Again, the most obvious flaw of such a tool is that, due to its size, it requires a lot of bending in order to get any gardening chore done. Also, although very capable, the handle is plastic, so don’t expect it to last for several years, especially if you are performing heavy-duty digging.
7. Bulldog BUL5TSAM Shovel
An extra-specially hard-wearing option for the dedicated gardener, the ‘powerbreaker’ spade or shovel is part of a range of digging tools which will be helpful to a professional or a home gardener.
The spade itself has been tested to 10,000 volts and the handle is one entire piece of fibreglass. The blades are quite carefully designed too, with rounded corners which mean if you’re digging near pipes and cables, you’ll reduce the possibility of damage dramatically.
It’s 95cm long and 18 cm wide and is tempered for strength and rigidity.
8. Nupla Round Point
For folks that need one tool for shoveling and light-duty digging around the yard, the Nupla Round Point will get the job done while being kind to your wallet. Aside from the fiberglass handle, this shovel is the classic, No. 2 open-backed shovel your dad probably used.
It has a small step and a 48″ handle, with a huge 39° rise angle, the most dramatic angle in our test. This will save you some work over time on longer digging projects. The Nupla is one of the lighter shovels in our review, and the weight savings add up when moving hundreds of square feet of dirt.
The Nupla’s fiberglass handle flexed more than any other shovel in our pry test, and our testers hesitated to throw their full weight on the shovel, fearing it would snap. While we recommend using gloves for everything but the smallest shoveling jobs, the Nupla doesn’t provide any extra grip points, and there is a sharp ridge on the handle of this shovel.
The step also lacks any tread and is small compared to other models. If you need a shovel for basic chores like turning compost, digging out garden beds, or removing small bushes, you don’t need to spend a lot of money, and this shovel will do the trick.
9. Fiskars Xact Shovel
Costing nearly £50, the Fiskars Xact Shovel mixes a quality steel blade with a reinforced fibreglass shaft and handle. At 130 cm long, it is suitable for users of all heights. Weighing 1.85 kg, this Fiskars shovel is ideal for handling and moving soil, sand, gravel and other bulk materials.
The well-proportioned head (23 x 49 cm) and an inclined handle makes it easy to shovel and move large quantities of materials. Its long shaft ensures comfort while using it and reduces the chance of muscle strain or back problems.
The ergonomically angled, D-shaped handle allows for a firm and comfortable grip whether you’re gripping it with 1 or 2 hands. This Finnish designed gardening tool is built to last thanks to its high-quality steel blade and lightweight design.
10. Burgon & Ball Stainless Garden Spade
Although this spade is definitely at the pricier end of the scale, its lifetime guarantee coupled with its rust-proof steel and Ash construction suggests its durability is worth the extra cost. Its solid build and Y-shape allows it to carry up to 100kg. If you are willing to stretch the budget for this tool, expect it to be the last one you buy.
How To Choose The Best Garden Shovel
While digging tools are admittedly not complex or exciting, there are still a few important considerations when it comes to choosing the best garden shovel.
Almost all digging shovels and garden spades have steel blades, typically in the range of 8 to 10 inches across and 10 to 12 inches long. The most durable shovels have forged blades, meaning the blade started as a single piece of heated steel that was then hammered into shape. Less expensive shovels generally have stamped steel blades, meaning the blade and attachment to the handle was machine-stamped from a sheet of steel. You’ll generally pay twice as much for a garden tool with a forged blade, but you’ll also likely get many more years of use out of it: a good shovel, if cared for properly, can last for many years, even decades.
Garden scoops usually have aluminum blades, which makes them much lighter, but also more prone to denting or bending.
Garden shovels, spades, and scoops usually have a handle between 44 and 48 inches long, which is a comfortable length for most gardeners. There are also short-handled shovels and spades, with handles somewhere between 18 and 24 inches in length. As a general rule, long-handled garden tools provide better leverage, are easier on the gardener’s back, and are well suited to a wide range of digging tasks. But when working in a confined area, a short-handled shovel is the better choice. For many gardeners, the best solution is having both on hand.
There are three common materials used to make shovel and spade handles: wood, steel, and fiberglass. Wood—usually hickory or ash—is the traditional material for a digging tool handle, and many gardeners prefer the look and feel of wood. On the upside, wood is less expensive than fiberglass. You’ll generally pay one-third to one-half less for a shovel with a wooden handle than for a shovel with a fiberglass handle. On the downside, however, wood is heavier than fiberglass and more prone to splintering or snapping from heavy use or age. Steel-handled digging tools generally cost around the same as those with a fiberglass handle and are stronger, but heavier.
Many inexpensive wood-handled shovels and spades don’t actually have a grip: gardeners simply grasp the sturdy wooden handle. But higher-quality wooden-handled and fiberglass-handled digging tools normally have some sort of grip to provide better traction and some protection from blisters and hand pain. On long-handled tools, the grip is most often made of heavy plastic or rubbery foam, and is somewhat textured and formed for a secure grip and comfort during lengthy digging sessions. The grip usually covers around 10 to 12 inches of the handle.
The other common type of grip is a D-shaped grip, which allows the gardener to grasp the molded D at the top of the handle with one hand and the shaft with the other. These are most commonly used on short-handled shovels and spades, but they are also found on some longer-handled tools, especially garden scoops. While a D-shaped grip makes working with a shorter tool much easier, it’s mostly a matter of preference on longer tools. Some gardeners feel the D-shaped grip is more comfortable or gives them better leverage while digging or moving soil.
Most long-handled garden shovels and spades weigh between 5 and 8 pounds, with fiberglass tools towards the lower end of that range and wood-handled tools towards the upper end. While that might not seem like a very wide range, those few pounds can make a big difference after several hours of yard work. Although the perfect weight depends mostly on the gardener’s own strength and endurance, as a general rule, a heavier shovel is more durable.
In summary, we can say that shovels are great to hand-held tools that are essential in the preparation of gardens by digging. With advancements in modern farming techniques, shovels are used for digging complicated spaces. This handheld tool has come to counter limitations of working in such space such as in grow box and compact edges.
It remains the greatest challenge selecting the best shovel for digging as different shovels are used differently and their purchase depends on the choice and preference of the gardener. It’s through such a compilation of the best shovels for digging that can help a gardener to discern what type of shovel suits best.