Do you have projects to tackle around your yard this spring and summer? Maybe you plan to get the most out of your garden. Either way, you’ll have a tough go at it if you don’t have the best shovel available in your arsenal. To spruce up your garden or yard, the best shovel is a must-have tool to dig in and get started on every area of your yard.
However, there are now dozens of types of shovels available on the current market, and each one has different functionality and design attributes to consider. The blade shape, the steel handle length, the construction, and the overall design all matter. Whether you’re a brand new DIYer or a gardening pro who is going to upgrade their tools, this review roundup and buying guide will help you pick out the best shovel for your needs.
There are hundreds of shovels available, and picking out the best shovel ensures that you can use it to tackle the most projects around your home.
1. Fiskars Long Handle Digging Shovel
This long handle digging shovel by Fiskars is perfect for digging in tough or soft soil. It has a very sharp blade that ensures you can slice into the ground quickly and easily. The welded steel construction of the blade gives in additional durability that protects it against cracks and dents. This is one of the best shovels on the list because it has an 18-gauge steel shaft that will drive the shovel deep into the hard soil without bending or breaking under pressure.
The shovel’s shaft is 57.7 inches long, and this allows you to dig without putting excess strain on your back. There is enough foot space on the blade on this best shovel to set your foot down and bear down into the ground. There is an orange rubber handle on this shovel that allows you to get an excellent grip while protecting you from blisters. It’s excellent for those more labor-intensive jobs around the house like turning up new garden soil.
- Hardened steel blade and an 18-gauge steel shaft
- Has a very sharp edge
- 57.7-inch long handle
- Attachment point isn’t as durable
- Rubber handle tends to wear away
- Slightly heavier and more bulky
2. UnionTools Poly D-Grip Round Point Shovel
If you’re in the market for one of the best shovels that is built to last, take a look at this choice by Union Tools. It comes loaded with a carbon steel blade that is very durable, and it can withstand a lot of wear and tear without breaking down. The attachment point of the blade and the handle is reinforced, and this ensures that the shovel won’t break if you happen to hit hard ground when you dig. It also won’t rust or corrode in wet conditions, and the handle features hardwood.
The handle has a D-grip with a polymer coating that is nice on your hands, and it can help keep your grip comfortable with extended use. This best shovel has an extended step base on the blade to put your foot and bear down, and this provides you more secure footing. This shovel weighs in at just 2.9 pounds, and this is lightweight enough to use on large and small projects.
- Forward-extended step is comfortable
- D-grip has a polymer coating
- Strong and very lightweight
- Slightly shorter handle
- Wood is susceptible to breaking
- Blade isn’t very sharp
3. Radius GardenRoot Slayer Shovel XL
Featuring a utilitarian design, this best shovel can multi-task with the best of your tools. You get the combined powers of a pry bar, saw, and a hatchet all in one innovative tool that uses a very sharp blade to slice through stubborn roots. Additionally, it works well when you have to break dry or tough ground because it has a textured and sharpened steep V blade that rips through the ground and helps pull out roots. You can put your foot against the blade’s flat edge for more leverage.
This best shovel has a long, straight steel handle that can come off as a little odd when you first use it, and it has a slight learning curve to it. However, this shape also gives you up to four times more gripping power than a D-handle. The handle has an ergonomic gripping surface that will keep you comfortable with extended use, and it has a slightly longer shaft that reduces the strain on your body.
- Has a longer handle with an ergonomic grip
- Blade has a deep V shape
- Cuts through roots and helps pull them out
- May not be sharp enough for thicker roots
- Foot area is very sharp if you slip
- Price – more expensive option
4. True Temper Transfer Shovel
This is another multi-purpose shovel that allows you to take on a broad range of projects around your yard. It has a wide blade that works wonderfully for moving garden soil or mulch from point A to point B, and you can use it to add shape to your garden beds, scrape your hardscapes, and level areas in your yard. It has a heavy-gauge steel construction with a 10-inch wide blade. The blade comes mounted on a 25-inch long handle that is made out of wood.
Along with being able to dig with this shovel, it does very well with transferring items because of the blade. It has a D-handle that gives you a firm grip and much more leverage to scoop up those large loads. There is a step on the blade that is slightly wider to allow you to safely step on it, and it has durable attachment points that won’t break or corrode over time.
- D-grip gives you more leverage power
- Blade is slightly wider
- Step is very broad and secure
- Metal will flex lightly with use
- Handgrip area is plastic
- Doesn’t work well on hard or packed soil
5. Bully Tools Round Point Shovel
This next shovel comes from Bully Tools, and it features a functional design and construction. It uses 14-gauge steel to make the blade, and the company is based in the United States to ensure the highest quality products. It has a strong fiberglass handle that outstrips the traditional plastic ones, and this shovel features tripled layered construction on the handle to ensure it holds a great form and doesn’t bend. It has a wooden core, steel ferrule, and a thick fiberglass outer coating.
The shovel’s shaft measures 57.25 inches from blade to tip, and this allows you to work without bending or twisting. The blade on this shovel features a closed back design with dual ribs for support, and this prevents dirt and mud from building up on the blade as you work. The shaft and the handle has a one-piece ferrule that is very strong, and it won’t pull out or bend.
- Available in two handle types and sizes
- Ergonomic and lightweight
- 14-gauge steel build
- Tip can bend
- Very blunt out of the box
- Can scratch easily
6. Toolite Square Point Shovel
If you have a small farm or a pet house you need to work on, this is the best shovel on the market. It is a square point shovel that comes with small holes in it that allows you to sift out any clutter from the sand, and you can toss it away while allowing the good stuff to slip through. It has a longer handle that prevents you from twisting or bending, and you can use it for a broad range of projects like clearing out old brush and cleaning up messy areas both in public and private.
Anyone who wants to groom their flower beds or gardens should use this shovel. It’ll allow you to toss out small sticks and rocks while the soil slips through. It has a 14-gauge tempered steel blade that digs through clay, mud, and gravel without a problem. The D-handle is 29 inches long, and it has a fiberglass body. The polymer coat helps you get a firm grip and deflects damage.
- Available in three sizes
- Handle has a thick polymer coat
- Shovel has holes in it
- Handle can splinter
- Too heavy for smaller frames
- Handle is very short
7. Seymour Fiberglass Handle Notched Super Shovel
This is the best shovel to use if you live in an area with compact clay soil or rocky ground. It isn’t powerful enough to break up rocks, but it can slice through soil to help turn over your garden. It can tackle difficult terrains because it has a jagged blade with multiple sharp teeth. The larger foot spaces are very easy to balance on, and they allow you to leverage the shovel to cut deep into the ground. It has a steel build that resists rust and corrosion.
Despite the heavy-duty design, this shovel is very lightweight. In turn, you can use it on both dry and damp soil without straining your shoulders. It can cut through roots, and it has a reinforced handle that is made out of fiberglass. This helps reduce splinters or cuts, and it uses a steel ferrule to piece the handle to the blade and hold it in place.
- Blade has sharp teeth
- Reinforced fiberglass handle
- Cushioned grip keeps you comfortable
- Can’t cut through harder roots
- Slightly awkward to use
- Can be heavier for lightweight uses
8. Bond Mini D-Handle Shovel
This shovel comes from Bond, and it’s an excellent choice if you have to work in a tighter area where a full-sized shovel simply wouldn’t fit. It measures two feet long from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle, and this makes it a good choice if you plan to kneel down and dig. It could also work well if you’re shorter and have difficulty working a full-sized shovel, and children can use it. It has a D-shaped handle on it that gives you an ergonomic fit with a non-slip plastic covering.
The blade on this shovel is very wide, and this makes it an excellent choice for hauling dirt or digging wide, shallow holes. It’s small enough to slip into your car or camping gear and carry with you, and it’s lightweight enough to use around the yard. It isn’t strong enough to take on large jobs or cut through compacted dirt, but it’s more than enough for working in your flower beds or garden.
- Small enough for work in tight spaces
- Non-slip D-ring grip
- Five-year warranty attached
- Very short handle
- Can’t take on big jobs
- Grip area is plastic
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9. Ames Long Handle Square Point Shovel
This shovel can tackle several projects around your yard and garden with ease, despite the fact that it has a unique square blade. If you have to deal with snow and ice in the winter months, it can break through and give you the leverage you need to clear it away. It works well in the summer months for hauling and lifting mulch, soil, and compost. If you need to edge your garden or create trenches, the square blade will ensure you get a straight finished product.
This shovel comes equipped with a long handle that is good for tall gardeners, and it has a non-slip grip that goes down a full 10 inches from the top of the handle. The wooden handle is very durable, but some people did report that it can be difficult to hold on to. The handle also isn’t treated, and this means that it’s more prone to breaking. However, you get a short warranty that will help you replace the shovel if it breaks.
- Wide foot pads on the blade
- 10-inch non-slip grip
- Nice for trenching and edging
- Warranty is very short
- Uses an untreated wooden handle
- Not heavy-duty enough for packed soil or snow
10. Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel
At only 32 inches long, this is one of the best shovels for lightweight work available. You can easily store it in your car, SUV, truck, or snowmobile without a problem, and it’s easy enough to carry from project to project. The aluminum design on this shovel is why it’s so lightweight, and aluminum resists rusting or corroding when it gets wet. A nice perk with this shovel is that you can easily disassemble it for travel and storage, and it goes down to 25 inches long.
The handle is also aluminum, and it has a rubber coating on the handle to help you get a firm grip. This shovel is available in several different colors from black to bright red, and it weighs in at just 1.6 pounds. It has a square blade that is very wide, and this makes it a good choice for haulage. Each shovel undergoes strict quality control testing to ensure it lasts season after season.
- Aluminum is very durable
- Extremely lightweight
- Easy to disassemble
- Handle can be uncomfortable
- Connecting point between the blade and handle bends
- Edges are very dull
Best Shovel Buyer’s Guide
When you’re searching for the best shovel, what is and isn’t important? How do you compare the various options to ensure you’re getting a quality tool that will last? This short buyer’s guide will outline everything you need to know to shop with confidence.
Types of Shovels
One of the first things to decide on when you’re picking out the best shovel is which type you need. If you know going into your buying expedition, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices straight out of the gate. There are seven main categories you want to consider, and they include:
- Digging – A digging shovel is one of the most popular types, and it comes in round, square, and pointed designs. It has upcurved sides on the blade that make it easy to break through topsoil, and they can do everything from cutting through tree roots to turning over garden soil.
- Trenching – A trenching shovel has a very narrow blade on it that has a sharp curve that helps you create neat trenches. It works well for shallow digging projects alongside flower beds too.
- Drain – This is the best shovel for creating precise and narrow cuts. They have a round tip, very narrow design, and slightly curved sides.
- Scoop – These are larger shovels that work well for lifting and moving dirt and soil around. They have wide blades with thicker handles that allow you to get a good leverage on whatever you’re lifting.
- Scraper – Scraper shovels have a very straight blade with a sharpened edge that allows you to get up under ice or and debris and scrape them off your driveway, patio, or porch. They’re not good for digging or lifting.
- Edger – Edgers have a blade shaped like a half moon. You can use them to cut through more shallow turf, and they’re very useful for cleaning up the borders of patios, walkways, flower beds, or driveways, and they work well along fence lines.
- Post Hole – This tool has two blades connected with a hinge. It allows you to sink the blades into the ground, capture dirt, and pull it back out. They’re not very common, and they work best in loose or recently tilled soil.
When you pick out the type of shovel you want, you can then use these buying considerations to narrow down the best shovel out of the lot. There are several different things to consider, and having a list is a nice way of making sure that you don’t forget anything.
Both your shovel’s handle and blade should be made out of a durable material. The handle is usually wood or fiberglass. Fiberglass does have some give to it, but it has a coating that ensures you won’t get splinters. Wood is popular, but it’s prone to breaking down quicker. For the blade, steel and aluminum are very popular. Heavy-gauge steel is built to last, but it also adds a lot of weight to the shovel. Aluminum isn’t as durable, but it’s a very lightweight material that resists rusting or corroding. Decide on a material for both the handle and the blade straight away.
The shovel’s material will play a direct role in how long the shovel lasts and how well it stands up to your working environment.
The best shovels come in a broad range of sizes and styles. Ideally, your shovel will have a handle that is long enough to accommodate you so you’re not bending and stretching a lot when you use it. Some handles have adjustable lengths, but they’re usually less durable. The blade size will also matter because longer blades will help you dig deeper with every go, but wider blades are good for hauling. Smaller blades are easier to use, but they’re usually less efficient than the bigger ones.
Even if you get a lightweight option, the best shovels will weigh something. This additional weight can easily cause fatigue, especially if you use it on a long-term project. Again, your material choice will play into the weight of your shovel. Make sure you double-check the weight and see if it is something you can feasibly move and use without adding more strain on your body.
Ideally, you’ll find a shovel that is lightweight enough for you to easily use without being too lightweight to help you complete your projects.
Ideally, you’ll buy from a high-quality brand. This will help to ensure that they back their products, and they also usually have strict quality control guidelines attached to each one. Well-known and reputable brands include Fiskars, Root Assassin, Bond, Semour, and Toolite. Look and see where each company has its base, and read reviews. Customers will let you know how easy or difficult it is to get in touch with customer service.
Not all of the best shovels come with a warranty. However, you have to consider the type of work you want to do with it. Lightweight work is less likely to cause damage with your shovel while harder work will. See if your shovel has a warranty attached and what it entails. You may find that it has a 30-day warranty, and others have warranties that last up to a full five years. You also want to find out what the warranty will and won’t cover.
What do you plan on using your shovel for? The usage will dictate which type and style shovel you get. If you plan on using it for work around the yard and garden, you may not need such a heavy-duty option. However, if you plan to use it for bigger projects, you’ll need to make sure it can handle it. There are shovels that can handle both of course, but it may pay to have two on hand for when you swap out projects.
Taking your time and comparing your options when you shop helps to ensure you get a durable tool you can use for projects for years to come.
The best shovels can make your job much easier, and it takes time to ensure you’re making the right choice. Our short reviews and buyer’s guide will give you everything you need to narrow down your choices and select the best option to help you complete all of your outdoor projects this spring and summer.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.