With its endless uses, a shovel is one of the first tools a gardening enthusiast should purchase. Question is – what is the best shovel for digging?
Selecting digging shovel that suits your needs can be tricky because there are many products out there with different attributes.
If you have used different types of shovels, you understand their differences in terms of comfort, performance, and durability.
If you’re confused about the right product to choose, don’t worry. In this article, we’ve reviewed the 5 best shovels for digging, along with a handy guide that will help you make an informed decision.
What is a Shovel?
A shovel is a tool that has a broad and concave blade with a curved tip. It helps in digging and moving materials like mulch, dirt, or snow. They are useful gardening tools since they come in various sizes and shapes. Since there are a few choices to choose from in the market, you need to be keen on your capabilities and needs before making a purchase.
Types of Shovels
A digging shovel is used to dig a ditch or hole in the ground. Generally, it comes with a handle placed at the center of the blade, which adds extra leverage when removing materials. A good digging shovel should have a pointed tip to the blade to help cut the soil.
These shovels are long and narrow-bladed and are meant for making narrow trenches. They are useful for making slender swale runoffs and laying irrigation pipes. This tool aims to minimize disruption in areas you aren’t digging and create straight and precise lines.
These shovels are similar to trenching shovels. However, they have slight variations in shape. A drain shovel has curved edges and a rounded tip which makes them ideal for transplanting uses and removing debris from ditches or trenches.
Scoop shovels are great for moving materials that are dug out. They are available in small and large sizes. They are also helpful in spreading and moving manure, compost, coal, mulch, or similar materials.
Scrapers are designed to scrape ice off driveways or roofs. However, they are not designed for scooping or digging and are very popular to remove shingles from roofs.
What’s the Difference between Shovels for Camping and Gardening?
Generally, gardening shovels have long handles and large scoops for chopping roots or moving soil. A camping model has a telescopic or folding handle that makes it easy to store.
What is the Difference Between a Shovel and a Spade?
A shovel is designed with a rounded blade and is used for digging. Spades come with straight edges and are less concave, and are used for cutting and edging.
Can I Replace a Broken Handle?
This depends on the kind of shovel you own. If it has a wooden handle, you can replace it, and the replacement handles are readily available. There are several guides that can guide you through the process. If you own a fiberglass handle, replacing it can be a bit challenging.
How Can I Shovel Without Hurting my Back?
Back pains are common problems when doing shoveling tasks, and the best way to eliminate this problem is by purchasing the right shovel. If the back strain is the issue, look for a shovel with a long handle, so you won’t have to bend over when using it. You should bend your knees and hips instead of your back and try not to twist when shoveling.
What Size of Shovel Do I Need?
Selecting the right size depends on your application. If you want to move soil from your garden, look for a shovel with a large scoop and a polyethylene lip for scraping. However, if you’re looking for a camping shovel, your needs may be a bit different. A camping shovel needs to have telescoping or folding handle assemblies.
What Muscles Do I Use When Using a Shovel?
When digging, you’ll engage your calves, hamstrings, and glutes to complete the movement. Shoveling also involves your core muscles.
Best Shovel for Digging Buying Guide
Shovels are designed to perform different tasks. However, some features set some models apart. For this reason, most customers get confused when shopping for the best shovels for digging. Here’s a guide to help you make the right decision.
Before making a purchase, you must check the soil type of your garden. If the garden has soft soil, any shovel will work well. However, if the soil is rocky or has high clay content, you need a heavy-duty shovel. Additionally, if you need a shovel for commercial uses, look for a durable, sturdy, and heavy-duty shovel, despite the soil type.
Most shovel handles are made from either fiberglass or wood, and each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Wood handles are durable, strong, and easy to replace. However, they are heavy and prone to weathering. Fiberglass is more durable than wood and won’t rot or weather, but replacement may be tricky.
Shovels with long handles are better for many garden tasks. You don’t need to bend, and they give you more leverage which eliminates back strains. Short shovels are great for working in confined areas or for dealing with roots. However, the right product should suit your needs and the soil type you’re working on.
Most gardeners do not consider the weight of their shovels when making a purchase. If you are using the tool for several hours or dig up large parts, you need a shovel that will reduce muscle strain. Too heavy shovels may be hard to work with, so be keen on your selection.
Shovels are designed to do tedious tasks. Therefore, they must have sturdy construction materials and components. Moreover, these tools may be costly to replace frequently. You can determine a durable shovel by checking the blades and curved tips.
The amount of money you’re willing to spend will determine the shovel you get. Most quality shovels for digging are expensive, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t get an inexpensive gem if you’re tight on a budget.
Best Shovel for Digging Reviews
The Bond LH015 Mini D Handle Shovel is not collapsible, but the design is useful in all gardening tasks. It has a lightweight design that makes it easy to carry around your flowerbeds with ease. It comes with a tempered heat-treated steel head that is reliable and robust, with a rust-proof coating. The comfortable D-handle offers a non-slip grip that gives you full control over your tool.
- Heat-treated steel head
- Sharpened edges
- Rust-resistant coated paint
- Strong design and construction
- Hard to break
- Comfortable to use
- Not ideal for hard tasks
- It has a short handle
If you’re looking for a no-frills shovel that’ll stand the test of time, this is a great choice. The Fiskars 96685935J LNG Hndl Digging Shovel is an efficient tool designed to suit all your digging needs and is one of the most durable options out there. It comes with an all-steel design that makes it stand out among the rest. What’s more, it has an extra-large foot platform that allows you to comfortably put more force when shoveling.
- 14-gauge hardened steel blade
- 18-gauge steel shaft
- 57.5 inches length
- Extra-large foot platform
- Full lifetime warranty
- Long handle
- Durable design
- Not ideal for rocky surfaces
The True Temper 2585900 D-Grip Digging Shovel is among the most preferred tools by gardeners, thanks to its great power. It comes with a D-shaped hardwood handle that makes it comfortable and easy to use during heavy-duty tasks. The forged steel blade has a large surface area and a sharpened edge making it ideal for cutting soil.
- Forged steel blade
- Ergonomic D-handle
- 24-inch hardwood handle
- Comfortable grip
- Durable design
- Good price
- Ideal for heavy-duty tasks
- Good quality steel
- Not ideal for rocky soil
The Bully Tools 82510 14-Gauge Round Point Shovel is a perfect tool for all your heavy-duty gardening tasks. Although it’s a bit expensive, this shovel has good returns on investment. It has a sharp blade and features of being extended. Additionally, it has sturdy construction and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
- D-grip handle
- 14-gauge steel blade
- Commercial grade
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Durable design
- Great for tough soil
Although this trenching shovel may not be a versatile option, it beats other digging tools when repairing or installing an irrigation system. It comes with a 48-inch hardwood handle and a pointed steel blade that keeps soil in place when moving it out.
- V-angled head
- 1-inch sides
- Hardwood ash handle
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Ideal for digging trenches
- Durable design
- Some customers complained that they received defective products
Although there are many shovels for digging in the market, ranging from simple to highly specialized, these are our top picks for the best shovels for digging. However, before making a purchase ensure that the shovel is easy to use and suits your gardening needs.