Digging a hole in your garden for planting or removing deep-seated roots can be a chore. Compacted soil can take more effort to dig through, so you need the right equipment for the job. Instead of straining your hand, you should get the best shovel for digging holes and removing roots. Unlike other shovels, this one is made with a pointed tip that can slice through the ground.
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A shovel is an indispensable gardening tool. It makes digging a breeze if you’re uprooting old plants and planting new ones. Those with hand problems will find relief from an ergonomic shovel.
As someone who’s gardening for quite some time now, I know how difficult digging could be. A crowbar just won’t work, especially if you need to achieve substantial depth. A trusty shovel will let you get digging tasks done faster and more efficiently.
Aside from that, a garden shovel will let you transfer large amounts of soil quicker and with less mess. I’ve improvised a lot of gardening tools before, and I know that a makeshift shovel just won’t work.
I also recognize that there are different types of garden shovels, which vary in shape, size, length, and other features. To help you find the best choices, I reviewed here five of the best options in the market to suit your gardening tasks.
1. Spear Head Spade Fiberglass Shovel
If you’re looking for a gardening shovel that digs deep, you should put your money on the Spear Head Spade Fiberglass Shovel. This is a 41.5-inch shovel with a D-grip so you can dig with less hand strain.
Its blade is 10.75 inches long with a 31-inch handle. Its blade is designed to penetrate the toughest soil. It can also deal with strong roots and grass in your garden. Overall, this shovel can reduce your digging efforts by up to 80%.
Moreover, this has a patent-pending blade design made of high-carbon manganese steel with a fiberglass handle. Overall, this is 35% thicker and 25% harder than typical shovels you’ll find in gardening supply shops. It also has an epoxy coating to make it last longer and so it would be easy to clean.
Aside from tackling compact ground, this shovel can hold more soil at a time. Despite that, it remains lightweight and ideal for those with hand pain.
I also like how this shovel holds up well on rocky soil. Its blade is solid and will not chip easily. And unlike its predecessor SHFD2, this SHFD3 shovel has a better and more comfortable grip.
- High-carbon manganese steel
- Lightweight and easy to grip
- Made to slice through compact soil
- The coating wears away
2. Root Assassin One Shot Shovel
For those who are digging a trench in their garden, the Root Assassin One Shot Shovel is a good option. It boasts an innovative wing technology design on its blade that carries more per scoop. It also gives a neater and easier shoveling job.
Moreover, this has a sturdy handle made of heavy-duty fiberglass. Despite its tough construction, this shovel remains lightweight for just 6 pounds. Whether it’s for garden soil, mud, dirt, sand, and rocky spots, this shovel will not disappoint.
You can also use the wing design for larger footsteps so you can exert more power to get through the toughest soil. Simply press, kick, and scoop. Based on the experience of users, this shovel can cut digging time by half.
We have to thank the heavy steel blade for this benefit. It’s made tough to endure heavier payloads. The end of the shovel shaft also comes with a cushioned D-handle for an easy grip.
This is available in a 43-inch version, but you can also buy the long handle counterpart that’s 60 inches long. With Root Assassin having a reputation as makers of reliable gardening tools, I’m confident that this shovel can put up on any digging task.
- Wing design
- Lightweight yet durable
- Available in a long handle version
- Watch out as your shoe tread may get stuck on the wings
3. Lesche Sampson Pro-Series Shovel
For the toughest soil in your garden, you should get the Lesche Sampson Pro-Series Shovel. It’s made with a pre-sharpened edge to cut through soil and roots. This blade is made of aircraft-grade steel that can endure the toughest tasks and regular use.
Aside from gardening, this shovel is also made for metal detecting. Unlike other shovels with a wide blade, this one has a narrower design with a sloping surface. This can slice through soil and carry heavy payloads without breaking.
Overall, its blade is 7.5 long and 4 inches wide for a total of 31 inches in length. This comes with a solid metal handle, too, that you can use to pry surfaces without worrying about breakage. Its tapered blade edges are self-sharpening, making it the best shovel for digging up roots.
This shovel is also super lightweight, so you can dig deep and large holes without feeling too much strain on your hand. You can even get one with a gold-colored blade if you want a fancy touch for your gardening tools.
The only thing I wish is that the base is a bit wider so it can dig through more soil on each attempt.
- Made of aircraft-grade steel
- Pre-sharpened edges
- Durable steel handle
- I wish the base is a bit wider
4. Fiskars PRO Shovel
If you’re looking for a long handle shovel, check out the Fiskars Pro Shovel. It’s made of a heavy-duty blade that can do digging and prying with ease. Moreover, the blade is connected to an aluminum handle using a double-bolt connection for utmost durability.
Moreover, it’s designed with an extended shank that gives you the best angle when digging and scooping soil. I also like the sharpened blade edges that make it easier to slice through soil and cut thick roots. This is also the best shovel for removing grass if you don’t want to do the manual pulling.
I also like the wide wing steps on top of the blade that makes it easy to drive with both feet. It doesn’t get stuck on the treads of the shoes, which is a big plus. This doesn’t have a D-handle, but it uses a teardrop-shaped shaft that contours with your fingers. It also has a soft grip at the end of the shaft to reduce hand fatigue.
It’s also coated with paint, which wears off over time. It’s a little heavy than other shovels, but this part isn’t a big deal since the shovel really lasts long.
- Sharpened blade edges
- Soft handle that contours on the hands
- Double-bolt connection for durability
- A bit heavier than other shovels
5. True Temper Floral Digging Shovel
Another long handle shovel that I recommend is the True Temper Floral Digging Shovel. This has a round point steel blade made for digging medium to large holes in your garden. It also has a forward-turned step that lets you exert pressure easily with your foot.
Aside from that, this shovel has a 42-inch hardwood handle with a 5-inch poly end grip for increased control and comfort. It also has an end cap with a hanging hole so you can store it easily.
If you’re making a raised bed garden, this shovel is a must-have, so you no longer have to take time digging and scooping soil. The tempered steel blade of this shovel can deal with any soil condition you can think of.
This is also a cheaper option if you don’t have the extra budget for an expensive tool. It’s a real old-shovel, plus you can easily replace the blade once it wears out.
The True Temper shovel is a little heavy, but you can always leverage the weight for deeper holes. If you have arthritis, you may find this shovel easier to use than other options.
- Hardwood handle
- Made for garden digging
- Topnotch grip
- A little heavy, but not a big deal
When it comes to garden shovels for digging, you must find the right configuration based on the type of soil you’re dealing with:
The first thing you should check is the blade type of the shovel. Most shovels are available in an open back, closed-back, and forged type. The following are the specific features of each type:
Open back. This is commonly found in cheap shovels. It offers low weight and decent digging capabilities. Usually, this blade type is stamped and can’t endure rocky soil.
Closed-back. Closed-back shovels have a flat back since it has an added plate welded into the plate. This makes the shovel more rigid and tolerant of regular wear and tear.
Forged. If you want a shovel that can endure anything life throws at it, you should invest in a forged blade. The forging process makes the steel stronger despite the thin construction. It’s an excellent choice when digging deep holes into compact and rooty soil.
Next, you must choose the blade shape for efficient digging. You’d choose between a square or a round point. If your goal is to dig holes, remove roots, and pull grass, you should opt for a round point blade. Square points are often reserved in scooping debris and loose soil.
Lift refers to the angle of the shaft from the blade. Shovels with a low lift can dig through faster. The minimal angle allows you to stomp your foot at the top of the blade. This reduces hand strain and the needed effort to slice through the soil. Meanwhile, high lift shovels are ideal for scooping loose material.
Blade and handle material
For the blade, always look for hardened steel. Tempered steel is a good choice because it’s resistant to chipping. For the handle, some opt for hardwood, fiberglass, and steel. All of these materials work, but fiberglass is a good choice if you want something that won’t break and corrode easily.
Size and length
Most garden shovels are around 30 to 48 inches. You can also find longer ones around 50 to 60 inches. Longer shovels offer more leverage for digging, but it’s not suitable for short users. The taller you get, the longer the handle should be so you won’t hurt your back while digging. It depends on your preference and digging technique.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does wetting the soil make it easier to dig?
A: Yes, wetting the soil makes it easier to dig as it softens up. Your shovel can easily penetrate the deeper layers of the ground, unlike when it’s compact and dry. However, you should water modestly, or the soil will turn into a muddy mess.
Q: How should I dig into compacted clay soil?
A: Compacted clay soil is stiffer and more difficult to dig. You need a sturdy shovel that can take the beating of intense force. I don’t recommend a tillage machine as it can bounce off the compacted clay, which can be dangerous.
Q: How can I dig deep without it collapsing?
A: If you’re making a deep hole in your garden, you can utilize makeshift pillars to reinforce the sides. You should follow the basic rule of tunneling: cut, cover, and bore. Be careful about staying beneath a deep excavation as the walls might cave in and bury you under.
Q: Is digging bad for the soil?
A: Digging is actually beneficial for the soil, especially compacted ones. Digging makes the soil more crumb-like. It will introduce air pockets that will let plant roots grow easier. Many plants don’t grow on hard and compacted soil.
The best shovel for digging holes will let you deal with compacted soil with ease. Instead of using a small trowel and other makeshift digging tools, you can invest in a durable shovel that will do the job faster. Just make sure that you get a shovel with durable material, sharpened edges, and the right handle length.
What do you think of the shovels I reviewed above? Share your thoughts below!