Best 10 Shovels
As Of October 2021
We did the
Top Corrosion-Resistant Pick
- Bring it with you on trips as it’s compact enough to fit in your car boot
- Lift compost mess-free thanks to the foot treads
- Maintain a steady grip with a full load as it has a fibreglass shaft
- Lasts for many years with minimal upkeep on your end as it has a lacquered finish
Take on Landscaping Like a Pro With The Best Shovels
Have you been looking for a hobby and found yourself taking on gardening lately? Do you want to have the right tools at your disposal to take on removing weeds, trimming bushes and cleaning up the garden? There are many gardening tools to consider, but some of the basic must-haves include robust grass trimmers, lawn mowers, hedge trimmers. Of course, one of the first things to get down and dirty when landscaping is a high-quality garden hose and a handy companion to move chunky materials around. Cue where a garden shovel comes in! After that, it wouldn’t hurt to look into spades, trowels and rakes.
You can make it part of your lawn’s scarification process along with a lawn scarifier, pick up scrapes that a garden shredder leaves behind; you name it! This fantastic gardening tool has so much versatility that you can use it with any bulky or thin material you want. Do you want to learn more about the different blade tips, edges, handles and more? With our buying guide, you’ll be able to select the right tool for your needs. Keep reading below!
What are shovels?
A shovel is a tool that you can use in your garden or other outdoor home areas. A smaller variation that is also very popular yet different in design is a spade. Shovels have a broad blade, curvy tip and a straight handle to help you dig and move materials with less manual strain. There are many shapes and sizes available to suit any needs, body type and materials.
Selecting the appropriate type for your projects may be overwhelming as there are multiple types out there. But, we have dedicated a section explaining the differences between each type so that you can pick the correct one for your home improvement chores.
What’s the difference between a shovel and a garden spade?
While people may think that they are the same product, in fact, they are two separate tools. You may have seen these two terms come hand in hand and want to know what their differences are. Lucky for you, we have the answer to that! The most distinguishing difference in layman’s terms is that the shovel has a curved inward blade, whereas the spade has a flattened blade with straight edges. But, there are also other things that set them apart, including:
- Handle: Shovels have longer handles, while spades are better suitable for tight areas, which is why their handles are shorter.
- Shape: A shovel’s shape has a natural forward angle, making it a better option for digging. Spades don’t have that angle and are, instead, straight, ideal for weed skimming, lawn edging and opening trenches.
Depending on your task at hand, one may be better suitable than the other. But, in the long-term, we recommend that you invest in both as they offer you multiple functionalities and increased versatility. You will notice that your gardening experience will be more efficient and also so much more enjoyable!
What types of shovels are available?
There are 6 most common shovel types to choose from, each better suitable for a unique gardening project. Let’s have a look at which option will make more sense for you. We’d hate to see you end up with one that won’t do the trick for your needs.
1. Flat Shovels
This shovel type has a flat blade, making it easier to transfer the materials from one area to another. You can use it to dig into the ground, but it doesn’t have the same flexibility as, say, the round point shovel. Also, these work well when you have to deal with edging or trenching. If you’re handling soft mulch or other similar materials, this shovel can help you spread them evenly and smoothly.
2. Trench Shovels
Trench shovels are professional gardeners’ favourites as they are wonderful for your landscaping needs. They have a narrow blade that is longer and a curvy, sharp edge which helps when trenching. The one downside to them is that their narrow blade does not leave you with enough room to dig them deeper by foot. So, you will have to rely on your arms and chest for strength.
3. Digging Shovels
This garden shovel can combine the usability of the above two but has the added benefit of the upcurved sides on the blade. That way, when you’re digging through the ground, the materials won’t fall off, creating a mess. The digging shovels will vary from square to round or pointed diggers. The square ones are ideal for small shrubbery and for creating crisp lines on the lawn’s edges. Round head shovels are better suitable for soft soils without applying too much pressure on the ground. Finally, pointed tip shovels are the most hard-wearing, ideal for rocky soils.
4. Mini Shovels
You will find these types lying around in most home gardens as they are lightweight, compact and portable to carry around your backyard. They are easy to store in any garden shed, and come in various sizes to fit all your light-duty projects. Their blades can either be round or pointed, and they can help you dig holes for your plants, remove weeds, and more.
5. Scoop Shovels
These are most suitable when dealing with heavier materials that are larger in size too. For example, if you’re removing ice or snow from your driveway, a scoop shovel can be your partner in crime. Their handle’s materials are more robust, either metal or aluminium, because of their increased load capacity. Some people even prefer using these when handling their pets’ droppings as they can cover a larger surface area at once.
6. Tree Planting Shovel
This shovel type is pretty self-explanatory as most people prefer using it when planting trees. They have a pointed or curved tip so that no roots or other debris can stand in their way. There are options with long or short handles to match your space constraints and needs. If you are working on a slanted area, go for a short handle, but longer handles are best if you’re working on flat surfaces.
What to look for in a shovel
Are you warming up to the idea of purchasing your own shovel? Do you want to gain more knowledge on the key features to consider when looking for one? We’ve compiled a list of the most critical things to look for so that you select the right shovel for you.
Selecting the correct shovel length is a matter of personal preference as you want one that will be comfortable and ergonomic for you to hold. Seeing as you’ll be spending a bit of time hunched over a specific spot, it’s best to find a shovel that’s between 70-110cm long. But, if you’re working on tight nooks that require a shorter handle, mini shovels start from as little as 10cm in length.
The material will boost your shovel’s lifespan and help in giving you a sturdier grip, better stability and more strength. The most common blade materials include steel, stainless steel, aluminium and metal. The shaft and handle parts may be wood, fibreglass, treated polyester and plastic. A steel construction will give you the most peace of mind as these materials come with anti-corrosion properties.
The shovel’s weight is also important to ease your manual strain when lifting and carrying materials with it. Generally, shovels aren’t too heavy, but their material construction can impact their weight. For example, metal and steel shovels will require a bit more muscle power on your end. Also, snow shovels are more heavy-duty shovels as they handle larger chunks of ice and snow. So, they require more durability for better weight-bearing. Their weight will be over 2kg, which is still light enough to carry comfortably. Plastic, hardwood or mini shovels will weigh less, usually under 1kg.
We mentioned it above, but it’s critical to consider the grip type on your shovel. They not only make the shovel withstand wear and tear, but they’re also much better in terms of ergonomics. Look for options with a soft grip handle, a wide D-shaped design so that you can lower the chances of splinters and wrist fatigue.
If you’re tight on a budget and want to find a choice that won’t break your bank, don’t worry! Shovels are inexpensive for any pocket. Mini models start from as little as £10 to £20, while larger ones like the snow shovel may cost up to £30-40. The materials and type of shovel will lower or up the price.
How should you use your digging shovel ergonomically?
Do you want to ensure that you lessen the chances of a back injury or, even worse, a more serious accident? Believe it or not, there is some technique tied to digging with a shovel. Check below some of our top tips and tricks to make the most of your digging experience.
- Keep the shovel close to your body so that you don’t have to lean further away.
- Dip it into the ground using your leg’s weight for assistance.
- Lift the materials with your knees to reduce the strain on your back.
- Avoid filling the blade fully to have better control of the load.
- Turn around your entire body with your feet to drop the materials to another location, not just from your hips.
What’s the best way to maintain your shovel?
If you want to ensure that your shovel stays in tip-top shape, you can follow some of these expert recommendations that will prolong its lifespan. That way, not only will you have made a long-term investment, you will also be saving money on replacements.
- Take some time to clean up the blade after every use to prevent rotting and chances of rust build-up.
- Mix soap and warm water in a bowl and scrape the shovel down with a robust brush.
- Wipe it down with a cloth to remove any moisture from the shovel.
- Ensure that the blade is sharp & sharpen it if needed.
- If the shovel’s shaft is wooden, check for any patches and smoothen them down.
- When the gardening season is over, oil the blade and store it at room temperature to protect it from bad weather.
Lift and move materials such as gravel, dirt and soil efficiently with the best shovels! Who says you have to break your back doing all the manual work with your bare hands? Investing in some high-quality gardening tools will free your hands and help you finish the jobs faster.
We are optimistic that our buying guide has helped you better understand what to look for in a shovel. After reviewing our top selections, you’ll be ready to take on landscaping like the professional gardeners out there! Are you starting with the flower beds, driveway or tree planting?