The best shovel is one that can be used in a variety of gardening applications. That makes it difficult to decide on just one. Shopping considerations incorporate the size of the blade, how long the handle should be, the feel of the handle, and the stability of the gripping. Once you’ve determined which features are most important to you, it’s time to narrow the scope even further. To simplify matters, we offered several picks among the best garden tools and tips on selecting a shovel.
The blade should ideally be long enough to cover the full width of your trowel. A shorter blade will force you to use the handle all the way up to the height of your elbow. On the other hand, a longer blade will make it more comfortable to pick up smaller gardening tools. The blade is also important for digging and for transferring the soil from one area to another. As long as the teeth are serrated, they can get into the dirt and break down clumps. But the best ones have smooth, rounded edges that protect the user from dirt and dust when moving the trowel through the garden.
If you’re shopping for a garden shovel that doesn’t easily bend or break, look for one made of steel or aluminum. Steel is generally strong and durable; the harder metal is easier to clean and to repair. For a lightweight option, look for a fiberglass or plastic shovel. Fiberglass shovels are lighter than steel and are less likely to bend.
The shaft is the part of a shovel that connects the head to the rest of the body. Often, you’ll find that each type has a different shaft design based on the work it needs to do. For example, a digging shovel has a long shaft and a curved top, while a planting shovel has a short shaft with a straight top. A pruning sheath secures the shaft to the body, preventing the body from getting scratched as it gathers the soil for harvest.
The handle is what controls the power of a shovel. Many are circular, but some are hexagonal or square, with a point on the end. Try to find a design that’s as close to your hand as possible. That way, you can control the force of the swing and be more comfortable using it. Handles are made of a wide variety of materials, from plastic to carbon steel, so try to find one that fits securely in your hand and feels comfortable to use.
To determine how well a shovel handles small to medium-sized garden tasks, try to swing it back and forth and making tight fists around the handle. You’ll probably need to experiment with the length and width of your hands to get a handle that feels comfortable and effective for you. The best shovels are those that have a long shaft and a short handle that will allow you to dig tight spaces without bending over. Remember that not all shovels have to be used for digging: some may be designed for lawn maintenance or for clearing clutter from pathways.
Another concern for any gardener is getting the right kind of gardening tools. While it’s impossible to list every tool available, here’s a quick list of what we consider to be the best shovels for garden use: compact lawn and garden spades, metal garden spades, garden trowels, hand trowels, wire-trowels, and rototiller / cultivator. All of these tools have their own sets of pros and cons, so consider what you will be doing in your garden before buying any type of gardening tool. Remember that you should also consider gardening gloves when you’re preparing to transplant plants or when you’re planning a lawnmower repair.
The shaft of a traditional shovel is usually made of steel. There are also some shovels available in aluminum or with a plastic shaft. Some of today’s best compact hoes have replaceable blades. The best part about these blade options is that you can purchase a blade with different length that will accommodate the size of your hand. A longer or shorter shovel shaft will affect how much you can dig, depending on how much soil you’re working with.