10 Best Shovels [2019 Complete Guide]
The modern-day shovel is one of the most practical tools to dig the ground. It is heavy-duty and easy to use.
If you must perform any type of digging, whether you own a garden or you want to scrape snow, you must invest in a quality shovel. There is a model for every need out there.
Additionally, the shovel is extremely durable and professionally built to last a long time. This is not an investment that you will have to make every year.
If you don’t know which model to get, then our shovel review below will guide you. Let’s get to it!
10 Best Shovels – Reviews
1. Radius Garden 22011 (Best Shovel for Gardening)
2. Bond LH015 (Affordable and Enamel Coated)
3. Lifeline 4004 (Extremely Lightweight and Highly Maneuverable)
4. Fiskars 96685935J (Easy to Dig Tough Soil)
5. Tabor Tools J35A (Ultra-small and compact. Highly portable)
6. Fiskars 96696925J (Heavy-Duty Digging Shovel)
7. Bully Tools 92510 (Highly Durable Shovel)
8. The Ames Companies 43106 (Small but Heavy-duty)
9. The Ames Companies 2585900 (Ergonomic Wood Handle)
10. Gerber 22-41578 (Very Small and Versatile Shovel)
1. Radius Garden 22011
(Best Shovel for Gardening)
2. Bond LH015
(Affordable and Enamel Coated)
3. Lifeline 4004
(Extremely Lightweight and Highly Maneuverable)
4. Fiskars 96685935J
(Easy to Dig Tough Soil)
5. Tabor Tools J35A
(Ultra-small and compact. Highly portable)
6. Fiskars 96696925J
(Heavy-Duty Digging Shovel)
7. Bully Tools 92510
(Highly Durable Shovel)
8. The Ames Companies 43106
(Small but Heavy-duty)
9. The Ames Companies 2585900
(Ergonomic Wood Handle)
10. Gerber 22-41578
(Very Small and Versatile Shovel)
1. Radius Garden 22011 – Best Shovel for Gardening
- Blade: Powder-coated Carbon Steel
- Handle: O-handle + Thermoplastic Elastomer
- Dimension: 45 inches x 10.5 inches x 3 .8 inches
- Weight: 5 lbs
The Radius Garden 22011 is a popular shovel used by both professional as well as we can gardeners. If you spend time in the garden, then this model is one of the best shovels for gardening that money can buy.
For starters, it has an O-ring handle with a thermoplastic elastomer coating that makes it extremely comfortable to hold.
Due to the handle design, you can hold it in multiple positions to increase your comfort level while digging. Also, the handle is quite large, and you will have no problem holding it with both hands.
The V-shape blade tip is sharp and designed in a way so that it can penetrate the soil with ease. It can dig in any type of soil with equal ease.
Moreover, the blade is powder-coated with carbon steel for maximum durability. Even if you encounter a big rock while digging, it will not dent the blade in any way.
The only caveats we find with this product is its price, which is higher than the rest. Also, the handle is not as durable as the rest of the shovel. You will need to be careful when manipulating it.
2. Bond LH015 – Affordable and Enamel Coated
- Blade: Metal with Enamel Coating
- Handle: Mini D-handle + Fiberglass
- Dimension: 27.6 inches x 13.6 inches x 7 .5 inches
- Weight: 1.75 lbs
The Bond LH015 is a traditional-looking shovel. However, it has many good things going for it. For one, this model is one of the best shovels for digging when it comes to price. It is very affordable. And, it has a thick transparent enamel coating for durability.
Indeed, those 2 combinations make this shovel a good value, especially if you need a shovel for digging. When it comes to comfort, no problem. The D-handle is made from fiberglass and provides good comfort.
Also, at 1.75 lbs, it is highly maneuverable. We also like the fact that the blade tips are heat-treated for superior durability. It even has a powder-coated paint to make it weatherproof.
And in case of problems, remember that this shovel is backed by a 5-year warranty by the manufacturer.
However, we see a few caveats. The handle of the shovel is made from fiberglass and not the most heavy-duty. You need to be careful when operating it as it can break easily. Also, the blade is a little small, so it can be difficult to use for digging trenches.
3. Lifeline 4004 – Extremely Lightweight and Highly Maneuverable
- Blade: Aluminum
- Handle: T-shape + Aluminum
- Dimension: 26 inches x 12 inches x 8 inches
- Weight: 1.1 lbs
The Lifeline 4004 is the lightest shovel in this review. Indeed, with its 1.1 lbs of weight, it is not only lightweight but also very maneuverable. If you lack the physical power to operate a heavy shovel, then this unit is undoubtedly a great choice for you.
But one of the best things about the shovel is that it is fully adjustable anywhere from 26 inches up to 32 inches. You can make this shovel very comfortable based on your own height. Pretty neat!
Moreover, this shovel is composed of 3 parts. So, you can easily break it down into even smaller components for storage in tight areas like a car booth.
And since it has a large blade, it is ideally suited for scraping rather than digging. You also have the possibility to purchase this shovel in different colors to suit your needs.
The only thing that we didn’t like about it is since it is made from aluminum, it is not as durable as a steel shovel. Furthermore, this model has a T-shaped handle which is not very comfortable when held for an extended period.
4. Fiskars 96685935J – Easy to Dig Tough Soil
- Blade: Hardened Steel
- Handle: Long Handle + Hardened Steel
- Dimension: 57.5 inches x 3 .2 inches x 8 .6 inches
- Weight: 6 lbs
One distinctive feature of the Fiskars 96685935J is its long, unibody shape. This model is one of the longest shovels as well as heaviest that you will encounter in this shovel review with an impressive 57.5 inches long and 6 lbs weight.
All those combinations allow it to penetrate the soil with great force so that you dig tough soil with ease.
Additionally, thanks to the long handle, you will not have to bend your back or knee lot while digging. The foot platform is also quite large, and you will have no problem applying pressure on it with your feet to maximize the downward force.
And one of the best things that we like about the Fiskars 96685935J is that it comes with a lifetime warranty.
The only problem we have with this unit is the handle, which isn’t the most comfortable. Also, this shovel requires some muscle power to operate because it is heavy at 6 lbs.
5. Tabor Tools J35A – Ultra-small and compact. Highly portable
- Blade: Hardened Steel
- Handle: Triangular Handle + Hardened Steel
- Dimension: 8 inches x 6 .7 inches x 2 inches
- Weight: 1.63 lbs
The Tabor Tools J35A is one of the smallest garden shovels in this review with a length of only 8 inches. It is incredibly portable and will easily fit a small bag while on the go.
What we also like about it is the large triangular handle that makes it comfortable to hold. Whether you must dig a small or a large hole, this model will do the job.
Best, when you have finished using the shovel, you can easily store it, and it will not occupy a lot of space. It even comes with a handy carry pouch.
In addition, it weighs only 1.63 lbs, so it is lightweight. It will not cause hand fatigue even when used for an extended period.
The only issue we have with it is that it is not the sturdiest shovel out there. Moreover, the blade is a bit dull and may require sharpening.
We still have no difficulty nominating this model as the best cheap shovel that you can get. Not only is it cheap, but if you’re also looking for a small and compact model, then you cannot go wrong with it.
6. Fiskars 96696925J – Heavy-Duty Digging Shovel
- Blade: Hardened Steel
- Handle: D-handle + Plastic
- Dimension: 47 inches x 3 .2 inches x 8 .6 inches
- Weight: 5 lbs
The Fiskars 96696925J is a heavy-duty digging shovel. It is made from a hardened steel material that is durable and allows it to dig in tough soil easily. This model can do so because it has a long length of 47 inches and a weight of 5 lbs that creates a greater downward force when digging.
Also, the blade of this digging shovel is sharpened to allow it to break hardened dirt clods in the soil more easily. The shaft is also highly durable as it is made from 18-gauge steel.
Moreover, the D-handle is quite large and comfortable. You can use this digging shovel for an extended period and not feel hand fatigue. But best of all, you can get a lifetime warranty on this shovel for a small additional fee.
This model is one of the best heavy-duty shovels on the market. The only problem we have with it is its plastic handle, which will fade and degrade under sunlight.
7. Bully Tools 92510 – Highly Durable Shovel
- Blade: 12 Gauge Steel
- Handle: D-handle + Reinforced Fiberglass
- Dimension: 45.8 inches x 8 .5 inches x 3 .6 inches
- Weight: 4.83 lbs
The Bully Tools 92510 is an extremely durable shovel. It is made from 12-gauge steel that will not corrode, bend, or break. You can use it all day long for heavy-duty digging activities.
Moreover, the handle is comfortable and made from a reinforced Fiberglas. It has non-slip textures that make it perfect for gripping without gloves.
It also has a very decent length of 45.8 inches. Any type of person can use this shovel comfortably, whether it is a tall or short person.
Best, this is a high-quality shovel that is made in the USA. It has a deep attention to detail.
However, despite being one of the strongest shovels on the market, there are still a few disadvantages.
For one, the handle is a little bit on the small side for such a big shovel. Also, the black powdered coating on the blade can easily come off with usage.
8. The Ames Companies 43106 – Small but Heavy-duty
- Blade: Carbon Steel
- Handle: D-handle + Hardwood
- Dimension: 37.9 inches x 8.6 inches x 5.5 inches
- Weight: 2.9 lbs
Despite its small size, the Ames Companies 43106 is a heavy-duty shovel. This model is equipped with a carbon steel blade that is incredibly durable. It can go through tough soil very easily and will not get damaged if it encounters rocks.
With its length of 37.9 inches, this shovel is on the small side. However, its small size makes it very easy to carry and doesn’t need a lot of space to store.
For more comfort, it is equipped with a D-handle made from hardwood. And in order to promote ease-of-use, this handle has textured grooves that make it anti-slip. Based on comfort, this model is certainly one of the best shovels for digging out there.
However, it has a weight of 2.9 lbs. It is on the heavy side for such a small tool. Also, the wood handle can easily break if used for heavy-duty shoveling.
9. The Ames Companies 2585900 – Ergonomic Wood Handle
- Blade: Forged Steel
- Handle: D-handle + Hardwood
- Dimension: 42.5 inches x 5 .3 inches x 9 inches
- Weight: 3.72 lbs
The Ames Companies 2585900 is a digging shovel that is all about comfort. Indeed, this model has a 24 inches hardwood handle that makes it incredibly comfortable to use.
In addition, the footsteps on top of the blades are bent. This will allow you to safely place your feet on top of the blade to exert more pressure while digging.
We also like the fact that the blade and shaft of this shovel are made from forged steel. It is very durable and long-lasting. Also, its weight of 3.72 lbs is quite respectable as it is neither too light nor heavy.
The only negative with this model is that it is a little bigger than average, especially at the blade area. But other than that, this model is one of the best handle shovels out there.
10. Gerber 22-41578 – Very Small and Versatile Shovel
- Blade: Carbon Steel
- Handle: Rubberized grip + Glass-filled Nylon
- Dimension: 13.8 inches x 5 inches x 2 .9 inches
- Weight: 1.68 lbs
The Gerber 22-41578 is the smallest garden shovel that you can purchase in this review. Indeed, this versatile shovel has a maximum length of 13.8 inches only. This makes it extremely compact and highly portable.
Best, the blade is retractable, so whenever you have finished using this shovel, you can make it even more compact for storage purposes. It uses a quality locking mechanism, so you don’t have to worry about the blade flipping over the handle.
Moreover, the handle is quite unique. It is made from a glass-filled nylon material that is coated with a soft rubber finish. This rubber finish makes it comfortable to hold for an extended period.
One of the best things is that it also operates in hammer mode. This means that if you need to use it as a temporary hammer, you can.
The only thing that we don’t like about it is this model is mostly made for light or medium-duty digging. Additionally, the blade edges are also a bit dull and may need sharpening.
How to Buy the Best Shovel
1. Buying Purpose
One of the most important factors when purchasing a shovel is to consider your purpose. This is because the shovel comes in many forms and sizes, each suited for a specific need.
For example, there are shovels for digging trenches, for scraping, snow scooping, etc.
If you cannot find a shovel designed for your specific purpose, then it is always best to go with a digging shovel. It is the perfect all-rounder as it is multi-purpose.
The blade of the shovel is what enters the soil to perform the digging. It came in different shapes and sizes and made from a wide variety of materials.
The shovel blade should be made from a very tough material that is resistant to impacts. You don’t want your blade to dent or break whenever it hits a rock.
Good blade material is steel. It is reasonably affordable, does not corrode, and offers good durability.
However, if you want the best shovel in terms of durability, then go with a blade made from carbon steel. They are extremely durable against impacts.
You should also consider the size of the blade. A longer blade will allow you to dig deeper into the soil, thus removing more soil in one scoop.
However, a caveat is that the longer the blade, the more force you need to apply on the shovel for it to penetrate the soil.
In addition to the material and size, each blade has a specific shape. For example, a digging shovel usually has a pointed tip that allows it to penetrate the soil much easier.
The trenching shovel has a triangular blade shape that already creates the form of trenches. And the scooping shovel has a flat blade that makes it easier to rake snow or soil.
You will need to consider the blade shape depending on your needs.
T-Handle: You normally find shovels intended for light or medium-duty use equipped with a T-handle.
It is uncomfortable to use for an extended period, but for short digging sessions, it’s very easy to hold.
D-Grip Handle: The D-Grip handle is one of the most popular types of handles. Its D-shape makes it ergonomic and can be held firmly for long digging sessions.
Some of the best shovels for digging usually come with a D-handle and a long shaft. This combination is great for heavy-duty digging.
O-Handle: This is perhaps the most comfortable handle of them all. Due to its large surface, you can hold the O-handle in different positions.
This makes it comfortable to hold when digging for long periods.
Triangular Handle: Shovels with a triangular handle are popular amongst small and compact shovels like camping shovels. They are comfortable to hold and easy to store.
The lighter the shovel, the more maneuverable it will be. However, you need to apply more force for the blade to penetrate the soil.
If you plan to dig for an extended period, then it is generally best to go with a shovel that has a lower weight than 3 lbs. It will cause less digging fatigue.
On the other hand, if you only need to dig a deep hole on soft soil, then a model with a weight of 6 lbs is a good choice.
Despite being heavier, the weight will work to your advantage and create its own downward force. That makes it easier to dig in short bursts.
As we have seen, if you own a garden or perform any type of activities that involve digging, then you need a quality shovel.
One of the best things about the models found in our shovel review above is that they are all ergonomic, heavy-duty, and easy to use.
If you are not sure about which shovel model to get, then don’t worry. You just need to read the review again.