The best shovels you can buy for gardening

The best shovels you can buy for gardening

Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.


the best shovels

Shutterstock/Business Insider

While a shovel is undeniably not a sexy or exciting purchase, this utilitarian workhorse belongs in the tool shed of every gardener, whether that garden is a few potted plants, or an extensive vegetable garden. The only question is which type of shovel or spade you need? Serious gardeners will likely have more than one. Of course, there are a lot of different types of digging tools out there, which can make it confusing.

Before going much further, we want to define a few terms that are often used interchangeably, but each has its own specific meaning.

  • As a general rule, garden shovels have rounded, concave blades that come to a point. Shovels are mostly used to dig holes in dirt, but are also handy for moving soil, snow, or other loose materials.
  • Typically, garden spades have slightly concave blades with a flat edge, and while not so good for digging holes, they are useful for cutting through sod, edging your lawn, or marking a trench.
  • Garden scoops have wide, flat blades that rise up into small "walls" along the sides. This is the tool of choice for moving mulch, compost, dead leaves, hay, or other lightweight loose materials.
  • Trowels are small garden tools designed for one-handed use. They have a long, shovel-shaped blade and a short handle. Use your trowel for transplanting or digging in containers, making small holes in the garden for new plants, or removing individual weeds.

If your shovel-buying strategy has consisted of choosing the cheapest tool on the shelf, we're here to tell you that while there is certainly no reason to break the budget on a shovel, it's also true that you generally get what you pay for, and a quality garden tool should last you for many years if taken care of.


That's why we decided to do the research for you, and gather up this list of the best shovels and spades out there for a variety of uses. While we think the Fiskars Long-Handle Round-Point Steel Digging Shovel is the best garden shovel overall, we also recommend several others that serve different purposes.

Here are the best garden shovels and spades you can buy:

Updated on 04/26/2019 by Les Shu: Updated pricing, links, and formatting. Added related buying guides for gardening products.

Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Find all the best offers at our Coupons page.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at


The best garden shovel overall

The best garden shovel overall
Why you'll love it: No need to throw your back out digging in tough soil — The Fiskars Long-Handle Round-Point Steel Digging Shovel cuts through even compacted dirt and clods without breaking a sweat.

Before you can plant that beautiful rosebush, shade tree, or blooming perennial, you need to dig a hole big enough to contain the roots. With the Fiskars Long-Handle Round-Point Steel Digging Shovel, you'll get the job done with less effort and sweat than with many lesser garden shovels. If you only choose one shovel for your garden, we recommend that this be the one.

This beauty of a tool has a 14-gauge steel blade and an 18-gauge steel handle welded together so the shovel won't snap even under rugged use. It has a large foot platform so you can really throw your weight into your digging, and a rubbery orange grip to keep your gloved hands in place without slipping or sliding. (You are wearing gardening gloves while doing heavy yard work, right?)

Gardening site Humid Garden chose the Fiskars shovel as one of the best choices for digging, writing, "Fiskars offers industrial-quality strength at a bargain price with this sturdy, steel-handled offering." They do comment, however, that at 6.3 pounds, this is a fairly heavy garden tool.

The Fiskars Long-Handle Round-Point Steel Digging Shovel is 57.5 inches long, making it suitable for most average-height gardeners.

Pros: Extremely durable steel construction, welded blade and handle, lifetime guarantee

Cons: A bit heavy

Buy the Fiskars Long-Handle Round-Point Steel Digging Shovel from Home Depot for $23.27

The best short garden shovel

The best short garden shovel
Why you'll love it: If you prefer short-handled shovels, or are working in tight quarters in a flowerbed, you'll appreciate the sturdy construction, D-shaped handle for easy gripping, and compact size of the Bond Mini D-Handle Shovel.

While a long-handled shovel provides more leverage and allows you to remain more upright while digging — your back will thank you later — in some situations, a short-handled shovel is easier to work with.

If you are digging in a tightly defined area, are digging a trench, or are very short, you might prefer a shovel with a short handle. And if so, you'll find the Bond Mini D-Handle Shovel to be the best choice.

Gardening site Puffy Carrot has this to say about the Bond shovel: "The shovel has a sturdy steel handle, a steel head, and rust-resistant powder-coated finish, all of which guarantee that you will have it among your tools for years to come." However, they mention that the short handle — the entire shovel is only 27.6 inches long — means that this tool can be hard on your back during extended sessions of digging.

Instead, this might be most useful for small digging jobs in flowerbeds, or for lifting and moving dirt and other garden debris.

Pros: Strong steel construction, D-shaped handle is easy to grip, reasonable price, easy to fit in your car's trunk

Cons: Short-handled shovels can be hard on your back

Buy the Bond Mini D-Handle Shovel on Amazon for $15.99

The best garden spade

The best garden spade
Why you'll love it: When it's time to edge, move mulch or compost, or break through extra-tough soil, the Fiskars D-Handle Garden Spade is up to the job.

We chose this Fiskars Spade as our top pick for a garden spade in our more general guide to the best gardening tools available, and we still believe this is the best choice for your garden.

Like the Fiskars Long-Handle Shovel, it has a 14-gauge steel blade welded to an 18-gauge steel handle that won't break or bend even during the heaviest garden jobs. The edge of the blade is sharp, so you'll slice right through sod, hard soil, compacted roots, and tough weeds without much of a struggle. And the rubberized D-shaped grip gives you a little bit of extra leverage when needed. This is a useful tool for moving garden debris of all types.

The Fiskars D-Handle Garden Spade has more than 225 Amazon reviews and an average of 4.6 stars. Buyers praise the spade's sturdy construction. Many commented that they use this spade to edge their lawn or cut through tough roots, and that it does so quite easily. A very few buyers complained that their spade bent, however.

The Fiskars garden spade is 47 inches long and weighs just under five pounds.

Pros: Very sturdy construction, sharp edge cuts cleanly through sod, compacted soil, and roots

Cons: None to speak of, but a very small number of buyers complained that the spade bent during use

Buy the Fiskars D-Handle Garden Spade on Amazon for $25.18

The best garden scoop

The best garden scoop
Why you'll love it: When it's time to move soil, leaves, gravel, mulch, or even snow from point A to point B, the Ames D-Handle Aluminum Scoop won't let you down.

Gardening often calls for moving various materials from one spot to another. You dug a hole, now you need to move the dirt. Or you're spreading compost over your vegetable bed. Or you need to move fallen leaves to the trash, or scrape snow off your driveway.

For any of these tasks, plus many others, the Ames D-Handle Aluminum Scoop is designed to provide the most leverage for the most efficient use of your muscle power.

The wooden handle of the tool is 24.5 inches long, and is topped with a molded D-shaped plastic handle that's easy to grip. The aluminum blade is 15 inches wide and 11 inches deep, so it's roomy enough to get the job done without being too heavy. And it won't rust or spark when scraped against the ground.

Pros: Sized just right for the best leverage without straining your back, sturdy construction

Cons: A few buyers felt the scoop wasn't sturdy enough

Buy the Ames D-Handle Aluminum Scoop on Amazon for $27.37 (originally $38.99)

The best garden trowel

The best garden trowel
Why you'll love it: If you're a container gardener, or just like to get down and dirty in your vegetable or flower garden, a the Wilcox All Pro 14-Inch Trowel is a must-have.

A garden trowel is basically a small shovel with a long blade designed to be held in one hand for use in transplanting small plants and seedlings, planting individual bulbs, working in a container garden, removing individual weeds, or any other small gardening job that requires up-close, precise digging.

The Wilcox All Pro 14-Inch Trowel is Wirecutter's top choice of hand trowel. The testers love the tool's sturdy stainless steel blade that comes to a sharp point, writing, "Its edge and shape penetrate the soil better than any other trowel, slicing through dirt almost as easily as a soil knife."

Amazon buyers agree: The trowel has nearly 550 reviews and an amazing 4.8-star average. Reviewers rave about the trowel's nearly indestructible sturdiness, the comfortable handle, the way it easily slices through compacted soil and roots, and its versatility in the garden. As of this writing, there are no one-star comments.

While the 14-inch size is probably the handiest (that's 14 inches from tip of the blade to the bottom of the handle), the trowel is also available in 9-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch sizes.

Pros: Extremely durable construction, sharp blade easily penetrates even clay or hard soil

Cons: Nothing major to speak of

Buy the Wilcox All Pro 14-Inch Trowel on Amazon for $18.90

Check out our guide to the best gardening tools

Check out our guide to the best gardening tools
The best gardening tools you can buy

For gardeners, having a good collection of gardening tools makes it easier and more enjoyable to spend time working the land. Here are the best tools maintaining a garden or yard.

Here are the best gardening gloves you can buy 2019:

The best gardening gloves you can buy

If you spend a lot of time in the garden, you need a good pair of gardening gloves. We've poured over expert reviews to find the best ones.

To protect yourself from dirt, thorns, chemicals, and other irritants; you need a good pair of gardening gloves.

Here are the best gardening gloves you can buy 2019:

The best garden hoses you can buy

If you've got plants to water, a car to wash, or a sprinkler to connect so the kids can splash around this summer, then you're going to need a good garden hose.

Here are the best garden hoses you can buy in 2019:

The best rakes you can buy

It's fall, and for many people, that means it's time to break out the trusty old garden rake to take care of all those falling leaves.

To save you some time and energy, we've rounded up the best rakes you can buy to pick up leaves and perform other garden tasks. Read on to see which rake is best for your needs.

Here are the best rakes you can buy:

The best gardening books you can buy

Starting your own garden can be overwhelming, so it helps to do your research and figure out what kind of garden you want to grow based on your needs, goals, and available space.

Whether you're looking to design a secret flower garden in your backyard, turn your lawn into your own private vegetable farm, or just want to beautify your fire escape with a few choice potted plants, you'll find your starting point in one of our top gardening book picks.

Here are the best gardening books you can buy: