A garden spade could be your best friend when it comes to working the ground, preparing beds, and edging. We all know that working the soil and digging isn’t the most glamorous job in the world, and it can be downright hard work at times.
Did you know that the first garden spade was a shoulder bone from a large animal? Can you imagine planting a tree or rose bush using just a bone? It’s unthinkable in this day and age! Luckily, during the bronze period, people figured out how to make shovel and spade heads from different materials. We can thank these revolutionary inventors for the modern spade, which saves us time and preserves our backs.
That’s where purchasing a good garden spade comes into the picture. If you have the right spade for the job that needs to be done, you will have completed it in a flash — with time to spare. So, let’s get down to business and compare our top picks for the best garden spades.
|Spear Head Spade|
This is an ideal spade for cutting trench, edging a garden bed, or slicing through tough turf. It has a 14-gauge sharpened steel blade 9.75 in width and 8.75 in depth. The extra-large foot platform will help maximize force when digging.
The steel shaft is 18 gauge with a large D-handle that allows for a double handed grip. The total length of this spade is 47 inches. The steel is powder coated, which will resist rust and make it easier to clean. The weight of this spade is 4.8 pounds.
You can’t go wrong having a lifetime warranty on a product, and the Fiskars spade delivers on this promise. On the negative side, the handle is plastic, and the head and handle socket is not hand-forged from a single piece of metal.
If you are looking for a compact, well-built shovel, the Mini Bond is the best garden spade for the money. It is 27.6 inches in length, so it will fit well in any small space for storage or if you need to travel to a work site.
It is a round-point shovel head that is tempered, heat-treated steel with sharpened edges. Part of the handle is this powder-coated steel, and the rest is made of fiberglass. The mini-D handle is suitable for one-handed use with a non-slip grip.
At 1.89 pounds, this shovel is lightweight enough to maneuver, but with its sharpened blade edges, it can cut through tough terrain. This is a high-quality shovel with a low-price tag, plus it comes with a five-year guarantee.
This shovel could be too small for some people, and it doesn’t have the tapered edges ideal for cutting trenches or edging a garden bed.
This tool is considered a hybrid shovel and spade meshed as one. It was developed to reduce the effort of digging and cultivating by hand. It’s sharp, tapered edges can cut into compacted ground and slice through highly rooted perennials.
The Spear Head is not a large spade at 40 inches in length and weighing 3.59 pounds. It has a reinforced fiberglass handle that helps reduce shock and vibrations. The plastic handle is a cushioned D-grip, coated with UV inhibitors to prevent wear from sun exposure.
The blade is sharpened at a 35-degree angle to give it a more durable and effective edge. It is made from carbon manganese steel and finished with a powder coat. There is a large footrest on the blade that makes for easier digging.
It is made in the U.S.A. and backed by a lifetime warranty. It does not take the place of a larger, regular shovel, however, and could be too light and small for some people.
The Radius Garden is a shovel and root saw in one. It has two defining features. First, the handle is O-shaped. Second, the blade has an inverted V-shaped tip.
The unique O-shaped handle applied more leverage and allows for more gripping room so both hands can be placed on it at once. The carbon steel handle is encased in resin for a better grip.
The blade is a powder-coated carbon steel that resists rust. The inverted V-shape cutting tip with teeth along the outer edge is designed to rip through dirt and cut roots with ease. With the saw blade feature, this shovel can cut up to 1.25 in diameter roots. The extra-wide step at 3.5 inches increases stability during use.
It weighs a hefty five pounds and is 45 inches in length. There is a U.S.-only lifetime manufacturer warranty with this product.
This shovel has been a favorite for many due to its versatility. It has similar features to the Radius Garden shovel. It is also considered a shovel/saw combo, as it is able to cut through tough roots. It has a narrow blade with a curved tip. The alternately beveled teeth on each side of the blade allows for cutting in either direction.
It is made of solid structured carbon steel that is powder coated to resist rust. The D-grip metal handle is coated with rubber for a no-slip grip. It is 48 inches in length and weighs four pounds. The forward-turned steps allow for secure foot placement and extra force when digging.
Unfortunately, the handle is welded to the blade, which may not withstand extra force, and the thin tip could be prone to bending or breaking. On a positive note, Root Assassin stands by their products and offers a lifetime replacement guarantee.
This is a traditionally designed border spade with a few upgrades. It has a stainless-steel square-tipped blade, with a slightly curved bottom edge. It is lightweight and ideal for digging and turning soil in small areas and between plants. There are no steps on this blade.
It is 37.2 inches in length and weighs 3.34 pounds. The handle is made of weather-proofed hardware that has been split to form a wishbone handle. There has been no extra grip added to the handle.
This product has a 10-year guarantee. If you are looking for a simple, traditional spade, this one could fit your needs.
Sometimes, you need a small hand spade that can allow you to plant seeds and help you weed right next to your flowers. This trowel/shovel combo is made of stainless steel with a four-inch ergonomic handle. It is 11 inches in length and 3.1 inches wide.
The trowel blade is marked with measurements, allowing you to easily see how deep you have. This is useful when planting flowers that need to be placed a certain depth.
It is lightweight and meant for small gardening tasks, though care needs to be taken with the stainless-steel body, as it can bend with too much pressure.
The Bulldog is a traditional border spade made in England. It offers great features that any gardening enthusiast will admire.
It is a solid forged spade with a long socket, which means the blade and part of the handle are one piece. This way, the ash handle has a deep socket to sit in, reducing the chance of it breaking.
The square-headed blade is made of carbon steel and epoxy coated for extra protection from rust. The head size is 9 inches long and 5.5 inches wide, with a slightly curved bottom edge. This spade weighs 4.1 pounds.
The ergonomic forward-angled handle and total length of 37 inches makes this spade easy to use in your flower beds or any confined space. The handle is plastic and covered with a non-slip rubber grip. There is a 10-year guarantee offered for this spade.
This is a professional-grade garden spade made in Mexico that offers high-quality features. It’s a traditionally designed tool that will work well for digging trenches and edging your garden or flower bed.
The head is made of heavy-duty 14-gauge steel, with forward-facing steps. It is square-headed and flat edged at the tip. It is the longest garden spade on our list, measuring 45 inches, and it weighs 3.85 pounds. The shaft is made of American Ash and is riveted in the extended socket for a stronger connection. You will notice that this spade does not have a handle on the shaft.
On the positive side, it is backed up by a lifetime warranty that many will find reassuring.
The final spade on our list is the Ames garden spade. It is a basic tool that is great for digging and transplanting perennials. It does not offer as many features as the others on our list, but it’s still good for basic jobs in the garden.
It has a steel blade that is square-headed with a flat edge. It is 40 inches in length and weighs 3.4 pounds. The handle is made of hardwood and has a plastic D-grip.
On the negative side, the handle and blade do not have extra coating to provide protection from the elements. There is only a five-year warranty on this spade.
Choosing a garden spade or shovel doesn’t have to be difficult. The traditional spade is straightforward and easy to recognize. There are three types of spades: garden, border, and transplanting.
Garden: This is the traditional spade with a square head 6 to 8 inches wide and 9 to 11 inches in width. It’s good for working the ground, preparing garden beds, and edging.
Border spade: This spade has the same design as the garden spade, only smaller. It’s best for tight, confined spaces within raised or flower beds.
Transplanting spade: It has a long narrow blade that can reach deep into the soil to help dig through roots of plants that need to be transplanted.
Shovel: A shovel has a broader, curved blade that is rounded at the bottom, larger, and angled forward. It is more suited for digging, while a spade is best for slicing and edging straight lines in your beds.
Hand tools will have a longer lifespan and function better if they are built with quality materials. Each part of the spade and shovel is important, from the handle and shaft to the blade.
Handle: Most spades will have a D-grip or other form of handle, while shovels tend to not have any handle at all. Most are made of plastic and sometimes coated with rubber to allow for a more secure grip. Plastic does tend to break down when exposed to the elements, especially if not coated for extra protection.
Shaft: This is traditionally made from ash hardwood, since this wood can absorb shock and vibrations well. You will also see shafts made from carbon steel and fiberglass. Both are stronger than wood but don’t absorb the shock as effectively.
Head: The head (or blade) will be made from carbon or stainless steel, which can be different gauges. The higher the gauge, the stronger the blade. If the head and handle socket are hand forged from a single piece of metal, it is stronger still. You will find certain heads and sockets that are stamped together. The blade can also be powder coated, which provides extra protection and makes it easier to clean. Steps on the blade are nice for stability and extra force when putting pressure on the blade with your foot.
It’s also wise to consider other features when looking for a spade, such as warranty, length, weight, cost, and specialty blades.
We rounded up a nice list of garden spades for you to consider. Our top pick was the Fiskars D-handle Garden spade, with its many versatile options and great features and quality. The Bond Mini D-handle shovel offers great features in a small package at an affordable price. For those willing to spend more, the Spear Head Spade is a convenient spade/shovel that’s great for transplanting and cutting through roots.
With many quality spades available, we hope these reviews will help you find the right tool to make your landscape and garden work easier.
Featured Image Credit By: Bond LH015, amazon
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!