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Best Garden Trowel

last updated Feb 21, 2019

Every gardener knows that one of the most important tools that they will need for planting is a trusty garden trowel. You might have been through dozens in the past, all suffering from the same fate of a snapped neck right at the base of the handle. This is most likely due to the fact that you selected a design that is made from inferior materials. Plus, you most likely bought a pack of tools that included a hoe and a small rake as well in an effort to save a little bit of money, but it will end up costing you more in the long run. Spending a little more money than you would intend on one of these products will not only save you money in the long run, but it will also make preparing your garden for the growing season just a little easier.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research

icon
Wilcox All Pro 202S
86.8/100 our score
Durability
92
Ease of Use
85
Materials
90
Size
85
Value
82
Wilcox All Pro 202S
Why is it better?

Trusted brand

Easy to use

Made from high quality stainless steel

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Wilcox All Pro 202S
Test Winner: Wilcox All Pro 202S
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
13
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
2.1k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
17
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
19
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Melissa Coleiro
By Melissa Coleiro:

This buying guide for garden trowels has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed products to help make your gardening experience easier. A great garden trowel to keep your eye on is the Edward Tools. We love this garden trowel because it is known for being affordable, has a lifetime warranty, and is made from rust-proof stainless steel.

Sorting Options
Durability Ease of Use Materials Size Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.8
Durability
92 %
Ease of Use
85 %
Materials
90 %
Size
85 %
Value
82 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Durability
89 %
Ease of Use
84 %
Materials
87 %
Size
85 %
Value
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$9.95
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Durability
86 %
Ease of Use
85 %
Materials
90 %
Size
80 %
Value
79 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$19.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.4
Durability
84 %
Ease of Use
87 %
Materials
75 %
Size
81 %
Value
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$6.97
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.2
Durability
82 %
Ease of Use
88 %
Materials
86 %
Size
75 %
Value
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$11.88
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Durability
82 %
Ease of Use
87 %
Materials
79 %
Size
79 %
Value
83 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$13.99
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.8
Durability
84 %
Ease of Use
89 %
Materials
75 %
Size
79 %
Value
82 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$11.31
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
Durability
79 %
Ease of Use
88 %
Materials
80 %
Size
77 %
Value
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$9.99
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.2
Durability
79 %
Ease of Use
79 %
Materials
79 %
Size
79 %
Value
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$12.95
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.2
Durability
79 %
Ease of Use
78 %
Materials
78 %
Size
78 %
Value
78 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$5.94

Top 10 Picks

1. Wilcox All Pro 202S

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.8
Wilcox All Pro 202S
Amazon Link
Durability
92
Ease of Use
85
Materials
90
Size
85
Value
82
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Trusted brand

Easy to use

Made from high quality stainless steel

Cons:

Some find that shovel is too narrow for their needs

Larger hands feel that the handle is too short

This design from Wilcox was our favorite design because is has a smart design to the shovel that makes it perfect for working in soil that is considered to be a little more difficult, and it is perfect for bulb planting. Plus, it comes from a brand that has been in the market of making great digging tools since 1968.

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Durability

You won’t have to worry about those unit snapping at the neck, because it is made of one solid piece of material. Plus, the blade has a sharp and narrow design to it which means that you will be able to plow right through some pretty tough soil without worrying about it breaking on you.

Ease of Use

The handle on this option is constructed from a hard plastics that have grooved edges to ensure for a great grip. It even has a loop at the end of the handle to make it easy to carry it with you while keeping your hands free to carry bags of soil or pots of flowers.

Materials

What’s great about this design is that the shovel is made from stainless steel, which means that it is considered to be incredibly strong, and it will not rust even in you leave it out in the rain.

Size

This unit measures in to be 14 inches long, which is why it is great for bulb planting. It also weighs in at 5.6 ounces, making it incredibly lightweight as well.

Value

What we found is that the price of this option is a little bit more expensive than some of the others out there on the market, but the higher price point is worthier it is because it will likely be the last design that you may ever need to purchase.

Overall

Users love this design because it is incredibly versatile for various types of planting and soil, and it is very durable so you can use it to try and cut through tough roots without worrying about it snapping on you.

2. Edward Tools

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Edward Tools
Amazon Link
Durability
89
Ease of Use
84
Materials
87
Size
85
Value
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$9.95
Pros:

Affordable

Lifetime warranty

Made from rust proof stainless steel

Soft and comfortable rubber grip

Cons:

Some users find that the rubber grip is too soft and twists in their hands under pressure

The Edward Tools design has the classic shovel shape that users are familiar with, and it is made from high quality materials that will hold up season after season. What users really love about this option is that it also comes at a very affordable price point.

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Durability

What makes this design built to last is the fact that is is made from one solid piece of material, which means that it will not snap under the pressure of difficult soil. Past users have found that even when left out in the rain, it will not lose any strength and will be the last shovel that you may ever need to buy.

Ease of use

There are two factors that make this design easy to use- the oversized shovel face, and the ergonomic handle that feels comfortable in your hand, and offers soft finger grips that fit nicely in your hand.

Materials

The shovel is made from a high-quality stainless steel that will not bend or break under pressure, and the handle is composed of a soft rubber that will feel nice in your hands.

Size

This unit measures in at 13.4 inches in length, and only weighs about 7 ounces.

Value

What users really love most about this option is that it comes in at an affordable price point that won’t break the bank. Plus, it has a lifetime warranty in the event that it ever breaks on you.

Overall

Edward Tools is so confident that you won’t be able to bend or break this model even if you tried that they will offer up a replacement if you manage to do the impossible. We love this simple and strong design that is offered at a reasonable price point.

3. DeWit

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
DeWit
Amazon Link
Durability
86
Ease of Use
85
Materials
90
Size
80
Value
79
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$19.99
Pros:

Trusted brand

Made from unique and high quality materials

Users have used their design for many years of continued use

Cons:

A little expensive

Some have experienced rust where coating starts to chip away

What we liked about the DeWit design is that it is made from materials that are just slightly different than some of the other options out there on the market. DeWit has been making fine quality outdoor tools for 5 generations, and they will stand behind the quality of their products with a lifetime guarantee.

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Durability

Users can feel confident that the top quality materials will be able to cut through even some of the toughest dirt without bending or breaking under the pressure. What makes this design unique is the sharp tip and the thick handle.

Ease of use

The handle is made from a sculpted wooden handle that is made to fit easily in the palm of your hand. The thick shovel design with a sharp tip also makes it easy to work even in the most difficult of soil.

Materials

The shovel is made from a thick and high-quality Swedish Boron Steel, and the light handle is composed of a European Ash wood that is considered to be hard and sturdy while still keeping this unit lightweight.

Size

Weighing in at .5 pounds, this is one of the lighter options out there on the market. It also measures to be about 12 inches in length.

Value

The cost of this unit is one of the most expensive designs out there on the market, but users find that it is well worth the price tag due in part to the high quality and unique materials used in addition to the lifetime guarantee that comes with purchase.

Overall

DeWit is one of the leading names in the outdoor tool industry, making this a smart choice. Users love the quality of materials used, and find that the higher price point is worth it for such a superior design.

4. Fiskars

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.4
Fiskars
Amazon Link
Durability
84
Ease of Use
87
Materials
75
Size
81
Value
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$6.97
Pros:

Trusted brand

Made from high quality materials

Affordable

Cons:

Some found that it will bend on rocky terrain

Everyone is familiar with the brand of Fiskars, because they are one of the oldest modern brands. If you can believe it, they were founded in 1649 in Finland by a group of ironworkers (and is the oldest running company in all of Finland). Today, they are most notably known for making scissors, but they also make excellent outdoor tools that are worth a look.

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Durability

If you have a pair of Fiskars scissors in a drawer at home, you know how durable their products can be on a long enough timeline. The sharp and angled design of this model is made to last, even when cutting through difficult soil.

Ease of use:

What users really like most about this option is that it has a sturdy plastic grip with that classic orange Fiskars design. It has the addition of a black grooved rubber to ensure that you have a firm grip while in use.

Materials:

The blade of this option is made from a polished aluminum which means that it is going to be lightweight and rust resistant if accidentally left out in the rain.

Size:

This unit measures in to be about 13 inches long, and only weighs just over 6 ounces.

Value

One of the best features about this product is that it comes in at a very affordable price point that will likely set you back the same amount that you would spend on a bag of potting soil. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty in case anything goes wrong with your product, or it happens to break.

Overall:

Fiskars isn’t one of the oldest companies around because they make inferior products. Users love the design and strength of this products, and the affordable price point makes it worth a look.

5. Homegrown Garden Tools

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.2
Homegrown Garden Tools
Amazon Link
Durability
82
Ease of Use
88
Materials
86
Size
75
Value
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$11.88
Pros:

Affordable

Has measurements printed directly on the spade for easy planting

High Quality

Cons:

Some find that it is a little narrow

Perhaps you are a little new to this planting business, and you aren’t really quite sure how to eyeball how deep of a hole you dug. What we love about this option is that it has a blade that has measurements printed directly on the surface.

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Durability

This unit is made from high-quality materials that their company stands behind. This solid design is made to hold firm even in some of the most difficult soil based upon the sharpness and angle of the shovel.

Ease of use

What we liked about this option is that the handle is made from a strong and durable plastic, but the grip along the topside is coated in a layer of soft and pliable rubber to keep fingers and wrists from becoming fatigued. For those that have trouble gauging depth, this unit has inch markers up to 4 inches printed right on the front of the shovel.

Materials

The blade of this unit is composed of cast aluminum which means that users can accidentally leave it out in the rain without running the risk of it rusting or becoming brittle.

Size:

This unit measures in to be 12.8 inches long, and it weighs about 8 ounces.

Value:

What user love about this option is that it comes in at an incredibly affordable price point, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee from a supportive customer service if it doesn’t live up to your expectations. Plus, it comes in a charming burlap bag that makes it a great gift idea.

Overall:

We love this option because it has a clever design, it is made from high-quality materials that will work in even the most difficult soil, and it comes from a company that stands behind all of their products.

6. Garden Guru Lawn and Garden Tools

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Garden Guru Lawn and Garden Tools
Amazon Link
Durability
82
Ease of Use
87
Materials
79
Size
79
Value
83
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$13.99
Pros:

Affordable

Versatile design that works for various types of soil

Comfortable grip

Cons:

Weak spade is not full tang and simply welded together

This option is great because it has a little bit of a bulkier design that makes it perfect for really creating a good deal of leverage while digging in larger areas, and it has a comfortable grip to keep hands from becoming tired.

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Ease of use

What users really like most about this design is that it has a soft and comfortable rubber grip on the handle that has a grooved back to provide excellent handling, and your hands will not become tired while in use. We like that the spade is a cross between a sharp spade and a larger spade that makes it perfect for various types of soil condition.

Materials

The spade of this unit is made from a high-quality stainless steel that makes it perfect to use in all weather conditions without running the risk of it rusting and becoming weak. The handle is made from a blend of rubber and plastic to provide uses a soft, strong, and comfortable grip.

Size

Measuring in at 13.2 inches long and 5.5 inches wide, this is one of the larger options out there on the market. However, weighing it at just under 5 ounces, it will not add a lot of extra weight.

Value

Users love that this option comes in at an affordable price point that will not break the bank. While it isn’t the least expensive design out there on the market, it comes with a lifetime guarantee in case anything breaks on your product, and users appreciate their attentive customer service.

Overall

We liked this option because it has a great design that will make your life just a little bit easier, and it comes in at an affordable price point that won’t break the bank.

7. Flexrake CLA323

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.8
Flexrake CLA323
Amazon Link
Durability
84
Ease of Use
89
Materials
75
Size
79
Value
82
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$11.31
Pros:

Affordable

Made from high quality materials

Classic style

Cons:

Some feel that the tip isn’t sharp enough to use

The very first thing that we noticed about this choice is that it has a very classic and attractive style. While users really appreciate the style of this option, we also loved that it is made from high quality materials that are designed to stand the test of time in all types of conditions.

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Durability

While it may look like this product doesn’t have a full tang, it isn’t welded at the base of the spade, like some of the other designs, which makes it a little bit more sturdy than it looks. Plus, based upon the materials used to make this design, it can be left out in the rain without losing strength.

Ease of use

The handle on this design is incredibly sleek and stylish, but it doesn’t offer the same level of comfort and some of the rubber and plastic designs.

Materials:

The material that is used to make the spade is a heavy grade steel that will really be able to stand the test of time, as well as be great to use in the rain or muddy condition. Plus, the handle is made from a high-quality oak, that will also hold up very well over time.

Size:

This unit measures to be about 11 inches long, and it a little bit heavier than some of the other designs out there on the market, weighing in at 10.4 ounces.

Value:

We love that this unit is made from high-quality materials, but it still comes in at an affordable price point that is a little less than some of the higher end options.

Overall:

If you want something that has a charming design, while also still offering a good deal of stability in various types of soil conditions, this is a great option that comes in at a reasonable price point.

8. Radius Garden

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
Radius Garden
Amazon Link
Durability
79
Ease of Use
88
Materials
80
Size
77
Value
81
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$9.99
Pros:

Affordable

Comes in a variety of colors

Award winning handle design

Cons:

Some find the spade to be rather weak

Some users wish that the tip of the spade was sharper

One look at the Radius Garden option and you can tell that this style is a little different. Instead of having the standard straight handle, this unit boasts an award winning ergonomically design handle that is perfect for users that suffer from their hands cramping with extended use.

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Durability

Users love that this design is not only comfortable, but they won’t have to worry about it breaking on them. Radius Garden is so confident that this unit will not break in half in difficult soil that they offer a lifetime guarantee on their products.

Ease of use:

This is one of the more appealing models when it comes it comes to how easy it is to use. Users love the U-shaped handle design that is made from soft and pliable materials that will leave hands feeling great while digging out in the yard.

Materials

The spade of the Radius Garden is made from die cast aluminum that will not rust when left out in the rain or when used in muddy conditions. Where this unit really shines is in the construction of the handle. It is made from thermoplastic elastomer and polypropylene that will feel comfortable in your hands and will not make them feel tired with extended use.

Size

This unit measures to be 11.8 inches long, and weighs in at 8 ounces.

Value

One of the best features about this product other than the handle is the affordable price point for which it is offered. It will cost you about the same price that you would spend on a few packets of flower seeds.

Overall

If tired hands is something that plagues you when you are out working in the yard, the Radius Garden design is going to be your new best friend when working out in the yard. Plus, it comes in various colors that will match your personal style.

9. Manchester Mercantile

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.2
Manchester Mercantile
Amazon Link
Durability
79
Ease of Use
79
Materials
79
Size
79
Value
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$12.95
Pros:

Affordable

Made from solid, high quality materials

Trusted brand

Cons:

Welded spade head

The Manchester Mercantile design has all of the classic styles that you would expect from one of these products, but it is also incredibly tough and durable as well. It might not have the same full tang level of reliability, but it will certainly help you get the job done in a wide variety of soil conditions.

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Durability:

A full tang would be your best bet for these types of products, but the Manchester Mercantile is the next best thing. It is made from high-quality materials that will hold up over time and will work in a wide variety of difficult soil.

Ease of use

The handle of this unit is made from a solid material that is made to be more durable than it is comfortable. You may suffer a little bit of stiffness when using this design for long periods of time, but you will never need to worry about it breaking for becoming weak on you.

Materials

Printed in clear letters on the spade are the words: ‘stainless steel’. What this means for you is that this unit is going to be incredibly durable, and it also will not rust if you happen to leave it out in a thunderstorm or two. The handle has a classic look, and it is made from polished ash wood.

Size

This unit measures in to be about 13 inches long, and it weighs in at 10.4 ounces.

Value

The cost of this unit is just slightly more expensive than some of the more affordable options out there on the market, but it isn’t the most expensive. Basically, it runs about in the middle of the road in terms of price.

Overall

We feel that this is a pretty solid choice to help you out in the yard for this growing season. Plus, it comes with the addition of a burlap sack to store it in, which could make it great to give as a gift.

10. Corona

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.2
Corona
Amazon Link
Durability
79
Ease of Use
78
Materials
78
Size
78
Value
78
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$5.94
Pros:

Affordable

Made from high quality materials

Trusted brand

Cons:

Some found that the spade was a little weak on muddy soil

For those that don’t want any extra frills that often come at a higher price point, this design from Corona is going to be your best buy. It has a simple and basic design that will hold up to anything that you can throw at it, and it is one of the most affordable options out there on the market.

Read more

Durability

This unit is made from high-quality materials that are thick enough that they won’t bend under the pressure of difficult soil, and it can also be left out in the rain and it will not rust.

Ease of use

The only thing that this handle can offer users in terms of comfort is that the fact that is has a little bit of a softer grip than most. The spade of this unit is wide and flat, and it doesn't have as sharp of a tip than most, meaning that it will not be ideal for more difficult terrain.

Materials

The spade of this design is made from polished a polished aluminum alloy that is all one piece to prevent it from becoming weak. The handle is made from a softer plastics material with a comfort grip.

Size

This unit measures to be about 15.9 inches long- which makes it one of the larger designs out there on the market by a few inches, and it weighs in at 7.2 ounces.

Value:

What we liked most about this design is that it is one of the most affordable options out there on the market while still being made from high-quality materials such as aluminum. Plus, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty in case anything goes wrong with your design.

Overall

We liked this option from Corona because it is simple, strong, and affordable. If you are looking for something that doesn’t have all of the extra bells and whistles that often come at a higher price point, this is a great choice.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Durability

We made sure to select products that weren't going to snap at the neck undre pressure.

A tool that is considered to be a ‘full tang’ simply means that the spade is one solid piece of material, and the handle is then fitted around the solid piece. This means that when you are working in course and difficult ground- or even frozen soil- if you have a unit that is considered to be ‘full tang’, there will be little chance that you will find that your unit will snap in half. We made sure to select designs that were made in this manner, as well made from high quality materials to ensure that it might be the last model that you will ever have to purchase. That doesn’t mean that full tang options aren’t the only viable choices out there on the market. Designs such as the Radius Garden option have a handle that is designed to fit to the shape of your hand, but because of the U-shaped handle, it isn’t a full tang. Take into consideration they type of soil that you will be working with, as well as the type of handle that you would like before ruling out all half tang options.

Ease of Use

Keeping your hands and wrists comfortable while you work was something that we felt was important.

Sure, it might have a pretty basic design, but simple changes in the shape of the spade, as well as the shape of the handle, will turn a bothersome chore into something that you might come to enjoy. We know that not all soil is created equal. While there are some plots of land that are dreamy and cloud-like, we know that there is a lot that are riddled with tangled roots and rocks at every turn. It never fails that the very place you want to plant your new perennials is the place where all of your lawns roots have gathered. Spades that have a pivoted and sharper point at the tip make it just a little bit easier to cut through tangled webs of weeds without the need of an additional screwdriver or other tools. Another point that we looked at to make things a little bit easier on you comes in the form of the handle. We liked options that had a curved handle that forms to the shape of your hand. One thing we really liked was design that added just a little bit of soft rubber to the handle that will conform to the shape of your hand over time, and will prevent blisters with extended use.

Materials

Making sure that we selected products that used high quality materials was the key to finding the best products that would hold up over time.

Rust means that the material is losing strength, so selecting options that are rust proof mean that they will maintain their strength in the long run. We also wanted to make sure that the handles were made from high quality materials that would hold up over time. Even if the spade has stayed perfectly intact over the years, if the handle has eroded and fallen away, you will be less inclined to use it. That’s why we wanted to make sure that we selected products that used high quality handle materials such as high quality plastics or wood. Rubber handles may be considered to be quite a bit more comfortable than plastic or wood, but they often bend and tear if you are struggling with some difficult terrain. That’s why we suggest that you stick with wood or plastic handle designs.

Size

Finding the right tool for the job means finding the tool that is isn't too small and thin.

While size might not be something that will make or break you on a specific style, it is still something that we kept in mind. These products are meant to be simple, small, and lightweight. We made to sure to check the size and weight of each design. We were never worried about a style being too big, but instead were worried about a product being too small. Smaller options often aren’t able to really cut through the ground or make very deep holes that are needed for jobs such as planting bulbs. We made sure to select designs that measured to be between aout 8-15 inches in length. We also checked on the weight of each option as well. Some users, such as treasure hunters, will be hooking this unit to their belt or around their wrist, so we wanted to ensure that we selected options that wouldn’t all a lot of unnecessary weight to your expeditions. However, we also made sure that the products that we selected weren’t considered to be too light. Typically, a light weight was a red flag that meant that it was made from thin and cheap materials that would possibly run the risk of bending or breaking under pressure.

Value

As always, we want to save you money when we cant without sacrificing quality.

More money that you can save on tools means you will have more money to spend on seeds and flowers! Cost is something that is important, because we don’t want you to spend more money than you need to. For the most part, these products are made from two types of materials- a metal alloy for the blade and a wood or plastic for the handle. Before even considering the price of a design, we only looked at the materials that were used to compose the product. There were some products out there on the market that were made from the same size and quality of steel and wood, but they often came at a much higher price point because they were offered from a name band, or because they offered a unique and interesting style. When it comes to working out in the yard, utility will always trump design, so we chose to only select affordable options that were made from high quality materials.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
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expert tips icon
Materials

Superior materials mean superior quality. What we looked for in these types of products were materials such as stainless steel and aluminum for the spades. These materials are not only strong and heavy duty, but they will also hold up in the event that they are left out in the rain or are used in wet and muddy conditions.

Other Factors to Consider

Durability

This is a really important feature because one of the most annoying thing that can happen when working outside in the yard is having a tool break on you right in the middle of digging. The best way to ensure that it isn’t going to break on you and to consider something called a ‘tang’, or a high-quality garden trowel.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Why do I need one?

a:

There is a myriad of uses for these handy little tools. The first obvious reason is for planting in the ground or in pots during the growing season. These precise tools will help to move the right amount of dirt to plant seeds at various depths, and the sharp and angled spade makes it easier to cut through tough roots and move past rocks. If planting isn’t your thing, these little units can be a treasure hunter's best friend. While out with your trusty metal detector, these tools are incredibly small and lightweight to bring along, and often have a loop on the end to carry around your wrist on on a belt loop to keep both hands free.

q: Should I opt for the narrow or wider design?

a:

You might have noticed that there is two basic design out there on the market. There is a wide model with a more rounded curvature to the spade, and then there is a more narrow option with almost a sharp V shape to the spade. So, which design should you choose? This will depend upon two things- where you intend to dig, and what you intend in using it for. For those that need to move a lot of earth around for larger landscaping jobs or working with tightly packed soil, the wider option is great for creating a lot of leverage as well as moving a lot of dirt. The more narrow option are great if you know that your yard is notorious for roots and rocks. Due to the fact that it is more narrow, it acts more like a blade, which is ideal for clearing out annoying roots.

q: Can I leave then outside in the rain?

a:

For almost all of the models on our list, you can leave them out in the rain. These units are typically made from a durable metal such as stainless steel or aluminum that are impervious to rust. However, if you want to make sure that you unit stays in the best condition possible, it is for the best that you remember to bring it back inside your storage shed when you are done using it. While it is ok to accidentally leave it outside for a few times, persistent exposure to rainfall may negatively impact the quality of your handle over time. As with any type of tool, to ensure that it will last for the long haul, you will want to make sure that you take really good care of it, and that includes taking it in out of the rain when you are finished planting all of your flowers for the upcoming growing season.

q: How big are they?

a:

From what we learned throughout our research is that these tools are typically between 8-15 inches in length, with the average length being about 10 inches. Users feel that this is the perfect size for being able to properly handle their device in one hand, and still being able to move around a good deal of dirt. The addition of a loop at the top makes it easy for treasure hunters to be able to loop it to the belt or around their wrist to keep their hands free, and the smaller frame will not be in the way as much. 10 inches seems to be the perfect balance of function as well as compatibility.

q: What does it mean to be 'full tang'?

a:

The term full tang may be something that you are familiar with when it comes to pocket knives, or you may have no idea what it means at all. Basically, it has to do with tools that are composed of two parts- a blade and a handle. To be considered full tang, that means that the metal blade extends all the way up into the handle, and the wooden (or plastic) handle forms around the metal blade. For these products, full tang is ideal because it means that your spade isn’t going to break in half when you are working with soil that is considered to be a little difficult. When shopping around for the best product, you will want to select something that if full tang. However, that isn’t to say that some products that are full tang aren’t without their benefits. Designs that aren’t full tang may have an unique and curved handle that benefits that users, and that design of handle simply cannot be built around the blade.

q: What is the difference between a shovel and a trowel?

a:

Some users may assume that there is little to no difference between the two, however they are both used for very specific purposes. Shovels typically have flat bases, or they have a scooped spade design. This is because shovels are used to transplant dirt as efficiently as possible. Trowels, on the other hand, are used for more delicate jobs. If you need to create a hole for placing seeds or bulbs, and you do not want to disturb the ground around you, these products are going to be your best choice. Plus, because they have a sharp tip (instead of a flat head like you would see on a shovel), they are perfect for cutting through difficult roots and rocks. Some users that do not have one of these products typically use something like a screwdriver to break up roots of stubborn weeds.

Sources

  1. Meg Muckenhoupt, The Best Garden Trowel,
  2. Richard Hood, 10 best trowels for gardening,