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I wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked me “What’s the best shovel to buy?” — Me too! So, that being said . . .
A shovel is an essential tool for gardens, camping, landscaping, and even digging out your car if stuck in mud or snow. Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies. But, as we all know, there is plenty of hard work to do each year in the spring, summer, and fall in the garden, and that is when a shovel becomes a must-have tool. However, Shovels also come in handy when camping, for example, digging out fire pits, moving soil around the campsite, or digging your car out of the mud. Shovels are a handy, essential tool to own.
To help you search for the best shovel for the job, we have compiled a comprehensive review and buyer’s guide of 10 of the best shovels on the market.
Garden Shovel Comparison Table
|Top||Radius Garden 22011 Root Slayer Shovel||Click Here||4.8 / 5 (Best Overall)|
|Round Point Shovel||Click Here||4.7 / 5 (Best Value)|
|Fiskars 397900-1001 PRO Shovel||Click Here||4.5 / 5|
|AMES 2535600 Tempered Steel Digging Shovel||Click Here||4.5 / 5|
|Stanley Garden BDS7673 Round Point Shovel||Click Here||4.6 / 5|
|Root Assassin One Shot Garden Shovel||Click Here||4.4 / 5|
|Martha Stewart MTS-MDS1 Digging Shovel||Click Here||4.0 / 5|
Camping Shovel Comparison Table
|Top||Tyger Auto Shovel TG-SV8U3217||Click Here||4.9 / 5 (Best Overall)|
|REDCAMP Military Folding Camping Shovel||Click Here||4.7 / 5 (Best Value)|
|Cold Steel Spetsnaz Tactical Camp Shovel||Click Here||4.5 / 5|
Top Garden Shovels
1. Radius Garden 22011 Root Slayer Shovel (Best Overall)
2. Round Point Shovel (Best Value)
Top Camping Shovels Reviews
1. Tyger Auto Shovel TG-SV8U3217 (Best Overall)
2. REDCAMP Military Folding Camping Shovel (Best Value)
Video: How to Choose and Use Shovels
10 Best Shovels | Buyer’s Guide
Shovels are usually smaller than spades and are ideal for backpackers and hikers that need a compact, lightweight camping shovel, especially ones that feature a collapsible or telescopic design handle. They are also a valuable tool for an emergency if venturing out on rough terrains.
Whether camping or gardening, there are different types of shovels to choose from, and they all do various tasks. In this guide, we will list everything you need to know to make the right choice.
Different types of Shovels
It would help if you considered a few design factors before you settle on the right shovel. There are four different types of shovels.
The Digging Shovel is the most common type for gardening and camping. They feature curved sides for digging and come with square, rounded or pointed shovelheads.
The Scraper Shovel is ideal for driveways, tiles, and other surfaces for weeds and can also help dig up ice in the winter.
The Scoop Shovel is a good choice for shoveling snow because of the broad mouth and large capacity scoop, but they are also suitable for carrying soil.
The Trench Shovel has a narrow point with long, sharp sides and may feature serrations to one or both sides of the blade, helping cut out roots. Usually, there is not enough room for a footrest on the top of the edge.
Most garden shovel handles are either “D” grip or “O” grip. Comfort and good grip is the primary consideration for garden shovels. It all depends on what type of job you are doing, so go with whatever shovel suits your needs because what matters is comfort in holding it and firmness of the grip. Camping Shovels will either have collapsible or telescopic handle design allowing easy stow in your trunk or backpack.
Fiberglass handles have strength and are lightweight, making them a popular choice but are more expensive. However, they are the best option if you don’t mind paying more.
Wooden grips with a loose fit to the handle allow a comfortable grip of the hold but also helps in reducing sore hands when digging for long periods.
Handles made from plastic are lightweight, making them ideal for backpacking and transporting around.
Materials used in the design and construction of your shovel are essential. You don’t want your shovel to rust or get a warped handle when left out in the garden. For weatherproof options, a coated steel frame to prevent rust is required. Some shovels may have a magnesium alloy coating that reduces friction when using and protects the steel from rusting. Handles made from fiberglass have a good level of weather resistance and are lightweight and easy to use. Steel blades are robust. Carbon steel, stainless steel, or tempered steel are the best shovels to look out for, as these materials are the toughest.
Size of Shovel
You will probably need a shovel with a large scoop and polyethylene lip for scraping for the garden. For a camping trip, you will need a specific camping shovel, one with different features and a folding or telescopic handle, and one that is compact and lightweight for transporting around. Choosing the right shovel depends on what you will use it for, but remember, a longer handle gives more leverage but adds to the shovel’s size and weight.
A warranty is essential, especially for shovels with telescopic shafts, moving parts, and locks. Most good brands do offer guarantees.
All of the shovels reviewed have their qualities and features. However, we have split them into two categories for the Best Overall and Best Value for garden and camping shovels.
Garden Shovels – Best Overall and Best Value
For a quality, garden shovel our Best Overall is the Radius 22011 Root Slayer Shovel. This long-lasting, heavy-duty multi-purpose tool has a carbon steel blade and handle. The powder-coated carbon steel blade is scratch, shock, and impact-resistant, the blade shape allows precision digging, the saw-like sides easily cut through roots, it has a wide foot placement and an “O” shaped handle for good grip and comfort. The Radius 22011 is also very useful in tight spaces and is easily cleaned. With a lifetime guarantee, excellent reviews, and very reasonably priced, this is a perfect solid tool, and for these reasons, it comes out as Best Overall.
Our Best Value shovel is the Round Point shovel by Nupla. The ergonomic handle is made from long-lasting fiberglass and polypropylene with a 16 gauge steel blade. The 48-inch handle length makes it easy to use and reduces back fatigue, although it may be too long for a 5-foot person. The Round Point shovel is made in the USA, and is strong enough to handle tough jobs, comes with a lifetime warranty, and is good value for money.
Best of the rest
All of the other garden shovels reviewed have their qualities and come in various price ranges. The Fiskars 397900 is the most expensive shovel reviewed but will tackle tough jobs and is well made. It is heavier than other shovels, and the 60-inch handle may be too long for some users but ideal if you are a tall person.
The Ames digging shovel, with its round, pointed blade made from tempered solid steel, is substantial. The straight hardwood handle has a cushion end grip for comfort and control, but at 60.5 inches in height, it may be too long for some users but ideal for the taller person. It is in the lower-end price bracket and has good reviews.
The Stanley Garden Round Point Shovel is well made from fiberglass and carbon steel and has a wide round head ideal for large scooping. A D-grip fiberglass handle that won’t rot or splinter, this shovel is strong and designed to last a lifetime. With the handle length at 42 inches, this may be a problem for a taller person. The reviews are fair, and it is in the middle price range.
The Root Assassin One Shot Garden Shovel has a D-grip handle made from fiberglass. The steel blade has an innovative wing design carrying more in one scoop, ensuring a larger payload. It has an extra-large foot giving more power and protects the foot or shoe from getting cut. You can also use this shovel for camping and outdoor tasks, but it is not suitable for prying because of its rounded end. The shovel reviewed is 43 inches, but a 60-inch shovel is also available for a taller person. This shovel has pretty good reviews and is in the middle price range.
The Martha Stewart digging shovel has a hardwood D-grip handle that is powder-coated and rust-resistant with a heat-treated solid steel blade. Suitable for working at ground level or in tight spots. This product comes out the least favorite for garden shovels because the handle is flimsy, and the rivets and screws come apart fairly soon on use.
Top Camping Shovels – Best Overall and Best Value
For camping, our Best Overall is the Tyger Auto shovel. This multi-functional compact tool has everything you could ask for when doing any outdoor activities. US patent pending it is made from military-grade solid carbon steel with aerospace-grade anodized aluminum tubes. With its instant switch mechanism, extra tools, storage bag, and a 1-year no-hassle warranty, this is a very versatile lightweight shovel with excellent reviews and is ideal for camping and survival activities. It is not the cheapest but will stand the test of time when used often and with its versatility and many extras comes out as our Best Overall.
The Redcamp Military Folding Camping Shovel is our Best Value tool. This multi-functional shovel is foldable and can be used either straight or at a 90-degree angle. The body is made from heat-treated high carbon steel and has a comfortable triangular handle. The blade has a serrated saw edge that cuts through mud, sand, snow, compost, and roots and is also handy for digging tires out of the earth should your car get stuck. This shovel will endure harsh conditions and comes with a carrying pouch, full manufacturer warranty, good customer service, and good reviews. It is in the lower price bracket making it an excellent budget-friendly shovel, our Best Value camping shovel.
The Cold Steel Spetsnaz Tactical Camp Shovel has a long-lasting hardwood handle and a broad flat medium carbon steel blade with three sharp edges. Ideal for digging bunkers and foxholes or chopping branches, building shelters, or even acting as an improvised paddle. The downside is it doesn’t have a sheath or carrying pouch, and with three sharp edges, there could be a safety issue. However, it is a versatile tool with good reviews and is in the middle price range.
We hope these reviews and buyer’s guides have helped you better understand the various features and functions required in shovels when either gardening or camping, and you now feel able to buy with confidence.
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