Garden & Lawn

Top 5 best garden shovels for different tasks, from moving bulky materials to digging trenches

Last updated on June 13th, 2022

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It might be that your old shovel is looking haggard, or, you are setting up a new project and you are looking for a new shovel for a particular job. Cast your worries aside because we are here to help you find the best garden shovel, whether you need one for moving compost around or one for digging post holes, so not all shovels are designed for the same tasks. A shovel is not just a shovel! 

We have assembled shovels of different shapes and prices to suit your gardening needs. Feel free to analyse the different products presented in this review so that you can pick the right one. Before we go any further, let us take a peep at our two top recommended models.


Fiskars Ergonomic Long Handled Shovel
The Fiskars Ergonomic Shovel is a high-quality shovel that you can use in your garden to dig or move bulky materials, from the soil in your beds and borders to gravel paths and driveways, its also great for shovelling snow too. The shovel is made from durable materials and therefore, you are guaranteed of durability thanks to the steel design. Whether you are tall or short, you can easily find a comfortable position while working with this shovel because it has a decent height which is something that is often overlooked. It might be pricey but the quality will last for decades and it's perfect for moving large loads of bulky materials thanks to the good load capacity. This is probably the best choice for most people looking for a decent shovel.


Spear & Jackson 2000AC Tubular Steel Shovel
Another good shovel like the Fiskars, yet it comes at a more affordable price. It is made of carbon/manganese steel which has been heat tempered for long life and it has a comfortable wooden handle. Many of the customers are happy with the product because it is robust and it gets the job done although it is a little heavier than a shovel with a wooden shaft. It might be a little heavy but sometimes you need a heavy-duty tool to deal with heavy-duty activities. Additionally, the MYD handle fitted allows the user to work comfortably in summer or winter. Overall it's a great shovel ideal for general use from digging trenches to general building work, if you in the building trade, it's probably the one to consider.

Best Garden Shovels Reviews

1. Fiskars Ergonomic Shovel


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Fiskars Ergonomic Shovel

The Fiskars Ergonomic Shovel is suitable for moving everything from soil in your garden to gravel on your driveway, sand and it even makes a great snow shovel because it is also lightweight in comparison to most steel shaft shovels.

This shovel features a stainless steel sharp blade to break through the ground as the shaft has an inclined position of 26° which makes it perfect for the scooping action you need for moving bulky materials. Plus it means less bending, meaning less strain on your back.

It has an ergonomic steel handle that allows you to work in a comfortable position because the shaft is inclined to 17°. This, combined with the inclined shaft, really sets it apart from most other models.

The length of the shovel stands at 132cm, which is convenient for users of different heights. It is really a big advantage over standard-sized shovels that can be very harsh on your back if used for any long period of time. The 2.2kg model is rust-free and durable, hence it will serve you for a long time, offering you better value for money.


  • An inclined shaft and handle mean it puts less stress on your back and makes shovelling easier.
  • Made from durable steel to ensure a long-lasting product.
  • Features an ergonomic D-handle.
  • Comfortable to use by people of different heights thanks to the longer than usual shaft.
  • Can be used for shovelling all bulky materials and makes a great snow shovel too.

Our recommendation

The Fiskars Ergonomic Shovel is ideal for general use and will move most bulky materials with ease but the game-changer is in the inclined design of the shaft and handle that makes it so much easier to use putting less stress on your back.

This shovel is made from stainless steel, therefore, you are guaranteed its durability and that it will last for years. It has a comfortable grip so you can move soil or snow without your hands slipping.

It is expensive compared to the other models, however, the quality of the product more than makes up for it. With good care, this shovel will serve you for many years and is a great investment, especially for your back. A great shovel which we think deserves to be our ‘Best Pick’.

2. Spear & Jackson 2000AC Taper Mouth No.2 Tubular Steel Shovel


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Spear & Jackson 2000AC Taper Mouth No.2 Tubular Steel Shovel

The Spear & Jackson 2000AC Tubular Steel Shovel is made to provide both comfort and strength, ideally suited to the building trade.

This tapered model is made from carbon/manganese steel alloy that has been heat tempered to provide durability. Basically, it is very strong and robust.

The metal is also coated with epoxy to prevent it from rusting or dirt adhering to the surface which is super important. There is nothing worse than soil consistently sticking to the shovel as you try and dig or move soil. The epoxy coating also makes it easy to clean the shovel after each use.

Weighing in at 2.73kg, this model measures 101.3cm x 24.3cm x 12.1cm, so is really just a standard size shovel in terms of height. It is fitted with an MYD handle that offers a strong grip even with gloves on. People of different heights can use this model without working in an uncomfortable position, although it’s probably not as comfortable as our best pick because the shaft is shorter. But with this in mind, our best pick is not really ideal for the building trade.


  • Ideal for general work like digging trenches, moving materials such as tarmac and mixing concrete.
  • Made from durable steel that has been heat tempered for durability.
  • The surface of the blade is coated with epoxy for protection from the elements as well as to prevent soil from sticking.
  • It is fitted with a comfortable PYD handle.
  • Sold at an affordable price.


  • It is perhaps a little heavy, although it’s not much heavier than most other standard shovels.

Our recommendation

The Spear & Jackson 2000AC Tubular Steel Shovel is perfect for heavy-duty activities in the garden or for the building and landscaping trade.

You can use this shovel to lift and move heavy materials thanks to its tapered design but it’s also perfect for mixing concrete and digging trenches, making it a good all-round shovel for demanding jobs. We think of it more like a builders shovel that will get thrown about a lot and used for many different jobs. We like that it is made from tempered steel so that it can serve you for longer. 

We also appreciate the wooden handle. It will need some maintenance to keep the elements from destroying it, although it does have a good strong steel shaft. Altogether, you can purchase this well-balanced shovel at an affordable price.

Read next: Best garden spades

3. Spear & Jackson MICROROUND Shovel

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Spear & Jackson MICROROUND Shovel

If you were searching for a smaller shovel, perhaps for working in more confined spaces or a spade for digging up rocks, tree roots, digging small trenches, then the Spear & Jackson Micro Round Shovel would do you justice.

This model is only 70cm in height so you can carry it around in your car with ease too.

The round head shovel is perfect for working in tight spaces and because it has a more pointed blade, its perfect for use in the garden to dig up rocks or roots as the blade can penetrate them much easier than a standard shovel can.

The 8.25 x 6-Inch blade is made from carbon steel and designed to penetrate the ground without using much effort. Its handle is lightweight and easy to manoeuvre with because it is made from fibreglass. As a whole, the 1.1kg model is exceptionally strong and you can use it for different activities.


  • Features robust carbon steel pointed blade which is great for digging and penetrating through roots and picking up rocks and stones.
  • It is fitted with a lightweight fibreglass handle that is very strong.
  • Ideal for working in confined spaces.

Our recommendation

The Spear & Jackson Micro Round Shovel might seem like a toy for its size but it is a very capable tool and comes into its own when working in confined spaces or digging in what you might call hard to dig places, for example, tree roots and rocky ground.

It is small in size, which makes it suitable for working in tight spaces, it’s also great if a standard shovel is perhaps a little too big for you. You can also carry it around with you during winter to remove snow around your car as it’s fairly compact.

If you do not want the round head, you can select the same model only with a square head, this would perhaps be better for in the car for shovelling snow.

Read next: Best snow shovels

4. Faithfull All Steel Draining Shovel

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Faithfull All Steel Shovel Draining Myd

The Faithfull All Steel Shovel is best suited for digging narrow trenches or deep holes in the ground for inserting fence posts. For this job, it’s perfect, for everything else is fairly useless.

The shovel comprises a narrow carbon steel blade to penetrate the soil with ease. Its tubular steel handle is lightweight therefore balancing the weight of the head for easy manoeuvrability. 

The shovel features an MYD D-handle that provides a firm grip on the tool even on hot days when your hands get sweaty.


  • Perfect for making narrow trenches or digging deep narrow holes for fence posts.
  • Made from sturdy and robust steel.
  • Features an MYD handle for comfortability.


  • Obviously not suitable for moving bulky materials.

Our recommendation

The Faithfull All Steel Shovel is a well-made shovel that will serve you for a long time. It is a bit heavy to work with for long periods, but it’s absolutely brilliant for creating narrow drainage paths or trenches.

It is well matched for digging deep but narrow holes for fence posts where a standard spade or shovel would be less than ideal.

5. Bulldog 5CLAM All Steel Trenching Shovel

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Bulldog 5CLAM All Steel Cable Laying Shovel

Last but not least, there’s the Bulldog 5CLAM All Steel Cable Laying Shovel. If you need a shovel just to dig trenches, perhaps lay a new cable, put in some new drainage, or even plant hedges, then this is, without doubt, the best choice for you.

This 2kg model is forged from a singular piece of steel. This type of construction gives the shovel its robust and sturdy structure and strength.

Its narrow blade penetrates different types of soil including clay with the utmost ease, it is a real workhorse designed to get the job (or trench in most cases) dug.


  • The narrow blade makes it perfect for digging trenches to lay cables or adding some drainage.
  • Forged from one piece of steel for sturdiness.
  • Features a comfortable wooden handle.

Our recommendation

The Bulldog 5CLAM All Steel Trench Shovel works with different types of soil and it excels in handling clay where other models would struggle. This shovel is forged from one piece of steel, so it’s very sturdy, which is important when digging trenches.

If you have cable trenches to dig or any other narrow passageways, this shovel would serve you just right and would be worth the investment.

Buyer’s Guide

Working with a sturdy shovel gets the job done and it allows you to work in a comfortable position. The best garden shovel will fit into your budget and it should be robust enough to last for many years.

There are more considerations to make that we will explore below because not all shovels are designed to do the same job.


The main reason for you to seek a shovel should be pinned in your mind. That way, you do not deviate from the plan when you see another gorgeous shovel.

You may need a shovel to attend to general garden duties, you may need a shovel that you can carry around in your car, or perhaps you need to dig a long trench or do some DIY and need to put in some posts. What matters is that the size and the shape of the blade suit your purpose and that you get the right type of shovel.

Blade shape and size

There are various shapes of blades available, some are round, some rectangular, and some are long and narrow. It all depends on the task at hand and the working space that you are confined to. 

Narrow blades are perfect for executing jobs in narrow spaces while wide rectangular blades move large amounts of soil, stone, sand and other bulky materials. If you envision what you want the blade to feel like and look like, you can find a model that matches your vision.

Construction materials

Shovels are in constant contact with the elements, therefore, the strength of the material is important. Stainless steel is a popular choice because it is durable and with protective coatings, it can withstand the elements for years. There are aluminium shovels but they are not as hardwearing as the steel models, in the long run, however, they don’t rust as easily as steel shovels. 

Pick a shovel that is guaranteed not to succumb to rust/corrosion because the metal has a form of a protective layer, whether epoxy or paint.

Ergonomic handle and shaft length 

The length of the shaft and the size of the handle greatly affect the working position of the user. Shorter shafts may be easier for shorter people to manage but they may be unforgiving for tall people. Think about your height and select a shovel that you can use without breaking your back. 

Many shovels come with a D-handle to facilitate a firm grip. If you have large hands, try to select a handle that looks spacious so that your hands can remain comfortable even with gloves.

Some models incorporate wooden sections in the handle to provide adequate traction while working.


How many types of shovelheads are available on the market?

There are several types of shovels and each is suitable for different uses.

  • Round shovels are common and they are suitable for digging and moving considerable amounts of soil.
  • Trenching shovels are narrow and they feature a square head for easy penetration into the soil.
  • Scraper shovels are used for light weeding tasks because of their small blades thus they are good at moving the topsoil.
  • Square shovels are usually appropriate for landscaping activities because they lift and move soil very well.
  • Scoop shovels have spacious curved heads to contain and lift as much material as they can.
  • Drain shovels do exactly what their name suggests. They feature narrow round heads to create drainage features.

Any maintenance tips?

Shovels are simple tools. All you need to do is clean them after every use and wipe metal parts down with a little WD40 and store them in a dry area. You might want to reapply protective coatings on any wood or exposed metal parts to avoid any rust or splitting of wood.

Final Conclusion

For us, the Fiskars Ergonomic Shovel and the Spear & Jackson 2000AC Tubular Steel Shovel stood out because of their performance. We find them capable of accomplishing their given tasks without compromising their structural integrity. 

We would also want to know which shovel caught your attention in the comment section below and how your experience was. With that, we end this review in the search of the best garden shovel with the hopes that you enjoyed it.

Last update on 2024-06-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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