The Top 5 Best Shovels for Every Gardener and Landscaper

We have conducted extensive research on shovels, including interviews with professional landscapers, and spent six hours digging through a challenging terrain of mulch, compost, and rocks at a community garden in New York City. Our findings indicate that the Bully Tools 82515 is the top-performing all-purpose garden shovel on the market. Compared to other models we tested, it is lighter, stronger, more affordable, and more comfortable to use. These features make it a more efficient choice overall.

Bully Tools 82515

The Bully Tools 82515 is a thoughtfully engineered and ruggedly built shovel that is priced affordably, making it the ultimate investment for any gardening enthusiast. It boasts a plethora of subtle design details that set it apart from its competitors. For instance, it comes with a full-blade-width step that ensures maximum comfort when plunging it into the soil. Additionally, it features a unique handle made of rot-proof wood and fiberglass, which absorbs shocks to prevent any discomfort during use.

Compared to other heavy-duty shovels on the market, the Bully Tools 82515 is also incredibly lightweight, weighing only 4⅜ pounds. Its balance is perfect, making it one of those rare tools that is not only functional but also enjoyable to use. In summary, this versatile and well-balanced shovel excels in every aspect, making it an excellent choice for any gardening task. You won’t regret investing in this shovel as it is sure to be the best and last shovel you’ll ever buy.

Ames Long Fiberglass Handle Round Point Shovel

The Ames long-handle round-point shovel is a durable and versatile tool that exceeds expectations. Its steel-reinforced fiberglass handle is exceptionally sturdy and features a comfortable padded nonslip grip for optimal control. The steel blade boasts an oversize step area and an open socket that is reinforced with a steel collet, providing excellent value for money.

Our testing showed that the Ames shovel performs similarly to the Bully Tools model, with only a slight difference in weight. The Ames shovel is slightly lighter, making it an excellent all-purpose choice for tasks that do not require heavy-duty reinforcements. The thinner steel used in the shovel head contributes to its lightweight design, but it also allows for some flexibility. As a result, it may not be as effective in hard-packed clay soil and is more prone to wear and tear in rocky ground. However, we appreciate that the handle is reinforced with an inner layer of steel to prevent cracking at stress points.

Overall, the Ames long-handle round-point shovel is a digging tool that delivers on its promises. It weighs 4.31 pounds, and its tempered-steel head with a wide step area offers secure footing. While the open-back handle socket is a potential failure point, the steel-reinforced fiberglass handle and slip-resistant cushioned grip make it a lightweight but strong choice.

Fiskars Long Handle

The Fiskars Long Handle garden shovel is a sturdy tool designed for long-lasting performance. Its unique features make it stand out from other shovels in its class. The ergonomic angled shaft provides a comfortable grip, and the closed-back design prevents dirt from getting inside the shovel. The blade is welded directly to the handle, ensuring maximum durability, and the huge step provides excellent traction for digging in dense soil.

This No. 2-style digging shovel is the burliest one we tested, with a handle that showed no flex even under the pressure of our 150 lb tester during pry tests. Additionally, the angled handle makes shoveling from waist height more comfortable and allows for a greater rise angle while keeping the handle closer to the body when the blade is perpendicular to the ground.

However, with a weight of 6 pounds, the Fiskars shovel is heavier than many of its competitors, making it challenging to use for extended periods. The welded blade also means that if the handle does break, you’ll need to send it back to Fiskars for replacement instead of replacing it on the spot. Nevertheless, this is the shovel we recommend for tasks that involve lots of plunging, jumping, hacking, smashing, and overall aggression towards the ground.

True Temper D-Grip Digging Shovel

The True Temper D-Grip Digging Shovel is a powerful tool renowned for its durability and quality construction. The D-shaped hardwood handle is ergonomically designed to provide maximum comfort and control during heavy-duty tasks. The forged steel blade is perfectly balanced, with a sharpened edge and a large surface area for holding more soil. This shovel is an excellent value for the price, with very good quality steel that can stand up to tough use over time. However, the comfort step may not provide sufficient leverage for digging in rocky soil, which can be a disadvantage in some situations. Overall, the True Temper D-Grip Digging Shovel is a reliable choice for heavy-duty tasks in a variety of soil types

Z & G Shovel

Long-handled shovels are typically ideal for gardening tasks, but if you need to dig in tight spaces, a mini-shovel can be a handy tool. The Z & G mini D-handle shovel is the best miniature shovel and has earned the blue ribbon for its outstanding features. This shovel boasts a rust-resistant design and all-steel construction, making it a durable and long-lasting tool. It’s also lightweight, weighing only 2.29 pounds, and compact in design, making it an excellent tool to carry on camping trips.

The Z & G mini D-handle shovel has a steel handle and blade with a D-handle grip, which provides excellent control and stability during use. Its foot placement step makes it easier to plunge into the soil, while the affordable price makes it a great value for money. However, some users report that the all-metal construction of the shovel has manufacturing imperfections. Despite this minor issue, the Z & G mini D-handle shovel remains an excellent choice for anyone who needs a high-quality and compact digging tool.

Buyers Guide

When it comes to buying a shovel, there are several factors to consider that can impact its quality and performance, such as materials, design, and ergonomics. In this article, we have compiled a buyer’s guide that covers many of these factors to help you choose the best gardening shovel for your needs.

One important consideration is the type of shovel you need, as there are several types available for different tasks. For example, the round point digging shovel is great for digging holes, while the square point digging shovel is better for transferring loose materials. Other types include the trench shovel, transfer shovel, drain shovel, and mini shovel.

Another important factor to consider is the length of the shovel handle, which should be appropriate for your height and allow you to bend your knees while keeping your back straight. Comfort is also crucial, and many shovels come with D-shaped handles or cushioned grips to provide comfort and control. Weight is another consideration, as a heavy shovel can be exhausting to use for long periods.

The handle material is also important, with wood, fiberglass, and steel being the most common options. While wood handles offer a natural look and feel, they are not as durable as fiberglass or steel and can rot if left in damp conditions. Fiberglass is lightweight and shock-absorbing, while steel is the best option for heavy-duty use.

Blade material is also a crucial consideration, with steel being the stronger and more durable option compared to aluminum, although it is more expensive. Finally, the ferrule, step, and blade design can also impact the shovel’s performance and comfort, with closed-back blades being preferable to open-back ones that can accumulate debris.


What shovel is best for breaking through the soil?

Pointed narrow rounded shovels are best for breaking through the soil, as their blade can easily penetrate through hard and compacted soils.

For even more improved soil penetration though, make sure to choose a shovel that has a pre-sharpened shovel blade, as this will slice through the dirt more easily.

As well as a shovel with an extra-large footstep, as this will provide more leverage while digging.

What is the best tool to use for digging holes?

For digging small holes, a trowel is the best tool to use as it is specifically designed for this purpose.

However, for larger holes, a shovel is the best tool to use, as it can dig much larger holes much faster than a trowel.

And for the largest of holes, you may need to use a shovel and an auger.

What is the difference between a spade and a shovel?

A spade is a type of shovel that has a completely flat or mostly flat narrow blade, while a regular shovel has a much larger and rounded blade.

Is a shovel or spade better for digging?

Spades are better for digging in loose soil and for breaking through hard soils, while shovels are better for scooping and moving large amounts of material. 

What is a digging shovel?

A digging shovel is a tool that is specifically designed for the purpose of digging holes in the ground.

They typically have large and rounded blades, which make them ideal for scooping up large amounts of dirt and soil.

In addition, they also often have larger footsteps, which provide more leverage when breaking through hard and compacted soils.

What is a trowel shovel?

A trowel is a small hand shovel that is specifically designed for digging small holes.

They typically have much smaller blades than regular shovels, and they often have serrated edges to make it easier to break through compacted soils.

Hello, everyone! I'm David Henry, a dedicated customer and enthusiastic reviewer of Tractor Supply Company. As a farmer and agriculture enthusiast, I frequently visit Tractor Supply Company to explore and purchase a wide range of agricultural supplies, tools, and equipment. Over the years, I have accumulated extensive experience and knowledge in shopping at Tractor Supply Company, and I aim to help others make wiser choices through my sharing. I understand the importance of selecting the right products for farmers, ranchers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. That's why I enjoy sharing my insights and recommendations to assist individuals in finding the best-suited products for their needs. Join me as we embark on a journey of discovering quality products and making informed decisions at Tractor Supply Company. Together, let's enhance our farming and outdoor experiences through valuable insights and practical advice.