Gardening is a pleasurable hobby and a great way to enjoy your local environment. The experience of seeing your flowers, shrubs, and trees come to life in the summer is thrilling. However, as every gardener knows, the success of your plants in the blooming season requires plenty of work throughout the early spring and into the summer.
You need top quality soil mixes and nutrients, as well a s the right tools to help you with your gardening duties. Without a complete set of gardening tools, you’ll be shortchanging your flowerbeds this year. A shovel is an essential tool for your yard work.
Shovels are also essential camping gear. Digging out firepits, and freeing cars from the mud are just a few examples of where a shovel comes in handy around the campsite.
Whether you need a shovel for digging out your flowerbeds, moving soil around thew campsite, or any other task – we know what you want. We put together the best shovel reviews to unpack everything you need to know about choosing the right shovel for your garden this summer.
Our Top Picks
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 2 Shovel Reviews
- 3 Other Best Selling Options
- 4 Shovel Buyer’s Guide
- 4.1 What Do I Need to Know When Buying a Shovel?
- 4.2 What are the Different Types of Shovels?
- 4.3 How Do I Choose the Right Shovel for Needs?
- 4.4 What’s the Best Handle Design?
- 4.5 What’s the Best Material for the Handle?
- 4.6 Is Durability Important for my Shovel?
- 4.7 What Size Shovel Do I Need?
- 4.8 Do Brands and Warranties Matter?
- 4.9 How Much Should You Spend on a Good Shovel?
- 5 Shovel FAQs
- 6 Conclusion
If you have something to do in the garden right now and don’t have the time to read the whole review, you can rely on our top picks. We selected three models, and each of them has unique characteristics for your yard.
- The Best Pick: D-Handle Shovel
If you need a shovel for your veggie garden or flowerbeds, this model is your top choice. With a 29.6-inch handle and a rust-resistant coating, you won’t have to worry about the tool rusting if you forget it out in the yard.
- The Premium Pick: Zune Lotoo 24 in 1 Set
This spade multi-tool is 24-tools in one package. If you’re a camper or enjoy the outdoors, then this spade is a great choice to take with you. You get plenty of handy tools in this spade that is useful around the campsite.
- The Budget Pick: General Use Aluminum Garden Shovel
This shovel is a great all-round spade and shovel for use in the garden or camping. With a telescopic handle, for an adjustable length between 21-inches to 32-inches, this model is a compact choice and offers the gardener or camper plenty or leverage and shovelhead capacity.
Now that you know our top picks for your garden or campsite let’s unpack them in further detail.
D-Handle Shovel – The Best Overall Shovel
This D-handle shovel is the ideal overall performer for gardening in flowerbeds and greenhouses. The 29.6-inch shaft gives you total control over the head of the spade. This model features a rust-resistant coating on the steel frame, with folded footrests for more leverage when digging.
There is a flathead spade model available as well, and both come in the intriguing “cold steel” finish that’s weatherproof and attractive.
This unit is ideal for cluster homes and townhouses.
The D-handle grip gives you more control and user comfort, reducing operator fatigue. This shovel wins our top spot as the best overall performer in this review.
- All-metal design and construction
- Rust-resistant finish for all-weather use
- Compact and lightweight
- Easy to take to the campsite
- Good choice for townhouse and complex gardens
- Might be a little small for more substantial jobs around the garden
- Not Suitable for contractors
Zune Lotoo Camping Multi-Tool – Premium Shovel Set
If you’re an avid outdoors person and enjoy hiking deep in public land, this multi-function shovel is the one tool you need for everything.
This model features a design with screw-in handle lengths on the shovel that hide various accessories. There are many additional tools on this shovel; the head comes with dual-action for cutting logs for firewood.
This shovel comes with a lifetime warranty, and that makes sense considering the purchase price. With the Zune Lotoo, you get the following accessories.
- Multifunctional Knife
- Camera Support
- Survival Whistle
- Wire Saw
- Fish spear
- Glass breaker
- Fire steel
- Windproof rope
Overall, it’s a handy tool, and there’s so much functionality to it that it can probably replace a few items of kit that are weighing you down.
- Plenty of camping functionality with screw-apart separations in the handle
- Lightweight and compact
- Ideal for the campsite and hunting trips
- Premium Price
- Not suitable for contractors
General Use Aluminum Garden Shovel – The Best Budget Shovel
If you’re looking for the best budget shovel in this review, you can’t go wrong with this model. You get three adjustable shovel lengths with this collapsible shaft. The shaft and scoop feature design and construction with aluminum for lightweight handling.
The collapsible shaft in this model makes for a good camping shovel. We like the large scoop that helps you move more dirt, snow, or debris.
- Simple shovel design with enough capacity for the garden
- Comes in three sections that snap together
- Adjustable handle length
- Ergonomic design
- Comes in different colors
- Good for the garden or the campsite
- Versatile, robust, and lightweight
- Affordable price
- Not suitable for contractors
Bond LH015 Mini D Handle ShovelThe Bond D-handle shovel is another good choice for the small to the medium-size garden. This model features design and construction with steel and a durable, flexible, and lightweight shaft. The shaft connects to a large D-handle that provides you total control over the spade while absorbing the shock from digging.
This model isn’t collapsible, but the design is useful in the garden, providing a lightweight carry you can take around your flowerbeds with ease. The durable heat-treated steelhead is robust and reliable, featuring a rust-proof coating for excellent weather resistance.
The comfortable D-handle has a non-slip grip guaranteed to ensure you always have total control over the tool. Sharpened edges on this shovel make it a good choice for digging tough soil and chopping roots.
- Strong design and construction with carbon steel
- D-shaped handle for easy grip
- Compact and easy to store
- Using a short-handled shovel in the garden can be hard on your back
CO-Z Mini Folding Shovel
For users that want the best performance from a shovel, the CO-Z is an excellent choice with multi-functionality. With its carbon steel head, rust-resistant coating, and serrated edge, this shovel is a fantastic tool to have around the campsite.
The coating on the shovel provides corrosion-resistance and reduces friction when digging. The serrated edge helps you with cutting branches for firewood. The shovel comes in a compact 3-point folding design, with a telescopic handle.
This shovel features design for the military, and it weighs 1.8-lbs, making it easy to stow away in your rucksack. You get a carry pouch included with the shovel, and it’s a great tool to stash with your emergency gear in your car.
This model has a re-enforced steel blade, making it a great cutting and chopping tool, with a thick shovel blade for robust use. The CO-Z is an Amazon Choice product, and with the quality involved with the design and construction of this tool – we’re not surprised.
Suitable for use in the wilderness, on public land, or in your local camping spot. The CO-Z is a fantastic multi-tool to add to your kit.
- Ideal design for camping
- Sharp point, and serrated edges on the spade blade
- 3-point collapsible system
- Backhoe spike
- Comes with a carry bag
- Handle is a bit short
Spear Head Spade
Do you have some weeding and digging to do around your shrubs? If you’re looking to propagate your flowers or cut up sod, this shovel is an excellent choice.
It features design and construction with a steelhead and polymer glass fiber handle for additional strength and shock absorption during use. The shovel has a total length of 30-inches, making it suitable for work around the garden in townhouses and cluster homes.
The cantered edges and sharp points on this shovel make it the ideal choice for digging deeper into the ground. The thinner, more tapered nose on the shovelhead cuts through roots, helping you to remove plants easily.
This lightweight option is a good choice for a tool to go alongside the Z&G model we covered earlier.
- A good choice for work around the vegetable garden
- Different color handles
- Anti-corrosion coating
- Thinner and longer spade head for digging up roots and weeding
- 30-inch reinforced fiberglass handle for lightweight use
- Not suitable for extensive gardening
Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel
The Gerber Gorge folding shovel is an excellent choice for gardening tasks or taking camping. This compact shovel has a three-point folding system, and a convenient carry bag to stash in your backpack or the trunk of your car. The shovel folds from 16.25-inches to 9.25-inches.
The shovel features an ergonomic design with a slide release button for easy setup. While you get plenty of robust durability from this tool, it weighs only 1.68-lbs. Pack this into your bag, and you’ll barely notice the extra weight. Use it around the campsite for duties like digging firepits.
- Telescopic slide with a push-button mechanism
- High-quality brand in camping equipment
- Comes with a carry bag
- Ergonomic design
- Not good for heavy digging
Other Best Selling Options
- Ideal for digging in tough soil
- Welded 14-gauge hardened steel blade and 18-gauge steel shaft provide durability that far outlasts wood-handled tools and won’t flex like fiberglass
- Sharpened blade makes it easy to penetrate tough soil or break up hardened dirt clods
- Length: 57.5 inches
- Provides maximum leverage and easy lifting when kneeling in the garden and cutting sod or Small roots
- Great for digging holes, planting Small shrubs, transplanting and dividing perennials, and spreading mulch
- Small design is ideal for working at ground level or in tight spots.
- Powder-coated, rust-resistant construction and comfortable D-ring non-slip grip
- 8-inch round point blade easily slices through sod and soil
- Designed for edging, cutting a trench, slicing through thick turf or digging; Great addition for everyday gardeners, yard cleanup, landscapers and work sites
- Welded 14-gauge hardened steel blade and 18-gauge steel shaft provide durability that far outlasts wood-handled tools and will not flex like fiberglass
- Extra-large D-handle and foot platform design offers secure two-handed control when digging and helps maximize force when driving the blade into soil
- Sharpened blade makes gardening easier; Penetrate tough soil or break up hardened dirt clods
- Overall length: 46 inches, weight: 4.81 ounces; Included lifetime warranty
Shovel Buyer’s Guide
A shovel or spade is a must-have tool for around the garden or the campsite. However, there are different types of shovels to do various tasks. Some suit gardening while others are better for camping. In this section, we’ll give you everything you need to know about choosing the best shovel.
What Do I Need to Know When Buying a Shovel?
Gardening shovels, camping shovels, root shovels – what’s the difference? Can you really go wrong with choosing your shovel? There are a few design factors to consider before settling on the right shovel for your yard or campsite.
What are the Different Types of Shovels?
There are four different types of shovels we’ll focus on in this buyer’s guide. Choose the shovel that’s the right choice for your gardening or camping needs.
- Digging Shovel – These are the most common types of gardening and camping shovels. These shovels feature curved sides for digging. Digging shovels come with square, rounded, or pointed shovelheads.
- Trench Shovel – This shovel features a narrow point with long, sharp sides. One or both sides of the shovel blade may feature serrations to help with cutting out roots. Most of these shovels don’t have much room at the top of the blade for a footrest.
- Scoop Shovel – These shovels have a broad mouth with a large capacity scoop. They’re typically a good choice for snow shovels. These shovels are also available for carrying soil and come in a variety of blade materials.
- Scraper – These shovels are good for scraping driveways, tiles, and other surfaces for weeds. They also help for digging up ice in the winter.
How Do I Choose the Right Shovel for Needs?
Is there a difference between a shovel and a spade? A spade typically features a flathead design, with a straight lip into the scoop. You can use a spade for scraping or scooping up dirt, snow, or other debris from a flat surface.
A shovel has a pointed tip instead of a flat lip. The sides of the shovel form either a slow or aggressive slope from the footrest to the point. Shovels are usually for digging into the dirt, either in flowerbeds or around the campsite.
Shovels are usually smaller than spades, and some feature collapsible or telescopic design in the handle. Compact collapsible shovels are the ideal choice for backpackers and hikers that need a camping shovel. They also make a great emergency tool to stash in your truck if you’re going out on rougher trails.
What’s the Best Handle Design?
Shovels come with two handles designs – the “T” or “D” grip, depending on your preferences. There is no “right” or “wrong” handle, design; it’s about choosing the best tool for the job that feels good in your hands.
User comfort is a top consideration when purchasing your shovel. The way you work in your garden determines the best choice of handle design. D-grip shovels offer a full, unbroken grip, and they are better suited to scooping because you can get all your fingers together.
A T-grip means you’ll have the break your fingers to get them around the shaft of the shovel. However, this design can also be beneficial for moving dirt around, using the butt of your hand on the handle. IT’s all bout your personal preference and how you think you’ll use the shovel in your garden or on your camping trips.
Camping shovels will feature collapsible or telescopic design in the handle. A telescopic handle allows you to contract the shovel into a compact size for easy storage. These shovels will stow away in your backpack or the trunk of your truck.
What’s the Best Material for the Handle?
Some handles come with wooden grips with a loose fit to the handle, allowing for a comfortable grip of the handle during motion. This design also helps to reduce blisters when digging for extensive periods. Other handles feature design and construction with plastic or steel, depending on the functionality of the shovel.
Lightweight models will use plastic to reduce weight during transport, such as backpacking. Fiberglass handles are also a popular choice for a good balance of strength and lightweight material. Fiberglass will be the more expensive of all the materials, but it’s worth the money. If you value both strength and lightweight carry in your shovel, then fiberglass is the best option.
Is Durability Important for my Shovel?
If you leave your shovel out in the garden, you don’t want it rusting or the handle warping. The materials involved with the design and construction of your shovel make a big difference. Weatherproof options require coated steel frames to prevent rust.
Fiberglass handles are going to be lightweight and easy to use, and they offer a good level of weather resistance. Others may feature magnesium alloy coatings to reduce friction during use and protect the steel from corrosion.
Steel blades come in a forged or stamped design. A forged steel blade will offer the most robust tool, and it’s a good choice for camping shovels that act as cutting surfaces or multi-tools. Look for shovels made from carbon steel, stainless steel, or tempered steel for the toughest shovel materials.
What Size Shovel Do I Need?
Choosing the right size shovel also depends on your application. For moving soil around the garden, you’ll need a shovel with a large scoop and a polyethylene lip for scraping. However, if you’re going camping, you’re needs are likely to be quite different.
You probability want a shovel for clearing campsites and digging firepits. You might also need to substitute your shovel for an ax, requiring a blade on one side of the shovelhead. A camping shovel will be more compact, and many of them feature folding or telescoping handle assemblies.
Choosing the right shovel capacity depends on your needs. A longer handle gives you more leverage and adds to the tool’s size and weight.
Do Brands and Warranties Matter?
We think a brand is a sign of the quality you can expect from the tool. If you’re going for a standard garden shovel with a fixed blade, then checking for the tool’s coating and steel is more important than the brand.
However, if you’re going to use folding camping shovels or other shovels with accessories or moving parts, look for premium branded tools. Warranties are also crucial in shovels that feature moving parts, telescopic shafts, and locks.
How Much Should You Spend on a Good Shovel?
Garden shovels can range between $16 to $50, depending on the tool’s size and the brand. However, camping shovel s that feature collapsible design or multi-tool functionality can cost as much as $230 or more.
What’s the difference between shovels for camping and gardening?
Shovels for gardening typically have longer handles and larger scoops for moving soil or chopping at roots. A camping model will have a folding or telescopic handle that allows for compact storage and stowing in backpacks.
What’s the best way to use a shovel?
Take a stance with your feet wide apart. Place your front foot close to the shovel blade and stand on the top of the footrest with your other foot. Drive your foot into the blade, forcing it into the ground. Keep the load and movement close to your body to avoid falling off-balance.
What’s the best shovel for removing sod?
You can use a spade, shovel, or an edge cutter to remove the sod. Make sure you water the ground the day before to make it easy to dig out. Cut the sod up into 1-foot squares in a grid formation. Pry then out with the front of the spade.
What muscles do I use when during a dig?
When digging, you’ll be using the hamstrings, calves, and glutes to complete the movement. The digging will also engage your core muscles.
By now, you should have a good idea of the best shovel for your garden or camping trip. If you’re still on the fence with your decision, you can rely on our top picks.
- The Z & G D-Handle Shovel is our top choice for the garden. This shovel is robust and weather-resistant, with a broad head that’s easy to use around the flowerbeds.
- If you’re looking for the ultimate camping accessory, the Zune Lotoo Camping Multi-Tool is your top choice. This model comes with 23-survival-tools in one. It’s a lightweight and compact shovel you can take with you on any camping or hunting trip.
- The General Use Aluminum Garden Shovel is our best option for all-around use in the campsite or the garden. The full shovelhead allows for more scoop volume, and the collapsible handle makes it a compact, portable option.