9 Best Garden Spades of 2021 [Reviews]

close up of gardener with three garden spades in bed of weeds

Dividing perennials, slicing sod, edging flower beds –– a garden spade is a powerhouse tool. But how do you find the right spade for you and your garden? Our list of the nine best garden spades is the place to start. 

From carbon steel blades to metal handles, we gathered and compared the specifications for several garden spades. We even included a buyers guide down below so you’ll know what to look for in a garden spade.  

Which garden spade proved the reigning champion? Find out below which nine garden spades made our top picks. 

Top 9 Garden Spades – Reviews

1. Radius Garden 25102

Radius Garden 25102 Pro-Lite Carbon Steel Spade, Green

Radius Garden has a mission to innovate average gardening tools for a comfortable gardening experience. That’s why the Radius Garden 25102 Garden Spade boasts a fiberglass shaft, ergonomic grip handle, and a lightweight carbon steel blade. 

This long garden spade even offers a comfortable digging experience for tall users, which means gardeners won’t strain their backs when slicing through the soil. 

Use your Radius Garden 25102 to transplant shrubs and small trees, trim roots, and dig deep narrow holes for your crops. Its extra-wide raised forward step helps you dig deeper, making those tough digging jobs easy. 

And did we mention you can get this high-quality garden spade at an affordable price, too?

Specifications: 

  • Blade Material: Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass
  • Tool Length: 48.5 inches

Pros: 

✓ Carbon steel blade
✓ Fiberglass handles are more durable than wooden handles
✓ Fiberglass handles are lighter than steel handles
✓ Long, comfortable design for tall users
✓ Affordable
✓ Ergonomic grip handle
✓ Extra-wide raised forward step allows you to dig deeper
✓ Long socket strengthens the connection between the blade and handle

Cons: 

✗ Fiberglass handles are not as durable as steel handles

2. Radius Garden 201 PRO

Radius Garden 201 PRO Garden Stainless Steel Spade, One Size, Original Green

Radius Garden takes home another blue ribbon for the 201 PRO Garden Spade. Little can stop this garden spade from destruction. Its stainless steel blade is resistant to rusting, and its resin-encased carbon steel shaft won’t dare snap in two. 

Like the Radius Garden 25102, the 201 PRO can transplant shrubs and small trees and trim roots. 

So what might deter buyers from the Radius Garden 201 PRO? This high-quality tool sells for a high price, and not every gardener has that kind of green to spare.

Specifications: 

  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Carbon Steel
  • Tool Length: 41.3 inches

Pros: 

✓ Rust-resistant, stainless steel blade
✓ Carbon steel shaft
✓ Ergonomic handle
✓ Extra-wide raised forward step allows user to dig deeper
✓ Its long socket strengthens the connection between the blade and handle

Cons: 

✗ Some users report their tool did not arrive sharpened 

3. Fiskars D-handle Square Garden Spade

Fiskars 46 Inch Steel D-handle Square Garden Spade

The Fiskars D-handle Square Garden Spade slices through the soil like butter (and has over 1,900 five-star ratings on Amazon). What this means: You can edge your gardens, cut a trench, and slice through thick turf with precision and ease.

What makes this garden spade so special?

This mighty garden spade has a 14-gauge hardened steel blade and an 18-gauge steel shaft. Its all-steel construction will far outlast your wooden tools and is even more durable than fiberglass. 

The garden spade also features an extra-large foot platform for enhanced leverage and digging power and a large D-grip for two-handed control. 

Specifications: 

  • Blade Material: Steel
  • Handle Material: Steel
  • Tool Length: 47 inches

Pros: 

✓ 14-gauge hardened steel blade
✓ 18-gauge steel shaft
✓ Extra-large foot platform
✓ Large D-grip allows for two-handed control
✓ Long, comfortable design for tall users
✓ All-steel construction means fewer weak points

Cons: 

✗ Some users report their tool did not arrive sharpened 

4. Bully Tools 82500

Bully Tools 82500 12-Gauge Edging and Planting Spade with Fiberglass D-Grip Handle

Tired of your wooden handle tools rotting but don’t want to lug around a heavy steel shaft? The Bully Tools 82500 has a triple wall fiberglass handle that Goldilocks would say is “just right.” 

So what else sets the Bully Tools 82500 apart? It features a 12-gauge steel blade, an extra-wide polypropylene copolymer D-grip with no-slip texture, and a reinforced wood handle design. 

Specifications: 

  • Blade Material: Steel
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass
  • Tool Length: 40 inches

Pros: 

✓ Fiberglass handles are more durable than wooden handles
✓ Fiberglass handles are lighter than steel handles
✓ Affordable
✓ 12-gauge steel blade
✓ Extra-wide polypropylene copolymer D-grip with no-slip texture
✓ Wood reinforced handle design

Cons: 

✗ Fiberglass handles are not as durable as steel handles

5. Draper 83758 

Draper 83758 Stainless Steel Soft Grip Border Spade

Users applaud the Draper 83758 Garden Spade for its comfortable design and ergonomic handle. How this benefits you: As you work in the sun spading your garden soil, you’ll be glad your hands are gripping a soft cushion rather than a rigid wood handle. 

The garden spade is equipped with a stainless steel blade resistant to rust, making for easy maintenance.

Specifications: 

  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Plastic
  • Tool Length: 37.8 inches

Pros: 

✓ Plastic handles are more weather-resistant than wooden handles 
✓ Ergonomic, soft-grip handle
✓ Affordable
✓ Long ferrule creates a strong connection between the blade and handle
✓ Stainless steel blade resists rust

Cons: 

✗ The plastic handle makes this tool susceptible to snapping
✗ The tool might be too short for tall users

6. Spear & Jackson Select Stainless Border Spade

Spear & Jackson Select Stainless Border Spade

The Spear & Jackson Select Stainless Border Spade is an excellent choice for light-duty work. This tool is lightweight and compact, which means less muscle fatigue in the garden. However, if you’re a tall gardener, you might feel more comfortable with a longer handle. 

Spear & Jackson has been selling garden tools since 1760, so it’s no wonder this garden spade boasts a rust-resistant, stainless steel blade and long ferrule that strengthens the connection between the blade and handle. 

Better yet, its polypropylene shaft stands up against the harsh weather conditions that are often the demise of wooden handles. 

Specifications: 

  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Polypropylene
  • Tool Length: 37.8 inches

Pros: 

✓ Under 4 pounds
✓ Ergonomic handle
✓ Rust-resistant, stainless steel blade
✓ Polypropylene handle won’t rot like a wooden handle
✓ The company has over two centuries of experience selling tools
✓ Long ferrule strengthens the connection between the blade and handle

Cons: 

✗ It might be too short for tall users
✗ Cannot withstand heavy-duty work
✗ Polypropylene is not as durable as fiberglass or steel
✗ Expensive 
✗ Does not have a step platform

7. Spear & Jackson Kew Gardens 1184SYDKEW 

Spear & Jackson Kew Gardens 1184SYDKEW Carbon Steel Treaded Border Spade, Blue

Many gardeners prefer wood’s natural beauty despite wooden handles not lasting nearly as long as steel or fiberglass handles. Spear & Jackson appears to recognize wood’s limitations and has created a wood-handled garden spade built to withstand harsh weather conditions. 

The Kew Gardens 1184SYDKEW Border Spade shows off a weatherproof hardwood shaft that further prolongs the tool’s life. The spade’s carbon steel blade and socket also have a hammer finish epoxy coating for protection against rust, humidity, scratches, and alkalis found in the soil.

Specifications: 

  • Blade Material: Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material: Hardwood
  • Tool Length: 38.98 inches

Pros: 

✓ Carbon steel blade
✓ The wooden handle is weatherproofed
✓ The blade has a step platform
✓ Blade and socket have a hammer finish epoxy coating 
✓ Long socket creates a stronger connection between handle and blade
✓ Ergonomic handle

Cons: 

✗ Wooden handles have a shorter lifespan than fiberglass and steel handles 
✗ Expensive

8. Truper 31189

Truper 31189 Tru Tough Garden Spade, Steel D-Handle, 30-Inch

We’ve highlighted some standout wooden handles on this list of top garden spades already, but we haven’t shown you one like the Truper 31189. 

Tools advertised to have “hardwood” handles often don’t specify what type of wood. In some cases, these hardwoods aren’t strong and will snap or splinter after a few uses. 

So what sets the Truper 31189 apart? The best woods for tools include hickory and ash wood, and the Truper 31189 boasts a North American ash handle. When you buy this garden spade, you can have peace of mind knowing your wooden tool is sturdy and reliable. 

Specifications: 

  • Blade Material: Steel
  • Handle Material: Ash
  • Tool Length: 41 inches

Pros: 

✓ Steel blade
✓ North American ash handle
✓ The most affordable tool on our list
✓ Ideal for taller users
✓ Long ferrule creates a strong connection between the handle and blade
✓ Ergonomic handle

Cons: 

✗ Wood handles are not as durable as plastic, fiberglass, or steel handles
✗ Step platforms are small and might not be comfortable for the feet

9. Bully Tools 82502 

Bully Tools 82502 12 Ga. Edging and Planting Spade. Fiberglass Long Handle.

Tall gardeners are familiar with the back pain that comes with gardening. But with the 57-inch Bully Tools 82502, you can finally give your back a break. The tool might not come with a D-grip handle, but its extra-long design provides all the comfort you’ll need. 

This garden spade isn’t just long, it’s sturdy, too. It has a 12-gauge steel head, fiberglass handle, platform step, and long socket. 

Specifications: 

  • Blade Material: Steel
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass
  • Tool Length: 57 inches

Pros: 

✓ Extra-long design is excellent for tall users
✓ Fiberglass handle
✓ Steel blade
✓ Long socket creates a strong connection between the blade and handle
✓ Step platform

Cons: 

✗ Fiberglass handles are not as durable as steel handles
✗ Users report the spade is best for light-duty work
✗ Users report the spade tends to bend

Buyers Guide

It’s tempting to buy a garden spade with the best online reviews or the first one a store manager recommends. But keep in mind that the best garden spade for someone else might not be the best one for you. 

Our buyers guide will help you identify your gardening needs before buying an expensive tool. Do you need to prioritize durability, or do you require a lightweight garden spade that won’t wear you out? We’ll also show you how a garden spade’s materials and design can affect the overall quality.    

Blade Material

Every gardener wants a spade that slices through tough soil easily. The two most common blade materials are stainless steel and carbon steel, but what’s the difference between the two?

Stainless steel is rust-resistant. You won’t have to worry about your blade turning reddish-brown from corrosion. On the other hand, stainless steel is heavier and not as durable as carbon steel. 

Carbon steel is stronger, lighter, and more durable than stainless steel. But unlike stainless steel, carbon steel doesn’t resist rust. 

Handle Material

Your garden spade handle’s material is another important factor to consider. If your handle snaps in two, then you are up a creek without a garden spade. 

Wood handles‘ natural look and feel are popular among gardeners, but wood isn’t nearly as durable as a fiberglass or steel handle. Wood handles are also susceptible to rot and mildew if not properly maintained. 

The best hardwood handles are made of hickory and ash. Be careful when buying a garden spade with a handle of unspecified hardwood, as some woods are not very strong and will splinter easily. 

Plastic handles are a good alternative to wood, but they won’t last as long as a fiberglass or steel handle. 

Fiberglass handles are ideal for gardeners who need a robust tool but don’t want to work with heavy steel. Fiberglass is also weather-resistant, which means it won’t rot like wood handles. 

Steel handles are a smart choice if your gardening involves heavy-duty work and you don’t mind the extra weight. Compared to the other handle materials, steel is by far the strongest and most durable. 

Tool Length

When choosing a garden spade, your height will be a significant determining factor. Tall gardeners will likely prefer garden spades with long handles that don’t require too much bending. Digging with a garden spade that’s too short may force you to bend and strain your back. 

Pro Tip: To find a garden spade length that feels comfortable in your hands, try testing various garden spades in person. You might discover you have a preference for a certain length. 

Socket Length

The socket, also known as the ferrule, is the connection between the handle and the blade. The longer the socket, the more sturdy and durable the garden spade. Short sockets create a weak point on the spade, making the tool more vulnerable to snapping in two. 

Handle Shape

Many garden spades have a D-handle or T-handle grip for enhanced control and comfort. 

D-handles are typically more comfortable than T-handles, though you may think otherwise when testing spades in person. 

Spades with no ergonomic handle may result in hand fatigue if you’re working for long hours. 

Need a visual guide? Check out this helpful buyers guide by BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine: 

FAQ About Garden Spades

1. What is the difference between a shovel and a garden spade?

The terms shovel and spade are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same tool. 

The main difference between a garden shovel and a garden spade is the blade. A standard round point shovel’s blade is ideal for digging, scooping, and transferring materials. 

A garden spade has a flat blade that cannot transfer or scoop materials. Its square blade is ideal for cutting sod or edging. 

2. What is a garden spade used for?

A garden spade can achieve many tasks in your yard. You can use a garden spade to: 

— Shape garden beds
— Turn the soil
— Edge around flower beds
— Break up lumps in the soil
— Divide plants
— Slice through roots
— Transplant bushes and small trees

When to Call a Professional

Gardening is challenging work, even with your trusty spade. Instead of sweating in the sun and missing out on the family fun, why not ask for help? 

Hire a local landscaping professional to take the garden chores off your hands. From mulching the garden to edging the flower beds, a landscaping pro will get it done right. So why not give your tired muscles (and your spade) a rest and enjoy your time with the people who matter most. 

Main Photo Credit: goiwara / Needpix

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Jane Purnell

Jane Purnell

Jane Purnell is a freelance writer and actor in New York City. She earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia and enjoys a warm cup of French press coffee.