Are you looking for the best spade for your vegetable garden or garden? Read my reviews and discover my guide to choosing.
Digging is rightly considered as the first real tillage of the earth, especially when it comes to beaten soil with a very hard skeleton. This is a fundamental phase to prepare the land not worked for some time, and to prepare it for sowing, leveling, transplants, crushing of clods and aeration. In summary, turning the surface layers of the earth upside down will favor the development of the seedlings, making the soil soft and permeable. On the other hand, not all spades are the same, and a distinction must also be made with shovels or shovels.
What is the garden spade for?
As I anticipated, the main purpose of the spades is to work a hard soil to turn the earth and thus favor subsequent operations such as sowing and basic fertilization. Using it to move the earth, you will allow the microorganisms present to activate, in order to start the life cycle of the seedlings. Let’s see a small summary of the main reasons for using these tools.
- Loosen the ground: digging the soil the earth will be moved, softening the soil and making it more permeable. In summary, you will create the ideal situation for using one vegetable garden hoe, essential to prepare the soil for sowing and to facilitate the germination of seeds.
- Basic fertilization: this tool is also excellent because it allows you to bury the fertilizer, mixing it with the earth and avoiding that it remains only on the surface. It is a practice known as basic fertilization, ideal for increasing the biological fertility of vegetable gardens and for creating the agronomic basis necessary for the development of the seedling.
- Ground cleaning: spades are also used to eliminate weeds, along with debris such as stones and weed roots. In other words, all those elements that could hinder the correct development of plants and vegetables.
In a nutshell, the main purpose of these tools is the loosening of the soil, which takes place by breaking the clods on the surface and then turning the latter over. Before continuing, know that there are various types of spades: you will find out by reading the reviews but, if you want to learn more about the characteristics of these tools, you can do it later as I talk about them in detail.
Best spades for vegetable garden and garden
1. Spear & Jackson Neverbend in Carbon Steel
Probably one of the best models currently in circulation, in the pre-assembled sector. This professional spear by Spear & Jackson, in fact, can count on the presence of a cutting head in forged carbon steel rather robust and also sharp, although there is no point but a square and slightly rounded section. The steel, among other things, has been painted with epoxy powder to resist water and humidity, to prevent the risk of rusting.
- Cutting head: square
- Lama: powder coated carbon steel
- Length: 80 centimeters
The square head makes it especially suitable for soils that have already matured and therefore with loose earth, because the absence of the tip would prevent it from penetrating deeply. It has a SureGrip wooden handle, which increases the comfort in the grip and thus allows you to better master the tool when digging and turning the earth. Of course there is also the reinforced edge on the lateral tops of the cutting head, which give you the possibility to put your foot down and apply pressure when you drive it into the ground.
The structure is really solid and, being in coated steel, it does not fear either water or corrosion caused by the alkaline elements present in the ground. Secondly, it is comfortable to use and it is also very reliable in the long run, because it will last you a long time and will not be damaged easily. Despite its sturdiness, it is quite light and the rounded surface also acts as a blade, making it effective in cutting the roots of weeds. It is not cheap, but the price is still affordable.
2. Fiskars Ergonomic Pointed Spade 125 cm
If you are looking for a spade with a point, then you shouldn’t miss this model from Fiskars. It is in fact a tool that performs well even in hard and stony soils, thanks to the sharp blade. This feature, among other things, will allow you to cut the roots of the weeds without making any effort, so as to be able to eliminate them more easily. In addition, it is quite durable and sturdy, but still light (weighs around 2 kilos).
- Cutting head: Pointed
- Lama: boron steel
- Length: 125cm
The spade is 1.25 meters long in total, while the cutting head reaches 29 centimeters, with a width of 20 centimeters. I have personally tried it and the results are excellent, both in terms of turning the earth and cutting the roots. Clearly don’t expect a katana, as the very strong roots cannot be severed with a simple spade. It also performs very well in penetrating stony and clayey soils, and in excavations in general, and allows you to take advantage of the usual edge to apply pressure with your foot.
Note of merit also for the handle, with ergonomic grip and optimized to accompany the thrust necessary to pull the earth up. Long-term durability is exceptional, also thanks to a cutting head in boron steel, and a mono-block structure: the handle and cutting head, in fact, are part of a single piece. And even if you subject it to intense efforts, mistreating it, I can guarantee you that this spade for the garden will not leave you easily.
3. Fiskars Solid Steel Spade 1003455 117 cm
Fiskars has launched a rather particular line of spades, perfect for home use. The Solid is a kind of cross with a shovel, but it is not a shovel, so it is also suitable for excavating and penetrating into the ground, due to its pointed cutting head. Perhaps it is not the best for soils with a very hard skeleton and rich in stones, but consider that it is also quite cheap, so you certainly cannot expect miracles from it.
- Cutting head: Pointed
- Lama: boron steel
- Length: 117 centimeters
Either way, it’s definitely worth more than its price. It mounts a rather sturdy boron steel blade and – unlike simple blades – has the classic reinforced edge to allow support and push with the feet. In addition, the handle has an ergonomic shape that facilitates work and reduces the strain on the back and muscles. Also consider that this Fiskars garden spade has an overall length of 117 cm, so it is suitable for users of any height.
Also in this case we find a single piece, therefore a steel cutting head welded to the stick of the handle, except for the plastic part of the handle. In my opinion it is an excellent tool especially for gardening and for the care of not too demanding gardens. Let’s say it does its job even in the face of stony and medium-hard soils, because the tip favors penetration into the soil, but if you have to face more complex situations, you should opt for a higher-end product.
4. Fiskars Telescopic Spade SmartFit 105-125 cm
If you are a gardening lover, you will surely already know the Fiskars SmartFit line. This pointed spade is undoubtedly a nice tool, especially due to a feature that we do not often find in this sector: the presence of a telescopic handle that can be extended from a minimum of 105 cm to a maximum of 125 cm. . This is a great extra for adapting the height of the spade to your height, taking advantage of the ergonomic shape of the D-handle, among other things.
- Cutting head: Pointed
- Lama: boron steel
- Length: 105-125cm
On the other hand, know that telescopic spades cannot be subjected to very intense efforts, even if this proves to have a robustness above average. You can use it on hard and stony ground, although it was not designed for this, but be sure to treat it carefully and avoid bending it with excessive force. In reality, it is enough to have a little experience with digging techniques to be able to use it even on complex soils without risking damage it.
The tip on the cutting head of course also allows you to cut roots with a diameter of around 2 centimeters, so it is great for removing weeds. Also know that this vegetable and garden spade has a solid boron steel blade, and that the presence of the telescopic system actually improves the quality of life of a farmer, especially if you are looking for a custom adjustable tool.
5. Gardena in Punta ErgoLine from the Garden 117 cm
Impossible to write an article without mentioning Gardena, another very famous brand in the sector and author of excellent products. This particular pointed spade is no exception, with a slightly arched handle, designed to facilitate not only penetration and excavation, but also the transport of the earth (although it is not a shovel and is not born for this purpose). Furthermore, the handle in question is also excellent for relieving the back from fatigue, not surprisingly it is the factor that differentiates the ErgoLine from the NaturLine.
- Cutting head: Pointed
- Lama: tempered steel
- Length: 117 centimeters
The blade is of exceptional quality, made of hardened steel and equipped with a really huge edge to rest the foot: this is another feature that we hardly find in competing products. The handle is very comfortable, rather wide and therefore suitable for everyone, while the overall height of the instrument is 117 cm. Secondly, this spade wins in terms of versatility and robustness. Below I leave you the link of the NaturLine version, with straight handle:
You can use the ErgoLine for the classic digging operations, therefore to move the earth and to dig, but also to break up the soil and move the earth. Moreover, having the tip and a very sharp blade, it penetrates without problems in depth even on hard and stony soils. Finally, consider that this tool is very comfortable to hold, handy and not too heavy, and the handle also resists intense efforts when you use the spade to pry into the ground.
6. Gardena Spade Square ErgoLine 113 cm
The ErgoLine line by Gardena also includes a version with a square spade, therefore more suitable for moving the earth but less able to go deep, due to the absence of the tip. The cutting head blade is however very sharp, so it has no difficulty in getting into the ground, again when it comes to its surface. For the rest, the characteristics are the same as the pointed version.
- Cutting head: square
- Lama: tempered steel
- Length: 113 centimeters
It means that the blade has been made of high quality hardened steel, and that the cutting head has a very wide double border to facilitate the support and pressure of the feet. The handle is also identical: consequently, it is D-shaped, it is very wide and has an ergonomic coating that makes it easier to grip. Being an ErgoLine, compared to the NaturLine version it has a slightly arched stick, designed to simplify excavation and transport of the earth, and to relieve back discomfort.
Here, if you are interested, there is the link to the NaturLine version with straight handle and square spade, and with a higher stick, so that the overall length reaches 124 centimeters:
Sturdy and sharp, this garden spade can be considered one of the best in the industry, and is obviously also usable in the garden. It does not fear hard and stony soils but, being square-headed, remember that it gives its best when it comes to digging and moving the earth of the surface soil layer. Finally, the length of the tool is around 113 centimeters.
Differences between spade and shovel (or shovel)
Before buying a spade for garden or garden use, you need to be careful and understand how to distinguish them from simple shovels or shovels. Authentic spades always have a reinforced edge on the top of the blade, allowing you to put your foot down and put pressure on the ground to push it deeper. This element is essential for tilling any soil. In addition, the blade is sharper and sharper, precisely because it has to penetrate the hard earth.
In some models there is also a special foot-rest pedal located just above the blade section. It is useful as it allows you to apply more pressure while reducing fatigue.
The shovel is nothing more than a useful tool, for example to collect the earth that has already been moved and dried, snow, gravel, sand or manure. It is not designed to penetrate hard soils, but it remains a very valuable ally for gardening. In fact, it allows you to dig and move the soils already matured and not too hard. However, its main purpose remains the collection of the material, favored by a more concave blade.
Finally, I advise you to avoid pushing the blades with your foot: since there is no reinforced edge on the blade, you risk damaging the sole of the shoes.
Garden or vegetable garden spade?
There are also differences that make a spade more suitable for the vegetable garden than the garden. The models with a lighter blade are less robust, therefore it is better to use them for tilling small gardens with friable and undemanding soil. In that case there is no need to push a lot with the foot, consequently there is no need for a particularly sharp blade. Conversely, if the terrain has a hard skeleton, then it is better to opt for a more professional model.
Types of blades
Surely you have already noticed that, depending on the type of tool, the shape of the blade can change. One of the most popular models is the pointed spade, together with the square spades. In reality we also find a third type, namely the spade fork, to which I will dedicate a separate guide.
1. Rectangular spade
Since it does not have a point, the rectangular or square spade is more suitable for soft or already matured soils. It is not very useful on clayey or hard soils, and on the soil where roots and stones abound, because the flat blade would prevent it from penetrating deeply. On the other hand, if the soil in the garden or vegetable garden is soft or sandy, this tool is ideal for breaking clods in a clean and precise way. To give you a couple of concrete examples, it is often used to care for flower beds and lawns.
2. Pointed spade
Compared to the previous one, this model has a pointed blade, and aesthetically it resembles a shield. The purpose of the tip is as follows: to break the hardest surface layer of the soil, allowing the blade to push deeper without encountering too much resistance. There is talk of a very versatile type of blade, as it can be used in all possible circumstances, from gardens with hard skeleton up to gardens with an average compactness of the soil. Finally, it is excellent for the soil where stones and roots abound.
3. Fork spade
It is a very particular pitchfork, with straight tines and more robust than the classic forks. It is very useful for breaking very hard clods, and is often used in clayey soils, or that have not been digged for some time. Of course, since it is not a real spade equipped with a continuous blade, it does not allow the clods to be turned over but only to crush them.
How to choose the spade for the vegetable garden or garden
1. Materials of the blade
The blade of a professional spade is always made of steel, but it must be specified that they are not all the same, and this can also be seen from the price. The most effective and professional blades are those made of forged carbon steel, as they are more resistant, keep the edge longer and are able to resist corrosion. Sometimes there is also an epoxy powder paint coating, which protects the metal from rust. Another solution that we often find is boron steel, less robust than the previous one, and more suitable for less hard and loose soils.
2. Length of the blade
It is also very important to evaluate the length of the blade, which should start from a minimum of about 25 centimeters, but which can also exceed 30 centimeters. A spade that is too short would not be able to penetrate deeply into the ground, but it can still be useful for clearing work in undemanding gardens.
3. Thickness of the blade
Unfortunately this value is almost never specified in the technical data sheets, but it counts a lot. A blade that is too thin, in fact, would risk bending due to the pressure made with the foot, especially if you use it to break up clayey and hard soils. Conversely, a spade for sturdy and thick vegetable garden will penetrate even hard soil without problems, without bending or damaging itself.
4. Handle materials
The handle must be particularly sturdy, to adequately resist the stresses that the stick will receive when you lift the earth. One of the best materials is undoubtedly wood, also due to its properties, which allow it to absorb vibrations and secure the joints of the upper limbs and wrists. Generally, the final section of the stick (i.e. the one that is inserted into the hole in the blade structure) is reinforced, precisely to reduce the risk of it breaking. Finally, sometimes the stick and the blade are merged into a single steel body.
5. Length of the handle
First, know that spades often come in two pieces, which allows you to replace the blade if it gets damaged, or the stick if it breaks. Having said that, it is important to evaluate the length of the handle, which must obviously be suitable for the height of those who will use it. A stick that is too short, if used by a tall person, could in fact be uncomfortable, cause back pain and negatively affect the quality of work.
On the market there are also spades for vegetable gardens and gardens with telescopic handles, which can be extended and adapted to the height of the user. However, consider that they are less robust than single-piece wooden sticks, and that in case of breakage of the mechanism you will be forced to replace them.
It closes with the handle, which is often made of steel or synthetic materials such as plastic, resin or fiberglass. Of course it is important that it has an ergonomic and comfortable handle to handle, especially when you are digging for several hours in a row, and possibly non-slip. Also, if your garden spade has a telescopic stick, this is where you will find the lever to adjust its length.
How much does a spade cost?
The price of a spade depends on elements such as the strength and thickness of the blade, the size of the latter and the materials used for the components. It starts from a minimum of 25 euros up to a maximum of more than 50 euros, if we talk about the professional spade models.
And the spades to be assembled?
Know that, being a tool consisting of two parts, you can buy the spade and the stick separately. Is there a right choice a priori? Pre-assembled spades usually cost less, but better blades can be found among the disassembled pieces (they can cost almost as much as a full spade).