All I want is a good shovel

I remember abusing the living * out of shovels and them not breaking. I must have gotten super strong in my old age because it takes little effort to snap the handles where they join with the metal. Heck the shovel I just broke had a fiberglass handle that looked strong. Too bad the fiberglass was thin and what looks like pine wood core didn’t help.

Is there a good shovel left in the marketplace?

If you do not mind the weight I’ve had good success with Fiskars ergonomic shovels (the pointed ones). The shaft is also made of steel so it is pretty tough. I’ve planted a bunch of fruit trees a few years ago in what was/is compacted clay soil and really put that poor thing through its paces smashing through hardpan.

I always have the issue that once you find a good tool (or clothing) either the company hase gone out of business, the model is no longer in production or the quality has changed. In this particular case I actually got myself a spare.

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AM Leonard has some steel handle shovels: All-Steel Shovel with Closed-Back with 54in Tubular Handle by King of Spades (amleo.com)

Others somewhat cheaper.

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I agree with fruitnut. I buy from A.M. Leonard. They have great products. I have an earlier version of this shovel. I have a few other shovels but this one is my " go to" shovel.

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I bought my King of Spades tree digging/planting spade directly from WW Mfg. (wwmfg.com) 20 years ago. I had broken both fiberglass and hickory- handled tree-planting spades within the first day. The King of Spades has not broken, or even ‘flexed’, while horsing sizeable pecans & walnuts out of the ground. I have not compared prices direct vs from AML.
I still remember when it arrived, delivered to my workplace… coworkers wanted to see this “shovel that cost over $100”. It’s been worth every penny.

I have no doubt that any iteration you choose will be almost indestructible, compared to any wood or fiberglass handled spade or shovel.
Here’s the one I use regularly:
http://www.wwmfg.com/default.asp?contentID=1154

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^^^ I will second the King of Spades

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Thank you to @fruitnut, @MikeC, @Lucky_P and @smsmith for bringing up the all-steel King of Spades shovels from www.wwmfg.com.

It was originally a friend who has been in the landscaping industry for decades who told me that they are absolutely the strongest, and I am glad that y’all are helping to spread the word.

Edit: thank you as well to @TurkeyCreekTrees!

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King of Spades (Root Balling Model) is all we use. We have multiple of the same one, because everybody used to fight over who got the good shovel! LOL

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I have a steel shanked drain spade that a friend of mine gave me… i have no idea how someone could break it… just jump on it like a pogo stick and then pry out the hole or whatever. I think some people call them sharp shooters.

I had a couple of fiberglass handled shovels that i left out at my woodchip piles… i guess water gets down in them and when they freeze it expands…and you get a nice cracked shaft… lesson learned.

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My town has a Octoberfest thing each fall… with lots of activities, entertainment, food…

Many homes have yard sales as part of that.

Around 12 years ago… we went to a few yard sales… and at one… a guy had a bunch of old tools for sale… including a nice old shovel with a oak handle.

I got it for 3 bucks … and have been using it ever since.

Nothing fancy just a good old shovel and I have planted many fruit trees with it. Looks like it may out last me.

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Our friend Clifford England is who turned me on to the King of Spades.

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In my game the ace of spades is king. Unless it gets trumped. And that’s not political. :wink: :wink: :wink:

The ames pony irrigation shovel can be broken, but it can’t be beat. Not debatable.

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The best shovel in the world is the German shovel. I have been using one for over thirty years since I worked as a landscaper in Munich in the 1990’s. It is light with a long ergonomically CURVED shaft, with different shape blades for sand or stoney material. Unfortunately, they are as rare as hen’s teeth here!
I use a trenching spade for digging planting holes and use the shovel to remove the loosened soil.

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I got tired of breaking fiberglass or wood handled shovels. I found Friskar’s all steel shovel and I love it. Great lever. Great shovel. but good luck finding one now. I did see Target has them online and on sale for about $20. Just my two cents, but definitely a deal.

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There are lots of good shovels on the market, you just have to pay more. I’m actually fully in the not-all-steel camp. I’d actually want the handle to be the weak link in the system, so I favor a quality forged shovel with a hickory handle. If the grain orientation is correct, you’ll be hard pressed to break that handle, but it will still probably break before the head of you get too enthusiastic, and you can put a new handle on. I currently have a Bully Tools shovel (which actually has a fiberglass handle [but a good one]) and that is a sturdy piece of equipment. If you need something sturdier than that, you should really be using a pry bar. If they made that with a hickory handle, I’d be super happy .

Steel handles are also way too heavy, in my opinion.

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as far as spades go, I have been very pleased with this one:
Radius Garden 31.5 in. Thermoplastic Handle Root Slayer Shovel at Tractor Supply Co.
Feels very heavy duty, and it digs very nicely.

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Yes, I just bought my 3rd of the Fiskars. Great price, nearly indestructible. I keep them outside year round.

I think I paid between $15-$21 delivered from Amazon when they are on sale:

BTW, they also have a more expensive pro version that is part aluminum or something and slightly lighter, but it is not nearly as strong.

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Are you digging through roots or rocks? If so, maybe what you need is a slammer tool - not a shovel.

I’ve had one for a long while — made in New Zealand and nearly unbreakable.

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I used to run a volunteer trail work program so bought a lot of shovels. Never had a problem with any fiberglass handled model. Had a batch of True Temper/Ames with a grey handle that were lighter than the standard fare, I like those. Broke every kind of tool handle except for the shovels, somehow.