A Comprehensive Guide To The Best Garden Spade

A good garden spade is an indispensable tool whenever you want to dig and move a large amount of soil or waste materials around with ease. With the shape and size, it is simple to get a lot of things done with a single one. Best of all, various designs make some units more specialized for specific tasks, such as digging campfires, removing snow, and other common jobs in the garden. Read on this buying guide to choose the best garden spade in the UK for your needs.

Why do we need the best garden spade?

For most gardeners, a spade is what comes to their mind first when thinking of handy digging or edging tools. Whether you need to move mulch and manure or dig some soil to plant trees, this can make the tasks much easier and quicker.

Spades typically come with a flat blade and straight edge. Compared to typical shovels, this design allows for easier slicing through the roots and soil. Also, you can effortlessly move loose dirt or material. Some other applications include lifting, edging, and levelling soil.

Key considerations to look for when purchasing a garden spade

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a spade for your gardening tasks:

a) Use

The intended use of a garden spade will determine the overall design. Though most units can be used for basic digging, the amount of effort it requires might depend on its shaft and blade’s shape. Thus, make sure to figure out what you will use the spade fore before choosing.

b) Construction

Spades come in a variety of shapes, which determines its overall effectiveness, weight, and size. Check out to see whether a particular design would meet your needs.

c) Head

A good spade’s head should be lightweight, durable, and strong. Most common options include aluminium and steel for impact resistance and strength.

d) Shaft

The shaft of a spade would be constructed from carbon fibre, hard plastic, metal, or wood. Each option has its own pros and cons. Make sure to consider your needs to make the right choice.

Top 5 best garden spade reviews

1. Bulldog 5524T28N Planting Premier Spade


Looking for a simple spade to plant your veggies or flowers? Then go for the Bulldog 5524T28N. This tool is specially crafted from premium steel that can endure both light-duty and heavy-duty tasks. With a one-piece design, there will be no weak points and welds, thus allowing for better performance. The shaft is constructed from sustainable timber with USA and Europe standards. This creates a comfortable and strong grip in any working conditions.

Its head is solidly forged and carefully tested to ensure overall durability and sturdiness when digging soils or stones. The handle features a T-shaped design, which can be held and carried more easily. Thanks to a lightweight and compact form, you can easily store it anywhere in your home without taking too much space.

What I like about it:

  • Great for transplanting and planting
  • One-piece design without welds
  • Forged from premium steels
  • Ergonomic and comfortable handle

2. Spear & Jackson Stainless Steel Digging Spade


With extensive experiences in making high-performance garden tools, Spear & Jackson is undoubtedly one of the most trusted brands on the market. That’s why this digging spade is a popular choice for many gardeners. It features a mirror polished steel head to resist rust and corrosion. Its polypropylene shaft comes with a built-in ergonomic tilting handle, making it much easier to use.

This garden spade is made to meet the load tests by British Standard. You can use it for turning and digging over the soil. Combining many contemporary features, the tool is sure to be one of the most attractive items in your garden.

What I like about it:

  • Premium stainless steel head
  • Ergonomic tilting handle
  • Ideal for turning and digging the soil
  • Feature many contemporary parts

3. Kent & Stowe Steel Garden Silver Digging Spade


Featuring a compact and lightweight form, this Kent & Stowe digging spade is great for working in confined spaces of your garden. Compared to typical units, it is 40% lighter, thus saving your efforts when working. Simple to use and practical, the tool can also allow for enhanced manoeuvrability.

The head is crafted from high-quality stainless steel to endure any working conditions. Also, this feature can minimise soil adhesion. It has a beautiful handle made of ash wood. The YD shape of this part makes it easier to hold and prevent slips. The spade has a large tread edge to add smooth rivets and comfort when digging.

What I like about it:

  • Lightweight design: only 1.1 kg
  • Handle from premium ash wood
  • Great for confined spaces
  • Up to 15 years of warranty

4. Fiskars 131413 Black Solid Pointed Spade


Whether turfing, rooting, or digging in different soils, this pointed spade from Fiskars can be a good option for every gardener. The ergonomically shaped handle allows for a more comfortable and back-friendly working position. Also, this part has a proper length of 117 centimetres that can reduce pressure and tension on your back during the tasks.

Thanks to high-quality steel, the blade is extremely durable. You can dig in any soil conditions without worrying about cracks or breaks. The D-shaped handle can be held comfortably and easily to prevent slipping. Lightweight and compact, you would carry it around the garden and complete your tasks without spending too much effort.

What I like about it:

  • The plastic handle is robust
  • Durable and sharp blade
  • Crafted from high-quality steel
  • Back-friendly posture for working

5. Spear & Jackson Neverbend 1180NB Carbon Digging Spade


The 1180NB Neverbend digging spade by Spears & Jackson is a high-quality tool designed for serious allotment owners and gardeners. The extra-long pocket and solid forged head provide durability and strength. Also, it has a hammer finish powder coating to add more protection against scratches, humidity, rust, and alkalis in the soil.

The shaft features premium hardwood for additional protection and extending the lifespan of the tool. With the treaded blade, you can easily dig any soil conditions with minimal efforts. The handle can be tilted to allow for ideal digging angles and enhanced comfort. Its versatile design makes it a great tool for most tasks in your garden, from light-duty to heavy-duty.

What I like about it:

  • Extra-long socket for durability and strength
  • Treaded blade to enhance performance
  • Comfortable handle to reduce fatigue
  • Great for all digging tasks

Frequently asked questions

How to sharpen a garden spade?

Here is a more detailed guide, but in summary:

  1. Clamp the spade firmly in a bench vice so it doesn’t shift around.
  2. If your spade is rusty it will dull the file, so clean off any rust using a wire brush, wire wool, and a layer of WD-40 or lubricating oil.
  3. Wearing protective goggles and ear defenders, take a 4 inch angle grinder to clean up the edge of the spade and remove any knocks or dings.
  4. Using a bastard file, grind the edge of the spade at 45 degrees (always file away from you, to avoid damaging the file).
  5. You should aim to have about 1/4 inch of shiny metal showing when you have finished filing – or you can follow the original bevel, if it is still visible.
  6. Turn the spade over and remove the burr that will be left on the underside of the blade – this should only take a few strokes; you don’t want to remove your new found edge.

How to use a garden spade?

To get the best results, and to avoid getting a bad back, there are a few things you can do to use your garden spade most effectively:

  • Warm up. You may laugh at this, but remember that before you do any sort of exercise at the gym, you will be told to warm up first. Using a spade is exercise, so make sure you warm up your muscles before you get stuck in.
  • Position. Using a spade effectively is all down to your position. Stand with your feet apart to about shoulder width, and keep your shoulders and hips facing the spade – no twisting!
  • Use all your limbs. Hold the spade with both hands, and use your feet to push th blade into the ground. Using your whole body this way will ensure that you don’t accidentally strain a muscle.
  • Keep your back straight. It is all too easy to start bending and twisting, but remember that your back will not thank you at all for this! Make sure you maintain a straight back position as you use your spade.
  • Bend from the knees. When you bend to lift to soil on your spade, make sure you bend from your knees rather than your back. This will minimise any damage or strain on your back, and will actually make the lifting more effective too.
  • Give yourself breaks. It may be tempting to keep going until the job is done, but you should always give yourself a bit of a break every now and then, to reduce fatigue and potential injury.

What is a garden spade used for?

A garden spade has a flat, square blade, with no curves in the blade or angles in the handle. Although it is tempting to use a spade for lifting and shifting heavy loads, you will not be doing your back any favours! A spade is generally used for digging in the garden, turning soil, cutting turf or defining the edges of a vegetable plot or flower bed.

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