In this guide we’ll take a look at the best garden spades for the UK market.
I’ve compared build quality, strength, durability and cost
to give you my top recommendations.

What Is The Best Garden Spade?

  • Features
  • High quality construction
  • Lightweight yet durable
  • Ergonomic handle and shaft
  • Cost
Rating
9.9/10
  • Features
  • Carbon steel blade
  • FSC approved ash handle
  • Comfortable foot treads
  • Cost
Rating
9.7/10
  • Features
  • Weatherproofed ash handle
  • Stainless steel head
  • Beautiful traditional design
  • Cost
Rating
9.3/10
  • Features
  • Heavy duty spade
  • Carbon steel construction
  • Sustainable timber shaft
  • Cost
Rating
9.1/10

More Detailed Garden Spade Reviews

Spear & Jackson Garden Spade

This quality Spear & Jackson Garden Spade features a sturdy 28” polypropylene shaft that is both strong and durable yet also lightweight. For the UK market this is my winner for the best garden spade available right now.

The mirror polished stainless-steel head looks great and has excellent rust resistant qualities. Even sticky clay simply glides off the head making it easy to use in wet conditions and with clay soil. It is also very easy to clean and maintain. The blade has a nice sharp edge that cuts into soil cleanly.

The best thing about this garden spade is the ergonomic handle and tilted shaft. This makes it so easy and comfortable to use and much less tiring than other tools. The handle is wide enough that even those with larger hands won’t find their fingers squished. If you have a lot of digging to do this is the best garden spade for the money.

Kent and Stowe Carbon Steel Garden Spade

Up next we have the Kent and Stowe Carbon Steel Garden Spade which is my runner up for the best garden spade.

The ash shaft is made from FSC approved wood and the handle has a traditional split wood design. The blade is made from sturdy carbon steel which allows it to slip into hard soil easily. It also has nice treads on the top of the blade to make it comfortable when digging and reducing the wear on your gardening boots.

This spade offers the look of a traditional tool, the design is based on drawings from the 1800s, with the benefits of modern materials and manufacturing.

Wilkinson Sword Stainless Steel Garden Spade

This traditional looking Wilkinson Sword Stainless Steel Garden Spade is an elegant and timeless garden tool.

The shaft is made from weatherproofed ash and the handle is more comfortable than many wooden handled tools due to its wider design and smooth finish. The blade is made from mirror finished stainless steel that is both beautiful and practical.

This is the most comfortable wooden handled spade I have ever used, and it also feels well balanced and durable. If you are looking for the best garden spade which is comfortable to use, this may just well be the garden spade for you!

Bulldog Evergreen Garden Spade

This Bulldog Evergreen Garden Spade is a tough and durable tool that is perfect if you have some heavy digging to do.

The spade features a solid forged carbon steel head that is epoxy coated for rust resistance and reduced soil adhesion. The socket is also extra long making this a really durable tool that is much more resistant to snapping even with heavy use.

The shaft is made from sustainable timber and has an ergonomic forward angled tilt which makes it easier to dig with. It has a D shaped plastic handle that is reasonably comfortable to use.  This is a great workhorse that is super sturdy and durable, but this does make it a little on the heavy side.

This is a high quality garden spade made from one of the few forges remaining in Britain.

Garden Spade Buying Guide

A garden spade is a versatile tool for a multitude of uses in the garden, from digging over soil in the autumn to planting shrubs and perfecting lawn edges.

As a garden spade will get so much use, it is wise to purchase the best garden spade for your needs, that will last for many years as well as being comfortable and easy to use. Cheap spades can often be unwieldy, ineffective and prone to bending. The spade you choose will depend on your stature, your soil type and the uses you need it for, however, in general, you will want a tool that is sturdy yet lightweight, comfortable to use and durable.

If you have a lot of digging to do, then choose a light, ergonomic design like the Spear and Jackson garden spade with its tilted polypropylene shaft and comfortable handle. Alternatively, the Bulldog garden spade with its extra-long socket might be the best garden spade if you are seeking for a durable tool that is up to even heavy tasks.

However, if you prefer a more traditional tool, then a wooden handled spade will suit you perfectly, just be sure to keep it clean and treat it regularly to prevent rotting.

Spades have blades that are made of either carbon steel or stainless steel. Soil does not stick as easily to stainless steel heads so if you have clay soil this may be a consideration for you. Stainless steel is also very rust resistant and easy to clean.  However, some carbon steel spades, such as the Bulldog, have an epoxy coating which makes them more rust resistant and helps the soil to slide off more easily.

Stainless steel is heavier and more expensive than carbon steel, but it does tend to last longer.

FAQs

How do I keep my garden spade in good condition?

To keep your garden spade in tip top condition and ensure it gives you years of use it is wise to clean it regularly. Soil left on the shaft and blade may cause the metal parts to rust and wooden parts to rot.

Often dirt can be brushed off your spade, especially if it is stainless steel. However really caked on mud may require a good wash with hot soapy water as well. Rinse well and then store it in a cool dry place.

Some people keep a bucket of sand mixed with a little linseed oil in their shed. They then push each of their tools into this bucket after use and this protects the metal from rust.

You should also be careful to only use your garden spade for work that is suitable. Garden spades are not designed to dig up rubble or large tree roots and you may damage your tool if you attempt such heavy jobs.

How do I take care of the wooden handle on my garden spade?

If your garden spade has a beautiful wooden handle you will want to take care of it so that it retains its beauty as well as lasting for many years.

Twice a year, in spring and autumn, sand the handle with a medium grit sandpaper and then rub a generous amount of linseed oil into the wood to create a protective, waterproof barrier. Make sure you store wooden handled tools in a cool, dry place.

If your wooden handle breaks, you can usually buy a replacement part. These can be simply fitted, usually with just a couple of screws.