Top 7 Best Shovels For Digging In Clay Soil Reviews (2022 Updated)

Best Shovels For Digging In Clay Soil Reviews

Shovels are an indispensable part of your gardening toolkit. They are easy to use with curved sides and long handles, allowing you to dig up something in the garden soil. The best shovel for digging in clay soil or other complex soil types should be versatile to assist you in daily garden chores.

This article will provide valuable information to help you pick up a shovel that best suits your gardening tasks.

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Top 7 Best Shovels For Digging In Clay Soil 2022

Product ImageProduct NameFeaturesPrice
Radius Garden 22011 Root Slayer ShovelBest overallSee latest Price
Radius Garden 22511 Root Slayer XLRunner-UpSee latest Price
Radius Garden 23211 Round Head Shovel XLAnother Good Runner-upSee latest Price
Spear Head Spade SHFD3 Gardening ShovelThe LightestSee latest Price
Spear Head Spade SHLF Gardening ShovelBest ValueSee latest Price
Bully Tools 82515 14-Gauge Round Point ShovelThe LongestSee latest Price
Fiskars 96685935J Digging ShovelThe CheapestSee latest Price

In-depth 7 Top Rated Shovels For Digging In Clay Reviews

1. Radius Garden 22011 Root Slayer Shovel – Best overall


  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Material: Carbon steel
  • Total length: 45 inches

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Radius Garden 22011 is the best tool for digging in clay or hard organic materials. This handy garden tool is carbon steel with excellent resistance to shock, scratch, and strong force. Thus, it’s a reliable choice for both experienced or new gardeners.

Unlike conventional shovels, this Radius Garden shovel offers a V-shaped cutting tip, allowing you to focus your force on a specific area to penetrate through hard-packed soil or dirt readily. Besides, its sharp teeth work like a saw to remove dead plant roots or weeds.

The secret to a lush lawn lies in well-prep soil. Therefore, you need to dig down at least 6 inches to remove bricks, stones, dead plant roots, or other debris before planting your new plants or flowers.

This best-rated shovel makes your soil dig less hassle, thanks to its clever design. You can push the shovel down with the help of its wide foot placement spot.

Moreover, since this handy tool has a long handle of 31 inches made of durable resin-encased carbon steel, you can get the job done with no back, arm, hand, or twist pain the following day.

Pros Cons
  • Made of durable carbon steel with powder-coating
  • V-shaped cutting tip
  • Wide foot placement spot for maximizing your digging capability
  • Handle with a height of 31 inches for painless execution
  • Hard to remove bamboo roots

2. Radius Garden 22511 Root Slayer XL – Runner-Up


  • Weight: 5.25 pounds
  • Material: Carbon steel
  • Total length: 57.5 inches

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The Root Slayer XL is the extended version of the above award-winning Root Slayer, providing you extra leverage with a longer handle of 44.5 inches. This handle is fiberglass, an excellent alternative to resin-encased carbon steel with extra durability but lighter in weight.

Why is this shovel a must-have tool for small homeowners and gardening addicts?

It can eliminate the need for other tools like saws, prybars, or hatchets. Plus, its straight handle helps save much more room for tight areas than the above O-patterned one.

However, lifting heavy materials with this shovel can lead to lower back pains.

Pros Cons
  • More extended handle than the Radius Garden 22011
  • Fiberglass handle for added durability
  • Not strong enough for heavy-lifting
  • Expensive

3. Radius Garden 23211 Round Head Shovel XL – Another Good Runner-up


  • Weight: 6.14 pounds
  • Material: Carbon steel
  • Total length: 56.75 inches

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Shovel blades with round-pointed or inverted-V cutting tips like Radius Garden 23211 Shovel are the most effective choices for penetrating hard or compacted soils like clay or rocky soil. This blade has 2 tips instead of one to facilitate penetration better while reducing applied force.

Apart from soil tilling, you can use this multi-functional tool to remove old plant roots, rocks, or dense organic materials. Its blade is made of 13-gauge mid-carbon steel, allowing it to tackle the most challenging jobs without bending or breaking. If the head is blunt, you can sharpen it without voiding the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty.

Pros Cons
  • Inverted V blade for efficient digging in compacted or hard soils
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Might be hard to use for short people
  • Quite heavy

4. Spear Head Spade SHFD3 Gardening Shovel – The Lightest


  • Weight: 3.79 pounds
  • Material: Alloy Steel

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This item from Spear Head Spade can act both like a shovel and spade. As stated by the manufacturer, this hybrid shovel/blade item is guaranteed to reduce 80% of your digging effort, thanks to its user-friendly design. Weighing only 4 pounds, the SHFD3 is among the lightest shovels on the gardening tool market.

First, the blade has a square tip to penetrate deeply or glide smoothly over the most rigid surfaces. It also performs well on loosen and compacted clay.

The spacious bent footrest prevents the shovel from getting tangled with roots while allowing it to hold and lift more soil in every pass.

Second, its handle consists of two top-notch materials in shovel-making – reinforced steel and pultruded fiberglass. This perfect combination, along with the large padded D-grip, gives you more strength, comfort, and freedom in digging tasks, whether you are using work gloves or not.

This handle meets the EN-3388 spade/shovel standards, making it a safe choice for digging jobs with no risks of injuries to your back, arms, and hands.

Pros Cons
  • Large D-grip for more comfort and strength
  • Lightweight
  • Square-shaped blade to dig deeply into most challenging surfaces
  • The shaft can be broken when using excessive efforts
  • Quite expensive

5. Spear Head Spade SHLF Gardening Shovel – Best Value


  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Material: Carbon Manganese Steel
  • Total length: 58 inches

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This item is another potential candidate from Spear Head Spade with the same weight, giving you more choice in refreshing your soil for new plants or flowers or removing sod by hand.

This shovel has received the “Best of the Best” award in garden shovels from 2018 to 2020 by the National Home Gardening Club for its outstanding design and construction.

Its cutting tip consists of carbon manganese steel, which is 33% thicker and 25% harder than ordinary steel shovels. Thus, you can use it for all landscaping and gardening jobs. This pointed-tip shovel performs wonderfully on all terrains, including rocky, clay, and compacted soils.

Safety is a criterion when choosing handy tools. This blade comes pre-sharpened from tip to tail at a 35-degree angle. This sharpness is enough to cut smoothly through tough roots or weeds.

However, it is much duller than a knife, so it will cause no harm to adults, kids, pets, and animals on your property.

Pros Cons
  • The blade is made of carbon manganese steel
  • 35-degree sharp blade
  • Small shovel head; require more time to get your digging/cleaning job done

6. Bully Tools 82515 14-Gauge Round Point Shovel – The Longest


  • Weight: 5.4 pounds
  • Material: Alloy Steel
  • Total length: 60 inches

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This Bully Tools shovel is fabricated of 14-gauge carbon steel with Welded-I-Beam construction, making it sturdier and more durable than other opponents on the market. This shovel is available at an affordable price tag, easy to reach for small garden owners with a limited budget.

Maintaining a shovel, especially steel ones, is a common problem for all farmers. Since a shovel is your garden workhorse, you should keep it clean and dry after every use. It is relatively easy to clean after use. Its closed-back head prevents the buildup of stubborn dirt.

Besides, remember to lubricate the blade with motor oil and sand several times to avoid rust. You should also store it in a dry and cool location.

However, this rounded-blade shovel is best for digging new soils. For digging really hard clay, you should choose one with a pointed or inverted V blade.

Pros Cons
  • Made in the USA
  • Made of 14-gauge carbon steel with Welded-I-Beam construction
  • Easy to clean with a closed-back head
  • Can’t be used to dig hard/compacted clay

7. Fiskars 96685935J Digging Shovel – The Cheapest


  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Material: steel
  • Total length: 57 inches

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The Fiskars 9665935J is undoubtedly a well-built handy digging tool. It comes with all-steel construction – a welded 14-gauge hardened steel blade and an 18-gauge steel shaft.

The sizable sharp blade makes it easy to dig through hard soil or remove hardened dirt clods. If you are new to gardening and you don’t want to purchase too many tools, this item from Fiskars is a general-purpose shovel for almost all tasks in your backyard garden.

Why did this Fiskars shovel catch my attention among many gardening tools on the market?

Because it comes with a lifetime warranty. The manufacturer promises to replace the shovel for no extra cost if it is broken. This is a great added value to a cheap tool like shovels because your tool can go out of use if you dig hard materials for a long time.

Pros Cons
  • Constructed from 100% steel for excellent durability and strength
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Poor-quality powder coating

My Top Pick

Picking up the best shovel for digging in clay, and you can confidently perform heavy digging and landscaping tasks for years with low maintenance and replacement costs. A high-quality shovel with appropriate handle length also helps you with ease while lessening the risks of lower back pains and other health issues.

Radius Garden 22011 Root Slayer Shovel is my first in mind when thinking about shovels. Although this item isn’t cheap, it’s a serious investment for hard-working farmers that can last for years under frequent arduous usage.

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