Shovel Buying Guide

Below you’ll find an extensive guide to choosing the best shovel. We outline the right questions to ask, the various features to choose from, and much more. Check out the video below and consult our guide to find the perfect shovel for the job at hand.

Shop Our Shovels

AM Leonard’ guide to finding the best shovel for the job. Learn more about blade types, shapes, handles, and more.

There are literally hundreds of styles and combinations to choose from. Ask yourself these questions when buying a shovel:

  1. What are you using the shovel for?
  2. How often do you plan to use your shovel? Daily, once a month, occasionally?
  3. What's your budget?
  4. What weight can you handle? Open-back, closed-back, or forged shovel head?
  5. What handle weight and feel do you prefer? Composite, fiberglass, or wood?
  6. How long does the tool need to last? A few months, 10 years, lifetime?

Types of Shovel Blades

Good: Open Back Shovels

An affordable option, open back shovel blades are stamped into shape and provide a low weight at a low price, making it a popular choice to outfit your whole crew! Click here to see our Leonard Open Back Shovels.

Better: Closed Back Shovels

Considered a mid-range shovel construction, closed back blades have a flat (closed) back due to the addition of an extra welded plate. This plate adds strength and rigidity while providing a flat, smooth surface that prevents added weight due to soil buildup. Click here to see our Leonard Closed Back Shovels.

Best: Forged Shovels

The workhorse of all shovels! A forged blade is formed from a single piece of steel under great pressure, resulting in the strongest and thickest sockets, shanks and blades! The forging process provides varying steel thickness not possible by the stamping process. These blades offer increased thickness at critical stress areas, then thinning toward the edge for soil cutting performance! Click here to see our Leonard Forged Shovels.

Types of Blade Shapes

Square Point

These shovels are ideal for scraping-up soil, debris, gravel, sawdust, etc. from a hard surface, as well as moving piles of soil, gravel, stone and other loose material. They are available with a 48" long handle or 30" D-grip handle. Click here to see our Leonard Square Point Shovels.

Round Point

These shovels are good for general digging, plantings, moving piles of soil, gravel, stone, etc. The shovels are available with either a 48" long handle or 30" D-grip handle. Click here to see our Leonard Round Point Shovels.

Types of Shovel Handles

Shovel Lift

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Low-Lift Tools

Low-lift shovels include caprock shovels and certain round point shovels. A more vertical digging angle is best served when digging out plant material, dividing perennials, or redefining landscape bed edges.

High-Lift Tools

In this group are most square point shovels and some round point shovels. These tools are at their best when used to load or spread materials or to clean out trenches or planting holes. The high lift angle allows the user to stand more upright, with less strain on the back.