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What Is the Best Metal Detecting Shovel and Trowel?


Figuring out which metal detecting shovel or trowel works best for you can greatly enhance your metal detecting outings, as it will allow you to speed up target recovery, lessen fatigue on your body, and just be overall more successful. With over 60 years of experience in the metal detecting industry, Kellyco has tons of knowledge and real experience that can be used to help you pick out the perfect digging tool for your needs.

What Are the Best Metal Detecting Shovels and Trowels?

While digging tools may seem like a simple technology, it can be hard to determine exactly what you need for specific scenarios. However, we can present some of the best selling metal detecting shovels and trowels to help you in your quest for the perfect digging tool. Continue reading as several best-selling shovels and trowels are discussed in-depth.

1. Radius Root Slayer Shovel

Root Slayer Shovel

As if the name alone doesn’t inspire you to go dig some targets, the performance that you can get out of this high-quality shovel definitely will. Not only does the Radius Root Slayer Shovel come built to last for decades of heavy-duty digging, but it also cuts through roots, sod, and any other ground material like a hot knife through butter. Whether you are metal detecting a park, someone’s yard, or gold prospecting in the hills, this shovel will do it all. The Root Slayer metal detecting shovel features serrated edges on both sides of the carbon steel blade, an O-handle grip with superior ergonomics, and a long handle that reduces wear and tear on your neck, back, and shoulders. Coming with a lifetime warranty as well, this beast of a shovel from Radius will work for you in any scenario involving hard ground> or soft ground.

2. Garrett Edge Digger with Sheath

Garrett Edge Digger with Carry Sheath 1626200 Image 1

While Garrett may be known for their high-quality metal detectors such as the Garrett AT Pro, the Garrett ACE 300, and their ever versatile Garrett Pro-Pointer, they also produce an excellent trowel that has become very popular. The Garrett Edge Digger comes built to cut through almost any soil you put it in. It features a 7.5” carbon-steel blade that has been outfitted with serrated edges to help you get through more ground with less effort. The large, comfortable handle features finger grooves for an ergonomic advantage over many trowels. In addition to the Garrett Edge Digger itself, you also receive a sheath that can be mounted onto your belt for secure, comfortable carry. If you are searching for the perfect compact and lightweight metal detector digging tool with a small overall length, this might be the one you need.

3. Lesche 28″ Ground Shark T-Handle Shovel

Lesche 28" Ground Shark Shovel 33 Image 1

Lesche produces some of the finest metal detecting shovels and trowels on the planet, as their attention to detail and quality helps them stand out very well among competitors. For anyone looking for a shovel that can get down deep and cut through almost any soil type easily, it is absolutely worth considering the Lesche Ground Shark. The T-handle shovel is perfect, as it focuses on functionality rather than unique styles or designs. It is built with one purpose in mind and that is to enable detectorists to recover targets as quickly and efficiently as possible. The 3.5” x 12” serrated stainless steel blade offers both depth and precision, allowing you to dig exactly where you want. The handle is 28” long, providing the perfect middle ground between long and short handles, giving you both some back-saving properties as well as enhanced portability.

4. Grave Digger Tools SideKick

Grave Digger Tools SideKick

Even with all of the options on the market today, Grave Digger Tools fills a niche that very few others can. The Grave Digger line of digging tools offers high-quality, strength, and durability, all while being very affordable for the type of product it is. The Grave Digger SideKick is the perfect trowel for all of your digging tool needs. It features a laser-cut and hand-welded blade that has been both powder-coated and heat-treated. The blade also features small, sharp serrations and sharp tips that make searching for your target quick and enjoyable. Each Grave Digger SideKick is made in the USA in small, handcrafted batches, ensuring a high-quality trowel.

Why Should I Purchase a Metal Detecting Shovel or Trowel?

Metal Detecting Shovel

Metal Detecting Shovel

While it may seem like a very simple matter for some detectorists, others might not see the merit in purchasing metal detecting specific digging tools if they already have a gardening shovel or trowel. There are several different reasons why treasure hunters purchase shovels and trowels made for detecting. For example, being lightweight and having compact considerations, as well as an increased precision for faster target recovery.

  • The Design: As a hobbyist, one of the top reasons to purchase a metal detecting shovel or trowel is the strategic design. These tools are designed with the detectorist in mind to provide the ability to dig an ideal plug while leaving the property looking untouched. This is the reason why a shovel or trowel is so sharp as opposed to other dull gardening tools. They are designed so if used properly, they will be less likely to damage the property you are detecting on.
  • Lightweight and Compact: In many cases, hobbyists buy digging tools specifically for metal detecting that are built to be lightweight and compact, as opposed to common gardening or more traditional digging tools. If you browse the shovels and trowels on the Kellyco website, you will see that they do not look like the average digging tool you would find at Walmart, as they are specifically built with narrow handles and sharp, serrated blades to cut through the toughest ground, while remaining lightweight and easy to carry. You may be thinking that saving several ounces doesn’t sound that substantial, but if you spend enough time in the field, you will know exactly how precious saving even a few ounces can be.
  • Level of Strength: Another common reason that metal detectorists prefer to purchase metal detector shovels and trowels is a simple fact that normal gardening shovels and trowels just are not built strong enough. Oftentimes, especially with trowels, the blade will become deformed in metal detecting scenarios, because the ground is much harder than it would be in a typical garden scenario. The appearance of most detecting-specific digging tools is that they are built to last, with thick, heavy-duty stainless steel or carbon steel and ultra-strong yet comfortable handles and handle grips.
  • Sharpness: This final reason is relevant to all metal detector digging tools, but especially shovels and digging knives. This final reason is that normal garden tools just are not sharp enough to deal with the types of hard ground scenarios metal detectorists deal with. Sure, they might perform fine in the sand or soft soil conditions, but when you get into rocky, hard soils commonly found when relic hunting or prospecting, you are going to run into issues. Do yourself a favor and invest in a digging tool built to slice through the hard ground easily, saving you energy and time.

Should I Buy a Shovel or a Trowel?

This is a very common, and very difficult, question that is asked. Determining whether you should invest in a shovel or a trowel really comes down to what you are looking for and what personal preferences you have. At the end of the day, most metal detectorists like to use both shovels and trowels so that they can be prepared for a variety of scenarios. With that being said, continue reading as the strengths and weaknesses of each are compared.

When To Use a Small Trowel or Shovel

Trowel On Organic Substratum

Trowel On Organic Substratum

One of the largest factors metal detectorists may be concerned with is the weight and portability of their digging tools. While many hobbyists do not typically spend all day treasure hunting, many of us do. This can lead to an increased awareness of the weight and size of the objects carried while hunting for valuables. If size and weight are a big concern for you, you might be best suited with a small trowel or digging knife that attaches to a sheath on your belt or pack. These are incredibly unobtrusive and lightweight, while still allowing you the ability to cut through tough soil with ease. Another option is to carry both a digging knife and a smaller-sized shovel. For example, the Radius Root Slayer Nomad gives you the depth and cutting strength of a shovel, while weighing significantly less than a normal shovel. A small shovel and a good, durable digging knife are an excellent pair, as they complement each other nicely.

Digging Tools for Hard Ground

An area-specific problem that many detectorists may face is a hard ground scenario. This can be brutal after digging several holes, as using the improper digging tool can cause unnecessary fatigue and wear and tear on your body. In addition to the fatigue, it will also take you longer to recover your targets, making you less efficient with your time, causing you to find fewer targets at the end of the day. Many metal detectorists, prospectors, and treasure hunters have limited time they can use to enjoy this great hobby, so it is important to make the most of it. If you frequently experience hard ground, your best digging tool will be a high-quality shovel that can take an absolute beating. There are so many great ones that Kellyco offers, coming from brands like Grave Digger Tools, Lesche Digging Tools, and Radius Digging Tools. Not only are these carbon steel or stainless steel options able to take a beating in hard ground conditions, but they are also razor-sharp and will get through the toughest roots, mineralized soil, and thick clay.

Digging Trowel vs. Large Shovel

Digging Shovel

Digging Shovel

One final factor that may determine whether a trowel or shovel is the best option for you is how careful you must be with keeping your holes neat and taking care of the ground you are metal detecting on. Obviously, if you are hunting someone’s yard or a public park, you will want to be very precise and deliberate when recovering your target. This is often easier to do with a trowel or digging knife than with a larger shovel, as the digging knife and trowel are built for more precision. A digging knife or trowel makes a smooth circular plug after you have used the serrated edge to cut your plug. This leads to minimal root damage to the lawn and less soil being disturbed overall. If you happen to be metal detecting a property far from the public eye and you have express permission from the landowner, you can use a shovel, as it will be faster and less tiring for you. Shovels are great for digging down deep and pulling up a lot of soil quickly. Always be sure to tailor your digging tool to the exact situation you will be encountering, as this will lead to more success and a better reputation among property owners.

How to Choose the Best Metal Detecting Shovel or Trowel

Determining the best shovel or trowel for you takes careful consideration about what exactly you want and need in a digging tool. There are so many options offered that it can be overwhelming until you narrow down exactly what you are looking for. There are several factors to keep in mind, and these will be discussed in more detail below.

Shovel Handle Options

Shovel Digging The Ground

Shovel Digging The Ground

When it comes to picking out the right metal detecting shovel, there are so many different options for both handle length and handle design. Handle length depends greatly on whether or not you are looking for a longer or shorter overall length. If you are wanting to minimize fatigue and stress on your body, consider purchasing a longer handle. If you want a more compact option, pick out a shorter handle length. In addition to determining the length you desire, you should also pay attention to the handle grip design. Some of the most popular are the straight-handle, T-handle grip, D-handle, O-handle, and the ball handle. Each of these really comes down to which one you feel gives you the best ergonomics and control over the shovel. The handle length and grip design are two of the most important factors when it comes to picking out a shovel.

Shovel & Trowel Blade Design

The design, shape, and features of a blade are very relevant to both shovels and trowels. Shovels and trowels have all different kinds of blade designs, from diamond to round, plus many other variations. Some of these digging tools have serrated edges, and some have more knife-like edges. This again comes down entirely to personal preference and which blade design you think is the best for your particular situation. Many detectorists prefer serrated edges so they can cut perfectly round plugs. Others like the razor-like edges that cut through the toughest of roots. It really just comes down to what you prefer in a digging tool.

Price of the Shovel or Trowel

Shovel Covered In Soil

Shovel Covered In Soil

One of the most important factors for every hobbyist is the price of their investment. When it comes to shovels and trowels, you really get what you pay for. Spending extra money on a high-quality digging tool often ends up being cheaper in the long run, as it will last much longer and perform far better than a cheaper alternative. With that being said, if you choose to spend a lesser amount of money, you will be purchasing a quality product, as Kellyco only offers the best of the best, whether it be metal detectors, digging tools, or any other accessories.


At the end of the day, making sure that you have picked the right metal detecting shovel and trowel can greatly improve your metal detecting excursions and make you a more efficient treasure hunter. Here at Kellyco, we make it a top priority to provide our customers with the best shovels and trowels on the market today. If you have any questions about digging tools or any other metal detector accessories, please reach out to us, as we would love to help.

About The Author
John Matuszak
John, a zealous treasure hunter, knew his life was over the moment he watched The Goonies for the first time and realized he had the same name as the actor who played Sloth.