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While the metal detector detects your finds, it’s up to your tools to retrieve it.
This is a very important aspect of metal detecting as our code of ethics imply that we must leave the ground in a very good condition.
Make the smallest plug you can – do you have the right tool to do so?
Fill your plugs – can you do this neatly?
To ensure you can collect your find and leave the landowner’s terrain in good shape, you’ll need the right tools to get it done.
Here’s what a good shovel for metal detecting looks like.
Best Metal Detecting Shovels In 2020
It might have taken a digging tool that snapped in half when you were out in the middle of nowhere to come to the realization that you need a good one.
Has this happened to you?
It stinks. There isn’t a hardware store around to quickly buy a replacement. Your hands won’t cut it, and then there’s the need to fill your plugs neatly.
What are you to do in a situation like this – backup shovel anyone?
Always buy a quality shovel and bring along a backup. You might need a long handle and short handle one to get the job done. A sand scoop might be the more appropriate choice. Where are you going?
Here is where you start looking for the right tool for the job.
Best Metal Detecting Shovel Reviews
1. Best Overall: Root Assassin 35” T-Handle Shovel Review
- Root Assassin 35" metal detecting shovel for camping and treasure hunting
Incredibly popular, the Root Assassin shovel is highly recommended for hobbyists. It has all the hallmarks of a shovel for metal detecting.
Pros & Cons
✔️ 35” length
✔️ Saw teeth edges
❌ Do not lever with it
The Root Assassin is an awesome shovel with an awesome lifetime replacement warranty. Just don’t use it like a lever to wedge out boulders – yes some people have, and it’s bent the tool. Sometimes, you should know when to call it or get a beefier shovel that’s right for the job.
The steel shovel has a mid-size length of 35” and the T-handle is a convenient feature to grip and push down into the ground. The blade head is narrow and pointed – perfect for digging in tight places and making tight plugs.
Both sides of the head have saw teeth edges for really cutting into soil and through thick roots. It’s a solid steel shovel with a powder coating to protect it from rust, corrosion, and chipping. Fair price, great performance, excellent results.
2. Best Cheap Metal Detecting Shovel: EPG Pro Hand Trowel Shovel Review
- 11" Metal Detecting Digging Hand Trowel
It works, it’s small, and it’s cheap. It’s what you’re after, right? You may as well go with one that has a few bells and whistles.
Pros & Cons
✔️ 11” size
✔️ Rigid plastic
✔️ Depth markings
✔️ Rubber thumb grip
The EPG Pro trowel shovel tool is a cheap tool that you can try your hand with. It is made of plastic that’s why it’s so affordable, but plastic will only hold up so long, and it may not be the most effective at making tight, clean cuts, let alone roots getting in the way.
However, it does have some nice perks that lends itself to metal detecting. The 11” size makes it a nice, handheld tool. The rubber thumb grip gives it a little extra cushioning for all the pressure you’ll be putting on it. The depth markings are convenient for a detectorist.
It does its job, and it’s so affordable that you can order a couple and get out there today. Take some time to save money and muse over the more expensive ones so that you’re ready to pull the trigger on it when you figure out that plastic doesn’t quite cut the mustard.
3. Best Plastic Metal Detecting Shovel: Bond LH015 Mini-D Shovel Review
It’s a small shovel without the serrated edges we normally see on metal detecting models. However, it’s killing it in the market with many hobbyists who are proud owners of the Mini D.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Heat-treated head
✔️ Non-slip grip shaft
✔️ Powder coat on metal
✔️ Fiberglass plastic
❌ Plastic D handle
This isn’t a completely plastic shovel, but if you’re going the plastic route, at least spend up to 20 bucks on something with a steel blade. Voila, the Mini-D.
The shovel is 26.5” long, so yes, it’s mini. The blade is your typical steel, powder-coated shovel with sharp edges to dig and lift out dirt.
Now, to the plastic. The shaft is made of fiberglass and the D handle top is made with plastic. There are some downsides to having so much plastic in a tool that will be seeing use and abuse. However, it’s why you have a low price and a light weight of less than 2 lbs.
It checks off the weight, size, and portability requirements for a hobbyist, and since it has a steel shovel head, it’s going to do its job. It turns out, it’s not a shabby option for a plastic shovel after all.
4. Best Metal Detecting Shovel for the Beach: CKG Hexahedron Sand Scoop Review
- LENGTH: 9.85"/250 mm, WIDTH: 5.12"/130 mm, HEIGHT: 4.95"/90 mm
Shovels aren’t used on the beach. They’re not very effective at removing sand as the tiny particles are constantly filling up your plugs. Therefore, a sand scoop is in order.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Stainless steel
✔️ Hexahedron holes
✔️ Plastic handle
❌ Small size
This sand scoop has a shovel-like end that allows you to dig into the sand and scoop. This is much more effective as you’re picking up what’s hidden beneath without having to worry about dumping out sand – the holes have done it for you.
Speaking of holes, the CKG scoop has 7 mm hexahedron holes that traps all the small items like coins, rings, and other trinkets.
It’s made of stainless steel that is rust-resistant, it’s strong, and it’s lightweight. The plastic handle provides some comfort when digging and scooping, but you can also install a long shaft if you wanted a longer handle.
This is what a “shovel” looks like on the beach. A perfect example of getting the right tool for the job.
5. Lesche Sampson Pro Series T-Handle Shovel Review
Lesche is a favorite brand of many metal detectorists for their quality tools that help with faster recovery and cleanup. One of the choice products in the market is the Sampson Pro Series shovel with the T-handle.
Pros & Cons
✔️ 31” long
✔️ Aircraft-grade steel
✔️ Tapered edges
❌ Minor chance of bending
This is a Lesche and as such, it’s a revered shovel from a revered brand. Just be sure that you actually receive a real Lesche and not a knockoff before you throw your receipt out.
The minor chance of bending can occur where the blade head and handle meet. It may be a possible weak link but does not seem to happen often. The shovel is warrantied for five years.
The shovel is made from aircraft-grade metal, so it’s strong and super lightweight. It’s only 31” long, so it’s easy enough to take out on hunts. The edges of the blade head are tapered, so it’s extremely efficient at slicing through soil like butter. For those who don’t want a serrated edge, this is a long-lasting, high-quality shovel for you.
6. Lesche Digging Tool & Sod Cutter Review
It’s technically not a shovel, but you’ll be glad to have this in your toolbox when it comes to cutting the neatest plugs in hunting grounds where you mustn’t leave a trace of evidence.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Chrome-moly steel
✔️ Rubber handle
✔️ Hand guard plate
✔️ Made in USA
❌ Not indestructible
Let the high praises of this tool speak for itself. It’s the ultimate knife that every hobbyist should own. It has a 7” x 1 ¾” chrome-moly blade with a hand guard plate.
The blade itself is dual-edged with a saw-tooth design on one side and a blade on the other. The dual-purpose blade means you can make clean cuts even when roots and other obstacles get in the way.
The entire knife is 12” long and it comes with a Cordura belt sheath that you can keep on you at all times when you’re out in the field.
Don’t think of the Lesche knife as a left or right-hand tool as it mainly depends on which way you make the cuts – clockwise or counterclockwise. When you see it this way, this is a tool for all.
For some very buyers, they’ve proved the knife is not indestructible. It’s warrantied though, so why not test it out?
What to Look for in a Metal Detecting Shovel
Your tools will make or break your metal detecting experience, and if you’re not using quality tools to do the job adequately, it could result in a ban on yourself and future hobbyists to the area. Do your research and get the right tools for the job.
Types of Digging Tools
Shovels will come in different shapes and sizes. Blades heads can be serrated, tapered, pointed, or curved. Handles can be short or long. The features they must share are sharpness, durability, and portability.
Types of digging tools to consider include:
- Sand scoop
Shovel VS Trowel
Trowels and shovels are both used by the hobbyist to dig holes. A trowel is the smallest type of spade and is especially efficient for digging small holes and are usually made with hardened stainless steel. There are many trowel variations and lengths for metal detecting, but they’re desired for their anti-corrosion benefits, high performance in hard, compact ground, and for dealing with roots and other obstructions.
A metal detecting shovel is not like your garden shovel. It’s smaller, portable, and will likely have serrated edges and a pointed or curved head. While they’re hardier than garden shovels, they’re better for softer soils.
Shovels come in different lengths, but a mini shovel should be fine for most of your purposes. If you’re over 6 feet tall, a longer shovel may be more practical.
With metal detecting, you can have 6” shovels, but most of the time a mini shovel will be in the 20” range. A medium-size shovel will be in the 30” range with long shovels at full-length of 48”.
Remember with every inch you add to your shovel, it still must be portable and lightweight enough to walk around with it.
Handle designs are just as different as blade heads. You can have ring handles, T-handles, and no handle. What is going to be more comfortable to push into the ground? Will you be using your shovel to lever obstructions?
You may have a preference as to which kind you like, but it’s essential to consider the material of the handle and how it’s connected to the shaft beyond ergonomics and grip convenience. These can be weak points where breakage occurs. Plastic is more likely to break while metal will stay connected, but it might bend.
However, without extreme abuse, the handle should hold up for your metal detecting needs. It’s just one feature that you may want to pay attention to when buying and using your shovel.
Serrated VS Tapered Edges
Serrated edges seem to be all the rage. They make fast work out of sod plugs or flaps and they’re excellent for cutting out roots and other like obstructions. Swing the shovel on its side and you can hack away at an especially obnoxious root.
Tapered edges, especially on narrow blade heads, can be a whole lot easier to sink into the soil, and they’re designed for some of the toughest digging conditions. You achieve nice, clean plugs with sharp, tapered edges, and they can resist small knicks and dents in hard soils.
Which Shovel is Best to Break Through Soil?
A metal detecting shovel. They are specifically made for metal detecting and are stronger, shorter, and better suited to making small holes. You’ll soon learn that a garden shovel will not cut it.
The best shovel for you will be one that you can afford, is easy to carry, and makes clean cuts while it feels comfortable in the hand.
Is it Better to Metal Detect When the Ground is Wet?
There is plenty of discussion on this matter with the primary argument being that wet ground is highly conductive and allows for improved target and maximum depth detection. While others debate and the scientists and pros test it out, we do know that wet ground is easier to dig than dry, hard ground.
The downsides? It’s cold, wet, and muddy. That dirt may turn to sludge. Cover yourself up and your gear, so you’re not bringing it or the sniffles home with you.
Get the Right Tool for the Job
Know what types of plugs you’ll dig and how to do them efficiently. This may call for one type of shovel or another. When in doubt, a digging knife can also substitute as a more than qualified backup tool.
But, because there are many things going on when you’re metal detecting and various terrains can throw all sorts of problems your way, you will need more than just one tool or one shovel.
Acquiring a shovel, handheld trowel, and digging knife together may be the dynamic triplet you need to dig it all and do it all.
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Last update on 2020-12-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API