The 5 Best Trenching Shovels Reviewed

Trenching Shovels

Trenching shovels, or clean-out shovels, as they are often known, are engineered to shovel out loose soil that is at the bottom of a trench (Source).

Their most general definition is a shovel designed to clear and dig out trenches. They have a pointed and sharp blade with square sides that are engineered to create cleanly cut trench walls, while also minimizing any disruption of surrounding soil (Source).

On construction sites, they are often used after a power trencher has cleaned out a trench area and the trenching shovel is used to finish up the job.

Sometimes they are used to shovel out soil that has been broken or loosened by pick axes or trenching hoes. It's important to note that trenching shovels are not great for digging because the shovel's narrow width prevents you from planting your foot on the blade and pushing the shovel into the ground.

Let's take a look at 5 of the best-selling trenching shovels on the market today and see how they compare. 

Trenching Shovels Compared

Top 5 trenching shovels

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

The 14-Gauge, Fiberglass Trench Shovel from Bully Tools is a handy little shovel for your gardening and trench digging tasks and comes with a long handle for better control. Its users find the reinforced handle and ferrule convenient to use, but also note that the quality is not up to par. The product is made in the USA comes with a blade that measures 3 by 12 inches, and a handle that measures 47 inches. The Bully Trench Shovel with limited warranty (lifetime) is an option to consider if you want a shovel for digging in sandy soil- as this shovel does not work well in clay.

Pros

  • Efficient in removing mud from excavator tracks
  • Sturdy body and blade
  • Long handle avoids bending too low hence prevents back pain

Cons

  • The shovel measuring 3 inch is too narrow to dig and rocks or dirt tend to fall off, when it is raised
  • Cannot be used in clay or hard rocky ground
  • Foot rest is very small

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

The heavy duty, 48 inch Tru Pro Truper Trenching Shovel is an effective yard tool that works well in both hard packed clay and gravel type of soil. Its users find the blade made of stainless steel very sturdy and strong, but also note that the shovel bends a little on prolonged use. The handle is made of reinforced resin and a rivet-less collar ring that is made of crimped steel, which provides particular sturdiness to the trench shovel. The Truper Trenching Shovel could be a good option for you if you prefer solid design for clay and gravel digging.

Pros

  • Light-weight shovel makes it easy to handle
  • Is effective in both hard packed clay and gravel soil
  • Low price
  • The shovel is especially good for getting a level and flat bottomed trench

Cons

  • One user has complained of the shaft flexing when overtaxed
  • The shovel lacks space for foot placement and hence it does not provide a good grip

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

The Ash Wood handle Corona Trench Shovel is a useful trenching tool with a 4″ blade that is designed for effective penetration in any type of soil. Its users find the v-angled shovel head and flat bottom convenient to use, but do note that the long handle and digging angle can put a strain on the back- for some users. The deep sides and sharp edges ensure smooth bottomed trenches. The Corona Shovel for trench digging is a handy gardening tool if you are looking for a cheap and durable trench shovel.

Pros

  • Tough and sturdy body
  • Angled shovel blade and handle with large diameter ensure increased comfort and efficiency
  • Is very useful for all kinds of tasks in your yard
  • Saves money and time when compared to using a professional trench digger

Cons

  • The foot placements aren't ideal for every user
  • The long handle can be inconvenient to use, especially when you push the blade using your foot, while trying to hold the trench handle

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

This 48″ Seymour trenching shovel is a well-made tool that has a head designed with a turn step in front for better shoveling. Its users find the steps with rear roll especially useful for clean out and digging, but they also note that it is not ideal for digging large areas. This Seymour trenching shovel has a 5 inch wide blade for easy use in narrow trenches. It is another solid option to consider if you are looking for an efficiently build shovel that is both durable effective.

Pros

  • Very effective in trenching edging pavers, removing large and small rocks
  • Durable design
  • Steel shank and fiberglass handle without rivets makes it strong and sturdy to use

Cons

  • Narrow shovel head takes longer time for digging in larger spaces
  • Design does not withstand digging in areas hardened by drought

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

This steel trenching shovel from Ames is a uniquely designed trenching shovel that is very effective for digging narrow trenches. Its users find the 47″ tempered-steel handle sturdy to use, but also note that it is not very effective in compacted soil. The blade is v-shaped for easy digging especially when you need a narrow enough trench like as in laying conduit of phone cables. This Razor Back trenching shovel could be a good choice to consider if you are looking for a trenching shovel with a steel frame and solid functionality.

Pros

  • Is very useful for transplanting plants
  • Blade is sturdy and handle is structured well to ensure easy handling
  • The blade handle junction is strong enough to withstand any break

Cons

  • Applying pressure using your foot is difficult as the blade does not have any foot hold
  • Hard or compact soil conditions like rocky or clay soil are difficult to work on using this shovel

Trenching shovel final thoughts

If you are looking to purchase a trenching shovel, make sure you evaluate the different trenching shovels we have examined in the comparison table and review section on this page. Trenching shovels typically include fiberglass handles with cushioned grips to enhance your shoveling control and balance.

Trenching shovels also generally feature rivetless, steel collar rings that securely connect to be handled with the shovel's neck. If you're using a trenching shovel, you might be a contractor or just an enterprising homeowner who is looking to dig French drains, for example, on your property.

One user that we have heard from rights that he used his trenching shovel to deal with very thick red clay on his property. He was specifically pleased with the width of the trenching shovel blade that made it simple to insert a 4 inch drainpipe into the hole he had dug.

Whether you are laying out irrigation pipe, removing plants with deeply ingrained root systems, or just digging a compost trench, choosing a solidly made trenching shovel will make it an easier task. You might not use a trenching shovel every week, but there good to have in your gardening and construction tool arsenal should you need one.

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