Best Shovel for Metal Detecting

Metal detecting is a fun pastime for many people as they search for the thrill of the find. Small treasures, such as loose change, bits of jewelry, and other lost or discarded items can make for an interesting afternoon along a sandy beach or a popular walking trail. Most metal items picked up on the device are usually buried beneath the soils – hence why they have yet to be discovered. Therefore, having a dependable digging tool is a must have to break your find free.

Although you could use any old shovel for this purpose, the best shovels for metal detecting are those that allow you to have complete control over your dig, is durable enough to last, and provides the chance to get into tighter spaces. Below we’ve highlighted some of the top metal detecting shovel reviews to help provide you an idea of what’s available and how to best use them.

Best Shovel For Metal Detecting Comparisons

IMAGE MODEL FEATURES
byb2-table__imageLesche Digging Tool & Sod Cutter
  • Style: Knife
  • Blade Length: 7”
  • Weight: 1.1 lb
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byb2-table__imageGarrett Edge Digger with Sheath
  • Style: Knife
  • Blade Length: 7.5”
  • Weight: 1 lb
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byb2-table__image32" Mini Root Assassin Shovel/Saw
  • Style: Shovel
  • Blade Length: 16.5”
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
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byb2-table__imageFiveJoy Portable Trench Shovel
  • Style: Shovel
  • Blade Length: 8.25”
  • Weight: 2 lbs
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byb2-table__imageRadius Garden 38811 Shovel Kit
  • Style: Kit- Shovel and Knife
  • Lightweight And Ergonomic
  • Weight: 4.75 lbs
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Metal Detecting Etiquette

There are actually quite a few metal detecting and digging courtesies that are expected when you are enjoying this popular pastime. For example, trespassing on private property is an absolute no-no, and you should always know your path and property boundaries in advance to avoid inadvertently being where you are not welcome.

Most metal detecting occurs on public lands, such as in parks, on trails, and along beaches. These are often highly populated with visitors at various times of the year, and so being aware of personal space and where people are using lands is also very important. But what might be amongst the most integral rules is: leaving the ground as you found it; which can be difficult when you are involved with digging.

Digging Methods

Old rusty shovel in sand on building.

Obviously, when digging in a loose substrate such as sand, refilling a hole you have dig is quite easy to do. But harder surfaces and sod can leave behind an unsightly mess or divots in the ground- which are generally not appreciated by other public ground visitors. This is also very true of any private areas you have been granted permission to search and dig upon. Because of this, there are some tried and true methods to help keep your digging impact to a minimum.

Half-Circle

Half-circle holes are generally dug using a shovel head to help bring up a small area of ground to check what is underneath. This works well for hardened ground and taps back into place easily.

V-Shape

V-shaped holes also work well in hard soils and provide a widened surface hole that tapers as the hole become deeper. Again, this is easy to refill and effective in exhuming what was beneath.

Cone Shape

Cone shaped holes are larger than V-shaped and provide a wider mouth for digging out large items. These are excellent for grassy areas or other easier to dig soils.

Square Plug

A square plug of sod is a perfect way to look deeper into the ground at a larger object. Generally, you need well-formed soils and a grassy surface in order to help keep this well shaped and easy to place back over the hole.

Sod Plug or Flap

This is best done with a tool with a serrated edge, such as a digging tool. You do this by piercing the soils 3 to 4 inches deep along 3 sides of a square, and then ‘flip’ the piece back.

Why a Good Shovel is a Must

Variances in soil type and the depth of the item you are trying to retrieve will vary from one dig to the next, and you will want to be prepared with a dependable tool (or two) in order to complete your mission. Many beginners head out with a simple garden trowel and long-handled shovel but soon discover that the quality or the shape and size are not conducive to this type of digging.

You want to choose your shovels with the type of soil you are going to be working within mind, as well as what you are typically setting out to search for. Coin retrieval is a much different task than searching for artifacts from past events, or other archeological related objects.

Types of Digging Tools to Use

Assortment of shovels, Knife shovel, trowel and Serated Shovel

In general, there are three main categories of digging tools to use for ground retrieval: knives, trowels, and shovels. Your regular hand trowel or snow shovel is rarely strong enough to handle cutting into soils or loosening packed, hardened ground.

Digging Knives

Digging knives have a serrated edge, may be somewhat concave, and serve more like a durable, elongated hand shovel than a knife. These knives can both dig and cut, and work into the tough ground. They also are handy in small spaces, or when working in vegetation.

Trowels

Trowels come in a wide variety of sizes, have a narrowed shovel-like head, and may have a serrated edge (or two) as well. These are very specialized to make clean cuts, get into tighter places, or work in hard soils. Pointed tips may also be seen, as well as more rounded, scoop-like ends. Because of their many variances, they are worth researching for specific needs.

Shovels

Shovels are also varied in design, but all have one thing in common: they are durable, compact in nature, and are built for making clean, deep cuts and scooping soils. These usually have very narrowed heads which may be pointed or curved, with some even having a serrated edge.

Our Top 5 Shovels for Metal Detecting Reviews

These top picks reflect popular consumer sales and reviews concerning why they are some of the best shovels for metal detecting. This also highlights some of the variances in shape and use, as well as differences in style for specific jobs and soil types.

Lesche Digging Tool & Sod Cutter

Lesche Digging Tool & Sod Cutter
  • Style: Knife
  • Blade Length: 7”
  • Weight: 1.1 lb
  • Best Uses: gardening, camping, metal detecting
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The Lesche digging tool and sod cutter is serrated on the left side and designed purposely for precise soil cuts and shallow digging for small items such as coins and jewelry. This is a flat blade made to cut smoothly through sod and with the serrated edge can get through tough roots and other vegetation.

The easy grip, the rounded handle allows for excellent control and leverage in small spaces, against the tough ground, and for making smooth cuts for plugs and flaps. The chrome-moly steel is strong and long-lasting, and an included hands-free belt pouch makes it easy to take along wherever you are going. This is a great tool for gardening and camping as well.

Who Should Purchase This Item

If you are in need of a good tool for coin hunting, this is a perfect choice. It is easy to take as a secondary tool as well due to its lightweight and hands-free carry design.

Pros

  • Very durable and long lasting
  • Works great for 3 to 4” depths
  • Perfect plugs and easy to use

Cons

  • Handle grip not as durable as the blade
  • Serrated edge cuts only on the plunge

Garrett Edge Digger with Sheath

Garrett Edge Digger with Sheath
  • Style: Knife
  • Blade Length: 7.5”
  • Weight: 1.0 lb
  • Best Uses: gardening, camping, survival, metal detecting
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The Garrett Edge Digger is a concave blade designed with a dual serrated edge for serious cutting and digging purposes. The pointed tip is made for easy access into soil surfaces, and with a serrated edge along one tip, and another on the opposite blade edge, you have a dual cutting surface for various job needs.

A rubber, easy to grip handle provides excellent motion control. You can dig, flip, carve, chop, and cut through the tough ground, weeds, and roots to get to the object you are seeking. The carbon steel blade is made to last through tough use, and the handled design provides leverage as well. An included sheath provides hands-free carry as well.

Who Should Purchase This Item

Objects 3 to 5 inches below the ground are easily accessible with this tool. The design also makes it ideal for hard to reach areas.

Pros

  • Solid, grip free handle
  • Works great in hard soils
  • Moves through gravelly soil well

Cons

  • Rubber on the handle may slip with use and time
  • Sheath not very durable

32″ Mini Root Assassin Shovel/Saw

32 Mini Root Assassin ShovelSaw
  • Style: Shovel
  • Blade Length: 16.5”
  • Weight: 2.2 lb
  • Best Uses: Garden transplant planting, soil turning, metal detecting
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The tapered 16.5” long blade of the Mini Root Assassin Shovel is serrated on both ends to provide easy, smooth cuts through soils and roots. Perfect for deep plugs and V-shaped holes, this 32” long shovel is compact, lightweight, and provides a sturdy D-grip handle for excellent leverage.

No need to bend over with this tool, it is a great height for anyone who wants quick access to whatever is below ground. The rubber coated handle is comfortable as well and provides a no-slip grip. A curved 2.5-inch wide tip allows it to move smoothly through any obstruction without getting hung-up.

Who Should Purchase This Item

When you are on the hunt for more deeply buried objects, you need a dependable cutting blade that allows you to cut deep and smoothly. It also provides excellent leverage.

Pros

  • Cuts and prys dependably well
  • Excellent plug cutter for metal detecting and plant transplanting
  • The tapered tip makes it move through soil easily

Cons

  • May not be the best for tall people

FiveJoy Portable Trench Shovel

FiveJoy Portable Trench Shovel
  • Style: Shovel
  • Blade Length: 8.25”
  • Weight: 2.0 lb
  • Best Uses: Camping, survival, vehicle storage, metal detecting
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The FiveJoy portable shovel is compact in design, lightweight, and is made for travel and easy storage. The high carbon steel blade is durably attached to the shortened wooden handle for chopping, digging, and prying purposes. A dual point concave edge does not come in direct contact with the ground initially to improve entry into hard surfaces.

The blade itself has a double-edged design has a thin edge for cutting and a thicker one for splitting if needed. This makes it perfect for thicker roots or underbrush in your metal detecting search. It also comes with a durable sheath for a hands-free carrying experience.

Who Should Purchase This Item

If you need a shovel but want a compact design that is versatile and easy to carry, this is a top choice.

Pros

  • Sturdy and dependable
  • Sharp edges cut well
  • Moves into hard ground with very little effort

Cons

  • The handle could be more durable (but can be replaced)

Radius Garden 38811 Lightweight 2-Piece Metal Detecting Shovel Kit

Radius Garden 38811 Lightweight 2-Piece Metal Detecting Shovel Kit
  • Style: Kit- Shovel and Knife
  • Lightweight And Ergonomic”
  • Weight: 4.75 lbs
  • Best Uses: plant transplant, metal detecting, camping
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This Radius Garden digging kit is the perfect solution for when you are in need of multiple tools. This kit includes a digging knife and shovel, both of which are made from tempered mid-carbon steel for long-lasting, durable use. The shovel has a thermoplastic elastomer grip for easy leverage and digging purposes. The knife has a rubber grip for easy maneuverability as well.

Both tools boast serrated edges for cutting through roots and have a concave shape with a dual point concave edge for hard soils. These are lightweight designs that are easy to carry and slip easily into a wide variety of soil types for plugs and digging.

Who Should Purchase This Item

Serious metal detectors carry multiple tools with them when searching for items worth keeping. This kit provides a carrying case for the knife, and each tool has a simple design for transport.

Pros

  • Durable and long lasting
  • The kit is a great value
  • Concave edges work well in hard soils and gravel

Cons

  • Rubber grip may slip in time

Conclusion

Whether you are a beginner metal detector enthusiast or have been doing it for quite some time, a good shovel is an absolute must for proper removal of your finds. Cheap, inexpensive tools will break down, so putting a little bit of investment into this will help make your life a lot easier when you have something dependable.

These top picks highlight some of the best tools and tool style for various digging needs. All are a shovel like a tool and have the capability to cut into and remove soil to get at your treasure. If you have used any of these brands, or have a favorite you would like to share, please let us know below. And, as always, please share.

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