Last updated: August 8, 2021

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Welcome to our big spade handle test 2021. Here we present all the spade handles we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best spade handle for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a spade handle.




Summary

  • The spade handle is attached to the spade blade and, together with the spade handle, ensures the transfer of power from your hands to the spade blade when working.
  • Spade handles are available with different types of grip and made of different materials.
  • The quality of a spade handle is extremely important, as it has to withstand a lot. Low-quality spade handles break more quickly and can lead to accidents/injuries

The Best Spade Handle: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a spade handle

What does a spade handle look like and what is it for?

The spade handle is a kind of rod that is firmly attached to the shovel-like spade blade with rivets or screws, sometimes even nails. It is the part of a spade that you hold in your hand when working, which transmits the force to the spade blade.

It can be straight, curved or slightly s-shaped. The upper end of the spade handle can be handleless, i.e. it can only have a so-called knob or knob, or it can be T-shaped or D-shaped.

The spade handle is firmly attached to the spade blade with rivets or screws (Image source: pixabay.com / Ehrecke)

When you buy a spade, it usually comes with a handle. You need a replacement handle if it breaks. Most spade handles are made of wood, but there are also models made of metal or plastic.

You need a spade to dig up or move plants, to dig around or to divide the roots of plants. The handle of a spade has to withstand a lot. When working with a spade, all the power is transmitted via the handle, it is the lever.

If the handle breaks, accidents and injuries can occur, so it is important that it is of good quality.

Are there differences in spade handles for men and women?

Yes, some manufacturers differentiate between spades for men and spades for women. Spades for women are usually a little lighter and often have a shorter curved or slightly s-shaped handle.

In principle, however, every spade can be used by both men and women. The important thing is that the handle length fits your height.

However, you should always consider in advance which handle will make your work the easiest.

What does a spade handle cost?

Spade handles are available in different price categories. Starting with very cheap models from about 6 euros up to more expensive ones around 40 euros. The differences in price are partly due to the material used, partly to the processing or type of production and partly to the shape.

What alternatives are there to wooden spade handles?

If you don't want a wooden spade handle, you can choose between two alternatives: the metal spade handle and the plastic spade handle.

Type of material Material Properties
Wood Usually ash or beech Stable, elastic, easy to replace
Metal Aluminium, steel, rarely also iron Stable, resistant to wetness/welding, light to very heavy (depending on material)
Plastic Fibreglass, fibreglass Light, extremely stable

Decision: What types of spade handles are there and which is right for you?

There are three different types of spade handles in terms of grip:

  • T-handle
  • D-handle
  • Handleless or knob/knob handle

The differences are in appearance and in the way you hold the spade. Each type has both advantages and disadvantages. Depending on which type of handle you prefer and how decisive the individual advantages and disadvantages are for you, you can choose the right spade handle for you.

What distinguishes a spade handle with a T-handle and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The T-handle gets its name from its appearance, because the end of the handle looks like a small "T". It is the most commonly used spade handle. It combines good, easy handling with low weight.

Advantages
  • Good power transmission
  • Easy handling
  • Relatively light weight
Disadvantages
  • Handle must be gripped

To work with the shovel, one hand holds the handle, the fingers must be gripped around the handle, the other hand guides the handle. This type of posture allows you to transfer your force well and safely to the shovel blade and work effortlessly.

What distinguishes a spade handle with a D-handle and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The D-handle also gets its name from its appearance. The end of the handle looks like a "D". The handle size corresponds to the width of a hand.

Advantages
  • Very easy handling
  • Good power transmission
Disadvantages
  • Heavier than the alternatives

This handle impresses with its ease of use; it fits very well in the hand because there is no handle in the middle that has to be grasped around as with the T-handle. The D-handle is the heaviest of the two other handle types.

What distinguishes a handleless spade handle or button/knob handle and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The handleless end of the spade handle is also called the knob or knob handle because its end has been rounded into a small ball. It does not provide a proper grip for the hands. You both have to grip the handle and the force is applied to it with both hands.

Advantages
  • Low weight
  • Good for lighter work
Disadvantages
  • Disadvantages in power transmission
  • Less ergonomic

Ergonomically, this seems less sensible. However, in combination with its low weight, a spade with this handle shape is best suited for lighter work or for use on light sandy soils.

Buying criteria: Use these criteria to compare and evaluate spade handles

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate spade handles. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular spade handle is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • Quality
  • Type of handle
  • Wood or material type
  • Handle type, length and diameter
  • Weight

Quality

The quality of your spade handle is a decisive factor when buying. The handle must be able to withstand a lot, because it is the lever and all the power is transmitted through it. If the handle breaks, accidents and injuries can occur.

Therefore, it is better to spend a little more money and get good, long-lasting quality. Also look for the GS symbol for "tested safety".

Handle type

As already described in detail in the chapter on decision-making, there are different types of handles for spade handles. A distinction is made between the T-handle, the D-handle and the handleless spade, also called a knob handle.

The D-handle lies well in the hand and offers excellent power transmission (Image source: pixabay.com / mudronbidrashed)

You can find out which one is right for you by reading the description of the advantages and disadvantages in the decision section.

Type of wood or material

Most spade handles are made of hard wood. Ash is an excellent choice because it is very strong and yet elastic. Beech is also suitable, it is a little cheaper, but not quite as stable. In addition to wooden spade handles, metal and plastic handles are also available.

They are more resistant to wetness and sweat, but are more difficult to replace than those made of wood. Plastic, usually glass fibre or fibreglass, has the advantage of being light and extremely strong.

Handle type, length and diameter

In terms of handle type, a distinction is made between straight, curved and slightly s-shaped handles. Although the s-shaped variant is said to have an ergonomic advantage, most spade handles are still straight or only slightly curved. The s-shaped handle is most often found on special women's spades. The length of the handle depends on body size.

For best power transmission, your spade handle should be long enough to reach from the ground to the top of your lowest rib when standing upright.

The diameter of your spade handle should be at least 35 mm to ensure a certain stability.

Weight

The weight of your spade handle depends on the material and the handle. Wooden handles tend to be heavier than handles made of other materials. Metal handles can vary in weight depending on what metal they are made of.

Aluminium handles, for example, are very light. Spade handles made of glass fibre or fibreglass are also light. The handleless spade handle is the lightest, the T-handle a little heavier and the D-handle a little heavier again.

Did you know that there were "spade soldiers" in the GDR?

In 1962, the GDR introduced compulsory military service for men, which was strongly criticised by the church. It demanded the possibility of refusing military service. A good two years later, this demand was met and conscientious objectors could do alternative service as building soldiers. The construction soldiers had a spade on the epaulettes of their uniforms, which is why they were called "spade soldiers".

Heavy spades have the advantage that they go into the ground more easily, but they are heavier to handle than lighter ones. In the past, spades made entirely of iron were often used for heavy work.

Facts worth knowing about spade handles

How can I repair or replace a broken spade handle?

Repair is not recommended for spade handles, as they have to withstand a lot of wear and tear and should therefore be replaced rather than repaired. This is usually not a problem with wooden handles.

Work step Description Tools needed
Loosen the old handle take out the screws or nails that fix the spade handle to the blade. Turn the spade over, knock out the rest of the handle with the hammer use a cordless screwdriver, screwdriver or pliers, hammer
Insert the new handle insert the handle into the hole, hold the spade neck with both hands and hit the ground several times with the handle downwards so that the handle is pushed into the hole. If the handle is curved or s-shaped, make sure it is aligned correctly -
Fix the new handle screw the spade blade to the handle use a cordless screwdriver or screwdriver

The following steps must be carried out: loosen old handle, insert new handle, fix new handle.

What is the best way to clean and care for my spade handle?

It is best to remove soil residues from the spade handle immediately with a damp cloth or a soft brush. Metal and plastic handles do not require any special care. You can care for your wooden handle as follows so that it will last for a long time:

  • If small splinters have appeared, sand the wood smooth again with sandpaper.
  • To keep the wood elastic and protect it from moisture, you can oil it, for example with rapeseed or linseed oil.
  • Also note that you should not store spades with wooden handles in dry air (boiler room or attic), because they lose too much moisture there. It can happen that your handle breaks the next time you use it.

Can I make a spade handle myself?

There is certainly some way to make a spade handle yourself. However, it is not so much for the do-it-yourselfer, as you need special equipment and tools for it.

We have not found any text, video or audio instructions on this topic. Therefore, it might be easier to buy a spade handle in a shop when you need a new one.

Image source: flickr.com / tworockdocs

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