Border Spade VS Digging Spade: Choose The Right Spade For Your Yard Work

There’s an endless list of gardening tools, each one with its own specialty. While it’s impossible to collect them all, every gardener needs a few basic ones to keep their garden in shape. Once the harvest season is over, most gardeners are already busy preparing the garden for the next spring planting. Speaking of preparations, a good spade is a must-have. 

Border Spade VS Digging Spade

Yard work will often involve digging – and nothing does the job better than a garden spade. However, picking the right spade isn’t easy, especially for an amateur gardener. There are several varieties. Border spade vs digging spade – among the two most popular types, what’s it going to be? What’s the difference, and what should you choose? Let’s find out more.

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What Is A Border Spade?

A border spade is much like a regular digging space, only smaller in size. The flat blade makes it easier to dig into the ground. With a shorter handle and a narrower blade attached to the end, it’s more suited to smaller workspaces. Later in the same post, you’ll also learn what things to look for in a good border spade

Where Is It Used?

Now that you know what is a border spade, let’s look at some of its applications. If you were digging in a garden bed or preparing a raised bed, a border spade would be perfect for the job. Planting small shrubs is also a job for a border spade. Thanks to their manageable size, border spades are often the preferred choice of female gardeners. 

What Is A Digging Spade?

Border Spade VS Digging Spade

Digging spade is the standard garden spade and the most popular ones among all varieties. Its narrow bottom edge allows it to cut into hard ground for preparing and amending soil. Typically, 6 to 8 inches wide and 9 to 11 inches long, a digging spade is your best choice for preparing large areas of land. You can find it with a long straight handle, or a “YD handle,” or a “T” handle.

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Where Is It Used?

Besides helping you prepare the land in autumn or winter for spring planting, spades can come in handy year-round. Digging earth to plant a small tree and transporting soil are jobs for a standard digging spade.     

Border Spade VS Digging Spade

So you now have an idea what each kind of spade is and what it’s used for. Speaking of border spade vs digging spade, what would you choose? A border spade is simply a smaller variation of a standard digging spade. If you often encounter smaller workspaces, you’d go for a border spade. If you plan to prepare larger areas of land, go for a digging spade. However, do keep your height and physical strength in mind when making a choice.

Things To Look For In A Good Border Spade

Border Spade VS Digging Spade

If you’ve decided to go with a border spade, there are some things you need to consider before getting one. 

  • Blade Material

While border spade is smaller, it should be equally effective in digging the earth. A heavy-duty border spade will have a blade made out of carbon steel or stainless steel. Both make it easier and quicker to cut through the earth and won’t snap even under pressure.

  • Handle Material

The standard material for its handle is wood, though steel handles are also strong. Metal handles can be uncomfortable to hold on a scorching day. Plastic, aluminum, and fiberglass handles are lightweight but not as strong. If you only have a lot of heavy work in your yard, lighter fiberglass or plastic handled border spades will do.

  • Ergonomic shafts
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Ergonomic shafts make it easier to dig with and take the pressure off the back. They’re especially helpful if you have back problems.  

  • Comfort

If you can’t work with a bulky digging spade, a border spade is a good alternative. Keep your comfort in mind when getting a border spade. Find a suitable height and weight that you can easily handle. 

Things To Look For In A Good Digging Spade

Border Spade VS Digging Spade

Heavy-duty yard work can become much easier when you have a good digging spade. Let’s look at the main things to look for in a good digging spade:

  • Stainless Steel VS Carbon Steel Blades

Stainless steel blades make it immensely easier to dig through heavy clay, but are heavy. On the downside, they’re usually welded onto the socket and can break under pressure. Carbon steel blades are more robust and lighter and are typically solid forged (blade and socket made from a single piece of metal), so there’s almost no chance of snapping.  

  • Weight

Some prefer heavier spades since their weight makes it easier to dig down without the gardener putting in a lot of effort. However, if you have back problems, you may want to go with a lighter spade made out of aluminum or fiberglass. 

  • Treads

Treads on the blade make it easier to push the spade into the earth with your feet. Look for these since they make heavy digging easier and protect the soles of your shoes. 

  • Long Shaft

Digging spades with longer, angled shafts can take much of the strain off your back while digging, so go for these. However, do keep your height in mind; pick something that suits your size. Most digging spades are designed for men with an average height and taller women. 

  • Handle Shape
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YD handles offer a good grip but can be uncomfortable for smaller or larger hands. T handles are suitable for all hand sizes. 


So, there you have it – border spade vs digging spade. Both of these are a workhorse in any garden, provided you choose wisely. Pick a spade that suits your workload, strength, and height, and you’ll see how it makes gardening effortless and fun. 

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