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While a basic shovel will definitely help you dig a hole, don’t limit yourself to a shovel alone when there's all types of digging tools available.

Whether you’re gardening or going on an archaeological expedition in your garden or prepping the ground for construction, the right tools will go a long way in helping your digging and getting the job done faster while also reducing the amount of effort and fatigue that can occur.

12 Types of Digging Tools

Here’s a list of some basic and advanced types of tools for digging holes to add to your toolbox. No matter what kind of work you're needing to do in your garden, big or small, there will be an efficient tool to help you dig.


When you think of digging tool names, the shovel undoubtedly comes to mind first. The humble shovel probably already features in most people’s arsenal of tools, but it’s worth mentioning again simply because of how basic yet supremely functional this tool is.

Shovels are great for all kinds of digging, whether you’re excavating for construction or simply want to plant your new saplings. These tools have a flat blade with a pointed end that lets them effortlessly push deep into the ground and remove any mud.

There are many types of shovels, ranging from the traditional kind to electric and folding shovels.

Folding shovels are extremely convenient since they’re also portable. Compact when folded over and as long as any normal shovel when fully extended, folding shovels are great to have around for emergencies or when you need to travel light but still carry tools (for example, while camping).

Some folding shovels come with multiple attachments, such as screwdrivers, saw blades, and even compasses, making them multifunctional.

In the age of electric everything, there are also electric shovels! These are battery-powered tools, but how effective they are will depend on the brand and the tool’s features.

Digging Knives

A digging knife? Is that even possible? While it’s completely natural to be incredulous about the capabilities of a knife when it comes to digging, digging knives mean business.

Whether your project is large or small, these tools can be quite efficient, easily slicing through packed soil and excavating holes. Some folks even find it easier and more productive to use digging knives than trowels.

Digging knives are also quite useful in prising out any rocks that may be buried or embedded in the dirt. This is especially handy while gardening. However, digging knives are just as handy on outdoor trips. Features such as depth scales and carrying cases only add to the convenience afforded by the tool.

Also, at the end of the day, digging knives are still knives, which means that you can also cut things with these knives when necessary. So please be careful, even when using them as tools to dig holes.

Gardening Forks

When you’re dealing with hard or rocky soil in your garden, especially heavy clay, you’ll need the right types of digging tools to break up the soil, create sufficient air pockets in it (for nutrients and airflow), and prep it for any plants you’re going to grow in this soil. Garden forks are quite handy when it comes to aerating your garden.

Gardening forks allow proper soil enrichment, conditioning, and aeration. Achieving this is as simple as pulling your fork across the soil surface and turning it over.

Depending on your needs and convenience, you can purchase either short-handled, small forks, or bigger forks with longer handles. The latter lets you work standing up, while the former is meant for work while kneeling or sitting.

Many folks tend to confuse gardening forks with pitchforks, but the two are quite different. The former has strong square tines, unlike the latter’s round, slender ones. Additionally, where gardening forks are built to move mud and dirt, pitchforks are engineered for relatively delicate tasks such as moving straw.


Like shovels, spades also feature in the majority of the country’s toolkits! Spades are excellent tools to have around when you want to dig deep, narrow holes, such as for planting bulbs, without having to sit down or kneel, thanks to the long handle.

Sometimes, spades and shovels are mistaken as being the same tool. However, there are quite a few differences between the two, such as the shape of the blade tip and the body.

Spades have square blades that are better at slicing through hard soil (with a little help from the feet applying pressure on the back edge) and turning it over, unlike shovels which have rounded bodies and blades designed for cutting through softer soil and transferring soil.

Whether you want to use a spade or shovel can come down to a matter of preference, since the basic functionality is the same. If you want to work easily while standing, a spade is a better idea than a shovel. Take a look at the concept of a graft, too, which is barely any different from a spade.


Much like a mini shovel or a large palette knife, these tools are great for small tasks, such as digging and planting small plants, making furrows, planting bulbs, and de-weeding your garden. They’re also excellent in situations where you want to dig around one plant without disturbing its neighbors.

About as big as the average human hand, trowels have pointed tips on their steel blades that let them easily cut through the soil. Some trowels have curved edges on the blade so that it’s easy to scoop up and remove any dirt or soil.

For an extremely efficient trowel, you can consider one with a depth scale engraved, so that you know how deep you’re digging. Even without this, you have a great tool that can help you with planting and maintaining your garden. Since trowels are hand tools, you’ll need to get down and dirty to properly use them.


Familiar to those who are gardening enthusiasts, hoes are usually associated with weed removal but are quite the multipurpose tool, useful for a range of activities from harvesting crops to tilling your garden. Hoes are, in fact, types of digging tools, too.

Hoes come with many differently shaped and sized blades that define their functionality. For example, hoes featuring heart-shaped blades with pointed ends are great for digging out furrows, whereas those with triangular blades are good for breaking up soil or digging soil out of tight spots.

On the other hand, square-bladed hoes are good for de-weeding and loosening compact soil. Regardless of the shape and size of the blade, all hoes have perpendicular blades.


The auger’s life purpose is one thing and one thing only—easily drilling holes. With the aid of the right types of drills, these tools not only create holes but then pull the material out of the hole. I'm sure you can already see how this is helpful for digging holes in the ground.

These spiral-shaped implements easily drill into the soil and are great for digging deep. There are many types of augers, with fence post augers and planting augers probably being the most commonly used in households.

All augers can be attached to drills, so you can easily handle the auger and perform tasks such as digging a hole or widening the area with the auger via the drill.

Planting augers as hole digging tools can be used standing upright, with hardy steel parts that are quite durable. Fence post augers are ideal for digging large, wide holes, such as those necessary for installing fence posts (hence, the name).

Post Hole Digger

I must tell you before I say anything else that I think these tools are horribly ineffective. You'll work very hard to scoop out very little soil. What you do manage to grab will fall back in the hole as you attempt to lift it out. It works better with denser soil like clay. Good luck if you encounter rocks.

The idea for these is that you create the exact size and depth hole you desire with minimal damage to the surrounding grass (as an example). I'd rather use an auger first, and then pull the material out of the hole using a post hole digger, if I needed a very particularly shaped hole.

It's basically like two spoons facing downward, connected by a swivel. Look at the image above and imagine they're spoons and you're trying to scoop sugar out of a bowl. What I can say is that they're durable and will last you a long time. But as tools to dig up dirt, they're just not remotely the most efficient way of getting a hole dug.

Picks & Mattocks

Also known as a pickax, picks and mattocks are two sides of a single dual-purpose tool. One side of the tool’s head features a pick, which is great for breaking through and breaking up hard soil and rocks, and the other side features a mattock for easily scooping up or excavating the broken up soil and rocks.

Additionally, thanks to the overall curved shape of the head, you can also use this tool as a lever, handy when you need to prise out rocks or soil.

Mattocks may not always have a pick for company; some may feature adzes and are called cutter mattocks. Mattocks, regardless of what’s accompanying them, are great types of digging tools that are also used for removing or cutting weeds, planting saplings and seeds, and digging into the soil easily.

However, pick and mattocks can be a little hard to use, since you need to swing really well in order to generate sufficient force for the tool to do its job; just the pick or mattock alone may not be able to accomplish much. A shock-absorbent mattock goes a long way in reducing fatigue and can help.


If you want to bring in the heavyweight for your soil aeration needs, consider investing in a power tiller. Like the pitchfork, these tools aerate the soil surface by turning over the dirt, except that they’re more powerful, getting the job done much faster than your normal pitchfork.

Electric tillers are a super popular power-tiller option, simple to use and highly efficient. Some people don’t like the restriction of a cord, though. You can also find gas-powered tillers, but these are quite polluting and noisy.

Of course, these tools to dig soil are going to be more expensive than a pitchfork, so consider your needs (and budget) carefully before you decide to invest in one. If you're preparing a large garden, this is not something you should go without. Year after year they'll save you a lot of time and physical labor.

Digging Bar

A digging bar is nothing more than a long, skinny bar made of a very sturdy metal, usually iron. One side will have a sharp point and the other will either have a flattened point (to help you chop through roots or dislodge more soil at once) or may even have a surface to hit with a rubber mallet.

They're used more often in very rocky soil, or in piles of rubble or gravel material, to help loosen everything up after it's settled into a more "locked" orientation. They're also great for breaking apart masonry, like bricks that have mortar between them, so you can re-use the bricks later.

Other Useful Digging Tools

There's more to digging a hole than deciding which tool to use to create the hole itself. You'll want to consider wearing gloves if you're prone to developing blisters, and safety goggles and hearing protection if you're using powered tools or striking with force. You'll definitely want to have some types of buckets on hand or a wheelbarrow to collect and move the soil afterwards.

Some people will keep a water hose nearby so they can spray the soil and let the water seep in, which can help loosen it up for easier digging. You also need to first consult a professional to make sure there's no gas, water, or electrical lines where you plan on digging, especially if the depth is extreme.

Types of Digging Tools for Any Garden Task

Yes, there are many people who are doing just fine with only a shovel in their lives, but if you want to make yours easier, adding the above tools to your arsenal is highly recommended.

The functionality of all these types of digging tools will greatly reduce the amount of time and effort invested in performing even simple tasks like planting, furrowing, digging, and transferring soil and are well worth the money you spend on them.

Editor: Rick Worst

This content was originally published here.

I have been DIYing for as long as I remember but working in/on our own house for the last 10 years I have come to realize what tools you need, which are nice to have, what to invest in and what you can do without.

Do whether your just starting out, looking for a gift, or looking to investing in your next tool this post is for you!

Some of the following links are Affiliate links. Click here to see my full disclosure.

Top 5 Best DIY Power Tools

Drill/Screw DriverMiter SawJig Saw

Drill/Screwdriver – This will be your most used tool, probably ever. You don’t have to go super fancy but I wouldn’t cheap out on this one either. I love my DeWalt Screw Driver a great price and a great tool. If you have a little extra to spend on a Drill go with the impact driver. In the long run if you are using longer wood screws, building a tree house you might want to go with the impact driver.

Miter Saw – Another highly used item when your DIYing. A miter saw or commonly known as a chop saw, can cut wood, trim and moulding at different angles or straight at any length. I wouldn’t skimp on a miter saw but go mid range. I love my Dewalt as well and if you want to spend a little more go with a slider option. This will give you the ability to cut wider boards easily.

Jig Saw – Jig saws are a very versatile tool, where you can make angle, straight and even curvy cuts. Think of it as the free hand saw. With changing out the blades you can also cut metal, laminate and tile. Jig saws are not an expensive tool and can get a good one for relatively low cost. If you want to spend more I would go for a battery operated one. That way you’re not limited to a cord.

Finishing NailerSander

Nailer – This isn’t necessarily a needed item but it sure does make certain projects a whole lot easier! You can fasten trim, planks, wall treatments, small builds, frames etc easily. I have a inexpensive battery operated one and so far it’s been great. I you need one with a lot of power I would either go more expensive or have one that hooks up to an air compressor.

Sander – Sanding by hand is fine but sanding with a sander is easier. I opt for a mouse sander (mouse shaped) because it gets into the corners easily.

Tools That Are Great, But Not Necessary.

Table Saw – This was one of my first big tool purchases on my own I wanted to be able to cut down large sheets of plywood, and rip boards the size I needed. You can also do other things on a table saw like dado cuts and also cross cuts. If you are going to purchase a Table Saw I wouldn’t skimp on quality.

Multi Tool – This tool can be used to trim wood, pipes, make plunge cuts, cut openings in drywall, remove rust from metals and even sand. It’s just a matter of changing out the accessories. I typically use mine to trim off a piece of moulding without taking it off the wall.

Circular Saw – If you want to rip wood and large pieces easily a circular saw is a great alternative to a Table Saw. Many beginners feel more comfortable with a circular saw than a table saw so keep that in mind. I would opt for a battery powered one as well as purchasing a guide for large cuts.

The post Best Tools for DIY Beginner appeared first on Just Call Me Homegirl.

This content was originally published here.

Photo: Martina Pellecchia (Shutterstock)

Doing your own home improvement projects and maintenance can be rewarding: In addition to saving money, there’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a task yourself. But accident rates for DIY enthusiasts might be higher than you think, so practicing some basic safety precautions when you’re using power tools, ladders, and blades is important. It can be easy to forget to use your personal protective equipment when you’re in your own garage, but avoiding serious injury can depend on it, so here are some best practices when you’re working on home projects.

Ladder safety is at the top of the list for preventing injury. Falls from ladders can be painful at best, and deadly at worst. Always make sure your ladder is the right size for the job you’re doing. If you can’t reach to perform the work without standing on the top two steps, your ladder isn’t tall enough. In addition, using a ladder that’s not opened all the way so that the spreader bars lock in place can cause the ladder to move while you’re on it. Also, using a ladder on uneven ground is not recommended because the ladder can rock back and forth.

Always maintain three points of contact and try to keep your limbs and weight as close to the frame of the ladder as possible to avoid tip-over accidents. If you’re using an extension ladder, make sure that for every four feet you go up, the feet of the ladder are one more foot from the wall. This will make sure that your ladder is at the proper angle to support your weight. Here are more tips for how to make your ladder safer and easier to use.

Eye protection

It should go without saying that wearing safety glasses while you’re using power tools is recommended, but they can be easy to forget. Placing a pair in a prominent place near where your power tools are kept is a good way to remind yourself to put them on before operating tools that could send dust or particles up into the air, and consequently your eyes. Make sure the safety glasses you’re using have a stamp on them that says Z87 or Z87+. This label means that the American National Standards Institute rated your eye protection for use with tools. Using sub-par eye protection can result in the glasses breaking or otherwise not being effective at protecting your eyes.

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If you’re handling material with any sharp edges or debris that could have nails or hardware sticking out of it, you should always wear gloves. Cuts from metal and puncture wounds are notoriously difficult to clean, and in addition to being uncomfortable, they can also cause infection. Using sturdy leather or synthetic puncture resistant gloves can save you a possible trip to the emergency room.

Outdoor electricity and utility safety

If you’re doing a project outdoors, always make sure to call 811 before you do any digging to avoid accidentally disrupting buried utilities or puncturing septic or underground oil tanks. Make sure to stay well clear of power lines, as well. Most overhead power lines require at least ten feet of clearance, but it’s always good to stay even farther away from them then that.

Proper ventilation for dust and fumes

If you’re working inside, make sure to stay on top of ventilation and dust collection. If you don’t have a good shop vac, use a dust mask and make sure to clean up dust as you go. If you’re using chemicals for anything that produces fumes, you might need to do it outdoors, or ventilate your indoor space as much as possible. Regular dust masks don’t protect you from fumes, so don’t rely on a mask for this like for spray paint or lacquer thinner.

This content was originally published here.

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