A while back, we tested some of Craftsman’s then-new shovels, which are manufactured for them by Ames True Temper. If you’re looking for something a little different, there are a couple of similarly styled shovels available with Jackson and True Temper branding.
Regarding the photo, yes, it can be very dangerous to leave a shovel face-up like this. Don’t worry, the shovels were moved to safer positions after I took the photos.
The Power Step
The Power Step is the best part of these shovels. It seems like a minor thing, but having the large surface area for stomping allowed for more powerful, secure, and comfortable digging.
In comparison, my father’s well-used round point shovel has very tiny rolled-over stepping ledges.
I did find the Power Step feature a little different at first. With other shovels, the step is rolled to the back a little. With these Craftsman shovels, the large stepping area is directed forward. I was used to the Power Step by the second or third stomp.
Round Point Serrations
We couldn’t tell much of a difference when digging into soft soil, but the serrated edge of the shovel is supposed to allow for easier penetration in hard or rocky soil.
I thought the serrated edge made it easier to cut through roots and dead plant material, but my father debated me on this. Maybe the comparison shovel had too dull of an edge to allow for fair evaluation, or it could have been my seeing an advantage where there was none. My father wasn’t interested in the serrated edge, but he also didn’t dislike it.
The blade is made from 14-gauge steel, and seemed plenty strong and rigid. It also looked to have a matte surface finish, possibly to prevent corrosion, or it could have resulted from tempering of the blade.
D-Handle vs. Long-Handle Shovels
Craftsman offers this shovel in both D-handle and long-handle grip configurations, both with fiberglass handle shafts.
Some people prefer D-handle shovels, other prefer long-handle shovels, and fans of both types will argue their shovels are more ergonomic.
I can’t tell you which is better, but both were comfortable to use and both had mid-handle grips. Shovel handle grips are typically the first things to wear away, but the ones on both Craftsman shovels felt reasonably cushiony, grippy, and durable.
I find that I prefer fiberglass-handled tools, and remember being witness to a debate a few years ago about the matter. If I had to choose one, it would be the long-handled shovel, based on my current preferences.
We did not test these shovels exhaustively, but they saw enough action for me to confidently tell you that I think highly of the design. I couldn’t really find any downside to the shovels’ designs, engineering, or build quality.
You can buy a basic digging shovel for as low as $6 (via Amazon), so why spend up to $30 for each of these Craftsman shovels? Well, it comes down to comfort, and typically long-term durability.
These shovels are made in the USA and should be covered by Craftsman’s lifetime guarantee.
Full Price: $30
Thank you to Craftsman and Ames True Temper for providing the review sample unconditionally. Review samples are typically given away, donated, or retained for benchmark and comparison purposes.