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Best Stainless Steel Digging Fork & Spade

Hi All, just about to purchase a new Kent & Stowe Set but some reviews very bad and they don't seem to have a website so been put off a bit :(  

Bulldog seem well rated on here but not so good reviews elsewhere - anyone got a stainless steel and Ash set ? Other option is Burgon and Ball as i am set on wood and stainless steel.

What do you have / consider the best around that price point ?

For 6ft gardener

Thanks in advance 


  • Things I would look for in a spade. A pointed end, this makes it easier to get the spade in. American type spades are like this. A sturdy shaft, many are cheap pine made out to look like some better wood. I would not rule out a synthetic shaft. My ideal would be a 100% steel spade, but I have never found one. I doubt if I would go for a big brand as I don’t find the tools are better. 
  • Also do not get any spade without a ledge for the foot, they are horrible
  • I have already said this on the JB thread, but I find stainless Steel is too brittle for forks and spades, it can suddenly fail.  Remember it is stain LESS does not mean it will not rust at all.  I have a Kent & Stowe planting spades in Steel,  and find it very good,  but most of my Allotment tools are over 50 years old, handed down from my father.  SS is fine for smaller tools like trowels etc. 
    AB Still learning

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,943
    I have Spear and Jackson tools. I like them but I bent the tines on a fork trying to dig out a stubborn shrub. Now that I'm older and weaker they suit me fine. I have a fork with a polypropylene shaft which I sometimes leave out in the veg garden for convenience and a traditional one with a wooden handle for the flower garden which I always put away in the shed. I also have a SS spade and a border fork, never had a trouble with them, but I use spades less.

    I probably chose Spear and Jackson at the time I bought them because that was what was for sale near me. 
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,115
    I can't really make specific recommendations because I am on the short and puny side, and normally use a smaller border fork and spade which are a comfortable length and weight for me (Bulldog wood and stainless steel, but they're 30 years old now so I don't know whether they're still made the same).
    What I will say is, if possible go to a good garden centre or big DIY place and try some so you can get a feel for what length, grip style etc suit you. Always worth doing for tools if you're not close to average in height, hand size etc.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 1,938
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,229
    My border spade doesn't have a point or a ledge. I love it. As @JennyJ says, it's a question of looking at them and seeing what suits best. Mine is also Spear and Jackson - had it for decades, and it's  handle is held together with gaffer tape onto the shaft. It's done every job form digging holes and mixing concrete.   :)

    I bought a new one which does have a ledge. Horrible to use, compared to my trusty old one.  :/
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,818
    I have a Spear and Jackson SS ladies' border fork witha  wooden handle, bought in 1989.  It has coped with Harrow clay, Belgian clay, Belgian loam and now Vendéen loam and schist.  I rinse it clean after use and hang it up to dry and I clean and oil the wooden shaft and D handle regularly.  I love it.

    Now that OH has retired too and "helps" in the garden we need a second one but round here the fork end is always too big (back breaking potential) and the handles just a long, slightly bent pole so we have to share.

    I bought a SS spade at the same time but, 10 years or so later, OH managed to snap its resin/polywhatever handle digging out a slab and we've had to buy 3 new replacements in the last  20 years.  No idea what we'll do when the latest version dies as the same problems arise with blade size and handle length and shape. 
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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