Pros:-Smart design, comfortable offset between handle and blade; large tabs on blade
Cons:-Easily bent or broken
-Fiskars does not stand behind product
The Bottom Line: Poor investment for avid gardener or serious DIY. Good investment for light intermittent use. Better than most found in home improvement stores.
Let me begin by saying that I am not a professional landscaper, ditch digger, or tree digger, but I am a serious garden hobbyist and DIY enthusiast. I appreciate a quality tool, and am willing to pay extra for that quality tool.
Recommend this product?
My go-to shovel whenever I am digging a hole for a perennial plant (hostas are my favorite) is a D-handled tile spade--a spade with a short handle, but a long thin blade that lets you really slice into the ground and get some depth to your digging. I learned to use this tool by using my grandfather's Ames True Temper tile spade growing up. I inhereted that spade when he passed on, and I used it for years until it was stolen when I was helping plant trees around the downtown area to give back to the community.
I went to replace that spade, and bought another Ames True Temper "Bulldog" tile spade with a fiberglass handle. The D-handle deformed and the rivets pulled out in my first day of using it to plant hostas. They don't make them like they used to. So, I went back and started looking, when I found these Fiskars implements.
Boy, do they look good when you compare them to everything hanging up at Lowe's, Home Depot or Menard's. The blade on this transplant spade seems to be made of heavy gauge steel with a nice broad step so that you can really push without punishing your foot. The long neck is all steel, and welded to the blade. Of course, there's this cheesy looking orange plastic handle on top of it all, but that seems like something you can look past. It even looks good enough that you'll pay the premium for the shovel--$40 versus the generic $15 offerings. And that "unbreakable" promise in big letters (I'm going by memory here, but that's the way I remember the sticker portraying this shovel) just seals the deal.
I've got to say, the first one I bought worked well. So well, in fact, that I bought 3 more--2 to give as gifts and one extra to keep when I have help. The second one, however, bent the first time I used it to "transplant" a medium sized hosta. The weld had apparently weakened the metal handle. So, I e-mailed Fiskars to get a replacement based upon their unbreakable guarantee. I never got a response. After waiting forever, I went out and bent the handle back, and continued using the handle for really very light digging. Ultimately, the weld broke free from the blade, and I've got a blade and a handle to show for my prized Fiskars implement. My original shovel is still usable, but I won't use it for anything other than super light work, as I have also had the neck on this one bend with reasonable use. If I actually use it for what I want to use it for, it wont' last.
What did I learn? Well, I learned that Fiskars doesn't stand behind their products, and won't even return e-mails.
I also learned that if you want a true transplant shovel, don't look at a big box store. You need to go to a nursery supply store to get a real transplant shovel. "The King of Spades" is the particular brand of spade that l found that lives up to the hype. It's heavy, with serious welds and a 5 year no questions asked guarantee that it won't break. I haven't tested the guarantee yet, as I haven't broken it, but this is the spade that you are looking for if you want a transplant spade that can stand up to actually digging a hole in anything that is not pure sand or loam. Yes, it's considerably more expensive, but not as expensive as breaking two Fiskars spades and being left with nothing.
As much as I would like to give a positive nod to this Fiskars spade, I cannot recommend a tool that is built better than the average junk but is still not built well enough to use. I especially cannot recommend a tool that is touted as having a lifetime guarantee and sold as unbreakable but is completely unsupported by the company when you contact them upon failure of the tool during reasonable use. If I had been really abusing the tool, I could understand. After all, it's not like I was transplanting shrubs or trees, but small perennials. Shouldn't a "transplant shovel" be able to handle that?
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