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Best Folding Shovels Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated: Feb 06, 2019

A shovel is a tool that many have at their home in the shed;. A compact shovel, which is a shovel that can fold up and be carried along with an individual,  is the perfect solution for any situation where this tool may be needed but would not normally be available.  It is a tool that can be stored with your other survival gear, including hatchets and gloves.

Anyone who spends time camping or backpacking will also want to own a folding shovel as they are great for pounding in tent stakes or building a fire. Most military personnel also have these tools as they are considered to be essential survival tools that will help you stay alive in the wilderness.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research

icon
Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade
98/100 our score
Effectiveness
99
Ease of Use
98
Flexibility
98
Durability
97
Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade
Why is it better?

The spade is made of boron carbon steel that is powder coated.

The handle is made of nylon and reinforced with fiberglass.

The shaft is made of aluminum to keep it lightweight.

It only weighs two pounds and is nine inches when folded.

It has locks that keep it open and stable when using it.

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade
Test Winner: Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade
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Researched Sources
10
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
15
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
10
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
13
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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This update included adding replacements for the most outdated folding shovels. The #9 Fobachi Entrenching Tool has been replaced by the Tabor Tool Folding Shovel. In this update, we also included additional information about the best shovels available, and have added to our most frequently asked questions.

Sorting Options
Effectiveness Ease of Use Flexibility Durability By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98
Effectiveness
99 %
Ease of Use
98 %
Flexibility
98 %
Durability
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.20)
Amazon Link
$61.10
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Effectiveness
96 %
Ease of Use
97 %
Flexibility
96 %
Durability
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.20)
Amazon Link
$17.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Effectiveness
93 %
Ease of Use
93 %
Flexibility
91 %
Durability
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.20)
Amazon Link
$65.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Effectiveness
90 %
Ease of Use
91 %
Flexibility
90 %
Durability
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.20)
Amazon Link
$39.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.8
Effectiveness
88 %
Ease of Use
87 %
Flexibility
89 %
Durability
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.20)
Amazon Link
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Effectiveness
86 %
Ease of Use
88 %
Flexibility
85 %
Durability
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.20)
Amazon Link
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Effectiveness
84 %
Ease of Use
84 %
Flexibility
85 %
Durability
83 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.20)
Amazon Link
$22.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
Effectiveness
83 %
Ease of Use
83 %
Flexibility
82 %
Durability
84 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.20)
Amazon Link
$24.98
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79
Effectiveness
79 %
Ease of Use
79 %
Flexibility
80 %
Durability
78 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.20)
Amazon Link
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76.8
Effectiveness
77 %
Ease of Use
77 %
Flexibility
78 %
Durability
75 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.10.20)
Amazon Link
$11.99

10 Best Folding Shovels

1. Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98
Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
99
Ease of Use
98
Flexibility
98
Durability
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$61.10
Pros:

The spade is made of boron carbon steel that is powder coated.

The handle is made of nylon and reinforced with fiberglass.

The shaft is made of aluminum to keep it lightweight.

It only weighs two pounds and is nine inches when folded.

It has locks that keep it open and stable when using it.

Cons:

It will rust quickly if it gets exposed to salt.

Sand can get into the locking mechanisms and make it hard to use.

This is a multi-purpose tool that is an important piece of equipment to own if you are camping or backpacking. It folds into a small and compact size so that it doesn't take up a lot of room in your pack. You can use it to dig holes or trenches, cut wood, or even pound tent stakes into the ground.

All of the folding points on the tool lock into place. This will improve safety because you will not have the tool to fold up in an unexpected fashion while you are using it.

The tool only weighs two pounds and is only a little over nine inches long when it is folded up so you will have no trouble carrying it with you.

You will find this item sold at a price that is higher than the average price. The higher price is due to the strong materials that make it last longer and more durable.

2. AMES US GI E-Tool

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
AMES US GI E-Tool
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
96
Ease of Use
97
Flexibility
96
Durability
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$17.99
Pros:

The blade is made of a strong and durable steel.

It has a handle that is made of aluminum to keep it light.

You can use it as a shovel, ax, or as a saw.

It folds in three different spots to make it compact.

This is issued to the United States Military forces.

Cons:

You can't lock it in the 90-degree position to use it as a hoe.

The outer coating has been reported to chip off when using it.

This tool is issued to the U.S. Military and has been built for that purpose. It is lightweight and folds on three different points which allows it to be compact when folded. This e-tool will also last for a long time because it is coated with black powder paint that keeps it from rusting when it gets exposed to moisture.

It folds in three areas which allows it to be compact and small. This will keep it from taking up too much room in your pack while you are traveling.

The blade on the tool is made of a high-quality steel. This helps to keep the blade strong so that it doesn't bend or crack while you are digging.

You will find this item sold for an average price. The price turns it into an excellent value because you will not have to pay a premium for a great tool.

3. FiveJoy Military

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
FiveJoy Military
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
93
Ease of Use
93
Flexibility
91
Durability
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$65.99
Pros:

It is made of a high carbon steel that resists rust.

It only weighs a little over two pounds so it's easy to carry.

You can use it to dig a hole or start a fire.

The handle is made of aircraft grade aluminum for strength.

It comes with a carrying case that has belt loops.

Cons:

Some reviewers have reported that the handle is too short.

Some users have had the shovel head break on it.

If you need something that will help you survive when you are outdoors, then you will want to look at this multi-tool by FiveJoy. This is a small and lightweight tool that screws apart and fits into a small pack. The pack has loops on it so that you can attach it to your belt or to your hiking backpack which makes it easy to carry.

The tool is made of a high-quality carbon steel. The steel has been formulated to be durable and resist rust which will help it last for a long time.

You can use it for a variety of different purposes. Some of those purposes include using it as a shovel, ax, or as a hammer. It also has a knife and a fire starter.

The FiveJoy is sold at a price that is much higher than the average price due to the fact that it is a premium tool that has a lot of functions.

4. IUNIO Military Portable

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
IUNIO Military Portable
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
90
Ease of Use
91
Flexibility
90
Durability
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$39.99
Pros:

It has a 17, 31, or 35-inch lengths so that you can get leverage.

You can use it as a bottle opener, whistle, hammer, and nail extractor.

It has rubber gripping on the handle for extra comfort.

The carrying pouch has belt loops so you can attach it to your belt.

The blade is made of a high carbon steel that is durable.

Cons:

Some reviewers have reported that it breaks easily when used.

The locking mechanisms do not hold it in place like they should.

This is a great tool to own if you need something that will help you get you to get your car out of the snow or the mud. It also works great for camping and backpacking purposes since it folds up into a fraction of its size and is lightweight which makes it easy to carry around in your pack or vehicle.

The tool is sold with a pouch that has belt loops on it. The pouch is a great place to store the tool when you aren't using it and it attaches to your belt or pack.

The blade is made of a high carbon steel that is strong. This will allow you to dig into the stiff and compact dirt without having to worry if the blade will break.

This item is sold at a price that is lower than the average price which turns it into an excellent value since you will get a high-quality tool without spending much on it.

5. Pagreberya Compact Outdoor

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.8
Pagreberya Compact Outdoor
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
88
Ease of Use
87
Flexibility
89
Durability
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

You can assemble it quickly so that you can start using it.

It comes with a pouch that has a shoulder strap.

There are a variety of different things that you can do with this tool.

It is made of aircraft aluminum and high carbon steel.

There is a flint rod that you can use to start a fire.

Cons:

Some users have reported that the tool breaks easily and doesn't last.

The compass is of low quality and doesn't navigate as well as a regular compass.

This is more than just a tool. As a matter of fact, it's an entire survival kit that will give you all of the equipment that you need to stay alive in the wilderness. You can use it to dig a fire pit, chop some wood, and then even start the fire. There are plenty of other things that you can do with it as well.

It has a flint rod that is made of magnesium that you can strike in order to get a fire going. This can help ensure your survival while you are outside.

You can use the shovel head to dig holes, open a can or a bottle, or even use it as a wrench. This allows you to use the shovel head for different purposes.

You will find this item sold around the average price which makes it into an excellent value when you consider all of the different things that you can do with it.

6. Glock Entrenching Tool

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Glock Entrenching Tool
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
86
Ease of Use
88
Flexibility
85
Durability
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

You can use it as a shovel, hammer, saw, or an ax.

It is lightweight thanks to the handle that is made of polymers.

The handle telescopes so that you can adjust the length.

There are no welds or rivets in this tool to make it stronger.

It comes with a supplied carrying pouch for easy storage.

Cons:

The handle is not strong enough to keep it from feeling flimsy.

The blade isn't as sharp as users expected it to be.

This is a great item to own in any survival situation. You can fold up the blade and the handle telescopes so that it is compact and can be stored easily. The blade itself will lock into four different positions so that you can position the blade at different angles. This allows you to use the same tool for a variety of different purposes.

The tool has been designed to weight about half of what a typical entrenching tool would weigh which will help to keep your pack lighter and easier to carry.

Rather than folding, the handle telescopes which allows you to extend and retract the handle as needed. It is made out of strong polymer materials to save weight and makes the tool lighter.

You will see this item sold at a price that is higher than the average price. The higher price is due to the premium materials that were used to make it.

7. Gerber Gorge

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Gerber Gorge
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
84
Ease of Use
84
Flexibility
85
Durability
83
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$22.99
Pros:

It has a special hammer mode to use with pounding in nails or stakes.

The handle is easy to extend with a push button.

It comes with a nylon bag to store it in.

The handle grip is rubberized for comfort and ease of use.

The blade is made of carbon steel for durability purposes.

Cons:

It can be hard to push to the button so you need strong hands.

It is heavier than other similar e-trenching tools that are available.

Sometimes you need a hammer and other times you need a shovel. Then there are the times where you need a hatchet. This tool combines all of these tools into one piece so that you only have to carry one tool with you rather than three. Having fewer items means that you will save on weight and bulk in your gear.

The blade is made of a high-quality carbon steel so you can use it as a hammer or dig through the stiff dirt that is highly compacted and hard.

The handle has been ergonomically designed so that it will feel comfortable in your hands. This will help keep you from getting blisters or injuring your fingers will using the shovel.

One of the best parts about the Gerber Gorge is that it is sold at a price that is well below the average price which turns it into a bargain buy.

8. SOG Entrenching Tool

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
SOG Entrenching Tool
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
83
Ease of Use
83
Flexibility
82
Durability
84
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$24.98
Pros:

It uses a tri-fold design to make it easy to store.

You can use it for digging, chopping, and even sawing.

The handle is made of steel for durability and strength.

It comes with a bag that has gear loops for easy storage.

The tool has been backed up with a lifetime warranty.

Cons:

The handle is not attached to the blade real well.

Some users have reported that the blade bends easy and isn't strong.

The SOG Entrenching Tool is so durable and dependable that it has been backed with a lifetime warranty by the manufacturer. This is a great tool to have for camping, backpacking, or to even throw it into your vehicle in case you get stuck in snow, ice, or mud. It folds down into a small shape so it's easy to store.

You will not ever need to purchase another entrenching tool because this one is backed by a lifetime warranty by the manufacturer so you can get it taken care of should it fail.

It's sold with a carrying case that is made of nylon and has loops. The loops allow you to attach the bag to your backpack or even onto your belt.

You will find this item sold at a price that is much lower than the average price. The lower price makes it into an excellent value since you get a lifetime tool without having to spend much.

9. Tabor Tool Folding Shovel

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79
Tabor Tool Folding Shovel
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
79
Ease of Use
79
Flexibility
80
Durability
78
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

It is very portable.

It comes with a bag that is easy to use.

Cons:

The tool is very small in size.

The Tabor Tool folding shovel is the perfect option for an adventurer. This tool can easily be stored away and out of the way for other essentials needed on that planned backpacking trip or ATV ride. As one of the most lightweight and smaller options, this tool is perfect for those who would like to put this shovel away and forget it is there until it is taken out and used for the purpose it was brought for.

Best known for its versatility, this tool can be used for many purposes. The tool is used for everyday purposes, such as shoveling snow, sand, and dirt. This tool, however, can also be set at a 90% angle and used to dig out a snow-covered vehicle or a mud-covered ATV. The triangular handle makes this shovel easy to control, getting the job done while using less energy in the process.

This folding shovel, weighing only 1.3 pounds, is the perfect option for someone who needs to carry this tool for longer distances or when walking with other equipment. The tool is folded into a 6" by 8" pouch, which contains a loop. This loop can be used to carry the shovel on either a belt or a backpack strap, leaving room in your backpack for other essentials that are needed on the adventure.

This military grade folding shovel can usually be bought for a lower price than other comparable shovels, making this option a more cost-effective option for most buyers.

10. Coghlan's

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76.8
Coghlan's
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
77
Ease of Use
77
Flexibility
78
Durability
75
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$11.99
Pros:

space when it is folded.

The entire tool only weighs a little over two pounds.

It has a serrated edge that you can use for cutting wood.

The blade and the handle are made of metal for durability.

It has a locking collar on it so that it stays in place.

Cons:

The joints on this tool are not very strong.

Reviewers have had problems with it bending too easily when digging.

This is a great option if you are looking for a low-cost camping spade. You can use it for different applications such as digging a firepit or to pound in your tent stakes. When folded, it only takes up ten inches of space so it's really easy to pack it along with you and keep in your gear for when you need it.

It has a tri-fold design that allows it to fold up into a compact size. When folded the entire tool only takes up about 10 inches of space so it's easy to pack.

The tool only weights a little over two pounds so it is easy to carry and will not add a lot of weight to your gear. This is highly ideal for backpackers.

You will find this item sold at a price that is well below the average price. The rock bottom price turns it into an excellent value because you will not have to spend a lot on it.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

The materials used to make a folding shovel will determine how much it costs and how durable the tool is once you are using it. For this reason, you are going to want to look for tools that are made of high-quality materials rather than ones that use cheap and inexpensive materials. The better the materials are, the longer the shovel will last and the more durable it will be in the long run.

One of the things that you will want to consider when you are purchasing a shovel is what sort of material is used to make the blade. Ideally, you are going to want to look for one that is made of a high-quality carbon steel. High carbon steel is stronger and will last much longer than comparable materials. The thicker the blade is the stronger it will be as well so you will need to make sure that the blade isn't made of a cheap piece of metal.

After you take a look at the blade, you are going to want to look at what is used for the handle. Many manufacturers do not make the handle as durable as they should because it will help to cut down on the weight. For example, you may see the handle that is made of plastic rather than metal. Although plastic weighs less and doesn't corrode, it is not as strong as steel or aircraft grade aluminum. You should try and make sure that they are using quality materials when they build the shovel so that you get your money's worth out of it when you decide to use it. That way it is less likely to break on you.

Size

Most of the time, you will want to keep this tool in your pack which means that it needs to be small and portable. In order for that to work, it is going to need to fold into a smaller size and it can't weigh too much either. If your shovel wasn't light and didn't fold, then you might as well bring a regular size shovel with you and call it a day.

Typically, you will see two different folding designs. One is a tri-fold design where it folds down into three pieces. There is also a two-piece design that doesn't fold down as much as a three-piece. In terms of portability, the three-piece design will fold down into a smaller size and be more compact than the two-fold design. However, the two-fold design can sometimes be more durable than the threefold because there are fewer joints in it.

Weight

After you decide on the folding design, you are going to want to think about the weight of the shovel. The weight can be directly tied to the durability so while it is nice to have a lightweight folding shovel, you will have to consider that less weight will mean thinner metal and a weaker design. You should try and at least get something that is made completely of metal but then you are going to need to find the right balance between weight and durability. If you are stronger, then you should err on the side of durability since it isn't going to be helpful if your shovel breaks when you need to use it. At most, a heavier duty shovel will only add one or two pounds to your pack.

Ease of Use

It's helpful to think about how well the shovel has been designed in terms of ergonomics. This will help to make it easier on your body when it comes time to use it in order to dig a hole or pound in some tent stakes with it. There are two areas in the shovel that are directly related to ergonomics which are the length of the handle and the grips on the handle.

In order to stay lightweight and compact, a folding shovel has to have a short handle. The downside of the short handle is that you lose leverage when it comes time to dig. It also means that you are going to need to get down on your knees since it's unlikely that you will be able to use it while you are standing up. This means that you have to work harder which is hard on your upper body and kneel down which is hard on the lower body. Some of these shovels have handle extensions that are available as an add-on that you may want to consider. Otherwise, it may be worth it to get one that has a longer handle.

The handle also needs to have some grips on it. If the handle doesn't have grips, then it may slide out of your hands while you are digging. Even if it doesn't slide out of your hands, you may end up developing blisters or you may have to wear gloves while you are using it. A high-quality shovel will have an ergonomically designed grip for you to use so that it is easy on your hands while you are digging with it.

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expert tips icon
Mankinds Oldest Tools

The shovel is actually considered the worldest oldest tool in history. All throughout time shovels have been used for numerous different reasons, and now as an upgrade, we have foldable shovels to help us with smaller tasks at any given time.

Add a Shovel for your toolbox

If you feel your toolbox is missing something, it could just be a shovel. Foldable shovels are versatile enough that you can add it to your toolbox without thinking about it twice.

Other Factors to Consider

Versatility

Many of these tools are designed for multiple purposes. This is a good thing because it means that you will need to carry less gear in your pack because you can use one tool to do multiple jobs. This is a big part of the reason why entrenching tools are used by soldiers since it means that they have to carry less gear with them. The more jobs you can do with your folding shovel, the more value you will be able to get from it.

Many of these tools can be used as a saw. You can tell if that is the case if there is a serrated cutting edge on the blade. This can be useful because you will be able to cut thin branches to make some kindling for a fire or clear some brush if needed. If you plan on using it for this purpose, you will need to make sure that the serrated edge is sharp so that it can actually cut wood.

Many tools can also double as a hammer. A hammer is nice because you will typically need to pound tent stakes into the ground at some point. If you are planning on using it as a hammer, then you need to make sure that the blade is good and thick. You will not want to use it as a hammer if there is a reason to think that the blade will bend on impact. In addition to using it as a hammer, you may find tools that can be used as a hatchet or even have flint rods so that you can start a fire. You should always read over the packaging to see what you can use your tool for.

Advanced Features

Unless you plan on using your folding shovel 24/7, you will need a way to store it so that it stays nice and usable for when you need it. At a minimum, you are going to need a way to protect the blade from getting rusty but you may also want a way to protect the entire tool from dirt and corrosion so that you can unfold it easily when you need it as well. There are also pouches that let you carry the tool on your belt or your backpack which means that you will save room in your pack.

One thing that you will want to check is to see if the tool even comes with a storage pouch in the first place. Not all of them do but most of them do have a storage pouch and you should focus on the ones that have a pouch included in them. Then you are going to want to take a look at the pouch and check it over for a few different things. One thing that you should check and see is if the pouch is water resistant. It's important that you keep your folding shovel away from water as too much exposure to water can cause it to get rusty and it won't work anymore.

After you check it for water resistants, you should look and see if it has loops. The loops are used to attach the pouch to your belt or to the outside of your backpack. This can come in handle since it will mean that you will not have to use space on the inside of your pack for the shovel which will give you more room for other items.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: How can I prevent rust?

a:

The best way to keep your folding shovel from getting rust is to keep it clean. Moisture is the natural enemy of iron since water reacts with iron and produces rust. If you have dirt on the shovel, then the dirt will retain moisture and keep it in contact with the steel parts. This will naturally cause it to rust. It is helpful to treat your shovel with oil since oil will repel moisture and prevent rust as well.

q: What is the difference between cast and forged steel?

a:

Casting is a process where the molten melt is poured into a mold and then allowed to cool. This allows you to make metal into different shapes but it may not be as durable as forged. Forging refers to heating metal up until it is red hot and then pounding it into a certain shape. The act of hammering on the metal aligns the molecules in it which means that you will have a stronger item than what you can achieve with casting.

q: In what situations is a folding shovel useful to have?

a:

Backing and camping are two of the most common uses for these shovels. This is because they are lightweight and are therefore easy to carry in your camping gear. Many motorists also own these tools because if you are vehicle gets stuck in the ice, mud, or snow, you can dig it free and get your vehicle unstuck. Finally, soldiers tend to use these tools because they need to be able to survive outdoors if duty calls for it.

q: When was the first modern entrenching tool invented?

a:

The credit goes to a Danish military officer by the name of Mads Johan Buch Linnemann. He is credited with inventing it 1869 and a year later it was issued to the Danish army followed by the Austrian army. Since then the entrenching tool has been developed and used by militaries all over the world so that soldiers can depend on them when they need to survive outdoors. Some of the improvements include adding an ax and a saw to the blade.

q: How should I care for my folding shovel?

a:

One of the best ways to care for your folding shovel is to keep it clean. Additionally, you will also want to oil it from time to time. If you start to notice paint chipping off of your shovel, then you will want to coat it with a fresh layer of paint as that will help to keep moisture off of the metal parts. It is also best that you store it in an area that has low humidity.

q: What type of handle should my shovel have?

a:

Most folding shovels have different materials for the blade and the handle. The handle will typically be comprised of either fiberglass, aluminum, or wood.