Are you looking for a digging tool that will cut a plug like butter, easily tear through roots, and is built to last a lifetime?
Our top pick is the Lesche Digging Tool. This digger is made in the USA from aircraft-quality, heat-treated steel for superior durability and strength.
Have you ever been out in the middle of the woods on an intense relic hunt, and all of a sudden your digging tool snaps in two?
Like most people, I started off metal detecting with nothing more than an entry-level detector and the cheapest hand digger I could find from one of the big box stores.
Boy was this a mistake.
There’s nothing worse than being amongst tons of sweet signals and have a broken digger – especially when you’re out in the woods in the middle of nowhere!
So learn from my mistake and get yourself a digger (and back up digger) that’s going to rip through hard ground, roots, and rock.
I use a few different shovels and hand digging tools for various applications. Below I’ll talk about some of my favorite tools, and how I use them.
Lesche Digging Tool
The digger that everyone needs to have in their pouch is the Lesche digging tool. It is best used in well-manicured lawns where neatness is a priority, and you need to cut through sod like it’s butter.
This is by far the most popular tool on the market today, and rightfully so.
The Lesche is made of aircraft-quality, heat-treated steel for superior durability and strength.
It has a single serrated edge on one side (you pick the side) for cutting sod, roots, and weeds with ease.
Typically if you’re right-handed, you’ll want the serrations to be on the right side. Likewise left-handed folks want the serrations on the left side.
I say typically because it all depends on the direction you cut your plugs – clockwise or counterclockwise.
Lefties will typically cut clockwise while righties counterclockwise.
This digger all comes with a sheath with a belt loop so you can easily carry it around your waste.
If that wasn’t enough to get you excited about the Lesche digging tool, it also comes with a lifetime warranty!
Lesche Sampson T-Handle Shovel
Another great tool from Lesche, the 31” t-handle Sampson shovel is perfect for relic hunting on large un-manicured lawns, woods, and farm fields.
Made from the same heat-treated, aircraft-quality steel as the hand digger, the Sampson comes with two different handle configurations: t-handle and ball handle.
I much prefer the t-handle because it gives you much more leverage when digging. The ball handle just seems awkward to me – but some people swear by it!
This model was first produced without any serrated edges. Both sides were simply blades.
Based on user feedback, the company recently came out with two new models – one with a single serrated side and one with both sides serrated.
While it may seem obvious to go with the version that has both sides serrated, I opt for the single version because the blade is much stronger. Too much serration can compromise the overall strength of the blade.
In fact, that is why the company will never produce the hand digging tool with both sides serrated.
This shovel weighs about 4 lbs and is super easy to carry.
Leshe Mini Sampson 18” Serrated
If you don’t like the idea of carrying around the 31” Sampson shovel, then this mini version might be for you.
At only 18”, this digging tool is perfect for easy transportation and fits nicely in any backpack.
With all of the same qualities as other Lesche diggers, the mini sampson is versatile enough to use as either a hand digger or shovel.
Using it as a hand digger can be a very good idea, especially in hard ground when you need to get more leverage than you get with a typical hand digger.
In the late summer months when the ground is dry and hard, digging plugs can be tough with a hand digger.
Using it as a shovel for your relic hunting is also a very good idea since it’s easy to carry and also has a long handle for easier digging.
Of course, the one drawback to using it as a shovel is that you’ll have to do a lot more bending over which can get tiring after a while.
Overall this digger is a great choice as either your hand digger, relic shovel, or even as a backup!
Lesche Ground Shark 40”
I know it seems like I’m only focusing on the Lesche brand, but they are top of the line, no-nonsense diggers that last a lifetime.
The 40” Ground Shark has a slightly different look than other Lesche diggers.
The blade is much more narrow with a more rounded blade for digging smaller, deeper holes.
It shouldn’t be used in applications where neatness is a concern – ie manicured lawns. Stick to the woods and fields if you’re using this shovel!
It has a unique rubber step plate that you can use with your foot for better leverage and easier digging.
Of course, the biggest benefit of this shovel is it’s length.
At 40” this shovel takes the bend out of digging!
So if you have a bad back, bad knees, or just get tired quickly from digging, this digger might be for you.
While the long length of this digger is a huge benefit, it can also be seen as a disadvantage for some.
For one, the digger is slightly heavier than the others. It can also be harder to carry by the handle because it could drag on the ground depending on how tall you are. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but just something to keep in mind.
Predator Tools Raptor Model 31 (C)
The Raptor from Predator Tools is another one of my favorites.
It is a hand digger with an excellent cushioned grip for comfortable digging.
The thing that sets this digger apart from the rest is it’s ‘dish-shaped’ blade which is fantastic for moving more dirt faster.
Like the Lesche tools, the Raptor is also made from aircraft-quality, heat-treated steel for extra strength and durability.
It’s overall length is 14” and comes with a Cadora sheath to carry on your belt.
I hope this list gives you a better idea of the digger you’ll need. Remember that if you’re serious about metal detecting, you’ll want to have multiple digging tools.
Ideally, you’ll have one hand digger, one long-handled, and one backup hand digger.
Whichever digging tool you decide, avoid those made from materials like stainless steel as they tend to break rather easily.
I would also recommend buying a tool made in the USA. I don’t like to generalize, but the diggers made in the USA tend to be built like a tank. Look for high-quality, heat-treated steel.
I hope this article was helpful. Now grab your digger and get metal detecting!