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I’ve dug enough holes and uprooted plenty of pesky plants to fill a lifetime of compost bins. So, when I first heard about the Root Assassin Shovel, I was intrigued: could this seemingly lethal gardening tool live up to its notorious name? Or was it just another shovel with the backing of a clever ad campaign? I decided to take it for a spin and see for myself.
In this review, I’ll share my experience using the Root Assassin Shovel, digging down into its design, performance, durability and features. We’ll also see how it compares to a few other similarly fierce products on the market.
If you’re starting out buying garden equipment, you might also enjoy our article on the differences between spades and shovels.
- 16 double-edged sharp serrated teeth on each side of the blade
- Commercial-grade carbon steel 14-gauge shaft and blade
- Forward-turned step for secure foot placement
- 48″ original or 60″ long with a straight handle
- Weighs 1.8KG
Design and features
Let’s not beat around the bush: the Root Assassin Shovel is a behemoth—and this is the ‘mini’ version! At 48 inches from handle to tip, it first appears far too cumbersome to wield around the garden, so, naturally, I was sceptical after unboxing. The long, narrow blade takes up around 12” of the tool’s length, and it looks like a shovel on steroids.
But despite its intimidating stature, the Root Assassin is surprisingly light (only 1.8kg!) thanks to the clever inclusion of commercial-grade carbon steel. I used it like a bow saw on a few stray branches, and it soon became apparent why this is positioned as a multi-use shovel/saw.
16 double-edged teeth run alongside both sides of the serrated blade, allowing you to cut into dense, rocky soil and obliterate roots with ease. The manufacturer says this is due to the metallurgically enhanced bone structure—whatever that means. All I know is, it worked. I tested the Root Assassin on different soil types, various-sized roots and branches that you couldn’t break with your hand—it demolished all. There’s even a front-facing step to give you more leverage!
And because the tip is pointed, it’s easy to complete jobs that would usually require another tool. For instance, I aerated my lawn before laying down some new seed—something I’d never normally bother attempting with traditional shovels. Having used the Root Assassin for only a day, I quickly realised that this product saves a lot of walking to the garden shed.
If I had to choose one word to describe this product, it would be versatile. It’s capable of doing everything — from digging deep holes for trees to uprooting stubborn weeds and pruning branches. I found that the serrated edges are also perfect for dealing with dandelions, thistles and other nuisance plants that have unruly roots. It didn’t take much force either: I simply pushed and found that the tip did most of the work, offering loads of leverage.
Needing to plant some bulbs in one of my beds, the shovel tip was also the perfect shape and height to dig small, evenly-sized holes. The curved blade is a clever design choice, forcing its way behind the soil rather than just through it. And those double-edged blades did just as much cutting on the way out as they did going in. I certainly won’t be using my old trowel any time soon.
When it came to digging plant beds and turf, the Root Assassin Shovel didn’t disappoint. The serrated edge quickly cut through compact soil like butter, and was perfect at digging deep, narrow trenches. It even worked well on dry clay soil with remnants of chunky conifer roots running throughout. So much so that I spent some time clearing them without having to reach for my pick axe.
If I had to pick one flaw with the Root Assassin Shovel, my only grievance would be with the size. It’s much bigger than anything else I’ve got in my shed or used before, so it took a while getting used to a position that didn’t put strain on my back. It’s also a little tricky to sharpen the serrated edges with a wheel or edge grinder, but again, I’m nitpicking.
The Root Assassin Shovel is made from high-quality materials that are designed to go the distance. For instance, the blade is forged from tempered steel, which is incredibly strong and resistant to bending and breaking. It’s also coated with a rust-resistant finish, which protects the blade from corrosion caused by moisture. Naturally, having such a sharp blade also means that you won’t have to dig as much, which only increases the product’s lifespan.
On the original Root Assassin, the handgrip is comfortably wide, accommodating large or small hands, and is made of reinforced rubber that is both durable and slip-proof. The longer version has a foam sheath covering roughly half of the shaft, providing extra comfort and a non-slip surface in the area where you’re most likely to grip the shovel.
The D-shaped handle is made from metal and non-slip, reinforced rubber that’s covered in a foam sheath. I found it to offer a secure, comfortable grip, even when the tool got wet in the Manchester rain. The handle is also ergonomically designed, with a comfortable D-shaped curve that fits naturally in the hand and reduces strain and fatigue during use.
Price and Value
At around £50, the Root Assassin Shovel isn’t the cheapest option on the market, of course. But then again, it’s unlike other products. Its unique curved blade, carbon steel design, and serrated edges make it a reasonable purchase for the price tag, especially when pitted against other expensive shovels.
Other root-ripping shovels in the same price category include:
- Fiskars Xact Long Handle Digging Shovel (£46.64)
- Radius Garden Root Slayer Shovel (£54.99)
- RoamWild Multi Digger Garden Spade (£59.99)