Reviews The Veg Plot

Fiskars Xact – The ace of spades

I’ve been using a rust encrusted ‘heirloom spade’ for digging duties since first taking on the allotment, but have since hurled it unceremoniously into the deepest recesses of the nettle patch with the arrival of two brand spanking new spades from Fiskars.

Hailing from the Xact range that consists of a statuesque selection of forks, spades and shovels, I had a grapple with the ‘edging spade’, designed for normal soil conditions. Also tested was the more aggressively styled ‘digging spade’, which has an extra-sharp pointed blade* for penetrating harder soil.

The spades are notable for their thick composite steel shafts, making them wider than most trad spades. In fact, parallels can be drawn between the Xact design and the evolution of mountain bike, where narrow steel frames gave way to fat, oversized tubing. The end results are the same… stronger, lighter, and better balanced. Also: they look cool.

A soft gripped, push-pull handle reduces the chance of pressure blisters during marathon digging sessions, whilst the boron-steel spade head is topped with a grippy foot step** for maximum penetration power. Twin weld points affix the spade head firmly to shaft, and to allay any fears of premature snappage, each spade comes with a 25 year guarantee.

Admittedly, the handsome silver/satin finish scuffed up irreparably after only a few thrusts into our stony spud bed, but this is a purely aesthetic gripe – and as they say, ‘only a workshy gardener has shiny tools’***.

A space-aged spade that’ll last longer than our allotment tenancy.
Fiskars Xact – eat my dirt.




Models on test: Fiskars Xact digging spade and the Fishers Xact Edging and Planting spade
Price: £34.99


* Similar to the blades found on army trenching tools. By no coincidence, Fiskars own Gerber, and Gerber supply NATO with… trenching tools.

** During a bout of furious digging, a spade without one will slice through a soft soled shoe. (As my poor wellies will attest)

*** I’ve just made that up.

Thanks to Fiskars for sending us the tools with which to review.







  • A classic example of over-priced over-designed crap, perfectly fine if you’re happy, (stupid enough,) to pay nearly £40 for a lightweight shovel/spade only suitable, (according to their label,) for light gardening; but this would be an almost perfect tool, (the handle/blade alignment is perfect which is why I bought it,) but it’s been so messed about with that most of the benefit of this has been lost and it seems to be far from robust in construction and materials.

    Also due to curvature of the blade it can only really be used for light digging and not for example most of the other uses for which most people would expect to use a shovel/spade for such as mixing concrete or moving bulk ballast ect, so you’ll need to buy another tool as well to do those kinds jobs, so all in all; pretty rubbish.

    I tool designed by people who’ve never used tools for people who’ll never use tools; overpriced crap.

    • Good to hear your thoughts, Jeremy. My spade is still going strong… no issues here, although admittedly I haven’t been using it to shovel concrete or ballast. Bulldog make great spades – maybe give one of those a try?
      Best wishes

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