Review: Ames Fiberglass Handle Digging & Transfer Shovels

bmx trails dirt jumping dirtjumping

I think it’s safe to say that you can find at least one of these Ames Fiberglass Handle Shovels at the majority of trails here in the states. They’re available at any Home Depot and they are cheap. That’s the reason we bought them when we first started our trails. They were a third the cost of other shovels and had a five year warranty. We figured that we would just return them when they did break and get new ones. Well, warranties are a funny thing and open to the interpretation of whoever you are dealing with. I’ve had some Home Depot employees simply tell me to go grab another shovel, and some say that it’s a manufacturers warranty and that I would have to send it back to the company. With enough pestering even the most stubborn employees would cave in an give me a new one. That’s all fine and dandy if you want to waste your time returning shovels, but I myself would rather be digging or riding. 

Home Depot


I often ask myself how we ever got anything done using these shovels. They flex like crazy, hold barely any dirt, and the step is so thin that you literally could break the arch of your foot in half if you stomped on it too hard. Actually you couldn’t because the shovel would break if you put that much force on it. Honestly I’m not even sure how many of these shovels we’ve had. I do know that I’ve taken close to ten of them back to Home Depot. It eventually got to the point where it was becoming too much of a hassle to lug the broken ones out of the woods and back to the store, so we opted to buy some beefier more expensive shovels. That was probably the best decision we ever made! Sure the shovels we replaced these things with cost three times as much, but they’e also lasted and we have yet to have any of them break.

As much as I want to say that I don’t like anything about these shovels, I can’t. Well that goes for the transfer aka flat head shovel at least. It’s really good for shaping jumps. It’s light weight and the thin metal that the head is made from makes for a sharp edge that works well if you need to shave dirt. Since we’ve switched to just using them to shape we haven’t had any problems with breakage.

Most of the bad things about this shovel revolve around the strength. The fiberglass handle on these things absolutely sucks. Usually they break right were they join the shovel head, but they also have a tendency to develop cracks along the length of them. Once that happens it’s just a matter of time before it’s all over. The shovel heads are made of really thin metal which also tends to crack. The step that they put on these shovels can be described as laughable at best. Step down to hard on it and you’re in for a sore foot. Finally we have the warranty. Yeah the have a five year warranty and for the most part they don’t give you too much of a hassle returning it, but you can easily go through one of these shovels in less than a week if you’re really putting in work. Who has time to be running to Home Depot all the time returning shovels? Certainly not me!

If you’re just going to use it to shape with it then the shovel is fine. Start packing with it and your pushing it. Start digging with it and expect it to self destruct at any time. If these shovels are all you can afford at the time then by all means get them. If you have the extra dough then do yourself a favor and get yourself something that will last longer like one of THESE.