Shovels and rakes don’t get a lot of attention in most magazines and publications. They’re not sexy. They don’t use batteries. Heck, they don’t even make noise (unless you accidentally hit a gas line with a shovel—but that’s a different type of noise!) The thing is, though, we use shovels and rakes all the time. Whether you’re an electrician, a plumber, a concrete former, or a general contractor, you’ve probably got a few of these tools in your arsenal. The new Razor-Back shovels and rakes represent a premium brand with some additional features you simply don’t find on entry level garden and landscaping products. For those who use these as serious tools, you want to really take a good look at their build quality.
The first set of tools we used were the new Razor-Back shovels. These have a number of features that really set them apart from some of the more basic garden and landscaping tools you may find in stores. Once you see these features, you’ll want to take a second look before you pick up a cheap product at the local store or shop.
The Razor-Back round point shovel features a long “SuperSocket” that holds the fiberglass handle securely and prevents snapping or bending of the handle by distributing the leverage across more of the handle—not to mention more material that’s tied directly to the spade head. This shovel also has the PowerStep feature that you can place your foot on for more digging pressure. There’s also a handy mid-grip and top-mounted cushion grip that make it even more comfortable to use over time—with or without gloves.
If you prefer a wood-handled shovel, Razor-Back makes a round point shovel in that style as well. Their D-handled trenching shovel also worked great for clearing out trenches when we were digging a narrow path for some landscape material and running underground-rated electrical wiring.
The Razor-Back rakes we reviewed included a 24-tine steel leaf rake with a fiberglass handle and a forged 15 tine bow rake with a wood handle. After I placed the steel leaf rake into the hands of a professional landscaper, his response to me was “Now this is a nice implement of mass destruction!” This was actually a compliment! He went on to explain to me that he goes through lots of rakes due to the tines bending and breaking. Plastic models are particularly notorious for this, and the reinforced metal tines of the Razor-Back kept even the outer tines intact throughout our entire testing period. We used it to rake leaves, debris underneath a deck, and to clear out general yard debris.
Through everything, the Razor-Back rake held up, and the tines stayed relatively straight and undamaged. It’s a very consistent tool that feels dependable. We loved the weight and balance, and the fiberglass handle felt good in our hands and felt like it would continue to be strong over the long haul.
The forged Razor-Back 15 tine bow rake handled well, and I was able to really pull on it hard without fear of the head loosening up or popping off. I used it to clear out material while we were upgrading a porch to composite decking and also on other small landscaping projects. This is a solidly-built bow rake, and while it’s not what I’d call “innovative”, it has a build quality that’s better than your run-of-the-mill models and should last a long time.
Razor-Back is a premium brand from Ames, and like their Jackson line, it contains products that have better build quality than entry-level products that feature less bracing, less grip and features, or inferior handle technologies. For anyone using these tools to make money—or even if you simply want to buy a product once and be done with it—Razor-Back is a great brand you should put your hands on in-person. I can guarantee the additional cost is well worth it, and you’re unlikely to ever want to go back to the basic models.