Before you purchase a new shovel one of the most important questions you can ask is – which type of handle will be best for me?


Each handle will have its own unique qualities, but most tools are available with handles made from Ash, tubular steel, polyfibreglass or specially insulated material for live working. There is also the choice between long or short handles, as well as ‘YD’, ‘T’ or long plain grips for most digging tools.


Handle choice should be determined by comfort, strength, protection from the elements or even electrical insulating properties depending on the user’s requirements.


Ash Shafts

Ash shafts remain a very popular choice with contractors and tradesmen, with timber selected for straightness of grain and then varnished or waxed for protection from the elements. Because the timber is specially chosen for its strength and then stored in ideal conditions before fitting to the tool head, Ash shafts are particularly reliable. Ash shafted tools are usually available with metal or plastic ‘YD’ handles, wooden ‘T’ handles or long straight handles. Using FSC certified hardwood handles means that users can be assured that they come from socially and environmentally responsible forestry. Just look out for this symbol. (FSC icon)



Tubular steel shafts

Tubular steel shafts are particularly popular with contractors working outside in the construction industry and also landscapers. These shafts are about 20% stronger* than Ash and will not warp or rot in damp conditions. Shovels, forks and spades normally have a metal ‘YD’ handle fitted with a wooden grip, which makes them warmer to touch and comfortable to hold.


Polyfibreglass shafts

Polyfibreglass shafts have a solid fibreglass core with tensioned fibres for strength with an abrasion resistant, hardwearing polypropylene sleeve. These shafts are about 30% stronger* than metal and do not warp, rot or rust, even in extremely wet conditions. They are fitted with a polypropylene ‘YD’ grip which is very durable and waterproof.


Insulated shaft

An Insulated shaft is designed to conform to BS8020:2011 for live working. These shafts are individually tested to 10,000 volts and guaranteed to 1,000 volts, incorporating a protective wear sleeve to resist high voltages and abrasion. Although this material is relatively expensive, it is essential for contractors working near live power sources. Long insulated handles are also available which meet the same standards and all insulated tools have a unique number etched onto them with a matching certificate of conformity.


Whichever handle you decide upon, you can be sure that Bulldog tools have been tested and retested over a number of years to ensure that it is not only strong but also comfortable, guaranteeing a long and productive life. Explore the full bulldog tool range here>


Disclaimer: The information provided through Greenham Pulse is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. Greenham Pulse is not a substitute for Health and Safety consultancy. You should seek independent advice about any legal matter.