Matt is a professional painter who enjoys fishing and metal detecting for old coins and relics.
The Lesche T-handle Shovel
My Lesche t-handle shovel is the primary digger I use for recovering my metal detecting finds. I also own their metal detecting spade, which I still use occasionally, but I much prefer the t-handle Lesche digging tool for faster target recovery and cutting cleaner plugs.
My review is based on their heavy-duty t-handle shovel, not the Sampson shovel, which doesn't have a serrated blade. The hobby of metal detecting will do a number on your back if you use the wrong digger. Some detectorists prefer a metal detecting trowel or spade, and those tools do have their advantages, but I already have back and knee problems, so the less time I spend crouching down, the better.
Here are a few things I like about this digger.
It Cuts Dirt Plugs With Ease
What good is a shovel if it doesn't cut through dirt easily? The steel blade on this digger is very sharp, and with the serrated blade, it slices through dirt and small roots like a knife through butter.
With my metal-detecting trowel, I have to kneel down and forcefully cut the plug with my hands, but it's so much easier and faster with a t-handle shovel. I can quickly cut a perfect plug and flip it open with the edge of the shovel, all while standing up.
I can usually cut deeper plugs with a t-handle shovel, too, because I can push the blade deeper into the ground with my feet than I could if I were using my hands.
It Does Less Damage to Grass
Even if you're placing your dirt plug on top of a towel, a faintly noticeable ring can remain after the dirt plug is flipped back into the ground. This shovel cuts a neater hole with its sharp blade and leaves less evidence that the ground has been disturbed after the plug has been replaced.
The Lesche spade I own leaves more of a mess behind from sawing the ground up and down. Cutting the ground open with a t-handle digger is neater. What I always do is leave one side of the dirt plug connected so the dirt always fits back into the hole perfectly like a puzzle piece.
Being careful not to leave a mess behind is important whenever you go metal detecting, especially when digging a permission on private property.
Here are a few downsides of the Lesche T-handle.
The Metal Corrodes Over Time
Like my handheld Lesche digging tool, this one does develop rust spots over time. The shovel is constructed of aircraft-quality steel according to the specs, but the metal still rusts. Mine hasn't rusted to the point to where I'm overly concerned, but there are rust spots, even after cleaning and drying the metal. If you leave mud on the blade, rust will develop faster. Always clean the metal immediately after each use.
It's a Little Short for Me
At my height of 5'11, my one minor complaint is that I wish the digger was one to two inches longer, but it's not a problem for me. If you're taller than 6'5", though, this shovel might be a little uncomfortable to dig with. The length is 31". When I first unboxed mine, I was a little disappointed because I thought the blade and overall size would be bigger.
The compact size doesn't affect its performance though, and it makes the shovel less noticeable in public. If you walk around with a huge shovel, not only will you become fatigued faster, but people are more likely to call the police or come outside and complain, especially when you're detecting in curb grass. The shovel is pretty lightweight, so it's easy to carry around all day without soreness.
Is the Lesche Heavy-Duty T-handle Shovel Worth it?
Mine has worked great for me from day one without bending or breaking at the handle. The Lesche t-handle shovel makes cutting plugs a lot easier and faster for me when I go out metal detecting for three to five hours at a time. If you don't like crouching on your knees all day long to saw open dirt plugs with a trowel, this is the best alternative.
I used a trowel and a regular gardening shovel before buying this digger, but this is definitely one of my favorite metal detecting tools for digging holes. I was originally going to buy the Sampson digger, also by Lesche, but I chose this one for the serrated blade to cut through roots easier. This comes in handy when recovering finds near the base of trees.
© 2018 Matt G.
RTalloni on December 17, 2018:
Thanks very much for this review. Our grandson may see it in the coming year. :)