Radius Root Slayer Shovel: Product Review
Simply one of the best root cutting and shoveling products on the market today.
Available on AmazonBuy It
Bruce Baker has been in the garden business for ten years, running Radius Garden, a company that specializes in high-quality garden tools. But it wasn’t until he spent an arduous day battling intertwined roots while digging up 16 large Douglas fir trees that he became motivated to invent “a better mousetrap” – a shovel that could slice through a network of hefty roots with ease.
First, he searched the internet for shovels designed to cut roots, hoping to learn that what he wanted already existed. He purchased every shovel he found online that was supposed to do the job. After testing each, none met all the requirements he had in mind for the ideal tool. He decided to design his own.
He wrote, “Obviously, I’ve done enough digging to know what makes for a great digging tool. It has to be very strong. It has to be sharp. It has to have cutting edges. And, it has to be designed to attack the root, rather than slide off of it.”
Unusual Design Feature
There are several shovels on the market with sawing blades designed to sever roots, however, the Radius Root Slayer Shovel stands apart because instead of having a pointed end to cut into the soil, the cutting tip is a concave, wide angled notch. Shovel designer Baker explains, “I had observed for many years that some members of landscape crews used spades that appeared to be worn away at the point, with a notch or an inverted curve instead of a pointed, flattened or rounded end. I always thought this was just from wear and tear until I saw a crew member on a project intentionally sharpening the notch with a file. This type of notching centers the force of the shovel blade on roots when it hits them, guiding the user’s weight toward, rather than away from, the root.”
Yes! How often have you hacked at a root with a shovel point, only to have the shovel slide off the edge of the root instead of severing it? It’s not your bad aim (at least I always thought it was my bad aim). With the Root Slayer, I could sever a root with one downward chop. No repeat tries necessary.
More Features to Like
- Efficient Cutting: The Root Slayer’s cutting teeth on each side all face the same direction, enabling them to efficiently cut on the downward stroke. This feature makes them more efficient for a shovel than typical saw teeth, which are designed to cut in both directions.
- Wide Step: The shovel blade flares to a step that is wide enough for a foot to comfortably rest on it, making it possible to put full body weight into a downward dig.
- Ergonomic Handle: Instead of the traditional D-shaped shovel handle, the Root Slayer’s has a patented round grip that has as much as 4 times the gripping surface than traditional handles. The company has dubbed it the “Natural Radius O-Handle (NRO) Grip.” It is padded with a non-latex, thermoplastic elastomer molded onto polypropylene. (Translate that to mean a mix of materials – typically a plastic and a rubber – that has both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties; i.e. the material becomes plastic upon heating and hardens when cooled and has rubber-like qualities). The result is a grip that provides excellent leverage without straining the hand and wrist.
- Strong Shaft: There is a steel tube (integral to the shovel blade) that runs the full length of the shovel shaft (inside the Thermoplastic handle). This gives the Root Slayer additional strength beyond the strength of the shovel’s exterior shaft.
Even though the nose of the blade is V-notched, the two points at either side are sharp, making it easy to penetrate any turf surface. Then the ripsaw teeth come into play, cutting well with each downward push.
Digging and Cutting Through Roots
The Root Slayer does indeed “slay” roots, slicing through them both with the V-notch shovel tip and the ripsaw teeth that line each side. We tackled an overgrown mass of rue that had grown so old the plant base and root was 2 inches thick. The shovel sliced through with ease, making clearing the overgrown mass a snap.
It also easily cuts through masses of fibrous roots and thicker ones growing deep underground. It’s a tool that will make a challenging digging project much easier and efficient to complete.
Specifications and Features
- 15 ripsaw teeth on each side of the shovel blade that cut down when you step on the shovel and are self-sharpening while digging in sand
- 44.5 inches tall
- Shovel blade is 2.5mm thick – just thicker than 13 gauge (and thicker than most conventional shovels).
- 3 ½-inch wide, comfortable footstep
- Blade width at top of step is 10.5 inches wide
- Patented Natural Radius O-Handle (NRO) Grip for ergonomic comfort
- Certified to be more than 150% stronger than comparable tools by Intertek, an independent testing laboratory
- Weight: 5 pounds 8 oz.
- Blade material: Tempered Mid Carbon Steel
- Baked on enamel powder coating
- More dirt holding capacity than a standard shovel
The company warrants its product for the life of the tool. If there is a problem with the Root Slayer, all the company asks is that pictures be taken (to see what’s wrong), and the tool will be replaced. The tool in question does not need to be sent back to Radius company. In other words, the product will be replaced if it fails. And, if a customer is dissatisfied with a product that has not failed, then Radius company will refund or replace the shovel at the customers’ discretion.
Also, the teeth and cutting blade can be sharpened without voiding the warranty.
Where to Buy
The Root Slayer shovel is available directly from the manufacturer or through Amazon Prime. The retail price is $49.99 at either outlet.
The Root Slayer is an exceptional tool. The design improves several features of competing shovels (wide step, large grip, ripsaw teeth, and the “inverted V” cutting blade tip). A multi-purpose tool, it eliminates the need for other implements such as hatchets, pry-bars, saws, loppers, and clippers when digging in a root-riddled area. It’s no surprise that it won the 2017 Green Thumb Award for the Most Innovative Garden Tool.
This shovel lives up to the manufacturer’s claims. I highly recommend it.
Last update on 2023-03-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Enjoyed This Review?
If you liked this review, please sign up for our email updates with reviews, how-to articles and gardening videos!
Any thoughts on how this would perform against red clay?
I think it would perform pretty well. I guess the real question is how dense and hard the clay actually is. If it’s hardened like concrete, I doubt it would do very well. On the other hand if its softer and more moist clay, I believe it would work well.
Thank you for another thorough review. I thought at first that this would be great for the deep rooted trilogy of grasses that we are struggling to get out (we’ve found root clusters 4 inches down and rototiller made it worse) but this awesome shovel may do too good of a job and damage the plants we want to keep. Would love to hear what you think because a $50 investment is worth every penny if I can get control of this monster.
I think the Radius Root Slayer Shovel may just be the answer. It is awesome at cutting through roots, root balls, dividing larger plants, cutting turf and the like. Like any shovel it really depends how one uses it. Being careful around your other plantings while using the Root Slayer Shovel is the key. Perhaps not penetrating the soil completely with the Root Slayer will help while working around delicate plantings near by. Maybe just getting a start with the Root Slayer Shovel and finishing off with a hori-hori or a nice sharp trowel is the way to go. Whatever your decision on purchasing the Root Slayer, it is a great tool. It’s way more than a shovel, but like all tools it has its purpose(s). If you think that you’ll have other gardening/landscaping tasks where roots are a problem, then yes the Radius Roots Slayer Shovel is a good investment.
Awesome, I will share this with my husband. Thank you for taking the time to explain it all, really helped!
Love to review
I’m glad you liked the review.
Thank you for your support. We greatly appreciate it.
I think you should remove the claim that the sawteeth sharpen themselves in sand. No knowledgeable person can believe that, and the dummies who might believe it don’t care about sharp.
I can only report what the manufacture has stated in their video … that the saw teeth will get sharper when going through fine sand (not beach pebbles and small rocks). I can tell you that the Radius Tool Co. is very thorough in its testing. I sincerely doubt they would make a claim that wasn’t true unless they had first hand experience with it. Thank you for your comment. We appreciate your feedback.
Without a doubt, this shovel is well worth it. It’s a bit pricey, but it is probably the best shovel I have ever purchased–and is literally “the right tool for the right job.” I have just used it to divide about 50 perennials and ornamental grasses, and it made the job manageable.