For years I used cheap, stainless steel digging tools. Matter of fact I had 4 of them! Why so many you might ask? They would get dull quick and constantly needed sharpened. I found myself with several good spots with a lot of gravel mixed in and I would dull all four of those hand diggers within a few hours to the point it was almost impossible to dig. I was happy (or so I thought) and I just could never see myself spending the 50 dollars for a hand digger!
Several years back I got a Predator tools Model 85 for Christmas. Believe it or not it sat on the shelf for the first few months and I didn’t even use it! I was so accustomed to my 4 diggers I didn’t think I had a need for the new one. I was heading out one day to one of my gravelly, hard digging spots and decided to take it and give it a try. The first thing I noticed is WOW this thing cuts through the grass like its butter and the gravel is not a problem!
That day I metal detected in that gravel mess longer than I have ever before. My hand wasn’t getting wore out and the model 85 handled it with ease! I was hooked and there was no looking back. I have had a model 85 ever since and it has been my go to hand digger since that day. I actually gave my four other diggers away within a weeks’ time.
One of the great things of the model 85 is it never needs sharpened and will still handle the toughest of ground. After years of use they will actually wear down but still keep an edge, I have seen older 85’s that are more than a half of an inch smaller than a brand new one from the continuous years of use and they still cut a plug like a new one!
I had a guy contact me about 5 years back who had surgery on his wrist and was worried about using his digging tool. He asked me what I recommended and of course I told him to get the model 85. He thanked me several times over the past five years for turning him on to Predator tools. He told me felt confident he wouldn’t have been able to dig that season if it wasn’t for Predator tools and still uses it to this day!
Before I started this article I contemplated giving Predator tools a call and tell them I was going to do this article and see if they had any input. I finally decided to call and I’m glad I did. First thing, I was very impressed at how nice George was. He took the time to talk to me and that’s rare these days that the owner will take the time out of their busy schedule to talk.
One of the things I noticed right away was the excitement in his voice as he talked about his products. You will only find that with people who are proud of what they make and put out there. My question was this “Is there anything you want people to know about Predator tools” and his answer was perfect.
George said “Yes Mike, I want people to know these are not mass produced and they are heat treated one at a time to ensure each one is perfect, I will throw a tool away before I send a bad one out the door.” He said that sentence with so much passion it made me proud to own a few of his tools!
In the last few years there has been an increase in companies, even metal detector manufactures, trying to duplicate the design of the model 85 and I’ve yet to hear of one capable of holding up anywhere near that of the Predator tools model 85. A matter of fact I’ve heard stories of many of them bending and even breaking. Made of 4130, heat treated Chrome-molly I thought this would be the last hand digger I would ever need or want but I recently heard from a friend that the Predator tools model 31(C) is an incredible digger as well and George confirmed that it is his number 1 selling hand digger he builds right now! I guess I will be getting one soon and reviewing it as well.
If you’ve ever used any of Predator tools hand diggers or shovels I am not telling you anything new but if you’ve never tried one, do yourself a favor and step up to the best hand diggers and shovels on the market. Sometimes spending the extra money really is worth it!
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