I have used this shovel for several projects around the house over the last several years, and it has worked quite well. The steel blade is quite strong, although it is not overly sharp. I have tried using it to dig up dirt with a high clay content that had been baked pretty hard in the sun. The blade was not sharp enough to cut through it quickly, but it was strong enough to last through it. I have used other shovels with weaker blades that ended up bending or chipping under the same conditions. The handle seems strong as well, although not quite as good as the blade. On the hard digging, the handle has held up well (along with absorbing some of the impact so that it is not so hard on the hands). But when I have tried to pry with this shovel, such as prying a piece of concrete out of a hole, I have felt the handle starting to give way a little bit. It didn't actually break, but that was about the limit of what it could do.