Shovels get stuck turning thick compost piles. A garden fork, known also as a compost or spading fork, moves more freely through the debris, and is my favorite means of turning compost, a task that, with this tool, I enjoy. I’ve seen devices such as the Compost Crank, designed solely for aerating a pile of decomposing organic matter, but they’re apparently not up for much else.
I value my garden fork because it’s also the best tool I have for aerating soil without tilling it. It’s good for lifting and moving stuff around the garden, some digging and uprooting, too. I bought mine from Seeds of Change a few years ago, recommended by a friend who’s had one for many years. It has a hearty ash handle and a head of four pointy sharp carbon steel tines. There surely are other worthy versions of this essential garden tool. I’m more than happy with this one.