Walts DIY is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.
The shovel is one of the most versatile and essential tools in a gardener’s arsenal. It can be used for digging holes, moving soil, planting seeds, weeding out unwanted plants, and even scooping up leaves. Different types of shovels have been designed to suit specific purposes such as gardening or construction work.
As much as it may sound strange, there are different types of shovels, and while you can use a standard digging shovel for a whole host of jobs, why struggle when there is another model designed to do that job better? A shovel or spade is an essential digging tool for sand and soil and clear areas of snow or debris, among other functions. Therefore, it is a must-have item, especially if you live in your homestead, with a yard to maintain.
Different tool variations have their intended purposes, and the same applies to shovels. In this article, you will learn about nine types of shovels and what they’re designed for!
Here’s a quick rundown of what we’ll cover in this types of shovels article:
- First, we’ll share the features of benefits of each variation
- Next, we’ll take a look at what their specific use is
- Then, we’ve provided pictures of each type of shovel so you can easily identify it
- And finally, we tell you our top garden shovel picks and compare them side-by-side in a comparison table
Sounds good? Let’s begin!
Further reading: Best Shovel for the Money – Top 10 Reviews
What are the main parts of a shovel?
Handle or grip:
This is the part you hold and push with. The grip should be ergonomically designed to reduce fatigue, especially when digging or weeding for long periods. The handle of a shovel is the top part, which you hold onto. It can be made from wood, plastic, or metal. But if it has no handle at all, you can still use it by holding on to the shaft.
If the shovel shaft is made of fiberglass, it will have a grip handle. You won’t get splinters if you use this method. Short spades and digging shovels usually feature a D-grip handle for added control.
The long part of a shovel is called the shaft. It’s used as leverage when you use your shovel. The shaft is usually made from wood, fiberglass, or metal. There are several types of shovels, and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. You may wish to pick one that is suited to your working conditions or your budget.
Metals are strong and long-lasting, but most consumers choose wooden shafts since they are simpler to use. The shovel’s shaft may vary in length, and the height should be appropriate for your height. It will not be pleasant to use if it is too tall or short.
The blade and shaft come together at the collar. It’s critical that it maintains its grip and doesn’t break while you’re doing a lot of labor. You typically fasten the shovel’s collar with a rivet or screw. You can also remove and replace one of them if you need to. Typically, the blade outlasts the shaft and handle. So, if you break one of those components, you can easily replace them.
A step or kick plate is the part of a shovel that you can put your foot on to add pressure. Not all shovels have them, but they should be at the top edge of the blade if they do. They’re perhaps the most important of all. They assist diggers in using their weight rather than just their arm and back muscles to help them dig into the ground.
The blade is the part of a shovel that you see when it’s in use. It is used for digging and lifting. The blade is located at the bottom, and it can be made from metal or fiberglass. There’s a range of blades, just like there are many shovels. The shape depends on the purpose for which you want to use your shovel.
If you’re digging into hard-packed earth, then choose a pointed spade. On the other hand, an angled spade is perfect for digging into soft soil.
The tip of a shovel is the part that is furthest from the handle. The shape depends on what you want to do with the shovel. A flat blade is ideal for scooping up or moving things. However, a pointy end may be preferable if you wish to cut or dig.
Here are some of the common types of shovels:
This is what we mostly imagine when figuring out what a shovel looks like. It is pretty standard since too many shovels are only used for digging surfaces. This variation is round at the tip, which is also quite sharp to cut through different soil types.
They don’t come with many features, but the more expensive models are made from more rigid materials and have a more durable design with a fiberglass handle and steel blade. This is important if the shovel is often used or is an essential garden tool for your professional work. If you have a garden to maintain, fence posts to install, or a small building project, this ergonomic shovel will help you dig those holes, whether it’s loose soil or gravel.
This shovel is similar to the standard ones, just that it has an increasingly pointed tip at the end of the shovel blade. It is carefully crafted to achieve its purpose, which is handling more delicate projects than the others.
The pointed tip of this shovel makes it convenient as a trenching shovel in loosely-packed soil. However, do not only limit yourself to such ground since this shovel will also work for any with deep-rooted layers and rocks. The tip gives users an easy time scooping out soil compared to other tools in the same category, and the long handle provides sufficient leverage to clear debris.
The round shovel is similar to the pointed shovel. However, the edge of the blade lies somewhere between sharp and flat. It also slightly resembles the square shovel, which we will look at in our discussion.
This gardening shovel is used to pick up shrubs and bushes. You also get to carry them to a different place thanks to the broad tip that allows you to take more materials. However, we highly advise you to use this shovel on the loose ground and not the hard and dry ones. Also, the rounded edge adds to its functionality since it cuts through the soil easily. Perfect for use as a tree planting shovel, garden spade, and digging holes in the right soil type.
The square point shovel, or flat shovel, is pretty popular and is the most common type. This hand tool has a flat tip which makes it different from the other types of shovels available. It is also designed to accommodate a relatively more arduous task that the regular shovel cannot complete.
Before getting this shovel, keep in mind that you will primarily use it on hard soil. It best serves people living in drier areas and, therefore, needs shoveling super hard soils. Other uses include trenching and edging, making it an ideal companion to construction workers or a metal detecting shovel. You can also lift small bushes with a flat edge easily without damaging their roots. Often found with a short wooden handle, this is a versatile and affordable shovel, so it’s the most commonly purchased one.
This type is different from all the standard shovels. It is not expected since most households do not need it. This is mainly meant for professionals working on various projects, such as landscaping and sidewalk construction. The blade resembles the half-moon with a hollow top.
You will mostly find people using an edging shovel when edging the lawn or grass in the garden. If you do not understand what edging is, clean up the extra lawn growth found mainly in the sidewalk or driveway. It is explicitly made for edging thanks to its thin blade, which is also flat, to make its way through the crevices and sidewalks.
This is another unusual shovel. The trenching shovel has a lot of different features that are well suited for its function. This type of shovel is longer than your ordinary one and has a narrow, long blade with a noticeably pointed end.
This shovel is also quite triangular, thanks to the concave design of the blade. You can also change the blade position, which is adjusted to the handle at a given angle. This will depend on the type of job that you are working on.
You can use the narrow blade for slicing up the soil or trenching by scooping out the mud and dirt. Even though other shovels can serve the same purpose, this particular one has a better design to be used as a trencher!
The power shovel is a superior improvement to the standard types. You do not have to exert yourself or sweat while using this ergonomic snow shovel. It is a mechanical shovel that uses electricity or an external source of power.
This shovel borrows a little from snow blowers in its design and functionality. It is not as heavy as you might imagine, and it is mainly used to clear snow from the sidewalk or driveway. Keep in mind that it has blades and motors at the bottom for its intended purpose. Its usage is not, however, limited to snow only. You can still use it to dig through the soil without applying too much force.
This is one of the most lightweight, portable, and convenient shovels that you can buy. It is a mini shovel that is neither heavy nor large and is designed to be used in one hand. The blade is usually pointed to dig through the soil or compost and use a soil scoop to plant flowers and other plants into pots or borders.
Do not be worried about its usage as it comes with a comfortable and well-sized short handle that is easy to grip for as long as you do your activities. You will mostly use it in your garden since it does not support any heavy usage, so if you have new plants to pot in your garden, this is what you need. It will serve you well.
Thankfully not everyone needs these, and those that do store them away for most of the year. However, heavy snowfall can be impossible to shift and can prevent access out of your road. They look similar to a standard shovel, except the scoop shovel is very wide and angled to slice into the snow and throw it out of the way. You can also use it to scoop and act as a snow pusher to clear a path or driveway quickly. This is what you need for snow removal during those harsh winter mornings.
There are a few things to consider before purchasing a shovel. Consider what you will be using the shovel for and how much money you have on hand before making your purchase. Buying the correct tool might save time and money while also making your life simpler.
Where will you be using the shovel? It is important to think about this as it determines what type of shovel that you should buy. The better quality ones are usually heavier, but they are more durable and last longer. If you are going to be using your shovel a lot, ensure that it is the right one for the job.
If you only use this once or twice per year, spending more money on an expensive tool might not make sense. Do some research before buying your first shovel and consider what type of garden equipment would suit your needs best.
If you like gardening and want to have the right tools, buy a shovel designed for what you need. For example, if you need to dig a trench, buy a trenching shovel. Or, if you need to make post holes in the ground, buy a post hole shovel.
If you’re not an experienced gardener and don’t plan on spending much time in your garden, a single excellent digging shovel is sufficient because it makes the most common types of digging tasks easier. It is more versatile and can be used as a trencher or power shovel, depending on your needs.
Type of soil or surface
The type of soil or surface will affect the shovel you should buy. For example, if it is rocky and hard to dig through, then a spade would be better than a shovel because this requires more force when digging into these surfaces. Additionally, it also depends on what kind of task you are trying to complete with your shovel, e.g., if you need to move a lot of dirt, then get a shovel with a larger scoop that can hold more material at once
The design of the shovel blade is determined by the type of dirt you’re dealing with. Before purchasing one, you’ll need to determine what sort of soil you’ll be working with. A flat-edged shovel is ideal for scooping and edging loose earth. Round blades are perfect for softer or newer soils, while pointed blades are great for hard and rocky surfaces.
Shovels are important tools that help make your life easier by making tasks such as digging and moving materials around much simpler. It is also an essential garden tool for those who love spending time in their gardens. Keep all this in mind before you make your purchase, and always ask yourself what type of job you will be doing with the shovel to ensure that you are buying the correct one for the task at hand.
Getting the right height shovel is just as important as getting the right blade design. You’re likely to be using it for a long period, and you’ll need to be comfortable while using it. Your shovel’s height should be about four inches less than when it is stood up straight to protect you from the risk of pain.
The weight of a shovel plays a big role in the ease or difficulty you’ll have when using it. A lightweight shovel makes digging simpler, whereas heavy ones are better for breaking up hard surfaces. If you have a lot of digging to do in your garden, then ensure that you get one heavy enough to slice through the soil without you exerting a lot of force. Otherwise, it will become a burden.
The material that your shovel is made of determines how durable it will be, which in turn affects the price you’ll pay for it. If you are working with hard surfaces, then get a shovel that has been made from strong steel to ensure that it lasts long and doesn’t break down while doing its job.
If you want to avoid worrying about your shovel breaking, get one that’s made from a single solid piece of metal. The collar point is typically where most breakages happen, and by making the whole thing out of this material, there won’t be any stress on it at all!
You may want to consider an aluminum shovel for lighter work, such as scooping and moving soil. Aluminum weighs less but is relatively sturdy.
Tending to be lightweight yet sturdy, titanium is an excellent material for premium shovels. Does it have the benefit of being Not only corrosion-resistant and rustless but also very strong! Titanium shovels are excellent tools that will last the test of time. They come at a price, but if you want something reliable and durable, this type is perfect for your needs!
Best Garden Shovels for 2022
CLICK on any image to see Ratings & Reviews on Amazon
|Top||Radius Garden 22011 Root Slayer Shovel||Click Here||4.8 / 5 (Best Overall)|
|Round Point Shovel||Click Here||4.7 / 5 (Best Value)|
|Fiskars 397900-1001 PRO Shovel||Click Here||4.5 / 5|
|AMES 2535600 Tempered Steel Digging Shovel||Click Here||4.5 / 5|
|Stanley Garden BDS7673 Round Point Shovel||Click Here||4.6 / 5|
|Root Assassin One Shot Garden Shovel||Click Here||4.4 / 5|
|Martha Stewart MTS-MDS1 Digging Shovel||Click Here||4.0 / 5|
Shovels are mainly used for digging. While most people know only one type, there are several, and it might be worth investing in one specifically designed to do what you need. The good news is they are not a lot of money, but storage can be an issue!
To sum up, the shovel is an important tool that you should have in your home. It can make many daily tasks easier to accomplish and save wasted effort at the same time! There are many different types available on the market depending on what task you want it for or how much dirt you need to move around. When buying one, you consider the type of soil you will be working with and how much force you will need to apply.
The correct shovel can help make your life easier, so investing in one that does what you need is worth it! Before buying a new tool, make sure that they are used for their intended purpose. For example, if someone says buy a shovel for digging, but you are using it to scrap dirt in your backyard, this is not the right tool. Be sure to get an appropriate shovel when making a purchase!
Here are some other articles you may like:
- How to Select the Best Drill Bit For Your Project - November 29, 2021
- The Benefits of Leaf Blowers for Yard and Garden Maintenance - November 15, 2021
- The Best Paint Stripper for Concrete | Reviews and Buying Guide - November 12, 2021