9 Different Types of Shovels & Their Uses (With Pictures)

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As much 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 used to either dig into 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, which has a yard to maintain.

Different tool variations have their intended purposes, and the same applies to shovels. In this article, we will look at some of the common types of shovels and their uses to give you an easy time while shopping for one.

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

Sound good?  Let’s begin!

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Further reading: Best Shovel for the Money – Top 10 Reviews

Here are some of the common types of shovels:

Digging 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.

Pointed shovel 

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 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.

Round shovel 

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 would highly advise you to use this shovel in 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.

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Square shovel 

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 very versatile and affordable shovel, so it’s the most commonly purchased one.

Edging shovel 

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, cleaning 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.

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Trench shovel 

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!

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Power shovel 

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.

Garden trowel 

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.

Snow Shovel

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.

Best Garden Shovels for 2021

CLICK on any image to see Ratings & Reviews on Amazon

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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!

Here are some other articles you may like:

9 Different Types of Pliers – Which One is Right For You?

13 Different Types of Drills – Which One is Right For You?

9 Different Types of Axes – Which One Is Right For You?


Walter Snyder