I did a lot last summerGrabenwith my 6 and 2 year old boys. Our backyard is suffering from a bug outbreak and while this wreaks havoc on lawns and is difficult to fix, it's a boon to use.
Instead of trying to fix the problem, we took advantage of it by creating a huge dirt area for my boys to dig in and build tunnels and mountains of dirt as much as they want.
And they dig. They also involve me in the fun. To have all that fun I went out and bought us all newshovels; one full size for me and kid size shovels for her (but their real steel bladed shovels and all). When buying shovels, I found that there are many different types of shovels.
I researched further and got my custom graphics team to create an awesome graphic showing the shovel options below.
Table of contents Show
Shovel buying guide
You can use shovels for a variety of tasks around the home, from planting a new garden toDigging ditches for irrigationand plumbing to shovel snow off your sidewalks and driveways.
But what kind of shovel do you need for the job? Our shovel buying guide can help you understand the different types of shovels and choose the one that best suits your project.
Also, you can check theMain parts of a shovel here.
A. Diagram of blade types (overview)
B. Types of blades explained in detail
Now we come to the many types of shovels that you can find, how they differ, and what jobs they are typically best for.
Digging shovels have a slightly sharp blade that can cut through dirt and other materials. This type of shovel usually has a reinforced collar and non-slip handle to help you put power into the ground and remove heavy soil.
They can have a range of blade shapes, with the most common being square, pointed and round.
Square diggers have a blade with a flat end instead of being pointed. This shovel can come in handy when digging edges and ditches, or when making small movesshrubsand bushes.
The square edge of the excavator is perfect for digging in hard soil, making it ideal for people living in dry areas with compact soil.
Nose diggers have blades that taper to a point at the end. This type of blade can work well in loosely packed soils that may have dense root systems or rocks.
Pointed shovels have a more curved blade than square diggers, so you may be able to dig soil more efficiently with this digger.
Rounded diggers have curved blades with a domed end instead of being pointed. This shovel is ideal for transplanting shrubs or flowers in the garden as its curved end is less likely to penetrate through root systems and can prevent damage to the plants.
Round excavators work best in loose soil.
An edging shovel is specific to creating edging in the garden. The blade has a crescent shape that looks distinctly different than other shovels, making them easy to tell apart.
The blade of an edge shovel is also flat and thin, allowing you to maneuver it on sidewalks,fences, driveways, garden borders and anywhere else you need to create a perfect edge.
6. Mini or handheld
Mini shovels are small enough to hold in your hand, which is why they are sometimes referred to as hand shovels. They are ideal for small garden projects such as planting herbs and flowers or digging for small garden fences.
A mini shovel can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but most are no longer than a foot and have pointed blades that dig into the ground. Most minis also have handles for comfort when working and to prevent the tool from slipping in your hands.
7. Post hole
Post hole shovels, sometimes referred to as post hole diggers, are ideal for digging narrow holes that you need for signposts or fence posts. Some people also use them for planting tree seedlings.
The post hole shovel has two shovels combined into one, with two blades, handles and handles. You force the excavator into the ground, then pull the handles apart to close the blades, which then drag the debris with them.
This video shows how to use a post hole digger:
Shovels are something of a cross between a snow blower and a shovel. People tend to use these handy little machines for snow removal when a snow blower is not required. Shovels typically cost less than $100 and are lightweight and portable.
The body of this tool resembles a Weedwacker body, while the base consists of a motor and blades that spin to move snow. Some backhoes can dig into dirt, making them particularly useful for moving packed ground.
To get an idea of how this shovel works, you can watch this video:
9. Shovel or snow
People usually refer to a shovel as asnow shovel, because that's what they're often used for. Shovels have a curved blade that can be at least 30cm wide and are ideal for scooping up materials to place elsewhere rather than digging in the dirt.
Gardeners or landscapers can use shovels to move things like mulch, gravel, rocks, and soil to other spots in the garden. Wide blades are ideal for removing snow from sidewalks and driveways because the wide width allows you to clear more snow in less time.
10. Tree planting
Believe it or not, there's even a special shovel for plantingtrees. The blade of these shovels is longer and narrower than others, allowing you to dig deep into the ground with the blade.
The shank length of these shovels varies greatly depending on where you dig. Long shank tree shovels are ideal for planting large seedlings on flat surfaces, while a short shank can give you the right leverage for planting on hills and slopes with smaller seedlings.
A digging shovel has a unique shape that makes it easy to distinguish it from others. The blade is long and narrow, similar to a tree planting shovel but with a pointed end and a concave design that forms a triangle shape in the blade.
The blade usuallysits diagonally on the shaft, which you can sometimes adjust to the needs of your ditch. With this design, the blade is at an angle below the ground to scoop and move debris to create a ditch.
You can create ditches with this tool by digging it into the ground and moving it along the path you want as it scrapes through the ground.
C. More details
Finding the perfect shovel for your job is your first task. Below are some pointers that may help you further narrow down your options to find the best tool for the job.
We'll also talk about how to clean and care for your shovel so it will last for years and how to shovel properly to avoid strain and injury.
1. Spade vs Shovel
Although a spade and a shovel are two terms that many people use interchangeably, they are twodifferent tools. It's important to note their differences in appearance and use before setting out in your quest for the best tool.
A spade is what most people mistake for a flat shovel. It has a flat rather than pointed tip and a slightly concave design that helps it function as both a digger and a shovel. A spade's edge is sharp, which helps it cut hard materials like heavily packed earth or rocks.
Like shovels, spades often have a step so you can use some strength from your legs to break through the ground for heavy-duty work. They also come in a variety of sizes, materials, and blade shapes, some narrow and others wide, to handle various tasks like digging trenches.
A spade's main purpose is to dig and move excavated material, but you use a shovel primarily for shoveling and moving materials. However, as you can see from our descriptions above, many shovels have morphed into a shovel and spade combo, creating versatile tools that you can use on multipleLandscaping and gardening work.
2. Shovel Materials
Almost any type of airfoil can be made from a variety of materials, from plastic to hard metals. The shaft can also be made from plastic or aluminum to wood or metalglass fiber. Which material is the best for you?
Plastic and aluminum parts tend to make a shovel cheaper. But these materials are also subject to faster degradation over time from rust, weathering and use.
Steel blades are incredibly durable, and treated versions can resist rusting and other damage from moisture, but these blades drive up the price more than plastic or aluminum blades.
A wooden stock is one of the most common styles you will see as it is durable and has a pleasing appearance. However, a fiberglass shaft can also be a good option as it is and is lighter than woodmore weather resistant.
3. Intended Weight
The shovel you buy should have a suggested weight capacity listed, usually on the label. It is important to keep to this number as lifting more than the intended weight can damage the bucket or even cause injury.
Snow, for example, can weighabout 20 pounds. per cubic foot. If you have a cheap plastic shovel that the manufacturer only intended to hold about ten pounds at a time, you're not going to get much snow shoveling done.
On the other hand, a heavy-duty shovel with a steel blade and shank that can carry up to 100 pounds. can help you move more snow faster.
Intended weight also relates to the blade's ability to avoid injury. Shovels have special designs that can help you avoid straining your back, arms, legs and neck. The ones withoutergonomic designmay include a warning not to exceed a certain weight so you can protect yourself.
4. Prepare, clean and maintain your shovel
Your purchase should last as long as you need it, but you can help extend the life of your shovel by priming it before use, cleaning it afterwards, and maintaining it during and after the season.
Prepare your shovelhelps it slide easily through materials and is a technique most commonly used for snow shoveling. The primer prevents things like dirt and snow from sticking to the shovel, making it easier to clean up later. Use a coating agent like WD40 on steel blades before using them.
Every time you're done with the shovel, regardless of the task, clean it before storing it. They prevent materials from sticking to the blade and rusting over time.
Before storing the shovel in the off-season, you can do thisUse a wood oil on wooden shaftsand a file for sharpening dull blades.
5. Safety first: dig the right way
Proper handling of a shovel can mean the difference between straining your back or feeling good when you're done.
When digging or scooping, remember to bend your knees and use the strength of your legs as much as possible, rather than your arms and back. In fact, for this reason many shovels have steps that you can put your feet on and use them for more power!
When you are ready to lift earth or other materials with your shovel,Bend and raise kneesinstead of bending at the waist, which can put undue stress on your back muscles and spine.
Also, remember that when digging and moving heavy materials with your shovel, you should wear steel-toed safety boots to protect your feet. A pair of grip gloves can also come in handy when using a shovel without a handle.
D. Where to buy shovels online
We hope this guide has helped you learn about the numerous types of shovels on the market and how to use them to your advantage. If you are looking to buy one from an online retailer we recommend browsing the options on the following websites which have a wide range of shovels to choose from:
Round-point shovels are designed for digging, lifting, and moving materials like compacted soil, roots, and clay. The shovel head is deeper and has a sharper blade around the edge than the square-shaped shovel so that it can pierce the ground when pushed into the ground by the user.What are the three main types of shovels? ›
Choose your shovel type based on your task. Three most commonly used shovels are the pointed spade for digging, the rounded spade for planting and the square tip shovel for transferring loose material.What are the digging shovels? ›
"A round-pointed shovel pierces the ground more easily, and is best for general digging, especially in rocky or hard soils. A square-edged spade will sever roots that can slip past a round shovel blade, and so is good for transplanting trees.What are 5 uses of shovel? ›
- Building a backcountry booter.
- Leg splint.
- Signalling for help.
- Beating an annoying friend to death.
- Digging a hole to burry annoying friend.
- Improvised tent pole.
- Solar Still.
Pick or Pickaxe
These are heavy-duty tools designed to break up rocks, compacted gravel, and even concrete. Picks have short 36" handles and heavy steel heads (4 to 7 pounds). They usually have two ends, with one being a sharp pick point. The other end can be either a chisel shape or another pick point.
|PRODUCT NAME||WEIGHT (IN POUNDS)||BLADE MATERIAL|
|Lil' Digger 29" Heavy Duty Double Serrated Shovel||2||Heavy Steel|
|Seymour Super Shovel||5||Steel|
|Roamwild Multi-Digger Garden Spade||4.5||Steel|
|Radius Garden PRO Edger||3||Stainless Steel|
A shovel is used as a tool for lifting and digging soil. It also looks like a spade. The difference between a shovel and a spade is in the sharp edge of the shovel. The curvature of the metal plate of the spade is usually greater than the shovel so that we can easily lift and hold the soil.What is the best shovel for digging out of sand? ›
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Sand Shovel – Best Overall
It comes with a trowel that you can use to scoop sand up and shake it out so that only solids like rocks are remaining. You can use the shovel to dig around in sand or dirt and scoop it into the trowel. Toys like these encourage your child to be curious and creative.
A spade shovel is a mid-sized shovel that's versatile enough for many backyard jobs. They typically have long, narrow blades, are about four feet long, and are great for gardening, in particular, because they're designed specifically to dig holes to plant established saplings and bushes.What is the most versatile and widely used shovel? ›
Round Point Shovel
Round point shovels are by far the most versatile and widely used shovels. They are used to dig, scoop, , cut through roots or shovel dirt from one point to another.
A spade is rectangular, flat, typically has a shorter handle, and is used for edging and cutting, as well as smaller digging/transplanting jobs. Both can be used for either purpose but are best suited for the purpose for which they were designed.What is a sharp shovel called? ›
Whether it's called a SharpShooter Shovel, a Tile Spade, Drainage Shovel, or Transplanting Spade, this tool is ideal for digging a narrow trench, or transplanting deep-rooted shrubs and perennials.What shovel is used for gardening? ›
A shovel is an essential agricultural and gardening hand tool. It is a multi-purpose tool, serving various jobs at once. Shovel tool helps with digging and transplanting soil, making shallow trenches, and in removing dirt or debris.What is a trench shovel called? ›
....also called a Sharp Shooter shovel, or aTile spade. The drainage spade is made for digging shallow rough trenches up to about 12 inches deep and 5 inches wide. The narrow round point is great for penetrating sod, hard soil, and dirt with rocks.
Shovel is a tool used to dig as well as to move loose, granular materials (like dirt, gravel, grain, or snow) from one spot to another. Spade is a tool used for digging straight-edged holes or trenches, slicing and lifting sod, and edging flower beds or lawns.What is a triangle shovel called? ›
This blade has a sharp pointed end along with a concave design resulting in almost a triangle-shaped blade. The angled design of a trench shovel allows it to quickly move a lot of soil for quickly, making trenches wherever you need.
Shovel. A must-have soil-care tool with a rounded edge.How do you make ground easier to dig? ›
Even if you don't have clay holes, you can wet the surface to encourage thick chunks of earth to soften off. The idea is to wait until it starts to dry out, allowing for loose (but not wet) earth to be moveable.What tool do you use to dig and level dirt? ›
A basic shovel is one of the best gardening tools to have. Shovels are great for digging most materials in your yard or garden. They're also good for breaking up and turning over soil and compost. Shovels have a bowl-shaped blade with a rounded edge.
A garden spade is usually shorter than a shovel with a straighter, flatter, sharper blade. They're good for dividing perennials, planting and working soil.What is the most efficient shoveling? ›
Start with a straight line down the middle. Rather than just clearing the driveway to one side or walkingfrom side to side going back-and-forth as many do, it's much more efficient to shovel a line straight down the middle bisecting it in two.What shovel is best for concrete? ›
Pro tip: A square shovel, as opposed to a rounded gardening shovel, is the best tool for this job. But in a pinch, any shovel will do.How do you make shovel digging easier? ›
A key strategy is digging on 1/2 of the length of the hole down about 18′ deep, then to turn around and use the leverage to more easily dig down the other 1/2 of the hole. Likewise, the 2nd half of the hole should be dug about 18″ deeper than the first 1/2 of the hole.What is the best shovel for planting perennials? ›
Square digging shovels are useful for edging, transplanting shrubs and perennials, and trenching. Tools with a pointed tip are great for breaking up hard-packed soil, while round tips are ideal for softer soil and transplanting.What is a long skinny shovel used for? ›
These long and narrow-bladed, pointed tip shovels are usually no wider than 4-6 inches. They are designed to make narrow trenches and are often used when laying irrigation pipes. Some versions have box sides to help remove the material that is being excavated without disrupting the trench.
Uses for Long-Handled Shovels
If you are wondering specifically when to use long-handled shovels, they are better for tree planting and other hole digging. Long-shovel handles can reach deep into a hole. You'll also get better leverage, which is easier on your back.
The standard handle-length on shovels is 48”. If you're tall, try to get one with a 54” handle. The longer tool will provide more leverage and reduce back strain. Shovels vary widely in lift, the angle formed between the handle and the ground when the head is placed flat on the ground.What is a smart shovel? ›
SMART DESIGN - Eco-friendly shovel has a built-in soil grater designed for aerating and reusing the microbe-rich soil that's dug up from the earth. Instead of disposing of the soil after digging, simply grate and use as topsoil for your next landscaping project!What is the best shovel for leveling ground? ›
A square-point digging shovel is an excellent tool for scooping soil and mulch, shaping flower beds, and leveling off areas.
Extra-long handled shovel, or "spoon," used for digging power pole holes, ca. 1910s-1940s.What is a Russian shovel called? ›
The Special Forces Shovel is modeled after the original Soviet Spetznaz shovel. The Spetznaz soldiers made up the most elite unit in the Soviet Army. The U.S. equivalent would be our Green Berets.What is a military shovel called? ›
An entrenching tool (U.K.), intrenching tool (U.S.), E-tool, or trenching tool is a digging tool used by military forces for a variety of military purposes. Survivalists, campers, hikers and other outdoors groups have found it to be indispensable in field use.What is a micro shovel? ›
Micro length handle
Small yet mighty, Roughneck micro shovels offer the strength of much larger shovels with the convenience of a shorter length shaft. Ideal for shovelling material from bulk bags or working in confined spaces.
: a power-operated excavating machine consisting of a boom or crane that supports a lever arm with a large bucket at the end of it.What is a bullnose shovel? ›
Description. A solid forged heavy duty shovel with pointed blade for easier penetration into the ground.What is a grafter shovel? ›
Grafting tools have a slightly dished bade which is heavy and made for digging heavy clay soils and for ground breaking work. Often used by landscapers for all types of heavy work, it is also often referred to as a grafting spade.What is the difference between a flat and pointy shovel? ›
Sharply pointed blades are more effective at cutting into hard ground or through tough materials like roots, while flat blades are best for edging and lifting loose material.Which shovel is best to break through soil? ›
- Best Overall. Hooyman Digging Shovel.
- Best Value. Fiskars Long-Handled Steel Digging Shovel.
- Best For Small Jobs. Black & Decker Mini D Handle Shovel.
- Corona All-Steel Round Point Shovel.
- Bully Tools 14-Gauge Round Point Shovel.
|PRODUCT NAME||WEIGHT (IN POUNDS)||BLADE MATERIAL|
|Radius Garden PRO Weeder||4||Stainless Steel|
|Lil' Digger 29" Heavy Duty Double Serrated Shovel||2||Heavy Steel|
|Seymour Super Shovel||5||Steel|
|Roamwild Multi-Digger Garden Spade||4.5||Steel|
Just per the name, a trench shovel is used for making trenches in any given area. To make sure that your trenches are deep and straight at all times, a trench shovel uses a long and narrow blade. This blade has a sharp pointed end along with a concave design resulting in almost a triangle-shaped blade.
This tool is durable and dependable to be utilized for general lawn and garden work. Built with Ames heritage this quality garden tool has a tempered steel blade suitable for digging, planting, cutting sod, and small roots. North American hardwood handle for strength and durability.What type of shovel is best for sand? ›
Aluminum - Aluminum blade shovels offer a significant weight savings over steel shovels, and are ideal for softer terrain conditions like sand, mud, or snow.Does wetting dirt make it easier to shovel? ›
The short answer: typically not. Wetting the soil makes it more complicated to dig up. While it is easier to compact this way, wet soil is far heavier than its dry counterpart. But different types of soil can behave differently, and we will dig into how you can use the moisture of soil to your advantage.How long should a digging shovel be? ›
In general, when the blade is placed on the ground, the total length (blade plus shaft and handle) should be approximately to elbow height (when arms are at your side).What is the best tool for removing shrub roots? ›
After the tree or bush has fallen, use a chainsaw to cut the trunk into smaller pieces that can be easily disposed of. "Then, using a shovel or pickaxe, dig around the stump to expose the roots," says Joyce. Cut the roots with a pruning saw and remove them from the ground.What is the best tool for overgrown bush? ›
Chainsaws. When it comes to heavy cutting chainsaws are the best tool for the job. These are most effective for gardens which have gotten very out of control. Perfect for cutting out large trees and overgrown shrubs they can speed up your progress dramatically.