Types of Shovels: Your Complete Guide to What Works Best Where
I bought a round point digging shovel because it 1) looked like a shovel, and 2) I knew nothing about shovels. So for those of you have have moved mulch before you are already aware this was not the best choice. I may still be permanently damaged from how long it took.
But the point is that there are MANY different types of shovels out there for various jobs, and if I had had access to this fabulous article I probably would have saved myself a lot of pain (literally). If you’ve ever wondered about shovel differences and which is best for your job, look no further – we’ve got you covered!
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But there are quite a few choices out there to choose from, and what you need to consider is what your needs, and capabilities, are before you commit to a purchase. Chances are you could use more than just one type if you like to putter around in your yard and garden.
I do mean shallow however. The narrow blade has very little in the way of a place to put your foot to drive it deeper into the ground, and the majority of force will come from your arms and torso. These are most often used by landscaping professionals and gardeners.
It is a great choice for softer soils and scooping and spreading it, along with things like mulch. Plus, it’s an excellent choice for filling wheelbarrows and scooping materials out of them. Which I wish I’d known 15 years ago.
They also work well to separate perennials, and cut through shallow roots from shrubs or small trees. They can get into tight spaces without damaging the larger surrounding root systems that may exist.
This is a flat shovel, and is used mostly for edging, transplanting woody perennials and small shrubs due to how easy it is to cut through roots, and trenching.
These shovels are broad with a wide flair and may have a squared, or rounded tip for scooping and moving large amounts of material. These are perfect solutions for moving pea gravel, mulch (another one I could have used!), coal, grain, or loose soils. Metal versions last longer than aluminum, but may weigh more so consider what materials you need to be moving before purchase.
Snow is often moved by scoop shovels although many snow shovels also include a metal edge along a flat tip to help provide longevity and also chip at ice.
These little shovels usually have about a six to eight inch long pointed or rounded blade, and is about 4 inches wide. It is used specifically for digging in the garden to help with weeds, dig up plants for transplant, or create holes for planting. It is also a good size for medium to large pots when having to move plants from one to another.
Trench shovels are also often called post hole shovels due to their long, narrow blades that fit well into these types of holes to help clean them out. Although not as precise in digging the holes themselves, they can be helpful in the process.
Another use for the term power shovel is a jackhammer body that includes a shovel foot attachment. These are used when hard packed soils are difficult to dig into when turning over soil for gardening and yard work, or where getting larger equipment in for the job is an impossibility.
The term is also used to describe a large, bucket equipped machine used for digging large areas, or excavating. Other names used include stripping shovel, front shovel, or electric mining shovel. These are large, powerful pieces of equipment that are not typically used in residential areas, so for our definition of usefulness, stick with our first and second definition!
The shaft comes in varying sizes to meet the demands of the job. Short shafts are good for sloped hillsides, where longer shafts are better for flat ground and bigger saplings to get more force while driving it downwards. They also may come with a D-handle to help with grip and the shock of the work you are undertaking.
There are also a few differences between spades and what you use them for. Wider blades are used for driving into the ground, digging, and edging large areas, whereas narrow blades can be used to pry tile, help define trenches, edge, or even work well to help with larger plant transplant.
Spades typically have a very durable blade and the design is specific to a bit more heavier duty type jobs, such as chipping at and working around rocks, cutting through packed, wet clay, and cutting roots.
Bet you weren’t aware there were so many choices to pick from did you? Or perhaps you did but knowing what was used for what job may have evaded you (I know it did me!). Having more than one type on hand for use around your yard and garden is never a bad idea, just make sure your choices fit the job so you don’t end up working harder than you need to.
What uses have you put your shovel to, and which designs are your favorites to use around your place? Comment and question below, and as always, please share!