Different Types of Shovels and Their Uses [EXPLAINED]

I won’t get into how important shovels are as you already know that.

But what you don’t know is the uses of different types of shovels.

I won’t blame you since there is a wide range of shovels, and it’s not possible to remember all of them and their uses. However, since all the types are important, in this article we are going to tell you about them.

But before that, we are going to discuss different parts of the shovel as it will help you to understand the various shovels types.

Breakdown of Each Part of a Shovel

We all have a basic idea of what a shovel looks like; the main parts of the shovel are the grip, blade, tip, handle, collar, and the step.

All shovels have these parts; however, what makes each different from the other is the difference in how all these are shaped, sized, and made.

Let’s start from the grip and move down.

The Grip

This part of the shovel exists so that you can hold on to the tool. These are most typically shaped like a D and are made in a way so that your hand has enough space to slide in and comfortably hold the shovel.

All shovels have this particular part in the structure because it is essential to have a firm grip on it so that it does not slip out of your grasp.

The Handle

These are made of either wood or fiberglass and are used specifically as a form of leverage when you are at work. You can find them in different types of length, which depends on the type of work you are doing.

The Collar

This is at the very center of the shovel and is the area where the handle connects with the blade. You can detach the handle from the blade at this point of the shovel.

A feature as such is required as the handles don’t tend to last as long as the blade, so you will have to replace the handle from time to time.

The Step

Now, this part of the shovel was named “the step” because this is where you would step to make sure it can penetrate the ground better. It is the flat portion at the top of the blade.

The Blade

And now, we have reached the bottom and the most important part of the shovel, which is the blade. They are usually made of aluminum and steel. This is the part that is used to dig in and lift material such as sand or soil.

The Tip

Last but not least, we have the tip of the shovel, which can be of various shapes, flat, or rounded. The tip usually determines the type of work which can be done using that particular shovel.

Top 11 Types of Shovels

There are shovels of different verity which you will employ for various reasons while you are at work. Now, it is time to get a little in-depth about each one of the shovels, so you know which one to use for what task.

1. Digging Shovel

Digging Shovel

When we picture the image of a shovel in our head, we see the sight of a digging shovel. Well, that is the case for most people, as shovels are mostly associated with digging holes in the ground.

They tend to be round at the tip, to the point of being sharp, so that it can easily cut through the ground. You will also see that these shovels usually allow you to detach the blade from the handle.

All in all, they are constructed in a way so you can easily dig material and remove the load. The main use of this shovel is to dig, which is very apparent from the name itself.

2. Pointed Shovel

Pointed Shovel

The main feature of this shovel that steps it apart from the rest of the lot is the pointed tip it has at the very end of the blade. The design has been thought of very carefully for a very specific reason, and so that it can do the job that is more difficult to do with other ones.

This pointed tip of the shovel is best for loosely-packed soil. To be more specific, this would be great for the kind of soil, which has many deeply-rooted layers and rocks. The sharp tip can easily go through the layers and pick up the soil with a lot of ease.

Because of the tip, you will have a much easier time scooping out the soil as well in comparison to other digging tools. The use of the digger is very specific for a particular kind of ground, but none the less, it does a great job.

3. Square Shovel

Square Shovel

Here you will see that this shovel has a flat tip, different from most of the other kinds of shovels or diggers out there. And the design has been made to accommodate a few tasks, which is comparatively harder to complete if we were to use a regular kind of shovel.

Because this digger is made with a flat bottom, you will find this to be a bad choice for digging into most types of soil other than the hard one.

So, it happens to be a popular choice for people who live in dryer parts of the world and are less common in moist and humid parts and regions.

You will be able to get a few other uses out of this shovel. This is a good tool to use for trenching as well as edging. Also, you will be able to lift up small bushes with a flat edge without causing any damage. Then, you can move the bushes and place them someplace else.

4. A Round Shovel

Round Shovel

Now, this shovel is particular somewhere in the middle of a pointed and a square shovel. And you can identify these shovels easily because the edge of the blade is neither completely pointed nor flat.

So, you could assume that it has a combination of uses, much like the two other types of diggers.

You will have a very easy time using it to pick up shrubs and bushes and place them somewhere else; this is because the tip has more area to carry the content. But, they are better on loose soil rather than hard and dry ones. The rounded edge can cut the soil without much problem.

As digging shovel, you have few options; you need to identify the kind of soil you are working with to figure out which one would be of the most useful for you.

5. An Edging Shovel

Edging Shovel

When you see this shovel, you will know right away that it is not like the others, and are not very commonly seen around the household. These are mostly used by professionals on the job who work on different types of projects. The shape of the blade is like a half-moon, and around half of the blade at the top is hollow.

This digger is used mainly for edging the lawn or grass. By edge, I mean cleaning up the extra bit of lawn growth, there is usually around the driveway and the sidewalk. Cleaning it up is very important, or your lawn starts looking messy and out of shape. Which overall brings about a bad impression.

Edging can easily be done using this shovel is particular because of how thin the blade is. Not only is it thin, but it is also flat, so you easily just slip it in the cracks alongside the fences, driveway, and sidewalk. And that is just what you need to make a good edging.

6. A Trench Shovel

Trench Shovel

This shovel looks unlike most other shovels you will see; its features are very different and significant for doing very specific tasks. They are very long, much longer than any other kind of shovel.

The blade of the difference is narrow and long, which is pointed at the end. Also, a triangular shape is formed due to the concave design of the blade.

The blade of the trench shovel is adjusted to the handle at a particular angle; you can change it up according to the need of the job.

So, you can easily slice up the soil with the narrow blade. Also, you can form a trench by scooping out the soil and the dirt.

You can use other shovels to do the same work; however, the output you will see with this one will not be the same as the rest. The shape and the size of the trenches will also be just right if this one is used.

7. A Handheld Shovel

Handheld Shovel

Normally shovels tend to be pretty big in size and are most often on the heavier side as well. But that is not the case for mini shovels, which are also called handheld shovels as they are much smaller in size and, therefore, can be held in our hands very easily.

The most common size for these is no more than a foot long, and the blade on this is pointed enough so that it can easily dig up the soil.

Also, the handle of these shovels is comfortable and well-sized, so you won't be facing much trouble trying to keep it in your grip for a long time while at work.

Now, as for the usefulness of these diggers, you will mostly need them while you are working on your garden. Nothing large scale, that’s for sure.

The size of the mini shovels is just what you need to dig up small holes in the ground to plant different plants in your garden.

8. A Power Shovel

Power Shovel

On the one hand, these are most of the shovels which are completely manual and the person operating it has to put in the most amount of work and energy. Then on the other side, there is a power shovel that is automated.

It does not mean you have no work at all after you buy this, but it is easier to make use of than the others.

The power shovels are a cross between shovels and snow blowers, which are not expensive or heavy. Its lightweight makes it very portable and, therefore, a good purchase. You will see that the primary use of this tool is to clear out the snow from your driveway or sidewalk.

The machine has been designed to have blades and motor at the bottom so that it can easily clean up and move away all of the snow.

Even though it is mostly used in the snow, you can, however, use this to dig through soil and dirt too. It will do a great job without you having to put in too much work or effort.

9. A Tree Planting Shovel

Tree Planting Shovel

There is a different type of shovel for almost all types of work, and you have guessed it right, there is one specifically made for planting trees too. And there is a good reason why a special shovel is needed while planting trees.

The roots of a tree run deep into the ground, and this something long and narrow is needed for the job.

How long the shaft of the shovel will be heavily dependent on the type of tree you are planting and on where you’re doing it.

If you are planning to plant your small tree somewhere on the hills or in a sloping area, then a shorter shaft is recommended, as it will give you the maximum leverage.

However, if you are looking to plant something bigger or on a larger scale on a flatter area, then you need a longer shaft. So, you have to figure out which type you need depending on the kind of project you are taking on.

10. A Post Hole Shovel

Post Hole Shovel

The name of this shovel does not leave much for the imagination and lets you interpret what its use might be. Well, if you still don't seem to have a clue, then this shovel is made to dig a narrow hole in which posts such as road signs are put into.

When you look at it, you will see that it seems like two shovels are just put together and is being called a post hole shovel, but that’s not really the case.

It looks the way it does for a strong reason. The shovel is used to cut through the soil, and when the handle is pulled apart, the blades come together to trap the dirt inside, and then you can just smoothly drag it out.

And you have yourself a clean, narrow, and small hole, perfect for the posts. It can also be at times used for seedlings, as it can very carefully place the plant into the hole.

11. A Snow or a Scoop Shovel

Snow or a Scoop Shovel

And finally, we have arrived at the very last in our long list of shovels. This is called a snow shovel or a scoop shovel, and it is often much larger in size in comparison to the other kind of shovels. The most prominent difference is in the blade; this one has a blade of about twelve inches wide.

This has a wide blade so that the object can easily be scooped on to this and then transferred somewhere else. You will not have to get your hands in the dirt to pick the object up and place it on a shovel.

A scoop shovel is not very common in most households and is mostly used by landscapers and gardeners when they work on a particular plot of land. They use the shovel to move things around from one place to another. Mostly they are used to transfer soil, dirt, small stones, and gravel.

If you happen to live in a city that has snowfall, this could come to use if you want to remove snow from your roof, sidewalk or driveway. The size is just right for this job.


And with that, we have come to an end. You now know the complete ABC's of the types of shovels. If you feel a little confused, don't worry, it might take a bit of the first-hand experience before you fully understand the use.

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