What is a shovel?

A shovel is a tool consisting of a broad blade, a grip and a medium-length handle, used for digging or picking up. The blade is usually made up of metal, or steel sheet, or from hard plastic. Generally, the shovel handles are made from wood. Shovels are similar to spades. It is one of the helpful tools in the garden.

Types of shovel

Shovels come up in different shape, size, and having different functions. They are as follows:

Digging shovel

The primary purpose of these types of shovels is for digging. Their blade is slightly curved, or either pointed in the center or flat. Pointed tips shovel is best for digging or planting in soft soil. Shovels with flat tips are useful for digging hard and heavy soil, using more force to penetrate. Square shovels or slightly curved shovels are also used for gardening purposes like transplanting small trees and bushes.

Trenching shovel

Trenching shovels are best for clearing up trenches. Its blade is square sides with a pointed tip. You can also use it for digging a compost trench, for laying down irrigation pipes, and also for removing deeply-rooted plants. 

Drain spades 

Drain spades have slightly curved sides with rounded tips. They are very narrow and serves for adding flowers to the ground, transplanting small bushes and shrubs, and clearing out trenches.

Scoop shovels

Scoop shovels have a flat tip with a broad blade. These are perfect to use for moving materials like coal, stone, snow, and grain. Do not use scoop shovels for digging purposes.


Scrapers are mostly used for clearing out ices and snows from the roof. It is used to scrape metal from a surface because of its shape. It has a flat, sharp blade.


It is one of the garden tools having a half-moon shaped blade. The blades of edgers cut the small gap between grasses, cuts through the shallow roots from shrubs, or small trees. They make tidy edges around the plant.

Posthole diggers 

Posthole diggers or clamshell diggers can vary in appearances but look like two shovels connected by a hinge. People use it to penetrate the soil. As per its name, post hole diggers is a tool for digging narrow holes to install pots, or fences, or signs.

Trowels and soil scoops

These are gardener’s best friend. Trowels and soil scoops are small in size having a short handle and pointed curled scoop for digging out holes.

How to handle shovel? 

The shovel is the tool that you need in your garden, and you need to take good care of it and keep them in good condition. For that, you will need; hose, stiff bristle brush, linseed oil, sand, motor oil, and a bucket.

Tips for handling shovels are:

  • Clean up your shovel after every use. Using a stiff bristle brush, remove dirt from it.
  • After washing it, dry it. If you put garden tools wet, then they will rust.
  • Do not leave your shovel in the ground; store it in a dry place.
  • Rub the shovel handle by linseed oil to keep it in good condition.
  • Sharpen the shovel to restore the angle of the blade.
  • To prevent rust, use oil. In a bucket filled with sand, pour motor oil and plunge your shovel in and out several times.
  • Clean away the rust spots

 Weight of shovel 

  • While selecting a shovel, you need to know about the weight, handle type, blade type, and length.
  • The weight typically ranges from 1.5 to 3 kg. The weight depends on the type and material used for making a shovel.
  • Shovels with lightweight is suitable for shoveling light snow, and shovels with heavyweight is ideal for shoveling stones and coals.

 Possible hazards 

  • Using plastic shovels causes cracking and breaking of the blade because of cold temperature and carrying heavyweights.
  • Shovels with aluminum and steel blades are heavy to handle and are a bit expensive.
  • Shovels can cause musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Some of the biological hazards like asthma; allergic symptoms can occur with the use of shovels.
  • While using the shovel, some people might face respiratory problems too.
  • Use of shovel causes skin and eye irritation.

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