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31 Types of Shovels

Blurred green background, brown metal shovel digging into dirt

Whenever you picture a shovel in your head, it probably has a long handle attached to a square or pointed surface. That may be where you stop. You might not think about all of the different types of shovels and their different uses. You probably have a few different shovels in your garage but do not even really think about it. 

When you need it, you know you have a shovel available to you. Shovels are one of the most versatile tools you can own. Despite being versatile, they have some special uses. For example, you may never have thought about this, but the spoon you use to eat food is a type of shovel. 

There are many different types of shovels, and each one handles a specific job better than another shovel. You can use them in the garden, on a construction site, to move snow, and so much more. In general, they make your job, whatever job you are doing, much easier. When used properly, they can move a large amount of material while saving your back. 

If you want to know more about the different types of shovels and see shovel types pictures, then you have come to the right place. This article is going to give you all the details on the different types of shovels. 

What Is A Shovel?

A shovel is a hand tool that has a broad and concave blade. It usually has a curved tip. The blade sits at the end of a shaft (pole, handle) that helps move material and dig. They come in a wide range of sizes and shapes to handle specific jobs. 

What Are the Different Kinds of Shovels? 

There are many different types of shovels, so let’s dig into the details a little more.

Clam Shovel

Pile of sand, shovel with old wooden handle digging in

A clam shovel is ideal for digging on the beach for razor clams. The blade is angled to allow you to quickly dig up clams. The blade of clam shovels varies. It may be a semi-stainless steel, or full stainless steel is most common. 

This shovel goes vertically in the sand with your body weight. You lift up the shovel while pushing it forward to expose clams in the sand. 

Coal Shovel

Pile of black coal, small metal coal shovel scooping up peices

A coal shovel is a short handed shovel with a square tipped blade that is sturdy. It is designed for moving gravel, coal, and like materials. The back of the blade is slightly curved or square. 

The sides and the back curve up to form walls, allowing coal shovels to hold more material. The blade has a flat bottom that can also smooth gravel surfaces. 

D-Handle Shovel

4 wooden D shaped handled shovels leanig against wooden building

A D-handle shovel is not quite a type of shovel but more of a variation of a shovel. These types of shovels have a specific type of handle that looks like the letter D. They have a shorter handle. The grip may be plastic, wood, or metal. 

The D-shaped handle improves grip, control, stability, and maneuverability. Many heavy-duty shovels intended for the garden have a D-handle. Coal shovels also tend to have a D-handle. 

Digging Shovel

Small black metal shovel with yellowish colored handle scooping up some dirt

Digging shovels have a sharp edge that allows you to puncture tougher and rocky ground. They typically have a pointed blade that breaks through compacted soil. The edges of the blade slightly curve upwards. The blade makes this an ideal shovel for digging and holding material. 

Digging shovels have a long shaft and a wide footplate. This footplate allows you to use your weight for leverage to dig deeper into dense soil. The shaft may be made of wood or metal. These shovels tend to be reinforced and often have a non-slip handle. 

Edging Shovel

Landscaping being done, man using an edging shovel to work on grass, sunny day

Edging shovels have a flat and smooth blade with flat edges. They are typically thinner than the material on a spade. Many edging shovels have markings to indicate depth on the blade. As edging shovel gives a precise and clean cut along the border of the lawn. 

An edging shovel is a specialized tool intended only for edging. The blade is a half moon shape that is meant to be driven into the ground for precise cuts. It has a footplate that allows you to apply pressure with your foot. As a result, they can create an angled cut and can get into tight spaces. 

Ergonomic Shovel

Winter day, lots of snow, babin in background, show covered trees, black and silver snow shovel stuck in snow

An ergonomic shovel is also referred to as a bent handle shovel. This is because the shaft of the shovel has been bent to reduce the strain on your back while using it. Most ergonomic shovels have a D-handle. They are also typically snow shovels. 

These shovels are ideal for someone who has back problems or cannot easily lift a shovel with the material. This type of shovel is best used by plowing across the surface. 

Fireplace Shovel

Fireplace with soot and an old brown metal square shovel scooping out the soot

A fireplace shovel is part of an iron set that tends to a fire. It looks like a flat space that has a steep back and sides. The shovel looks like a long handled scoop. It is intended to remove debris and coals from the fireplace

Flat Shovel

Drawing of a black shovel and a white shovel, rectangular flat scoopers

Flat shovels are also known as a flat nose shovels or a spade. These shovels have a flat edge that cuts. They are not the most efficient at digging, but they are great at scooping and moving. In addition, a flat shovel can create a straight edge in the material. 

A flat shovel has a bit of a concave shape to it that allows it to meet the definition of a shovel but has a flat head. This type of shovel is great for soft soil, scooping, and spreading. In addition, it is perfect for scooping materials in and out of a wheelbarrow. 

Folding Shovel

Black metal folding shovel with seraded edges on two sides

A folding shovel is also known as a portable or camping shovel. Folding shovels are constructed with the intention of being folded. They typically fold where the blade meets the shaft. Sometimes, they fold in another place along the shaft. 

They can lock into closed or open positions. In some cases, they may be able to lock into a 90 degree position. They are small shovels that may have a regular grip on the shaft, or they could be a triangular grip. These shovels are ideal for emergencies or camping. 

You can find them made out of different materials. An all steel constructed shovel is going to last the longest. 

Garden Shovel

3 small gardening shovels, wooden handles with silver scooper

A garden shovel goes by many names. They include hand trowel, garden shovel, garden trowel, hand shovel, and garden spade. Basically, this is a miniature shovel. They have a short shaft of only six inches. Garden shovels are used for many different tasks in the garden. They dig up weeds, dig holes for new plants, and remove plants. 

While the overall design of a garden shovel may vary, they have a narrow rounded blade or a pointed blade. The convex blade is about four inches across, making it ideal for scooping. 

Grain Shovel

Grain shovel scooping out grain from a machine

A grain shovel is also known as a barn school or a grain scoop shovel. Grain shovels are intended specifically for moving grain or other granular material. A grain shovel can come in many different materials. A metal grain shovel lasts longer than the aluminum version. It also weighs more. 

Gravel Shovel

Old wooden handled shovel in some gravel

A gravel shovel is also referred to as a rock shovel. Gravel shovels have a spade edge, and some have a rounded tip. The blade is either scoop or spoon shaped. These shovels are ideal for lifting and moving various grains and small stones. 

Military Shovel

Military Shovel folded up

A military shovel is also called a tactical shovel or a survival shovel. This shovel is considered to be the Swiss army knives of shovels because it has so many different purposes. 

Military shovels can each look a little different from one another. They are all intended to cut, dig, chop, and saw. Many of these shovels are able to fold for easy transporting. Many military shovels have shaft extensions. 

Measuring Shovel

2 measuring shovels with wooden handle, half painted red, silver scoopers with marks for measurements

The measuring shovel was just recently invented by Maddox Prichard. Its first year in production will be 2022. It was co-founded by two Shark Tank members in November 2019. 

Measuring shovels have a shaft and blade that are of precise length and depth. The measurements allow for accurate sizing, as well as hole spacing for new shrubs and trees. 

Metal Detecting Shovel

Close up of a metal detection shovel holding some coins and other metal things, laying on wet dirt

A metal detecting shovel is ideal for those that have a hobby of metal detecting. This hobby can lead to great finds. While each of the shovels is different, they have some of the same requirements. 

Metal detecting shovels have pointed cutting edges. The edges on one or both sides have a serrated edge to help cut roots. The blade is typically in a V-shape without a curvature to allow for very precise digging.

Mulch Shovel

Mand standing on the back of a truck shoveling out mulch into a wheelbarrow using a long wooden handled mulch shovel

Mulch shovels are intended to scoop mulch and garden material. The scoop and blade are similar to a grain shovel. The blade of the shovel curves up toward the collar. It does not have a rear-angled wall. 

A mulch shovel is lightweight, making it easy to scoop large amounts of mulch from a wheelbarrow and spread it on the ground. 

Non-Sparking Shovel

Bronze wheelbarrow with 3 small non sparking shovels attached

A non-sparking shovel is a special shovel that is intended to remove volatile or contaminated debris without making a spark. Non-sparking shovels are made from aluminum bronze or heavy-duty plastic. 

These shovels are used by firefighters and rescue workers to help remove victims from being trapped. This shovel is typically used in an area where there is flammable gas or liquid. 

Pizza Shovel

Light brown pizza shovel and a pizza cutter

A pizza shovel is also known as a pizza peel. Pizza shovels are traditionally made from wood. They have a square flat board that is used to slide the pizza in or out of a brick pizza oven. There are modern versions today that has a metal blade. Many people prefer to use a wood pizza shovel. 

Post Hole Shovel 

Black metal and wood post hole digger

A post hole shovel is also known as a post hole digger or a clamshell digger. A post hole digger is a double shovel. It has two shovels attached to each other. The post hold digger has a rectangular blade that typically has rounded corners and a semi-cylindrical design. 

The blades of a post hole shovel may also be pointed. The blades tend to be narrow and long to create nice holes and clean them out. The purpose of post hole shovels is to create rounded holes in the ground where poles and posts can be inserted. 

When the post hole digger is closed, it has a cylindrical shape. Therefore, you are able to dig, pinch the shovel, and lift the soil out of the ground. 

Power Shovel

Piles of snow, man using a white and gray power shovel to shovel snow

A power shovel is also known as an electric snow shovel or an excavator. There are generally two variations of the power shovel, one is like a snow shovel, and the other is more like a jackhammer. It is either electric or gas powered. 

The snow shovel version of the power shovel may be slightly larger or smaller than a snowblowHowever, theyThey are generally lighter than a snowblower. It has a horizontal auger that pulls the snow up from the path and discharges out of the way. The blades rotate to pick up the snow. 

Electric shovels are efficient and easy to use. They are more expensive. The jackhammer version of the electric shovel is basically a jackhammer with a shovel attached. This type of excavating equipment has treads, a cabin, an engine, a boom, a lever arm, and a shovel bucket. 

This version of the power shovel is used for digging holes and trenches in compact soil. It can also excavate the ground. This is an ideal option when the area is too small for larger pieces of equipment. 

Roof Snow Shovel

Winter trees, snow covered ground and homes, red and black roof snow shovel scraping snow off roof

A roof snow shovel is also referred to as a roof snow rake or a roof rake. Roof snow shovels have curved blades. This shovel functions much differently than a typical snow shovel. The handle of a roof snow shovel is attached to the top of the blade. 

This design allows you to pull snow along the roof’s surface. This helps you remove heavy snow from your roof where it can be pressure or extra weight on the roof. 

Roofing Shovel

Sunny day, man on red tile roof wearing a white tee shirt and yellow work gloves using a roofing shovel to clean out the gutters

A roofing shovel is also referred to as a shingle shovel. Roofing shovels are typically a tool with a sharp blade with a cutting edge with teeth. This cutting edge allows roofers to slide it under old shingles and pop the nail. 

This is different than other shingle tools because they leave the nail behind when taking off old shingles. 

Scoop Shovels

Dirty, Medium length wooden handle scoop shovel

A scoop shovel is intended to scoop material, just as the name indicates. It has a long shaft with a handle. The blade has a flat edge, and the sides are tall with a curved back wall. Its main purpose is to lift and move material. The sides of the blade look like they have a flair to them. 

You can find scoop shovels in many different materials. A metal version is going to last longer than an aluminum one. They do, however, weigh more. A scoop shovel may be used to chip through ice and move snow. 

The blade of a scoop shovel tends to be larger than most. It also has a short shaft and handle. The tip is typically flat but can be rounded. These shovels can move large amounts of gravel, soil, debris, and wood chips. 

Serrated Shovel

Sunny day, two woman using a serrated shovel to dig a whole in the grass to plant a tree

A serrated shovel is also referred to as a root cutting shovel, a root shovel, a root slayer, or a root assassin. Serrated shovels are ideal for cutting away roots. The serrated blade edge may be on the same side as the cutting edge but may not be. 

Some brands are known to have really sharp edges making them efficient as cutting edges. Root shovels have varying designs, but most have triangular blades that are elongated. The blades may have a point at the top but could be flattened at the tip. 

A serrated shovel is designed specifically to help with a tree or plant removal. They are ideal for transporting and disposing of them. These shovels are sharp enough to cut through the old root system as well as making new holes for plants and trees. 

Snow Shovel

Man in black snow pants, gloves and boots shoveling piles of snow with a blue snow shovel

Snow shovels may be one of the most commonly purchased shovels on the market today. Most everyone has a snow shovel unless they live in a climate where it never snows. Snow shovels are available in a wide range of materials, sizes, shapes, and designs. 

You can find a snow shovel with plastic blades and wooden shafts or all-aluminum construction. All snow shovels have the ability to lift but work best when used as a plow.

Snow shovels typically have a wide and curved blade. It is a vertical curve that usually has some type of grooved or ridges to assist with lifting snow. Often snow shovels have a sharp edge on the blade to help chip through the ice. 

There are ergonomic snow shovel versions available. These shovels have a curve in the shaft. This helps to reduce back pain commonly associated with shoveling snow. 

On some shovels, there is an extra handle to allow you to shift your grip while shoveling. This ensures you always have a good grip and are comfortable. Not only does this make it easier on your back, but also your palms and hands. 

Sod Shovel

Soft dirt, silver shovel in dirt

A sod shovel is also known as a sod lifter. This shovel has a half moon blade with a collar that is angled. This allows you to get the shovel under a section of sod. Once you do this, you can easily lift it away from the soil underneath. 

The blade of a sod shovel is usually curved further back along its edges. This is what gives it the half moon look. 

Square Shovel

All metal square shovel

A square shovel is also knowns as a square point shovel or a transfer shovel. Square shovels have steep walls and a steep back on the blade. Therefore, they are not the best for digging. 

Square shovels are, however, great for scooping and moving loose material. As the name indicates, the blade is in the shape of a square. This pointed digger shovel is ideal for lifting and carrying material. 

Tile Shovel

A mans hand using a tile shovel wo smooth out wet concrete to lay the tile

A tile shovel is also known as a trowel. While this is referred to as a trowel, it is a type of trowel. Tile shovels are flat and have a square blade. The handle of the tile shovel is attached to the back of the blade. 

The blade of the tile shove is intended to scoop, spread, and smooth plaster or mortar. There is a specific tile shovel for each type of job, such as brick, tile, or a handful of other masonry type jobs. 

Toy Shovel

Bright green plastic toy shovel

A toy shovel is also referred to as a plastic shovel. These are small shovels that are made from plastic. They are intended to be used by children at the beach or in a sandbox. They often come with a plastic bucket or pail. 

Toy shovels allow children to scoop and move sand or dirt from one place to their bucket and back again. They can also play out in the yard or garden. 

They can use toy shovels to help their parents in the garden. While this is intended to be a toy, it can teach children how to scoop and shovel while they are having fun doing it. 

Tree Planting Shovel

Two hands wearing bright orange rubber gloves, using a tree planting shovel and planting a small tree, sunny day

A tree planting shovel is also referred to as a tile spade, a drain spade, a sharp-shooter, and a transplanting spade. These shovels have many different names, but most of them have a narrow blade to help create the perfect sized hole for a new tree. 

The narrow blade allows the shovel to break up and scoop out debris and dirt. This shovel is intended for the specific job of helping remove dirt for planting trees. The blade points inward to help cut around and lift the tree you want to transplant. 

The shaft of a tree planting shovel comes in varying sizes depending on your specific needs. For example, a shorter shaft is great for hillsides that slope. 

A longer shaft is ideal for flat ground and larger saplings. This helps give you more force to drive the shovel down into the dirt. In addition, some tree planting shovels have a D-shaped handle that helps your grip while absorbing some of the shock. 

Trenching Shovel

4 sizes of trenching shovels leaning againts building, dirt on the ground, sunny day

A trenching shovel is also referred to as a ditch shovel, a clean-out shovel, or a trenching spade. Trenching shovels are specifically intended for digging trenches. They have a narrow and rectangular blade with an edge that is pointed for cutting. 

The shaft of a trenching shovel varies, and the blade is at a set angle to maximize efficiency. These shovels are ideal for laying pipes, irrigation ditches, or other various projects. 

There is not a large area where you can place your foot to help drive the shovel into the ground. This means most of the force is coming from your arms and core. This type of shovel is used mainly by gardeners or landscapers

What Shovel Does the Military Use?

The military uses a trench shovel or an entrenchment tool. This shovel may also be called a tri-fold shovel. This is typically a multi-purpose tool that folds and has many uses. Hikers, campers, and survivalists also use this tool. 

This shovel is about three pounds and 23 inches long. The purpose of this tool is to dig trenches, chop roots, cut, saw, and dig. Typically these types of shovels fold in three areas. They often have a case they fit into once they are folded. 

What Shovel Should I Use For Snow?

There are three types of shovels that you should consider when you need to shovel snow. The traditional snow shovel has a blade that is mostly flat and rectangular. The blades vary in size from 18 inches to 24 inches. This type of snow shovel is best for sidewalks and smaller areas that a large shovel may not be able to get to. 

A push snow shovel has a curved blade that is relatively large. This shovel is more like a plow and intended to move a large amount of snow quickly. This shovel is ideal for moving snow out of the way. You are not going to lift this shovel. It is best for three inches of snow or less. 

The combination snow shovel has a scoop for lifting and pushing. The blade is curved but not too large that it allows you to pick up snow that is too heavy for lifting. 

Why Should I Shovel My Driveway?

While it may be annoying and frustrating to shovel your driveway after snow, it is always a good idea. When there is snow on the ground, someone could slip and fall. When the snow gets packed down, it becomes slippery. If you shovel your driveway, you are reducing the chance of slippery conditions and falling. 

Snow often melts during the day because the temperature warms up but then freezes at night. This is going to create a mess on your driveway. The snow melts but does not evaporate, so it freezes, making your driveway as slick as a skating rink. 

In some areas, you are required to shovel your driveway and walkways. If you do not, you could receive a fine. 

What Are the Different Parts of A Shovel?

Even though a shovel seems like a simple piece of equipment, it has many important parts. 

Grip – the grip of the shovel is the part at the top. This is where at least one of your hands is placed. It is attached to the shaft. The grip may be a wood, metal, or plastic handle. 

It is possible that your shovel does not have a handle, and you hold on to the top of the shaft. A D-shaped handle is common on digging shovels and short shovels to give you a better grip. 

Shaft – the shaft on the shovel is the pole. It is typically long and provides leverage for you to use your shovel. The shaft of the shovel is typically made from metal, fiberglass, or wood. The different materials give the shovel durability and impact the cost. 

A metal shaft often lasts longer and is the strongest. On the other hand, wooden shafts tend to be more ergonomic and look better. 

Collar – the collar of the shovel is the part where the blade and the shaft meet. The collar must be sturdy and secure. If not, it could snap while you are working. Typically, a screw or a rivet connects the shaft and handle to the blade. This allows you to replace one part of the shovel if it breaks. 

Kickplate – this is the part of the shovel where you put your foot. It is also referred to as a step. It is located on the top part of the blade. Kickplates are found on digging shovels. They help to make your job easier because they help you dig by using weight instead of just back and arm muscles. 

Blade – the blade of the shovel is the lowest part of the tool. This is the part that connects with the ground. It is often made from aluminum or metal, but in some cases, it may be plastic or fiberglass. The blade comes in a wide range of sizes and shapes. 

Tip – the tip of the shovel is the lowest edge of the blade. It is the point that is the furthest from the shaft. It has different shapes depending on the use of the shovel. A flat tip is ideal for moving or scooping. A rounded and pointed tip is perfect for digging and cutting.