Different Types of Shovels
There are so many different types of shovels, and choosing the right one for the job can make the difference between a long day of hard labor or a simple and easy task. Shovels are invaluable garden tools, some of which are specifically designed for one job, and some of which are great workhorses that can be used for a whole host of garden activities. To fully understand the different types of shovels, first, it’s a good idea to learn about the anatomy of a shovel.
The grip of a shovel is the uppermost part, which is attached to the shaft. It can take the form of a wooden, plastic, or metal handle, but often there may be no handle at all, and you can use the shovel by holding onto the top part of the shaft. If the shovel shaft is made from fiberglass, then a grip handle will be attached to help prevent splinters. A D-shaped handle is common amongst shorter shovels and digging shovels, which help to increase grip.
The shaft of a shovel is the long ‘pole’ like part of these tools, and it is used as leverage when operating your shovel. They are usually made from wood, fiberglass, or metal. All of these materials have pros and cons in terms of shovel use and durability, and the type you want to choose may come down to personal preference or budget. Metal shafts tend to be the strongest and most long-lasting, but wooden shafts are usually more ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing and are more popular with traditionalists. The length of a shovel shaft can vary, and the height of your shovel should be matched to your own height so that it is comfortable to use.
The collar of a shovel is where the blade meets the shaft. It’s important that the collar is secure and sturdy; otherwise, it may crumble or snap during heavy work. The collar usually connects to the shaft and handle portion of the shovel with a rivet or screw, and can be disconnected if you need to replace either end. A blade usually has a much longer lifespan than the shaft and handle, so if either of those parts breaks, then you can buy replacements and attach them to your old blade at the collar.
The kickplate of a shovel is also known as a step. It is the uppermost edge of a blade where you can place your foot to add pressure, though not all shovels will have a kickplate. Kickplates are usually found on digging shovels where the extra weight of the user can be utilized to dig deeper into the ground. Using a kickplate will achieve better results, and also makes the job much easier for the user, as they can use their weight to help dig rather than just arm and back muscles.
The blade of a shovel is the lowermost part of the tool, which makes contact with the ground. It is usually made of metal or aluminum, though in some instances might be fiberglass or plastic. Shovel blades come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and it is arguably the design of the blade that makes the most difference between different shovel types.
The tip of a shovel is the lower edge of the blade, furthest from the shaft. It takes various shapes depending on the intended use of the shovel. Flat tips are best for scooping or moving, while pointed and rounded tips work best for cutting and digging.