Types of shovels (with pictures) for gardening, digging, mulching, snow

By definition, a shovel is a tool with a broad concave blade and a tip that is usually curved.

By definition, a shovel is a tool with a broad concave blade and a tip that is usually curved. There are several types of shovels that one can choose from, and that depends largely on the activity you want to do. If you select the correct type of shovel, you will have an easy time completing the task ahead of you. Well to help you do this, here is a complete guide on the world of shovels.

Parts of a shovel

Before we dive into the types, it is best to understand the different parts of a shovel and their uses.

  1. Grip/ handle- this is the part your hand will touch when you grasp the shovel at the top. There are three types of shovel grips namely;
  2. No-grip- these types of handles have no grip. In essence, a user directly touches the handle. The handle could be made from metal, wood, or any other material. If the shovels do not have grips, they usually compensate by having very smooth handles that you can grasp comfortably.
  3. Non-slip – these types of grips are made of either silicone or rubber.

The grip will cover a portion of the handle or the entire handle. Such grips are advantageous in that they will keep the handle dry even in wet conditions.

  • Foam grip- this type of grip adds comfort to the handle. The main disadvantage of foam grips is that they are not durable. The foam grip can crumble over time from your hand movement on the handle.

Note: For safety reasons, a non-slip grip is a better option for performing multiple tasks.

  • Shaft- On most shovels, the shaft is the pole that unites the handle to the rest of the shovel. They usually come to different lengths to accommodate people of different heights. You might assume that all shafts are straight, but no, that is not true. Some are curved to enable you to complete specific jobs. It can be beneficial for your back too!
  • Socket/collar- when you move downward along the shovel, the next part would be the socket.  

This is the part where the blade meets the shaft and gets attached. The shaft and socket are usually connected, using either bolts or screws. Sometimes, on cheaper shovels, glue is used to hold them together.

  • Step –a step is a part where you place your foot to push the shovel down the ground. This part is usually located on top of the blade.

It is an essential part of the shovel since it helps to minimize strain and pain on your back as your feet will be doing most of the work.

  • Blade – this is the part that shovels (complete the task you are doing using a shovel). Blades usually come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the work they are intended for.
  • Tip – this part is either flat, rounded, or sharp-pointed. The tip of the shovel is what will guide you on what the shovel is designed for. Flat tips are usually best for scooping and moving. Rounded and pointed tips are suitable for digging and cutting.

Types of shovels used for gardening

Handheld shovels

These mini shovels are usually a gardener’s best friend. They can perform many functions in the garden, such as transplanting, creating holes in the garden, and also digging up weeds.

Tree planting shovel

This type of shovel is designed for helping users carry out tree planting and transplanting tasks. Its blade is narrow, and it has a pointed tip to enable it to drive deep into the soil with ease. The inwardly pointed blade lets you cut through the ground and lift the tree you want to transplant.

Root shovel

A root shovel is equipped with blades that create holes for new plants. It is also used to cut the roots of big trees to create room for new plants until they can establish their root systems.

Types of shovels used for digging

These types of shovels are usually associated with tasks that involve digging small holes. They have pointed ends to enable them to cut and dig through the soil. Below are some of the shovels that can be used for digging;

Drain shovel

A drain shovel is used for digging holes so that you can transplant trees or even shrubs. In as much as this type of shovel can shape soil too, it is primarily used for digging holes.

Entrenching tool

The entrenching shovel is foldable. This makes it advantageous to have when going camping as it does not occupy too much space and can be carried around easily. In case you need to dig holes or trenches when camping, this is the perfect tool for the job.

Post-hole digger

This type of shovel looks like two combined shovels. It is designed to make digging holes a simple task as it enables the user to dig down in the soil and lift out the dirt.

Types of shovels used for mulching

Mulch scoop

The mulch scoop is made for spreading and moving mulch, and that is why it is designed quite differently from other scoop shovels. One unique feature about it is that it has very long handles.

Types of shovels used for snow

Snow could be a huge problem during winter. It is recommended that you equip yourself with shovels that could scoop away snow in your compound. Here are some snow shovels that can help you out during winter.

Traditional snow shovel

This is the most common shovel that is used to clear out the snow. With this shovel, you will be able to shovel a lot of snow since it has a ‘18X13 blade.

Most traditional snow shovels are made from plastic and wood. The shaft is usually made from wood, while the blade is made from wood.

Tip: If you want to shovel the snow much quicker, you should always purchase a shovel with a much wider blade.

Snow scoop shovel

These types of snow shovels are made with blades that are huge to help the user scoop a lot of snow at once. This can be the ideal shovel to clear the snow in the driveway for many people.

Since you will be scooping more snow than the regular snow shovel, it has to be strong to accommodate the increased weight.

Tips on how to choose the best shovel for you

  1. The shovel should match your height- a tall person using a short shovel may result in back pain. The same thing happens when a short person is using a shovel with a long shaft. The suitable length of a shovel should be mid-chest height.
  2. The shovel should match your hands- many shovels are equipped with a T or D-grip at the end of the shaft. These types of grips offer comfort. For people with big hands, the t-grip would be suitable for them.
  3. Match the job- for example, you cannot use the snow shovels for digging soil. They were not designed for that. You should use a shovel for what it was designed to do.


You probably did not know there were so many choices of shovels to pick from, right? It’s good that you have stumbled on this article to know which shovel is best for the job you want to undertake.  Choosing the right shovel will save you a lot of time, and you won’t spend too much energy than you need to. Also, you will feel comfortable doing the task as you will not be hurting any part of your body in the process.