Guide to shovels and spades: Meaning, uses, and differences

Guide to shovels and spades: Meaning, uses, and differences

Gardening is a relaxing hobby that also allows you to appreciate your surroundings. It's a fantastic pleasure to see your flowers, shrubs, and trees bloom in the summer. However, as every gardener knows, your plants' flowering season success necessitates a lot of care in the early spring and into the summer.

To assist you with your gardening tasks, you will need high-quality soil mixes and fertilizers, as well as the appropriate instruments. If you don't have a comprehensive set of gardening tools, then performing gardening tasks becomes challenging. For yard work, a shovel is a must-have tool.

A shovel is a valuable tool for various tasks, including digging out flower beds, shifting soil around the campsite, and more.

What is a shovel?

The blade of a shovel is concave in shape and has a pointed or rounded tip. The blade is larger than the handle, which is straight and long.

What is a spade?

A spade is a flat metal digging equipment with a sharp edge that can be used for digging as well as moving dirt, debris, and similar things. Most of the spades have rectangular blades, while others are sharply pointed to improve the blade's penetrating capabilities.

Uses of a spade:

Digging is done with a spade. It is used for breaking ground and chopping through tree roots and other tough stuff. Planting trees, excavating garden beds, removing grass, and cutting garden margins all need the use of a spade in the garden.

Uses of shovel:

Scooping and moving loose debris is done with a shovel. A shovel would be helpful in moving a pile of gravel or soil. A shovel has fewer applications than a spade. While a shovel and a spade may both do the same task, a spade can do the work of a shovel considerably better than a shovel can do the work of a spade.

Know the difference between a spade and a shovel:

Many individuals confuse the two names and use them interchangeably or incorrectly. The shovel and the spade are two entirely different instruments that are used for very different tasks.

  • The blades:

The blades of the spade and shovel vary in appearance due to their different functions. However, a pointed or flat-edged blade can be found on both spades and shovels. This isn't a distinguishing characteristic. A spade has a sharp edge and a flat or shallow profile. The blade's rear end is threaded, and the foot platforms are curved, allowing for more force to be applied through the blade for cutting and breaking ground. The blade is much smaller than a shovel's.

A shovel, like a scoop, has a curved (concave) blade. Traditional shovel blades had a pointy edge; however, square shovel blades are now popularly used for better scooping from hard surfaces. When compared to a spade, the blade is larger, allowing more material to be moved.

  • The handles:

The spade handle can be long or short, depending on the situation. Handgrip ( either T or D Shaped) may be seen at the end of short handles. This feature will not be available on longer handles. The blade is parallel to or nearly parallel to the handle, allowing for maximum force to be applied through the blade.

The shovel blade, on the other hand, is inclined forward to the handle. In a scooping motion, this makes it easier to move material. Shovel handles, like spade handles, can be short or long.

  • Materials, weight, and cost:

In terms of materials, there isn't much of a difference between shovels and spades. Both come with wood or fiberglass handles and blades made of carbon or stainless steel.

The weight and cost of a product are largely determined by the materials used. The weight and cost of a tool will also vary depending on its intended usage; those employed for specialized tasks will often cost more.

The handle/shaft and blade are the most significant differences between shovels and spades.

Types of garden shovels:

Garden shovels come in a range of shapes and sizes, each with its own use. Don't be fooled into thinking they're all the same. Let us learn the difference:

  • Narrow shovels:

These are ideal for digging up flat terrain and may penetrate harder material more easily than the wider shovels.

  • Broader shovels:

These are more adaptable and can be used for a variety of horticultural jobs. Digging the dirt, shifting stones, and occasionally leveling the ground are examples.

  • Short handled garden shovels:

For many new and inexperienced gardeners, mini shovels with short handles are a popular choice. The main reason for this is that it resembles most other equipment you might use, such as picks, sledge hammers, and so on. While it appears to be the ideal shovel, it can be really taxing on your back and body in general. If you have a history of back problems or don't want to develop one in the future, small shovels are not a suitable choice.

  • The long handle shovel:

A shovel with a long handle is an excellent gardening tool. They are comfortable to use. This means you are not bending or pushing at angles or levels that your body isn't used to. Furthermore, if you can dig while standing tall, you can use your entire body to dig deeper or more efficiently.

For a long-handle shovel or spade, the ideal handle height is between your armpit and shoulder. Keep this in mind while selecting one and/or taking that measurement, writing it down, and comparing it to descriptions when purchasing online.


In the above article, we have discussed the differences between a spade and a shovel in general terms. Typically, a spade and a shovel may accomplish the same duties. It is simply a choice of determining which is more effective or practicable for a certain task. Your gardening requirements determine the capacity of a shovel. A longer handle provides additional leverage while also increasing the tool's size and weight. Select a sturdy, weather-resistant shovel of high quality.

If you are still confused about which one to buy, our best recommendation would be to browse through the online portal of Moglix. Here you can find a large selection of shovels and other gardening tools that are essential for maintaining a healthy, clean and beautiful garden.