A ‘shovel’ and a ‘spade’ are commonly confused terms. Did you realize, though, that they’re two completely different tools? The handle/shaft, blade, and shape are the most significant differences between shovels and spades.
The main distinctions are summarized in this blog. Continue reading for more information.
Materials, Weight, Shape, and Cost: Shovels and Spades
In terms of materials, there isn’t much of a distinction 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.
You can also observe that a spade’s handle to blade tip is straighter than a shovel’s. The spade blade is not normally slanted forward like the shovel blade.
Shovels vs. Spades: Shape
It is this aspect of angles that distinguishes the two tools in terms of functionality. Digging is made easier with the shovel’s inclined blade. The straighter spade is better for slicing through and lifting sod, edging lawns and beds, skimming weeds, and opening straight-sided holes or trenches than for digging.
The blade, sometimes known as a scoop, is used to cut through dirt, roots, and sod, as well as to transfer soil, sand, gravel, and other materials. You can move more material with a larger blade. You don’t want the load to be too big, or you’ll have problems lifting it or you’ll feel tired faster. Flat blades are great for edging and removing loose material, while sharply pointed blades are better for cutting through the hard ground or resistant materials like roots.
Shovels vs. Spades: Blade
With its curved blade and rounded or pointed tip, a shovel has a larger, larger blade. The length and shape of a shovel’s blade vary depending on its intended use – you could get one with extra-long blades, saw-tooth edges, and grooves. Spades often have smaller blades than shovels.
A spade’s blade is usually quite flat and has straight edges. In general, the blade is parallel to the shaft and not inclined forward like a shovel (though the size depends on application).
A lengthier handle, or shaft, allows more leverage and is better for heavier labor like cutting through roots and thick dirt, but a shorter handle gives you more control and is better for planting or digging up bulbs.
Shovels vs. Spades: Shaft/Handle
The handle of a shovel is usually long and straight to provide leverage when digging deep holes. For those who want to work in tight areas, such as flowerbeds, a shorter shaft is better for using with a spade. There are many kinds of handles that you can choose from, including T-handles and DY-handles.
Now it’s your turn: do you prefer to use a shovel or a spade?
While you may get by with just a shovel or a spade, having both will make gardening more efficient and fun.