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Shovel VS Spade: What's the difference? - Gardepot

Nov. 26, 2021

For some people, there is no actual difference between shovels and spades, they are just garden tools for excavation, but for garden lovers, it's like the difference between a fountain pen and a quill pen. Some people use these terms interchangeably by mistake. As we all know, the spades symbol of a card looks more like a shovel, which is of no avail! Shovel and spade are very different tools!

Shovels for scooping and moving, spades for digging.

The biggest difference between them is that shovels and spades are made for different tasks. In terms of usage, these two tools really cannot replace each other, which is why most gardeners have both types of tools at the same time. These tasks may seem similar in theory, but there are still huge differences in actual operations.

In short, shovels for scooping and moving, spades for digging. If you want to dig a hole, you must choose shovels. If you want to move loose materials, choose spades. Of course, there is much another work shovel specially designed for these tasks. In order to solve these problems, let us study shovels and spades in depth.

Shovel  VS  Spade: What's the difference? - Gardepot


Before delving into shovels and spades, let's discuss the difference between their blades.

Because of their different uses, the blades of shovels and spades look different. Before I get into it I will lay to rest a common misconception. Both Spades and Shovels can have sharp or flat blades, this is not their definition.

Spade has a flat and shallow profile with sharp edges. There is a pattern on the back of the blade, and it has a curved foot platform so that extra force can be applied by the blade to cut and break the soil. The blade is smaller than a shovel.

Shovels have a curved blade like a spoon. The edge of the blade is traditionally pointed, but the square shovel blade is also popular (it is more suitable for shoveling from hard surfaces such as the back of concrete or ute). Compared with a spade, the blade is larger, and each shovel can load more material. Since they are only designed to move materials and not break ground, shovels' blades are generally made of lighter materials than spades.


Shovels usually have a shovel-shaped circular blade with a tip at the end. This is the classic shape you usually think of when you think of "shovel". They also have a long handle offset from the spoon-like blade.



Shovels are not only used for excavation, but this is their main job. The curve of the blade combined with the inclined tip is perfect for cutting into the ground and scooping up dirt. You will also find that the shape of the blade makes this tool excellent at breaking, and once you dig a hole, the concave blade can be easily refilled.

Want to break ground on a new garden? The sharper tip of the shovel also allows it to pass through weeds and grass smoothly. The curvature and angle of the blade can also be used to help break up the soil.

The handle sometimes forms an angle with its blade axis, so users can make good use of the load. The length of the shovel handle is usually at least 48 inches or longer so that it can enter the deep hole.


Unlike shovels, spades have flat rectangular blades, depending on the brand and its professional use. The tip is flat and sharp, rather than curved with a sharp point. When comparing blade shapes, the spades are actually more like the spades symbols in the clothes playing cards than the actual spades!

Spade handles are usually shorter than shovels, which gives you better control during use. There may be a D-shaped handle at the end to provide a good grip and hand pivot point. The blade is usually smaller and has less concavity.

Interestingly, the snow shovel is usually a large spade with sides, much like a compost spoon.



A shovel’s weakness is a spade’s strength. Having a more precise shape than the clunky shovel, spades are great for more specialized purposes.

The sharp and flat edge of the Spades blade is designed to cut dirt and debris. It can destroy and cut the roots like a knife cuts butter. This tool is also very suitable for trimming where precise angles and clean lines are required, such as ditches or garden beds. You can even use a shovel to hang up soft weeds on the surface of the soil.

It doesn't look like it, but a spade is a proficient scooper. Straight edges are great for digging loose materials. In addition, the size and shape of the tool can move the load easily and efficiently. It seems strange to choose a blade that might be smaller to scoop, after all, isn't this picking up less material?

But keep in mind the weight of the material you will be moving. Unless you are an athlete or like to work out in the gym, you are likely to be grateful for a lighter load. In addition, the content you lose in capacity will increase in speed. Use this tool to complete the work faster.

When choosing between a shovel and a spade, choose the one that best suits your farm duties. The shovel can do almost all your gardening tasks, but the shovel can provide precise results and make your landscaping tidier. However, if you do not have enough funds to do both, then the spade is the surest choice.

Next, you must look at the materials used to make it. Although wood is cheap, it splits easily, which means you will come back soon to buy another handle. Therefore, be sure to buy a shovel made of high-quality materials such as fiberglass or aluminum steel.

It is best to also look at the length of the handle. Use a shovel, it is best to choose a long handle to take advantage of the load.

I hope this article will help you make an informed decision when choosing between a spade and a shovel based on your gardening needs. If you have more questions, please consult our online customer service, or send us an email.