Spade VS Shovel: What is the difference?

Spade vs shovel?

Many people do not know the difference, and they use them interchangeably. They are both used to dig, lift soil, sand, and manure.

Spade and shovel are also used to make holes. However, they have a colossal variation in their blades and function.

What Is a Shovel?


It is a gardening tool that is used for digging. The blade of a shovel is concave in shape with a pointed end. Some shovels have a sharp, rounded tip. Its handle is straight and elongated. Compared to a spade, the blade of a shovel is broader.

Shovels are typically used for excavating, turning soil, or breaking it up. A shovel is placed into the ground at an angle. It’s not a wonder to find a shovel with sharp serrated edges.

There are various types of shovels, and each has its function. They include:

Digging shovel

This is the standard type of shovel found in many homesteads. It is appropriate for excavating out dirt, moving soil or manure, and penetrating through firm earth and roots.

The blade is bowl-shaped with a round and pointed end. The lever can either be elongated or short, but the length depends on the function.

Scooping shovel

It is best for transferring massive quantities of dirt, manure, or sand.

The blade attached to the handle is flat and wide with a straight end. The blade is flared, and this keeps the sand or compost from spilling during the move.

Trenching shovel

It is suitable for making narrow trenches for plant vegetables or installing soaker hoses.

This shovel has a curved blade that is elongated and slim in shape, and it is attached to a long shaft. This makes it easy to take out soil from the trench quickly.

Trowel shovel

It is a small shovel that is perfect for transplanting and weeding.

The handle is attached directly to the trowel, making it effortless for you to conduct gardening in tight spaces.

Multi-purpose shovel

This shovel has all the features of the above shovels, hence makes gardening easy.

Therefore, you can dig and change the soil. It is also sharp enough to penetrate through the hard earth and roots

What Is a Spade

What Is a Spade

It is a piece of gardening equipment with a flat or almost flat blade with a straight edge. The handle of a spade is shorter, and sometimes it takes the shape of a ‘T’ or ‘D.’ The blade of a spade is smaller, and it tends to be parallel with the handle.

Farmers mostly use a spade to slicing through the soil and roots and other times to move the muck and any loose material, such as manure. The spade is put into the ground vertically, creating a straight edge.

The various types of spades include:

Garden spade

It is used to break up the soil in seedbeds and transplant flowers. The spade has a rounded blade with a pointed end.

The blade has edges on either side to where you are supposed to place your foot when you are applying pressure while tunneling up dirt.

Drain spade

It is also referred to as the transplanting spade.

The blade is narrow, curved in with a pointed end. It is perfect for making narrow troughs and holes.

Scraper spade

It is perfect for modeling the edges of a lawn or clearing out weeds on the sidewalk cracks.

The blade is sturdy with a flat edge. It is suitable to get rid of ice from your driveway.

Weed spade

It is best for removing unwanted plants and roots.

It can also be used for digging through hard ground. Its blade is V-shaped with sharp flat nose tips with saw-like edges.

Comparison Between Spade and Shovel

Comparison Between Spade and Shovel


When it comes to prices, there is not a huge variation between the shovel vs spade. However, the minor dissimilarity in the material used and the tool’s size causes a price variation. The larger the size of the shovel or spade, the higher the value.

A shovel or spade made of carbon fiberglass is expensive because the material does not succumb to wear and tear, and again it is lighter. The costly ones are made of stainless steel, but you get your money worth because they are long-lasting.

If you go online, you will find that the cost of these pieces of equipment ranges from $10 to $50 depending on which brand you choose. Therefore, before buying, you need to discern why you need it.

You can buy online, but it’s best to buy a spade or a shovel from your local gardening store. This is because you will be able to weigh and check its quality.

Ease of use


It has a long and straight handle that gives you a lot of leverage when excavating deep pits or furrows. And the sharp blade makes it stress-free to slice through the dirt and scoop it. The bowl-shaped blade of the shovel makes it an effortless task to refill the pits you’ve dug after planting.

It comes in different sizes and types; therefore, the trowel shovel makes it easy to garden in tight spaces, especially in a flowerbed. The shovel’s blade is larger than that of a spade, ensuring that you move more loads of dirt or compost.

A shovel has a T or D shaped handle for a firm grip. This also gives you more holding options when you are working.


Unlike a shovel with a curved blade, the blade of a spade is flat and rectangular. Compared to the tip of a shovel’s edge, a spade’s blade tip is flat and sharp. The clear-cut shape of a spade’s blade makes it more perfect for specific purposes.

For instance, the blade has a sharp, flat edge that slices through hard earth and roots with effortlessness. You can also use a spade when you need a specific angle and flawless lines, like preparing a seedbed.

The sharpened flat edge of a spade’s blade makes it suitable for scratching off unwanted plants on the sidewalk and shaping a lawn’s edges. It is also ideal for picking up soil or manure.

However, its blade is smaller than the shovel, so your load will be less. Fortunately for people who are not strong enough, this is the best as they will work faster since the load is lighter.

Where and When You Should Use Shovel or Spade


A shovel can be used to perform any task on the farm. If you want to excavate hard earth, a shovel is perfect as it has a sharpened pointed end that makes it effortless to slice through the ground and roots.

If you have vast amounts of sand or manure, a scoop shovel can help you move it fast as it holds large quantities because of its broad and flared blade with a flat tip that prevents it from falling. However, be careful using this shovel as it’s too bulky.

If you want to plant vegetables or lay down your soaker hose, you can use a shovel to dig up long trenches. The elongated handle makes it effortless to remove dirt quickly.

Again, If you want to get rid of unwanted plants or repot flowers, a trowel shovel is a perfect tool as it’s short, making it feasible to work in tight spaces.


If you need to move loose material such as manure or sand, a spade is a perfect implement to use.

Again, If you are preparing a seedbed, a spade is perfect for edging or leveling it.

Although excavating with a spade is tedious, it has a footrest where you can place your foot and apply pressure as you dig up dirt.

When you are using a shovel or a spade, make sure to wear protective footwear. Do not wear open shoes like sandals. This is because as you insert the blades into the soil, you may accidentally miss and hit your foot, resulting in an injury.

You may also need to apply pressure to your spade by stepping on the ledge as you dig up hard ground, so having the right shoes is essential.


When given a choice to pick between a spade vs shovel, select the most suitable one for your farm duties. A shovel can perform almost all of your gardening tasks, but a spade provides precise results, making your landscaping neat. However, if you do not have the fund to go for both, a shovel is the most definite choice.

Next, you must look at the material used to make it. Although wood is cheap, it splitters easily, meaning that you will be back to buy another handle soon. So make sure to spend on shovel made of quality material such as fiberglass or aluminum steel.

It would best if you also looked at the length of the handle. With a shovel, it’s best to choose a long handle to leverage the load.

I hope this piece will help you make a wise decision when choosing between spade vs shovel for your gardening needs.

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