In our age of high technology, the most ordinary shovel is still an indispensable tool when carrying out gardening work. Despite the apparent simplicity of design, modern manufacturers have learned to use the achievements of progress to produce a variety of models.
There are variants on the market that differ in material, bucket size and blade shape. This makes each shovel suitable for a specific type of work: digging, snow removal, harvesting. Using the right equipment will allow you to do it faster and more efficiently.
You can try to make a homemade shovel, but now let’s try to figure out how to choose among the assortment offered by stores the optimal model.
Types of shovels according to the nature of the work
Even such a seemingly simple tool should be chosen wisely. The right shovel will allow you to work faster and less tired, and will serve you well for a long time.
This hand-held tool is a cutter connected to a ladle (tray, scoop) and a steel handle. The bucket ends with a blade, which can have a variety of shapes.
Most types of garden work are done with a bayonet shovel. With it, you can easily work the beds or dig a hole. It has a sharpened blade that allows you to dig into hard soil and cut roots. Sickle bayonet is convenient for lawn work, processing of clay soil is more effective with a bayonet with furrows.
“The “American” is distinguished by its curved cutter and blade. Thanks to this, its shape resembles a spoon (as you can be convinced by looking at the photo of this shovel). It is easier to handle than straight alternatives, because this configuration reduces the load on the back.
If you haven’t encountered this model before, be careful: not everyone finds this design comfortable. If possible, try the “American” in advance, for example, by borrowing it from a neighbor.
Earthmoving shovel designed for digging holes and trenches. It will perform equally well on stony, clay and hard soil. Features an elongated pointed blade with a shortened shaft.
Rectangular blade model is ideal for working in soft soil. It allows you to grab a large volume of soil. But it can’t handle hard soil. It will be quite difficult to get it into the soil, and you risk damaging the tool and your own back.
With sand, cement and other loose and viscous materials it is most convenient to work with a deep scoop shovel. It is ineffective in hard soil, but it has no equal in shoveling.
With loose soil, a shovel with a rounded blade is excellent.
A blade with large saw-like teeth will show its best side while tilling virgin and neglected, root-ridden soil.
Wide snow shovels are used for snow removal.
Which material to choose?
The first thing to pay attention to is that rust should not appear on the blade. For this reason, materials such as stainless steel and titanium are the most common today.
Stainless steel is a classic option, a favorite of many. Pretty sturdy, not afraid of rust. Disadvantages: price, earth sticks to the bayonet. Check the material before buying.
Knock on the blade: quality steel should ring. A muffled tinkle will give away the low quality of the product. An excellent budget option even for the experienced gardener.
Titanium shovels are also made from an alloy of titanium and aluminum. They appeared recently, but have already won their audience due to the lightness, durability and reliability of the resulting equipment.
Unfortunately, and it is not without disadvantages: the bayonet does not bend, so high loads can break it. The price is also not attractive: it is 5 times higher than steel. A kind of “premium class”, so in the off-season, take care of decent storage of such a shovel.
Due to its low price, steel continues to be a fairly common material. It has a number of disadvantages: high weight, low strength, susceptibility to rust.
Suitable if the shovel is used infrequently and little.
The bucket made of spring (rail) steel is strong and reliable, with moderate bayonet flexibility. However, the weight and price of rail steel is higher than the previous version, and its sharpening is difficult. It can withstand high loads, so it will be a good choice for active use for many seasons.
Today there are models with cuttings made of metal, plastic and other materials, but wood is not without reason considered the best option.
Pine stands out for its low price and is therefore widely used. A consequence of cheapness is low quality and short life. Pine cuttings can be poorly dried and knotty.
Acacia is much stronger and more reliable, but also more expensive.
Oak is superior to acacia in quality; such a shovel handle will last more than one year. The disadvantages of oak are high price and weight.
Larch, ash, and beech are superior even to oak cuttings. Larch will cost a lot of money, but you can be sure that the shovel bucket will wear out sooner than the cutter.
A shovel with a handle is easier to handle than a classic model: your hands won’t slip, which means less strain on your hand. The handle is a T-shaped or triangular attachment on the shaft. Leaning on it you will comfortably dig a trench. The triangular handle is suitable for a shovel, but it will be ineffective for harvesting.
Of course, keeping the entire arsenal of existing types of shovels is not always advisable. If you have a small plot, it is likely that a bayonet shovel will be the best option.
It is not difficult to choose a suitable one, because this design rightly remains the most common. Its versatility covers almost the entire range of garden work: digging planting holes, digging plants for the winter, harvesting.
When choosing, the type of soil on the site plays an important role. Different blades are suitable for different types of soil: loose soil, sand are dug up with a shovel with a rectangular blade.
Rounded and sharpened will perform better on hard and clay soil.
The metal should be at least 1.5 mm thick and the blade should be sharpened. Put the tool in working position and push the bucket: it must not bend.
Less bending allows the “American”, which reduces back strain and makes the work process easier. The shaft and bucket of such a shovel are connected at a slight angle, and the shaft is slightly curved. Some people may find this configuration unfamiliar and therefore less comfortable.
Match the equipment to your own height. The optimal height corresponds to the level of the owner’s shoulders. In some cases (when working with heavy soil) it should be shorter, up to the bend of the elbow joint. Simply cut off the excess part.
Massive models with a long, wide bucket are fine for men; lighter versions are better for women and teenagers.
Don’t forget to get a holder. To avoid puzzling over which one is better to choose, make it your own hands: you can find many ideas on the Internet.
That’s all the uncomplicated tips. We hope that the selected shovel will serve you faithfully for more than one year.