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Parts of a Shovel (Diagram and In-Depth Write-Up)

Learn about all the different parts of shovel here with custom diagram and full write up discussing the different types of parts you can get for different shovels.

Diagram showing the different parts of a shovel

The components of a shovel not only help you complete your tasks efficiently and comfortably, but they also vary, depending on shovel type, to work with the kind of job for which manufacturers intended.

You might see different components on some shovels, depending on their main purpose. But, generally, these are the parts you can expect to see on a shovel, starting from the top of the shovel and moving down.

As a result of different types of parts of a shovel you get different types of shovels.

1. Grip

Shovel Poly D-Grip made in plastic with black finish.

Source: Amazon.com

The grip is the part of the shovel that your hand will touch when you grasp the handle. For safety purposes, a non-slip handle is a good option for most tasks, but not all shovels come with grips.

3 Types of shovel grips

a. No-Grip

Red no-grip shovel made with durable plastic.

Source: Amazon

No-grip shovels, as the name suggest, have no grip. Instead, your hand will touch the handle directly, which could be made of wood, metal, fiberglass, or another material.

On shovels without a grip, the handle material usually is smooth enough to grasp comfortably. Wood shovels, for example, will typically have a coated handle that prevents you from getting splinters from handling the wood.

However, no-grip shovels can become uncomfortable after long periods of work with your shovel, so that should be an essential point to consider when you shop.

b. Non-Slip

Fiberglass gardening shovel with yellow handle and non-slip grip.

Source: Amazon

Non-slip grips can come in a variety of materials, like rubber or silicone. The grip will either cover the whole handle or just a portion of it, right where your hand holds the handle.

Non-slip grips on a shovel help you get a firm grasp on the tool to prevent slipping and injury. They also keep the handle dry in wet conditions, like while you’re shoveling snow or working in the rain.

There are various replacement handle grips and non-slip materials on the market that you can use if your grip wears down over time, or if your shovel didn’t come with this type of grip. This can save you from a full handle replacement, which can be more costly and time-consuming.

c. Foam grip

Foam grips can add comfort to a handle, but they aren’t always the most durable. Depending on the type of foam, a foam handle can break down over time from the movement of your hand on the handle.

2. Handle

Closed back solid socket shovel handle in clear finish.

Source: Amazon

Where the grip sites, and where you place your hand, is the handle of the shovel. Handles come in several shapes that align with the work for which the shovel is intended.

Shovel handles can break down over time, although some handle materials are more durable than others. The weight that you move with the tool can also impact how well the handle holds up.

This video provides a helpful overview of how to replace your shovel handle if it breaks and you’re comfortable with tackling the project yourself:

3 Types of Shovel Handels

a. Straight Handle

Caprock Irrigation shovel with ash wood straight handle and solid shank blade.

Source: Amazon

Some shovels don’t come with a handle that you usually see on them, with a designated spot for your hand to sit. Instead, it might have a straight handle, which is also the shaft of the shovel.

This design can give you some more leverage when manipulating your tool because it lets you spread your arms out to gain control and place your hands where they’re most comfortable. They can also be beneficial for tall people because of the long shaft.

However, these shovels usually don’t have grips on them.

b. D-Grip Handle

Super duty D-Grip for pike pole shovel.

Source: Amazon

A D-grip handle is the most common type to see on a shovel. This handle forms a shape like a V, with two sides coming up to meet a horizontal bar where you hand goes.

D-grip handles are sometimes a separate piece that attaches to a shovel’s shaft with glue or screws. This type is more susceptible to damage over time, especially if you’re lifting heavy weights with your shovel.

Some manufacturers create the D-grip in one piece with the shaft, which allows them to hold extra weight and may last better over time.

c. Crutch Handle

Barrel T crutch handle shovel with square mouth.

Source: Toolstop

A crutch handle is also known as a T-grip because of the t-shape it forms. It’s usually longer than the D-grip handle, which makes it perfect for large hands who might have trouble grasping a smaller handle.

Clutch handles often have grooves in which you can place your fingers to keep them properly positioned, since there are no sides on this handle, like the D-grip, to keep your hand in position.

3. Shaft

Shaft shovel handle made with fiberglass.

Source: Zoro

Sometimes, people refer to the shaft as the handle. This is technically only the case when the handle of the shovel is straight, making the shaft double as the handle.

On other shovels, though, the shaft is the pole that connects the handle to the rest of the shovel. They can come in various sizes to make it more comfortable for people of different heights to find the right fit.

Some shovels have curved, rather than straight, shafts that make it easier to complete specific tasks with it and can also prevent some back curvature when using it.

4. CollarShovel's collar in hardwood with black jacket.

 

Source: Zac’s Garden

The next part of the shovel, moving downward, is the collar. This is the part where the blade meets the shaft, keeping the blade attached to it. It resembles the collar of a shirt circling the neck, hence its name.

The collar typically attaches to the shaft with screws or bolts. Sometimes, especially on less expensive shovels, glue holds them together, but this method isn’t the best for heavy jobs and long-term use.

5. Step

Intermediate shovel with teeth and step.

Source: Amazon

The step of a shovel is, as the name suggests, where you can place your foot to add some more force. You’ll find the step on the top part of the blade.

Some blades have gripping steps with tread to help keep your foot in place as you use it to prevent slipping and injury.

You’ll find steps most often on digging shovels, which you’ll use to delve into the hard earth. The step can reduce pain and strain on your back by letting your feet do some of the hard labor.

6. Blade

Replacement shovel blade for wheeled shovels.

Source: Wovel

The blade is the part that shovels. They can come in a wide range of shapes for different types of shovels, which we’ll delve into in a moment.

Shovel manufacturers also make blades from several materials. The blades of less expensive shovels may be plastic or aluminum, while top-of-the-line shovels meant for heavy lifting usually have a heavy-duty steel blade.

7. Tip

Tropicalized steel shovel with hardened tip.

Source: Giemme Argenta

The tip is the point the blade makes, which is sometimes not a point at all. Blades can be squared, rounded, pointed, and other shapes that help the shovel do the job for which it was intended.

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