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What Is an Electric Shovel?

For large areas, a full-size snow blower may be more effective than an electric shovel.
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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2014
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An electric shovel is a device that allows a person to more easily remove excess snow from areas such as walkways and decks, without the physical strain of manual shoveling. These devices are typically made to resemble a shovel in general shape, with a long handle and the “shoveling” mechanism at the end of the handle. While operating, the shovel head will pull in snow that it is moved into, and then throw that snow forward through the air in front of the user, allowing a clear path to be created. An electric shovel may also refer to a large piece of construction equipment, used to clear out large amounts of dirt and rocks.

Also called a power shovel or electric snow thrower, an electric shovel is typically powered through the use of an electrical socket. The cord on most shovels will not be very long, so an extension cord is typically required. Users should be sure to use an outdoor extension cord since the use of the shovel will often mean the cord could sit in water from melted snow during use. The user of an electric shovel will then hold the handle of the shovel, often with one hand in a grip area and the other hand on a second handle for stability, and move the shovel forward into snow.

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A device is located at the head of an electric shovel that is fairly similar to a small snow thrower. The device takes snow in as it is moved forward into the snow, and then throws the snow forward, usually about 20 feet (about 6 meters), to clear a path. This type of device will often work best on fresh or loose snow — densely-packed snow may not be cleared quite as effectively. An electric shovel also typically works best on flat, solid surfaces, such as paved driveways, sidewalks, and decks; use on dirt or gravel can cause issues, and for large areas a full-size snow blower may be more effective.

Large machines used to clear out massive amounts of dirt or soil can also be referred to as an electric shovel. Often called electric mining shovels or power shovels, these machines typically have an arm at the front of them with a large bucket used to scoop up dirt and rocks. The machine can then be used to turn and transfer the contents of the bucket onto a vehicle for transport or a pile. This type of machine is often used in mining or excavating to clear out large sections at once.

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