What is a Steel Shovel?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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A steel shovel is a device used to dig into the earth. There are many designs and types of steel shovel available. Some shovels have pointed cutting edges, which aid in sinking through the hard soil. Many types of steel shovel design use flat cutting edges, which provide a better scooping action and allow a worker to get a clean cut and follow hard ground and concrete surfaces smoothly. The two main areas of use for a steel shovel are to dig and to scoop.

When choosing a steel shovel to complete a task, the user should first decide on the shovel's job. If the shovel is to work in a very hard area, it would typically be best to use a pointed steel shovel. If the task is to dig a deep hole, a long-handled shovel would be best-suited for the job. If the task is to dig a long, shallow trench, a pointed shovel with a shorter handle may be more appropriate.


When tasked to a day of mixing cement, a square, flat shovel will usually do the best job. When shoveling grain into bins or trailers, a wide, flat-nosed steel shovel will work best. Some manufacturers offering wide-scoop shovel's made of aluminum. This is thought to be better-suited to a long day of scooping, as the shovel does not weigh as much as its steel counterpart. The main problem with this type of shovel is that the softer aluminum wears down much faster than the steel shovel—the lightweight version can actually be worn out in a single day of constant use on a hard surface.

The shovel is one of the earliest tools made from steel. The earliest steel shovel designs were typically flat blades without much bowl shape to the blade. This early design made it difficult to work with, as the dirt, grain or other matter simply slid right off the shovel. As the design progressed, a slight bowl shape was adapted to the design, which allowed the materials to remain on the shovel's blade when working. This dramatically increased the function of the shovel and made the tool much more important to those who would rely on it. Regardless of design, shape or handle type, the tool has been responsible for building may things around the world.


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