A hand shovel is a small shovel, usually only a few inches in length, designed to be used with one hand. It usually features a small blade made of plastic or metal, depending on its intended purpose, which is attached to a handle of wood, metal, or rubber. Hand shovels are very inexpensive, and are used by many people, particularly for gardening purposes.
Though a small hand shovel may not be very effective for a large garden, those with a small container garden, or even a garden in a small plot outside, may find a hand shovel to be all they need when planting. Of course, it is necessary to till and aerate the soil with another type of garden tool, but the shovel is great for digging small holes for seeds or starting plants. A spade is a type of garden hand shovel often used for this purpose, but spades are designed to have long, narrow blades, as compared to a regular small garden shovel with a shorter, wider blade.
For harder, dryer soils, it may be necessary to purchase a hand shovel with a metal blade and a pointed tip, but for soft soils, a plastic blade with a rounded tip will probably suffice. Hand shovels are also quite handy when repotting plants, as they allow the user to transfer soil from one pot to another without spilling it everywhere, which could easily happen with a larger shovel. Hand shovels also make it easier to scoop soil out of a bag of potting soil.
Some people also carry a hand shovel to clean up after their pets when taking them for a walk. A small hand shovel may not be the best choice for this unpleasant task, however. Instead, one might choose to use a specially designed scooper for this purpose, which features a longer handle, preventing the need to bend down close to the ground.
Some hand shovels are designed to be collapsible, and may be taken along when camping for sanitation purposes. A hand shovel may also refer to a shovel that can be folded for storage in a car, such as for digging the car out of snow. In addition, toy hand shovels are made for children for digging in the sandbox or at the beach. Hand shovels are convenient gardening tools that come in all shapes and designs to suit every need; some are even decorated with flowers or colorful images for those who might enjoy gardening with such a tool.