An ergonomic shovel is one that is built with a specially designed handle meant to provide comfort and support for the hands, wrists, and arms during heavy shoveling. This tool comes in especially handy for jobs that last several hours, or even days, in which these body parts are prone to injury and strain. Having an ergonomic shovel is a necessity particularly for those who are required to shovel and haul dirty in their jobs, as these individuals are especially prone to muscle sprains and other injuries.
The handle of an ergonomic shovel is contoured to fit the shape of the average person's hands, making it easier to grasp and use. This slight curvature creates less strain and fatigue than would a traditionally designed straight handle. Some ergonomic handles also have finger indentures for a better fit.
Another version of the ergonomic shovel is a model that features not only the contoured handle, but one that is also adjustable in height. This rendition is especially handy for those who are unusually tall or short, to prevent back strain and injury from hours of bending over. This also enables even average height individuals to fully customize the shovel to their needs.
Aside from the handle design, an ergonomic shovel is generally designed very similarly to a standard model. The handle is usually constructed of heavy metal, as well as the scoop, with the type and thickness of the metal correlating with the quality of the shovel itself. Higher priced shovels are usually composed of thicker metal with a rust resistant coating for durability, while less expensive models are more prone to wear and tear.
There are also various types of ergonomic shovels, with each kind featuring a different scoop. Each type is intended for a different shoveling job and may include dirt, gravel, and snow shovels. To find the ergonomic shovel best suited for the task at hand, ask an employee at a local hardware or home supply retailer to discuss their variety of shovels. Handles on each type of ergonomic shovel may also vary. For instance, a shovel that is intended for heavier materials like gravel or rock will generally feature a shorter handle for better leverage when lifting.
When buying a shovel, It is usually easy to tell which shovels are ergonomic due to the slightly curved handles, but if it is not apparent a store employee should recognize which ones are ergonomically made. It is also a good idea to discuss the task for which the shovel is intended, or if it will act as a general purpose tool. In either case, pick the shovel up and give it a test run before purchasing. Make sure the handle is the correct height, width, and shape for maximum comfort.