Shovel vs. Backhoe

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Shovel and Backhoe is that the Shovel is a tool for digging, lifting, and moving bulk materials and Backhoe is a excavating equipment consisting of a digging bucket on the end of a two-part articulated arm

  • Shovel

    A shovel is a tool for digging, lifting, and moving bulk materials, such as soil, coal, gravel, snow, sand, or ore.

    Most shovels are hand tools consisting of a broad blade fixed to a medium-length handle. Shovel blades are usually made of sheet steel or hard plastics and are very strong. Shovel handles are usually made of wood (especially specific varieties such as ash or maple) or glass-reinforced plastic (fibreglass).

    Hand shovel blades made of sheet steel usually have a folded seam or hem at the back to make a socket for the handle. This fold also commonly provides extra rigidity to the blade. The handles are usually riveted in place. A T-piece is commonly fitted to the end of the handle to aid grip and control where the shovel is designed for moving soil and heavy materials. These designs can all be easily mass-produced.

    The term shovel also applies to larger excavating machines called power shovels, which serve the same purpose—digging, lifting, and moving material. Modern power shovels descend from steam shovels. Loaders and excavators (such as backhoes) perform similar work, etically speaking, but are not classified as shovels emically.

    Hand shovels have been adapted for many different tasks and environments. They can be optimized for a single task or designed as cross-over or compromise multitaskers. It’s very useful in agriculture. Examples are given under “Types”.

  • Backhoe

    A backhoe — also called rear actor or back actor — is a type of excavating equipment, or digger, consisting of a digging bucket on the end of a two-part articulated arm. It is typically mounted on the back of a tractor or front loader, the latter forming a “backhoe loader” (a US term, but known as a “JCB” in Ireland and the UK). The section of the arm closest to the vehicle is known as the boom, while the section that carries the bucket is known as the dipper (or dipper-stick), both terms derived from steam shovels. The boom is generally attached to the vehicle through a pivot known as the king-post, which allows the arm to pivot left and right, usually through a total of 180 to 200 degrees.

  • Shovel (noun)

    A hand tool with a handle, used for moving portions of material such as earth, snow, and grain from one place to another, with some forms also used for digging. Not to be confused with a spade, which is designed solely for small-scale digging and incidental tasks such as chopping of small roots.

  • Shovel (noun)

    A spade.

  • Shovel (verb)

    To move materials with a shovel.

    “The workers were shovelling gravel and tarmac into the pothole in the road.”

    “After the blizzard, we shoveled the driveway for the next two days.”

    “I don’t mind shoveling, but using a pickaxe hurts my back terribly.”

  • Shovel (verb)

    To move with a shoveling motion.

  • Backhoe (noun)

    A piece of excavating equipment consisting of a digging bucket or scoop on the end of an articulated arm, drawn backwards to move earth.

  • Backhoe (noun)

    A multi-purpose tractor with a front-mounted loading bucket and a rear-mounted digging bucket.

  • Backhoe (verb)

    To excavate using such equipment.


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