Someone asked me what makes an edging shovel an edging shovel–because aren’t they really all the same thing? Not exactly. You can use them interchangeably but you won’t get great results and you will probably work quite hard if you have the wrong tool.
These are three of the spades I have. On the left is one I don’t use very often. It works best for picking up things from a hard ground, like for putting mulch into a wheelbarrow. Its flat edge allows you to scrape along the ground to collect stuff. Next is my favorite one (nerd!) and it is best for digging holes. The pointed edge allows you to get the blade into the ground more easily. The one on the right is the edging shovel. It has a thin and flat blade that isn’t very wide, and when you look closely you can see it has a slightly sharpened edge.
Each of these has a spot to put your foot for greater leverage, and each is angled so you can pull the handle down to lever your payload if needed. They also have a D-shaped handle which is also helpful.
You can use hole digger for edging but the smaller point means you will get more of a scalloped edge. The flat mulching shovel is too dull to be an effective edger. If you use the edger to lift mulch or dirt I think you could actually bend the blade since it is so flat.
Come Winter I will discourse on snow shovels and the merits of ice choppers, if you are so inclined! LOL!