Difference Between Mattock And Pickaxe- Fully Explained

difference between mattock and pickaxe
difference between mattock and pickaxe

Both mattocks and pickaxes are very useful for anyone that works with soil. But, they aren’t the same thing by any means.

The difference between their use is as clear as night and day. Using them interchangeably isn’t the smartest thing to do because of that. Here’s what you need to know about how both of these tools differ, and what they’re best used for.

What’s The Difference Between Mattocks and Pickaxes?

Even though it’s not a rare tool, new users might find it hard to find the difference between a pickaxe and a mattock. If you don’t know how they differ either, rest assured that they’re completely different tools despite having a somewhat similar appearance.

A pickaxe typically has a pointed end and a flat end, and a long handle between both of them. The pointed side is for breaking up hard soil, rocks, and other hard materials, while the flat end is used for prying and breaking apart larger things.

pickaxe and mattock

These tools are usually used for construction, gardening, and mining.

The handle on them is larger than a mattock, but the edges are smaller and sharper. They’re commonly used to force your way through rocks, rough grounds, and harder surfaces. On the other hand, mattocks are gentler tools used for chopping and softening the soil.

They can help you pave a way deeper into the soil or rearrange it.

Mattocks have a slightly different shape when you compare them to pickaxes. There’s a pick on one end and a horizontal blade on the other. As mentioned earlier, the handle is shorter than a pickaxe too. The pick end is for breaking up soil and rocks, and the blade is for chopping or digging through things.

These tools are very versatile because of their design, and you’ll see them used in gardening, mining, and construction, just like a pickaxe. But, they also have additional uses in landscaping and agriculture too.

When you come across a rock or some other solid material that blocks your path, that’s when a pickaxe comes in to help you continue your way into the soil.

That makes it much easier for you to continue digging or planting deeper into the ground. They can also be used on harder surfaces other than just soil, while mattocks generally would not be able to work on anything rougher than hard soil.


If you’re still not completely sure about what the differences between both of these tools is, this table should make it clearer for you:

Mattock Pickaxe
Mattocks have shorter handles. Pickaxes have longer handles
Their horizontal blade is shorter, and is great for digging or chopping your way through certain surfaces or adjusting soil to your liking. Their horizontal blade is larger in size, and you can use them to force your way through hard surfaces, clear trenches, or break rocky soil.
Mattocks are much more versatile because of their design and are used in construction, mining, agriculture, landscaping, and gardening. Pickaxes also have many uses, but the list falls short compared to the common uses of a mattock. You can see these tools being used for construction, mining, gardening, and some other things.
Mattocks are gentler tools that can’t do much on harder surfaces Pickaxes tend to be a lot more forceful than a mattock, and can be used to dig and break through surfaces like stone.
A mattock is better suited to gardening, landscaping, and other soft work. A pickaxe is better for heavy duty work like construction and mining.

Keeping these key distinctions between the two in mind, you know exactly just how big of a difference between these two there is.

Wrapping Up

These are the main differences between a mattock and a pickaxe. Pickaxes are used more widely, but mattocks technically have more uses as a tool.

I hope that this guide was able to help tell you the differences between both these while also giving you a better idea of how they’re best used!

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