- 1 What’s The Difference Between Snow Shovels?
- 2 Features You Should Look For
- 3 Best Snow Shovel Reviews
- 3.1 Best Snow Shovel – Metal Blade
- 3.2 Best Snow Shovel – Poly Blade
- 3.3 Best Snow Shovel – Hybrid Blade
- 3.4 Best Snow Shovel – Ergonomic Handle
- 3.5 Best Snow Shovel – Dual Grip
- 3.6 Best Snow Shovel – Collapsible
- 3.7 Best Snow Shovel – Children’s
- 3.8 Best Metal Scoop
- 3.9 Best Poly Scoop
- 3.10 Best Sleigh-Style Scoop
- 3.11 Best Snow Pusher – Metal
- 3.12 Best Snow Pusher – Poly
- 3.13 Best Snow Pusher – Mammoth Size
- 3.14 Best Snow Pusher – Wheeled
- 3.15 The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:
If you only have a little area to clear, you don’t necessarily need a snow blower. At that point, it’s time to find a quality shovel. But what’s the best snow shovel for your needs? Are there actually any differences, and is any type better than all the rest?
Today we’ll go over everything you need to know to pick the right snow shovel for your task. By the time we’re finished, you should know exactly what you need to quickly dispatch those piles of white stuff. Remember, once you’ve finished shoveling, sprinkle an ice melt over the top to wipe out any remaining slippery spots!
Best Snow Shovel:
- Poly Blade Snow Shovel: MRC Seymour Commercial Snow Shovel with Fiberglass Handle
- Metal Blade Snow Shovel: Suncast SNFA2130 18-Inch Aluminum Snow Shovel
- Hybrid Blade Snow Shovel: Suncast SC2700 20-Inch Snow Shovel/Pusher Combo
- Ergonomic Handle: Suncast SC3250 18-Inch Snow Shovel/Pusher Combo w/Ergonomic Handle
- Dual-Grip: Snow Joe SJ-SHLV02 18-Inch Snow Shovel W/Assisted Handle
- Collapsible: AAA 4002 Gold Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel
- Children’s: Garant Kids Poly Snow Shovel
Best Snow Pusher or Scoop:
- Metal Scoop: XtremepowerUS Big Scoop Aluminum Snow Shovel with Soft Grip Handle
- Poly Scoop: Bully Tools 92400 Mulch/Snow Scoop
- Sleigh-Style Scoop: Garant YPSS26U Yukon 26-Inch Poly Scoop Ergonomic Sleigh Shovel
- Metal Snow Pusher: Bully Tools 92819 Steel Snow Pusher, 30″
- Poly Snow Pusher: Bigfoot Northern Lites 25″ Poly Pusher Snow Shovel
- Mammoth-Size Snow Pusher: Manplow REV42 – 42 Inch Revolution Snow Pusher
- Wheeled Snow Pusher: Dakota SnoBlade Snow Blade Removal Shovel With Wheels
What’s The Difference Between Snow Shovels?
There’s a few different varieties out there, but what’s the best snow shovel for your task? Let’s go over some details.
What Exactly Is A Snow Shovel, Anyway?
While I’ve described the differences between different shovel types extensively, let me narrow in my focus to just the task of moving snow.
Not all snow shovels are equal, but they can all move snow. In its most basic form, a snow shovel is a flat-bladed shovel (a spade) that’s much wider than a digging shovel. This rectangular profile gives you the ability to move large scoops of snow quickly and easily.
There have been multiple variations made over the years to streamline the process of moving snow. At this point, the majority of snow shovels are meant to be used as a hybrid shovel/pusher. This gives the most adaptability for multiple snow types.
However, snow pushers are also extremely common. These aren’t a shovel in the traditional sense, as you don’t physically pick up and move the snow. Still, snow pushers are considered part of the wider category of snow shovels, so I’m including them here.
Scoops are also common, as you’ll read below!
A scoop is in essence a flat-bladed shovel that has very high sides. These are made to pick up much larger scoops of snow at one time. While these are horrible for wet snow because of the snow’s weight, for light and fluffy snow these are perfect. You can move a considerable amount more powdery snow with one of these than a standard shovel.
Scoops are also used commonly for moving mulch, compost, or other light to medium-weight materials. They’re also handy if you’re in an area where you’re likely to get multiple feet of snow, as they can be used to reduce the height of snowdrifts before switching to an alternative snow shovel.
For people who get huge drifts of powdery snow, you might find yourself in need of one of these. You can quickly and easily slide your powder out of the way right after it’s fallen and before it has a chance to freeze. However, if your snow is slushy, these get heavy very quickly.
Hybrid Snow Shovel/Pusher
These hybrid devices have a slightly shorter blade than a standard shovel, but are curved in a way that enables you to both shovel and push. While the pusher aspects work best on lighter-weight snow, this is a good crossover that’s become quite popular for people who want just one tool.
The storm has just ended, and you’ve got a sidewalk full of fresh snowfall. It’s time to reach for the snow pusher. The curved, wide blade glides along icy surfaces, making short work of the snow. Think of it as a squeegee for frozen water.
With widths that are far wider than the typical shovel, sometimes even 40 or more inches, these can clear a sidewalk in one pass. Just be sure to use it after every snowfall so the white stuff doesn’t have a chance to build up.
Wheeled Snow Pusher
For those who find the weight of the pusher and snow a bit much, there are wheeled snow pushers. This allows the pusher to support most of its own weight. This can also be great for people who’re older, giving them something a bit more stable to work with.
There’s a number of kits which come with multiple kinds of tools, including not just a shovel, but an ice scraper, a brush, and similar items. These kits are often meant for travel uses, just to dig your car out of an unexpected snowdrift or the like. Since these come with multiple different accessories, I consider them their own category.
Features You Should Look For
Now that you know the different types that exist, what makes the best snow shovel? Well, that really depends on the job you’re going to be doing. Let’s go over some features which are available to learn more.
Handle Length and Material
Choosing a handle with the right length for you is important. A tall person using a short-handled shovel is going to find themselves stooping a lot, which may cause back strain with repetition. So it’s important to find a length that fits your task.
Having said that, there are times when a shorter-handled snow shovel is better. If you’ve got a path cleared but need to move snow off higher things (ledges, raised planters, etc), you don’t need to reach the ground.
The handle material will have an impact on the weight of the shovel. Some materials are more durable than others, too, so that’s something to take into consideration.
Common types include:
- Fiberglass. This is the most durable, but the trade-off is that it’s also heavier than most other handles. These will last virtually forever even with poor care, but might be too weighty.
- Wood. The classic handle material, wood is durable and reasonably lightweight, but if not maintained well, they can splinter or crack. Wood also absorbs moisture and swells and contracts, so you may need to tighten bolts if your shovel head loosens.
- Metal. These handles are lightweight, but because they’re hollow, they are subject to bending if you’re trying to lift too much weight. They also conduct the cold straight up the blade to your hands, which may not be good while shoveling snow!
- Plastic. I’m including resins in this category. These tend to be the lightest-weight handles, and can be reasonably sturdy. However, regular exposure to sun, heat and weather can make these handles brittle. Best stored in the dry and cool areas of your garage to preserve handle longevity.
As with handles, the blade material matters. However, it’s not just strength and weight that needs to be considered, it’s functionality. The most common materials used for snow shovel blades are plastic, metal, and graphite. There are also hybrid blades available.
- Plastic blades are the lightest. Made of either a rigid resin or a slightly less-rigid heavy-duty plastic, these have some flexibility. The biggest perk of plastic is that snow doesn’t stick to it. However, these can get damaged much more easily, and they may not penetrate through super-hard packed snow or ice.
- Metal blades will easily cut through even the hardest snowpack, and can be used to chip ice off the driveway or sidewalk. However, they tend to be heavier in terms of weight. Because the blade gets super-chilled, snow can get stuck in clumps to the blade’s surface. Plus, the rigid edge can create scrapes on the surfaces you’re clearing.
- Graphite blades are right in the middle of those two, and can handle both hard and soft snow. They also are non-stick surfaces, allowing the snow to slide right off and not freeze in place. However, graphite blades are few and far between, and can be expensive.
- Hybrid blades use a plastic or graphite shovel head with a metal edge. These tend to dominate the market because they provide both the chipping ability of metal and the lightweight nature of plastic. But these, along with the full metal blades, can scrape surfaces like wood decks and cause damage. Use these only on surfaces you don’t mind getting scratched.
I’ve mentioned weight a lot, but I can’t even begin to emphasize how important this is, especially if you’re picking up the shovel repeatedly to do a large area.
Snow itself can be quite heavy if it’s densely-packed or wet. Adding the weight of a shovel to this can make it more than you can easily handle. If you’re using a shovel that moves more snow than you’re easily capable of, you’re at risk of a repetitive motion injury.
Because of this, it’s important to select the best snow shovel for your capabilities. Be sure that the blade doesn’t pick up more than you can lift, and that you can easily maneuver it. If you have less arm strength, go for a narrower snow shovel initially until you’ve built up more strength. You can always upgrade later.
As anyone who lives in a snowy area can attest, it sucks when you step out of your office and discover your car in the middle of a snow drift. Even worse, the local snowplow can easily cause a car that’s parked at the curb to be surrounded in a gigantic pile.
For situations like these, it’s essential to have a good snow shovel in the trunk. There are many collapsible models out there which can help you clear the space around your car and get back on the road.
Comfort and Ergonomics
There are many modifications made to snow shovels now which can offer much more comfort in use.
Ergonomic handles are a great option for some, but not for everyone. The curvature of the handle means that you don’t have to bend down as far to scoop up the snow. However, it may be more difficult to grip, especially if the handle has no texturing. Still, if you can’t bend well, these are great for you.
Dual handles provide two secure grips, allowing you to really dig into the snow well. The lower handle makes it easier to lift the snow with your upper body strength while maneuvering it out of the way. Your body acts as a fulcrum for quick snow-moving action.
For those of us whose backs won’t take the lifting that shoveling snow can entail, a pusher can be a great option. Some even have wheels that help to support some of the weight of the device, and make it easier to move snow.
Best Snow Shovel Reviews
Best Snow Shovel – Metal Blade
Suncast SNFA2130 18-Inch Aluminum Snow Shovel
Sometimes, old-fashioned is best. Metal-bladed snow shovels have been around for far longer than their poly counterparts. They can get through ice to get rid of the snow, and in colder climates, that’s essential.
This Suncast snow shovel provides a solid edge that can hack through snow and ice. Lightweight, its fiber-core handle is durable and well-affixed to the metal head. It can easily get all the way to the ground without any difficulty.
Sure, a little snow can freeze onto the shovel if you’re in sub-freezing conditions. All it takes is a thump against the ground and most of it will come off. That makes it the best snow shovel in the metal-bladed category for sure.
Best Snow Shovel – Poly Blade
MRC Seymour Commercial Snow Shovel with Fiberglass Handle
This commercial-grade snow shovel delivers. An eighteen-inch wide blade makes short work of your snow piles. Designed for heavy-wear situations, the blade is made of a super-strong ABS that lasts extremely well even when used on concrete. It does not have a metal blade on the edge, so you won’t scrape up your deck.
The handle is a comfortable 44 inches in length, comparable to other D-handled shovels on the market. It’s constructed of strong fiberglass. And the whole thing is lightweight and easy to use.
If you want an all-poly blade that will hold up to whatever task you put it to, whether it’s shoveling or pushing your snow out of the way, this is the best snow shovel for you.
Best Snow Shovel – Hybrid Blade
Suncast SC2700 20-Inch Snow Shovel/Pusher Combo
When you are looking for the best snow shovel hybrid, this is the one you should be considering. Heavy-duty graphite is edged with a steel reinforcing strip at the edge of the blade to cut right through ice. Nonstick and resilient to damage, the deep scooped shape enables it to push snow as easily as it shovels.
The D-ring handle ensures you have a secure grip on this medium-weight shovel. The handle is slightly textured along the length so your other hand won’t slip. At 51″ in length from grip to blade tip, it’s longer than most, making it a good choice for taller people.
Be forewarned, at a 20″ blade width, this can become quite a weighty monster with a full load of snow. If you aren’t used to shoveling snow and don’t have a snow blower, you might want to use it as a pusher until you’ve reduced the snowpack.
Best Snow Shovel – Ergonomic Handle
Suncast SC3250 18-Inch Snow Shovel/Pusher Combo w/Ergonomic Handle
Ergonomic shovels are strangely-shaped, but for a reason. That longer, bent handle provides you less back strain from bending over to move snow. And this Suncast snow shovel is one of the best snow shovel purchases you’ll ever make if you have a bad back.
While it can get weighty and a bit awkward if used like a traditional shovel, the beauty of this style lies in its ability to clear paths with minimal lifting. You can easily clear your walkways with this snow shovel, and the steel reinforced edge makes it able to bite into ice too.
Not everyone is going to like the ergonomic styles. But for those who do, this is the best snow shovel in the ergonomic category, and well worth considering.
Best Snow Shovel – Dual Grip
Snow Joe SJ-SHLV02 18-Inch Snow Shovel W/Assisted Handle
I have to admit, I really, REALLY like this snow shovel. The fulcrum-like action of your body seriously moves snow right out of the way. That second grip makes the entire shovel easier to hold onto despite any adverse weather conditions. And best of all, it’s incredibly lightweight.
While there is another version of this shovel that has a metal edge to the blade, I prefer the polycarbonate edge. This is not a shovel made for chipping away ice. It’s a shovel made for getting snow out of the way as quickly as you can. Therefore, it’s important to have an edge that’s unlikely to damage the surface you’re clearing while still remaining up to the task.
The clear blade itself is a bit gimmicky, but can be useful. After all, if you’re clearing a narrow path, you’ll be able to see when you find the edge of the grass and stop there. All things considered, this is the best snow shovel in the dual-grip category, and I think it might rival any other shovel on the list.
Best Snow Shovel – Collapsible
AAA 4002 Gold Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel
First things first: this should not be the only snow shovel that you rely on for everything. It’s made to be a portable, collapsible model that can be easily transported in the back of the car. It’s not made to handle shoveling your entire property.
But having said that, this portable shovel is a great little tool to have in your snow-defeating arsenal. It’s a bit shorter than a traditional shovel when assembled, but can be set for anything from 25-32 inches in length. Breaks easily down into three segments for transport and can be tucked into a bag or the trunk easily.
For an emergency shovel, or even just to clear the extra snow away from your wheels before you pull out on the plowed road, this is a great tool. As far as collapsible models go, this is the best snow shovel for your money.
Best Snow Shovel – Children’s
Garant Kids Poly Snow Shovel
Let’s face it, your kids are not going to do the brunt of your snow-shoveling work for you, no matter how much you’d like them to. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t teach them how to properly shovel snow at a young age.
This Garant snow shovel is available in pink or red and is sturdy enough that you’ll want to use it yourself to clear off the front porch steps. It’s molded plastic from blade to grip, and thus is extremely lightweight. Unlike most other kid-sized snow shovels, this one has a reasonable scoop to the blade for holding snow, which is a perk.
With this, your kid won’t steal your full-sized snow shovel to build their snow fort. Who knows, you might even come home to a clear walkway!
Best Metal Scoop
XtremepowerUS Big Scoop Aluminum Snow Shovel with Soft Grip Handle
What I like the most about this scoop is that it’s got a soft grip handle that’s super-easy to hold onto, even when wet. And when you’re shoveling snow, everything is likely to be wet!
The aluminum blade on this shovel is lightweight but easy to use for tasks like spreading rock salt as well as shoveling snow. It’s a bit on the short side in terms of handle length. However, that can be a plus if you’re trying to remove multiple feet of snow, as you can use this to take down the top layers and then swap to a longer-handled shovel to finish the job off.
Best Poly Scoop
Bully Tools 92400 Mulch/Snow Scoop
Fiberglass-handled with a polypropylene handle, the Bully Tools 92400 is an effective and useful scoop. It has a heavy-duty, non-slip D-grip on the end of the handle to provide a secure grip.
Perfect for transfer of multiple materials, including snow, mulch, and lightweight composts, this scoop will be useful year-round for many different tasks. Bully makes solid tools, and this one is no exception to the rule.
Best Sleigh-Style Scoop
Garant YPSS26U Yukon 26-Inch Poly Scoop Ergonomic Sleigh Shovel
When you want to move a whole lot of snow, and you want to move it fast, this Garant sleigh shovel is the best snow shovel for the task. At 26 inches wide, it’s like having your own human-powered snow plow chewing through the white stuff.
A galvanized steel strip prevents wear to the front edge of the scoop. The big walls keep snow in place until you’re ready to dump it. The handle is also steel and is attached to the polyethylene blade securely.
It’s going to require some muscle to move it, but if you’re looking for the fastest way to clear your space, this is it.
Best Snow Pusher – Metal
Bully Tools 92819 Steel Snow Pusher, 30″
Steel, fiberglass, and a limited lifetime warranty! The Bully Tools line is always durable, and if for some reason it’s not, they are willing to take steps to back up their products. This snow pusher is no exception to the rule.
While it’s a little weightier than other models, you are definitely getting a quality snow clearing device. This will also take up most of the residual ice on the sidewalk that happens after a normal shoveling. Anything that’s left behind can be easily wiped out with a sprinkling of a good ice melt.
Best Snow Pusher – Poly
Bigfoot Northern Lites 25″ Poly Pusher Snow Shovel
Just like a snow plow, the Bigfoot snow shovel rolls the snow due to its curved blade shape, easily pushing it out of the way. Reinforced along the blade’s 25″ width with a steel strip, it will easily wipe out whole driveways of snow. If you’re looking to clear your driveway, sidewalk, or other wide space, this will do the trick.
The metal handle is attached at the midpoint of the blade for maximum leverage. While I would prefer a non-metal handle just to reduce the wintry chill on my hands while working, with this you shouldn’t be out too long. And unless you break down and buy a snow blower, the faster you finish, the faster you’re back inside!
Best Snow Pusher – Mammoth Size
Manplow REV42 – 42 Inch Revolution Snow Pusher
The Manplow snow shovel is a behemoth of a tool. 42 inches of polyethylene blade means you’ll take huge swaths out of any snowfall you may encounter. While this is a bit overkill for most, if you have a lot of space to clear in a hurry and don’t want a snow blower, this is your tool.
And if this isn’t enough manual snow-moving power for you, they have a 62″ wide model too!
Best Snow Pusher – Wheeled
Dakota SnoBlade Snow Blade Removal Shovel With Wheels
Of all of the wheeled snow shovels I looked at, this one was the most effective. It’s designed with an end cap blocking one side of the blade so it forces all of the snow out the open side. This means you get to direct the snow exactly where you want it to be instead of leaving narrow stripes of snow in your already-cleared space.
Want to go the other direction? Flip the SnoBlade snow shovel 180 degrees, and now it’ll push the snow out the opposite side. If you regularly get a few inches of snow and want to wipe it out quickly and effectively, this is the best way to do it. There’s no muss, no fuss, just quick and easy snow-clearing action.
Hopefully by now you’ve discovered the best tool for all that white stuff that winter leaves behind. While all of these still require a little physical labor, they’re effective and easy to use. And besides, you get a great workout with some of them. Winter exercise has never been easier! How deep is your maximum shoveling limit? Share your shoveling stories in the comments below!
The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:
Last update on 2018-12-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API