The 10 Best Power Snow Shovels
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in November of 2017. When you wake up ready to go to the office or tackle your planned errands, you don't want a driveway or sidewalk full of snow causing a hold up. While manual shovels require a lot of hard work that can hurt your back and take a long time to do the job, the powerful electric models on this list don't need either of those things and will make winter life a lot easier in your household. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 14, 2020:
Power snow shovels are intended to make your life easier, so we specifically looked for features that add to that convenience. For example, we are big fans of the Snow Joe iON13SS because it is cordless, but still offers nearly an hour of runtime from a single charge, so you won't have to stop midway through your driveway because the battery died. Conversely, the Snow Joe SS11 has a very lackluster battery life, but for those with small areas to clear and who prefer to have a very lightweight tool that requires minimal storage space, it is a reasonable option.
One issue people may have with powered shovels is that many of them only blow straight ahead. However, the Earthwise SN70016, Earthwise SN74016, GreenWorks 26022, and Greenworks Pro 20-Inch 80V all feature adjustable discharge chutes, which means you can direct the snow to your desired location. It is worth nothing that the Greenworks Pro 20-Inch 80V is a bit out of category, as it is technically a snow blower, albeit a reasonably small one that is easy to maneuver and which doesn't require a huge amount of storage space. Of all the options on our list, it is the best for very deep accumulations or hard-packed slushy snow.
In addition to having adjustable chutes, the Earthwise SN70016, Earthwise SN74016, GreenWorks 26022, and Greenworks Pro 20-Inch 80V also stand out for having wheels. This allows you to push them much like a standard lawn mower and means they will require a bit less physical effort than some other models.
November 21, 2019:
This round of updates we removed the Earthwise Corded – due to availability issues, and added the Powerworks SS60L00 in its place – a well-reviewed, cordless option that caught our eye.
A note on power snow shovels:
While there’s certainly a place on the market for machines like these, they have their limitations. Power snow shovels can be great when it comes time to clear multi-level areas (like decks and stairs) that are inaccessible to snow blowers , but snow blowers tend to be a much better bet when it comes time to groom larger areas, like your driveway, back lane or sidewalk.
Furthermore, while your power snow shovel might be your weapon of choice when it comes time to quickly blow a few inches of powder off your patio, when your deck gets dumped on with deep, wet snow, you might find that your power snow shovel isn’t the most efficient way to get the job done. When you’re dealing with deep, heavy precipitation, sometimes nothing beats a good, old-fashioned snow shovel. There’s even shovels with wheels available, to help minimize heavy lifting.
Hammacher Schlemmer Hybrid Electric Snow Shovel Oftentimes, consumers have to make a compromise when choosing a corded or cordless tool. However, with the Hammacher Schlemmer Hybrid Electric Snow Shovel you get the best of both worlds. It can run on battery power when you want cordless convenience, or plug into an AC outlet when you need continuous operation for a large job. hammacher.com
Powering Through The Snowpack
A power snow shovel expends a majority of its energy spinning an auger.
The process by which water crystallizes in the atmosphere can often result in snowfall under optimal environmental conditions. Additionally, each individual snowflake is diverse in shape and complexity and its physical properties are largely dependent upon the dynamics of the environment. When conditions are just right, these fallen snowflakes accumulate into large snowpacks on your driveway, patio, or porch. While an ordinary shovel can clear the way, albeit rather slowly, that kind of manual labor is a lot of work. On the other hand, the amount of land around your home may not warrant the need for a heavy-duty snowblower, either. Keeping these things in mind, a good middle ground between manual labor and a gas-powered snowblower is the power snow shovel.
Capable of receiving its electric current from either a power cord or battery pack, a power snow shovel is a lightweight, compact machine designed to push or throw small amounts of snow out of the way, quickly clearing a path on small driveways and other areas with a snowpack obstruction. A power snow shovel expends a majority of its energy spinning an auger. Acting like a powerful broom, the auger helps to propel the shovel forward as it collects snow on the ground and tosses it several feet away from your property. Most power snow shovels offer around 12 inches of clearance width and cutting depths between 6 and 8 inches, making them ideal for small snow removal jobs in one-car driveways and on staircases.
The power snow shovel offers several benefits over its traditional counterparts. Firstly, it spares you from having to perform unnecessary manual labor. Even a small driveway takes a long time to clear with an ordinary shovel. This entails back-breaking work, especially if you have to dig six to eight inches down just to clear a path for your car. Depending on your age, that extra work and extended time outdoors in the extreme cold can strain your muscles or shoulders and even affect your heart, making the power snow shovel an indispensable tool for aging homeowners who are suffering from cardiovascular disease. Secondly, the power snow shovel is lightweight and relatively easy to carry. Many of these tools weigh less than 15 pounds and their compact size makes them easy to store in the garage when not in use. Thirdly, they are relatively low-maintenance machines when compared to gas-powered snowblowers, as they have no spark plugs or oil that require changing or air filters to clean. Fourthly, power snow shovels don't produce any harmful carbon emissions, so they're much friendlier to the environment than their bulkier snowblowing competition. Finally, these shovels use considerably less energy than electric snowblowers, so they can be easily operated on the same breaker as other electric appliances in your home.
How Best To Clear A Path
So now that you're ready to invest in a power snow shovel, what features should be prioritized? Remember that the machine is built for efficiency, so considering the tool's clearance width is an important factor. Compare the shovel's overall clearance width to that of its auger. For example, if a shovel's clearance width is wider than that of its auger, you may experience difficulty when trying to clear the sides of narrow staircases. For that reason, it's a good idea to think practically about the size, shape, and overall layout of your home before you make a purchase. If the main function for your power snow shovel is to clear flat driveway terrain, then the larger these clearance measurements are, the more ground you'll be able to cover in less time and in fewer passes. That goes for a large cutting depth, as well. Try to find a tool with as high a cutting depth as possible, as it will be easier to stay ahead of those winter storms and scoop as close to the pavement as possible.
Compare the shovel's overall clearance width to that of its auger.
Next, consider the size and power output of the shovel's electric motor. Common motor capacities for these tools range between six and 14 amps. The more powerful a tool's motor, the easier it will be for the machine to support a wide auger and high cutting depth. Keep in mind that the motor's power output will also affect the tool's per-minute snow clearance capacity as well as the distance the shovel can actually throw snow. Per-minute clearance capacity typically ranges between 200 and 450 pounds.
If you're concerned about the load the shovel places on your home's electric circuits, then consider cutting the cord entirely and opting for a battery-operated model instead. Doing so will provide you with additional freedom to perform snow removal tasks in hard-to-reach places that would otherwise be inaccessible due to the restrictions of a cord with a finite length. Some of our battery-operated models can also run continuously for up to 50 minutes on a single charge.
Other useful features to consider include integrated LEDs, which come in handy when clearing a driveway at night, and adjustable handles for accommodating a range of user heights.
A Brief History Of The Power Snow Shovel
The shovel itself dates as far back as the Neolithic Age nearly 12,000 years ago, during the birth of human farming. The earliest shovels took the form of animal shoulder blades crudely used to scoop items off the ground.
The first manual snow shovel was fashioned from a carved elk antler and tied to a bone or wood handle. Discovered in a Russian bog, this tool is estimated to be nearly 6,000 years old.
Early attempts at snow removal from streets and sidewalks didn't appear until the 19th century, followed by the first patented snow plows in the 1840s and the Barber-Green snowloader by the 1920s.
The power snow shovel is a relatively modern invention that has became more common since the turn of the 21st century, as it currently represents a convenient middle ground between traditional shovels and gas-powered snowblowers.