The 10 Best Snow Shovels
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in October of 2015. If you live in a cold climate and winter is here, that means it's time to invest in a durable snow shovel to keep your sidewalks, pathways and driveway clear. Our selections include options in all shapes and sizes, from large, plow-like models that can push through compacted precipitation to units small enough to keep in a car for roadside emergencies. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
January 14, 2020:
During this round of updates, noting that our previous selections were focused on models intended for emergency situations and light-duty applications, we endeavored to incorporate several new options that were better suited to heavy-duty work. Some of our new additions include the Ivation Pusher, a scoop-style offering with built-in wheels; the Snowcaster 30SNC, a model with two tires and a three-feet blade that’s ideal for clearing a fresh layer of powder off of a small parking lot; and the Garant Nordic NSP24DU, a classic, versatile and durable wintertime weapon of choice for many who live in cold climates.
A few things to make sure you dig before proceeding with your purchase:
Durability: Lightweight options – like the Multifun 3-in-1 and the Snow Joe Shovelution SJ-SHLV01 – are nice, because their aluminum and plastic construction make them easy to wield, but be wary of whether or not they can keep up to your workload. Users living in extreme climates, where heavy dumps of wet snow and severe ice buildup are commonplace, should consider more industrious models – like the Garant Nordic NSP24DU, which features a varnished hardwood handle and a one-piece steel blade.
Ergonomics: Again, if you’re living in some balmy location where a light dusting of flurries isn’t likely to occur more than a couple times annually, then this might not be the biggest concern. But, for those bracing themselves every fall for another round of sub-zero Armageddon, many modern shovels feature ergonomic design considerations that might appeal to you. The Ohuhu Rolling Plow, for example, has a blade that can be laterally adjusted 45 degrees in either direction, while the Snow Joe Shovelution SJ-SHLV01 has a supplementary handle mounted atop its main shaft, to help with lifting, reducing the need to bend over.
Practical Limitations: It would be nice if there were truly one shovel to rule them all, but most folks will likely require at least two to properly meet their needs: a larger option to clear main areas (scoop options like the Ivation Pusher are my personal favorite, and a real lifesaver if you need to move snow down a long driveway), and a smaller option, like the True Temper SnoForce – to detail challenging areas like stairs and narrow walkways. Make sure you’re purchasing the correct offering for its intended purpose, and don’t expect a given model to do more than it’s intended to.
If you already have experience with all shapes and sizes of shovel and you can confidently say you’ve never been pleased by one’s performance, then perhaps it’s time for you to peruse our rankings for power snow shovels and snow blowers.
Get The Scoop: Choosing A Snow Shovel
That trade off is often well worth it when you can bring your snow shovel anywhere and be ready to dig the car out of the parking lot at work, though.
There's nothing like a good snow shovel when it comes to clearing wintery precipitation from your driveway, footpath, or sidewalks. For evidence of that, look no further than the earlier known example of a snow shovel, which -- according to the 1995 book Snow, published by Penguin Group -- can be dated back more than 6,000 years. While that ancient snow shovel was made from a section of elk antler attached to a wooden stave handle, modern snow shovels use decidedly more modern materials. That allows snow shovels to be lightweight, durable, and even adjustable and collapsible.
All that variety means choosing the best snow shovel for your purposes requires a bit of research and maybe some trial and error. Fortunately, snow shovels are not only diverse, but also quite affordable. In fact, you will have a hard time finding a way to spend much more than forty dollars on a top of the line snow shovel; most cost less than twenty. So with the concerns of budget essentially removed from the search for the right snow shovel, we're left to consider design, features, and size.
Many people love the idea of a snow shovel with either a telescoping handle or a folding design, as these shovels allow for easy storage in the trunk of a car or a closet near the door. Just note that most such shovels have a smaller scoop capacity than their fixed handle counterparts. That trade off is often well worth it when you can bring your snow shovel anywhere and be ready to dig the car out of the parking lot at work, though.
Next, in the fixed handle category, consider whether you prefer a snow shovel with a bent handle designed to maximize the ergonomic comfort of each scoop or if you prefer a traditional straight handled design. For the person with many square feet of surface to clear, an ergonomic handle design is a wise choice. But these shovels can he harder to control when it comes to more targeted scooping, such as clearing snow from atop vehicles or from around and under trees, bushes, and such.
The best approach, and one made possible thanks again to the relative cheap price of most snow shovels, is often to treat yourself to two shovels.
Other Products For The Fight Against Snow
One of the best ways to deal with snow buildup is to prevent it from ever building up in the first place. By using a salt spreader to put a layer of calcium chloride (or another snow melting product) in the ground before snowfall, you can help the snow to breakdown and melt before it ever starts to pile up. Salt spreaders can also help to broadcast snow melting products atop snow, speeding its melting and reducing the effort you need to shovel it away.
One of the best ways to deal with snow buildup is to prevent it from ever building up in the first place.
While a large snow blower is a great tool for the person with lots of property and a long driveway and/or walkway to go with it, many models are too large for homeowners. Thus the continued popularity of the snow shovel. However certain smaller snow blowers can be used even on that shorter driveway or footpath, just know you you will likely still need a snow shovel to clear the buildup off of and around stairs. And watch out for a snowblower catching on cobblestones or pavers.
Another example of prevention being easier than remedy is a windshield cover that you can stretch across your vehicle's windshield before anticipated snowfall. Once the storm is over and the precipitation is no longer falling, you simply pull the thick sheet of fabric off of your car, removing all the snow that covered the windshield without the need for laborious scraping and brushing just to afford yourself a safe and clear view of the road.
If you don't own or forgot to use one of these windshield covering sheets, then a good ice scraper is a must have. Nothing clears the snow, ice, and frost away for a windshield better than a thick, durable plastic scraper. Try to run the car before you start the scrapping process and the combination of interior warmth and your efforts should have the windshield clean quickly.
Snow Shovel Use And Safety Tips
It's a cold, hard fact that each and every year, many people are hurt while shoveling snow, and occasionally quite badly. Most of the more common injuries are caused by strained backs or shoulders, when people generally unaccustomed to rugged manual labor suddenly find themselves lifting heavy shovelfuls of snow.
And as you lift each scoop of snow, stand as upright as possible, keeping your legs firmly planted so they can do most of the lifting and saving your back the effort.
However, while these muscular and soft tissue injuries may be the most frequent ailments associated with snow shoveling, they are not the most serious. Slips and falls resulting in broken bones account for nearly ten percent of injuries associated with the activity, while around seven percent of the harm endured while clearing snow are cases of cardiac issues, even including heart attacks.
So in short, if you are not physically fit enough to shovel snow, you should not attempt the activity -- ask a friend or relative to help, or hire a professional. If you do wish to shovel snow yourself despite age or infirmity issues, at least make sure to tackle that driveway or walkway slowly, lifting smaller scoops of snow. There's no need to race through the project nor to load your shovel with as much snow as possible each time you heft it.
If you want to maximize your efficiency, minimize the chance for injury, and reduce muscle strain and back soreness, there are two basic principles to remember while you are actively shoveling snow. Always step close to the next patch of snow you will shovel instead of standing in one place and leaning over to reach for the snow. And as you lift each scoop of snow, stand as upright as possible, keeping your legs firmly planted so they can do most of the lifting and saving your back the effort.
While shoveling snow might seem like an annoying hassle, take solace in the knowledge that you can burn as many as 500 calories in an hour of this work, more than can be accomplished when practicing many sports. Try to think of the snow removal process as both productive work and exercise rather than just a chore.