Winter’s on its way, and that means frosty flakes will soon be falling here in the northeast.
As autumn gives way to winter and the cold weather brings frosty sidewalks and blankets of snow on the driveway, it’s time to make sure you are prepared.
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A durable snow shovel is a must-have piece of kit, and if you’re in the market for a new shovel or to replace that old broken one that’s been languishing in the shed all summer, we’ve got you covered.
In this guide, we review seven of the top snow shovels to make short work of your winter chores.
We’ll also take a look at the parts of a shovel, care and maintenance, and important shoveling safety tips.
Here we go!
7 of the Best Snow Shovels
- Top Pick Up Front: SnowPlow Snow Pusher
- Bargain Pick: Suncast SN1000 18-Inch
- AAA Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel
- Snow Joe 18-Inch Snow Shovel
- Snow Joe Shovelution Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel
- Suncast 18-Inch Snow Shovel/Pusher Combo
- True Temper SnoBoss 26-Inch Ergonomic Poly Combo
1. Top Pick Up Front: SnowPlow Snow Pusher
The 24-inch SnowPlow Snow Pusher, available from Amazon, features a 24-inch-wide, self-sharpening polyethylene blade, patented Tuffbrace handle/brace connector, and replaceable parts.
SnowPlow manufactures this product in Clarion, Iowa, using sustainable practices.
This sturdy model is a favorite of professionals, because its quarter-inch-thick Ultra High Molecular Weight (UHMW) poly blade withstands impact, and resists friction and abrasion.
This is because the resin it is made of is used in dust form, as opposed to the typical pebbles or shavings generally found in plastics.
The blade is unique in that it has curved corners, instead of traditional sharp-angled ones. This makes it super durable, as it doesn’t catch in cracks that might damage a straight-edged model.
Additionally, while this means a narrow swath of snow may sometimes be left behind, it is considered by the manufacturer to be a small price to pay for strength and durability.
This product is shipped with a blunt-edged blade. Do not attempt to sharpen it. Instead, let it self-sharpen with use. After use, it must be stored in a cool shed or garage, to avoid temperature changes that could warp the blade.
Poly blades sometimes warp with use. If this happens, bring the shovel indoors and allow it to warm up. Then you may bend the blade manually to return it to the desired shape.
The manufacturer states that you may have to overbend it at first to get it to stay where you want it. This is fine, and won’t break the shovel.
The fiberglass handle features a reinforced core and a D-style grip for easy maneuverability.
This is a robust product, weighing in at seven pounds. Commercial contractors may expect to get two to four years, and homeowners may enjoy 10 or more years of use from a SnowPlow Snow Pusher product.
This model may be used for chopping as well as snow clearing. And, with interchangeable parts, a user may replace a worn-out blade with one of the same, or a different size.
The SnowPlow Snow Pusher is covered by a limited/situational warranty, and the manufacturer asserts that “replacement parts are available but are rarely sold or needed.”
Assembly required. Made in the USA.
- All parts are replaceable
- Blades are interchangeable
- Bolted construction
- Easy locknut assembly
- Nearly indestructible blade
- Poly blade may warp
2. Bargain Pick: Suncast SN1000 18-Inch
This very popular 18-inch Suncast SN1000, available via Amazon, is a traditional style product with a navy blue angled, rib patterned, 18- by 13-inch poly-coated plastic blade.
It has a durable and wide-ribbed Steel Core® D-grip attached to a black poly-coated handle. From top to bottom, it measures 48 inches.
Suncast categorizes this product as being suitable for “a little” snow. Made in the USA.
While it is extremely light, weighing just two and a half pounds, it is effective at dealing with a light covering of snow. It’s ideal for decks and patios as it doesn’t scratch surfaces.
Suitable for seniors and children, it has become a favorite for light-duty removal.
- Light duty
- Won’t rust
- Poly blade may crack under heavy weight
- Shallow scoop
- Lacks a steel wear strip
- Short, straight handle
- Not for heavy, wet precipitation or ice
On the negative side, taller folks may find the handle too short, the scoop is somewhat shallow, and the plastic flimsy.
This budget-friendly tool is best suited to light clearance of small areas.
3. AAA Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel
Made of high quality aluminum, the sport utility emergency-use shovel from AAA, available via Amazon, is great for digging out a snowbound vehicle.
Sturdy and portable, this aluminum model is ideal to carry in your car, truck, recreational vehicle – or even your backpack! It weighs a shade under one and half pounds.
Simply disassemble it into three compact pieces and travel on.
Designed to dig you out of a frozen spot, this product makes a great addition to your emergency road kit. It’s also useful for digging in soil and sand.
The telescoping handle expands from 21 to 32 inches long, with a T-grip on the end. It is comfortable to use for short periods, and the bright color makes it hard to lose. It is available in red, blue, and gold.
The blade is nine inches wide, so it’s unsuitable for clearing large areas.
The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty. Assembly required.
- Lightweight and portable
- Aluminum blade
- Expandable handle
- Doesn’t flex or bend with intended use
- Too small for general use
- Short handle
We love this product for digging around tires to free vehicles from snow. The blade’s metal edge is sharp enough to loosen ice, and it makes good vertical cuts.
On the negative side, even fully extended, use requires bending for most people. This may cause back strain with extensive use.
Heavy-duty jobs may result in damage to the product. Look for a more sturdy model for heavy snow removal.
4. Snow Joe 18-Inch Snow Shovel
The 18-inch Snow Joe Snow Shovel, available via Home Depot, boasts a “virtually indestructible” black blade constructed of shatter-resistant polycarbonate, with a non-abrasive aluminum wear strip, for use on all surfaces.
A unique feature is the four-piece construction, which may be broken down for convenient storage.
It makes a great car emergency tool for this reason, and at 41 inches long, its handle is more than twice the length of other auto shovels.
In addition, there is an oversized D-grip handle that easily accommodates a thick glove, and a reinforced poly blade strip for added strength and durability. This model weighs in at just under four pounds.
Snow Joe has offices in Carlstadt, New Jersey. The company strives to offer products that reduce emissions in the environment. When I emailed customer service with a question, I received a reply within minutes.
This product has a two-year warranty. Assembly required.
- Portable, can be broken down into four pieces
- Poly blades may warp with heavy use
5. Snow Joe Shovelution Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel
The Snow Joe Shovelution 18-inch Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel with Spring-Assisted Handle, available from Gardener’s Supply Company looks like your standard tool, but with a healthy twist.
It’s operated with two hands on two handles to reduce the stress and strain of shoveling large quantities of the white stuff.
This ergonomic model optimizes leverage by creating a fulcrum at the point where the handles join.
The second handle is spring-loaded, to turn your lower hand into a powerhouse of upper body strength, lifting and tossing medium to heavy snow in a fluid motion.
The 18-inch blade is constructed from transparent polycarbonate with a heavy-duty plastic wear strip. In addition to shoveling snow, it can be used for other gardening chores like lifting mulch and compost.
Snow Joe offers a two-year full warranty.
This product has an overall length of 50 inches and weighs just under four pounds. It requires home assembly.
- Ergonomic two-handle construction designed to reduce back strain
- Poly blades may crack or warp
The two-handled design can take a bit of practice before it feels comfortable to use, and in the case of taller people, it may require some bending.
Check out the Snow Joe Shovelution at Gardener’s Supply Store.
6. Suncast 18-Inch Snow Shovel/Pusher Combo
This model boasts Suncast’s trademark ribbed Steel Core® handle in an ergonomic bent handle, designed to reduce back strain during use. It’s available via Amazon.
It features an 18-inch-wide green resin blade reinforced with a galvanized steel wear strip, measures 52 1/2 inches in length, and weighs just over four pounds.
This model gives you the best of both worlds: Its narrow blade lets you clear manageable sized swaths, and its slightly scooped shape permits lifting without strain.
This model is not covered by Suncast’s warranties. It has a point-of-purchase warranty only. Made in the USA.
- Ergonomic concept
- Solid construction
- Poly blade may crack or warp under heavy weight
- Steel wear strip may catch
- Steel handle may transfer cold to hand
The ergonomic design suits some folks but not others – it’s really a matter of personal preference. People under five-foot-six inches and above six-foot-two may find it awkward to use.
This model is also available with a straight handle.
7. True Temper SnoBoss 26-Inch Ergonomic Poly Combo
This unique reversible-blade tool from True Temper, available at Tractor Supply, is ergonomic and integrated without extraneous nuts and bolts to impede optimal performance.
A shovel and pusher in one, it boasts a 26-inch poly blade with a steel wear strip that can switch functions with ease.
Maintain firm control with two ergonomically-designed aluminum handles that offer multiple grip locations for proper posture, particularly when lifting. A foot step provides additional leverage.
The Ames True Temper company offers a 90-day warranty on this product. Made in the USA. Some components may be imported.
The riveted steel wear strip is durable, but may have a tendency to catch on irregular pavements when used as a forward plow.
- Ergonomic concept
- Versatile use
- Steel wear strip may catch on irregular pavement, causing it to become damaged
This unique product is 56 inches long from blade edge to the top of the handle, and weighs just five and a half pounds.
It makes short work of heavy snow on the driveway and the unique design allows you to clear steps and stairs with ease.
It’s that time again. Soon, weather forecasts will include words like “squall” and “blizzard.” Maybe even “polar vortex.”
The Inuits (and snowboarders) have many words for winter’s white precipitation that beautifully capture its textural nuances. Where I’m from, it’s either powder or wet, with the latter often referred to as the “heart attack” kind.
According to the National Safety Council, being out in cold weather is likely to increase one’s heart rate and blood pressure.
Shoveling adds insult to injury by further straining the heart, particularly in someone not used to regular physical exertion.
Lower temperatures usually mean lighter flakes, whereas temps that hover around freezing often result in heavy, wet stuff. You’ll know with the first shovelful what kind you’re dealing with.
Here’s some advice to help you stay safe when Mother Nature sends her worst:
Snow Shoveling Safety
- Use caution when walking on slippery pavements.
- Wear boots with good traction.
- Shovel periodically during a storm, rather than waiting until the last flake has fallen.
- Use a heavy plow-type shovel to push your way through.
- Lift as little as possible.
- Keep a small emergency shovel in your car.
- Reduce back strain by bending your knees each time you lift the shovel off the ground.
- Take frequent breaks in the house. Warm up with a hot beverage and rest before returning to the job.
- Wear a loose-fitting scarf over your nose and mouth to warm your breathing passages as you work.
- If you begin to overheat, don’t just remove a layer of clothing. Return to the house, remove outerwear, and cool down. Drink water and rest before dressing and returning outdoors.
- If you have any form of illness, stay indoors and hire a professional.
Ready to get out there? Let’s look at some of the ins and outs of specific materials and designs before wrapping up with a few quick notes on tool maintenance.
Anatomy of a Shovel
A typical shovel consists of a shaft and a blade. The shaft is often referred to as the handle.
The shaft may be long or short, and may end in a grip.
D-shaped grips are usually made of plastic, with polyethylene (aka “poly”) being the most common kind, or metal. Plastic is warmer to hold than metal.
Some grips are more generously proportioned than others, with comfortable room for a gloved hand.
Shafts are typically made from metals like steel or aluminum, fiberglass, hardwood, or plastic. Hollow fiberglass handles may have steel cores for added strength.
At the end of the shaft is a shovel, often referred to as a head, scoop, or blade. It may be made of steel, aluminum, or plastic. This is the business end of the tool.
It has an extension called a socket, into which the shaft fits. The two are attached to each other with screws or rivets.
Widths typically range in size from about 14 to 36 inches, with smaller sizes for compact emergency models and children’s items, and larger ones for push varieties.
Shallow styles are intended for lifting, and plow-shaped products are for pushing through Mother Nature’s worst.
For light precipitation, you may need a shallow, lightweight lifting tool, whereas for a moderate to heavy storm, you may need a metal plow-type tool, as well as an ice chopping accessory tool to get the job done.
Some blades are reinforced with wear strips on their bottom edge.
These are metal or plastic strips that are riveted on for additional strength. While they may be very efficient on smooth pavement, they can sometimes be difficult to push over uneven ground.
I have an antique shovel that my great-grandparents used to clear walkways on the farm. It’s heavy, with a thick wooden handle and an 18-inch steel blade.
I use it to push the heaviest white stuff across my driveway to the fence line. It makes a clean pass and is useful for loosening thin ice.
I also keep a shallow scoop, lightweight aluminum model on hand. Its edge is bent because someone tried to pry ice up with it, but it’s great for lifting and tossing light, fluffy stuff over the fence.
Today’s manually-operated equipment varies from the traditional, to the ergonomic, to the downright unusual.
Most are intended for light precipitation, or for removal in increments throughout a storm. Few are intended for heavy, wet precipitation, and those that are tend to be quite weighty.
In addition to shovels, items like brooms, brushes, choppers, and scrapers come in handy when clearing cars, porch furniture, awnings, roofs, and the like.
Maintain Your Equipment
It’s important to care for your tools if you want them to last.
After each use, clean and dry your shovel, and hang it up – never leave it in a pile of snow!
Shovels may be stored hanging by their D-grips. For straight wooden handles, drill a hole and fasten a loop of sturdy twine through it, or better yet, install a few U-hooks, available via Amazon, to prevent potential damage to the handle.
With use, the edges of shovels may become bent or misshapen. Straighten with pliers if possible, for optimal performance.
It’s important to tighten screws regularly, particularly those between the handle and the blade. Replace bent or broken handles and blades if replacement parts are available for your model.
Discard items that can’t be restored to good working order, and be mindful of the terms of any warranties.
Shovels should not be used as sleds for safety reasons, as well as unintended wear and tear on equipment. Plastic blades are prone to cracking, especially with improper use.
Geared Up and Ready
Be prepared when the winter winds begin to blow and arm yourself with a couple of good quality snow shovels.
Stay safe, and remember, eventually the white stuff melts and spring comes again!
Do you use a snow shovel? Which model is your favorite? Feel free to share your own tips in the comments section below.
And for information about more tools to add to your shed, check out some of our other reviews next:
About Nan Schiller
Nan Schiller is a writer with deep roots in the soil of southeastern Pennsylvania. Her background includes landscape and floral design, a BS in business from Villanova University, and a Certificate of Merit in floral design from Longwood Gardens. An advocate of organic gardening with native plants, she’s always got dirt under her nails and freckles on her nose. With wit and hopefully some wisdom, she shares what she’s learned and is always ready to dig into a new project!