Bruce owns a small farm and loves to grill since his early childhood. He’s a professional cook, but hiking and enjoying the great outdoors is his no less favorite part of life.
Last updated: February 27, 2021
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Snow shovels are an essential component for anyone who lives in a cold environment prone to precipitation. They have been around for much of human history, with the first known snow pusher being discovered in a bog in Russia – it was over 6,000 years old. You need one if you live in a snowy environment because they are specially designed to pick up heavy snow without straining your back, will not bend from the weight, and can even be used to crack and break ice.
However, not all snow shovels are the same. Some are better made than others, and there are many on the market that do not live up to expectations. To help you find the best snow shovel, we have reviewed seven of the top products and chosen our favorite: the Suncast Shovel Pusher Combo. This model is the best because of its angled rib pattern, reduced strain on the user, and solid metal core for extra stability.
To create the ultimate buying guide, we have focused on several important features and utilized multiple forms of comparison. The most significant characteristics of the shovels were the material and its durability, the handle length and its adaptability, the width of the blade for gathering snow, the weight and how it affected the ease of use. To better demonstrate this information, we’ve included a comparison table, detailed reviews of each shovel, and a buying guide with a FAQ.
"This a versatile shovel that can be used for almost any task and in any weather. With its curved top edge, crack resistance, boot kick, and patented design it is made to be sturdy and multifunctional."
The Suncast Shovel Pusher Combo is one of the most straightforward and simple models, but it includes all of the features necessary to get the job done. Worthy of special mention are the ribbed steel core handle and galvanized steel wear strip, which improve durability and longevity without affecting versatility.
While steel can be heavy, this shovel only weighs 4 pounds, making any task simple. The bend handle improves comfort since you won’t have to bend over as much to move snow and break down ice. The angled rub pattern also increases grip so snow doesn’t slide off the blade as easily.
With a blade width of 18 inches, the Suncast is meant for picking up and throwing snow with ease. It can be used in a variety of locations, including driveways and sidewalks. Since the blade does have some plastic in it, it is lightweight and won’t damage your driveway while in use. Overall, this is our Editor’s Choice because it is lightweight and easy to use without sacrificing functionality.
What we liked:
Angled rib pattern
What could be better:
The exterior of the handle is plastic and flexes while in use
The Garant Snow Pusher is the best metal snow shovel with its steel blade and durable hardwood handle. It can break through ice and carve through tremendous snowbanks with ease and does not require any assembly to be functional. The blade is 30 inches and perfect for pushing rather than lifting snow, making the Garant one of the best snow shovels for bad backs as well.
While this shovel is one the heavier side, the strong and D-grip handle cannot be beaten. Users will need to utilize little effort to get snow to move out of the way when using this model. Plus, the wooden handle is easy to maintain since it comes with a coating to reduce moisture exposure and absorption.
Since the hardwood handle absorbs shock, less of it will be forced on the user. The only potential difficulty of this model is the handle length, which might be too much for shorter individuals.
The Snow Joe Strain-Reducing model is by far the best snow shovel for older users because of its flexibility, light weight, and spring-loaded design. Users can easily pick up heavy snow and ice without a need to put strain on their back and arms. Plus, the aluminum and plastic design requires little maintenance, allows easy storage, and once again possesses a low weight.
While the blade is intended for picking up and throwing snow, the durable wear strip means users can also push it without difficulty. The handle length is slightly long but still workable for people of most heights. The design even improves posture while still making it easy to clear a driveway or a walkway.
Plus, the Snow Joe Strain-Reducing snow shovel is one of the only options to include a full 2-year warranty that covers basic wear and tear.
The best collapsible snow shovel is the Lifeline Aluminum Snow Shovel, designed for easy storage in garages or cars. The handle can be adjusted between 25 and 35 inches, making it ideal for individuals of most heights. The design is primarily flexible, lightweight aluminum that is easy to use in moderate snow. The edge can be used for breaking and removing ice from driveways and sidewalks.
This is one of the only shovels available in multiple colors, putting a stylish edge on snow removal. The blade width is only 8.5 inches wide, making the shovel ideal for gathering and throwing material rather than just pushing it. Some assembly is required with the Lifeline because it is composed of three separate pieces. These can be fitted together as needed.
The best snow shovel for heavy snow is the True Temper Steel model made with a solid steel blade and a reinforced wooden handle. Little maintenance is required since the handle is sealed and protected from moisture, although the blade will need to be wiped down on a regular basis.
This model was designed to reduce strain on the body with its D-grip handle and medium handle length. If you have heavy snow, this is the best option because it can break through ice and withstands wet snow without difficulty.
Finally, the True Temper shovel is durable despite being moderately lightweight. The steel will not chip or break easily, and the handle will not bend even when suffering under a heavy load. This shovel is designed to last for years if used and maintained properly. It does come in two pieces that need to be screwed together before the shovel can be used.
What we liked:
Great for breaking up ice and snow banks
Will not bend even under heavy use
What could be better:
D-grip handle can be difficult for some individuals to use
The best shovel for gravel driveways is the Forest Hill Super Tuff. This model is one of the heaviest on this list but also features a design intended for serious use. The blade itself is made of durable, sealed aluminum that will not rust even with regular use. The handle is solid ash that was carved instead of being built from multiple pieces.
Because of the width of the blade, the Forest Hill is best used for lifting and throwing snow. It is durable and great for breaking through ice and snow without chipping any structure underneath. There is even a boot kick, something not usually seen on snow shovels.
This model was built for strength but has a short handle which might take some getting used to. One of the perks, though, is that this shovel can be used for a variety of tasks even when there is no snow. It is ideal for someone who wants a versatile tool and would like to save money rather than buying multiple shovels.
The Earthwise Electric model is the best electric snow shovel on the market because it combines power with ease of use. Electric shovels are ideal for individuals who live in areas with heavy snowfall but find it hard to use traditional pushers to get the job done.
This particular model features a powerful 12-amp motor capable of moving 430 pounds of snow per minute. There are dual curved auger blades and thermal protection to avoid ice buildup in the central chamber, helping keep the shovel functional for longer. The handle is lightweight, made from a combination of steel and plastic, and can be folded to save space in the garage.
The Earthwise Electric snow shovel is best for short uses because it needs to remain plugged in. It is ideal for clearing porches, patios, narrow driveways, and even the sidewalk in front of your home. Some assembly is required, but only to connect the handle to the blade.
What we liked:
Steel handle and blades
No tool assembly required
What could be better:
Blade is protected by plastic
Things to Consider
We mentioned earlier that not all snow shovels are built the same. There is a broad range of quality depending on a variety of factors, including the material used, the length of the handle, and how much snow and weight the implement can handle. The width of the blade is also important because it affects how long clearing snow will take. To help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing the best snow shovel, have a look at the buying guide and FAQ below.
Why do you need a snow shovel?
Snow shovels are different from other shovels. They are designed to be used for one of the most deceptively heavy substances you need to move and can reduce the amount of strain on your neck, back, and arms. Each model features a wide head designed to gather more material with sharp edges that cut through ice and tough patches.
If you live in a cold area with tons of precipitation, a snow shovel could save your aching muscles as well as your commute. Regular shovels simply are not enough because they are designed with narrow heads and not enough central core support.
Features to consider before you buy a snow shovel
We have mentioned a couple of the crucial elements you should consider when purchasing a new snow shovel. These individual features should be combined to create the ultimate implement of wintery destruction. Try to find the best combination that suits not only the region in which you live, but also your own physical abilities and constraints.
Several materials are used for the blade and handle. Each one affects use and can change how you are able to remove snow from your sidewalk or driveway. The common handle materials are:
Wood: characterized by being lightweight, durable, and strong. It can last a long time when maintained with a coat of oil every year. You will also need to check the screws to ensure the handle has not expanded from excess moisture.
Fiberglass: lightweight and the most durable. Fiberglass does not absorb moisture, making handles long lasting. This material is one of the most expensive but will not expand, be damaged by the weather, or rust.
Plastic: lightweight and easy to maneuver, but can become brittle if exposed to heat or the sun. This option is also the most likely to break, but is affordable for most.
Metal: most metal handles are made from a light material like aluminum, which reduces the weight but also the durability. This option is inexpensive but can bend under pressure or rust if not dried off.
As you can see, it is better to have a fiberglass handle than the others, with wood coming in second place. When it comes to blades, there are once again three options for buyers to choose from:
Metal: this material is meant for heavy use and is extremely durable. It can chip through ice and carry heavy loads without bending or breaking. The downside is the weight, which can be too much for some users.
Plastic: this option is lightweight and versatile. It is also inexpensive. The downside is the material cannot break ice and is more likely to bend or snap when working with heavy snow.
Combination: to avoid the pitfalls of plastic and metal, it is possible to get a combination blade. These are primarily plastic but with a metal strip along the edge to break through ice and snow.
The best ergonomic snow shovel will be a model with a combination blade, although metal is another good choice.
Handle length varies. When you use a shovel with a shorter handle, like Lifeline Aluminum Snow Shovel, you have better maneuverability, a lower shovel weight, and an easier time moving snow. Longer handles shovels, such as Suncast Shovel Pusher Combo, on the other hand, provide more leverage if you need to eliminate tough patches of ice.
In general, you should only get a shovel with a handle up to your shoulder.
Longer and you will struggle to use it on a regular basis or for an extended period of time.
Width of blade
The dimensions of the blade affect more than how much snow you can move.
A narrow 18 inches shovel is ideal for picking up and throwing snow away from the driveway or sidewalk.
They work well for scooping but do require more physical strength. A snow shovel with a blade width of 24 to 30 inches, on the other hand, is meant for pushing. You are not supposed to pick up snow with this style of shovels, but rather push it out of the way, as you can do with Suncast Shovel Pusher Combo or Garant Snow Pusher from our list. You can choose which style you prefer based on your abilities, the size of your driveway, and how versatile you want the shovel to be.
The weight of the snow shovel is one of the most influential features. If you cannot lift snow and ice, then the shovel is worthless. On average, blades can weigh anywhere from 1 to 5 pounds, while the handle itself can be between 2 and 10 pounds. Test out a shovel at a store or practice with a weighted implement to see which shovel will work out best for you.
Not all snow shovels need to be assembled, but there are a couple of models which do. Remember to read all the information and instructions included with the tool before your purchase to determine whether some work is involved. In general, shovels are easy to put together and will only require screwing the handle to the blade.
Proper maintenance of your snow shovel will depend on the type of material your handle is made of. While the blade is often waterproofed for extra durability, the handle often does not have protective coating. For a wooden model, wipe it down with linseed oil once a year and store the shovel in a safe, dry area. If you have a shovel with a metal handle, remember to wipe it down on a regular basis so moisture does not sit on the surface to avoid rusting. Fiberglass and plastic require the least amount of maintenance since they do not rust or absorb moisture. To ensure your snow shovel lasts longer, keep it in a dry place and reduce exposure to chemicals like the salt which is used to evaporate snow and ice on the roads.
Everyone knows it can snow at any time, and nothing is worse than struggling to dig your vehicle out of bank. Instead of keeping a full-length snow pusher in your car, it is better to have a short or foldable version, like Lifeline Aluminum Snow Shovel. These are just as strong as longer models but are easier to store and use in confined spaces. This could mean purchasing separate shovels for the home and vehicle, but the investment is worth it on cold days.
It is difficult to shovel snow on a gravel driveway because it is easy to pick up rocks and displace the surface. To avoid this issue, carefully remove the snow until there is less than 1 inch left on the surface. You can then sprinkle salt over it to remove the rest. Choosing the right shovel, however, depends more on the weather than your driveway type. If you live in an area prone to heavy, wet snow, then pay attention to the durability and strength of materials. If you get light, dry snow, then choose something flexible and easy to maneuver.
When it comes to picking the best snow shovel, it is essential to look at the materials used and the intended use of the blade. We have found seven of the best models that are currently on the market and chose them because of their overall durability, versatility, and extra features which make them easier for a general population to use.
The one we liked the most was the Suncast Shovel Pusher Combo because it fulfilled all of our criteria and was suitable for almost anyone. It could even be used to lift and throw or push snow without difficulty. For this reason, it earned a coveted 9.8 rating. However, every other shovel on this list earned an 8.5 or higher, making them great alternatives if the Suncast Shovel Pusher Combo does not suit your needs.