While a snow shovel is a virtual necessity, a high-quality snow shovel can be a veritable boon when you need to clear 15 centimetres of heavy, wet stuff.
An implement that falls firmly in the ‘Be Prepared’ category, a snow shovel can be used to move earth, leaves, and more.
“A ‘best’ snow shovel?” you may ask. “Other than styling, colour and cosmetic differences, they’re all the same! We’re not talking about a power tool or even a hand-saw here!” Well, actually there’s a bit more to it because of the specialised purpose of a snow shovel and how its usage affects your shoulders, joints, and lower back. So yes, and emphatically so – you can rate snow shovels. Some are good, others are bad, and a few are excellent.
Designing a snow shovel may not be ‘Rocket Science’ but several factors have quite an impact on how easy a snow shovel is on the person handling it, how well it can be manoeuvred, and how it can assist in lifting and moving snow.
Among these factors are the shovel’s weight, the length of the shaft, the flex in the shaft, the leading edge of the scoop, the dimensions of the scoop, the angle of the scoop, and the shape and the ‘brim’ of the scoop. The factors that are probably of paramount importance are the distribution of weight and the balance of the shovel. Hmm . . . if not ‘Rocket Science,’ perhaps there is such a thing as ‘Snow Shovel Science’!
Metal Versus Plastic
Snow shovels may have a metal scoop or a plastic scoop – and the metal ones are not necessarily ‘better.’ It depends on what you want to shovel snow from. Yes, those with metal scoops are better if you have to shovel snow off concrete or paving or need to shovel packed or frozen snow.
However, if you want to shovel snow off decking, tiles, or synthetic pavers, a metal scoop may well scratch and damage the finish whereas a plastic one won’t. And you should definitely use a plastic-scoop shovel if you need to dig out your precious Beemer. You may want to keep two snow shovels, one with a metal scoop or metal leading edge, and the other with a plastic scoop so that you are equipped with the right tool that is fit for purpose.
Last update on 2021-09-23 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
Underneath we sift and sort through a fine selection of highly-rated shovels, from a metal-and-wood kit through a plastic-scoop model to a one-piece all-plastic shovel.
Made of traditional steel and wood and also traditionally styled, Silverline’s kit is a top pick as it scores on balance, comfort, and sturdiness.
Just about the most popular shovel, Silverline’s ‘classic’ kit boasts a corrosion-resistant pressed steel scoop and wooden shaft topped with a blue D handle. This full-length shovel’s scoop is 31 centimetres deep and 23.5 wide. The upturned sides of the scoop ensure that no snow slides off.
This 1.8 kilogramme shovel feels lightweight and is well-balanced yet is impressively strong and robust. It is comfortable in use; the moderate weight will be appreciated by slight-framed persons while the length is ideal for tall persons
It must be mentioned that now and again a little defect pops up in a few pieces, this being some annoying play where the handle and shaft meet.
The steel scoop’s blade will break up packed, frozen snow and ice, and the shaft is strong enough to lift a full load of snow – if you can handle it, this shovel can! It is not just a snow shovel but a multi-use implement good for medium-duty to even heavy-duty work. It will move soil, stones, coal . . . you name it.
The main attraction of Silverline’s steel-and-wood shovel is the way it combines appreciable comfort with strength and sturdiness. The traditional styling, no-nonsense materials, all-round high quality – especially at the price – make this shovel a fairly easy choice for our Best Pick slot.
- Heavy-duty shovel that is very strong and rugged and has a potent steel scoop and edge.
- Its weight and balance are such that it is comfortable even for slight-statured persons.
- One of those uncommon products for which one ends up saying ‘just right’ on every count.
- On the odd piece the handle is a touch loose and has some play.
IPSXP’s very compact shovel is detachable into three pieces and is quickly re-attachable; a light-duty yet sturdy item, it is attractively priced.
Cost: Price not available
One of the most popular snow shovels, IPSXP’s kit is ultra-light at about 500 grammes. It is also quite short but has a good-sized scoop measuring 32 centimetres deep and 27 wide.
This is a composite product: the shaft is of steel and the scoop of tough high-density plastic with a leading edge of thickened aluminium alloy of high quality, and of more than nominal depth. A foam sleeve on the handle affords a comfortable and secure grip to the leading hand.
This shovel is on the compact side and its relatively short shaft makes it perfect for persons of low height. However, it will be inconvenient for tall persons who will need to keep stooping when using it.
Both the scoop and the handle are detachable and reattachable from the shaft. A button-operated spring lock makes attachment and detachment quick and easy. Therefore – and this is the best feature of IPSXP’s kit – it can be kept in a cramped or small space such as the trunk of even a sub-compact car.
It is not a heavy-duty item so it should not be used to shovel abrasive or heavy materials; however, besides snow, it is perfect for working with earth, compost, etc. For an inexpensive item with a plastic scoop, this is a surprisingly sturdy item.
A solid and useful ice scraper mislabelled ‘a small plastic snow shovel’ is included, making what was already an excellent value buy a really top-value buy. With – or likely even without – the freebie ice scraper IPSXP’s shovel gets the nod as our Value Pick.
- Super-compact shovel is detachable into three pieces and is quickly re-attachable.
- Given the quality of the product, the price is really amazing.
- To ensure a secure grip to the leading hand, the handle has a foam sleeve . . . on a budget kit!
- The short length of the staff means this shovel may be uncomfortable for tall persons.
Nielsen Tools’s somewhat costly medium-duty kit is bright and shiny but also tough, and will suit the short and slim as well as the tall and stout.
Nielsen Tools’s kit is a very popular one and also one of the prettiest – if a snow shovel could be a ‘looker,’ this one’s it!
It is on the long side at 111 centimetres yet is on the light side, weighing 1.12 kilogrammes. The scoop is 39.5 centimetres deep and 28 centimetres wide.
The shaft is of fibreglass and it is topped with a bright red D handle. The scoop is tapered with a broad mouth, and is made of shiny, silvery aluminium. This well-designed shovel has a sharp leading edge that one is thankful for when you need to tackle hardened snow and ice. The upturned brim will ensure that snow does not fall off as you scoop up and unload snow.
This is a medium-duty shovel that will handle snow, and also soil, muck, and such, and is easy to use.
An excellent compromise in both length and weight, Nielsen Tools’s shovel is just as good for short and small persons as it is for the tall and well-built. Oddly enough, it is also an excellent compromise between flimsy plastic shovels and overly-heavy thick metal ones.
Unfortunately, this kit is somewhat overpriced. However, it must be said that the materials and build quality leave no room for complaint further to which this kit is sturdy and long-lasting.
- The sharp leading edge and upturned brim make it perfect for hardened, packed snow.
- The way it’s designed, this shovel will prove as comfortable for the short and slim as for the tall.
- So bright, shiny and pretty that your little girl will just love it!
- Relatively speaking, it’s definitely expensive.
If you want to get a lighter-duty shovel that’s made of plastic yet is strong and durable, look no further than Draper’s moulded one-piece surprise.
A fairly popular shovel, Draper’s polyurethane shovel has a length of 115 centimetres with a scoop 38 centimetres deep and 34.5 wide. The broad and deep pan-shaped mouth is big relative to the overall size of the shovel.
This shovel is not meant for heavy-duty work or for shovelling abrasive or heavy materials which would likely damage it; however, it is just perfect for scooping up loads of snow, as well as light materials like compost, wood chips, and such. Belying its plastic material this kit is good to go again and again.
Far superior to no-name plastic shovels, Draper’s moulded polyurethane kit is remarkably sturdy and feels nice and solid in the hand. Its balance and the way it handles point to a very good design.
Talk about design, the feather-light weight allows one to use it for extended periods of time and the all-round upturned brim prevents spillage. Self-evidently, this is one plastic shovel that offers a lot more than ‘garden variety’ plastic shovels.
Because it is a one-piece moulded kit, neither the handle nor the scoop can develop play or come loose.
It is on the costly side but then, this is a durable high-quality implement.
- Moulded one-piece shovel means nothing can ever work loose or develop play.
- Very lightweight and well designed, and also surprisingly strong.
- Anyone who wants a plastic kit can home in on this ‘Prince of Plastic Shovels.’
- Should not be used for heavy-duty work or to move abrasive and heavy materials.
With a wide gaping mouth that can move lots of snow, ‘The Plow’ is lightweight and efficient but not robust; however, at this price it’s a bargain.
Cost: Price not available
Snow-N-Go’s ‘The Plow’ is another very popular shovel and another composite kit: the shaft is made of wood, the scoop and handle are made of plastic, and the scoop is reinforced with a metal leading edge.
It is 128 centimetres in length with the curved and wide-mouthed scoop being 32 centimetres deep and 40 wide. At only 1.04 kilogrammes it is on the light side.
‘The Plow’ is a light-duty shovel that will clear snow; best of all, the broad, gaping mouth makes it ideal for ‘bulldozing’ a two- or three-inch layer of snow off the path. It is also good for leaves, gravel, and similar lighter materials. Though it may not be the best shovel in this set of reviews, it certainly has the ‘best’ price.
It is not strong or robust by any means and subjecting it to hard materials or heavy loads will cause it to crack or break. Indeed, some pieces are defective and prone to cracking under little use. The handle is a weak point on this shovel.
That said, this shovel is priced so low you can pull out a handful of coins and purchase it. It is so inexpensive that it is worth taking a chance on, and if you get a good piece it will be an unbeatable value buy.
- Wide mouth and light weight makes it perfect for ‘bulldozing’ and pushing off snow for long spells.
- As a light-duty shovel, it is a very good kit.
- The rock-bottom price makes it a real bargain.
- Not strong or robust, forcing the issue with this shovel could cause it to crack or break.
How To Shovel Snow Fast
In our opinion, shovelling snow can be an enjoyable workout if you know how to do it right. But, first, if the snow is powdery or it is wet and heavy but no more than 8 centimetres and is not packed or frozen, you need not even try to shovel it. Simply use your shovel like a mini-plough by setting it at about a 60-degree angle and push the snow off the side of the path. Start off with a forceful shove so that the momentum of the stroke will push, or even fling, snow off the path.
If you want to shovel snow fast, here are a few tips.
• Spray WD-40 on the snow shovel’s scoop including the edge. When snow starts to stick to the scoop or becomes hard to move, it’s time for another spraying.
• When scooping up snow keep your knees somewhat bent so that you’re in a slight crouch, and extend your knees with each scooping and throwing motion.
• Do not load up the shovel so that you have to exert; simply scoop up a moderate volume of snow such that you can make quick and easy movements.
• Do not try to lift up a large amount of snow; indeed, do not lift up any snow at all – using the torque generated by your upper back and shoulders and the momentum of the shovel itself, swing around the shovel when it is only a small distance off the ground and dump off the snow with a flinging action, utilising any flex in the shaft.
• Be economical in your movements.
Avoid Hurting Your Back
Shovelling snow, and back pain and injuries – they almost go with the territory. If you are seriously out of shape or have a history of back pain and injuries, we suggest that you not shovel snow at all. That’s the best way to avoid hurting an already bad back.
Next, Safety First, so first for safety, warm up! You don’t hit those weights cold, do you? Neither should you shovel snow cold. Touch your toes and arch your back at least ten times, flex your knees, and twist and turn from side to side. Jog, if only for a couple of minutes. Get your blood flowing. A warm-up will help avoid lower-back injuries.
Next, use the tips and techniques spelt out in the preceding section, How To Shovel Snow Fast. Other than that, when shovelling snow do not keep bending and straightening your back appreciably. Rather, use your thighs and shoulders to lift and move snow (or, indeed, whatever you shovel).
Kersie learnt the basics of gardening as a toddler, courtesy of his grandfather. In his youth he was an active gardener with a preference for flowering plants. He is a professional and vocational writer and his freelance projects have spanned various kinds of writing.