Sep 24, 2020 7:27:09 AM / Brooke Loeffler /

Which Snow Shovel Should I Buy?

Picking the right snow shovel can make or break your winter. Making sure you purchase a shovel that meets your body’s and your property’s needs will save you time, frustration, and physical comfort. Here are a few helpful tips to aid you in your decision.

Which Snow Shovel Should I Buy?

What to Look For

Take a look at your property and anticipate where you will be needing a shovel when the snow starts to fall. Do you have?:

  • Large flat paved surfaces
  • Tile, wood, pavers, or other surfaces that will need to remain clear
  • Tight, winding, or sloped surfaces
  • Long expanses of rain gutter prone to ice dams
  • Locations where you can push snow to make a snow bank or deposit

Getting the lay of the land will help you know what kind of shovel (or shovels) you need for different areas. 

It is important to start as early as you can. Don’t get stuck with flimsy leftovers that won’t last the winter. Even if you have a snowblower, remember they can’t do the whole job. Shovels can help you get all the way down to the paved surface and are better to use on porches and tight areas. Let’s take a look at a few of your search parameters.

What to look for in a snow shovel

Width

Generally speaking, purchasing a shovel with a wider scoop will help you take fewer strokes. Ultra-wide shovels are ideal for larger, more open areas. If this matches your needs, just remember that the bigger the scoop, the heavier the snow displacement, so be careful with your back!

Materials

According to FEMA, 1 square foot of snow can range from 3 lbs (for dry snow), to 21 lbs (for wet snow). That gets even heavier when hard ice is present. Remember, you will be using your shovel for repeated motions that definitely add up over time. To give your back a break, purchase a shovel that feels lightweight on its own, but is still strong enough to do the job. Look for shovels with light, but durable aluminum handles. Scoops are typically made from aluminum or heavy duty plastic (depending upon the surface you plan to shovel). If purchasing a poly or plastic scoop shovel, conduct a touch test to make sure it is not flimsy when you apply pressure.

Handles

When it comes to handles and grip, one size definitely does not fit all. The handle grip should be large enough to accommodate your hand while you are wearing gloves. Look for ergonomic handles that have the following:

  • Rounded or padded handle grips to reduce soft tissue compression in your hand
  • The correct length for you to not have to bend over (some shovels have telescopic handles for adjustability)
  • The right handle diameter that is not too large or too small to fit your hand.

If your property does not have the space for you to simply push snow into a bank, you may unfortunately be doing some lifting and throwing. If that’s the case, look for a shovel with double spring assisted handles to help you throw snow without throwing out your back. 

Edges

Shoveling surface will determine what kind of edge your scoop needs. If you are mainly going to be using your shovel on paved surfaces, metal edges can be very useful for breaking up hard chunks of ice. Some shovels are even equipped with saw-like edges that are ideal for breaking up thick ice. However, metal edges can scrape softer surfaces, like wooden decks. So, if you plan to shovel areas with softer surfaces, find a durable poly or nylon edged scoop. 

Additional Shovel Options

Traditional snow shovels have a few useful cousins that can be extremely handy.

Car Shovels

Have you ever had to dig your car out of a snowy parking space, found a snow plow pile surrounding your car, or gotten stuck in a snowbank on the side of the road? If so, you can imagine how handy a car snow shovel can be. Car shovels are typically narrower (with scoops about as wide as a tire) for easy storage. They should also be easy to disassemble to stow under a seat. Car shovels are also extremely handy for winter backpacking and hiking excursions.

Sleigh Shovels/Snow Pushers 

Sleigh shovels have scoops that lay completely flat on the ground’s surface. They typically also have a push handle that you can hold on to with both hands. Some even come with stabilizing wheels behind the scoop. These options are well suited for users that require a little extra stability and for areas where you have enough room to simply push your snow into a bank.

Roof Rakes

Roof rakes are specialized snow shovels with shallower scoops and telescopic handles. They help you reach and remove excess snow from roof lines to prevent ice dams from forming in your gutters.

Don’t Forget Deicer

Evenly spreading a granular deicer while you shovel will improve traction under your feet and make shoveling easier. You can even spread a light application right before snow falls to prevent ice from bonding to your pavement.

Containers of Ice Slicer Nature's Blend granular deicerPurchasing the right deicer saves you time, money, and worry. Nature’s Blend from Ice Slicer gives you the power of high performance road salt but is natural and safe to use at home with your children and pets.