A soft layer of pristine snow on the ground is beautiful—until you remember you’ll have to shovel the sidewalk and driveway before work. While a traditional snow shovel does the job, it can be labor-intensive and time-consuming. The best electric snow shovels can speed up the process and eliminate heavy lifting. To ease your chores this snow season, these handy electric snow shovels deserve a look. Read on to learn about the key features of the best electric snow shovels and why these recommendations rate at the top of their class.
- BEST OVERALL: Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Snow Shovel
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Snow Joe 11-Inch 10 Amp Electric Snow Shovel
- WIDEST SWATH: Earthwise Electric Corded 12Amp Snow Shovel
Before You Buy an Electric Snow Shovel
Think of an electric snow shovel as a cross between a manual snow shovel and a larger, more powerful snowblower. The handle of an electric snow shovel resembles the handle of a traditional snow shovel, but that’s where the similarities end. Instead of a scoop blade, an electric snow shovel features a large single or double turning blade that picks up snow and tosses it out of the path as you push it along a paved surface. An electric snow shovel takes less physical effort to operate than a traditional shovel, but you still have to do some pushing. Unlike snowblowers, electric snow shovels are typically not self-propelled.
Electric snow shovels are designed to remove fresh snow from sidewalks, decks, patios, and steps. Electric snow shovels are the less expensive option and come with a price tag of about $60 to $190. A heavy-duty snowblower could set you back $1,500 or more.
Types of Electric Snow Shovels
Electric snow shovels come corded and cordless. Each type has its own benefits and considerations.
Corded electric snow shovels offer immediate snow-clearing power. Just plug the cord into an outlet. For those who don’t want to wait for a battery to charge, which can take a few hours, before they can shovel snow, a corded electric model might make more sense. Of course, corded models limit your coverage area to the length of the extension cord (usually 50 to 100 feet).
Cordless electric snow shovels operate on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that run for approximately 20 to 50 minutes on a single charge. Battery-powered snow shovels have a clear advantage over corded models for clearing snow in locations far from an outlet. Plus, you don’t have to drag a cord behind you. If you have a lot of snow to clear, you may need to stop and recharge the battery before you finish the job.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Electric Snow Shovel
The best electric snow shovel should dependably clear away the average snowfall in your area far more easily than a conventional shovel. Take these key factors into consideration when you compare models.
Relatively light in weight, electric snow shovels average 10 to 16 pounds. That matters because electric snow shovels do not propel themselves. You have to push the shovel along the ground. The best snow shovel for you should be light enough to push relatively easily but heavy enough to push into the snow rather than skim the top.
How much snow an electric snow shovel can clear depends on the height and width of the intake chute.
The height of the intake chute determines the maximum depth of snow the device can remove (about 4 to 8 inches). You’ll want to select an electric snow shovel with an intake chute at least as deep as the typical snowfall in your area. Some manufacturers claim their electric snow shovels can go over deeper snows with more than one pass. But if the snow is soft, these devices may sink into the snow since they’re designed to sit on a paved surface. This will just push snow over the top of the tool rather than clear it out of your path.
The width of the chute determines the width of the path your electric snow shovel can clear in a single pass. Chutes range from around 10 to 16 inches wide. A wider chute means fewer passes to clear an area.
Electric snow shovels work similarly to more powerful snowblowers. Their horizontal auger features one or two blades. The auger rotates at a high speed and the blades scoop up the snow and blow it out of an exhaust chute. Both single- and double-blade shovels will get the job done. But the double-bladed ones may clear the snow more quickly.
Ease of Use
Whether corded and cordless, the best electric snow shovels should be easy to operate. Just turn them on and push them along a paved surface to remove fresh snow. Some have adjustable handles to fit the height of the user. Others may feature a second handle to help you push the shovel through the snow.
The attached cord on a corded electric snow shovel usually isn’t longer than 6 feet. But you can’t plug them right into a wall outlet anyway. You have to use a 12- or 14-gauge (check the owner’s manual) exterior extension cord that you purchase separately.
Most lithium-ion batteries will run anywhere from 20 to 50 minutes on a single charge. Snow shovels that come with 40-volt batteries will run about twice as long as those that come with 24-volt batteries. You can double the runtime by investing in a second battery so that you can switch if the first one runs out before the job is done. Battery life depends on a variety of factors, including chute size. The more snow the tool handles, the more power required, and the quicker the battery will drain. A battery loses power with age, too. It won’t hold as much charge after a few years as it did when it was new. That’s when it’s time to replace it.
Our Top Picks
The following electric snow shovels take into account specific features such as battery use, cleaning area, and more. Take into consideration the best use of each model when choosing one for your clearing area.
The Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Snow Shovel is a powerful battery-powered snow shovel with a simple push-button start. It can handle snow up to 6 inches deep. It clears a 12-inch-wide swath, so it’s suitable for light snow on sidewalks, porches, and decks. The bottom scraper is designed to slide under the snow and make it easier for the spinning auger blade to lift and blow the snow out of the discharge chute. This shovel can toss fresh snow up to 20 feet.
The adjustable second handle can help the user get a firm grip on this 13-pound machine.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on an electric snow shovel. This shovel will clear a 13-inch path in up to 6 inches of snow and toss it up to 20 feet away, enabling you to clear light snow from short sidewalks, porches, and decks—all at an affordable price point.
The dual handle on the Snow Joe helps the user get a good grip for pushing the tool through the snow, and its corded design means that you can stay on task all day if necessary, without having to recharge.
The oversize, 16-inch-wide by 8-inch-high intake chute on the Earthwise Electric Corded 12Amp Snow Shovel makes quick work of clearing away snow. This intake chute can help clear larger areas, such as driveways, in fewer passes. While many electric snow shovels discharge snow directly in front of the tool, this one comes with a 180-degree rotating chute so you sling snow in any direction you like. And unlike most other options, the Earthwise sends snow up to 30 feet away.
The Advantages of Owning an Electric Snow Shovel
Electric snow shovels are easier to use than a manual snow shovel and less expensive than a full-size snowblower. They expedite snow removal so you have more time for sledding, snowball fights, or staying warm indoors.
- Reduces back, arm, and shoulder pain and fatigue associated with shoveling snow.
- Quickly removes fresh snow to an average depth of 6 to 8 inches.
- Lightweight and easy to handle (most weigh under 15 pounds).
FAQs About Electric Snow Shovels
If you’re looking to buy an electric snow shovel, naturally you have some questions.
Q. How does an electric snow shovel work?
A horizontal auger with one or two blades spins at ground level in order to pick up the snow and toss it out of an exhaust chute.
Q. How do you use an electric snow shovel?
You manually push the tool along the pavement in order for the spinning auger to pick up the snow.
Q. How do you fix an electric snow shovel?
Most electric snow shovels come with a two- or three-year warranty, so if something goes wrong during that time, contact the manufacturer. Consult the owner’s manual for instructions on basic maintenance.