Removing snow from your driveway the old-fashioned way might not be fun, but it’s a good-for-the-earth way to clean up those wintry messes. Not all methods of ice and snow removal are quite so eco-friendly as using a snow shovel.
Recent studies have shown that chloride contamination due to salt treatments is toxic for wildlife, agriculture, and people—long after the snow has melted. Shoveling snow by hand causes no harm to the environment—and heck, it’s great exercise. Plus, thanks to the high-quality, well-designed snow shovels of today, driveways and paths are cleared quicker than ever, and more safely, too, so users can avoid being among the more than 11,500 people injured shoveling snow every year.
We carefully researched top snow shovel models and then tested them on a driveway (75′ x 8.5′), a deck (12′ x 8′), and a walkway (150′) with about 4-5 inches of snow. For the driveway, we drove a vehicle over to pack down the snow. Read on to see how each performed and to understand the features that make for a good snow shovel.
- BEST OVERALL: Snow Joe Shovelution Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: True Temper 1573700 Poly Snow Shovel, 18-Inch
- BEST SNOW PUSHER: The Snowplow “the Original Snow Pusher” 36″ Wide
- BEST LIGHT-DUTY: True Temper 1641000 Aluminum Snow Shovel D-Grip
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY: The Snowcaster 30UPH 30 inch snowpusher
- BEST FOR PACKED SNOW: MANPLOW RevolutionX Snow Pusher with U Handle
- BEST FOR WALKWAYS: The Snowplow “the Original Snow Pusher” 24″ Wide
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Snow Shovel
Freeze! Don’t go grabbing just any shovel off the rack. Buying the best snow shovel might seem like a basic task, but only a cool customer truly knows what goes into choosing one. To help, we put together the following considerations to keep in mind while shopping for a new snow shovel.
There are basically three types of driveway and walkway snow shovels: traditional scoop shovels, pushers, and combination shovels/pushers. The difference mainly comes down to blade design.
- A traditional shovel comes with an almost flat, 18- to 24-inch rectangular blade. In contrast, a pusher has a longer, narrower curved blade.
- Pushers are excellent for driveways because they clear snow faster and with less effort. A traditional shovel is better suited to walkways and smaller areas where a push shovel may have trouble maneuvering.
- A combo shovel has a slightly wider, curvier blade than a traditional shovel for both scooping snow and pushing it away. For driveways and larger areas, either a push shovel or a combo is typically faster and easier to use.
Snow shovel blades, which need to be lightweight yet rugged, are routinely made from one of three materials: polyethylene plastic, steel, or aluminum. Each has pros and cons: A steel or aluminum blade is best for clearing off all ice and hard-packed snow because these metals are light yet extremely strong and with sharper edges. Metal blades, however, can scratch decking and other wooden or stone surfaces. In these cases, and for light to medium snow, a plastic blade works well. Hardy handles typically consist of steel, aluminum, fiberglass, or wood.
Many snow shovels have straight handles, so learning the right grip is important to prevent strain. To shovel safely, place one hand as close to the blade as possible, and place the other hand on the handle grip. Some snow shovels boast ergonomic handles, which are curved to lessen your tendency to lean over and lift with your back (instead of lifting with your legs).
Another option is an extra “assist” handle, closer to the blade, to increase leverage and lifting power. These handles can be a big boost for children or adults with bad backs, but they’re also all-around helpful for anyone who wants a more ergonomic shovel.
Some handles are even cushioned with foam to lessen hand fatigue. Many models feature wide, D-grip handles, which are shaped like the letter D and provide a more comfortable and firmer grip than a straight handlebar.
Wheels and Maneuverability
For extra-heavy snowfalls and larger areas to plow, users may wish to consider a snow pusher with wheels. Unlike snow blowers, wheeled snow pushers don’t require any gas or engine upkeep, just old-fashioned elbow grease. The wheels make moving and depositing larger quantities of snow a bit easier, while the blade may be made of steel for greater strength, stability, and weight.
Our Top Picks
All this talk about choosing the best snow shovel might have you frozen in your tracks. We put together the following options to help. We even performed hands-on testing with them to ensure we were suggesting top-quality options. There’s a shovel on the list for just about anyone, so be sure to compare each one carefully.
Note: All of the following shovels except for one (it’s noted) feature D-shaped handles large enough for gloves.
Anyone on the hunt for a solid overall snow shovel should give the Shovelution from Snow Joe a look. This combo-style shovel features an 18-inch-wide polypropylene blade with a metal lip, an aluminum handle that snaps together, and an additional lift-assist handle. The combination makes scooping and pushing heavy snow across a driveway easier for adults or children and also makes lifting snow over a deck railing easier.
We must admit that, during testing, we didn’t want to like the Snow Joe. The additional lift-assist handle seemed like a gimmick, but did it ever open our eyes. This shovel was easy to use, required much less bending over than a traditional shovel, and provided plenty of leverage for scooping. The Snow Joe is also lightweight, meaning just about anyone can use it, whether adult or child.
We also liked that it was easy to assemble, especially considering it came in the smallest box in the test. Our only complaint was that the additional handle was a little awkward when we turned the shovel over for chipping, but it does come with a strap to hold it in place.
- Style: Combo
- Materials: Polypropylene blade, aluminum handle, plastic D-grip
- Blade size: 18 inches
- Lift handle makes shoveling and lifting snow easier
- Very easy to assemble
- Polypropylene blade and aluminum handle are lightweight
- Chipping snow was a little awkward
Get the Snow Joe snow shovel on Amazon, The Home Depot, and Tractor Supply Co..
From one of the oldest makers of outdoor tools in America, the True Temper shovel offers quality materials at an affordable price. The blade is made of heavy-duty polyethylene plastic and measures 18 inches wide. The steel handle comes in an oversize D-grip design for comfortable lifting. This design makes for a lightweight shovel that can handle most lighter snowfalls.
Our test proved that the True Temper Poly Snow Shovel offers a lot of bang for the buck. First, we liked that it didn’t require any assembly—it came wrapped in plastic with a shipping label on the side. We also liked how lightweight it was without feeling like a toy or like it would snap in our hands.
This snow shovel was more than capable of handling the moderate snowfall we experienced during our test, and we liked that it wouldn’t scratch a deck or a brick walkway. The only downside is that cleaning up after a big storm might take a while due to its narrow width, but we feel it is up to the job.
- Style: Traditional
- Materials: Polyethylene blade, steel handle
- Blade size: 18 inches
- No assembly required
- Affordable price for the quality
- Very lightweight
- Won’t scratch a deck or a walkway
- A big snowfall might take a while to clear
Get the True Temper snow shovel on Amazon.
The “original” snow pusher, the Snowplow from JM Enterprises is beloved for its straightforward effectiveness. It’s capable of moving more snow than a traditional or combo shovel, making shorter work of larger driveways. The fiberglass handle lessens weight without sacrificing strength, and the sleek blade, made of advanced polyethylene, delivers extreme resistance to abrasion and wear.
The Snowplow Snow Pusher was a joy to use during testing. First, with a little bit of force, the design of the blade actually throws snow forward so that clearing a large driveway or other flat surfaces is a breeze. The heavy-duty polyethylene blade was thick and tough, and turning it over provided plenty of chipping power for snow-packed tire tracks. The only issue we had was that it’s a little bit of a pain to assemble, but it’s worth the work.
- Style: Pusher
- Materials: Fiberglass handle, polypropylene blade
- Blade size: 36 inches
- Heavy-duty construction
- Can really throw snow
- Chipping is a breeze
- A little bit of a pain to assemble
Get the The Snowplow on Amazon.
Even those with smaller driveways or who live in areas that don’t see a ton of snow might want a durable, long-lasting shovel, and this model from True Temper might be it. This light-duty shovel features an 18-inch wide aluminum blade with a traditional shape as well as a steel handle, combining for a shovel that is light and durable at the same time.
During our tests, we found the True Temper Aluminum Snow Shovel to be a great choice for light-duty work. The aluminum blade is tough, and the steel handle keeps the tool light. We also liked that we could flip this traditional-style shovel over and chip ice off steps with ease.
Also, this shovel didn’t require any assembly, and that’s a true benefit if the storm already dropped a few inches of snow. But, a few inches is probably all it can handle, since the traditional blade shape does make it difficult to carry heavier snow loads.
- Style: Traditional
- Materials: Steel handle with aluminum blade
- Blade size: 18 inches
- Aluminum blade keeps shovel lightweight but durable
- Traditional blade shape chips ice off steps
- No assembly required
- Limited to lighter loads due to traditional shape
Get the True Temper snow shovel on Amazon, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s.
Moving a lot of heavy snow across a driveway, a walkway, or a deck can be quite a task, and it takes a heavy-duty shovel like the Snowcaster 30UPH to get the job done. This 30-inch wide pusher-style shovel features a thick polypropylene blade that can withstand bounces, jams, and skips across rough surfaces. It also features a sturdy metal handle that keeps the tool light but durable.
The Snowcaster really proved to be a hard-core shovel in testing. First, it has a polypropylene bracket that couples the thick blade to the handle, and it can take quite a shot from uneven pavers or rocks. Next, of all the non-assembled shovels, it was by far the easiest and simplest to put together—the nuts fit in small recesses in the back of the blade for easier attachment. Our biggest gripe is that it isn’t able to throw snow quite as far as some other pusher models, but it definitely gets the job done.
- Style: Pusher
- Materials: Polypropylene blade and metal handle
- Blade size: 30 inches wide
- Heavy-duty bracket between handle and blade
- Thick, durable plastic blade
- Easiest assembly of all shovels requiring it
- Doesn’t throw snow as far as other pushers
Get the The Snowchaser sniwpusher on Amazon.
Anyone who’s ever driven over fresh snow and then tried to scoop it up off the driveway knows it can be an impossible task, but the Manplow RevolutionX Snow Pusher is up for it. This pusher-style shovel features a two-handed, U-shaped design with a padded grip, as well as a polypropylene blade and durable metal handle. The combination of these parts allows the user to generate some serious force, chipping ice and snow up from the driveway easily.
Testing on the Manplow revealed its strengths and weaknesses. As stated, it’s great for generating force and chipping up packed snow. Also, the padded grip keeps the hands comfortable and insulates them from the cold metal handle. The design is also a big help, as it minimizes bending and fatigue. If there’s a complaint, it’s that lifting snow with the Manplow is really impractical, though there is a handle attachment available to make the job easier.
- Style: Pusher
- Materials: Aluminum handle and polypropylene blade
- Blade size: 24 inches
- Design allows for a lot of thrust
- Minimizes bending over
- Padded grip for comfort and insulation
- Not practical for lifting snow
Get the MANPLOW snow pusher on Amazon.
Shoveling walkways can be backbreaking work, but the Snowplow snow pusher has your back. This pusher-style shovel features a durable fiberglass handle, a polypropylene bracket, and a heavy-duty polypropylene blade for heavy snow loads. And, while it’s durable, it’s compact enough for tighter walkways (measuring 24 inches across the blade).
We felt that this shovel from Snowplow was the obvious choice for walkways, as it was a breeze to work with on our sidewalk. This model clears 24-inch paths in one pass while still being easy to use and manipulate. And, though it’s compact, the shovel consists of heavy-duty materials that we felt could handle much, much larger jobs if necessary. The only thing to note is that this shovel requires assembly, which can be a pain on a cold day without gloves.
- Style: Pusher
- Materials: Polypropylene blade and fiberglass handle
- Blade size: 24 inches
- Compact but durable
- Easy to maneuver
- Made of heavy-duty materials
Get the The Snowplow Original snow pusher on Amazon.
Anyone looking for a shovel that can pretty much do it all without wearing them out should check out the Snow Joe Shovelution Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel, as the additional handle is a huge plus. For those who need to clear a large path quickly, The Snowplow Snow Pusher’s 36-inch blade and durability might make it the pusher to have ready for the next winter storm.
How We Tested the Best Snow Shovels
Testing snow shovels requires snow, so we had to wait a while this season (even in upstate New York). Once the snow fell, we set to work to get an idea of how well these shovels performed.
As part of our tests, we drove over our fresh snow before clearing the driveway, packing it down into hard, tire-width trails. Then, we used all the shovels to push or scoop snow from one side of the driveway to the other. We checked to see how each shovel performed at removing packed snow before using the back side of the blade to chip up the icy tire tracks.
Next, we used each shovel to clear a sidewalk or a walkway, comparing how well each did. Again, this step involved testing how well each removed the snow and how easy it was to use. We then used each shovel on a deck to see how easy it was to toss the snow over the railing.
Between those tests, we felt we had a solid grasp on these shovels, and we could recommend them with confidence.
Gathering information on the best snow shovels is a heavy load, but don’t collapse under the weight of your questions. To help, we put together the following list of some of the most frequently asked questions (and their answers) about snow shovels.
Q: What is the best shovel for snow?
In our opinion, the Snow Joe Shovelution Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel is the best shovel for snow. It has a combo-style blade that makes scooping and pushing easy, but it also has an additional lift-assist handle to make throwing the snow a breeze.
Q: Is a metal or a plastic snow shovel better?
In most cases, a plastic snow shovel is ideal. They’re generally lightweight, affordable, and durable enough for the heaviest storms—that is, if you purchase a good one.
Q: How wide should a snow shovel be?
It depends on the type of snow shovel and application, but the following can serve as a guide:
- Traditional shovels should be between 18 and 24 inches wide.
- Combo shovels should be around 24 inches wide, though folks with strength concerns should go smaller (18 inches).
- For push-style shovels, consider the surface. Driveways can benefit from a 36-inch wide pusher, while walkways might be easier to clear with a 24-inch wide model.