Clear a Path: The 8 Best Snow Shovels

During the summer there is a dark corner in your garage where no one every goes and smart men refuse to even look. They know what hangs there like an executioners axe. A hateful item that nonetheless must one day be brought forth to do its grim work. It is the snow shovel and it cannot be denied. The back-breaking device that has been around for generations and yet it really hasn’t improved much.

Modern shovels built for snowy weather do offer some relief for the poor person toiling in the cold to clear their driveway or sidewalk.There are ergonomic handles so you aren’t hunched with your lower back aching after a bout of shoveling and you would be wise to also buy a backsaver grip to ease your pain. Some shovels offer curved blades that help push the snow aside. There are even some with wheels so they can be pushed like a snow blower. Despite these helpful additions, even using one of the 8 best snow shovels is still going to be a grueling task, and you may need an ice scraper to go along with your new shovel.

Truper 18-Inch Ergonomic Snow Shovel

Truper 18-Inch Ergonomic Snow Shovel

Pro: Non-slip shaft sleeve
Con: Heavy

Standard Issue: This is your everyday carry snow shovel. Even if you live on the beach in Santa Monica, having this on hand just in case the gods of winter decide to dump on you is wise. It works well for people of nearly any height, has a very durable Thermoplastic blade with a metal strip on the end that prevents the shovel from snapping against asphalt, and has enough ergonomics to get by. The shaft is steel with a nylon grip that keeps it from flying out of your hands even if you aren’t wearing work gloves. The handle has similar nylon on it which not only gives you a better grip, it reduces the cold bleeding through and isn’t as hard on your hand. You can get many winters of use out of it, though that lengthy life-span is due in part to its greater weight. [Purchase: $27]

Rugg Backsaver LiteWate

Rugg Backsaver LiteWate

Pro: Lightweight
Con: Can be bent or broken relatively easily

Best Bend: Snow season is murder for anyone with chronic back pain or even just those individuals who have had to spend their life hunched over a computer and haven’t done any core work. Though your spine may be twisted like Quasimodo, your driveway still needs clearing. The severe angle of the Backsaver and the grip handle partway up give you more leverage for scooping snow without doing too much damage to your back. The head is a poly combo that can stand up to extreme cold without splitting or shattering while also keeps the overall weight low. The aluminum handle further reduces the heft to minimize lifting strain. While it’s built as sturdily as it can be, it is still a lighter shovel so banging it on the ground in frustration or using it for jousting will likely break it. Leaning in too heavily can also further bend the aluminum. [Purchase: $34]

ManPlow

ManPlow

Pro: Very durable
Con: Needs very smooth surfaces

Light and Sassy: The ManPlow isn’t meant to clear off driveways unless you have a nice smooth one and only a dainty dusting of snow. This is better kept near the house for taking care of decks, walkways, or even shoving snow off of rooftops so the weight doesn’t build up. The polyethylene blade is ballistic rated and plenty durable, but the overall design is tough to use against deep drifts unless you’re built like a brick house. The aircraft grade aluminum handle can take a fair amount of abuse and the entire thing can stand up to the most frigid weather and the most abusive owners so feel free to really push it. Some people find that the tall blade allows them to use a “shove and swipe” maneuver in which they can slap some of the snow away lets them handle tougher spots, but you’ll still need a smooth area to work with. [Purchase: $59]

Dakota Sno Blade

Dakota Sno Blade

Pro: Tall grip handle
Con: Does not work well on gravel

Power Pusher: Made for the mean streets of North Dakota, the Sno Blade is the snow clearer of choice for handling smaller amounts of snowfall on a daily basis. If you get buried, it won’t be much use in digging you out since the snow will quickly mount up too quickly and you won’t be able to move it. You can handle about 6 inches of snow, but less is preferable to make short work of it. You’ll have difficulty if you have a gravel driveway since the blade will get caught on rocks, but for suburban streets, paved driveways, or sidewalks, this can cut a swath through the snow with minimal effort. The high grip handle makes it feel very much like a push lawnmower. Tall users will likely find themselves a little hunched. [Purchase: $100]

Snow Wolf Wheeled Snow Shovel

Snow Wolf Wheeled Snow Shovel

Pro: Reduces shoveling strain on heart
Con: Looks ridiculous

Wheeled Wonder: Finally you can look like one of those guys from the 20’s on the huge road bicycle with the one giant wheel. Yes, it looks silly and costs a lot, but you’ll be surprised not only at how well it handles large quantities of snow but how easy it is on your back. They claim it can outperform snowblowers, but you’d have to be working like a fiend to pull that off. It does reduce not only strain on the back but the cardio exertion of moving tons of snow. While this isn’t good if you need the exercise, those with heart problems can avoid being found dead at the end of their driveway. The single wheel is easy to maneuver, easy to turn, and the “tilt and toss” movement is pretty painless. It both seems fun and operates well for smaller users so feel free to send your kids out to do the work. [Purchase: $160]

True Temper Poly Scoop

True Temper Poly Scoop

Pro: Works on any driveway
Con: Is hard work

Dastardly Digger: When you’ve really got to dig your way out and traditional options just won’t do it, you need a non-traditional solution. The Poly Scoop is technically made for moving grain or coal, but many hardy souls swear by it for digging themselves out when the flurries fly. Make no mistake, this is not going to be kind to your back, but True Temper has worked hard to minimize the strain with a cushioned D-grip handle and an ABS plastic head to keep weight down. This works for any kind of driveway since you won’t need a slick surface to move along as you go, which makes it favored by those with dirt or gravel driveways that they don’t want to chew up. The style allows you to only bite off as much as you can chew. [Purchase: $29]

AAA Sport Utility Shovel

AAA Sport Utility Shovel

Pro: Collapsible
Con: Small

Survival Shovel: This should already be in the trunk of your car, so we shouldn’t have to mention it, but we will. The Sport Utility Shovel is a small, collapsible shovel meant for those times when you might need to dig yourself out of a tight spot. The sturdy aluminum body is only about 1.5 lbs. and it is a mere 26 inches long when collapsed. The telescoping handle extends to 3 feet for use at getting beneath tires and under your car. It comes in three pieces if you need to break it down for even simpler storage in a tight space or snowmobile compartment. It’s approved by the AAA motor club so you know it’s ideal for vehicular survival. If you ignore everything else on this list, make sure you’ve got one of these stashed away in your car. It could literally save your life. [Purchase: $18]

SnowJoe Electric Shovel

SnowJoe Electric Shovel

Pro: It’s electric
Con: Only works on very small amounts of snow

Get Lazy: It’s part snow shovel part snow blower making it perfect for the person who hates bending and lifting. Sadly you’ll still have to go outside and stand up, so winter boots, gloves, and a coat are still required. This is only for the smallest quantities of snow since the motor is just 7.5 amps. It can handle clearing your steps, the sidewalk, or your patio, but doesn’t really do driveways or deep snow. The good news is that you will look like you are trying to vacuum the snow away, which will give your neighbors a giggle. [Purchase: $76]

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