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Choosing the Right Snow Shovel for Your Needs

Are you dreading snow removal? For many, winter often means low temperatures, ice, and snow. But while the snow can be beautiful, it can wreak havoc on your property. You can usually walk or drive over it if it’s only a few inches of snow. But higher amounts, like a foot or more, mean you need to get rid of it for safety reasons. And a snow shovel is an easy and affordable way to remove it.

Keep reading to learn about some great shovel options, along with how to pick the best snow shovel for yourself!

snow shovel

Our Top Picks

Best Overall
Snow Joe Shovelution Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel

Budget Option
UnionTools Poly Snow Scoop

Best Electric Snow Shovel
Earthwise Cordless Electric Snow Shovel

Best Overall

Snow Joe Shovelution Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel

Snow Joe SJ-SHLV20 Shovelution 20-Inch, Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel w/ Spring Assisted Handle + Impact-Resistant Blade, Blue

Shoveling snow often leaves your back aching as you’re straining to lift clumps of heavy ice crystals. But the Snow Joe snow shovel can actually aid in keeping you comfortable with two D-shaped handles!

This shovel looks like your typical shovel except for the fact that it has a lower handle. The extra spring-assist handle will help you lift your snow-filled shovel comfortably instead of painfully gripping onto the pole. It’ll guide you into lifting with your legs rather than your back. A study displayed there are an estimated 11,500 snow shoveling-related accidents per year. So, any shovel features that can help promote safety are always a good idea.

Along with this, the shovel has an impact-resistant blade. The aluminum strip aids in keeping your shovel damage-free. It’ll also stay rust-free, as the materials include aluminum and plastic. So, this shovel should stay strong and aid in snow removal for many snowstorms ahead!


  • It has an impact-resistant blade
  • The shovel has a D-shaped handles, providing better comfort
  • It has a lower handle to help you lift the snow-filled shovel


  • The shovel’s angle is steep, which makes it challenging to pick up a lot of snow at once
  • The aluminum wear strip may get damaged over time

Budget Option

UnionTools Poly Snow Scoop

Union Tools 998241 Square Point Shovel with Hardwood Handle and D-Grip, 39-Inch, Black

If you want something budget-friendly and easy to use, the UnionTools snow shovel is the best option for you! Its design is simple and uses a hardwood handle along with strong plastic.

The hardwood handle is very durable and will keep your hands firmly in place. And the plastic parts can withstand extreme cold without getting brittle. You can expect the plastic to keep your shoveling surfaces scratch-free due to its dullness as well.

The D-shaped handle provides you with extra leverage when lifting the snow upwards, which can help reduce strain. And the scoop itself has a deep trough, allowing you to pick up more snow at once. This may help you get your shoveling done faster, which is always a good thing!


  • It has a hardwood handle
  • The shovel uses a D-shaped handle for comfort
  • It’s very lightweight


  • The very edge of the shovel may chip due to wear and tear
  • The grooves in the handle can make your hands uncomfortable

Best Electric Snow Shovel

Earthwise Cordless Electric Snow Shovel

Earthwise SN74016 40-Volt Cordless Electric Snow Shovel, Brushless Motor, 16-Inch width, 300lbs/Minute (Battery and Charger Included)

Most shovels require manual operation, which can lead to back issues when you finish shoveling. But an electric shovel such as the Earthwise electric shovel can save you time and pain!

Electric shovels work similarly to snow blowers, as they pull snow into them and expel it through a chute. This shovel, in particular, moves 300 pounds of snow per minute, which will significantly cut down your shoveling time.

It’s easy to assemble, has adjustable pole heights, and has two handles to keep you comfortable. You’ll also notice that it has two six-inch rear wheels, allowing you to push the shovel with little force. And the best part is that it’s cordless! So, there aren’t any wires to trip on.

This is the best snow shovel if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly and less straining snow removal option. Simply charge it up, set your snow chute angle, and use it for the next snowstorm!


  • It uses a chargeable battery, making it cordless
  • The chute can rotate up to 180º
  • It can move 300 pounds of snow per minute


  • It’s small in width
  • The battery can sometimes disconnect with vigorous movements

Suncast Ergonomic Snow Shovel

Suncast SC3850 Ergonomic Handle with Strip Grip, 18

Suncast’s snow shovel is another one of the best snow shovels for preventing back pain. It offers a bent handle, which helps keep you from bending your spine too much. Your back will stay relatively vertical, allowing you to focus your strength within your arms and legs. Shoveling requires less effort with this type of handle.

Its D-shaped grip will keep your hand comfortable, while the blade shape allows you to push or shovel snow. The shovel itself is also rather durable, as it uses alloy steel and plastic materials. Steel is one of the strongest metals out there, so it’ll stay in good shape for years to come. The bend in the handle will stay in place no matter how heavy the snow is!

There’s also a steel wear strip to prevent the thinnest part of the shovel blade from breaking prematurely. This reinforced blade is excellent if you live in an area that gets frequent snowstorms, like Minnesota.


  • It has an ergonomic bent handle
  • The blade shape is excellent for both pushing and shoveling snow
  • It has a steel wear strip to extend the edge of the blade


  • The screws may rust over time
  • It cannot handle chipping at ice

Ashman Aluminum Snow Shovel

Ashman Aluminium 48 Inch Snow Shovel with Large Head and Durable Handle (1 Pack)

The Ashman shovel is one of the best snow shovels when it comes to durability. It has a fiberglass handle and a coated aluminum scoop. You’ll find that its overall structure is heavy-duty and strong, allowing you to rely on it year after year.

Its D-shaped handle allows for a firm and comfortable grip, which keeps your hand from slipping. So you won’t have to keep re-adjusting due to irritation.

This shovel won’t bend or break due to heavy, wet snow or frozen-solid ice. The aluminum scoop is rust and corrosion-resistant, keeping it in top shape no matter how much snow it encounters. And you can chip away at the ice with its slightly serrated blade, and it’ll still look as good as new!


  • It uses a corrosion and rust-resistant aluminum blade
  • The shovel has a strong fiberglass handle
  • It’s strong enough to remove both ice and snow


  • The use of a metal blade makes it a little heavy
  • It’s a little short

Snow Shovel Buyer’s Guide: Things to Consider

With some snow shovel ideas in mind, there are some things you should consider to help make your decision. The width, sturdiness, handle length, and power type are some things you should assess pertaining to your needs.

Shovel Blade Width

A large shovel width is typically always a good feature. It allows you to pick up or push more snow at once. Blade widths of 18 inches are usually the lowest you want to go. Anything smaller than that will keep you outside shoveling longer than you need to.


Always take a look at the materials used within your snow shovel. Hardwood, sturdy plastic, and metal are usually some of the best materials for shovels. These materials are difficult to break and can withstand freezing temperatures. There’s nothing worse than your shovel breaking in the middle of a snowstorm.

But if you opt for a metal shovel, ensure it has a protective coating. Without anti-rust and anti-corrosion coatings, the shovel can eventually break down.

Power Type: Manual or Electric

You’ll often find that most snow shovels require manual operation. This type of shovel is usually more affordable, as they use simple materials. But there are also some electric options out there that can give you a more powerful shoveling experience.

Electric shovels are great for those who may have back issues. They don’t require you to lift snow and throw it around. Instead, you’ll simply push the shovel, and it’ll move the snow out of the way for you. These shovels are a little pricier. And they require charging time, so it can be frustrating waiting for it.

On the other hand, manual shovels are ready to use immediately. But they require some elbow grease and will definitely give you a good workout. You’ll need to pick a power type based on your physical health and budget.

snow shovel

How to Choose the Best Snow Shovel

If you’re having difficulties picking the best snow shovel for yourself, thinking about the following may help. These things will get you brainstorming and thinking about what you personally may need out of a shovel.

Think About Handle Comfort

Your hands can be especially vulnerable to injuries when shoveling, as the cold can cause them to get chapped. This can lead to blisters and overall painful hands by the time you finish shoveling. So, it’s a good idea to look for smooth or generally comfortable handle grips. The shape of the handle also matters. Typically, a D-shaped handle is most comfortable, as it allows more control and a better grip.

Lots of snow means you’ll be outside for a while. And comfort is key. Without a comfortable handle, you’ll be taking more breaks, which leads to longer shoveling time.

Consider Your Height in Relation to the Shovel

Did you know that snow shovels have varying handle lengths? This is a vital feature to keep in mind, especially if you’re tall. The standard height for a shovel is usually around 48 inches. While this is perfect for most people, it can be back-straining for people taller than six feet. It will require you to bend your back more than you should, which could lead to injuries.

So, before making your purchase, think about your height and compare it to the shovel height. You’ll want minimal bending and twisting when shoveling.

Think About the Size of the Area You’ll Be Shoveling

If you have a small driveway or walkway to shovel, a typically 18-inch blade should be just fine. But if you have a lot of ground to shovel, you may want something bigger. You might also want to think about an electric snow shovel to help you get the job done faster. Consider something more ergonomic to ensure you aren’t pulling muscles or hurting yourself. The longer you’re shoveling, the more you’ll want comfortable and efficient options.

Snow Shovel Frequently Asked Questions

Is a plastic or metal snow shovel best?

A plastic shovel is typically lighter than a metal one. So, it’s better for your joints and back, as you won’t be straining as much. However, plastic isn’t as strong as metal, so your shovel may break with heavy snow or ice. Overall, metal is usually better if you’re looking for durability and strength.

Are straight or curved snow shovels better?

A curved shovel is typically better than a straight one. Curved shovels are more ergonomic and take the strain off your back. The curve essentially prevents you from bending too much, which can keep your back in better shape. It helps you reduce pain before it happens.

Are electric snow shovels more effective than regular shovels?

Electric shovels are more effective most of the time, as they can get the job done faster. They work great for a foot of snow or less. But they typically cannot handle anything over that, as the snow will cover its inner workings. That’s when a regular shovel is better. So, the effectiveness depends on the height of the snow.

Time to Shovel Some Snow

Snow can be challenging to deal with. However, the right snow shovel can help you significantly when winter storms start rolling in. There are many strain-reducing, durable, and lightweight options available to help you remove snow safely. But it can be hard to pick the best snow shovel with so many choices. Hopefully, this guide gave you some ideas and helped you make your final decision!

Are you looking for more ways to make your Minnesota winters easier and more enjoyable? Check out our Winter in Minnesota page for more!