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- With the right snow shovel, you can clear your porch, walkways, driveways, and more easily.
- The DMOS Alpha Expedition Shovel is the best shovel with a serrated blade that cuts into high piles of snow.
- If you're looking to move a ton of snow with minimal effort, read our guide to the best snow blowers.
When a big snowstorm hits, the thought of shoveling snow probably is way less appealing than playing in it. But someone's got to do it, and with the proper snow shovel, removing snow from your stoop, driveway, deck, and walkways can be faster and easier.
No matter which snow shovel you use, it's more important to use it safely to help reduce the chance of injury. You can read proper safety tips here, along with how to choose the right snow shovel for you needs.
Here are the best snow shovels in 2021
The best overall
When fully assembled, the collapsible DMOS Alpha Expedition Shovel is as capable as any classic snow shovel, easily tossing scoop after scoop of snow.
Pros: Collapses for stowing, serrated blades cuts into packed snow, lightweight but rugged
Cons: Can become heavy once it lifts up a lot of snow
The DMOS Alpha Expedition Shovel has a clever build that can help you move snow all day long — not that you'll want to though. It's a newer version of the original Alpha I'd tested using stronger aircraft-grade aluminum so it's slightly heavier, but it's otherwise very similar.
I feel comfortable naming this as our overall pick because the Alpha was the best snow shovel I have ever used, and it's still one of my go-to shovels. The slender, serrated edge of the shovel's blade cuts into all sorts of snow with ease, lifting fresh powder, heavy slush, and icy chunks alike. The long handle makes lifting effortless while the all-metal construction ensures that the shaft won't bend or break and the scoop won't crack or buckle.
Despite the rugged appearance, the Alpha Expedition only weighs 4 pounds 6 ounces. But once you scoop up a large pile of snow, it can become much heavier so avoid overexerting yourself.
The secret here is the shovel's collapsible and detachable handle. The shaft telescopes out to a generous 61.5 inches, giving taller users plenty of length for proper leverage, and it can be shortened down twice for users of differing heights.
Though this shovel isn't cheap, the durable construction ensures it lasts for years.$169.00 from DMOS
The best ergonomic snow shovel
The ingenious two-handle design of the Snow Joe Shovelution Shovel can reduce back strain when compared to a traditional snow shovel and speed up the snow clearing process.
Pros: Reduces back strain, speeds up the snow-removal process
Cons: Initial use is awkward until you get used to it
Shoveling snow can lead to a sore lower back. The Shovelution Shovel has a unique design that helps reduce the strain from shoveling, scooping, and tossing piles of snow.
Essentially, it's a regular snow shovel with a straight handle and an 18-inch shovel blade that's curved to help you collect loads of snow. But right above the main handle is a spring-assisted handle that helps counterbalance the weight of each shovel full of snow.
By keeping one hand on the main shaft and another on the secondary handle, the Shovelution Snow Shovel allows you to stand up straighter as you work and reduces the strain put on the back's lumbar region.
The spring-action second handle also helps you fling aside heavy snow with less effort and with reduced shock at the end of each toss. This limits the strain on your joints, muscles, and skeletal system, so you don't wind up with a sore back after shoveling.
Senior editor Jada Wong has used her Shovelution for a year to remove snow that's about a foot deep around her driveway, walkway, porch, and deck with much less effort and back pain than with traditional shovels. She said the second handle seems flimsy at first and takes getting used to, but it's ultimately a much better shoveling experience.$19.98 from Amazon
The best electric snow shovel
The Greenworks Electric Snow Shovel can clear snowfall of up to a half-foot deep with a single pass, and you never even have to lift it off the ground.
Pros: Minimizes effort and backache, quickly clears shallower snowfall, lightweight
Cons: Can't handle deep or wet/heavy snow
This electric shovel can help you clear an area quickly and with much less effort than a traditional shovel requires. But with snow any deeper than that, or with snow that's particularly wet and heavy, it can get jammed up.
The Greenworks Electric Snow Shovel is ideal for people who live in areas that get moderate snowstorms a few times per season. As noted, it can't really handle deep snow but for light precipitation, it clears the stuff right down to the pavement, pushing along easily without the strain that manual shoveling places on the knees, arms, and back. It's easy to use — just a simple push button to start and it comes corded.
This electric shovel is best suited to mid-sized properties, as it tosses snow a distance of about 20 feet. If you have a large driveway or patio, some of that snow is going to fall right back onto it so you'll be doubling up on work. For sidewalks, stoops, or smaller and medium-sized driveways, it's a great tool. The thrower cuts a 12-inch swath as it moves along, so you can clear a 1,000 square foot area covered by four inches of snow in about 20 minutes.$128.97 from Amazon
The best compact snow shovel
The Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel weighs less than 1.5 pounds and folds down to just over 2 feet long, making it perfect for storing in the trunk of a car.
Pros: Compact size is ideal for storage in car, adjustable handle length
Cons: Too small for serious shoveling jobs
Sometimes a snowstorm can happen out of nowhere, so it's a good idea to keep the Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel in your car in addition to an ice scraper.
This compact and multipurpose shovel can be stowed in the trunk or backseat. It's lightweight at around 1.3 pounds and can be adjusted from 25 to 32 inches in length, allowing for comfortable use by people of various heights.
The blade is smaller than most traditional snow shovels, but it can still scoop enough snow to clear steps outside your home, carve out a narrow walking path, or help dig your car tires out of the snow.
Because this shovel is so compact, don't expect to use it for large snow-clearing jobs. The handle is quite short and it will be rough on your back. Think of this as more of an emergency-preparedness tool than an everyday shovel.$29.99 from Amazon $29.99 from Lowe's
The best snow pusher
The extra-wide blade of the Manplow REV42 Revolution Snow Pusher can clear 42-inch swaths of sidewalk, driveway, patio, and more in a single pass.
Pros: Clears huge swath in one pass, the reversible blade extends the working life, will not damage terrain
Cons: Not effective with deep snow, not meant for scooping
The Manplow REV42 Revolution Snow Pusher is not technically a snow shovel because it's not designed to lift and toss scoops of snow. Instead, it's an extra-wide tool for clearing a 42-inch swath of snow in a single pass.
The broad blade is designed not to damage terrain, so you can use the REV42 on cobblestone, brick, wood, and more as long as it's smooth — it's easy to get jammed up on uneven heights. Yet it's rugged enough to shove heavy loads of snow out of the way without bending your body. In fact, it's probably recommended to scoop up any snow because it'll be very heavy.
For quickly clearing most driveways and walkways, it's hard to beat a big snow pusher like this. If the snow piles up more than seven or eight inches high, the REV42 becomes less effective, as snow can spill over the top of the blade.
The Manplow REV42 Revolution Snow Pusher is a great alternative to a more traditional shovel. And thanks to its clever reversible blade, it will serve you for years, too: When the edge of the pusher becomes too worn down and uneven to be effective, just remove the blade, flip it upside down, and enjoy a like-new snow tool.$63.89 from Amazon
How to choose the right shovel
Consider your physical shape: If you have any physical issues due to age, injury, or illness, then opt for a tool that uses wheels, focused leverage, or even a motor to help minimize the effort needed to move that snow. The ergonomic snow shovel and electric snow shovel we recommend above should be your ideal picks.
Take factors like snowfall, terrain, and area size into account: If you're healthy, a more traditional snow shovel might be fine, but you still need to consider the volume of snowfall you'll be facing and the terrain at hand.
Even a fit person can be overwhelmed by hours of shoveling and should consider an efficient tool, even if it costs more. Keep in mind that a bigger shovel is not always better — a shovel that's too wide for your narrow stoop might be counterproductive, for example.
Tips and tricks for shoveling snow
- Before the snow falls, lay down some salt or ice melt on the area you'd need to shovel to prevent snow from sticking and ice from forming.
- To prevent ice from sticking, rub wax or nonstick cooking spray on your shovel.
- If safe to do so, shovel while it's snowing, before the snow accumulates into a heavier and more solid mass. Shoveling snow in layers, rather than all at once, also reduces stress on your body.
- Bend your knees and use your legs — not your back — when shoveling to reduce the chance of injury.
- Switch off hands and grips, and take periodic breaks to reduce body strain.
- Once you're done shoveling, lay down some more ice melt to keep the ground clear.
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