Snow shovel FAQs
Is a metal or plastic snow shovel better?
While both plastic and aluminum snow shovels are fine options, they do differ somewhat. While aluminum shovels are more durable and less likely to snap or crack like plastic versions, they tend to be a bit heavier, and are more likely to have snow stick to their blade during use (although this can be solved by spraying them with a nonstick cooking spray before shoveling). Plastic shovels are also a better choice for use on wooden decks and steps, since metal blades can easily scratch or scrape delicate material.
What size snow shovel is the best?
You might assume that bigger is better when it comes to snow shovels, but that’s not always the case. If your shovel is too large, you might not be able to lift and toss a shovelful of snow comfortably. If your shovel is too small, you won’t be able to move the amount of snow you need to, and you won’t be working efficiently. As a general rule of thumb, go with a larger blade, like 30 inches, for when you plan on simply plowing snow out of the way. Opt for a smaller blade, around 18 or 20 inches, if you plan on lifting and throwing your snow out of the way.
Which is better, straight or bent handle?
Both straight and bent-handled snow shovels are popular styles, with strong supporters of each. Some prefer the straightforward control of the straight handle, while others are more comfortable with the ergonomic style of a bent-handle design. (This University of Ottawa study claims that bent-handle shovels can reduce the chances of lower back injury).
This choice ultimately depends on several factors of the user, like height, weight, and strength level, so it’s best for you to get some hands-on testing with both before you make your decision.
Which shovel is best for my physical type?
In addition to the factors listed above, you also need to consider your physical shape when choosing a snow shovel. 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.
If you think shoveling will take a toll on you, consider the ergonomic snow shovel or electric snow shovel we recommend above. You should also take factors like snowfall, terrain, and area size into account, and take the necessary breaks to prevent overexertion. Even a fit person can be overwhelmed by hours of shoveling.
How do you shovel 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. Rub wax or nonstick cooking spray on your shovel so snow doesn’t cling on.
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.