When you are scooping snow off your driveway, you want a shovel that’s as light as possible with the widest mouth possible.
Don’t even try to shovel snow with a conventional shovel. Snow is heavy enough without adding the weight of the shovel. The design of most conventional spades is also not ideal for picking large scoopfuls of snow.
In this buying guide, I review and compare the best snow shovels in the market.
My top picks are based on weight, design, durability and versatility.
I also give you tips on how to choose the right snow shovel and how to use it to shovel snow quickly and safely.
What to Consider When Choosing a Snow Shovel
A snow shovel needs to be as light as possible. This ensures that most of your effort goes to lifting the weight of the snow rather than the shovel.
There isn’t an official weight requirement for snow shovels but anything around 1kg and under will feel comfortable in your hands.
Most snow shovels are made with materials such as plastic, aluminium and fiberglass to keep the weight down.
Next, check the design of the shovel, particularly the handle and the mouth.
A D-shaped handle is standard for most shovels. It provides a nice grip, giving you plenty of leverage to thrust the shovel under the snow and lift it up.
As for the mouth, the part that will do the actual lifting, it should be wide with a narrow front edge. The recommended minimum width is 400mm (40cm).
The best snow shovels incorporate a metal strip along the front edge, allowing the shovel to slip easily under the ice.
A wide mouth allows you to scoop up a lot of snow at once, making quick work of the snow build-up on your driveway.
For the overall height, I recommend a number between 110cm and 140cm. This height works perfectly for most people. It’s not too long that the shovel is clumsy to lift and not too short that you strain your back bending down.
By the way, a snow shovel is not just for scooping snow. The design that makes it so good for clearing snow also makes it perfect for cleaning the chicken coop and clearing loose dirt from your backyard.
If you need a snow shovel you can carry in your car all the time for emergencies, look for one that’s portable.
It should have a foldable handle that ensures it fits easily in the boot of your car. Some portable snow shovels have a telescopic handle whose length can be adjusted.
d) Build Quality
A good quality snow shovel should be lightweight but strong. It should last you several seasons. Most snow shovels are made from heavy-duty plastics or lightweight metals like aluminium to ensure durability.
Before you buy a specific snow shovel, check customer reviews for any reports of the shovel snapping, the mouth bending or the handle coming loose.
How to Shovel Snow Fast (and Safely)
Shovelling snow is hard work and you can injure yourself if you are not careful. Back injuries are common and there’s a risk of slipping and falling not to mention the cold temperatures.
Safety should be a priority when you shovel snow. You should also be comfortable. Then, use the right shovelling tools and technique to make the work easier.
Here are some tips for shovelling snow safely and fast.
- Be warm from head to toe. Dress in multiple layers to stay warm and wear a comfortable pair of boots as well as gloves.
- Do some pre-shovel stretching to warm up your joints and muscles. This reduces the risk of injury.
- Use the right shovel. Use our ‘what to consider’ guide above to choose the right shovel. It should be easy to use and shouldn’t strain your hands and back.
- Lift small amounts of snow at a time. Don’t try to pile up the shovel with lots of snow. It increases your risk of slipping and can injure your back. You’ll also get tired much quicker. If the snow is thick, just skim a bit off the top until it’s all gone.
- When lifting snow, try to keep your back straight. Instead, lift with your legs. This put less pressure on your back.
- Take breaks. Don’t work continuously for too long. Fatigue increases the chances of injury. Take a break whenever you start feeling tired and out of breath.
Be especially careful if you have a pre-existing medical condition such as heart disease or high blood pressure. The cold and exerting conditions of snow shovelling can trigger a serious health problem.
The Best Snow Shovel Reviews
1. Neilsen Tools Aluminium Metal Snow Scoop
The Neilsen snow shovel is our top recommendation for most people. It’s the most expensive of our picks but it’s the best quality snow shovel.
The blade is made from aluminium, making it hardier and more durable than shovels made from plastic. It can lift a lot of snow without bending. Another advantage of having a metal blade is that you’ll have an easier time scooping compressed snow.
The shaft is made from fiberglass. The combination of the aluminium blade and fiberglass shaft makes for a very strong but light shovel. The Neilsen Tools shovel weighs just 1.1kg.
The design is exactly what you want from a snow shovel. The blade has a wide front edge measuring 30cm. It’s able to scoop more snow than a conventional shovel.
The edge is narrow, allowing the shovel to slip under the snow with minimal effort.
The shovel is 115cm long, which is just the right length for comfortable snow shovelling. A D-shaped handle provides a good grip whether you are using your left or right hand.
What I like about it:
- Hardy and durable metal and fibreglass construction.
- Easy to use.
- Very light.
2. Bulldog SNOW1 Snow Shovel
If you want something cheaper, get this plastic scoop from Bulldog. The mostly plastic construction makes it a couple hundred grams lighter than the Neilsen Tools shovel (it weighs 748g).
It’s heavy-duty plastic so don’t worry that it will bend or snap when you are shovelling snow. Most importantly, it’s designed with an aluminium strip on the front edge.
This gives it a stronger attacking edge and makes it easier to slip the shovel under thick and compacted snow.
The shaft and handle are made from sustainable ash wood. The shaft is unlikely to break even when lifting heavy snow.
The handle has the usual D-shape for grip and stability.
The scooping part of the shovel is deep and wide with a tapering front edge. Once you lift snow, it settles at the bottom of the scoop rather than pouring out.
The scoop is 46cm wide. That combined with the lightweight design means you can lift a lot more snow without straining or getting tired.
The entire shovel is about 140cm long.
What I like about it:
- Extra-wide scoop.
- Lightweight design.
- Metal edge makes it easier to scoop snow.
- Excellent build quality – sturdy and durable.
3. Jago SNF01 Aluminium Folding Snow Shovel
If you are looking for a snow shovel to keep in your car during winter driving, I recommend the Jago SNF01 folding snow shovel.
The ‘folding’ part is the important bit. The handle folds neatly, making it easy to fit the shovel in the boot of your car or even on the back seat floor.
The manufacturer calls this an aluminium snow shovel but that’s a bit of a stretch. There’s aluminium on the shovel but only a little – just a strip on the front edge.
It helps the shovel get under the snow and is especially handy when you have to deal with compacted snow.
The rest of the scoop is thick durable plastic. The D handle is also made from plastic. But the shaft is made from tubular steel, making it more resistant to snapping.
The steel + plastic + aluminium construction adds a bit of weight to the Jago shovel though it’s still very light. It weighs 1.28kg.
The scoop is 40cm wide at the front, providing plenty of room to scoop lots of snow. The total length of the shovel is 120cm.
What I like about it:
- Sturdy plastic + aluminium scoop and steel shaft.
- Foldable for easy portability.
4. Orientools Folding Snow Shovel
The Orientools snow shovel is also a good choice if you need a portable shovel you can carry in your car for emergencies.
The Orientools shovel has a long telescopic shaft that easily slides from a length of 12” to 24”. You can make it shorter to fit it in the boot or scoop snow from under the car. For normal shovelling, extend it to its full length.
For storage, fold the shortened shaft against the blade for an even more compact fit.
Those are not the only adjustments you can make. You can set the shaft at an angle for even more versatility. This is handy when you need to remove snow from awkward places such as car wheels or on the roof.
You can set the shaft in one of seven positions ranging between 0 and 150 degrees.
Both the blade and shaft are made from aluminium, which makes the shovel light but strong. It also makes it corrosion-proof.
The blade is 20cm wide, which is narrower than in other snow shovels. But considering it’s meant mostly for emergency use rather than shovelling snow off the driveway, the smaller size is not surprising.
The height is also smaller than other snow shovels. With the handle fully extended, the entire shovel is just 60cm long, half the length of other snow shovels. Again, not surprising for a portable shovel.
What I like about it:
- Highly portable – perfect for driving emergencies.
- Durable and corrosion-proof aluminium construction.
5. Unomor Snow Shovel
If you want a portable snow shovel but need something slightly bigger than the Orientools shovel, I recommend the Unomor snow shovel.
It’s still smaller than a typical snow shovel so don’t expect to use it on your driveway. It’s more of a car shovel to carry with you during winter drives.
The blade, which is plastic with an aluminium strip on the front edge, is about 26cm wide. The aluminium shaft is telescopic. When fully extended, the entire shovel is about 92cm long.
You can adjust the length of the telescopic handle to where you find it most comfortable.
One thing I love about the Unomor snow shovel is that, in addition to being able to shorten the handle, you can remove it completely.
You can actually fit the disassembled shovel in a backpack. You can carry it with you in a backpack to clear snow off paths and doorways.
What I like about it:
- Very portable.
- Sturdy aluminium + plastic construction.