Choosing the Correct Snow Shovel

December 17, 2016

How to Choose the Best Snow Shovel

To shovel or not to shovel…that is the question.

Everybody hates shoveling snow. But it’s possible to make this chilly chore more bearable by choosing the right tool for the job. (…keep reading to find out which shovel was ranked the “best of the best”!)

Snow shovels vary in size and shape, but all can carry 1 to 1.5 cubic feet of the white stuff. Snow weighs from 7 pounds per cubic foot to an astounding 30 pounds per cubic foot, so one shovelful weighs 7 pounds to 45 pounds.

With this in mind, the best shovel is one that you can handle easily. “Try a shovel before you buy it,” advises Joe Saffron, a marketing and product development manager at Ames True Temper, a manufacturer of shovels and gardening gear. “Wear the gloves you’ll use outside and dry-shovel, making the same motions you would to clear snow.” To that I would add: Consider buying more than one shovel. I have a large combination type for pushing and shoveling, and a smaller, lighter one for whittling down a big drift. I also use other tools (below).

  1. 24-INCH SHOVEL Better for shoveling than for pushing.
  2. 18-INCH SHOVEL Small blade size and offset handle reduce back strain.
  3. SQUARE-NOSE SHOVEL Good for scraping, removing ice-crusted snow.
  4. COARSE-SURFACE BROOM Quickly clears a dusting of light, dry snow.
  5. ROUND-NOSE SHOVEL Cuts through frozen berm left by snowplows.
  6. SCRAPER Forged one-piece blade scrapes up ice. Can damage pavement when chopping.
  7. ALUMINUM SCOOP Rustproof; handles big drifts. No ergonomic benefit, though.
  8. 30-INCH SHOVEL Scoop-type blade works well for pushing/scraping or shoveling.
  9. ROCK SALT Works to 20 degrees F. So inexpensive, people over-apply.
  10. CALCIUM CHLORIDE Works to -25 degrees F. Costs roughly four times the price of rock salt.


The fundamental rules are to move snow once, and move it the shortest distance possible.

For a driveway…

  1. Clear a long strip along the centre of the driveway
  2. Move snow from the center, across a cleared edge, and onto the grass. To avoid injury, I keep my back straight, knees bent, and feet shoulder-width apart. When I lift, sometimes I use the lower part of my thigh as a fulcrum point. I hold the shovel close to reduce the stress it exerts on me.
  3. Repeat on other side.
  4. Cry when the snowplow comes by right after you finished.


So which shovel is the best? According to this article, the best shovel is (…drum roll please…)

The True Temper 18-inch Ergonomic Mountain Mover!!!

…and yes, it is sold at Home Depot.


Original article by Roy Berendsohn courtesy of