Get prepared for winter with the best snow shovels of 2021. Whether you’re battling blizzards, ice storms, or the occasional flurry, we’ve got you covered.
As ski hills begin to open, the holidays approach, and summer hikers start the slow transition to snowshoes, the growing seasonal excitement is palpable from coast to coast. Of course, winter isn’t all fun and games. As temperatures drop and the white stuff starts to pile up, residents of the most wintry locales are preparing for the added seasonal challenges of heating their homes and keeping their driveways and walkways clear of snow.
While snowblowers can help clear large zones, owning a high-quality snow shovel is essential. There’s an impressive number of snow shovels on the market, from heavy-duty scoop shovels to lightweight options for powder snow. Take a look at our top picks for the best snow shovels to help find the perfect snow-removal tool this year.
If you’re looking for a specific category, you can jump to it here:
- Best Overall
- Best Snow-Pusher
- Best Sleigh Snow Shovel
- Best Aluminum Snow Shovel
- Best Car Snow Shovel
- Best Electric Snow Shovel
Best Snow Shovels 2021
Best Overall: Snow Joe Shovelution
The honor of best overall best snow shovel goes to Snow Joe’s Shovelution Strain-Reducing snow shovel ($30). The plastic 18-inch blade is strong enough to handle heavy snow while keeping the overall weight of the shovel manageable.
The X-factor on this shovel, however, is the handle design. The dual-handle setup creates additional leverage and makes lifting and tossing snow a breeze. The Shovelution eliminates the need for excessive bending over to remove snow, which reduces back strain.
As a bonus, the Snow Joe Shovelution also happens to be the most affordable on our list.
- Ergonomically designed for safe snow removal
- Easy lifting and tossing
- Small shovel blade doesn’t hold a ton of snow
- Slight learning curve to use properly
Runner-Up: Bully Tools Combo
For a no-frills, gimmick-free workhorse of a shovel, look no further than the Combo Shovel from Bully Tools ($35). With a limited lifetime warranty, this American-made brand has a longstanding reputation for making high-quality and durable lawn and garden tools.
With a seemingly simple design, the extra length on the fiberglass handle helps eliminate back strain. Additionally, the D-grip handle provides optimum comfort when working with or without gloves. The blade on the Combo Shovel is 22 inches wide, providing a large but manageable scooping bucket.
- Simple and durable design
- Long handle makes shoveling easier on your back
- Affordable price point
- Not ideal for hardpack snow or ice
Best Snow-Pusher: Garant Nordic 24-Inch
When it comes to snow-pusher shovels designed to handle everything from champagne powder to hardpack snow and ice, the Nordic 24-inch Steel Blade Snow Pusher from Garant ($34) is one of the best on the market. The wide blade on this shovel provides ample surface area for snow entrapment. Constructed from a single piece of high-quality steel, the Nordic Snow Pusher is plenty durable for all snowpacks.
Like many steel shovels, the corners slightly furl if caught on a rough edge of the pavement. That said, even if the blade is a bit bent, the effectiveness of the Garant Nordic is rarely compromised. Additionally, the longer hardwood handle is excellent for both leverage and shock absorption, and the D-grip allows for easy handling when wearing gloves.
For a snow-pusher that can handle the hardpack, the Garant Nordic 24-inch shovel is an excellent option.
- Durable steel blade
- Long hardwood handle is great for shock and leverage
- Good option for harder snowpacks
- Heavy shovel for some
- Edges of steel blade can curl if not careful
Best Sleigh Snow Shovel: Garant True Temper 24-Inch
In recent years, more and more people are gravitating toward sleigh-style snow shovels, and the Garant True Temper 24-inch shovel ($34) has become industry standard. The massive 24-inch bucket on this shovel can collect a lot of snow at once, helping clear heavy snowfalls and large areas much more efficiently.
The plastic blade reduces weight without compromising durability. And the steel edge on the bottom helps protect the main blade from damage. With an ergonomically designed handle, snow-removers can put in the hard work knowing that any concerns over posture or back strain have been taken care of through engineering.
If you’re done lifting and tossing snow and are ready to adopt a new push-and-clear approach, the Garant True Temper may be the tool for you.
- Huge blade for maximum snow collection
- Ergonomically designed handle reduces back strain
- Best shovel for large areas or massive snowfalls
- Large shovel that can be hard to handle for some
- Takes a little practice to perfect
- More expensive than alternatives
Best Aluminum Snow Shovel: AMES Aluminum Scoop
If you’re looking for a lightweight shovel that can tackle light snowfalls with ease, consider purchasing an aluminum-blade option. Of this category, AMES has a longstanding reputation for sturdy and reliable yard tools.
The Aluminum Scoop shovel from AMES ($39) is an excellent choice for people who don’t deal with consistent major snowfalls over the course of a winter. The aluminum blade makes the shovel lightweight, and the D-grip handle and hardwood shaft help with leverage, strength, and control.
While not durable enough for hardpack or wet snow, the AMES Aluminum Scoop is an excellent tool to have in your arsenal to stay ahead of little bouts of precipitation.
- Lightweight design
- Rustproof aluminum blade
- Strong and durable hardwood handle
- Not the right choice for major snowfalls or heavy moving
- Short handle not ideal for tall people
Best Car Snow Shovel: DMOS Collective Stealth Shovel
Looking for a tough yet ultra-portable snow shovel? Then you need the DMOS Stealth ($119). The blade is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, giving it plenty of strength to battle the toughest ice and snow. The full shaft allows for comfortable, ergonomic shoveling. And the height can adjust to three lengths — 35, 47, or 57 inches — so you can find a perfect fit.
This shovel is also a favorite for overlanding and off-roading, as it can stand up to digging dirt and sand. Whether you need to dig out after a big storm, level the campsite, break ice, or get your rig unstuck at the beach, the Stealth can do it.
Best of all, it packs down small for easy storage. It can easily fit in the trunk (or a backpack), or you can add a Stealth Shovel Mount for quick access. This USA-made shovel does come at a premium price, but it’s worth it if you regularly drive over snowy mountain passes or find yourself exploring off road.
- Packs down small
- Aircraft-grade aluminum blade is ultra-strong
- Full-length, adjustable handle
Best Electric Snow Shovel: Snow Joe 24V SS10
Although helpful tools, snowblowers are expensive and can be intimidating to first-time users. On the opposite end of the spectrum, shovels are affordable but demand a considerable amount of work to truly make an area snow-free. Enter the electric snow shovel.
The Snow Joe 24V SS10 ($110) is our favorite electric snow shovel on the market and provides a good solution to help clear light snow in small passes. This battery-powered shovel has a two-blade paddle auger designed to toss snow up to 20 feet as it clears a 10-inch-wide, 6-inch-deep path.
The battery will hold a charge for just under 30 minutes and be fully recharged in under 2.5 hours. It’s not the best for large projects, but it’s useful for clearing small walkways or to meet grandma in the middle when she insists that she’s not too old to shovel.
- No need for cords, fuel, or mechanical tune-ups
- Runs quiet
- Suitable for light snow and small areas
- Can only cover small areas for short periods
- Most efficient with light, fluffy snow
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Snow Shovel
Variables such as climate, type and amount of snowfall, and the area you have to keep clear should be considered when choosing the best snow shovel for you. There’s no universal answer for everybody. Many folks build an arsenal of shovels to tackle everything Mother Nature throws at them throughout the winter season. Below are just a few things to consider.
When choosing between shovels, perhaps the most apparent distinction is the overall style. Here, we’ve subdivided shovel style into three categories — traditional shovel, pusher, and combination — and each serves its purpose.
Traditionally shaped snow shovels have been around for a long time and have maintained their popularity for decades. These tools generally have a simple design that allows users to scoop and toss snow easily.
Generally speaking, traditional shovels have a wood shaft and plastic blade — though some heavier-duty options are made of aluminum, steel, or another metal alloy. You can find traditional snow shovels in all lengths, and the longer the shovel, the more leverage it has.
In recent years, people have gravitated more toward shovels designed for pushing snow, referred to as “pushers.” For some, it’s easier to push piles of snow than to lift and toss, especially because pushing is easier on the back.
This shovel style is designed to place under a pile of snow and slide forward, clearing a path in its wake. Pushers work great for light snow — even in large quantities — but can be a real hassle when the precipitation is wet and heavy. Snow sleighs are the newest addition to this category.
Combination snow shovels are precisely what they sound like: suitable for both pushing snow and lifting and tossing. While it may not do either as well as a shovel dedicated to a specific job, combo shovels are an excellent middle ground.
Many people welcome the versatility of combo shovels, as it’s rare for a winter storm to cater perfectly to a specific type of shovel. People find themselves pushing, lifting, tossing, and even chipping following a snowfall in most cases. If you only plan on having one shovel in your quiver, a combo shovel may be the right move for you.
Straight vs. Curved Shaft
If you’ve spent any time shopping for shovels, you’ve likely noticed a stark difference in shaft design — notably straight and curved options. Each design is meant to create a mechanical advantage in different situations, and the correct shovel shaft design for you depends on how you plan to use it.
Straight-handle shovels are optimized for chopping, lifting, and tossing snow. A straight handle allows users to achieve the best hand position to lift, carry, and throw snow. In addition, shovels with this design better lend themselves to chopping blocks or clearing particularly stubborn areas of hardpack snow.
Curved-shaft shovels are ideal for pushing snow. Whereas the shaft’s curvature hinders one’s ability to safely and efficiently lift a heavy shovelful of snow, it’s perfectly designed for pushing. Bent handles are specially designed to limit lower-back stress when a push force is applied moving forward. Curved-shaft shovels generally prevent users from excessive bending and overuse when moving snow on the ground.
Like shovel style, shovel blade material plays a major role in determining the best snow shovels for any given situation. In general, shovel blades range from heavy-duty steel to lightweight plastic, with a few options in between. Like choosing a shovel for design, consider climate and snow type when looking at blade materials.
Plastic blades work incredibly well for light snow and large shoveling jobs.
Steel blades are an excellent option for wet, heavy snow or chipping hardpack and ice.
Aluminum blades are a perfect lightweight option but won’t hold up to the challenging task of moving large quantities of wet precipitation.
Generally speaking, plastic blades are the most common blade available, and for good reason. They can handle most jobs and are the most efficient at doing so. If you have only one shovel in your garage, a strong plastic-blade option will probably suffice.
Which Snow Shovel Is Best?
The best snow shovel is almost entirely specific to the individual and situation. When deciding which snow shovel is best for you, consider the type and quantity of snow you most regularly receive, the area you need to clear, and your personal preference between shoveling and pushing. It’s best to have a few different options available.
Are Ergonomically Designed Snow Shovels Better?
Ergonomically designed snow shovels are ideal. Shoveling snow is no easy task, and each winter, countless people hurt themselves by overdoing it when removing snow. Ergonomically designed options are meant to combat this by limiting the amount a person has to bend over, providing a mechanical advantage and reducing the physical demands of snow removal.
Some shovel styles aren’t ergonomic but may be required for certain tasks. When this is the case, be extra cautious and pay attention to your form and body.
Is It Better to Shovel Snow Before Ice?
When possible, experts recommend shoveling several times during a storm to prevent the accumulating snowflakes from bonding to each other or the bed surface. By being proactive, you can prevent ice buildup on the snowpack’s basal layers and remove new precipitation when soft and light instead of hard and cohesive. This will save you a lot of work and stress when compared to the challenge of ice removal.
What Is the Proper Way to Shovel Snow?
Proper snow-removal technique depends on the tools available and the type and quantity of snow. That said, there are a few universal steps that will help keep you working safely and efficiently throughout the winter season.
Warming up is imperative before any major snow-removal project. Stretch and loosen up your muscles before putting on layers and tackling the job ahead. Whether lifting or pushing, don’t forget to bend at the knees and use your legs, not your back.
When you’re lifting snow, keep the blade close to your body and alternate your grip to target different muscles. Finally, don’t be afraid to take breaks and come back to it later. The biggest mistake people make when shoveling snow is overworking and trying to tackle too much at once.
Are Electric Snow Shovels Any Good?
Electric snow shovels serve their purpose, but they should by no means be considered a full-time replacement for a traditional shovel. Having to rely exclusively on electronic components in the middle of winter is never a good idea, and we highly recommend owning a standard shovel in addition to an electric shovel.
That said, electric shovels can be a good option for clearing your property’s nonessential parts. Many people use them for porches or decks while relying on shovels or snowblowers for driveways and walkways.
Electric snow shovels can also be an excellent middle ground for the older folks in your family. These shovels allow elderly family members to continue to help with snow removal without overburdening them with heavy lifting and pushing. The relatively short runtime of electric snow shovels — 20 to 45 minutes — is also fairly self-limiting to workload.
Have a favorite snow shovel we missed? Let us know in the comments below for future updates to this article.