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The 7 Best Snow Shovels of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

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These tried-and-true picks will help you survive the snowy season.

<p>Real Simple / Abigail Wetzler</p>

Real Simple / Abigail Wetzler

Fact checked by Rich Scherr

Shoveling snow can be an arduous chore—but it doesn’t have to be, provided you have the right equipment. Investing in a quality snow shovel could make all the difference when winter weather hits.

“What is important is for homeowners to select the best shovel for the snow they’ll be clearing and to understand the dangers of shoveling and not to overdo it,” says Cheryl Higley, director of education and content at the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA). “SIMA recommends stretching before beginning to shovel; pushing instead of lifting whenever possible to avoid back, shoulder, and wrist injuries; taking frequent breaks; and shoveling in increments.”

To come up with this list, we tested 24 snow shovels in our yards and evaluated them based on ease of use, performance, durability, and value. In addition to Higley, we consulted David Holmes, service training manager at The Grounds Guys, a Neighborly company.

Best Overall Snow Shovel: Yeoman BustR Snow Shovel

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What Stands Out

  • This well-balanced snow shovel is suitable for clearing snow and ice from walkways, decks, and other surfaces.

What Could Be Improved

  • Its tall height may be difficult for short people to maneuver.

This mid-priced, combination shovel is an all-around great option for clearing walkways, decks, patios, and even driveways. Using this snow shovel, we were able to shovel a two-car driveway and a set of concrete steps in just 20 minutes. The heavy-duty, 18-inch plastic blade features a metal wear strip that’s ideal for scaping and breaking up ice. During our testing, this durable strip helped us clear areas that were iced over, and we expect that it will keep the shovel in adequate condition even with frequent use.

The snow shovel also has a cushioned D-grip handle that is easy to grasp and tilts at a slight angle for a more comfortable hold. Should you need to hold it a bit closer to the blade, this shovel comes with a cushioned foam grip further down the shaft, too. Although, at 55 inches long, it may still be too long for some people.

The curved design of the combination blade makes it useful for both pushing and lifting snow, unlike traditional snow shovels that have a flatter blade for scooping only. In terms of durability, we think that this blade will hold up well to many heavy snowfalls without causing unnecessary strain on the body.

Price at time of publish: $45

Type: Combination | Weight: 4.8 pounds | Blade Width: 18 inches | Overall Length: 55 inches | Material: Plastic blade, steel shaft

Best Budget Snow Shovel: True Temper 18-Inch Steel Snow Shovel

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What Stands Out

  • It can effectively clear hardened snow and ice.

What Could Be Improved

  • It’s a bit heavy, and the traditional design is better suited for scooping than pushing.

The durable steel blade on this traditional snow shovel is ideal for clearing hardened snow and snow that has turned to ice. In our testing, we used this shovel to clear layers of light snow and frozen rain from a two-car driveway and a sidewalk in an average of 17.5 minutes. Since the blade is sharp and thin, it can easily dig under hard-to-clear ice.

The steel blade has a glossy finish that prevents snow from sticking, and the D-grip handle accommodates gloved hands. Just keep in mind that this is a traditional shovel, so it has a flat blade and a straight shaft, unlike more ergonomically-designed shovels. This also means it’s designed for scooping—not pushing—snow, so it’s best for clearing snow from sidewalks, patios, and other small areas. We found the shovel to be a bit too heavy, though the extra weight did make it easier to clear impacted ice.

This steel shovel is on the lower end of the price range, especially given the quality of the materials. So if you’re looking for an affordable snow shovel, we think this one from True Temper will give you the best value.

Price at time of publish: $34

Type: Traditional | Weight: 5.4 pounds | Blade Width: 18 inches | Overall Length: 49.5 inches | Material: Steel blade, wooden shaft

Best Electric Snow Shovel: Toro Flex Force 60-Volt Battery Cordless Electric Snow Shovel

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What Stands Out

  • This electric snow shovel has an impressive battery life and reduces the physical strain of shoveling snow.

What Could Be Improved

  • It can’t clear snow deeper than 6 inches.

Electric snow shovels use motorized paddles to shred snow and toss it out of your path as you push it along. This saves you the work of tossing snow and requires less exertion on your part. Out of the electric snow shovels we tested, this one from Toro was our favorite thanks to its performance and battery life.

This electric snow shovel was able to clear a concrete sidewalk and stairs leading up to the door in an average of 22.5 minutes. It’s fairly easy to use, albeit somewhat heavy. We especially like that it’s cordless and has a battery life of up to 45 minutes: We used it for 40 minutes without it running out of battery. According to the manufacturer, the shovel can toss snow up to 25 feet away—but during testing, we found that it threw snow in front of us and blew it all over the place.

Do note that electric snow shovels aren’t designed to shovel deep snow. This one can shovel up to 6 inches deep and 12 inches wide. It has two different speeds, depending on the type of snow and the amount. If you already have a compatible battery at home, you can purchase the shovel on its own and use your existing battery. If not, you’ll have to make sure you purchase the shovel and the rechargeable battery, which can also be used with many of Toro’s other cordless devices. You’ll have to pay a higher price for the convenience of an electric snow shovel, but it may be worth it if you find yourself shoveling often.

Price at time of publish: $299

Type: Electric | Weight: 20 pounds | Clearing Width: 12 inches | Overall Length: 62.5 inches | Material: Plastic chute

<p>Real Simple / Tammy Gardini</p>

Real Simple / Tammy Gardini

Best Small Snow Shovel: BirdRock 34-Inch Folding Emergency Snow Shovel

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What Stands Out

  • This lightweight, compact shovel is easy to transport and can be conveniently stored.

What Could Be Improved

  • The short shaft might not be suitable for tall people.

Though we don’t recommend using one to shovel your entire driveway, a compact snow shovel can be kept in your car for emergencies, such as digging a parked vehicle out of a few feet of snow. BirdRock’s folding snow shovel is compact, but it still has a solid, durable build for tackling winter weather.

This shovel is made from lightweight aluminum, which held up well in our testing. We particularly liked the collapsible design that locks into place once you unfold it. You can adjust the length of the shaft depending on your needs, though it doesn’t go beyond 34 inches, so you’ll have to bend over to use it regardless. And at only two pounds, this small shovel is lightweight enough to attach to a backpack. According to the manufacturer, it can also be used to shovel dirt, mud, and sand, though we did not test it on these elements.

Price at time of publish: $40

Type: Compact | Weight: 2 pounds | Blade Width: 8.9 inches | Overall Length: 23-34 inches | Material: Aluminum

Best Snow Pusher: Garant NSP24D Nordic 24-Inch Steel Blade Snow Pusher

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What Stands Out

  • Its wide design is ideal for quickly clearing driveways and other large areas.

What Could Be Improved

  • It may not be suitable for clearing stairs, wooden surfaces, and tighter spaces.

Regular snow shovels are great for clearing stairs and other small areas, but for driveways and other wide pathways, a snow pusher will get the job done faster and more efficiently. In our testing, it only took us 13 minutes to clear a 50-foot cement driveway with this steel snow pusher from Garant.

We were impressed by how well the pusher performed in our tests, as it easily cleared snow, ice, and ice with snow on cement and brick pavers with only one pass. Although it does well on flat, hard surfaces, this pick was too cumbersome to use on stairs and caused damage to wood surfaces.

This snow pusher comes with a comfortable D-grip handle and a varnished hardwood shaft that absorbs shock. The steel blade has a glossy finish that helps prevent snow from sticking. Thanks to its durable components, we believe this pusher will last for years. After several uses, it still looks and functions exactly as it did when we first got it.

Price at time of publish: $60

Type: Pusher | Weight: 6.9 pounds | Blade Width: 24 inches | Overall Length: 52 inches | Material: Steel blade, varnished hardwood shaft

Best Ergonomic Snow Shovel: Suncast 18-Inch Steel Core Ergonomic Combo Shovel

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What Stands Out

  • The shovel’s ergonomic design reduces back strain.

What Could Be Improved

  • It lacks the bells and whistles of more advanced shovels.

The S-shaped shaft on this ergonomic snow shovel helps you push more snow without bending over, reducing the strain on your lower back. We were amazed by how easy the shovel was to maneuver, and we found that the curve of the handle made it particularly push-friendly and convenient. The shovel scoop was durable and spacious, allowing it to easily carry large loads of heavy snow.

We were able to use this shovel to clear a 100-foot cement sidewalk in just 10 minutes, and it took us an average of two to three passes to clean each section. The shovel has a durable steel core encased in a resin covering, with a galvanized steel wear strip for breaking up compressed snow and ice. This is a combination shovel, meaning it has a curved blade designed for both lifting and pushing snow. The blade also features an angled ribbed pattern to prevent snow from sticking. Furthermore, the comfortable D-grip handle and lightweight construction make the process of shoveling even less painful.

Price at time of publish: $36

Type: Combination | Weight: 4 pounds | Blade Width: 18 inches | Overall Length: 52 inches | Material: Steel core with resin covering

<p>Real Simple / Ashley Craiger</p>

Real Simple / Ashley Craiger

Best Snow Shovel for Large Areas: Bully Tools 27-Inch Fiberglass D-Grip Handle Snow Pusher

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What Stands Out

  • It can push substantial amounts of snow with each pass, clearing large areas quickly.

What Could Be Improved

  • It doesn’t have a metal wear strip, which may make it more difficult to break up ice.

With a 27-inch blade, the Bully Tools Poly Snow Pusher is the widest out of all of those on our list. It can push more snow with each pass, making it ideal for those looking to clear entire driveways or wide pathways. Plus, it doesn’t come with a metal wear strip, which prevents it from scratching delicate surfaces, such as a wood deck—although this makes it a little more difficult to break up ice.

In our testing, this large snow shovel was able to completely clear a two-car driveway in just 15 minutes. We found that the textured D-grip handle was easy to grasp, too. The durable fiberglass is lightweight yet strong, which increases the strength of the shovel. Like most snow pushers, it comes with a straight shaft. Though we think a curved shaft would make it easier to push snow, we feel the extra wide blade makes up for the lack of ergonomics.

Price at time of publish: $46

Type: Pusher | Weight:  4.5 pounds | Blade Width: 27 inches | Overall Length: 57 inches| Blade Material: Plastic blade, fiberglass shaft

<p>Real Simple / Abigail Wetzler</p>

Real Simple / Abigail Wetzler

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Yeoman BustR Snow Shovel because its curved blade makes it useful for both pushing and lifting snow. Plus, it features a durable plastic blade with a metal wear strip that makes breaking up compacted snow and ice a breeze. For a more budget-friendly option, the True Temper Steel Snow Shovel is a traditional snow shovel with a flat blade that’s sharp and thin enough to get under hard-to-clear ice.

Our Testing Process

We gathered 24 snow shovels and tested them in our own yards over six weeks. Our testing spanned across seven different states, mostly in the Midwest and Northeast. Following each snowfall, we used the snow shovels to clear a designated area of snow and/or ice, recording how long it took to clear the area (not including breaks), how many passes were required, and any features that made shoveling easier.

Because conditions vary from one location to the next, we made sure to account for the amount of snow, the type of ground that was cleared, the size of the area cleared, the outside temperature, the amount of sunlight, the type of snow, whether any ice was present, and how long the snow had been sitting.

For electric snow shovels, we also considered the length of the cord or the battery life. Each snow shovel was rated on its ease of use, performance, durability, and value. We plan to continue testing these snow shovels over several months and will update this article based on our findings.

How to Shop for Snow Shovels Like a Pro

Type

Snow shovels come in both manual and electric versions. Manual snow shovels can be broken down even further into three categories: traditional snow shovels, pushers, and combos. Cheryl Higley, director of education and content at the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA), says the type of snow shovel you choose depends on “the snowfall/ice and the area you’re clearing.”

  • Traditional: These classic snow shovels are easily identified by their mostly flat blades. “The typical traditional shovel will range from 18–30 inches,” says Higley. “Smaller-width shovels are sufficient for clearing a home’s sidewalk, patio, etc.” Traditional shovels are ideal for smaller areas that snow pushers cannot access.

  • Pusher: “Snow pushers are now the most popular shovels,” says David Holmes, service training manager at The Grounds Guys, a Neighborly company. “They are designed to make it easier to clear away snow while reducing fatigue and strain on the body.” Snow pushers have a very wide, curved blade that makes them well-suited for pushing large amounts of snow. “For efficiency (and to protect yourself from possible back/shoulder strain), a pusher shovel (which ranges from 30–40 inches wide) is ideal for clearing a driveway or other large space since it’s easier to push and can collect more snow and minimize the need to lift,” says Higley.

  • Combination: A combo-style shovel has a wider and more curved blade than that of a traditional shovel, but less so than that of a snow pusher. This makes them the most versatile, as they can be used for both scooping and pushing snow. Many of them also have curved shafts, making them more ergonomic, too.

  • Electric: Electric snow shovels feature motorized paddles or blades that toss snow out of the path as you push, helping to speed up the process. They generally come with a higher price tag, but they can speed up the snow-shoveling process significantly. “These shovels are really effective when clearing away smaller areas like porches, decks, and short sidewalks,” says Holmes. “They aren’t particularly efficient when clearing snow from larger areas like driveways or longer sidewalks.”

Blade Material

The most common blade materials include plastic, steel, and aluminum. And according to Higley, the most important factors to consider when deciding on which blade material you want are the “density and amount of snow, if ice is present and, the type of surface you’re clearing.”

  • Plastic: Plastic blades, such as those made from polyethylene or polypropylene (sometimes referred to as just “poly” for short), are lightweight and flexible to absorb the impact of heavier snow and uneven surfaces. However, Higley says they can still break or damage “if you hit an obstacle, try to use it in the wrong situation, or the weight of the snow is too much for it to handle.” Because plastic can struggle to break through hard-packed snow or ice, many feature metal wear strips. Plastic is also easier on delicate surfaces, such as wooden decks.

  • Steel: “Steel and metal shovels are going to be heavier and more able to cut through ice or hard-packed snow,” says Higley. Even with metal wear strips, plastic blades cannot handle heavy, icy snow as well as all-metal blades. The tradeoff here is that steel is heavier and prone to rusting. Metal blades can also scratch decks and other wood surfaces.

  • Aluminum: Compared to steel, aluminum blades “will be less durable but are a solid light-duty option (e.g., lighter snow),” according to Higley. Aluminum can cut through ice and hard-packed snow easier than plastic, but it’s more likely to dent than steel.  

Shaft

The shaft material and design are just as important as those of the blade. Look for a shaft constructed from lightweight yet durable materials, such as fiberglass. The shape of the shaft also matters. Most shovels come with a traditional straight shaft that works better for pushing (but not lifting) snow. However, a curved shaft, such as that of the Suncast Steel Core Ergonomic Combo, keeps you from doing as much bending, which takes the strain off your lower back.

Handle

Most snow shovels feature a D-shaped handle or grip, including all but one of the shovels on our list. These handles are wide enough to accommodate large gloves and provide a firmer grip than a traditional T-shaped handle. Many handles also have padded grips that are gentler on your hands and help to insulate them from the cold handle.

More Snow Shovels to Consider

Garant Yukon 18-Inch Ergonomic Snow Shovel: This combination shovel has a curved shaft that keeps you from bending over as you work. However, the blade is plastic and features no metal edge, so it’s not as effective on compacted snow or ice. But if you have a delicate surface you want to clear without scratching, such as a wood deck, this shovel is a good choice.

Snow Joe Shovelution Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel: This shovel stands out for its spring-loaded auxiliary handle that is designed to make lifting and throwing snow easier on your body. However, we did find that reaching for the secondary handle required some bending over, especially for tall people.

Questions You Might Ask

Do wheeled snow shovels work?

Some snow shovels, most commonly snow pushers, come with wheels to aid you in pushing snow. This can help to speed up the process and take some of the strain off your lower back as you push. We tested several wheeled snow shovels and found them to be effective at clearing snow from wide pathways, such as driveways. However, they don’t allow for as much control over the blade, which made it difficult to get underneath layers of ice or compacted snow. Thus, we'd only suggest wheeled snow shovels for clearing fresh, fluffy snow.

What is the standard length of a snow shovel?

A traditional snow shovel will be about 48 inches tall (this includes both the blade and the shaft), while snow pushers tend to be a bit longer. But the right length for you is going to depend on your height. As a general rule of thumb, a snow shovel should come to about chest height when placed on the ground, or to elbow height at a minimum. A longer shovel decreases the amount of bending over you have to do as you push or scoop snow, but a shorter shovel makes lifting and throwing the snow easier. This is why some snow shovels have adjustable shafts or secondary handles to assist in both tasks.

When is the best time to shovel snow?

Instead of waiting for the snow to accumulate, SIMA recommends shoveling every few inches. “Stay ahead of the snow if possible,” suggests Higley. “1–2 inches is much easier to clear with a typical homeowner shovel than 4–5 inches. The snow gets heavier as it collects on the shovel.”

“If it is an overnight storm, then it should be done early in the morning,” adds Holmes. “During the day, the sun can quickly melt it once the snowstorm has passed, so if the temperatures are rising above freezing and the sun comes out, you should allow the sun to melt the snow before shoveling. Be sure to clear slush prior to the temperatures dropping below freezing again when the sun goes down to avoid allowing slush to turn to ice.”

How do you prevent snow from sticking to your shovel?

Stuck-on snow not only makes your shovel less effective, but it can also get quite heavy as it accumulates. While some shovels feature coated blades that help to prevent wet snow from sticking, Holmes says you can also lubricate your shovel with cooking spray or silicone spray.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Melanie Fincher, associate commerce editor for Real Simple with three years of experience writing product reviews and lifestyle content. To compile this list, we tested 24 snow shovels in our own yards over six weeks and evaluated them based on ease of use, performance, durability, and value. We will continue to use these snow shovels and update the article with our findings. For expert insight, Melanie consulted Cheryl Higley, director of education and content at the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA), as well as David Holmes, service training manager at The Grounds Guys, a Neighborly company.

What Is Real Simple Selects?

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn’t an option. All products go through the same rigorous process, whether they are purchased or sent by the company.

Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums. 

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