One-size-fits-all snow shovels are a thing of the past. There are now a wide range of unique snow shovel types, thanks to innovations in technology and manufacturing capabilities.
Below are 3 tips to help you pick the right snow shovel for you.
Try It Out
Give the snow shovels a test drive in the store! You might feel a little foolish, shoveling invisible snow inside the store in front of passersby, but snow shovels need to work well, not just look well. Take each snow shovel option in hand and mimic the movements and effort you use when shoveling snow. Does the shovel feel too light or heavy? Is it easy to maneuver, or cumbersome? How’s the handle length? Does the shovel feel comfortable in your grip? If you are unsure about a particular snow shovel, put it back. The problems you were noticing won’t disappear once that empty shovel is filled with snow!
Choose The Right Blade
Snow shovels come with one of two blade shapes made from one of two materials. The right combination of these options will bear drastically on your shoveling experience.
- Flat shovel blades are designed to cut into deep snow piles, such as those created by drifted snow or mounds from snow plows.
- Rounded, scooped shovel blades are best for pushing snow off a sidewalk or scooping snow off the driveway.
- Metal blades are stronger, higher-capacity, and more durable, but they are heavy. You also run the risk of doing damage to your pavement.
- Plastic blades are lightweight, maneuverable, and prevent snow from sticking to them. They are brittle, however, and can break when pushed against rocks. They also move less snow at a time, meaning that your driveway will take longer to dig out.
- Some people purchase multiple snow shovels for multiple jobs. There are also snow shovels available with plastic blades with a metal strip on the cutting edge.
Choose The Right Handle
The right blade choice reduces the workload, but the right handle choice affects how your body feels after using the shovel. For snow shovel handle materials, you’ll have the following options.
- Wooden handles are pretty lightweight, but strong. While you may have to tighten screws as the wood expands and contracts, your wooden handle will last for years. Conditioning the wood with linseed oil will increase its lifespan and make it water-resistant, while a cheaper or uncared-for wooden handle will start splintering.
- Metal handles vary widely depending on the metal used. Aluminum creates lightweight and rust-proof handles, but other metals are heavy and can rust if not wiped dry after using.
- Plastic is another lightweight and maneuverable material for snow shovel handles. But as with blades, plastic can become brittle and warped. Keeping your shovel handle dry and indoors will prevent the sun and water from doing a number on your shovel.
- Fiberglass is very durable, very strong, and very resistant to rust. Wins all around! It is heavy, however.
- For handle design and shape, there are four options.
- Straight handles are as basic as they come. Nothing is made harder by their shape, but nothing is made easier either.
- Ergonomically bent handles minimize needing to bend while shoveling, reducing back pain. If you have heavy loads of snow to move, however, they are difficult to lift and not up to the task.
- Double handles let you maximize your leverage by holding two handles at once.
- Fold-over handles are convenient options to put in your vehicle to use if you get stuck in a snow drift and need to dig out.