The Best Snow Shovels
AA Car Essentials Emergency Snow Shovel
Draper Multi-Purpose ABS Shovel with Hardwood Shaft
Bulldog SNOW1 Snow Shovel
Snow Scoop Shovel With Wooden Shaft and Plastic Handle
Snow Shovel Reviews
- Foldable design means it can be stored in the back of your car ready for emergencies
- Once unfolded and secured it feels relatively sturdy
- Comes with a carry case included so, if stored in your car, the boot will stay clean
- Handle is easy to grip and helps maintain balance of shovel
- Suitable for emergency clearance - not strong enough for heavy duty work or very compact snow
- The locking mechanism can loosen and require retightening whilst working
- At 59 cm long it's not suitable for clearing large areas as it will become uncomfortable
Snow can come down quickly, and it can sometimes catch us off guard. Being prepared can make all the difference, which is where the AA Car Essentials Emergency Snow Shovel comes in.
It’s a smart idea – a collapsible shovel to keep in your car in case of winter emergencies.
When it isn’t required, the shovel folds up flat and can be stored in a small, soft pouch. It can be kept in the car door pockets, or the boot, without taking up space during the year. The total length of the folded shovel is 24 cm.
If there is an occasion when you have to use it, unfolding the shovel is quick to do, and the product is locked in place by tightening a collet on the shaft.
It’s constructed with a solid steel handle and blade, so can be used for chipping, scraping or shovelling snow and ice (in small amounts) when necessary. Although, even when extended, it’s still quite small at 59 cm long, so it won’t be lifting snow in vast amounts in one go. However, it still gives a bit of leverage and can be used to clear snow from around tyres.
Whilst it’s fair to say that this won’t be the shovel you’ll reach for to clear large drifts of snow from your drive, it’s still a practical item to keep in the car ‘just in case’. Due to the unpredictable nature of snow (especially in the UK – snow in March, anyone?), having something in the boot year-round can’t be a bad idea.
This is one of the best snow shovels to keep in case of emergency. It’s small and compact, so you won’t be tempted to take it out the car. Plus, it’s made from steel, not plastic, to help with chipping away at more condensed snow and ice.
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- Plastic construction means it’s lightweight and won’t rust
- With a 36 cm wide head, this shovel can be used to clear large amounts of snowfall quickly
- Versatile design that’s suitable for a range of outdoor tasks - can be used year-round for clearing leaves and debris
- Long shaft makes clearing snow easier on the back with less stooping required
- Plastic shovel may struggle to break apart densely packed snow and ice - you may need a metal shovel to break up compacted snow
- At 120 cm long, users over 6 ft may find they need to stoop which may become uncomfortable over time
With its tapered, plastic scoop head, this Draper Multi-Purpose ABS Shovel is a multi-functional tool that is ideal for clearing snow as well as being versatile for a range of other uses.
Unlike many snow-only shovels, it doesn’t have a cradled scoop, so it’s easier to use with gravel and grit as well as for shifting snow. This means that snow can be cleared, and grit spread, with the use of a single tool.
At its widest point, the shovel head measures 36 cm across, making it capable of shovelling snow in large amounts. However, clearing hard packed snow is more difficult than soft, fresh snowfall, and a metal spade, or application of salt, may be required to break up more condensed snow first.
It has a 121-centimetre-long hardwood shaft, which connects to the shovel head via a large socket. As a result, the shovel seems strong and robust without weak joins.
Overall, this is a sturdy combination snow shovel that has a strong enough scoop to be useful for many different tasks. Not only is it capable of lifting snow and grit, but also sand, dirt and rubble. Therefore, despite it’s relatively large size, it’s one of the best snow shovels if you want a multi-functional tool – it can come in handy in lots of different ways throughout the year.
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- Scoop is strong and sturdy even under heavy snow thanks to the multiple reinforced areas
- At 139.5 cm long, it’s comfortable for those above 6ft to use without hunching down
- FSC-certified ash handle is warm and grippy even on freezing cold days
- Sufficiently lightweight at 0.75 kg
- Wide shovel area can be used to clear large amounts of snow quickly
- Wooden shaft means this shovel will need to be properly cared for and stored inside when not in use
- Plastic shovel is not as strong as metal - can struggle a little on heavily compacted and icy snow
Regardless of where you live in the UK, there are some instances where snow can come down thick and fast. The large size of this Bulldog SNOW1 Snow Shovel makes it a good option for quickly clearing large amounts of snow, perfect for getting that driveway ready to send the kids off to school!
The plastic scoop is lightweight so it doesn’t add to the weight of the snow, and the D-top handle makes it possible to maintain a good grip whilst shovelling. It’s a straight handled shovel with a wooden shaft made from FSC certified ash (meaning that the timber has been sustainably sourced).
The plastic snow shovel is 46 cm wide, meaning you can clear a pathway-width of snow in one scoop – incredibly useful for getting the job done quickly. This is particularly helpful considering how moving snow tends to be an annoying extra task – one that we don’t generally allow time for in the morning!
The shovel comes fully assembled, and is a useful item to have in the shed for when the snow inevitably comes. You’ll probably find lesser-prepared neighbours wanting to borrow it after an unexpected blizzard!
Overall, this is one of the best snow shovels in terms of quality and price. Bulldog are well known for creating quality gardening tools, and this is a good shovel that seems to be no exception. The long handle makes it possible to work without too much bending over, and the large scoop means snow can be cleared quickly and efficiently.
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- Good balance between the shovel and shaft means it’s comfortable to use for long periods of time
- Wide scoop can clear a lot of snow at once
- A good quality, affordable option for clearing areas of freshly fallen snow
- Can be used for snowfall as well as clearing leaves and garden refuse in the warmer months
- Not quite strong enough for shovelling very packed snow - better on fresh, powdery snow
- Handle occasionally needs relocking into place which can be frustrating
- Some users have found the wooden shaft a little rough and chosen to sand it down for greater comfort
If you want a basic shovel, that will help clear fresh snow, this Snow Scoop Shovel is a simple yet reliable option to go for. The plastic head is relatively wide, at 39 cm, clearing plenty of snow in one scoop, and it’s moulded to help keep snow within its cradle.
The ash wood handle is made from sustainably sourced timber, and the overall weight of the shovel is under 900 g. It’s well balanced, which helps with snow removal, and the D-shape handle creates a comfortable grip.
Like many snow shovels, it has a metal wear strip along the edge designed to improve rigidity. Although on some shovels this metal edge can also help with chipping through denser snow; this particular shovel is best used on recent fresh, powdery snowfall.
Because this is a plastic snow shovel, it may struggle to break down anything harder or more condensed.
All things considered, this is one of the best snow shovels if you’re looking for a quality option that is big enough to clear pathways without being too expensive. When the snow comes down, it’ll be a useful tool to have, but it won’t feel like a waste of money sitting in the shed for the rest of the year.
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How to Choose The Best Snow Shovel
We might not always have to worry about snow here in the UK (with torrential rain and gale force winds being a little more common), but it’s still worth having the right equipment for when those extra cold spells hit.
Depending on where you’re based, you might see a good few feet of snow during any given winter. While the odd snow day can be good fun, having your path or driveway buried can become inconvenient pretty quick.
Whilst a snow shovel is unlikely to be the most-used tool in your shed, it’ll come into its own when the snow rolls in. This guide explains the different styles of shovel available, so that you can be prepared for winter and won’t feel like you’re skating on thin ice!
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Choosing Between a Snow Shovel & Regular Shovel
Whilst a traditional shovel won’t hinder your snow-clearing efforts, using one is unlikely to be as efficient as using a snow shovel. Considering snow tends to catch us off guard (when we possibly haven’t left much time allowance for moving snow), getting the job done quickly is often key.
A snow shovel is broader than a traditional shovel, with curved blades that allow for a better scooping and pushing actions. The blade may also have ridges or grooves which can help stop snow from sliding.
Most snow shovels have plastic blades, which may seem counter-intuitive given that they need to be strong. However, a plastic blade can help protect pathways and driveways from damage, whereas scraping a metal blade across the ground (especially with the force required for lifting snow) could scrape both the surface and the shovel.
The plastic used for snow shovels is generally rigid and strong, and sufficiently sturdy to support the weight of snow.
Which Shovel Blade to Choose
Shovel blades usually come in either round or rectangular shapes. Round blades are best for scooping and throwing snow, while rectangular blades are best used for pushing snow. Rectangular blades will have a sharp, straight edge which will be better at cutting through compact snow.
There’s also a range of blade sizes available. If you’ve got a large area path or driveway, opt for a wider shovel that can hold more snow in one go. Shovels up to 45 cm wide remain relatively easy to handle, and they can clear a footpath’s worth of snow in one scoop. However, more snow means a heavier shovel, so there is a downside to buying the biggest option you can find. Narrower pathways are easiest to clear with a smaller blade.
Most snow shovels have blades made from plastic. Plastic is lightweight and easy to manage. It doesn’t rust or require any looking after. Plastic blades allow snow to slide off easily, making the clearing process more efficient. They are also less likely to damage the surface underneath.
The downside to plastic blades is that they aren’t usually strong enough to clear icy areas or very hard packed snow. In this case, a metal blade would be more appropriate.
Some shovels with a plastic blade have a steel wear strip – this is an edge that’s reinforced with metal. This can help maintain rigidity in the blade. Sometimes it’s useful for breaking up hard packed snow, but there is still a limit to how effective a plastic blade can be at doing this.
How to Select Best Shovel Handle
There are few things to consider when it comes to the shovel’s handle.
Shape and Design
Most snow shovels come with a basic straight shaft handle. However, if you want a more ergonomic shovel, there are some on the market with moulded handles, as well as foldable handles.
While those with folding handles are unlikely to be the strongest snow shovels on the market, they are very convenient when it comes to storage. They are great for emergencies, as they can be stored in the boot of your car or in small spaces. The only downside is that they aren’t suitable for lifting heavy loads and large amounts of snow at once – the folding mechanism naturally makes them a little weaker.
To avoid stooping, you ideally want to choose a shovel that comes up to chest height. This can reduce the amount of pressure put on back muscles. That said, a longer shovel will require more arm and core strength, as the weight is held further from the body.
If the shovel is an ’emergency shovel’ that is kept in the car, a comfortable shaft length is less important because you shouldn’t be using the shovel frequently for long periods of time. If you need a shovel for clearing the driveway, finding one of a comfortable length is more relevant.
Handles are usually made from metal, plastic, wood or fibreglass.
Metal handles are lightweight and affordable. They tend to be relatively durable but need to be stored carefully in order to prevent rust.
Plastic is the lightest of the materials available. If you’re looking for an especially lightweight snow shovel, a plastic model is the best option. The downside is that it’s the weakest material and may be unsuitable for shovelling large amounts of snow at once. If you’re in an area that receives a lot of snowfall, you’re better off opting for a metal, wood or fibreglass shovel.
Wood and fibreglass make strong handles for gardening tools. These materials are best for heavy use, and shovelling lots of heavy hard packed snow. However, wood will need regular treatment to keep it in good condition, and a fibreglass handle can make the shovel fairly expensive.
The Best Methods for Clearing Snow
Although snow can look pretty magical (at least, it does when it’s freshly fallen – not when it’s had three days to turn to slush), it can cause pose quite a lot of challenges to our day-to-day adult lives.
When it comes to clearing snow, there are several approaches you can take, and it normally helps to employ a combination of them in order to shift snow as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Whichever method you choose, try to get to the snow as soon as possible after it has fallen. The longer you wait, the more likely you will be dealing with compacted/frozen snow, making it harder to remove.
Clear Snow with a Snow Shovel
- Choose a snow shovel with a large scoop.
- For the most part, you can use this as a snow pusher on soft, fresh snow. This means you won’t even need to pick the snow up, you can simply use the shovel to push snow and move it around.
- If you do need to be lifting snow, make sure to keep one hand down the shaft of the shovel and one hand on the end. Lift the shovel using muscles in your core and keep your back straight to avoid back pain.
- Using a snow shovel can be hard work, so you should switch your hands over every so often. This will change which side is being used as the dominant side and use different muscles, helping to reduce fatigue.
You could also consider using a snow pusher, if you live in an area that gets a lot of deep snow. Although the phrase ‘snow pusher’ may conjure up images of a snow plough, you can also get handheld snow pusher tools that can be used domestically. They have a bar style handle, making them easy to push, and perform like a snow plough but on a smaller level. These tools help move as much snow as possible as quickly as possible, though you may be limited on where you can push it to.
Clear Snow with Salt
- Scatter rock salt over snow and ice to encourage it to melt. It also prevents snow and ice from refreezing.
- You should also scatter salt the day before, if you know it’s going to snow, as this will stop the snow from settling.
- This is a great option to use alongside other methods, and salt will also make more snow removal easier on heavy, compact snow.
- You can also create a saline solution with rock salt and water to help with scraping snow from the car windshield. Mist this solution over the windshield before starting to scrape it.
Cover Cars with Tarpaulin
This method is slightly more about prevention than clearing snow, although there is still an element of snow removal!
- When snow is predicted, use this as a cue to cover your car (or porch steps/paths, etc.) with tarpaulin.
- You can then simply remove the tarp when necessary, taking the snow along with it. This is a particularly useful tip if you need to leave for work and don’t want to spend precious minutes removing frozen snow from the car.
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Snow Shovel FAQs
Icy snow is a lot harder to clear than fresh snow – although icy snow will only form if you leave fresh snow until the temperature rises then drops again.
When removing icy or heavy snow, it really helps to have a shovel with a strong blade – either a blade made from metal, or one with a steel wear strip along the edge.
Some people recommended spraying the blade of the shovel with a little oil. This should help you cut through some of the icy snow.
Another option is to spray the snow with hot water and then shovel it. If there’s any puddles remaining (and the temperature is still low), apply salt to prevent it from freezing again.
The best way to prevent icy snow is by shoveling snow as soon as it falls. Lightly shovel the snow on your driveway or path as it falls so that there is no build up.
Luckily, we do tend to get a lot of warning before a big snowstorm, which means we can take steps to prepare for it.
To start, you should aim to seal any cracks in your driveway. This is because if water gets in and freezes, it can make the cracks a lot worse. It’s best to seal the cracks before the cold weather hits.
The next step is to clean your driveway. Sweep away debris, then give your driveway a wash with either a hose or power washer. If you notice any cracks that become visible once your driveway has been cleaned, these should also be sealed. Do this before the temperature drops, so that your driveway has time to dry without freezing.
You should also inspect your snow shovel to ensure that it’s in good condition. A rusty metal snow shovel that’s been in the back of your shed for the last decade might need to be replaced… If you know you’re in for a tough winter, it’s worth investing in a quality shovel.
Finally, sprinkle salt on your driveway before the snow begins. This will create a barrier between the snow and your driveway, so that the snow can be shovelled away more easily.
Whilst any shovel will help with shoveling snow to a certain extent, you may find that a shovel with a short handle hurts your back. If you’re limited by space constraints (be that storage space, or the working area), then of course you may only have enough room for a shovel with a short handle. However, for the most part you will find that less strain is put on your back by using a shovel that comes up to chest height.