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The 5 best snow shovels in 2021

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

Image of person wearing boots using the DMOS Alpha Expedition Shovel on snow for best snow shovel of 2021

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With the proper snow shovel, removing snow from your stoop, driveway, deck, and walkways can be faster and easier.  No matter which snow shovel you use, it’s more important to use it safely to help reduce the chance of injury.

You can read proper safety tips here, along with how to choose the right snow shovel for your needs.

Here are the best snow shovels in 2021

Best snow shovel overall

image of dmos shovel in snow with skiiers in the background for best snow shovels 2021

When fully assembled, the collapsible Dmos Alpha Expedition Shovel is as capable as any classic snow shovel, easily tossing scoop after scoop of snow. 

Pros: Collapses for stowing, serrated blades cuts into packed snow, lightweight but rugged

Cons: Can become heavy when lifting a lot of snow 

The Dmos Alpha Expedition Shovel has a clever build that can help you move snow all day long. It’s a newer version of the original Alpha I tested. Its stronger aircraft-grade aluminum is slightly heavier, but it’s otherwise very similar.

The Alpha was the best snow shovel I have ever used, and it’s still one of my go-to shovels. The slender, serrated edge of the shovel’s blade cuts into all sorts of snow with ease, lifting fresh powder, heavy slush, and icy chunks alike. The long handle makes lifting easier, while the all-metal construction ensures that the shaft won’t bend or break and the scoop won’t crack or buckle.

Despite the rugged appearance, the Alpha Expedition only weighs 4.4 pounds. But once you scoop up a large pile of snow, it can become much heavier, so avoid overexerting yourself.

The secret here is the shovel’s collapsible and detachable handle. The shaft telescopes out to a generous 61.5 inches, giving taller users plenty of length for proper leverage, and it can be shortened for users of differing heights. 

Though this shovel isn’t cheap, the durable construction ensures it lasts for years.

Best ergonomic snow shovel

image of Snow Joe Shovelution Shovel stuck in snow for best snow shovels 2021

The ingenious two-handle design of the Snow Joe SJ-SHLV01 Shovelution Shovel can reduce back strain when compared to a traditional snow shovel and speed up the snow clearing process.

Pros: Reduces back strain, speeds up the snow-removal process 

Cons: Initial use is awkward until you get used to it

Shoveling snow can lead to a sore lower back. The Shovelution Shovel has a unique design that helps reduce the strain from shoveling, scooping, and tossing piles of snow.

Essentially, it’s a regular snow shovel with a straight handle and an 18-inch shovel blade that’s curved to help you collect loads of snow. But right above the main handle is a spring-assisted handle that helps counterbalance the weight of each shovel full of snow.

By keeping one hand on the main shaft and another on the secondary handle, the Shovelution Snow Shovel allows you to stand up straighter as you work and reduces the strain put on the back’s lumbar region.

The spring-action second handle also helps you fling aside heavy snow with less effort and with reduced shock at the end of each toss. This limits the strain on your joints, muscles, and skeletal system, so you don’t wind up with a sore back after shoveling. 

Former senior editor Jada Wong has used her Shovelution for over a year to remove snow that’s about a foot deep around her driveway, walkway, porch, and deck. She said the second handle seems flimsy at first and takes getting used to, but it’s ultimately a much better shoveling experience. 

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Best electric snow shovel

image of person pushing the greenworks electric shovel best snow shovels 2021

The Greenworks 2600802 Electric Snow Shovel can clear snowfall of up to a half-foot deep with a single pass, and you never even have to lift it off the ground.

Pros: Minimizes effort and backache, quickly clears shallower snowfall, lightweight

Cons: Can’t handle deep or wet/heavy snow

This electric shovel can help you clear an area quickly and with much less effort than a traditional shovel requires. But with snow any deeper than that or with snow that’s particularly wet and heavy, it can get jammed up.

The Greenworks Electric Snow Shovel is ideal for people who live in areas that get moderate snowstorms a few times per season. While it can’t handle deep snow, it clears the result of light precipitation right down to the pavement. Just push a button to start it, and you’re off. 

This electric shovel is best suited to mid-sized properties, as it tosses snow a distance of about 20 feet. If you have a large driveway or patio, some of that snow is going to fall right back onto it, doubling your work. It does have a cord, so you may need an extension cord to get to the end of your driveway.

For sidewalks, stoops, or small-to-medium-sized driveways, it’s a great tool. The thrower cuts a 12-inch swath as it moves along, so you can clear a 1,000 square foot area covered by 4 inches of snow in about 20 minutes.

Best compact snow shovel

Image of man in winter hat using Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility to dig out his car for best snow shovel 2021

The Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel weighs less than 1.5 pounds and folds down to just over 2 feet long, making it perfect for storing in the trunk of a car.

Pros: Compact size is ideal for storage in the car, adjustable handle length 

Cons: Too small for serious shoveling jobs

Sometimes a snowstorm can happen out of nowhere, so it’s a good idea to keep the Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel in your car in addition to an ice scraper.

You can stow this compact and multipurpose shovel in the trunk or backseat. It’s around 1.3 pounds and can be adjusted from 25 to 32 inches in length, allowing for comfortable use by people of various heights.

The blade is smaller than most traditional snow shovels, but it can still scoop enough snow to clear steps outside your home, carve out a narrow walking path, or help dig your car tires out of the snow.

Because this shovel is so compact, don’t expect to use it for large snow-clearing jobs. The handle is quite short, and it will be rough on your back. Think of this as more of an emergency-preparedness tool than an everyday shovel.

Best snow pusher

Image of the Manplow revolutionx on white background for best snow shovel 2021

The extra-wide blade of the Manplow RevolutionX Snow Pusher can clear 48-inch swaths of sidewalk, driveway, patio, and more in a single pass.

Pros: Clears huge swath in one pass, the reversible blade extends the working life, will not damage terrain

Cons: Not effective with deep snow, not meant for scooping

The Manplow RevolutionX Snow Pusher is not technically a snow shovel because it’s not meant for lifting and tossing scoops of snow. Instead, it’s an extra-wide tool that clears a 42-inch swath of snow in a single pass.

The broad blade is designed not to damage terrain, so you can use the RevolutionX on cobblestone, brick, wood, and more as long as it’s smooth — it’s easy to get jammed up on uneven heights. Yet it’s rugged enough to shove heavy loads of snow out of the way without bending your body. 

For quickly clearing most driveways and walkways, it’s hard to beat a big snow pusher like this. If the snow piles up more than three or four inches high, the RevolutionX becomes less effective, as snow can spill over the top of the blade.

The Manplow RevolutionX Snow Pusher is a great alternative to a more traditional shovel. And thanks to its clever reversible blade, it will serve you for years, too: When the edge of the pusher becomes too worn down and uneven to be effective, just remove the blade, flip it upside down, and enjoy a like-new snow tool.

Snow shovel research methodology

This guide is a mix of hands-on testing and research. We’ve tested some products on the list, like the Snow Joe Shovelution Shovel. The rest of our selections are based on research of reputable brands and reviews. We plan on testing the rest of our picks in the coming months. 

Snow shovel FAQs

Is a metal or plastic snow shovel better?

While both plastic and aluminum snow shovels are fine options, they do differ somewhat. While aluminum shovels are more durable and less likely to snap or crack like plastic versions, they tend to be a bit heavier, and are more likely to have snow stick to their blade during use (although this can be solved by spraying them with a nonstick cooking spray before shoveling). Plastic shovels are also a better choice for use on wooden decks and steps, since metal blades can easily scratch or scrape delicate material. 

What size snow shovel is the best?

You might assume that bigger is better when it comes to snow shovels, but that’s not always the case. If your shovel is too large, you might not be able to lift and toss a shovelful of snow comfortably. If your shovel is too small, you won’t be able to move the amount of snow you need to, and you won’t be working efficiently. As a general rule of thumb, go with a larger blade, like 30 inches, for when you plan on simply plowing snow out of the way. Opt for a smaller blade, around 18 or 20 inches, if you plan on lifting and throwing your snow out of the way. 

Which is better, straight or bent handle?

Both straight and bent-handled snow shovels are popular styles, with strong supporters of each. Some prefer the straightforward control of the straight handle, while others are more comfortable with the ergonomic style of a bent-handle design. (This University of Ottawa study claims that bent-handle shovels can reduce the chances of lower back injury). 

This choice ultimately depends on several factors of the user, like height, weight, and strength level, so it’s best for you to get some hands-on testing with both before you make your decision. 

Which shovel is best for my physical type?

In addition to the factors listed above, you also need to consider your physical shape when choosing a snow shovel. If you have any physical issues due to age, injury, or illness, then opt for a tool that uses wheels, focused leverage, or even a motor to help minimize the effort needed to move that snow. 

If you think shoveling will take a toll on you, consider the ergonomic snow shovel or electric snow shovel we recommend above. You should also take factors like snowfall, terrain, and area size into account, and take the necessary breaks to prevent overexertion. Even a fit person can be overwhelmed by hours of shoveling.

How do you shovel snow?

Before the snow falls, lay down some salt or ice melt on the area you’d need to shovel to prevent snow from sticking and ice from forming. Rub wax or nonstick cooking spray on your shovel so snow doesn’t cling on.  

If safe to do so, shovel while it’s snowing, before the snow accumulates into a heavier and more solid mass. Shoveling snow in layers, rather than all at once, also reduces stress on your body. 

Bend your knees and use your legs — not your back — when shoveling to reduce the chance of injury. Switch off hands and grips, and take periodic breaks to reduce body strain. 

Once you’re done shoveling, lay down some more ice melt to keep the ground clear. 

The best deals on snow shovels from this guide

If you live anywhere that sees even the slightest amount of snow, a snow shovel is a must-have item to keep in your garage. There is nothing worse than waking up to a few inches of snow and not owning any type of shovel. 

Whether you’re looking for an electric or ergonomic snow shovel, we researched the best snow shovels to save you time before winter settles in. The best time to buy a snow shovel is before it starts to snow so you can avoid scrambling to the hardware store only to find all snow-related items have sold out. 

The spring, summer, and fall are all solid times to buy a snow shovel. If you wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you could find great discounts, but you also risk shovels being sold out by then. 

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