How to Choose the Best Snow Shovel for This Winter

Do you need a new shovel? Perhaps you just moved or bought a house and are now in charge of snow removal. Should you choose plastic or metal? Electric or manual? Shoveling is a winter task that many people dread. However, having the right shovel can make it easier. Shovels come in different styles and materials, which can make a difference. This guide will introduce you to types of snow shovels and their purposes. Also, you’ll learn how to pick the best snow shovel for your needs and budget.

What Is a Snow Shovel?

A snow shovel is any shovel designed for removing snow. People use snow shovels to clear sidewalks, driveways, porches, patios, and even garden areas. In comparison with most digging or gardening shovels made for dirt, snow shovels are wider. They are usually 18 to 24 inches wide. Their size allows them to scoop away larger areas at a time. Since people must scoop and toss the snow, snow shovels tend to be lighter. If you use a heavier garden shovel to scoop snow, you’ll probably tire quickly. It’s important to buy a high-quality shovel specifically for snow if you don’t yet have one.

There are a few main snow shovel types. They are scoop shovels, snow pushers, combination shovels, and electric snow shovels. You’ll learn more about blade material types in a later section. Here is a quick summary of the main snow shovel types:

  • Scoop shovels have flat and shallow blades.
  • Push snow shovels have long and deep blades, and some pushers come with wheels behind the blade.
  • A combination shovel has a wider and curvier blade.
  • Electric shovels may have double or single blades; they look like a cross between a shovel and a snowblower.

Is a Snow Pusher Better Than a Snow Shovel?

A snow pusher works more like a snowplow that you push manually. This means you don’t need to scoop and lift as much as you would with regular shoveling. Because of this, a pusher is often considered the best snow shovel for seniors. Some regular snow shovels are better for removing stubborn snow. For example, if the snow is compacted, you may be able to chip at it more with a shovel. Today, many of the best shovels for snow also have ergonomic designs to reduce hand fatigue or pain.

Which one is best for you? It depends on how much snow you have to remove and how frequently it snows in your area. As a rule, a pusher is better for larger areas and frequent snow removal. A combo shovel is also better than a standard one for larger areas. Regular snow shovels are better for smaller jobs.

So, if you have a large driveway, a snow pusher or combo may be better. If you don’t need to shovel often, a regular snow shovel is fine for a smaller property.

Are Electric Snow Shovels Worth It?

Whether or not an electric shovel is worth it for you depends on a few factors. First, it helps to know the area you need to shovel. There are corded and cordless electric shovels. Corded shovels limit the area you can reach to 50 to 100 feet. However, a cordless machine runs for 20 to 50 minutes. Even for the best cordless snow shovel, recharging the battery may take several hours. If you have a larger area for snow removal, an electric shovel may not be ideal.

Two other important considerations are the condition of the snow and the surface. If it’s fresh and powdery on a flat surface, an electric shovel can easily remove it. Electric shovels don’t perform well on uneven surfaces or gravel. Also, some aren’t great at removing hard or compacted snow.

Another consideration is how much effort you hope to avoid. For example, if you buy a snow shovel hoping it’ll make your task effortless, you’ll be disappointed. Electric snow shovels still require some physical effort since they’re not self-propelled. Some are heavier than regular shovels, which can make them harder to push. The last consideration is price. At about $60 to $190, electric shovels can be more expensive than most manual ones. In comparison with a snowblower, which can cost more than $1,000 for a good one, an electric shovel is more affordable.

What’s the Best Shovel to Dig With? Types of Shovels

When comparing types of snow shovels, the blade material is important. It’s especially important when buying a shovel to travel with in case you get stuck. For many people, a common problem is a wet or compacted snow. If snow starts to melt on the top and then refreezes, it can become hard. Digging through that stubborn snow can be a backbreaking task with the wrong shovel. Understanding the different material types can help you pick the right one.


One key advantage of plastic is that snow doesn’t stick to it as much as it does to metal. Many plastic shovels are lighter than metal ones. When you buy a plastic shovel, look for one that has a polycarbonate or polypropylene plastic blade that’s thick. A thinner blade will be flimsy and may crack if you use it for snow digging or ice chipping. Also, plastic is more prone to damage when you use it to scrape a cement surface. This is especially true with cheaper shovels.


A steel blade is typically the most durable. When it comes to digging, chipping, or lifting heavy and wet snow, steel stands up to the challenges. It’s also heavier, which can make the shovel feel more difficult to lift. However, if you need to scrape away snow from a rough surface, it won’t get damaged like plastic. It may scratch some surfaces.


Aluminum blades are lighter than steel and more resistant to breaking than thin plastic. They’re less durable than steel, and some aluminum blades may bend on impact. This makes them a poorer choice for digging or chipping. Most are better for regular shoveling. Like steel blades, they may scratch some surfaces.

Plastic and Steel

This blade type combines the lightness and anti-stickiness of plastic and the durability of steel. The blade is plastic, and there is a steel toe strip along the bottom. In addition to making digging and chipping easier, it protects the plastic blade from wear on rough surfaces.

If you need to dig out a snowed-in car or chip ice, choose a heavy-duty snow shovel. In the metal vs. plastic snow shovel debate, the right choice depends on your budget and preferences. Pick up different shovels to see if they feel comfortable enough for you. Also, look for ergonomic snow shovels for harder tasks like digging or chipping.

Find the Best Snow Shovel for Your Needs at True Value

True Value has a variety of snow shovels, snow pushers, and combo shovels. You can find electric shovels, too. Whether you need to remove snow from a garden, walkway, patio, or driveway, there are plenty of choices. There are also shovels for gardening if you want to get a head start on spring shopping.

Now that you’re familiar with the different snow shovel types, you’re ready to pick one. Visit your nearest True Value store to compare your options.