The Best Snow Shovels

By Marlene Eisner

February 22, 2021

No matter where you live in Canada, the snow is going to find you. Of course, depending on where you are located, it will either be an occasional brush with snowflakes or a consistent barrage of the white stuff. Whether it’s a light dusting or a blizzard, you will need to have a good snow shovel — or two or three.

Owning at least one snow shovel is as necessary as owning a good parka, hat and gloves, because as sure as the sun will rise and set, between October and May, snow will fall in Canada. And just like no two snowflakes are alike, no two snow shovels are the same, with each one performing a specific task.

If you’ve experienced at least one Canadian winter, you’ll know that soft, light snow is easier to shovel than the wet sticky stuff. And since we’re not all built like Goliath, a bad back, weak arms or trouble breathing will factor into how well and able you are to clear your walk from snow. This is why you will need a shovel designed specifically to meet your needs to make the task easier.

Below is a list of snow shovels that address different snow conditions, along with information on what they are made of and how they should be used, so you can get some insight into finding the snow shovel — or shovels — that meet your needs.

1. Editor's Pick: Snow Joe Shovelution Snow Shovel (18-Inch)

ProsCons
  • Lightweight and affordable
  • Design reduces the need to bend while shovelling
  • Spring-loaded handle makes for easier lifting and throwing
  • Too lightweight to get under packed snow
  • The metal edge can get caught easily in cracks on the sidewalk

Key Specs

Material: Aluminum
Shovel Size: 18"
Grip Type: Ergonomic

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This snow shovel from Snow Joe is designed to be the next best thing. It has an extra handle to ease the lift and burden.

If you know anything about shovelling snow, you know it can be a killer activity for your back. Even with all the professional advice to bend at the knees, slowly lift and then toss, after about 10 minutes of continuous shovelling, you can be feeling it in your back, wishing you had an extra pair of hands to help out.

That's where this snow shovel lends a hand. By holding the shovel from the top handle and gripping the one located in the middle, it changes the mechanics of the whole act of shovelling.

Its second grip acts like a fulcrum. Using the muscles of your upper body to do the lifting and throwing; and using the lower hand for added leverage: you can will lessen the strain on your back, which will get you through some of the heavier snowfalls.

The wide, 18-inch blade is a good size for cleaning a front and back walkway, or a driveway. The shovel blade is made from lightweight, shatter-resistant polypropylene plastic, with a heavy-duty aluminum wear strip at the tip to get under most blocks of snow.

2. Best Runner-Up Overall: Earthwise Snow Shovel (16-Inch)

ProsCons
  • No heavy lifting
  • Ideal for small and medium snow-clearing jobs
  • Needs an electrical outlet to function
  • More expensive than a manual shovel

Key Specs

Material: Plastic
Shovel Size: 16-22"
Grip Type: Adjustable two grip handle

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Plug it in and let this electric snow shovel do all the hard work for you. This is a great snow shovel if you're not as mobile, or if you have chronic aches and pains.

This snow shovel from Earthwise is much smaller and lighter than a snow blower and starts at the push of a button. Whether you live in your own home or a rental, you may be doing the snow cleaning off your patio, walk and driveway. Its 12-amp motor can move up to 430 lbs. of snow per minute so rest assured that it won’t take you long to get your driveway, or any small to mid-sized area, cleared.

The lightweight construction and six-inch wheels makes it easy to transport and as you push the shovel, it will throw snow up to 30-feet in one of three adjustable directions. Its dual-carved auger blade is durable and reliable for long-lasting use and for extra comfort, an auxiliary support handle makes it easy to street. Another bonus!? You don’t have to fuss with gas or the fumes that come with it.

3. Best Push Shovel: Sunkorto Rolling Snow Pusher (13-Inch)

ProsCons
  • No heavy lifting
  • Ideal for small and medium snow-clearing jobs
  • Needs an electrical outlet to function
  • More expensive than a manual shovel

Key Specs

Material: Plastic
Shovel Size: 16-22"
Grip Type: Adjustable two grip handle

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When you have to push heavy snow out of the way, it’s better to do it with a shovel that has wheels. This is a great snow shovel for that.

If you live in an area that sees a lot of heavy snowfalls or blizzards, you know that using a shovel to dig and throw it out of the way to clear a path can not only be difficult, but time consuming too. We included this model from Sunkorto because aside from its solid construction and large 13-inch wide by 26-inch high-shovel blade, it has two thick wheels that will help you propel it forward.

With this shovel, you can clear away snow up to five inches per push, even on a rugged or slippery road. The shovel is made with an aluminum handle and a blade of high-quality composite material so it's sure to last for a couple of seasons. What's more, it's easy to assemble. All you have to do is use a wrench (included), a screwdriver (not included), and you're off to the races.

4. Best Car Snow Shovel: Cofit Retractable Snow Shovel (11-Inch)

ProsCons
  • Lightweight
  • Comes in a storage bag
  • Assembles to a maximum length of 43 inches
  • Not ideal for large snow removal jobs

Key Specs

Material: Aluminum
Shovel Size: 8.3"
Grip Type: T-shape handle

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This portable snow shovel comes in a storage bag for your car and is ideal for that unexpected snowfall when you’re out on the road.

This retractable snow shovel from Cofit is an ideal choice to keep in the trunk of your car, or behind the back seat for emergencies. You can also take it winter camping, since it’s light enough to fit into a backpack.

The shovel comes in a convenient storage bag that is equipped with shoulder straps so the parts don’t roll around loose in your trunk. The individual pieces are easy to snap together when you need to use the shovel. An ergonomic T-shaped handle offers a firm and comfortable grip for efficient digging and snow removal, and the seamless compact joints ensure the scoop doesn’t sway while you’re using the shovel.

When assembled, you can adjust it to five different lengths, depending upon the number of sections you used. Furthermore, it opens to a final size of 43 inches — a good size that doesn’t require much bending. The shovel is made from a premium aluminum alloy, has an 8.3-inch scoop and weighs 1.63 lbs. It is treated with an advanced coating for a smooth, environmentally friendly surface. When you’re done, it comes apart easily to be packed away in your car for the next time.

5. Best Snow Shovel for Stairs: Garant Ergonomic Snow Shovel (14-Inch)

ProsCons
  • Lightweight aluminum handle
  • Curved handle eases back strain
  • 14-inch blade ideal for cleaning stairs
  • Plastic blade will not chop through icy snow

Key Specs

Material: Aluminum
Shovel Size: 14"
Grip Type: Ergonomic curved handle

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This is a sturdy, plastic snow shovel that is lightweight and ideal to clean snow from narrow spaces like stairs.

When you wake up in the morning after a snowfall, one of the first spots that needs to be cleared away is the outside stairs. For a job like this, you need a narrow blade snow shovel that will fit into tight areas. The 14-inch blade on the Garant snow shovel is made from tough plastic and is ideal to scoop and clear snow from those narrow spaces around your home. The curved handle makes it easier to lift snow and strain on your back, making it easy to use.

This shovel has been developed for intense and continuous use, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking or wearing out. With no exposed metal on the blade, it can also be used to shovel snow off your car or other easily damaged surfaces.

Frequently Asked Questions About Snow Shovels

Using the right snow shovel depends on the quantity and type of snow, the physical space and your level of fitness. We dug deep to examine the specs of snow shovels to help you clear a path through winter’s wrath. Now, you can check out some of the frequently asked questions from our readers.

What size shovel should I buy?

This would depend on the size of the area you need to shovel, the amount of snow that has fallen and the type of snow. For example, when wet snow accumulates, it is heavy and hard to move, requiring a shovel that you push, rather than lift. If you prefer to lift heavy snow rather than push it aside, use a shovel with a 14- or 18-inch blade. If the blade larger than this, it will hold a lot of snow that will be too heavy to lift and throw to the side.

The size of the space you are shovelling will also dictate the size of the shovel you should use. There’s no use taking a large, deep shovel to remove the snow on your front steps. With that in mind, using an 11-inch shovel on a large driveway will take forever to clean.

I have a bad back. How can I shovel snow without hurting myself?

Depending on your fitness level and physical limitations, you can choose from a number of different models to avoid injury. A shovel with an aluminum handle, as opposed to wood, is lighter and easier to lift. A curved handle makes it even easier to lift the shovel, and there are models equipped with a secondary handle that adds leverage.

If you really suffer from serious back issues, consider a wide snow shovel that you push, rather than fill, lift and throw. A model equipped with thick wheels will make it even easier. Finally, you can use an electric snow shovel. These are light and easy to handle and usually plug in to an outdoor electrical socket. They start with a push of a button and cut through snow easily, blowing it to the side. However, these snow shovels are more expensive than manual ones.

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