Looking for the best snow shovels? We researched 50 top 2020 models before buying the most promising 9 for side-by-side testing. Next, we put each shovel through five tests to evaluate their performance in deep snow, light snow and ice. Our expert testers looked at how well each pushed snow to the side and which shovels had the best ergonomics and were easiest on our backs. The results of our performance tests will help you find the perfect shovel for your snow removal needs.
The Best Snow Shovels of 2020
We found the True Temper 20" Aluminum shovel to be the best overall that we tested. It scrapes well, throws well, all while being fairly ergonomic. Its metal blade found the ground second fastest after the Garant, but unlike the Garant, it has a more traditional scoop that just wants to collect and move the snow. While it doesn't stand out in any one category, it does well in all of them. This is a no-frills, get-it-done tool to help you get that pesky snow off your driveway as soon as possible.
The aluminum scoop is a bit thin and we could notice it flexing slightly when we pushed it into the snow with our foot. While it's a small issue, this snow shovel may not stand up to season after season of abuse.
The ErgieShovel is a great all-around shovel. Despite having a fairly short shaft, we found this by far the most comfortable shovel to use for expended periods of time due to its ergonomic dual handle design. It held its own with the other competitors in pushing and gets an honorable mention for shoveling. The Ergieshovel is one of the two shovels we tested that breaks down into a smaller form for storage. All of this while being significantly cheaper than its competition.
The dual handle design will throw off some people — some of our testers didn't like it at first but with continued use it became second nature, even for the testers that didn't like it at first. Its plastic scoop also gives us pause on the durability front, though we did no damage to this shovel during our testing.
The Garant was our testers' favorite for scaping and pushing. The 24-inch steel blade found concrete the fastest of the models we tested and it cut a wide path well. As its name implies it wants to push snow more than it wants to shovel it. The blade and Scoop are all metal, the shaft is wood and the handle is plastic to keep your hand warm. These materials build confidence that this snow shovel will be with you for seasons.
The Scoop doesn't have sides to it, which meant picking up snow and moving it was harder with this model than with models with more traditional scoops. This was also one of the heaviest snow shovels we tested at over six pounds, which added to the fatigue of clearing a driveway.
This shovel was one of the best for moving snow. Its deep scoop collected a lot of snow and its short shaft was easy to choke up on to get more leverage. Although it's light, it still scrapes well. This is also a multi-season tool, doing great at moving all sorts of materials: snow, gravel, mulch, soil and much more.
This shovel comes with one major downside: Ergonomics. Due to its short shaft, it had us hunched over to scrape and shovel. Consequently, we found it to be hardest on our backs of the shovels we tested.
This is a very specific tool for a very specific job. We tested this in two distinctly different conditions. The first was after two inches of snow where the Snowcaster shined at the job of clearing our sidewalks. It did it much faster than any other shovel could have while doing so with much less effort for the user. While some of the plastic scoops feel fragile and thin, this one is notably thick and durable.
The second set of conditions was while a storm in the Sierra was laying down 18 inches of snow. In these conditions, this shovel was unusable. There was just too much snow for the Snowcaster to deal with. There is no way to shovel or scrape with the Snowcaster. Even just pushing snow, it got too heavy and unwieldy. It's worth mentioning that this was by far the heaviest shovel, at 9lbs 6oz, which is twice as heavy as the average.
The Snow Joe Shovelution has an interesting design. It employs dual handles like the Ergieshovel but the shaft of the lower handle is flexible. That flexibility acts like a spring when you throw snow, which is intended to increase your leverage. That helped make shoveling easier. This is also the lightest shovel we tested by five ounces.
The downside to that design is that when you are pushing snow and want to transition to shoveling, the second handle on the spring shaft moves a lot, making it hard to grab, slowing down the whole process.
This shovel shares a lot of similarities with its sister product and our Editors' Choice, the True Temper 20 Aluminum. To our eyes, it has the same shaft and handle and the same overall length. Where it differs is the scoop; employing a narrower 18-inch scoop made of plastic instead of aluminum. Those changes make it a lighter weight package that's more manageable for petite individuals.
The scoop flexes pretty dramatically, which makes it deflect over more firm snow or ice while scraping. It has a nylon wear strip which while making it safer for the materials you are shoveling on, it also adds to not scraping as well as others we tested.
This is the shovel that lives at our office. Does it have a flashy design? No. Does it win any of our categories? Nope. What it does is perform well in every environment we put it in, making it reliable and versatile. It has the most dramatic bend in the shaft and we found that we liked the position it put us in while working.
Like some of the other shovels using plastic scoops, it flexes and bends a quite a bit. This attribute makes it harder to scrape down through tough ice. It is saved in this regard slightly by having a metal wear strip.
This shovel comes in two verities, assembled (one shaft) or Knock Down (the shaft can be broken down into two pieces). We tested the Knock Down version — we like being able to break down this shovel for storage during the summer months. The scoop is designed to be good with both shoveling and pushing. We found this true due to its 20-inch scoop. This shovel transitioned well between pushing and shoveling.
While on no way a bad snow pusher, it did rank in the bottom half of the shovels we tested in this aspect. Its straight shaft didn't work as well for us as the more ergonomic bent shaft of its sister product, the Suncast SC3250. But if you are not interested in the curved shaft design, this one is the way to go.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lead tester, Chris McNamara, has been living in the snow for nearly two decades and has been gear testing for 11 years. He has now tested more than a thousand outdoor and consumer products. He regularly does snow removal for three houses and a business. Jason Peters had been living in Wisconsin for the last five years and is no stranger to moving snow. His most recent snow removal adventure was hitting a three-foot-tall snow berm in the middle of a highway and then spending three hours extricating his Toyota truck by shovel.
We tested these shovels at Lake Tahoe, which averages more than 400 inches of snow a year. We tested all different snow conditions from deep and heavy snow as well as fluffy powder. We came up with five different tests to evaluate how well each shovel moved big volumes of snow, pushed light snow and scraped ice. We spend hours shoveling walkways, roofs, driveways and our parking lot.
Analysis and Test Results
Below is a summary of our test findings and how each shovel performed in side-by-side tests.
The AMES #12 Aluminum Scoop was best as shoveling snow. Its deep scoop and short shaft makes it super efficient at getting that snow over the snowbank at the edge of your driveway. It was followed by the True Temper 20 Inch Aluminum and ErgieShovel, which could not move as much snow as the Ames, but were much easier on our backs.
By far best is the Garant Snow Pusher 24; nothing else we tested even compared. This is the ideal tool for clearing ice and compacted snow from driveways and walkways. Of the standard shovels designs, the True Temper 20 Inch Aluminum did much better than the rest because of its full metal scoop and blade as well as its ergonomic shaft. Most plastic shovels, even if they had a metal insert, did not scrape nearly as well.
We found the Garant snow pusher 24 was perfectly suited to this job. Its wide, flat blade got below the snow and moved it efficiently. An interesting competitor to the Garant was The Snowcaster 30SNC, which was very efficient at light snow. With its wide blade, it takes fewer passes to clear off a surface. The caveat here is if it snows more then a few inches, the Snowcaster gets heavy and there is no way to clear its blade. In the nine-inch storm in which we tested we found this trait particularly frustrating.
The ErgieShovel wins hands down for its namesake, ergonomics. Its dual handle design kept us from hunching more then we had to. Other shovels with a bent handle design like both True Temper models and the Suncast SC3250 were also easy on our backs.
While there is no one perfect shovel for all snow conditions, you can buy a versatile shovel that will perform great in most of the conditions you encounter. If you can only have one shovel, we recommend the True temper 20" Aluminium. But if you can go for two, we enjoyed the combo of the ErgieShovel and the Garant Snow Pusher 24.
— Chris McNamara and Jason Peters