Best Snow Shovel
We found the True Temper 20" aluminum shovel to be the best overall that we tested. It scrapes well and throws snow quickly, all while being reasonably ergonomic. Its metal blade found the ground second fastest after the Garant, but unlike the Garant, it has a more traditional scoop that does a great job of collecting and moving the snow. Although it doesn't stand out in any one category, it does well in all of them. This model is a no-frills, get-it-done tool to help you get that pesky snow off your driveway as soon as possible.
The True Temper's aluminum blade is a bit thin, and we noticed a slight flex when we pushed it into heavier snow with our foot. While this seems like a small issue, this snow shovel may not stand up to the same extended abuse as other shovels.
The ErgieShovel is an excellent all-around shovel. Despite having a short shaft, we found this to be the most comfortable shovel to use for expended periods due to its ergonomic dual handle design. It held its own with the other competitors at pushing and gets an honorable mention for shoveling. The Ergieshovel is also one of the two shovels we tested that breaks down into a smaller form for more compact storage. All of this, while being significantly cheaper than the 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 initially. Its plastic scoop also gives us pause on the durability front. However, this shovel did not sustain any real damage 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 shaft is wood, the blade and scoop are all metal, and the handle is plastic to keep your hand warm. These materials build confidence in this snow shovel's durability to withstand harsh conditions.
The scoop doesn't have sides to it, which means picking up snow and moving it is more challenging with this shovel than with models with more traditional scoops. At over six pounds, this is also one of the heaviest snow shovels we've tested, which can add to the fatigue of clearing a large 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 shovel is also a multi-season tool, performing well at moving all sorts of materials, including snow, mulch, soil, and gravel.
This shovel comes with one major downside: ergonomics. Due to its short shaft, it forced us to hunch over to scrape and shovel. Consequently, we found it to be hardest on our backs of the shovels we tested.
This shovel is a specific tool for a specific job. We tested this in two distinctly different conditions. The first was after two inches of snow, and the Snowcaster shined when clearing our sidewalks. It did it much faster than any other shovel could while requiring much less effort from the user. While some other plastic scoops feel fragile and thin, this one is notably thick and durable.
The second set of conditions was while a severe Sierra storm laid down 18 inches of wet and heavy snow. In these conditions, this shovel was unusable. There was just too much snow for it to move. There is no way to shovel or scrape with the Snowcaster. Even just pushing snow, it got too heavy and unwieldy. It's also worth mentioning that this was the heaviest shovel we tested, 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, increasing your leverage and making shoveling easier. The Snow Joe is also the lightest shovel we tested by five ounces.
The downside to this 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 and slowing down the whole process.
This shovel shares many similarities with its sister product and our favorite overall model, the True Temper 20 Aluminum. To our eyes, it has the same shaft, handle, and overall length. Where it differs is with the scoop. It employs a narrower 18-inch scoop made of plastic rather than aluminum. This change makes it a lighter weight package that's more manageable for petite individuals.
The scoop flexes pretty dramatically, causing it to deflect over more firm snow or ice while scraping. It has a nylon wear strip, which makes it safer for the materials you are shoveling on, but it also adds to it not scraping as well as other models that we tested.
The Suncast SC3250 is the shovel that lives at our office throughout the winter. Does it have a flashy design? No. Does it win any of our categories? Nope. But what it does is perform admirably 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 this shovel puts us in when working.
Like some of the other shovels using plastic scoops, it flexes and bends quite a bit. This attribute makes it harder to scrape down through severe ice. It is saved in this regard slightly by the metal wear strip on the blade.
This shovel comes in two varieties: assembled (one shaft) or Knock Down (the shaft can be broken down into two pieces). We tested the Knock Down version, and we liked being able to break down the shovel for storage during the summer months. The scoop was designed to be good for both shoveling and pushing snow. We found that this shovel transitioned well between both pushing and shoveling due to its 20-inch blade.
While in no way a poor 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 of those years. He has now tested more than a thousand outdoor and consumer products. He regularly does snow removal for three houses and local business in South Lake Tahoe. 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 spending the next three hours extricating his Toyota truck by shovel.
We tested these shovels near Lake Tahoe, which averages more than 400 inches of snow a year. We tried each shovel through different snow conditions, from deep and heavy slush to light and fluffy powder. We came up with five different tests to evaluate how well each shovel moved significant volumes of snow, pushed light snow, and scraped ice. We spent hours shoveling walkways, driveways, roofs, 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 the best at shoveling snow. Its deep scoop and short shaft make 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 shovel is the ideal tool for clearing ice and compacted snow from driveways or 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 and 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 the job of pushing snow. Its wide, flat blade got below the snow and moved it efficiently. An interesting competitor to the Garant was the Snowcaster 30SNC, which is super 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 than a few inches, the Snowcaster gets heavy, and there is no practical way to clear its blade. In the nine-inch storm in which we tested, we found this trait incredibly frustrating.
The ErgieShovel wins hands down for its namesake ergonomics. Its dual handle design prevented us from hunching more than 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.
Although there is no one perfect shovel for all snow conditions, you can get a versatile shovel that will perform great in most of the situations you encounter. If you can only have one shovel, we recommend the True temper 20" Aluminium. But if you want to cover all your bases, we enjoyed the complimentary combo of the ErgieShovel and the Garant Snow Pusher 24.
— Chris McNamara and Jason Peters