Phillips Hardware Tips: Snow Shovels
The Difference in Snow Shovels
The handle: “Ergonomic” may not mean easy. Bent handles can make the pushing angle hard to adjust, and twisting the shovel to toss snow aside can be difficult. A shorter handle makes snow-throwing easier; longer is better for pushing—you can better tweak the shovel’s angle and use your weight. A wood handle is handsome but heavy, metal is cold, and plastic or fiberglass is often just right.
The grip: D-shaped. Be sure it fits your hands, especially if they’re unusually small or big. A padded grip is nice, as is an extra grip lower on the handle.
The scoop: Look for sturdy scoop and is attached well to the handle. Metal is generally more rigid than plastic but heavier. Steel on the leading edge can extend a shovel’s life and make it more effective in hard-packed snow, though the edge may scratch a delicate surface such as decking. A scoop about 24 inches across is good for a few inches of light snow; narrower is better when snow is deep or wet and heavy. A deeply curved scoop can clear a lot of snow; a shallow scoop is OK for pushing snow but spills when lifted. High scoop sides contain snow and can reduce flexing.
Look at the lineup below, and consider buying more than one shovel depending on anticipated need—one for lifting, another for pushing, for example, or one for dealing with regular snow and another for an icy plow pile at the end of your driveway.
1. Versatile. Throws, lifts, or pushes. Scoop sides keep snow from escaping. Fiber core handle is lighter than wood.
2. Garden-variety. Slices heavy snow and is good for other outdoor work, but the wood handle is heavy and short.
3. Cheap, plastic. Plastic may flex too much and wear over time. Without a steel edge, the scoop won’t bite well into icy snow.
4. He-man heft. It could actually be too big. You can use your foot to push it into a plow bank, but it takes a very heavy scoop.
5. Wide, wobbly. Quickly fills with snow, and the one we tried wobbled. OK for a little light fluff on a hard surface.
6. Ergonomic handle. The bend makes it hard to maintain an effective angle and awkward to throw to the side. You’ll need strong wrists.
7. Yellow mid-size. An ergonomic handle that’s better than the dogleg version; and you’re not forced into one grip.
8. A pusher. The width and lack of sides mean it isn’t good for lifting snow. It will do for up to 4 or 5 inches of light snow.
See your local Phillips Hardware store for help with selecting shovels and ice melter. Phillips Hardware has over 30 different shovels that will meet all your snow removal needs this winter.