The best shovels for dealing with winter snow aren’t the same ones you’d want to use for your garden — or carry around with you in the trunk of your car. When choosing the right shovel for a specific job, make sure you take into account exactly what tasks you’ll be demanding of your tool, how easily it can be transported (if necessary) and who is going to be using it.
Check out these tips for selecting shovels that are best adapted to the most common chores and jobs you’ll be doing around your home.
Garden work often requires actually digging down into the dirt, which means you’ll need an angled, spade-like design, so you can break ground and bust through turf if you need to. The best garden shovels, however, are also flat enough for you to move a load of earth, sawdust or weeds from the ground to the wheelbarrow and vice-versa. That’s why we recommend balancing the slicing capability of a pointed shovel with the broad carrying capacity of a load-moving shovel when making your purchase.
Best Shovel for Snow
The best shovels for snow removal fall into two distinct categories. The first is the shovel you use to clear your pathway, driveway, or sidewalk. Typically, these shovels have a metal edge on the bottom that can bust through packed snow and ice, as well as a curved face that makes it easy to push snow out of the way.
If you’re digging out your car, however — or you have a porch or staircase to clean off — you’ll want to head in a different direction. That metal piece will damage wood and steel and potentially scratch your car’s paint, so stick with a plastic edge for this particular task. You’ll also want a shovel that is designed for lifting and moving snow, rather than pushing it, so you can work more easily in the tight spaces on your porch or around your vehicle.
Best Shovel for Your Car
A shovel that you can keep in the trunk of your car or behind the rear seats of your SUV can really help you out if you get stuck in the snow during a winter storm. The best shovels for your car are foldable and compact. As mentioned above, when digging near your car, you’ll want to use a plastic blade to prevent any damage to your vehicle. You’ll also want to use a shovel with a head that’s small enough to fit under your vehicle (to remove packed snow) but large enough to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time.
Although shovels are a simple tool, you don’t want to be caught with the wrong one for the job at hand.
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Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.