Snow shovels & pushers
Just in time for the onset of winter, many of us are confronted with the effort of snow clearing again. Depending on the region, the work involved can vary greatly. While simple snow shovels or snow pushers are often sufficient in the lowlands, motorized snow blowers are often needed at higher altitudes. Click the links to learn more about petrol snow blowers and electric snow blowers.
While these devices are usually still quite easy to use, you often hear of heavy effort or even back pain when using snow shovels or pushers. As is often the case in life, these tools, in particular, are affected by small things that can make clearing snow a lot easier or harder. In the following, we discuss some important points so that you can quickly and easily decide on the right tool for you.
Differences of snow shovels & snow pushers
Let’s start with the distinction between these two. Our research on snow shovels has shown that there are considerable differences between different types of manufacturing. However, please remember that both designations often stand for the same product.
A snow shovel is generally suitable for clearing snow and especially for shoveling it. They can be used in a flexible way and are great for use after a snow blowing session. Especially in lowlands, snow shovels are often used to free courtyards, sidewalks or other small to medium-sized areas.
The snow pusher is generally used more for “shifting” snow. The advantage lies in the fact that such systems usually have wheels and that your strength can be easily transferred to the blade of the pusher via a stable handle. A disadvantage is, however, that you can usually only move the snow. A conventional snow shovel is then often required to finish the job. A further advantage is that you can clear relatively large areas in an acceptable time and without having to make extreme efforts.
Whether snow shovel or pusher – during our research it became clear that both tools have their advantages and disadvantages. But they have one thing in common: The clearing of snow is only feasible up to a certain height. Starting at a certain snow height, the effort with these manual tools is simply so high that it no longer makes sense. In such a case, you should switch to a motorized snow blower.
What to look out for when buying
There are different designs, which offer advantages and disadvantages for different areas of application. Before you buy, you should make sure that you know whether you need a snow shovel or a pusher – or both! Depending on the region and altitude, it may even be better to just use a snow blower instead.
The right material
During our research on snow shovels, it became clear that you need to pay attention to the right material when buying. Snow shovels made of plastic, aluminum or wood can usually be found on the market. One thing you need to consider is the weight. If you buy a shovel with a high base weight, working with this equipment quickly becomes strenuous. For this reason, light snow shovels made of plastic or aluminum are generally a better choice.
However, if you have to deal a lot with hard layers of snow or ice, we recommend using aluminum over plastic, because it is a stronger material. Plastic or wooden shovels are not suitable because they usually have a certain elasticity and tend to bend so that more power is needed.
The handle must fit
For optimal work, the grip and handle are often decisive. If these two points are of poor quality or simply not suitable, then working with the snow shovel can quickly cause back pain.
Furthermore, if you want a good snow shovel, you should make sure that it has a “D-handle”. This handle makes it possible to guide the shovel properly without it tipping over uncontrollably and having to pick up the snow again. It is a problem that we often had without such a “D-handle”. Depending on the region, they are sometimes called a “T-handle”.
The “D-handle” is located at the upper end of the handle and offers the possibility to control the position of the snow shovel with one hand, a function that we would absolutely pay attention to when buying.
In addition, however, you also need to make sure that the stem and length are correct. Large people with relatively short stems quickly get problems with their back, as the workload increases unnecessarily. We can only recommend that you buy a snow shovel with the correct length of the handle.
The edge should not be forgotten
Who doesn’t know this situation: You push or shovel snow and once again get stuck due to the uneven ground. Not only is getting stuck annoying, but you can also injure yourself depending on the application. For this reason, consider which areas you want to free of snow before buying.
In our experience, round edges are best suited for surfaces with many small obstacles. With relatively sharp edges you often get stuck on such surfaces, which is simply unattractive. The disadvantage of a very round edge, however, is that a thin layer of snow often remains. This thin layer of snow must then be removed using a broom.
A sharp edge usually glides very flat over the ground and leaves hardly any snow. A rework with a broom is therefore not really necessary in many cases. The disadvantage is, of course, that often only very flat and smooth surfaces are suitable.
Depending on the angle of incidence of the snow shovel, it is often possible to level out uneven surfaces on the ground very well and thus avoid “getting caught” or “getting stuck”. However, it is necessary to get used to the shovel until you can do that.
The working width
When buying a snow shovel, pay close attention to the working width. A large width has clear advantages, especially for larger areas. However, keep in mind that the use of force usually increases significantly with the width of the tool. Especially for people who are not quite as strong or older, we recommend choosing a small to medium working width in the range of 30 to 40 cm.
If you choose a working width of 50 or 60 cm, you should be aware that you also have to move a lot of snow per shovel stroke. We’d rather do a few more light shovel movements with a narrow shovel.
Our final conclusion
When buying the right snow shovel or pusher there are some important points to consider. If you buy it blindly, don’t be surprised about a heavy load or even back pain. We strongly recommend that you observe the following points when making a purchase:
- Snow shovel or snow pusher?
- Choosing a light but sturdy material
- Handle and grip must fit
- The right edge shape
- The ideal working width
If you take these points into account, little should go wrong. Such snow clearing equipment can usually be purchased from specialist dealers, DIY stores or the Internet.