By the time we’ve put away our rakes and hauled away autumn’s leaves, winter approaches. Snow removal is one of the best things you can do for your property. Heavy snow causes concrete to crack and weaken, which can wreak havoc on your driveway. Yet an afternoon of snow shoveling and salting takes the risk away. Clearing pathways makes it easier and safer for family to move to and from your home, while also protecting your driveway and improving the health of your property.

As you prepare for a season of snow removal, choose the right tools. For families in areas with high levels of snow, multiple tools might be necessary. A snow blower and a few shovels can cover different aspects of the removal process. Yet for many families, investing in a snow blower isn’t practical. If your area doesn’t get enough snow to justify spending the big bucks on a snow blower, consider investing in a sturdy shovel or pusher.

No matter your shoveling style, there’s a tool for you. Some are designed to reduce back strain, while others are ideal for people with upper body strength. Other tools allow you to push snow rather than haul it. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite snow shovels and pushers for a successful winter. First, however, we’re going to answer a few common questions.

What is the Difference Between a Snow Shovel and a Snow Pusher?

What is the difference between a snow shovel and a snow pusher?

They might not be traditional, but snow pushers are rapidly becoming a popular snow removal tool. Think of a snow pusher like a small manual version of an industrial plow. They’re made of plastic with sturdy handles, and true to their name, you don’t use them to pick up the snow. Instead, you simply shove the snow to the edges of your driveway.

Snow pushers tend to relieve the tension and strength required to lift and throw snow. Homeowners with back pain or muscle tension may benefit from switching to a snow pusher. They have the reputation for being kinder to the body than shovels. The best part? Some tools double as shovels or pushers depending on how you use and assemble them.

Keep in mind that a snow pusher is still not a mechanical plow. Even a snow pusher can cause upper body aches. Make sure you stop when you feel tired, stay hydrated, and take regular breaks while you’re clearing your driveway.

How to Shovel Snow Safely

How to shovel snow safely, step by step.

There’s nothing worse than a strained back or a pulled muscle. Make sure that you’re not just protecting your home when shoveling snow; you also need to protect your body. Here are a few tips for shoveling snow safely:

  • Start at the right time. It normally makes the most sense to shovel once the storm is over, because no one wants to shovel snow twice. That said, some areas might receive many feet of snow in one storm. If you’re worried the snow will be too heavy for you once the storm is over, consider shoveling a lighter load earlier in the day.
  • Choose the right tools. If you do opt for a snow shovel, consider one with a natural S-curve; they tend to be easier on your body. Make sure the end has a sharp edge to cut through snow bricks. Opt for a handle that’s the right length for your height, because nothing will tire you out faster than a snow shovel with a very short handle — you’ll have to bend over again and again. If you’re uncertain about the necessary handle length, choose the a longer option. If it’s too long, you can simply adjust your handle.
  • Assume the correct position. Shoveling snow is just like any other form of exercise – the proper stance is everything. Physical therapists recommend keeping a neutral spine. In other words, align your head, neck, mid- and lower back, and tailbone. Don’t arch your lower back or stoop your shoulders. Instead, bend at the knees to lower and raise yourself. Let your upper calves bear the weight of the snow as you lift by keeping your back straight. To take the pressure off your spine, engage your core muscles. Finally, switch which arm you’re leading with periodically. Switching your leading arm will strengthen both sides of your body.
  • Don’t tackle everything at once. Take lots of breaks. If you feel tired, take a moment to sit and rest. Cold has a numbing effect. It’s easy to forget how tired or thirsty you might feel. Make sure you go inside periodically to warm up, have a glass of water (or something yummier), and recuperate.

The National Safety Council has more info on being safe while snow shoveling.

Ready to pick a snow shovel or pusher that will make your winter easier? Here are a few of our favorites.

The Best Snow Shovels and Pushers

Snow Pusher with D-Grip Style Fiberglass Handle by the Snow Plow

Snow pusher with fiberglass handle by The Snow Plow.

The shovel of shovels. You’ll love this lightweight, industrial-grade shovel just as much as reviewers. The ¼ inch brace system holds up to heavy loads, and the smooth reliable fiberglass handle is 49 inches and built to last. It’s twice the diameter of the industry standard, and it’s reinforced by a core insert plug.

The ergonomically designed D-grip handle provides an easy grip. Rely on the best cold-resistant, impact-resistant material possible with the UHMW polyethylene, 30-inch blade. All materials are made in the USA. Although the snow pusher arrives unassembled, it only takes a few bolts to put it together. Reviewers overwhelmingly give this pusher five stars; it’s the best of the best, they report, and they were quick to buy a second for friends and family.

To learn more, click here.

Adjustable Snow Pusher with Wheels by Joy Base

Adjustable snow pusher with wheels by Joy Base.

Say goodbye to back strain and heavy lifting, and give up on bending over. Upright snowplowing is now accessible for all homeowners. With a simple forward motion, you can use this manual plow to clear snow out of your way. For your comfort, the handle is adjustable to suit your height. Rubber wheels offer increased traction on snow and ice.

At 29.1 inches long, the blade covers a wide berth while the metal plow with a nylon skid is effective for shifting up to 5 inches of heavy snow and 10 inches of light snow. Reviewers note that the blade doesn’t fully scrape the driveway, so consider tossing salt down behind you to melt that last thin layer.

To read reviews, click here.

Rolling Snow Pusher by Gymax

Rolling snow pusher by Gymax.

This pusher makes snow removal easier and quicker, reviewers report. Save time and energy by relying on this adjustable snow pusher with wheels. The shovel itself measures 26 inches long and can shift 5 inches of heavy snow at a time. It’s crafted with heavy-duty plastic and reinforced with iron on the bottom.

Deep ravines in the anti-slip wheel steady the pusher on icy ground. For your comfort, the handle adjusts from 46 inches to 51 inches. Assembly is simple, and reviewers report this snow pusher is easy to store.

Ready to buy? Click here.

Adjustable Snow Pusher or Snow Shovel by Manplow

Adjustable snow shovel and snow pusher by Manplow.

Finally, you can adapt your tools to your style. Whether you’re left-handed or right-handed, this tool accommodates both. Not only can you switch the tiered handles to favor your body strengths, but you can reverse the blade for pushing or shoveling. The 42 inch blade shifts more snow than narrower blades, and the tiered handles not only strengthen the handle, they reduce muscle fatigue.

Thick-walled, lightweight aluminum provides a reliable handle. Reviewers report it works perfectly for light powder snow up to several inches. Others loved having a wider blade to plow snow rapidly.

Like it? Click here to buy now.

Snow Shovel or Pusher with Ergonomic Handle by Suncast

Snow shovel for driveway with ergonomic handle.

If you’re looking to reduce back strain but don’t want to opt for a dedicated snow pusher, consider this ergonomic shovel. The S-bend in the handle reduces the pressure on your back and requires less bending. More than one reviewer with a back injury opted for this shovel. Simply flip the shovel over to use it as a snow pusher.

The angled rib pattern digs into snow while the sharp 18-inch blade will chip away at ice blocks. Reviewers report that the shovel is sturdy and well-designed. Several people thought the handle was too short, so consider a different shovel if you need a taller handle.

Ready to buy? Click here.

Pro Industrial Snow Pusher or Shovel by Manplow

Industrial snow pusher and shovel by Manplow.

“Where has this been my whole life?” one reviewer asked. This shovel is an investment — and worth every penny. At 42 inches wide, it covers a huge amount of ground. Use it as a shovel, or flip it over to push snow. The extra-wide blade is reinforced with Manplow’s patented EZ Glide Edge to make sliding under heavy snow drifts simple.

The lightweight aluminum handle won’t add extra weight. Not only will this tool last a few seasons by itself, but you can simply replace the blade if it wears down. This is a shovel built to last for many seasons. Reviewers report that this pusher cut their snow removal time in half. They note that the width makes it incredibly heavy to shovel snow, but the extra-wide blade covers ground efficiently.

To read the latest reviews, click here.

High Capacity Poly Sleigh Shovel With Coated Steel Ergonomic Handle by Garant

Poly sleigh shovel with ergonomic handle.

This is clearly the best shovel of its kind. It might require a little more strength than some tools, but it’s incredibly efficient. Load the snow onto the shovel, then push it off your path. The sharp blade will cut into snow as you push.

When you’ve moved the snow to an out-of-the-way area, you simply dump or slide it off the blade. The reinforced steel edge increases longevity, and for comfortable snow removal, the handle is ergonomically designed.

Like it? Click here to buy now.

Seymour Steel Snow Pusher and Shovel

Steel snow shovel and snow pusher by Seymour.

An aluminum blade and a sturdy hardwood handle are the backbone of this durable snow pusher. The blade measures 24 inches wide and the handle is 42 inches tall. A wear strip protects the edge of the blade and keeps it sharp. One reviewer thought the handle was a little short, but said the shovel was fantastic otherwise.

To see pricing, click here.

To Sum it Up…

If you thought the cheap, worn-down shovel at the back of your garage was all you could use for snow removal, think again. You can invest in a modern shovel that won’t break your wallet — or your back. Today’s shovels and snow pushers come in dozens of variations. Many are designed to reduce the strain on your body, and pushers can minimize bending while wheeled tools allow for upright movement.

Industrial extra-wide shovels might make your chore more efficient if you can put more muscle behind the work. Even more classic shovels now come with ergonomically designed handles. Snow removal may not be the jolliest chore of the year, but it doesn’t have to be painful. Choose the right tool, maintain the correct posture, and take plenty of breaks. With a few simple changes, you can maintain snow-free pathways with ease.

Thinking about getting a snow blower instead? Then check out The Best Snow Blowers next!