Sorry, but I have very little to good to say about no-name snow shovels. I do have a lot of nice things to say about a "grain scoop" or a "coal shovel" -- which should be known as the Best Snow Shovel.
Ordinary snow shovels are terrible at getting under compacted (think walked or driven on) snow. They're useless on ice or frozen snow. If you only get snow on one side of the T-Shaped blade, it's so out-of-balance that the thing simply spins out of your hand. They're no good for "plowing" light snow. They're flexible and fragile and the handles break easily. .
Turns out, a shovel I discovered quite by accident is the best snow shovel I have ever used.
Grain Scoop or Coal Shovel
Durable, rugged and able to move a mountain of wet, dry, freezing or anywhere-in-between snow. This so-called "grain scoop" or "coal shovel" (depending who you're talking with) is a shovel you can buy at your local home center. Check out this aluminum
one here; though you can also find plastic ones. You've probably seen one before and didn't realize. We
use this same shovel for cleaning up messes on projects throughout the year, whether it's plaster and debris from remodeling, leaves in the spring or fall, or making a molehill out of bark mulch mountain this tool is with us in all seasons. Heck, I've even seen people use them cleaning up after Fido.
Why It's The Best:
1. The scoop is stout. That means after snow is compacted from walking or driving, it has enough rigidity to break up that cake of snow. And so is the the handle. Had several of these for years and in year round use. Never even came close to breaking one. Shovel 2; Snow 0.
2. The scoop is big-with sides. If you have to pick up the snow and move it somewhere -- say over a garden wall or over the previous storm's snow bank -- you can. Powdery snow stays in the scoop (mostly) while the sides help cut up through wet (we call it "snowball snow") snow so you can again get a heap you can manage. Shovel 3; Snow 0.
3. The scoop is also in-line with the handle. I don't think a single scoop of snow has ever twisted out of my hand. Shovel 4; Snow 0.
4. The scoop is wide. If you decide that "plowing" your snow using the shovel is the ticket, the sides of the shovel make moving snow much more effective. Instead of leaving trails behind both sides of the shovel it actually moves snow. This isn't always the most effective way-it's not a snow plow-but it can work in some cases (like when you get just a few inches of light snow or you're shoving the what's left of the snow-bank left by the city plow back into the street.) Shovel 5; Snow 0.
The scoop gets under the snow. Because the shovel is short-handled, the blade lays flatter to the ground-where it needs to be to be effective. Kind of like the iron in a low-angle block plane
, the scoop hits the snow more parallel to the ground than other shovels, giving it a better chance to break snow loose from the asphalt or grass (yes, we have to shovel paths around our house, some of which has us shoveling grass) or concrete.
Final Score: Shovel 6; Snow 0.
For an example of an ergonomic model for your shoveling needs, check out this video: