What to Look for When Choosing a Snow Shovel
Snow shovels might be designed for clearing snow from your driveway and walkways, but these versatile tools also can be used for plenty of tasks around the house all year. Whether you're cleaning up after a snowstorm, getting the garden ready in the spring or spreading mulch for a midsummer landscaping project, having the right shovel can help you work more efficiently. Here are a few things to consider when looking for a new snow shovel for your home.
Extra wide snow blades are great for clearing large patches of snow in less time. Lengths range to upwards of 24" and often incorporate grooves to keep sticky snow from accumulating and weighing down the blade. Keep in mind that the larger the blade is, the heavier each load will become, increasing the strain on your muscles and joints. Smaller blades are ideal for tight spaces like walkways and porches. Accessorize your snow tool collection with an especially narrow sidewalk scraper that's great for chipping away at dense ice.
Length and Style
Having a snow shovel that's right for your height can help you exert less energy while you work and reduce stress on your joints and muscles. You know the length is right when you can bend your knees slightly and flex your back while getting ready to push snow. If lifting too much weight is a concern, bent-handle models and snow pushers are designed to simplifly lifting or alternately push the snow out of the way.
Snow shovel blades are generally made from tough metals or durable plastics, while shaft and grip materials can be either wood, metal or plastic. An aluminum design is heavy and with the added weight of snow can become more difficult to manage when compared to a lightweight plastic model. However, some plastic shovels will not be able to cut through snow that's already been trampled on as easily as their metal counterparts.
You know you have the right shovel when it is comfortable to hold and manage, and finding a functional style is a matter of personal preference. Enclosed D-grips and open T-grips are held perpendicular to the shaft, while L-grips are simply a continuation of the shaft, often with padding. Many snow pushers feature a two-handed grip that is designed to eliminate the need for lifting and throwing heavy loads of snow.
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