A snow shovel is a must-have tool in the arsenal of private house owners. If the main roads are cleared by snow-removing equipment under a successful combination of circumstances, then the entrance to the garage, paths and the porch have to be cleaned on their own. A good and high-quality snow shovel in this case greatly simplifies the work.
For a snow shovel to become a truly reliable assistant in snow removal, you need to find out all the differences, advantages and disadvantages of the models. Shovels differ in materials of manufacture, shape, depth and size of the scoop, weight, cutting characteristics and many other parameters. Before you buy a snow shovel, you need to figure out which model is best for you.
The main materials are wood, plastic and metal. Each has its own pros and cons.
- Wooden snow shovel is very lightweight and one of the most inexpensive. The simplicity of the design allows you to easily make such a shovel yourself. But the big disadvantage is its fragility. The small thickness of the wooden sheet leads to rapid wear, the appearance of cracks and rather frequent breakdowns, especially since plywood is not a moisture resistant material.
A more durable version with an aluminum edge, but it is narrower and more expensive in price. It is very convenient to remove loose freshly fallen snow with such a shovel; you will get tired less due to the low weight of the shovel itself. But wet heavy snow will stick strongly to the scoop, and there is no need to talk about cleaning the ice.
- A plastic snow shovel is more durable than its wooden counterpart. The advantage of plastic is its resistance to frost and chemical reagents, which are often added to snow to speed up melting. There are many types of polymer alloys for such shovels, but in general, the rule applies: the stronger the material, the more expensive the shovel.
Cons – the plastic is quite fragile, so for greater strength it is better to choose models with metal strips along the edge of the bucket. Such a shovel is more wear-resistant and will last a long time.
- There are several types of metal snow shovels, mainly aluminum, steel and galvanized.
An aluminum snow shovel is lighter, but it will not cope with ice, therefore, it should be purchased exclusively for snow removal, and with special ice scrapers to cope with ice. Also, aluminum is not susceptible to most chemical influences and is not afraid of temperature extremes.
You can safely break ice with steel shovels, they are the strongest and most durable, but also the heaviest of all. If a large amount of snow has to be cleared away, you will quickly get tired.
Galvanized snow shovel – lightweight, durable, versatile thanks to a special metal alloy. These models are one of the most expensive, but also of the highest quality.
The structure of the scoop
There are a few basic options here. The first is the scoop shape. The snow shovel can be square or rectangular. The second is bucket depth. The choice here depends on the area to be cleared and your physical capabilities.
Small, flat, semi-circular shovels are easiest to work with, but they are more convenient for clearing uneven areas. Flat wide shovels are suitable for wide paths, car pads and other flat, wide surfaces.
The third parameter in the structure of the scoop is the presence of sides. A distinction is made between single-breasted and three-breasted snow shovels. Single-breasted ones have a side only from the side of the handle, three-breasted ones – additional sides along the edges. Thanks to the sides, the snow does not fall back.
It is more convenient if the scoop has wide ribs on the back side, then it glides better on the snow.
Snow shovels with a bar are more durable. In this case, the metal strips are stronger, but they can scratch the surface. The stainless steel edge is suitable for removing ice and clearing concrete and asphalt paths. And the plastic will not damage the ceramic, wooden surface, natural stone and will not harm the plants under the snow.
It also depends on the cutting how easy the work will be. That’s right, when the handle is attached to the scoop at a slight angle, then it acts as a lever – it will be easier to lift a full shovel.
As for the length, it should be appropriate for your height in order to remove snow without bending. The material is mainly wood or aluminum, less often plastic. The wood is warmer, less slipping in the hands, but it can crack from excessive stress. Aluminum is durable, often slightly curved for greater convenience, or telescopic for clearing overhanging snow from the roof.
Snow scrapers deserve a special mention – these are wide shovels with a double handle for cleaning large, flat areas. They are also called drags, tk. snow is removed by pushing forward like a tractor bucket. They differ in wider buckets, they are better suited for clearing snow up to 10 cm thick, with a large layer you will have to cope with a shovel.
There are also wheeled snow scrapers that help move large snowballs.
Now you know how to choose a good snow shovel. Ideally, it is better to have a few bursts – for quick cleaning of only fallen snow, for heavy packed snow, for breaking ice, for cleaning various surfaces and territories.