Best Ergonomic Snow Shovel for a Bad Back - 2020 Reviews
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The Best Ergonomic Snow Shovel for a Bad Back

Straight handles and standard shovelheads can be a pain. Do your sore back a favor and invest in a better tool. Ergonomic snow shovels can help relieve stress, tension, and pressure on your back; you just have to know what features to look for.

We’ll get you up to speed with everything you need to know before deciding on a snow shovel, including our top five picks. That said, if you truly deal with serious back problems or frequent, heavy snowfall, shoveling may just be a bad idea altogether. Instead, consider investing in a good snowblower.

Our Top 5 Ergonomic Snow Shovels for 2021

PRODUCT FEATURES
Sunkorto Rolling Snow Shovel - The Best Ergonomic Snow Shovel for a Bad BackSunkorto Rolling Snow Shovel
  • Length: 41 to 45 inches
  • Weight: 11.48 pounds
  • Straight shaft, wheeled head, and extra grip
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Snow Joe SHOVELUTION SJ-SHLV01 - The Best Ergonomic Snow Shovel for a Bad BackSnow Joe SHOVELUTION SJ-SHLV01
  • Length: 49.8 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Straight shaft with secondary flex handle
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True Temper SnoBoss - The Best Ergonomic Snow Shovel for a Bad BackTrue Temper SnoBoss
  • Length: 57 inches
  • Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • Straight shaft with multiple grips
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Garant YP139EAKDU Yukon - The Best Ergonomic Snow Shovel for a Bad BackGarant YP139EAKDU Yukon
  • Length: 55 inches
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Ergonomically bent shaft
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Ivation Snow Shovel with Wheels - The Best Ergonomic Snow Shovel for a Bad BackIvation Snow Shovel with Wheels
  • Length: 45 to 50 inches
  • Weight: 11 pounds
  • Straight shaft, wheeled head, and extra grip
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Why You Should Trust Us

The staff at BYB are the real deal. What do we mean by that? BYB was started by a homeowner, just like you, interested in DIY, gardening, and all manner of tools, equipment, and home-based activities. That said, every writer, editor, and other staffers who work on our site are well-experienced in one or more areas of the home, garden, and backyard realms.

Many of the reviews on our site are about products that one of us has actually purchased and vigorously tried out. Of course, we haven’t personally tried every product we’ve reviewed. But, in those cases, we put our experience to work, roll-up our sleeves, and perform serious research. As far as snow shovels go, it’s safe to say that every BYB staffer has plenty of experience. Our boss Josh even has a garage full of them that he bought just to review for BYB. That’s what you call dedication to helping the reader make the best purchase possible.

When we review, we look at manufacturer specifications and product descriptions from retailers, customer reviews and ratings, and compare each product to others in the same class on a number of aspects or features, depending on what sort of product we are reviewing. Quality of components, durability, versatility, design, cost, and warranty options are just a few of the areas we always have a long hard look at while reviewing.

The Best Ergonomic Snow Shovel for Shorter People

Sunkorto Heavy-Duty Rolling Snow Shovel
    If you're looking for a snow shovel that doubles as a snowplow and can ease the strain on your bad back, this could be the one for you.

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The Sunkorto Rolling snow Shovel is a great substitute for a traditional snow shovel. Even more, it is a lighter and easier to use snow removal tool than many of the other ergonomic snow shovels on our list, especially for seniors and folks with a bad back or hips. An adjustable strategic handle allows you to stand upright, while “shoveling.” In a way, this model works very much like a miniature snowplow.

Built for use on sidewalks, driveways, gardens, walkways, steps, and more, this shovel is more than ideal for most residential snow removal applications. In fact, the manufacturer touts that the unit is capable of moving up to five feet of snow with extremely little effort. In addition, thanks to a wide shovelhead, and sturdy wheels, clearing paths can take as little as five minutes or less.

The Lightest Ergonomic Snow Shovel

SNOW JOE Shovelution SJ-SHLV01 Snow Shovel
    If you need an ergonomic snow shovel for your bad back, this one with two grips could be ideal for you.

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A regular snow shovel doesn’t include all the features that the Snow Joe SHOVELUTION SJ-SHLV01 18-inch snow shovel does. It may seem as though the D-shaped handle, use of aluminum, and the extra handle are all, well, extraneous. The handle, though, offers a more stable and comfortable grip. The aluminum in combination with polypropylene makes for a much lighter shovel, which helps reduce strain to your back. And the extra handle, well, that’s special and unique.

Using two grips is going to make it easier for you to load snow into the scoop, lift, and then fling it where you want it. The spring-loaded second grip reduces the exertion you put into lifting and throwing snow. There are a couple of issues with this shovel that may make it less than effective for you. If you’re taller, then this shovel may be too short for you. And if you use this shovel to break up lots of ice or hard-packed snow, the aluminum covering the blade of the head may pop off.

The Best Ergonomic Snow Shovel for Tall People

TRUE TEMPER Snoboss 1625300 Poly Combo Ergonomic Snow Shovel
    If you want a wide-mouthed shovel that can handle big loads of snow, but won't put more strain on your back, this could be a good choice.

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One of the best things about this True Temper SnoBoss 57-inch long ergonomic snow shovel is that you can use a variety of positions to push, shovel, chop, or even pull snow to clear an area. The 26-inch wide shovel head is extra wide, compared to most snow shovels. The design of the shovel makes it easy to use it as a snowplow, or you can pick up big loads of snow with it. It’’s easier on your back than a regular shovel, partly because of the handle. You can use different positions to heave the snow out of the way.

The multiple grips farther down the shaft allow you to get more leverage for shoveling the snow in your driveway and on your walkways. You can even use your foot to get more oomph and clear even hard-packed snow. You can flip the shovel over and use the edge of the head to break up ice and packed snow or to clear stairs. The blade on the edge may loosen easily, but the manufacturer may send you extra blades. While shoveling, many said that the blade won’t clear all the way to the ground.

The Best Allround Ergonomic Snow Shovel

GARANT YP139 Eakdu Yukon Poly Blade Ergonomic Snow Shovel
    If you need a lightweight, ergonomic snow shovel to clear snow from your property, this one could be a great choice.

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Not everyone is looking for a giant scoop or an extra-wide manual snow plow, and if that describes you, check out the Garant YP139EAKDU Yukon 55-inch long ergonomic snow shovel. While this shovel only has a 14-inch wide shovelhead, it’s wide enough for you to easily clear a walkway in one pass. It’s a dual-purpose shovel that you can use as a plow, but it’s more shovel-like. The shaft is bent a little to make a gentle S shape.

The ergonomic design makes it easy on your back, and you can quickly clear snow with this snow shovel. For such a workhorse, this shovel is lightweight, thanks to aluminum and plastic materials. However, this also may make the shovel a bit flimsy. There’s no metal covering on the shovel head blade, so you can’t really scrape down to the ground with this tool. The absence of the covering makes it unsafe to use on easily damaged surfaces.

The Best Ergonomic Snow Shovel for Heavy Snowfalls

Ivation Snow Shovel with Wheels
    If you need a large, wide shovel, consider this snow shovel that acts more like a snowplow, saving your back.

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Similar to the Sunkorto rolling shovel mentioned earlier in our list, the Ivation Snow Shovel with Wheels is another great choice for those with back issues that want to avoid lifting completely. With this unit, you can quickly and easily push as much as 5-feet of snow from walkways, sidewalks, and driveways in mere minutes. And, better yet, it requires hardly any effort on your part.

The shovel comes with high-quality 6-inch Grippy wheels that provide superior traction in snow, slush, and ice. The strategic pushing handle is another of our favorite features of this model. It is adjustable from 45 to 50-inches and enables the user to remove snow with no bending or straining their back or neck. On the downside, this snow shovel requires assembly.

How Shoveling Snow Can Cause Injuries

woman shoveling and removing snow from her car, stuck in snow

A 17-year-long study by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine highlights the risks of winter shoveling. Each year, about 11,000 people present at hospitals across the US with injuries relating to shoveling. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 158,000 people were treated for a snow-removal injury in 2015.

There are four common injuries that come with winter shoveling. While falling or getting hit with a shovel is the most common of all the injuries, the close runner-up is lower back injuries. Other injuries on the list include broken bones, cuts, and heart attacks. So, how can something so simple and quick lead to such damaging injuries?

You’re outside in the cold and likely standing on icy, slippery surfaces while shoveling. Do you know of anyone performing warm-up exercises before shoveling the heavy white stuff? Probably not. And that’s how some people get injured shoveling and end up with overworked muscles.

You can easily pull a muscle, hurt a tendon or ligament, or damage some other soft tissue while shoveling snow. Overexerting yourself in cold weather is easier than you think. Even if you regularly worked out during the summer and fall months, there’s a good chance you didn’t get to the gym once the cold set in. Clearing snowfall takes a lot of work, and you may not realize just how much until it’s too late.

Not only is it cold outside, which restricts your blood vessels and reduces blood flow to vital organs, you are also diving right into the work without warming up your muscles. What’s more, you’re likely hunched over while scraping the shovel along the ground. Then you sling that stuff over your shoulder or to the side of a path. Even just losing your balance a little can cause a stretched muscle in your back to suddenly contract and lead to a strained muscle.

There are plenty of things you can do to protect your back and other muscles while shoveling snow. Other than treating snow shoveling as an exercise and stretch before you get going, the next best thing you can do is to buy an ergonomic snow shovel that reduces that strain.

Ways You Can Protect Your Back While Shoveling

Naturally, you want to prevent injury while shoveling snow, but how? Here are a few things you can do to help protect yourself, so you don’t end up in the ER with a bad back.

Stay Warm

Man shoveling snow with a True Temper snow shovel

Bundle up before you head out into the cold weather. The cold can work against your attempts to stay safe. You don’t want to restrict your movement, of course, but layer up, so you stay warm.

Keep Clearing

Woman shoveling snow

If you’re expecting a big snowfall, then get outside early on and start clearing the material before it piles up. It’s much easier to clear a few inches at a time and keep clearing it every few hours, rather than letting the material get hard-packed. It may seem a bit repetitive, but your back will definitely thank you for taking the smart (and much less painful) approach.

Stay Active

woman doing Yoga stretching in a winter wonderland

Keep up an active lifestyle, which keeps you in shape and healthy. You should also do a little light exercise before shoveling snow. A few stretches and a 10-minute warm-up can do wonders to keep your blood pumping, keep you warm, and keep you limber. All those things can contribute to your safety while shoveling.

Go Slowly

Man with snowpusher shovells on the driveway.

Don’t try to power through winter shoveling. If you’re impatient and try to get through the stuff as quickly as you can, you’re more likely to injure yourself. Take your time and shovel the snowfall methodically and carefully. You know what they say, and they are right: you’re better safe than sorry.

Use the Right Shovel

Suncast SF1850            True Temper SnoBossSnow Joe SHOVELUTION            Suncast SC3250

Find a snow shovel that is the right height and the right weight for you. A heavy shovel can potentially cause more strain on your muscles. It’s also a good idea to find an ergonomic snow shovel that has a slight bend, a wide head, and a comfortable handle. It will help you stand straight while shoveling and give you better leverage as well.

And always use the right tool for the job. If you’re heading out into the backcountry for winter camping or need to attack a mountain of hard-packed snow on your property, grab an avalanche snow shovel, rather than your regular model.

Check Your Technique

Avoid twisting and turning at the waist while moving fallen material. The possibility of injury is much greater when you make moves like this. You can push snow, which is a bit easier on your body, but if you must lift the snow, do so with your legs, not your back.

How We Picked

In order to showcase and review nothing but the best snow shovels for bad backs, we performed some intense in-field recon, i.e. browsing the world-wide-web for ergonomic snow shovels. We looked extra close at each shovel’s design, weight, blade design, the stability of the handle, and handle shape in general, plus a whole lot more. Once we had slimmed down the pickings, we pulled out our trusty magnifying glass – our metaphorical magnifying glass, of course – and had an even more personal look.

The snow shovels we chose for reviews met all the major requirements for making shoveling snow easier and less “back-breaking.” Each of our picks features an ergonomic build with a strong and easy-to-use handle as well as a wide enough blade to move decent amounts of snow. At the very least they are all equally better for your back than the standard snow shovels you find at the check-out in Walmart and other department stores each winter. Further, one of them is quite possibly the best snow shovel for you (and your back).

Picking the Best Snow Shovel for You (and Your Bad Back!)

Picking a snow shovel that is comfortable to use and easy on your back is a personal choice. We all have different issues and preferences with tools. You may prefer a shovel with a straight shaft for moving snow, or you may want a wide-mouthed shovelhead to manually plow the snow. Overall, though, there’s one shovel that we rate better than the rest: the Snow Joe SHOVELUTION SJ-SHLV01.

The two handles make it easy for you to grip with both hands, shovel snow, and then lift and toss the snow to where you want it to live. The spring-loaded second handle is especially helpful at easing strain. When it comes to snow shovels, this thing has definitely evolved beyond the typical straight shaft, small shovel headed tools of yesteryear.

Not feeling any of these options? Have a look at our reviews on the best snow shovels overall for some more great options.

Good luck picking out the best snow shovel for you, and stay safe out there this winter!

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