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Best Ergonomic Snow Shovel for a Bad Back

Living in an area where you get all four seasons can be rewarding every time a flower blooms, the sun shines, the colors change, and the snow falls. However, the winter season brings with it big piles of the white stuff that can be a nuisance. If you don’t have a snow blower, then you probably rely on a wide snow shovel to help you clear the snowfall from your walkways and driveway. If that’s the case, then you know what back pain is.

The traditional snow shovels that you can find at your local hardware store work well enough, but their straight handles, standard shovel heads, and lack of design features can lead to sore backs – regardless of whatever shape you’re in. There’s another option to help relieve stress, tension, and pressure on your back, you just have to know what features to look for in the best ergonomic shovel for bad backs.

5 Best Ergonomic Snow Shovel for a Bad Back Comparisons

Model
          Features
Suncast SC3250



  • Bent Shaft: Yes
  • Length: 52.5 inches
  • Head dimensions: 18x12 inches
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs.
  • Material: Steel, poly
Snow Joe SHOVELUTION SJ-SHLV01



  • Bent Shaft: No
  • Length: 49.8 inches
  • Head dimensions: 18 inches
  • Weight: 2 lbs.
  • Material: Aluminum, poly
True Temper SnoBoss



  • Bent Shaft: No
  • Length: 57 inches
  • Head dimensions: 26 inches
  • Weight: 5.6 lbs.
  • Material: Steel, resin
Garant YP139EAKDU Yukon



  • Bent Shaft: Yes
  • Length: 55 inches
  • Head dimensions: 14 inches
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs.
  • Material: Aluminum, polyethylene
Suncast SF1850



  • Bent Shaft: No
  • Length: 60 inches
  • Head dimensions: 22 inches
  • Weight: 8.95 lbs.
  • Material: Graphite, steel

How Shoveling Snow Can Cause Injuries

There’s a 17-year-long study out there by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine that includes stats and figures about winter shoveling injuries.The study presented how dangerous shoveling can be. About 11,000 people per year are admitted to hospitals around the country with injuries relating to shoveling. Other studies have even bigger numbers. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that 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. Also, on the list are broken bones and 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. It’s easy to see why so many people fall and hurt themselves 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 snowfall of any kind. 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 diving right into the work without warming up your muscles. That means it’s quite easy for you to strain a muscle in your back from shoveling snow. You’re likely hunched over while scraping the shovel along the ground to gather material in your shovel head. 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. One of them 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? There 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

It’s a good idea to bundle up before you head out into the cold weather. You don’t want to restrict your movement, of course, but it’s a good idea to dress warmly. The cold can work against your attempts to stay safe.

Keep Clearing

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.

Stay Active

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

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.

Use the Right Shovel

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 comfortable handle. It will help you stand straight while shoveling and give you better leverage.

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.

Top 5  Best Ergonomic Snow Shovels Reviews for a Bad Back

Suncast SC3250 18-Inch Snow Shovel/Pusher Combo with Ergonomic Shaped Handle and Wear Strip

Quick Info

  • Bent Shaft: Yes
  • Length: 52.5 inches
  • Head dimensions: 18×12 inches
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs.
  • Material: Steel, poly

Your first time using the Suncast SC3250 18-inch snow shovel may seem a little weird, and the ergonomic shovel might seem a bit unwieldy. It takes a little practice of standing straight while using this shovel to push or shovel snow out of the way, but once you get the hang of it, your back should thank you. The length of the shovel is nearly 53 inches, but the S-shaped shaft makes it seem a bit shorter, which could make it too short for taller users.

Clearing snow is easy with this shovel because it’s a dual-purpose tool. The way the head is designed, with a slight bend to it, makes it easy for you to push snow, almost like a human snow plow. But it still has a bit of a scoop to it, so you can use it as a shovel. You’ll have to pick up smaller loads of snow, though, as the shovel head is a little too flimsy to handle heavy snow.

Pros

  • Dual-purpose
  • Easy to use
  • Reduces strain on back
  • Wide head

Cons

  • Maybe too flimsy for lifting snow
  • Too short for taller people
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Pro tip

If you’re looking for a snow shovel that doubles as a snow plow and can ease the strain on your bad back, this could be the one for you.

Snow Joe SHOVELUTION SJ-SHLV01 18-IN Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel w/ Spring Assisted Handle

Quick Info

  • Bent shaft: No
  • Length: 49.8 inches
  • Head width: 18 inches
  • Weight: 2 lbs.
  • Material: Aluminum, poly

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 more easily or quickly.

Pros

  • D-shaped handle
  • Spring-loaded shovel grip
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Reduces strain on back
  • Wide head

Cons

  • May be difficult for tall users
  • Aluminum blade may come off easily
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Pro tip

If you need an ergonomic snow shovel for your bad back, this one with two grips could be ideal for you.

True Temper SnoBoss 26-Inch Ergonomic Poly Combo Snow Shovel- 1625300

Quick Info

  • Bent shaft: No
  • Length: 57 inches
  • Head width: 26 inches
  • Weight: 5.6 lbs.
  • Material: Steel, resin

One of the best things about this True Temper SnoBoss 26-inch 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 snow plow, 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.

Pros

  • Wide loop handle
  • Dual-purpose
  • Extra hand grips
  • Easy to use
  • Reduces strain on back
  • Extra-wide head

Cons

  • Blade covering loosens easily
  • Doesn’t clear up to the ground
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Pro tip

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.

Garant YP139EAKDU Yukon 14-Inch Poly Blade Ergonomic Snow Shovel

Quick Info

  • Bent shaft: Yes
  • Length: 55 inches
  • Head width: 14 inches
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs.
  • Material: Aluminum, polyethylene

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 14-inch ergonomic snow shovel. While this shovel only has a 14-inch wide shovel head, 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. Absence of the covering makes it unsafe to use on easily damaged surfaces.

Pros

  • D-shaped handle
  • Dual-purpose
  • Slightly bent shaft
  • Easy to use
  • Reduces strain on back

Cons

  • No metal blade covering
  • A little flimsy
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Pro tip

If you need a lightweight, ergonomic snow shovel to clear snow from your property, this one could be a great choice.

Suncast SF1850 22-Inch Big Scoop Snow Shovel with Wear Strip

Quick Info

  • Bent shaft: No
  • Length: 60 inches
  • Head width: 22 inches
  • Weight: 8.95 lbs.
  • Material: Graphite, steel

A snow shovel with a wide, deep head and a wide dual-sided handle for both of your hands to grip like the Suncast SF1850 22-inch snow shovel works well when you’re pushing snow out of the way. You’ll be able to push or pull pounds of snow easily and quickly from one spot to another. However, you won’t be able to lift snow with this unless you’re a He-Man or She-Ra.

Storing this shovel is easy thanks to the collapsible handle. You could also just hang this on your wall. The large, wide grip makes it easy to hold from almost any position and push snow, using your legs, rather than your back. As great as it is to not have to lift and sling snow, it’s also limiting that you can’t easily throw snow to the side or over your shoulder with this wide snow shovel.

Pros

  • Collapsible handle
  • No lifting needed
  • Large, wide grip
  • Wide head
  • Easy to use
  • Reduces strain on back

Cons

  • A bit short for people 6′ or taller
  • Can’t pitch snow
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Pro tip

If you need a large, wide shovel, consider this snow shovel that acts more like a snow plow, saving your back.

Conclusion

Picking a snow shovel that is comfortable to use and easy on your back can be a personal choice. We all have different issues with tools. You may prefer a regular shovel with a straight shaft for moving snow, or you may want a wide-mouthed shovel head to manually plow the snow. Overall, though, there’s one shovel that proves to be the best for everybody and back, and that’s the Snow Joe SHOVELUTION SJ-SHLV01 18-IN Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel w/ Spring Assisted Handle.

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. But if you truly deal with serious back problems, shoveling may just be something to avoid. Instead, consider investing in a good snowblower.

About The Author

Candace Osmond

Award Winning Designer, Candace Osmond has been in the industry for over a decade. She studied Interior Decorating & Design and is also an accomplished writer and multi-published author. When she's not typing away from the comforts of her desk, Candace can be found travelling to warm destinations, tending to her garden, or enjoying the outdoor haven that is her backyard. Candace currently resides in the breathtaking Maritimes of Eastern Canada with her husband, two beautiful kids and one slobbery bulldog.

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