Going with plastic or metal is the question of the day, and, in terms of strength and durability, plastic can’t hold a candle to metal.
However, metal isn’t always the best answer either.
So, in a head-on battle between the two, why not have the best of both?
It’s that time of year again.
If you live in Canada or consider moving into the northern states, a snow shovel is a prerequisite.
You’ll have to get used to the struggle of shifting that annoying white powder out of your drive.
But what kind of snow shovel should you buy, metal or plastic?
Going with plastic or metal is the question of the day, and, in terms of strength and durability, plastic can’t hold a candle to metal. However, metal isn’t always the best answer either. So, in a head-on battle between the two, why not have the best of both?
The problem with discussing the pros and cons of plastic versus metal snow shovels is that each has disqualifying features. However, you could always consider a third option, a combination of the two.
There are snow shovels designed with metal edges, while the blade’s body is lightweight but highly durable plastic.
This article will go over the pros and cons of both metal and plastic snow shovels and offer our thoughts on combo snow shovels.
Table of Contents
Metal Snow Shovels the Pros and Cons
Metal snow shovels are generally more prevalent than plastic variations and for a good reason.
If you live in an area where snow is prevalent enough to necessitate a snow shovel, then the odds are, it gets pretty cold.
Metal stands up to cold quite well and, unless you take a page out of A Christmas Story and stick your tongue on the metal, it’s pretty reliable on long-lasting.
Metal snow shovels are also necessary if you get hard ice under the fresh snow and you have to chip away at it.
Metal snow shovels are also great if you have gravel or if you bang up against something hard that’s hidden under the snow.
You won’t have to worry about breaking or bending, even though a significant enough force can turn the edges.
You can also carry a lot more snow on a metal snow shovel if it’s necessary to carry it anywhere other than off to the side.
However, metal snow shovels are much heavier than their plastic counterparts.
They also have a terrible habit of not allowing the snow to slide right off of it when you’re shoveling it off to the side.
As a result, snow has an unfortunate tendency to stick to metal.
A tip that will help this issue is to spray a lubricant on the shovel to assist the snow leaving the shovel and not sticking. Try it, you will be surprised at the ease in which the snow does not stick.
Pros Of Metal Snow Shovels
- Durable and long-lasting
- Chips away at hard ice
- Carries more snow
- The blade won’t snap
Cons Of Metal Snow Shovels
- Far Heavier than plastic
- Edges can bend
- Snow sticks to the metal
Plastic Snow Shovels the Pros and Cons
Plastic snow shovels are a dream come true for those with back problems as they are very lightweight and easily more maneuverable than their metal cousins.
The type of plastic that goes into their blade design is polyethylene plastic, which has superior strength and durability.
Snow does not stick to a plastic snow shovel either, as it will just slide right off.
In addition, since the blade is plastic, it’s also flexible, allowing you to maneuver the blade some, even after you’ve buried it into a snowdrift.
One significant drawback typically occurs when it’s freezing.
If temperatures plummet low enough, the plastic blade on your snow shovel can crack or even snap in two. It also doesn’t handle gravel driveways very well.
Pros Of Plastic Snow Shovels
- Very lightweight and easy to handle
- The blade is flexible for maneuverability
- Snow doesn’t stick to the blade
- The plastic is solid and durable
Cons Of Plastic Snow Shovels
- In extreme temperatures, the blade can snap
- Can’t carry heavy loads of snow
- Can’t chip ice
- It doesn’t work well on gravel
And The Winner Is?
The winner is metal when it comes to a head-to-head match-up between metal and plastic snow shovels.
It’s simply more robust, durable, and helpful in various conditions.
If the weight of a metal shovel is not to your liking, steel is not the only type of metal that snow shovels are made from.
You can also get them in aluminum, whose only real drawback is that the edges are more prone to bending if you strike something hard.
While an aluminum-bladed snow shovel isn’t as light as a plastic version, it’s what you could consider a happy medium between plastic and steel variations.
However, if you can’t decide which shovel is best, what if there was a better option?
Metal Edged Plastic Snow Shovels
With these, you get the best of both worlds.
You get the lightweight plastic body of the shovel blade with a steel reinforced edge.
This combination quickly eliminates most of the drawbacks for both metal and plastic shovels.
If you need to chip ice, this kind of shovel can handle that.
Also, if snow shoveling is a frequent chore during the winter season, you will make it through to the Spring without all of the stress and strain that snow shoveling puts your back through.
The Suncast 18″ Snow Shovel with Metal Edge is an excellent example.
Also, Polarwave makes a great, wide snow shovel with a metal edge and a perfect ergonomically designed handle.
It offers many innovative features that you won’t find in other snow shovels.
If you need a shovel that has the qualities of a metal and a plastic snow shovel and almost none of the drawbacks, then a combination shovel with a metal edge is your best bet, and they’re no more or less expensive than their counterparts.
When it comes to plastic versus metal, there’s no reason to think that plastic can outdo a metal snow shovel unless you cannot deal with the added weight, which is understandable. Look over our guide on Choosing The Best Shovel For You for more information to help you.
A heavy metal shovel is hard on the back, especially where it snows frequently and is wet.
However, you should strongly consider plastic snow shovels with metal edges if you want to get the most out of both variations without having to spend the money on two separate snow shovels.