Snow Shovels For Seniors | What To Look For Before Buying

  • Time to read: 6 min.

Winter will soon be upon us and for thousands of senior citizens across North America, this can mean trouble.

Thousands of senior citizens injure themselves while shovelling snow at least once during the wintertime.  Unfortunately, we cannot control the weather. It’ll snow in most places this winter, which means the likelihood of you having to go out and shovel is pretty high.

What you can do, though, is somewhat mitigate – though not wholly avoid – the chances of potential injury.

How? By getting the right kind of shovel.

Many people do not even realize this, but yes – a shovel is not always just a shovel, and they do differ from each other. Maybe for someone young and healthy, distinguishing between different types of shovels isn’t that important, though choosing the optimal model would help anyone minimize the time and effort spent on the task.

For those of advanced age who may have health problems, every little distinction matters. The often-overlooked truth is – the kind of shovel you use can either minimize or increase your chances of coming out of this unwitting task whole and healthy.

How do you choose the right shovel?

Lets us help you clear the snow with some things to pay attention to:

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Choose a Model That is Suitable To Your Environment

It may sound weird if you’ve never thought about it before – but when choosing the type of shovel, you need to consider where exactly you’ll be doing your shovelling. Yes, this will matter.

For example, if you’re looking for a shovel to get rid of vast heaps of snow that tend to pile up in your driveway, almost every type of shovel will work. If you’re working on cleaning a narrow sidewalk, you’ll have a much easier time with a narrower, 18-inch blade.

If you want to dust some snow off the stairs and sidewalk, then a heavy shop broom would be a better choice than a standard shovel.

Finally, if you need something to scrape the ice off surfaces, you should get a shovel with a forged edge.

If your home base is taken care of as you travel a lot, make sure you have a compact shovel and a standard one and keep it in your vehicle.  Even if you don’t travel a great deal, protect yourself and others while in a car by making the wise decision to purchase a compact shovel and a standard one for safety. While compact shovels are not suitable for heavy lifting, they could be a life-saver in an emergency. Take a look at our buyers guide on survival shovels that would be great to have in your vehicle for emergencies.

Weight Matters – So Choose a Lightweight Model

Purchasing a lightweight shovel may sound like something obvious for those who have dealt with snow for more than a few years. Despite the obvious statement, shovels can be either lighter or heavier, depending on the model and the materials used to make them, and in the end, that makes a world of difference.

Over the years, lightness has started to be associated with lower quality. Many tend to ignore smaller, lighter models, concerned that they will not last even for a season and gravitate towards heavier models.

This assumption is incorrect.

Smaller plastic shovels are kind of perfect weapons against the piled up snow.  Plastic may have a reputation for being more brittle than other materials, but if taken care of the right way, plastic shovels will last you a long time. They are a very optimal option for snow shovelling because the snow doesn’t stick to the plastic as it does to the metal, making the whole process a lot easier and less time-consuming.

You do need to treat the plastic shovel with a little more care than a metal one. Do not worry though, it doesn’t require anything super fancy: keep it stored away from extreme temperatures, both the cold and the heat, for it not to wear out, warp and become breakable – and it will serve you diligently for a long time.

Choose the Right Type of Handle

The handle is often one of the last specs of a shovel that buyers pay attention to, which is a big mistake. Almost as big as thinking all shovels look the same.

Holding and comfortably maneuvering the shovel will be a massive relief for your shoulders and back and reduce pain in these areas. The best part is that less energy is required every time you push a shovel full of snow if the handle is ergonomic.

Ergonomic handles are usually the best option. This type of handle usually has sharper curves and tends to reduce the number of times you will need to bend down in shovelling the snow.

Some may specifically avoid ergonomically designed handles as ergonomic handles tend to make it harder to lift a shovel when a heap of snow weighs it down. Lifting the snow is the danger zone of shovelling.  Lifting requires great excursion and this aspect often leads to back and heart issues. 

Choose the Right Blade Shape

I don’t think anyone will be surprised – but yes, the blade shape also matters. Depending on what type of task you will use the shovel for, the blade will make it either easier or harder to do the job.

If you need to dig away at a deep layer of crusted over snow, you need a flat-bladed shovel.  The flat blade shovel will make it easier to sink into the snow and chip at it.

On the other hand, if you need to move a large amount of snow, then a rounded blade would be a better choice since it makes it easier to push the snow and to lift – even though you should try to avoid that as much as minimizing the strain on your body.

Accessorize Your Shovel

If you can afford it, buy a few accessories to work in conjunction with your new shovel to ensure it serves you well in all types of situations.

For example, buying a push broom is a good idea if you often have to deal with lighter snow loads that need some dusting off. Purchase a scraper tool if you don’t want to leave any ice-crusted over surfaces since that can be even more dangerous than a heap of snow.

A quality scraper tool will make it easier to get rid of ice than chipping away at it with a bare shovel. Get a scraper tool with a long handle so you can get ice off the surfaces without having to bend down.

Don’t Rule Out Innovative Models – They May Be Just What You Need

I know many people consider innovative shovels a waste of time. It’s a shovel. It has existed for centuries; why reinvent the wheel?

While classic shovels are still perfectly acceptable, newer models do offer some perks that may well be worth your time and money.

Some newer models come with double handles, which provide better leverage and minimize the strain on your body. Another exciting innovation is the option for wheeled shovels, which speeds up the process of snow-shovelling.

Today there is also the alternative to utilize an electric snow shovel. Electric shovels tend to cost a bit more than what you might be comfortable with spending on a shovel but help save time and effort on the shovelling process itself and minimize the strain on your body. Here is a link to our electric shovel buyers guide.

Think outside the box and you may find something worthwhile.

If possible, try out the shovel before buying it. You might follow all of the advice given above to a tee, and the lightweight shovel with an ergonomically designed handle and the right type of blade may still not suit you personally.

Snow is inevitable, and the ice crystals that form on the trees glisten and reflect multiple colours.  Snow is not the enemy and brings a great deal of joy.  Without snow, does it feel like Christmas in your heart?

Please make sure the model you buy is the one you can comfortably use, thus alleviating your body’s strain instead of adding to it.  Working efficiently with the snow will allow you to enjoy the beauty of it more.

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