Snow pusher vs snow shovel: which is the more effective tool this winter?

When Andy Williams sang “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” he certainly wasn’t talking about snow removal. But clearing your property of snow doesn’t have to be a dreaded task. There are a number of different snow-clearing tools at your disposal to ensure that clearing snow is quick and easy - including the best snow blowers and snow throwers - and you end up with pathways that are completely clear of snow that both you and your neighbors can appreciate. 

Two tools that every homeowner who lives in a snowy region should have are a snow pusher and a snow shovel. Although the names sound interchangeable, like snow blowers vs snow throwers, these are two different tools that work to remove snow in different ways. A snow pusher, as the name suggests, is used to push snow across the ground into an area that is out of the way. The best snow shovels, on the other hand, are used to scoop and lift snow. 

While both are used to clear snow from your property, they each have their own application. This article will go into detail on when to use a snow pusher vs snow shovel, the differences in each tool, as well as why owning both is a great idea. Read on to get the full scoop. 

Darren Smith

Darren Smith is the owner of GotGrass Outdoor Maintenance in Ogden, Utah. Darren has over 10 years of landscaping experience and has owned his GotGrass Outdoor Maintenance since 2018.  

True Temper 18-Inch Pusher Poly Snow Shovel being used

(Image credit: True Temper)

Snow pusher vs snow shovel: Design

The first immediate difference between a snow pusher and a snow shovel is the size and width of the blade. For instance, The Snowplow Snow Pusher features a 36-inch wide blade that is somewhat C-shaped, while the True Temper Shovel features an 18-inch blade that is flat with a slight scoop design. The wide C-shaped design is ideal for gathering and pushing a wide path of snow across the ground but not ideal for scooping. While you can lift snow with a pusher, snow will likely spill out each side and bottom, as it's not designed to hold snow. A snow shovel is designed to cut through snow, scoop, and lift. This is better for heavier snow removal jobs, or when you have frozen snow, you need to break up and move, like piled-up snow from a snow plow in the mouth of your driveway.

You might be asking why anyone would opt for a smaller snow shovel blade. “It depends on your personal capabilities,” said Darren Smith, owner of GotGrass Outdoor Maintenance. He continued, “If you have a bad back, you’re older, or can’t move much, you’ll want a medium-sized shovel.” Smith also explained that snow pushers aren’t ideal for snowfall above a couple of inches. “We generally use our snow blowers to remove heavy snowfall and then will go back around with our snow pushers to remove the final inch or so of snow,” said Smith. He continued by mentioning that pushers are ideal for one to two inches of snow, while snow shovels are better for snowfall above that and for snow that is heavier.

When it comes to lifting snow with a snow shovel, as Smith mentioned, the weight of the shovel is also a factor that should be considered. Whether you are pushing or lifting snow, you are carrying not only the weight of the snow but also the weight of the shovel. Because of this, Smith suggests looking for a medium shovel or something that weighs around three pounds. The True Temper shovel weighs three pounds, while The Snowplow Snow Pusher is a bit heavier, coming in at around five pounds.

There is much debate around the efficiency of an ergonomic shaft compared to a straight shaft. Really, the more important factor is the length of the shaft and if it feels comfortable for your size and height. Most pushers, like The Snowplow Snow Pusher, are designed with a straight shaft since the idea is to push, not lift, snow. The True Temper Shovel is designed with an ergonomic shaft, and the entire shovel is 54 inches in length. The shaft is designed to provide more leverage when lifting snow and to reduce back strain. If you can, you should test out the shovel to see if the length and ergonomic design are right for you. 

The Snowplow 36-inch Snow Pusher in use

(Image credit: The Snowplow)

Snow pusher vs snow shovel: Features

The True Temper features a polypropylene combo blade material with a nylon wear strip at the bottom that helps protect the blade from damage while also protecting the surface you are shoveling. The poly blade is lightweight, easy to maneuver, and helps keep snow from sticking to the surface of the shovel. 

The Snowplow 36-inch snow pusher features a polyurethane C-shaped blade. The Polyurethane blade is durable, but in this instance, the pusher weighs two more pounds than the True Temper Shovel. 

The ergonomics of The Snowplow blade have a unique feature in which you can turn the blade around (so the mouth of the blade is facing you) and use the bottom edge of the blade to scrape off packed snow. This is ideal for removing snow that has been walked on or those dreaded packed-down tire marks in a driveway.

Both the True Temper Shovel and The Snowplow Snow Pusher feature D-grip-style handles that are ideal for not only lifting but also general comfort and good grip. Both grips are oversized, making it easy to fit your hand inside the D-grip, even with gloved hands. 

True Temper 18-Inch Pusher Poly Snow Shovel in use

(Image credit: True Temper)

Snow pusher vs snow shovel: Performance

A snow pusher, especially the size of The Snowplow Snow Pusher, can clear a larger path than the True Temper Shovel. But a snow pusher is really only viable for light snow. “Snow pushers are good for one to two inches of snow, but if you have something like six to eight inches, you are going to want to throw it (shovel or snow blower), " said Smith. 

Considering the material of both The Snowplow and the True Temper Shovel, each will work on any surface you need. The nylon wear strip on the True Temper Shovel helps prevent any scratching or gauging on surfaces like composite or wood decks. The same goes for the polyurethane blade material of The Snowplow.  

The True Temper Shovel has a smaller blade size, which helps around tighter spaces, like quickly clearing snow off of porch or deck stairs. Although the large 36-inch blade of The Snowplow can clear a bigger path, it may be more difficult to maneuver in tighter spaces like stairs. 

One performance feature that is especially nice about The Snowplow is angling snow as you push it. For instance, if you're clearing a path that is parallel to your grass, say where your driveway meets the grass, you can hold the plow so the blade is slightly angled to push snow in a nice line toward the grass. For walkways, the width of The Snowplow, combined with this angling technique, you could potentially plow a walkway in a single pass. 

When it comes to clearing a couple of inches of snow quickly, it's a no contest - a snow pusher like The Snowplow is the right tool for the job. But for any snow removal that requires removing more than a light amount of snow, the True Temper Shovel is what you’ll want to use. Especially when it comes to breaking up hard and frozen snow or snow that has been plowed and piled up, like in the mouth of your driveway, for that type of frozen piled-up snow, you’ll need a straighter blade like that of the True Temper.

The Snowplow 36-inch Snow Pusher in use

(Image credit: The Snowplow)

Snow pusher vs snow shovel: Care & Maintenance

Avoid shoveling gravel if possible. That will keep rocks and loose debris from damaging the blade. If you need to break up a lot of ice, we suggest using a metal shovel instead of one of these options. Metal is better for cutting and is more durable. 

Care and maintenance for both the True Temper and The Snowplow is quite easy. You’ll want to ensure the shovel is dry of any excess moisture before putting it away. Also, to keep snow from sticking while you’re shoveling, you can apply a liquid silicone or even WD-40 on the blade before you begin shoveling. 

Snow pusher vs snow shovel: Price & availability

A quality shovel like the True Temper will run you about $60 from Amazon. While The Snowplow is slightly more expensive at $79.99. Both of these products are built from quality components and, in turn, cost a little more.

If you’re on a budget, you can find other snow pushers, like the Emsco Group 25-inch Pusher for $29.99. This features a wooden shaft instead of a fiberglass one and has a much smaller clearing path of 25 inches compared to the 36-inch clearing path of The Snowplow. Emsco also makes an 18-inch snow shovel that is only $18 dollars if you’re looking for a more affordable option compared to the True Temper. 

Snow pusher vs snow shovel: Our Verdict

When it comes to light snow, you can push it out of the way with a shovel like the True Temper shovel. It will just take much longer because of the smaller blade compared to that of The Snowplow. But picking up and lifting snow is a much more difficult task with the C-shaped, large Snowplow blade. When it comes to lifting snow, the flat yet slightly scooped blade of the True Temper really makes it no comparison - the True Temper is what you’d want. 

That being said, A snow pusher and a snow shovel complement one another. Although a good snow shovel is really all you need because it can technically do what a pusher can do as well, having both in your arsenal can make quick work out of manual snow removal. 

Also, if you live in an area that only gets dustings of snow or light one to two inches every so often, a snow pusher is really all you need. But for anything more, a snow shovel is a must. 

Snow pusher vs snow shovel FAQs

What Size Snow Pusher is Best?

This depends on two things - the size of the path you are clearing and your personal capabilities. Ultimately, If you aren’t strong enough to push the amount of snow that a large blade can gather, choose a smaller blade.  

Is a straight or curved snow shovel better?

This is a matter of personal preference. Ergonomic shafts are designed to reduce strain on your back, but that largely depends on how tall you are and the length of the shovel. It’s best to test a few choices out before making your decision. 

Are snow pushers worth it?

Yes! Especially for areas that don’t get a lot of snow, like one to two inches per storm. Also, if you have just a few areas to clear, like a walkway or a deck, a snow pusher can make quick and easy work out of the snow removal task without straining your back. 

Jonathan Knoder
TTR Contributing Editor, Yard Tools

With a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Media from Weber State University, Jonathan Knoder is all about Smart Home and AV tech. He currently works as a Content Manager for AvantGuard Monitoring Centers in Utah. Jonathan has written extensively and at great length about yard care and snow blowers for Top Ten Reviews, and this is his subject area.