Shoveling can be a lot of work, especially if you don’t have the correct tools or techniques. Following these simple tips and tricks to shoveling snow will definitely make things easier. First, you’ll want to check what type of shovel you’re using. Using the correct shovel can make a huge difference. You may think it’s best to buy a shovel that has a large scoop – the bigger the scoop the more snow you can remove, right? Wrong! Snow, especially wet snow, can get very heavy. A large amount of wet snow in your scoop will put more strain on your neck, shoulders, and back. Keep your scoop to a medium size, about 18 to 22 inches wide. The next step in determining the best shovel is to look at the material: High-strength plastic shovels tend to be the first choice for homeowners. They are strong, lightweight and work great for removing snow. However, if you’re battling a layer of ice, a plastic shovel will not cut it. Constant scraping on sidewalks and driveways to remove ice will quickly wear out the edge of the shovel. Steel shovels are your best choice for a long lasting, durable shovel. This type will be successful in removing snow AND ice from your driveway or sidewalk. The edge of the shovel will not wear down like you would see on a plastic shovel. The downfalls of steel shovels are their price tag and weight. They’re the most expensive type out there, and the heaviest requiring more effort when shoveling. Aluminum shovels are right in the middle. They are more durable than plastic, yet lighter and less expensive than a steel shovel. The one compromise to aluminum is that the material can easily bend. If you hit a tough patch of ice that bends the scoop, it’s very difficult to get it back to its original shape. Now, let’s talk about the price tag for each of these types of shovels. You can purchase a shovel for as cheap as $15, but the quality is going to be very poor and odds are you will go through two or three in one season. There are also shovels out there that cost $125 plus yikes! When purchasing your shovel, there is no need to break the bank, but we also recommend not going the very cheapest route, causing you possible injury or shovel damage. We suggest keeping your price range at $30 – $50, which will provide you with a good-quality shovel that should last. When it comes to the actual shoveling process, it’s best to push snow rather than lift the shovel full of snow. This method is best used on driveways where you can simply push the snow off to the side. If you must lift snow, try to avoid large piles, but rather lifting smaller piles more frequently. Your back will thank you! Lastly, your safety is most important when it comes to shoveling. The exercise can raise your heart rate to high levels very quickly. You should check with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to shovel. Listen to your body – if it’s telling you to take a rest, take a rest. Also, keep in mind that clearing snow early and often is easier than waiting to do it all at once.