Comparison: Metal vs. Plastic Snow Shovel

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When you’re shopping for a new snow shovel, you may notice more than one scoop material. Some of the larger stores carry steel, aluminum, and plastic units. Be sure to consider the pros and cons before you choose a plastic or metal snow shovel.


Plastic products weigh the least, making them easy to use and carry. Aluminum shovels also represent a comparatively light option. A downside of steel is that it weighs substantially more than the plastic and aluminum.


Snow doesn’t adhere to plastics as easily as it sticks to metal. This can make shoveling significantly less difficult. Keep in mind that some scoop designs shed snow more easily than others.


After people walk or drive over snow, a metal shovel will remove it with greater ease. “Poly” units often have difficulty breaking through compacted accumulations. On the other hand, they’re less likely to damage wooden decks.

Many manufacturers use two materials to make an economical compromise. They sell units that have plastic scoops with steel edges. Some people call the metal portion a “wear strip.”

This design enhances the shovel’s ability to cut through ice and snow without significantly increasing its weight or cost. It also improves the tool’s durability. Some aluminum shovels have steel wear strips as well.


Well-made metal units generally offer greater ruggedness. Nonetheless, steel has the potential to rust. This is especially problematic when it comes in contact with corrosive substances, such as salt. Like polyethylene, aluminum won’t rust.


Plastic products typically sell at lower prices than equivalent metal units. However, high-quality aluminum shovels might cost less in the long run if you don’t need to replace them as frequently.

The bottom line is that metal shovels are tougher and break through ice more easily. On the other hand, some people find plastic units easier to handle or prefer them because snow usually doesn’t stick to the scoop.

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