With their extra bends in the shaft, ergonomic shovels promise to be easier on your back. But some are mixed blessings. Consumer Reports looked at a newer model, the $90 Bosse Ergonomic Snow/Scoop Shovel, which has no bend but offers a unique design. We were initially intrigued, but our testers weren’t impressed.

We liked this snow shovel’s D-shaped top handle, which allows easy control, especially with an unbalanced load. Its most prominent feature, though, is a ring-shaped handle in the middle of the shaft that twists and clicks into place (in one of eight distinct positions) to let you select the most comfortable position for your hand and wrist. Yet that very ring, intended to reduce stress, gave our testers trouble. 

Handle of the Bosse Ergonomic Snow Shovel.
Handle of the Bosse Ergonomic Snow/Scoop Shovel.

The Best Intentions

On a typical snow shovel, you can move your hand up or down the shaft as needed to lift snow—and vary how you bend your back. The ring did help our testers’ wrists assume a more natural position. But because the ring prevented our testers from changing their grip on the shaft, they needed to lean in a repetitive way. And since the ring itself adds about two pounds to the shovel’s overall weight, you won’t be able to scoop up as much snow at one time.

In a query to the manufacturer, Bosse concurred but noted that if you’re concerned about stress and strain on your back, picking up less snow at a time is the better practice. With less snow at a time on the shovel, you shouldn’t need to choke up on the handle, with one hand close to the scoop.

Our position, however, is that a lighter snow shovel, not a heavier one, lets you lift more snow and less shovel for the same amount of work. We can’t recommend a snow shovel that further slows down the task.

Last winter, which saw a lot of snow, we tested the Poly Pro Tools Titan and the Nordic Plow Perfect Shovel and they both had their pluses. But if you have to move a lot of snow, consider one of the snow blowers that aced our tests.

5 Best Snow Shovels