HAVE YOU SEEN THE FORECAST?
It’s late October and a major snow is barreling down on the East Coast!
That equates to snow shoveling… and lots of it…Thats where I come in.
As your resident expert on everything landscaping, I consider it my civic duty to make sure you are making good decisions when shopping for your snow removal equipment!
We all will be shopping this weekend. Every store we enter, we are immediately met with a wide range of snow shovels and the latest snow removal gadgetry. This will be the first of a 3 part story where I review the vast array of snow shovels, Report 2, rock salt and deicers and over the FINALLY… Snow Throwers and Snow Blowers!
Snow Shovels. Let’s start basic and work our way up.
The basic square tip, garden clean up shovel: This one everyone already has in their tool shed. They work just fine. The only draw back is the relatively small surface area (compared to snow shovels) and they are not the greatest ergonomically. Quality levels range from the basic wooden handle and thin metal head, up to fiberglass handles with a forged steel head. They are effective in moving light snow, heavy snow, wet snow or even that slushy mix that we get at the Jersey Shore. This shovel will be somewhat effective in chipping ice as well. In a pinch, it will do just fine. Price Range is $10-$40.
Grandpa’s old school snow shovel: We have all seen the old school style show shovel. They have a decent sized working surface, a slight curve and a metal edge at the bottom. The handles are usually wooden or metal. I have seen the blades made of thin metal, plastic and aluminium. These types have been around for years. They are more than likely, the original snow shovel. Usually effective in all types of snow, it will easily move the blizzard as well as the light dusting. It can also be used to chip ice. When buying the cheaper models, expect the handle to come loose, the blade to crack or bend, and the bottom scraping edge to become dull and bent after a few uses. This is the best all around shovel, however, your back will not be thanking you in the morning if you have to use it for long periods of time. Price range is $5-$30.
Blade Style: Blade Style of shovels usually have a longer handle, a narrow, curved blade and can be very heavy. Blades are designed to push snow and are not necessarily designed for shoveling, as they are extremely heavy. Blades move all forms of snow with relative ease but are basically useless when trying to chip or remove ice. Also, they are not very effective when snowfall amounts exceed 6 inches. In a recent visit to a home improvement retailer, I noticed a V-shaped blade similar to that of a snow plow. It appears to be a great idea, but I have not put it to the test just yet. When I do, you will know! Price Range $20-$50.
Back Saver Models: You have seen them…the shovel that has a 45 degree angle mid way on the handle. These are designed to keep your back from bending as you scoop and shovel snow. These shovels can be used for pushing snow as well as shoveling. These shovels work great for light fluffy snow, but I have found them to be unstable and awkward in heavy wet snow. They are reliable for almost any accumulation of light snow and can be used for a significant period of time. Buy the best one of these that you can afford and look for a heavy plastic or metal blade. Make sure the scraping blade that comes with the shovel is a thicker metal and also has several rivets or fasteners holding it to the shovel. My personal favorite. Price range is $20-$40.
The Ice Scoop: This is the Mac Daddy of them all. These shovels can be seen throughout the docks at the Lobster House and are designed for shoveling ice or coal. They have a very large scoop made of either metal, forged steel, aluminum or plastic. The large scoop head allows you to move massive amounts of snow and ice. These are effective in moving all types and accumulations of snow. Keep in mind that this shovel wears on your back very quickly if you are not careful. Somewhat effective for chipping ice, it is a great all around shovel. Price range is $30-$60.
I always take note of the many other types of snow shovels in the stores. Some are the “build a better mouse trap” variety and others are new varieties of the new varieties. Always buy the best shovel that you can afford. Quality features include type and thickness of blade (plastic, light metal, aluminum and forged steel) and type of handle(wood, metal, plastic, aluminium or fiberglass). Pay particular attention to the scraping blade on the bottom and the quality used in attaching the scraping blade to the shoveling blade. I always encourage people to buy local whenever possible and do not hesitate to call me should you feel over-matched or just lazy.