Consumer Reports: Snow removal tips and tools
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -The experts at Consumer Reports reveal their snowblower recommendations, including brand new tests of power shovels that can help clear a path after the storm.
Nothing powers through the remnants of a winter storm quite like a snow blower. But they’re an investment, often costing hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, so you want to make the right choice. That’s why before the first flakes even fall, experts at Consumer Reports test snowblowers with sawdust.
“We use wet sawdust to test snowblowers because it has the consistency of snow but it also means we can finish our testing in time for homeowners looking to avoid shoveling,” said Paul Hope with Consumer Reports.
Saw dust also provides a consistent test from year to year. Testers look at how fast a blower will remove the snow, how far it throws that snow and how each snowblower handles the dreaded plow pile at the end of your driveway.
CR’s tests find that gasoline powered snow blowers continue to outperform their electric and battery powered counterparts. The Troy-Bilt Squall is a good option for lighter snowfalls, under 9 inches.
But if you need more power, consider a two stage snowblower. You can save some money by choosing a compact snowblower like the recommended Toro Power Max for about a thousand dollars.
But is there an affordable tool that can help with the back-breaking work of shoveling that doesn’t cost a fortune? This year CR also took a look at several battery and corded electric power shovels.
“A power shovel sort of looks like a lite-duty snowblower and it’s really a hybrid between a snowblower and a traditional shovel. They’re designed to go places where a snow blower would be overkill like a short walkway or an elevated deck,” said Hope.
A $300 battery powered Green Works was the best of the bunch. But keep in mind these power shovels are heavier than a regular shovel, still require some muscle and only truly effective for 6 inches or less of snow.
Consumer Reports also says however you choose to get rid of the snow, take it slow and don’t over exert yourself. Shoveling can put strain on your heart, lower back and other muscles. And remember to dress warmly to avoid frostbite and wear boots with slip resistant soles to avoid slips and falls.
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