How To Find The Best Tools To Dig Out From Snowstorms And De-Ice Your Property

Depending on where in the country you are, you’re most likely dealing with the aftermath of a winter storm, preparing for a winter storm, or sneering at your friends in other regions saying, “What’s snow?” While local governments handle ice melt and snow removal for the roads, you’re in charge of clearing and treating your own driveway and walkways. What’s the best equipment to use?

With snow shovels, the best brand and model doesn’t matter as much as choosing the right design and material for the area you’ll be shoveling and the type of snow typical for your region. Here’s a video from our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports about the different styles of shovels and how to pick one that works for you.

If you have more territory to clear, they also have a guide (no subscription needed) to types of snow blowers and what you should know and look for before you shop for one. Again, the key is knowing yourself, your property, and the snow typical for your area.

After you’ve cleared the snow or if you’re expecting an ice storm, the next step is to put down some ice melt to prevent ice from accumulating and your household and guests from slipping.

CRO_home_IceMeltChart_2-14

When deploying ice melt, here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Clear the snow first. See above.
  • Apply the crystals evenly. You can buy spreaders for this purpose, or scatter it yourself using a small cup or your (gloved!) hands.
  • Remember what the surface below the ice is. Note the chart above: not all ice melt types work well with asphalt or newly poured concrete.
  • Watch out for your plants and pets. Clean their paws when re-entering the house, and choose gentler, pet- and plant-safe options if they’re effective in your climate.

5 Best Snow Shovels [Consumer Reports]

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  1. strictures says:

    Your buddies at CR were totally wrong on snow shovels. Every one shown is a pathetic joke.
    I’m 66 years old & I’ve been shoveling snow in Chicago since I was 10 & I use just one kind of shovel, a single handled pusher. Preferably aluminum with a Teflon coating. A smooth aluminum shovel lets the snow slide off, those plastic things need molded ribs for strength.
    1. Make sure your shovel is frozen before you use it. A warm shovel melts snow & it sticks.
    2. Use either an 18″ or 24″ pusher shovel. Never use a digging shovel on a sidewalk & never use a sidewalk shovel on a car.
    3. Never use a flat shovel, those are for fools.
    4. With wet heavy snow, just pick up a small amount.
    5. In a blizzard, wait until it ends, unless there’s some sort of emergency & you must go. All that’s going to happen is the the snow will fill in any cut you’ve made & go even higher, as you’ve made a pile to one side that higher than what was there before.
    6. Blizzards pack the snow down, so turn the shovel around & jab it into the snow in front of you to break it up & then take small bites from the top & work your way down.
    7. Then just turn your body & tilt the shovel to let the snow slide off it, never throw it, this saves your energy. Don’t be a muscle man & throw it over a fence, that will kill you.
    8. Stop & rest when necessary.
    9. Don’t try to clean to the concrete on the first go, go back when you’ve finished the walk or driveway & then clean it.
    10. Remember that any area that has a open sky to the south will melt an inch or two of snow, even in +15 degree weather if the sun is out.