Consumer Reports: Snow removal tips and tools

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- While we haven't had significant snowfall in 2021, experts say it is best to upgrade your snow removal tools now in anticipation of what may be to come.

The experts at Consumer Reports revealed their snow blower recommendations, including brand new tests of power shovels.

Snow blowers cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, so you want to make the right choice. That is why before the first flakes even fall, Consumer Reports test snow blowers with sawdust.

"We use wet sawdust to test snow blowers 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, Consumer Reports home editor.

Testers look at how fast a blower will remove the snow, how far it throws that snow and how each snow blower handles the dreaded plow pile at the end of your driveway.

CR's testing found 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.

If you need more power, consider a two stage snow blower. You can save some money by choosing a compact snow blower like the recommended Toro Power Max for about $1,000.

For those looking for a more affordable tool, 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 snow blower and it's really a hybrid between a snow blower 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.

The $300 battery powered Green Works was the best of the bunch. But keep in mind power shovels are heavier than a regular shovel and only truly effective for 6 inches or less of snow.

Consumer Reports also said however you choose to get rid of the snow, take it slow and don't overexert yourself.

208XP Snow Blower - $650

Toro Power Max 824 OE 37798 Snow Blower - $1,000
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