Whether we get hit with a mid-March blast, or remain spared until next winter, the end of the season is a good time to look back and learn from your mistakes. Shoveling snow may have been your go-to this year, but should you consider buying a snow blower for next year? Whether or not you need one will depend on a number of different factors. You’ll also need to understand the pros and cons of both options before you decide what will truly make your winter easier.
The Benefits of Old-Fashioned Shoveling
Not only are snow shovels cheap and accessible, but they also give you the most control over where the snow goes. If you just want to dig out this car or that shrub, that’s easy to accomplish. You also control the pressure of the shovel, so you can limit the amount of damage/scraping you’re inflicting upon your deck or lawn.
When it comes to storage, they also take up the least amount of space (in comparison with most lawn equipment). Not to mention, the maintenance—or lack thereof. If your shovel breaks, you simply purchase another. No expensive mechanic bills or worrying about it breaking down in the middle of a snowstorm.
Another benefit, depending on your perspective, is the activity of shoveling itself. It’s a great way to break up the cabin fever and get some much-needed exercise in the middle of a largely sedentary season. Do you have children? Great, they can help too! To prepare for that snowball fight or fort design, they’ll need to dig a pathway. If that just happens to coincide with the driveway, then everyone wins.
The Negatives of Shoveling
For some, the act of braving the cold to shovel heavy snow isn’t just inconvenient, it’s impossible. Depending upon your physical limitations and the size of your property, it may not be feasible to move snow solely by shoveling—even with help from others. There’s also the sheer amount of time it takes to accomplish this. It could be 30 minutes or 3 hours, which can feel much longer when you’re out in the cold. Even if you’re in peak physical condition, there are some hazards when shoveling snow. It can be surprisingly heavy, which isn’t good for your back. There’s also the risk of slipping or falling because of the treacherous winter conditions.
The Benefits of Snow Blowing
While you’re still outdoors for the act of snow blowing, it takes substantially less time than shoveling. With a light-weight electronic snow blower, even those in poor health can maintain independence and clear their own paths. For longer driveways, a more powerful gas snow blower can reduce the amount of time you’re outside working and increase your time spent playing with your family! It also functions as a true removal process by helping snow to melt faster, rather than simply moving it.
The Negatives of Snow Blowing
Unfortunately, not only are snow blowers more expensive upfront, but they also cost more to maintain. Whether you have an electric- or gas-powered one, you’ll still have to pay to power the machine. Not to mention the repair bills. They require more careful storage, too, since they have parts that can corrode if left exposed to the elements completely.
Some of the time you save when removing snow will be eaten away by set-up and clean-up procedures. Unlike a shovel that you can just pick up and go, a snow blower has to be checked, cleaned, warmed up, fueled, etc. Most of this needs to be performed by a responsible adult, rather than outsourced to children, like shoveling.
All differences aside, your situation will ultimately determine what you need to do to remove snow. If you want more time, independence, and power, then now’s the perfect time to go shopping for that snow blower. If, however, you prefer the convenience and low maintenance of your standard shovel, then you can save yourself some money.