Snow removal, no twisting.
October 3, 2018 5:46 PM   Subscribe

Is there a solution for sidewalk snow removal that meets my needs? Please tell me about your personal snow plow or snow blower or snow shovel...

Until this past winter, I shoveled the city sidewalks and up to the doorways for both my house and my elderly next door neighbors' house. Earlier this year I experienced severe SI dysfunction and have been told (along with other limitations) to not engage in any twisting motions. Two weeks ago I swept, vacuumed, and washed the floors in my house and suffered for days. Yesterday it suddenly snowed over 2 feet and it's just the beginning. I'm hoping there's a solution.

Here's the deal:

- Not shoveling within 24 hours of snowfall will result in a city fine.
- I can't / won't give up responsibility for maintaining my neighbours' walks, I adore them.
- In the past I've been able to get someone from Kijiji or a Facebook group to remove the snow but that costs $40 a shot, reliability is suboptimal, and availability gets tough in the heavy snow days.
- The snow has to be removed down to pavement per city requirements.
- It's not a huge distance - the street portion is about 30-ish feet long? Times that by two plus two short walkways of about 15 feet each. Sidewalks are standard width. Driveway plowing isn't a need at this time.
- Snow here is typically light and dry, there's just often a lot of it depending on the year.
- I can't make twisting motions with my body.

I started researching snow plows / shovels and discovered that there are smaller ones (like the Snow Joe) that seem to fit the bill but would like to know if you have a recommendation that fits these requirements:

- Not too heavy as I'll need to drag it a short distance to the street. I'm not allowed to lift anything over ten-ish pounds but dragging through the snow seems manageable as it's what I do with the large trash and recycling bins each week. Pushing something heavy through snow is probably not going to work.
- Blows snow off to one direction rather than forward. Doesn't matter how far or if it's only in one direction, I can work with that.
- Provided I haven't let anything ice over, removes snow down to the pavement.
- Ideally cordless because I'm a walking safety moment. If not cordless then at least electric.
- Ideally can be stored outside (I see some come with covers or I can repurpose something else).
- Width doesn't matter as I can make multiple passes if needed.
- Available in Canada (online or major city).
- Under $700 CAD all-in (neighbours are helping pay and it'll pay for itself within a year or two if I don't have to continually hire someone).


I am personally offended by this early snowfall.
posted by mireille to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have a Sno Wovel (I think they call it a Sno Wolf now). It seems to tick a lot of your boxes.

- You won't need to drag it to the street, just wheel it forward.
- While it will move large quantities of snow, for your situation you could make short light passes to keep the weight down. I would often go out multiple times during a large snow event because it was quick and easy enough to keep up with the rate of snowfall.
- You can throw the snow to one side by twisting it with your arms rather than your body.
- Cordless, can be stored outside, available online for well under your budget, and they ship to Canada.

Bonus, it makes you the talk of the neighborhood.
posted by Preserver at 6:40 PM on October 3, 2018 [5 favorites]

I bought one of these last year and it dealt with up to a 20-inch snowfall just fine [multiple passes, of course]. You do have to deal with the cord, but I have cleared the city sidewalk close a hundred feet in either direction of my house without much trouble. It's not going to throw slush very far at all, but fresh snowfall of almost any depth is manageable with patience.
posted by chazlarson at 6:49 PM on October 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Wovel / Wolf. Get an extra wear strip.
posted by Etrigan at 3:26 AM on October 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

I sent my favorite cousin a snowblower as a housewarming gift and to save her from hours of shoveling.

I went with an electric snowblower (and a 100ft extension cord): Snow Joe Ultra SJ623E 18-Inch 15-Amp Electric Snow Thrower with Light to keep her from having to carburetor maintenance on top of lake effect snowfall. She loves it - it's still going three winters later and isn't too heavy to maneuver. It does best with the kind of snow you get.

Also check out the recommendations from the Wirecutter guide to best snowblowers. They also have a guide to snow shovels.

On preview, it's the same model recommended above, just with a light.
posted by bookdragoness at 11:31 AM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

chazlarson, bookdragoness, I just cleared a 4 inch wet snow with ease with the corded Snow Joe, same model. I have a long-ish, straight driveway that's a bit steep, so I can only clear snow while going down hill, but it throws it well, and did a very good job. Straight driveway makes for easier cord management.

Amazon originally, wrongly, sent a similar model that uses a battery, and it wasn't nearly as powerful. So, thanks for the recommendation.
posted by theora55 at 4:45 PM on December 17, 2018

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