In the bad snow last year I remember feeling quite stuck as it was hard to get out of the house as clearing snow with the garden spade was hard work. So when I finally escaped the house one of my first things to do was to head to buy a snow shovel. Sam Turner's here in North Yorkshire is a real Aladdin's cave of goodies they are a farm's merchant really but they sell garden things and tools and lots of other things to non farm staff too. I choose to buy it from there as I figured they would be selling quality snow shovels as the last thing a farmer needs when digging out a tractor to get too sheep at lambing time is a broken shovel.
The shovel itself is a very simple design it has a long wooden handle about 4 foot long that really is like a broom handle. Attached to the bottom is a bright red shovel area that has several groves in it. The shovel bit rests at an angle to allow for maximum leverage when clearing snow.
I think it is fair to say that both last winter and the winter so far has been very cold and snowy and my shovel has done its stuff magically.
The handle is very long so I can't really hold it at the end and then clear the snow what I have to do is put the handle under my right armpit curl my right arm around the handle to hold it then hold it a little further down with my left hand. I find this style of holding the handle gives me a lot of leverage to cut into the snow and then lift the snow up ready to deposit it in a safe place. By holding the handle this way it gives me a good grip and I am able to clear snow quite effectively for a good half hour or so to clear the drive and the path by the house. My husband as he is a bit taller holds it just in his hands and is able to manoeuvre it around easily to clear the snow he finds he needs to adjust the angle slightly to get all the snow up. When clearing the snow I find that very little by way of snow is left on the paths and drive.
The shovel element is really quite robust and can certainly hold the weight of a substantial amount of snow I have lifted. It holds easily about 10 centimetres height of snow which has covered its whole base and there has never been a crack or a groan from the shovel there has been from me as I get worn out though. The only bit that the shovel struggles with is hard compacted snow and ice. The edge of the plastic shovel is just not strong enough to chip away at the ice so in these incidents I have cracked the ice with a garden spade and used the snow shovel to lift the ice away as this is lighter than the spade. The shovel can cope with compacted snow if it is just footprints say where the weight of a person has walked on snow. But it can't cope I find with compacted snow if a car has driven over the snow and crushed it into a dense thick mass. The problem here seems to be again the edge of the blade of the shovel is not strong enough to chip away at this dense mass. What I do to combat this is try to clear the snow around the cars first on a morning whilst defrosting the cars so they don't drive over the snow. This way I keep on top on the snow on the drive and never have hard compacted snow to clear. Just a quick health and safety point once you have cleared the snow put some salt down other wise you can end up with a skating rink as the ice freezes
As the shovel is quite long it won't fit into a standard size car boot so if you want to carry it around you will need to be prepared for it to sit in the body of the car.
Overall and recommendation
I would definitely recommend this snow shovel as a winter essential if this snow is going to stay around. It works well especially on fresh snow to clear the area. The handle and shovel are nice and robust. It does struggle to clear ice and hard compacted snow I find. So if you want to make sure you can get to the post box to post your letter to Father Christmas and his Elves then I would recommend buying one. As mentioned I got mine at Sam Turners in Northallerton and it cost me around £10 last year. When making the suggestion for dooyoo I found the same model on the Internet by a company called tooled-up for £9.95, Homebase also sell this model for around £15 in their stores.