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Just the other week, the first snowstorm of the season hit my corner of New Jersey, dumping about eight inches of snow onto the roads and leaving some commuters stuck in their cars for as long as nine hours.
My 4-year-old was ecstatic, naturally. But at the forefront of my mind was clearing the sidewalks and driveway. And then maybe never leaving the house again until spring.
We were lucky enough to have invested in a snowblower several years ago. But if you’d rather not shell out many hundreds of dollars for a snowblower — or even if you just want something smaller for your front steps, deck or patio — may I present to you the product you’ll wish you had years ago: the electric snow shovel.
The one pictured above is the Snow Joe. It’s an electric snow shovel that covers a swath 13 inches wide and 6 inches deep with every pass. With a 10-amp motor, its product description claims it can move up to 400 pounds of snow per minute.
Unconvinced? Check out this action shot of a guy using the Snow Joe.
He will clearly not experience any shoveling-related back pain that lingers for days on end.
Reviews of the Snow Joe on both Amazon and Walmart are, for the most part, positive, though reviewers point out several drawbacks. For one, you can’t adjust the direction or angle of where it blows the snow, so you may end up with a faceful of frost. Second, you need to hold down the power button the entire time you’re using it in order for the motor to work. And finally, using the Snow Joe requires an extension cord.
In short, it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good for the price. You can pick up the Snow Joe 323E from Walmart for $69.
And that’s really the true allure of the electric snow shovel. Coming in at under $100, these products are significantly cheaper than your average snowblower, which can run you — on average — between about $100 (for smaller, more lightweight ones) and $1,000 (for full-sized models). And while they don’t pack the punch of a full-on snowblower, they can be better than your basic shovel in that they eliminate the need to bend, scoop and throw heavy snow every few steps.
Snow Joe is not the only brand out there producing electric snow shovels. For something larger than the Snow Joe 323E, you can pick up the 18-inch WEN 5662 Snow Blaster for just $109. This one features a rotating chute so you can avoid the blowback.
And popular brand Toro has electric snow shovels available in a variety of sizes, though they’re a bit pricier than the other two, with the smallest one coming in around $125 on Amazon.
What do you think? Are the savings worth it? Will you be buying an electric snow shovel before the next snowstorm?