What Are The Alternatives To Snow Blowers?

If you’re tired of the back-breaking task of shoveling snow every winter, it’s time to explore the alternatives to snow blowers. While snow blowers have long been the go-to solution for clearing driveways and walkways, there are other options out there that can make snow removal a breeze. From heated driveway systems to eco-friendly snow melting mats, there’s a wide array of alternatives to suit your needs and preferences. Say goodbye to the hassle of snow blowers and discover a more efficient and convenient way to say farewell to snow-covered surfaces.

Shoveling

Traditional Shoveling

When it comes to clearing snow, traditional shoveling is the most common method people use. It involves using a regular shovel to manually lift and toss the snow aside. It can be a great form of exercise and it allows you to have control over where the snow is being removed.

However, traditional shoveling can be physically demanding and tiring, especially if you have a large area to clear or if the snow is heavy and wet. It’s important to use proper technique to avoid injury, such as bending your knees and using your leg muscles instead of straining your back.

Ergonomic Shovels

If you’re looking for a more ergonomic option, there are shovels specifically designed to reduce strain on your body. These shovels typically have a curved handle or a second handle, allowing you to use more leverage and putting less pressure on your back.

Ergonomic shovels come in various shapes and sizes, including push-style shovels for moving snow without having to lift it. They can make the task of snow removal easier on your body, but it’s still important to use proper technique and take breaks as needed.

Electric Shovels

For smaller areas or lighter snowfalls, an electric shovel can be a convenient alternative. Electric shovels are lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them great for clearing pathways, stairs, and decks. They are powered by electricity and have a rotating blade or paddle that throws the snow aside as you push it forward.

Electric shovels are less physically demanding than traditional shoveling, but they do require access to an electrical outlet or a charged battery. They may not be suitable for heavy snowfall or larger areas, as the throwing distance and capacity are limited.

Snow Pushers

Manual Snow Pushers

Snow pushers are designed to help you clear snow by pushing it rather than lifting it. They typically have a wide and flat blade attached to a long handle, allowing you to quickly and easily move snow out of the way.

Manual snow pushers are lightweight and easy to use, making them great for clearing large areas such as driveways and sidewalks. They don’t require as much physical effort as shoveling, but they do require some strength and stamina to push through heavier snow.

Powered Snow Pushers

If you prefer a hands-free approach to snow removal, powered snow pushers are a great option to consider. These machines are equipped with an engine or motor that propels the snow pusher forward while the blades clear the snow.

Powered snow pushers are more efficient for clearing larger areas with heavy snowfall. They require less physical exertion, but they can be more expensive and may require more maintenance compared to manual snow pushers.

Salt and Other Ice Melting Agents

Rock Salt

Rock salt, also known as sodium chloride, is one of the most commonly used ice melting agents. It is affordable and readily available, making it a popular choice for homeowners. Rock salt works by lowering the freezing point of water, preventing ice from forming and melting existing ice.

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When using rock salt, it’s important to follow the instructions and apply it evenly to the areas you want to de-ice. It’s also advisable to wear gloves to protect your hands from irritation. However, it’s worth noting that rock salt can be harmful to plants, pets, and concrete surfaces, so it should be used with caution.

Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is another effective ice melting agent that works well in extreme cold temperatures. It has a lower freezing point than rock salt, allowing it to melt ice more quickly.

Calcium chloride is often used on roads, driveways, and sidewalks, as it is effective at preventing ice formation and breaking down existing ice. It’s generally safe for pets and plants when used correctly, but it can still cause irritation, so it’s important to handle it with care.

Pelletized Ice Melters

Pelletized ice melters are a convenient and easy-to-use option for de-icing. They come in small, pellet-like form and are designed to quickly melt ice and prevent it from refreezing.

Pelletized ice melters often contain a combination of chemicals such as calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, and sodium chloride. They are effective in various temperature ranges and can provide long-lasting protection against ice accumulation. However, it’s essential to follow the recommended application rates to avoid any damage to plants, pets, or surfaces.

Snow Plows

Truck-Mounted Snow Plows

Truck-mounted snow plows are heavy-duty attachments that can be affixed to trucks or SUVs. They are specifically designed to efficiently and effectively clear large amounts of snow from roads, parking lots, and other large surfaces.

These snow plows feature a large metal blade that can push snow to the side as the vehicle moves forward. They are typically operated by hydraulic systems, allowing for easy control and adjustment of blade angles.

Truck-mounted snow plows are powerful and capable of clearing snow quickly, making them ideal for heavy snowfall or commercial use. However, they require a larger investment and may not be practical for residential use unless you have a large property or live in an area with frequent heavy snowfall.

ATV/UTV Snow Plows

If you own an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or utility task vehicle (UTV), you can equip it with a snow plow attachment to clear snow from smaller areas. ATV/UTV snow plows are smaller and more maneuverable than truck-mounted plows, making them great for clearing driveways, sidewalks, and smaller pathways.

These snow plows typically feature a smaller blade and are designed to be attached to the front of the ATV or UTV. They are operated by manually adjusting the blade angle or using a mechanical lift system.

ATV/UTV snow plows are a cost-effective option for homeowners who need to clear snow from smaller areas but don’t want to invest in a truck-mounted snow plow. They are also useful for recreational purposes, such as clearing snow from trails or fields.

Snow Plow Attachments

For those who already own a compatible vehicle, there are snow plow attachments available that can be easily mounted onto the front of your vehicle. These attachments are designed to fit a range of vehicles, from trucks to SUVs to tractors.

Snow plow attachments are generally more affordable than purchasing a separate snow plow and can be a practical solution for homeowners with larger properties or varying snow removal needs. Just like truck-mounted and ATV/UTV snow plows, they feature a blade that can be adjusted to clear snow efficiently.

Snow Sweepers

Walk-Behind Snow Sweepers

Walk-behind snow sweepers are designed to quickly and effectively clear snow from sidewalks, driveways, and other similar surfaces. These machines are operated by pushing or walking behind them, and they use rotating brushes or paddles to sweep the snow to the side as you move forward.

Walk-behind snow sweepers are usually compact and lightweight, making them easy to maneuver in tight spaces. They are also generally easier to operate compared to larger snow blowers or plows.

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These snow sweepers are a great alternative for those who prefer a quieter and less physically demanding snow removal method. They are ideal for residential use and areas with lighter snowfall.

Ride-On Snow Sweepers

For larger areas or commercial use, ride-on snow sweepers are an efficient option. These machines are designed to be operated from a seated position, allowing you to cover more ground with less physical exertion.

Ride-on snow sweepers typically have wider clearing widths and larger storage capacities, making them suitable for clearing parking lots, pathways, and other large surfaces. They are equipped with powerful brushes or paddles that can effectively remove snow and debris.

While ride-on snow sweepers may be more expensive and require more storage space, they are a valuable investment for those who need to clear snow on a frequent or large-scale basis.

Heated Driveways

Electric Heated Driveways

Electric heated driveways are an innovative solution to prevent snow and ice buildup. They consist of heating elements installed beneath the surface of your driveway, which generate heat and melt the snow as it falls.

Electric heated driveways can be controlled by a switch or a thermostat, allowing you to activate the heating system only when needed. They provide a convenient and efficient way to keep your driveway clear, eliminating the need for manual removal or the use of snow blowers and plows.

While electric heated driveways require professional installation and can be more expensive compared to traditional methods, they offer long-term convenience and reduce the risk of accidents caused by slippery surfaces.

Hydronic Heated Driveways

Hydronic heated driveways function similarly to electric heated driveways, but they use a system of hot water or antifreeze solution circulated through piping installed beneath the driveway’s surface.

A boiler or water heater is used to heat the liquid, which is then pumped through the pipes to provide continuous heat and melt the snow. Hydronic heated driveways offer efficient and even heating, making them a popular choice for homeowners in colder climates.

While hydronic heated driveways may also require professional installation and have higher upfront costs, they can be an effective long-term solution for keeping your driveway clear of snow and ice.

Snow Melting Mats

Outdoor Snow Melting Mats

Outdoor snow melting mats are a convenient and versatile option for preventing snow and ice accumulation on walkways, stairs, and driveways. These mats are made of durable materials and are designed to withstand heavy foot traffic and exposure to the elements.

Outdoor snow melting mats are equipped with heating elements that generate heat and melt snow as it falls onto the mat. They can be easily installed and are available in various sizes and shapes to fit different areas.

These mats typically come with a built-in sensor or timer that automatically activates the heating system when snow is detected. They provide a safe and efficient solution for keeping outdoor areas clear of snow and ice, reducing the need for manual shoveling or using other snow removal equipment.

Doorway Snow Melting Mats

Doorway snow melting mats are specifically designed to prevent snow and ice accumulation in front of doorways or entry areas. These mats are smaller and more compact than outdoor snow melting mats, allowing them to fit perfectly in front of doors or narrow spaces.

Similar to outdoor snow melting mats, doorway snow melting mats have built-in heating elements that melt the snow as it falls onto the mat. They are designed to be durable and weather-resistant, ensuring long-lasting performance.

Doorway snow melting mats are easy to install and can be plugged into a standard electrical outlet. They provide a safe and convenient solution for maintaining clear and safe pathways to your home or business during snowy conditions.

Snow Push Brooms

Adjustable Snow Push Brooms

Adjustable snow push brooms are a versatile option for quickly and easily sweeping away light to moderate snowfall. These brooms feature adjustable handles and brushes, allowing you to customize the broom’s height and angle to suit your needs.

Adjustable snow push brooms usually have sturdy bristles or brushes that can effectively remove snow without damaging the underlying surface. They can be used on various surfaces, including driveways, decks, and patios.

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These brooms are lightweight and easy to handle, making them a user-friendly alternative to traditional shoveling or heavy snow blowers. They are ideal for light snowfall or areas where snow accumulation is minimal.

Telescopic Snow Push Brooms

Telescopic snow push brooms are similar to adjustable brooms, but they come with a telescoping handle that can be extended or retracted as needed. This feature allows for increased reach and maneuverability, making it easier to clear snow from larger or hard-to-reach areas.

Telescopic snow push brooms typically have durable brushes or bristles that can effectively remove snow without scratching or damaging surfaces. They are designed to be lightweight and easy to use, reducing strain and fatigue during snow removal.

These brooms are a practical choice for homeowners who want a versatile and convenient tool for clearing light to moderate snow accumulation. They can also be useful for removing leaves and debris during other seasons.

Snow Rakes

Roof Snow Rakes

Roof snow rakes are specialized tools designed for removing snow from the roofs of houses and buildings. Accumulated snow on roofs can be heavy and can lead to structural damage or leaks, making it important to clear it away.

Roof snow rakes typically have a long handle and a sturdy rake head or blade that allows you to reach and scrape off the snow from the safety of the ground. They are designed to be lightweight and easy to handle, enabling you to effectively clear snow without climbing onto the roof.

Using a roof snow rake requires caution and proper technique to avoid injury or damage to the roof. It’s important to start from the edge of the roof and work your way up, gently pulling the snow down instead of forcefully scraping it.

Ground-Level Snow Rakes

Ground-level snow rakes, also known as snow rakes with wheels, are designed to clear snow from ground surfaces, including lawns, patios, and walkways. These rakes are equipped with wheels that enable them to glide smoothly over the snow, making the task of clearing snow more manageable.

Ground-level snow rakes typically have a wide and sturdy rake head or blade that can effectively remove snow without damaging the surface underneath. They are easy to maneuver and require minimal effort to operate.

These rakes are a convenient alternative to traditional shoveling, especially for areas with light to moderate snowfall. They can help you quickly and efficiently clear snow from various outdoor surfaces, saving you time and physical exertion.

Leaf Blowers/Vacuums

Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers/Vacuums

Gas-powered leaf blowers/vacuums can be repurposed for snow removal, especially when dealing with lighter and powdery snow. They are versatile tools that use forced air to push or suck up leaves and debris, and they can also be effective for clearing snow from driveways, patios, and other surfaces.

Gas-powered leaf blowers/vacuums are generally more powerful than electric models, allowing for increased blowing capacity and faster snow removal. They typically come with adjustable speed settings, allowing you to control the airflow and adapt to different snow conditions.

It’s important to note that gas-powered leaf blowers/vacuums can be noisy and emit exhaust fumes, so it’s advisable to wear ear protection and use them in well-ventilated areas. They are a practical option if you already own this tool and want to utilize it for snow removal during the winter months.

Electric Leaf Blowers/Vacuums

Electric leaf blowers/vacuums are another option for clearing snow, particularly for lighter and less compacted snowfall. They are typically more lightweight and quieter than gas-powered models, making them easier to handle and use in residential areas.

Electric leaf blowers/vacuums work by using an electric motor to generate strong air currents, effectively blowing or vacuuming up snow. They are usually corded or battery-powered, so it’s important to consider the availability of power outlets or battery life when using them for snow removal.

These tools are versatile and can be used year-round for various outdoor tasks. They offer a practical and convenient alternative to manual shoveling, especially for clearing smaller areas with lighter snow coverage.

No matter which alternative method you choose, it’s important to consider the specific snow conditions, your physical abilities, and the size of the area you need to clear. Each snow removal method has its advantages and limitations, so it’s essential to select the option that best suits your needs and preferences. Stay safe, take breaks as needed, and enjoy a winter wonderland without the worry of snow buildup!