Most of us, faced with a demand to clear the snow from the drive, trample a path to the garden shed and grab a spade – but that might be making the job harder than it needs to be.
Spades are cutting tools, designed to dig into the earth, so they’re not very efficient at scooping up loose material. And even if you also own a shovel, the comparatively small head will make clearing large areas of snow a long, slow job.
As with so many tasks, using the right tool makes the work a great deal easier. A specialist snow shovel is economically priced and has a head roughly twice the size of a builders’ shovel, meaning you can cover ground a lot quicker.
One thing it won’t do, though, is fit easily into the boot of your car.
It’s common sense that you need some kind of digging tool if you’re planning to drive any sort of distance in the snow – especially if you’re not in an urban area. Fortunately, a wide range of folding shovels are available. Some are designed specially for motorists, others are for more general use or are Army kit.
And then there are tools for digging yourself out of avalanches. But let’s not go there.
Household snow shovels
Designed for your home or business, more efficient than gardening tools and cheaper than a snow blower (but harder on the back, too).
Snow shovels for your car
Small folding shovels you can tuck away in the boot and forget about, until the time you need one.
Emergency snow shovels
Designed for skiers at risk of avalanches, you’ll probably never need one of these – but if you ever do, you’ll really need it.