Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The amazing SnoWovel - an updated review

Long term readers of my blog may recall a post I wrote back in 2007 when I reviewed the first generation of the Wovel - the shovel on a wheel. That's me with that original Wovel at my old home and my old driveway (more on that later).

I loved the original Wovel but had some beefs.

Well sometimes writing a blog has perks as the President of the company that makes the Wovel happened on my post and he asked me if I would be willing to re-review his latest Wovel iteration (I believe it's a 3rd generation product).

I of course said sure.

Now Ottawa's been hit with a bit of snow. We had our first snowfall of the year totalling 20cm and then a second of 5cm a few days later.

I tried the SnoWovel out on both.

My thoughts?

Even though I already thought the original Wovel was great this is a vastly improved product. It's lighter and so it's certainly easier to wield and for me anyhow, its improved adjustability allowed for an easier throw of the snow. Handles now come standard (that was one of my original complaints) and despite having a stupidly large driveway (really stupidly large - it's one of those ones that is both semicircular in front and rectangular on the side towards the garage), I managed with the 5cm snow to wovel it all in about 45 minutes - only 15 mins longer than it would have taken me to snowblow (and I've got a self-propelled 13hp monster) and I imagine at least 3 times as fast as I would have been able to shovel it.

Due to the design I wasn't out of breath, and I wasn't bending over and straining my back. The only muscles that hurt on me were my shoulders which after 45 minutes were definitely burning a bit.

I can't say the same about wovelling the heavy snow. Trying to wovel 20cm of snow was rough and from a gigantic driveway while certainly doable, would likely have taken me 2 hours and truly significant pain in my shoulders. I switched to the snowblower.

An added bonus regarding the new version is it's easily foldable which save space in the off season.

Now it's not a perfect product (no product is). Where I ran into trouble was where cars had hard packed the snow leading up to the garage. Trying to wheel over those spots the SnoWovel would get stuck. That said it didn't take much to get over them and even my snowblower doesn't generally dislodge that tight packing. In fact on the parts of the driveway that didn't have hard packed snow the SnoWovel managed to get right down to the surface whereas the snowblower tended to leave a tiny layer of snow.

Bottom line for me? For light snow under 10cm I plan to use the SnoWovel season long. For heavier snows, I'll stick to the snowblower, of course that's primarily because of just how stupidly large my driveway is. If it were smaller there'd be no reason whatsoever to hire a service or buy a snowblower - it'd be all SnoWovel all the time heavy snow and all.

An already fabulous product made markedly better - what's not to love?

$119.95 on Amazon.com and also available in Canada at the Home Depot (though I couldn't find the Snowovel online, only accessories).

You can visit the SnoWovel's official website here.