TORONTO -- Snow blowers have been mostly silent in the Greater Toronto Area this winter and if Toronto gets less snow in future winters, you may want to consider a new tool for your driveway.

Electric power shovels are a growing category as they cost a lot less, but can still help you throw snow instead of lifting it.

Cassandra Nasso of Richmond Hill, Ont., shovelled her neighbour’s driveway after shoveling her own with a regular shovel. Nasso said this winter there hasn’t been a lot of snow so she was happy to do it.

“You know it hasn't been too bad this winter so I'm kind of enjoying it. I missed shoveling so why not do it twice," Nasso said. 

Nothing powers through the remnants of a winter storm quite like a snow blower.

Researchers at Consumer Reports tested different kinds each fall using sawdust. 

“We use wet sawdust to test snow blowers because it has the consistency of snow," said tester Paul Hope.

Researchers look at how fast a snow blower removes the snow, how far it throws it and how each one deals with the hard compacted snow the plow leaves at the end of a driveway.

Tests show that gasoline-powered snow blowers continue to outperform their electric and battery-powered counterparts. 

A smaller single stage blower is fine for lighter snowfalls and if you need more power a two or three stage blower is better for heavy snowfall. 

If you're looking for a more affordable tool that can help with the back-breaking work of shoveling, researchers also tested battery and corded electric power shovels.

“A power shovel sort of looks like a lite-duty snow blower and its really a hybrid between a snow blower and a traditional shovel. They're designed to go places where a snow blower would be overkill like a short walkway or an elevated deck,” said Hope.

Power shovels sell for around $300, but keep in mind they are heavier than a regular shovel, still require some muscle and work best with under 15 centimeters of snow. 

While shoveling can be a bit of a chore, Nasso has this message.

“Enjoy it. We live in Canada and not every country gets to see the beautiful snow we have,” Nasso said.

Whatever you're using to get rid of the snow take it slow and don't over exert yourself. Shoveling can put a strain on your heart, lower back and other muscles so dress warmly and use the proper footwear to avoid slips and falls.