Dead Tools

Ames Salt & Sand Spreader

Cheap, driveway deicer

I have about 125 feet of mostly-uphill driveway. Before purchasing this salt and sand spreader, I found the only way to do a decent deicing job was the shovel method, which requires many trips up and down the driveway or dragging a bucket along. Though a truck-mounted automatic unit might be easier, for the money, this analog spreader is the best tool I have seen. You just fill the hopper and jiggle the handle up and down as you walk, spreading a nice even layer of sand, salt or mix. The spreader can hold up to 22 pounds, so one load should be plenty for the average driveway or walkway. Much faster than a shovel, easy to use and and unlike other manual spreaders I’ve tried, there are few moving parts to break. Should last a good 10 years, given decent care. Being made of plastic, the most important thing is to keep it out of direct sun. They’re listed on Amazon for around $160, but I picked mine up at a surplus/salvage store for under $20 and have found them online for around $30.

-- John Wilde 01/20/09

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