Winter is a beautiful and magical season, but it also brings with it the challenge of snow removal. Shoveling snow can be a daunting task, especially when it is heavy and wet. This is where a snow blower comes in handy. A snow blower can make clearing snow from your driveway and walkways a breeze, but choosing the right one can be a confusing task.
When choosing a snow blower, there are a few factors to consider. The size of your property and the amount of snowfall in your area are important factors to take into account. If you live in an area that gets heavy snowfall, you will need a snow blower with a powerful engine and a wide clearing width. However, if you have a smaller property with light snowfall, a smaller, less powerful snow blower will suffice.
There are two main types of snow blowers: single-stage and two-stage. Single-stage snow blowers are ideal for light snowfall and smaller properties, while two-stage snow blowers are better suited for heavy snowfall and larger properties.
Additionally, you will need to consider the type of fuel the snow blower uses, as well as any additional features such as electric start or heated handles. By taking these factors into account, you can choose the right snow blower for your home and make winter snow removal a breeze.
Understanding Different Types of Snow Blowers
When it comes to choosing a snow blower, it’s important to understand the different types available and their features. Here are the most common types of snow blowers:
Single-Stage Snow Blowers
Single-stage snow blowers are the most basic type of snow blower. They are designed to handle light snowfall of up to 6 inches and are best suited for small driveways, decks, and walkways. They are also the most affordable option and are usually electric-powered. Single-stage snow blowers use a single high-speed auger to scoop up and throw snow out of the chute.
Two-Stage Snow Blowers
Two-stage snow blowers are designed to handle heavier snowfall of up to 12 inches. They are powered by gas or electric and use an auger to break up the snow and a separate impeller to throw it out of the chute. Two-stage snow blowers are more expensive than single-stage snow blowers, but they are more efficient and can handle larger areas.
Three-Stage Snow Blowers
Three-stage snow blowers are the most powerful type of snow blower. They are designed to handle heavy, wet snowfall of up to 18 inches and are best suited for large driveways and commercial use. Three-stage snow blowers use an accelerator in addition to the auger and impeller to break up the snow and throw it out of the chute. They are usually gas-powered and more expensive than two-stage snow blowers.
Electric Snow Blowers
Electric snow blowers are a popular choice for those who prefer an eco-friendly option. They are lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them ideal for small to medium-sized areas. Electric snow blowers are available in both corded and cordless options. Corded electric snow blowers are more powerful, but cordless electric snow blowers are more convenient and portable.
Gas-Powered Snow Blowers
Gas Powered snow blowers are the most powerful option and are best suited for heavy-duty use. They are available in both single-stage and two-stage options and are ideal for large areas and heavy snowfall. Gas-powered snow blowers are more expensive than electric snow blowers but are more efficient and can handle larger areas.
In summary, choosing the right snow blower depends on the amount of snowfall, the size of the area, and personal preferences. Single-stage snow blowers are best for light snowfall and small areas, while two-stage and three-stage snow blowers are best for heavier snowfall and larger areas. Electric snow blowers are a good eco-friendly option for small to medium-sized areas, while gas-powered snow blowers are best for heavy-duty use.
Key Features to Consider
When shopping for a snow blower, there are several key features to consider. The following features should be taken into account to ensure that you choose the right snow blower for your needs.
The auger is the part of the snow blower that scoops up the snow and throws it out of the chute. Single-stage snow blowers have a single auger, while two-stage snow blowers have an additional impeller that helps to throw the snow farther. Look for an auger made of durable materials like steel or hardened plastic.
The chute is the part of the snow blower that directs the snow away from the machine. Some snow blowers have a manual chute control, while others have an electric chute control that allows you to adjust the direction of the chute without leaving the operator position. Consider how important it is for you to have control over the direction of the snow.
The impeller is the part of the snow blower that helps to throw the snow farther. Two-stage snow blowers have an impeller in addition to the auger. Look for an impeller made of durable materials like steel or hardened plastic.
The discharge chute is the part of the snow blower that directs the snow away from the machine. Some snow blowers have a manual discharge chute, while others have an electric discharge chute that allows you to adjust the direction of the chute without leaving the operator position. Consider how important it is for you to have control over the direction of the snow.
The accelerator is the part of the snow blower that helps to break up and move the snow into the auger. Some snow blowers have an accelerator that rotates at a higher speed than the auger, which can help to break up compacted snow and ice.
An electric start can make it easier to start your snow blower on cold winter mornings. Look for a snow blower with an electric start if you have trouble starting gas-powered engines.
Chute control allows you to adjust the direction of the snow without leaving the operator position. Look for a snow blower with an electric chute control if you want to be able to adjust the direction of the snow easily.
Speed control allows you to adjust the speed of the snow blower to match the conditions. Look for a snow blower with multiple speeds if you want to be able to adjust the speed of the machine.
A cab can help to protect you from the wind and snow while you are operating the snow blower. Look for a snow blower with a cab if you want to be able to stay warm and dry while clearing snow.
Headlights can help you to see where you are going when clearing snow at night. Look for a snow blower with headlights if you plan to clear snow in the dark.
Skid shoes help to protect your driveway or sidewalk from damage while you are clearing snow. Look for a snow blower with adjustable skid shoes if you want to be able to adjust the height of the machine to match the surface you are clearing.
Choosing Based on Size and Surface
Size of Snow Blower
When choosing a snow blower, the size of the machine is an important factor to consider. The size of the snow blower refers to the width of the clearing path, which determines how much snow can be cleared in one pass. Larger snow blowers are typically more powerful and can clear a wider path, making them ideal for larger driveways and sidewalks.
Single-stage snow blowers are typically smaller and have clearing widths between 12 and 22 inches, making them ideal for areas with lighter snowfall and small areas like walkways and shorter driveways. Two-stage snow blowers are larger and can have clearing widths up to 36 inches, making them ideal for larger driveways and areas with heavier snowfall.
Type of Surface
The type of surface you need to clear also plays a role in choosing the right snow blower. For example, if you have a large driveway or pavement, you may want to consider a larger two-stage snow blower. On the other hand, if you only need to clear sidewalks or walkways, a smaller single-stage snow blower may be sufficient.
It’s also important to consider the surface type when choosing a snow blower. For example, if you have a gravel driveway, you may want to consider a snow blower with adjustable skid shoes, which can prevent damage to the surface. Similarly, if you have a paved driveway or sidewalks, you may want to consider a snow blower with non-marking tires, which can prevent damage to the surface.
In summary, when choosing a snow blower, it’s important to consider the size of the machine and the type of surface you need to clear. By taking these factors into account, you can choose a snow blower that is both powerful and efficient, making snow removal a breeze.
Budget and Value
When it comes to buying a snow blower, budget and value are important factors to consider. The price of snow blowers can range from around $180 to over $3,000, with features and size dictating the price. It’s important to find a snow blower that fits within your budget while also providing good value for your money.
Consumer Reports suggests that very few people truly need a three-stage snow blower, which can clear 18-inch-deep snow in a single pass, and that there are budget-friendly options available for those who don’t need such heavy-duty equipment. They recommend considering a single-stage snow blower for those with smaller driveways or a two-stage snow blower for those with larger driveways and more snow to clear.
Some of the best budget-friendly snow blowers on the market include the Snow Joe 48-Volt Ionmax Electric, the Troy-Bilt Squall 123R, and the Greenworks 40-Volt 20-Inch Cordless. These snow blowers offer good performance at an affordable price point.
It’s important to keep in mind that while a cheaper snow blower may save you money upfront, it may not be the best value in the long run if it doesn’t perform well or breaks down easily. It’s worth investing in a snow blower that is reliable and durable, even if it means spending a bit more upfront.
Overall, finding a snow blower that fits within your budget while also providing good value for your money is key. Consider the size of your driveway, the amount of snow you typically receive, and the features you need to find the best snow blower for your needs.
Safety and Maintenance
Snow blowers are powerful machines that can be dangerous if not used properly. It is important to follow safety guidelines to avoid injury or damage to property. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Always read the user manual before operating the snow blower.
- Wear appropriate clothing, including gloves, sturdy boots, and eye protection.
- Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry that could get caught in the machine.
- Keep children and pets away from the snow blower when it is in use.
- Never put your hands or feet near the auger or chute while the machine is running.
Proper maintenance is also essential to keep your snow blower running smoothly and to extend its lifespan. Here are some maintenance tips to follow:
- Check the oil level before each use and change the oil at least once a year.
- Inspect the spark plug and replace it if necessary.
- Check the belts and replace them if they are worn or damaged.
- Clean the machine after each use to prevent rust and debris buildup.
- Store the snow blower in a dry, covered area to protect it from the elements.
By following these safety and maintenance tips, you can ensure that your snow blower is ready to tackle the next snowstorm and that you are using it safely and responsibly.