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Mar 14

Snow Blower Buying Guide

You would certainly like to buy a snow blower which works well and which requires little care and maintenance. There are many models with varying capabilities and features so making the right choice is not a very simple task. This is the reason why I decided to use my knowledge based on personal experience to help fellow buyers.

I decided to develop this guide to buying a snow blower as I have purchased various units in the past. I own a small family hotel in the mountains of British Columbia and I have to clean quite a lot of snow. Use the following information and advice to choose the best machine.

Snow Blower Buying GuideSingle Stage or Two-Stage Snow Blower

The single-stage snow blower comes with an auger which propels it and which breaks the snow and throws it through the chute. The two-stage machine has driven wheels which propel it. It has an auger which breaks and snow and an impeller which sucks the snow in and blows it through the chute.

The single-stage machines can have either an electric motor or a gas engine. They are typically more compact, more maneuverable and less powerful than their larger counterparts. They are able to handle mild to moderately heavy snow which is dry. Since the auger touches the ground and throws the snow directly through the chute, these snow blowers are not recommended for surfaces other than paved ones. If the clean surface is gravel small pieces can be blown through the chute and hurt someone or break something.

The two-stage models are bigger and more powerful. They are capable of handling deeper snow accumulations. They will work effectively for removing heavy and wet snow. They can work equally well on flat and sloped terrains and on paved and unpaved surfaces. They have higher capacity than their counterparts so they are more efficient for cleaning larger areas.

Electric Motor vs. Gas Engine

You can choose between single stage snow blowers with an electric motor and single stage and two-stage models with a gas engine.

The electric motor has a number of benefits over the gas engine. It requires virtually no care and maintenance. You can start it immediately with the push of a button. It is less messy to handle. Furthermore, the electric models are lighter and more maneuverable compared to their counterparts. However, they are not as powerful.

The snow blowers with a gas engine are more powerful and consequently have higher productive efficiency. Another benefit is that gas is cheaper than electricity so the operational costs for such machines are smaller. Still, you will have to get your hands dirty from time to time to change the oil.

Cleaning Path

This is the most important measure revealing the cleaning capabilities of snow blowers. In order to pick a machine based on this criterion, you need to consider the average depth of the snow in your yard during the winter, the frequency of the snowfalls and total length of the driveways and walkways (the area to be cleaned) on your property.

If you live in an area with mild to moderate snowfall during the winter and you have a small yard with a short driveway, you should certainly go for a model with a smaller cleaning path in order to save. If you have driveway and/or walkway longer than 40 feet, you should consider a more powerful model with a wider and deeper cleaning path so that you can do the job more efficiently, easily and quickly.

Construction

The snow blowers with metal construction are very sturdy and durable. The higher the metal gauge is the better. Steel and iron are among the most popular metal options. You can consider a model with tough polymer construction as well. Just try to get an estimate of its useful life.

Start

I would personally recommend that you go for a snow blower with an electric start. It is more reliable and less messy. Furthermore, the machine will start instantly without any effort on your part.

Auger

The wider the auger is the more efficiently the machine will work. Similarly, an auger with more blades will do a better job in breaking up the accumulated snow. The metal augers are tougher and less likely to chip and dent compared to their plastic counterparts.

Chute

The rotating range of the chute should be 180 degrees at least. Generally, the larger the range is the better. You should be able to adjust the direction of the chute remotely while working. While evaluating the chute, you should check how far the snow blower blows the snow. A distance of 20 to 30 feet is optimal.

Deflector

Virtually all modern snow blowers have a deflector which can be attached to the chute to control the level of the snow stream. The deflector should be easy and quick to adjust and to lock in place. You should be able to choose from various positions between low and high.

Wheels

All snow blowers have wheels. Their purpose is to make steering more efficient and to give you greater control over the machine. In the case of two-stage blowers they propel the machine as well. In any case, you would want the wheels to be as deep and as wide as possible so that they can handle any surface irrespective of the snow cover and its slope. They provide for better traction and easier steering. Look for heavy-duty tires in the two-stage models.

Controls

The controls of the snow blower that you choose should be efficient reliable and easy to use. It is best if you are able to adjust the features and work settings of the machine without stopping the machine and without leaving your steering position.

Handles

Irrespective of whether the model has a single handle or two individual handles, they should be ergonomic and non-slippery. When you hold the handles, you should feel comfortable and at ease. You should have perfect control over the machine and its direction.

Additional Features and Accessories

A light is one of the valuable additional features to have. It will light your cleaning path during the dark hours of the evening and morning. Drift cutters will make cleaning very deep heavy snow easier and quicker. Skid shoes will be useful for handling uneven surfaces.

A Final Word

Now you are ready to choose the ideal snow blower for you. It is best if it comes from a reputable manufacturer that provides a full warranty.

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