How to buy a snow blower
A snow blower buying guide
You'll spend more time inside in front of a warm fire this winter when you know how to buy a snow blower to clear your driveway and sidewalks. There are a number of snow blower brands and models available at your nearby department store, and as you follow along in this snow blower buying guide you will gain the knowledge you need to know how to choose the best one for you and your home.
>> Consider your unique needs
While you're learning how to buy a snow blower, the amount and the type of snowfall you get each year plays a factor in deciding which type of snow blower to buy.
Powered shovel - If you live in an area that receives only light snow, a powered shovel is enough to take care of sweeping of the sidewalks or the patio. This model is designed for use at the lower levels of snowfall with lighter fluffy snowflakes. Some of the power shovels will convert to a power broom making them useful all year around. Powered shovels are best if used on flat smooth surfaces with less than six inches of snow.
Electric snow blowers - The electric snow blower is the best snow blower to buy for areas with low to medium average snowfall. Its uses include patios, porches, sidewalks and small to medium-sized driveways. They are best used on smooth and paved surfaces. Don't forget when you buy electric snow blowers you might need to purchase a heavy-duty extension cord from the gardening tools department of your favorite store.
Gas snow blowers - The gas snow blower is the best for heavy snow removal. This type comes in a single stage and two-stage models. A gas model works well on smooth surfaces, but an advantage of the larger gas snow blowers is the ability to clear unpaved and gravel driveways, and some are also available with up to 45 inches in width to handle those large long driveways and small parking lots. This style usually has no trouble handling loads of heavy wet snow too.
>> Consider the power source
When considering how to buy a snow blower, take a look at the three types of power available. Snow blowers can be purchased with electric, single stage gas and two-stage gas power sources.
The quietest and most environmentally friendly are the electric motor models. These include the electric snow blower and the powered shovel. The electric models are the most lightweight of all the products from snow blower brands and can be found in most patio and garden supplies departments.
The single-stage gas snow blowers are available with a 2-cycle or 4-cycle engine. These models are heavier than their electric counterparts and can clear a wider path. They have enough power to get most home jobs completed. The single-stage gas snow blowers are also relatively easy to store since the snow blower dimensions are about the same size as most lawn mowers.
The two-stage gas models are the work horse of the three different types of snow blowers. With engine sizes over 400cc, they will clear not only heavy, wet snow, but they can work well on ice too. These are the best snow blowers to buy if you have large areas as they can generally clear the widest path. Even though they are heavy pieces of equipment, their drive wheels help them move.
>> Consider each model's specifications
When thinking about how to buy a snow blower, consider the following chart on various specifications to help decide which is the best snow blower to buy for you:
Max throwing distance
|Electric ||Power shovel ||7.0-7.5 amps ||12 inches ||4-6 inches ||n/a ||No |
| ||Snow blower ||9.0-15.0 amps ||15-20 inches ||6-10 inches ||25 feet ||Yes |
|Single stage ||Consumer ||87-208 cc ||18-20 inches ||12-13 inches ||35 feet ||Yes |
| ||Mid-range ||87-208 cc ||21-22 inches ||12-13.5 inches ||35 feet ||Yes |
|Two-stage ||Consumer ||205-209 cc ||20-28 inches ||17.5-23 inches ||40 feet ||Yes |
| ||Mid-range ||208-414 cc ||24-33 inches ||20-23 inches ||50 feet ||Yes |
| ||Professional ||305 -420 cc ||24-45 inches ||20-23.5 inches ||50 feet ||Yes |
>> Consider the features
When thinking about how to buy a snow blower, you will also want to consider the model's particular features you are looking at. You will want to make sure the snow blower brand you are looking at will fit you as far as the handle height and the chute adjustment are concerned. Look for the dead man switch, and make sure that you can reach it easily. Once you have considered those basic features, there are a few others you might want to think about, such as the following:
- Single hand operation - This option allows you to adjust direction and height of the machine while in motion.
- Power steering - Power steering allows for easier turning during operation.
- Electric start - Electric start on a gas-powered snow blower lets you turn it on simply by plugging it in just prior to use.
- Heated handles - Hand warmers can add extra comfort during operation.
- Halogen lights - Halogen work lamps help you to see in those early morning hours of low light.
- Easy access - Models with easy access to bearings make maintenance much easier.