Winter is a beautiful season, but it comes with some challenges, especially for those living in areas with heavy snowfall. Clearing snow from your driveway, sidewalks, and stairs can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive task. This is where snow blowers come in handy. A snow blower is a machine that clears snow by blowing it away from the area you want to clear.
Choosing the right snow blower for your needs can be a daunting task, given the different types, features, and sizes available. In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore the factors you need to consider when choosing a snow blower, the different types available, and the features to look for to make your job easier and more efficient.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Snow Blower
Before you start shopping for a snow blower, it’s essential to consider the following factors:
- Snowfall Amount: The amount of snowfall in your area will determine the size and type of snow blower you need. If you experience light snowfall, a single-stage snow blower will suffice. However, if you experience heavy snowfall, a two-stage snow blower will be more efficient.
- Surface Area: The size of the area you need to clear will determine the size of snow blower you need. If you have a small driveway or sidewalk, a smaller snow blower will be more suitable. However, if you have a large driveway or commercial property, a larger snow blower will be more efficient.
- Power Source: Snow blowers can be powered by gas, electricity, or battery. Gas-powered snow blowers are more powerful and suitable for heavy-duty tasks. Electric snow blowers are more affordable and suitable for light-duty tasks. Battery-powered snow blowers are suitable for small to medium-sized areas and are cordless.
- Budget: Snow blowers come in different price ranges, and your budget will determine the type of snow blower you can afford. Electric snow blowers are more affordable, while gas-powered snow blowers are more expensive.
Types of Snow Blowers
There are three main types of snow blowers:
1. Single-Stage Snow Blowers
Single-stage snow blowers are suitable for light snowfall, typically less than six inches. They have an auger that scoops up snow and throws it out through the chute. Single-stage snow blowers are lightweight, easy to maneuver, and affordable. They are also suitable for small areas such as walkways, driveways, and decks.
2. Two-Stage Snow Blowers
Two-stage snow blowers are suitable for heavy snowfall, typically over six inches. They have an auger that scoops up snow and feeds it to the impeller, which throws it out through the chute. Two-stage snow blowers are more powerful, larger, and heavier than single-stage snow blowers. They are suitable for large areas such as commercial properties and long driveways.
3. Three-Stage Snow Blowers
Three-stage snow blowers are the most powerful type of snow blower. They have an auger that scoops up snow and feeds it to two impellers that throw it out through the chute. Three-stage snow blowers are suitable for heavy, wet snow and large areas. They are also the most expensive type of snow blower.
Features to Look for in a Snow Blower
When choosing a snow blower, there are some features you should look for to make your job easier and more efficient:
- Adjustable Chute: The chute is the part of the snow blower that throws out the snow. An adjustable chute allows you to change the direction and height of the snow, making it easier to clear your driveway or sidewalk.
- Electric Start: An electric start makes it easier to start the snow blower, especially in cold weather. Instead of pulling a cord, you can start the snow blower with the push of a button.
- Heated Handles: Heated handles keep your hands warm while using the snow blower, making it more comfortable to use in cold weather.
- Headlight: A headlight allows you to see where you’re clearing snow, especially when it’s dark outside.
- Self-Propelled: A self-propelled snow blower moves forward on its own, making it easier to use and less tiring.
- Snow Cut Depth: The snow cut depth is the depth of snow the snow blower can clear in a single pass. A deeper snow cut depth means you can clear more snow in less time.
Top Snow Blower Brands
When shopping for a snow blower, it’s important to choose a reputable brand that offers quality and reliable products. Some of the top snow blower brands include:
- Toro: Toro is a well-known brand that offers a wide range of snow blowers, from single-stage to three-stage models.
- Honda: Honda is known for its high-quality and durable snow blowers that are suitable for heavy-duty tasks.
- Ariens: Ariens offers a range of snow blowers, including single-stage, two-stage, and three-stage models, that are designed for efficient snow clearing.
- Cub Cadet: Cub Cadet offers a range of snow blowers that are easy to use and maintain, making them a popular choice among homeowners.
- Briggs & Stratton: Briggs & Stratton offers a range of snow blowers that are suitable for different snowfall amounts and surface areas.
How to Maintain Your Snow Blower
To ensure your snow blower performs at its best, it’s important to maintain it properly. Here are some tips for maintaining your snow blower:
- Change the Oil: Change the oil in your snow blower regularly to ensure it runs smoothly.
- Replace the Spark Plug: Replace the spark plug in your snow blower annually to ensure it starts easily.
- Clean the Carburetor: Clean the carburetor in your snow blower regularly to ensure it runs efficiently.
- Inspect the Belts: Inspect the belts in your snow blower regularly and replace them if they’re worn or damaged.
- Store the Snow Blower Properly: Store your snow blower in a dry place and cover it to protect it from dust and moisture.
Choosing the right snow blower for your needs can be a daunting task, but by considering factors such as the size of your property, the amount of snowfall, and the features you need, you can find a snow blower that will make your winter chores easier and more efficient. Remember to also maintain your snow blower properly to ensure it performs at its best for years to come.
If you’re in the market for a new snow blower, be sure to check out the top brands mentioned in this guide, such as Toro, Honda, Ariens, Cub Cadet, and Briggs & Stratton, and consider the features that will be most useful for your needs.