If you live in an area that gets heavy snow, and a lot of it, a snow blower can be a very useful tool. Instead of having to struggle with lifting the heavy snow with a shovel, a snow blower does all of the work for you. Simply start it up, walk behind it and the snow is pushed out of your way. Not only is it easier to clear snow with a snow blower, but it is much faster. In no time, you will have your driveway and walkways cleared.
While a snow blower can be a very handy tool, there are a lot of options to choose from, which can make finding the best one for your specific needs a bit tricky. To help you make the best choice, we have done all of the leg work for you. We have done extensive research, tested out models and have put all of the information that we have found into this handy buyer’s guide, which we believe will make it much easier for you to find a snow blower that will best suit your needs.
Types of Snow Blowers
There are several types of snow blowers, and they can be differentiated based on the source of power that is used to operate them. The two types of snow blowers include:
Electric Snow Blowers
As you might have guessed, an electric snow blower is powered by electricity. All electric snow blowers are considered single stage snow blowers. They are best suited for lighter snowfalls, typically no more than 6 inches. If you do get more than 6 inches of snow, you can still use an electric snow blower to clear it, but you will have to do more passes to over the same area to clear it. The electricity only operates the auger, which clears the snow, so you will have to put some more effort into pushing the snow blower than you would with a gas snow blowers. There are two types of electric snow blowers:
- Corded electric snow blowers – This feature a cord that you plug into a mains power outlet. They are ideal for smaller areas, as the cord can limit their reach. Also, if you have a heavy snowfall and the electricity goes out, you will not be able to use this type of snow blower.
- Cordless electric snow blowers – These snow blowers are powered rechargeable batteries, which does not limit your range; however, you do have to consider the amount of time that the batteries will operate before they need to be recharged.
Electric snow blowers are less expensive; however, they do not have the same amount of power as a gas snow blower.
Gas Snow Blowers
Gas snow blowers are powered by gas, as you could probably guess by the name. You will need to fill the blower up with gas before you operate it. They also require more maintenance than electric snow blowers. There are two types of gas snow blowers:
- Single State Gas Snow Blowers – This type of gas snow blower works like an electric single stage snow blower, but uses gas. Because of the gas, it delivers greater power, which makes it better to use for heavier snowfalls.
Two Stage Gas Snow Blowers – A two stage gas snow blower is the most powerful and the easiest to use snow blower. They feature an impeller, which transfers the snow from the auger and propels it with powerful force out of the snow blower. It also powers the snow blower to move forward, so you don’t have to exert as much energy to move it. These are ideal for super heavy snowfalls, as they have the ability to clear as much as 24 inches of snow. They also have several speeds, which make them versatile, as you can adjust the power for different snow depths. While these are the most powerful and easiest to operate of all snow blowers, they are also the most expensive.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Snow Blower
There are a number of factors that you are going to want to take into consideration before you buy a snow blower. These factors will allow you to make the best choice for your specific needs and will ensure that the tool gets the job done. We think that the following factors are the most important to consider before you buy a snow blower.
You are going to want to consider the size of the snow blower before you purchase one. To determine what size will work the best for you, you should consider the size of the path or driveway that you will be working to clear. Most single stage snow blowers can clear a width of about 18 to 22 inches, which makes it better suited to fit in tighter spaces. If you are clearing a larger space, a two stage snow blower is a better choice, as its clearing width is larger; about 24 to 28 inches.
You also want to consider the amount of power you want the blower to have. The more powerful the snow blower is, the faster and more efficiently it will be at clearing heavier snowfalls. As mentioned above, gas powered, two stage snow blowers are the most powerful.
The material of the surface that you will be paving is also an important factor to consider. If you are going to paving a gravel covered surface, avoid purchasing a snow blower that has single stage power, as it will pull up the gravel and project it; a two stage snow blower is a better and safer option. If the surface is paved, you have the option to use wither a single or a two stage snow blower, as you will not have to worry about picking up gravel and projecting it.
Amount and Type of Snow
What type of snow do you usually get, and how much? If you get a lot of heavy snowfalls, and they are heavy, a two stage gas blower will be a better option for you. If you get less snowfall and lighter weight snow, a single stage snow blower will work.
You want your snow blower to be as easy to maneuver as possible. Two stage snow blowers are self propelled, so they are easier to use, as you do not have to exert any energy to push them.
Your Storage Space
You should also consider your storage space. Where will you be storing it when it is not in use? If you have a garage that has enough room, a two stage snow blower can probably be stored in it. If you don’t have a garage, or you are limited on space, an electric snow blower is probably a better option, as it is smaller.
Price is another important factor to consider when buying a snow blower. The vary significantly in price. Electric snow blowers are less expensive and can cost around $100, while two stage gas snow blowers can cost upwards of $300 or more.
Snow Blower Features
Snow blowers can boast a number of features. These features are intended to make it easier to use the snow blower, which is certainly worthwhile to consider; however, the more features the snow blower has, the more expensive it will likely be. Make sure you understand the features that are available so that you can determine whether or not you want them.
An electric start makes it very easy to start your snow blower. With the push of a button, you can start it up, without having to pull a started cord.
Single Hand Interlock
This feature allows you to control the drive system of a two stage snow blower with one hand, which leaves your other hand free to use for other things, like clearing the chute or the deflector without having to stop.
Remote Chute and Deflector Rotation
With this feature, you will not have to worry about stopping the machine, reaching forward or walking around it to rotate the chute or to adjust the angle of the deflector, which can make it much easier and more convenient to blow your walkway or driveway. You will have access to this feature right on the dash of your snow blower.
If you are buying a snow blower that weighs more than 300 pounds, power steering can be very beneficial. It makes it much easier to control the snow blower through deep snow, making it easier to turn around so that you can make your next pass.
If you live in area that gets a lot of snow or ice, track drive is an excellent feature to consider. Instead of wheels, snow blowers with this features have ice gripping tacks, which provide greater traction.
A drift cutter feature allows you to use your snow blower to direct drifts that and taller snow into the auger hosing instead of letting the snow fall on top of the unit.
The most top of the line snow blowers feature hand warmers. The handles are warmed, which allows you to stay warm and toasty while you are doing your blowing. Talk about a nice feature!
Best Snow Blower Brands
There are several manufacturers that make snow blowers, so how do you know which one is the best? We have done a lot of research and have tested out many models, which has led us to determine that the following brands of snow blowers are the best of the best.
This company makes some of the highest quality and most durable snow blowers on the market. They use cutting edge technologies to ensure that their snow blowers do an exceptional job. They also boast some pretty handy features that we really think you will enjoy.
Briggs and Strattong
This company is highly regarded for the snow blowers that it produces. They manufacture top of the line snow blowers in both electric and gas models, and they boast some very high tech features that make them very easy to operate.