When you are stuck on a long driveway in winter or if you live in an area that gets moderate to heavy snowfall, a snow blower is a must-have equipment. A snowblower that is compatible with your terrain and the average snowfall can help you save time and your back.
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What Type Of Snow Blowers Should I Buy?
There are three main types of snow blowers: single-stage, double-stage, and sometimes even tripe-stage. There are various snow blowers available on the market. They come in different widths and can be either electric or gas-powered. How can you choose the right snow blower for your driveway? Try to consider the following factors before buying a snowblower:
- How large is the maximum area the snowblower can handle?
- How deep can the snow blower handle?
- What type of terrain (hills, angled driveways) is it?
- How long and how wide is your driveway?
- How much and what type of snow do you get annually?
Single-stage electric snow blowers
Single-stage electric snow blowers use a plastic auger that pulls snow in and then throws it out of a chute. These snow blowers are lightweight to be lifted up easily, easy to start by a push of a button, and easy to move to any indoor storage when not in use.
With an electric snow blower, there is no need to purchase gas and there are no potential dangers of gas stored in your garage.
These snow blowers work well in narrow areas such as decks or small paved driveways. Single-stage units work best for light snow.
Keep pets and children away from the auger as it will throw rocks. The auger’s swath is typically less than 20 inches wide and can handle snow up to eight inches.
An electric motor doesn’t require as much maintenance as a gasoline engine and you don’t have to refuel and change the spark plug. These snow blowers must be plugged in when in use. This reduces range and decreases maneuverability. It is important to not run over the cord. They are not able to climb steep hills.
Cordless battery-powered snow blowers
These battery-powered snow blowers are ideal for use on decks or a small section of the driveway or sidewalk. They are lightweight, portable, and easy to use. They work much the same as single-stage electric models but don’t require a power cord.
Battery-powered snow blowers can only handle light snow less than 4 inches of snow because they are not self-propelled.
Single-stage gas snow blowers
Gas snow blowers with one stage are more powerful than electric models. They can cover 20-22 inches.
These snow blowers can handle snow up to nine inches in depth and are suitable for small driveways and sidewalks. Some models have electric starting and are lightweight.
Their augers aren’t strong enough to handle slopes, so they pull sideways. They are not able to work on gravel because the auger will throw gravel.
Single-stage gas snow blowers are ideal for those with medium-sized, paved walkways and driveways.
Two-stage gas snow blowers
Two-stage gas snow blowers are heavier and larger, with a 24-inch to 30-inch sweep. Although the auger pulls snow in the same way as a single-stage model but is assisted by an impeller to push snow out of the chute and prevent clogging.
Two-stage gas snow blowers are heavier and more powerful to handle up to 16 inches of heavy, moist snow. The engine drives their wheels, making them capable of handling slopes. Two-stage gas snow blowers can handle gravel driveways because their skid shoes keep the auger off the ground.
These snow blowers can be heavy and bulky, so they require more storage space and financial investment.
Three-stage gas snow blowers
Three-stage gas snow blowers are the most powerful and capable of handling up to 18 inches of heavy, wet snow in a shorter time.
They have an impeller, a serrated auger that can cut through snow and ice, and an accelerator that moves more snow through the blower. They can handle large driveways, hills, and gravel with a width of at least 30 inches.
These snow blowers are the most expensive on the market and also the largest and heaviest. They can be worth it if you live near heavy snowfall.
What To Consider Before Buying A Snowblower
There are two main power sources for snow blowers: electricity and gasoline.
Snow blowers powered by electricity (including batteries) are generally lightweight and can be easily started with the push of a button. Compared to gas-powered snow blowers, they are smaller and easy to move and store. When not in use in summer, you can easily lift it up and move it into the house. The operating cost of an electric snow blower is lower than that of a gas-powered one. However, the electric cord limits the range of snow blowing. Battery-powered models have limited use time.
Gas-powered snow blowers are more powerful than electric models. Therefore, they can handle deeper, wetter, and heavier snow. Two-stage or three-stage gas-powered models work better on slopes. But they require regular oil and spark plug replacement and maintenance. They are heavier.
Electric start or cord start
A gas-powered snowblower can be started by an electric motor. This is much more convenient than using a pull cable. You can simply plug the snow blower into an outdoor outlet using an extension cord and then press the start button. After it starts, you can unplug it and then go. A battery won’t work well because snow blowers are used during cold weather.
Dead-man control must be used. This feature prevents the auger from turning and the impeller from spinning when the handlebar is lowered. This feature is essential for any snow blower.
There are often four to six speeds for snow blowers with two- or three stages. Many snow blowers have one or more reverse speeds. Speed control allows you to adjust the speed of your drive wheels. This can help prevent snow blowers from getting clogged up with heavy, wet snow.
Single-stage snowblowers use an auger to grip the ground to make the machine forward. 2- and 3-stage snow blowers have a self-propelled system that allows them to adjust the forward and reverse speeds.
If you are looking for an electric snow blower, you must consider the length, specifications, and temperature features of the electric cord. The cord must be flexible and easy to manage in freezing conditions. Choose the cord length according to the length of your driveway.
Although it might not seem important, a headlight is essential for clearing snow during the nighttime in winter because it gets dark much earlier than other seasons.
Clearing width and depth
The snow blower’s cutting width is the amount of snow it can collect in one pass. The machine’s cutting depth is the distance it can go to remove snow and dump it. A snow blower that has a wide cutting width will be more efficient if you have a large yard or driveway. This will reduce the number of passes needed to clear the area. A snow blower with a large cutting depth is necessary to clear large amounts of snow.
Although this is a rare feature, it can prove to be a worthwhile investment if you are a frequent snowblower operator. A regular snow blower provides a foam handle. If you wear a pair of thick winter gloves, a heated handle can be optional.
Tracks vs. wheels
Snow blowers are propelled through the snow using either wheels or tank-like tracks. Snow blowers with tracks are useful when removing dense snow in rough terrains. While tracks are better suited for heavy-duty projects, snow blowers with wheels are usually more affordable, easier to control, and faster. Good wheels are essential for snow removal. To make your job easier, some snowblowers come with powered wheels. Push-propelled, argues-assisted snow blowers are suitable for flat surfaces. Engine-driven wheels and tracks are best for sloped driveways.
For larger machines with two or three stages, it is important to turn quickly.
Some snowblowers have additional controls on the handlebars. These allow you to slow down one wheel in the direction that you wish to go. This allows the snow blower to make sharper turns even in heavy snow.
The discharge chute is very convenient to control the direction of the snow blowing. Even when the machine is running, you can change the direction of your chute with the long handle on some single-stage models. It saves your time and energy.
A joystick chute control is available on some snow blowers of two- or three-stage design. It allows you to adjust the direction of the chute vertically and horizontally.
The crank chute controls on some newer models are easier to use with gloves on, particularly since they have a more modern design.
You should ensure that the joystick/crank is easily accessible from the handlebars.
Snowblow along with the wind, not against it. This will ensure that you don’t lose all of your hard work if the wind blows the snow back into your area.
Make sure to have a tool for clearing the chute. You should not begin clearing the chute before the snow blower is turned off.
Never leave your snow blower unattended. If you have to leave for a minute, turn it off.
Each year, there are thousands of snowblower injuries in the United States. Be careful when operating your machine.
If the engine is running, you should never refuel the machine. You should wait at least 10 minutes before adding more gas to your snowblower. You could be burned by the heat engine.
Add fuel outdoors not indoors, as the vapors are highly flammable, explosive, and dangerous if inhaled.
After finishing, let your snowblower run for several minutes to blow off the snow inside.
Q. Will the snow blower damage my driveways?
A. Yes. A snowblower could cause damage to concrete driveways. If snow levels aren’t high enough, this damage could result from the auger blades of a metal shovel coming in contact with concrete.
Q. What is the best snow blower for ground with rocks?
A. A two-stage snow blower is best for those who have a gravel driveway and/or live on rocky terrain. Its skid shoes are adjustable and can prevent the auger from touching the ground. Shear pins and bolts are used to hold the auger to a drive shaft for safety. These can stop the auger from hitting an object too hard, such as a rock. Always keep the children and pets away from a running snowblower. If you plan to use a snow blower to remove the snow, try to clear possible rocks out of the way before snow falls.
Q. What is the best snow blower for seniors and people with back pain?
A. An electric single-stage or battery-powered snow blower will be the best choice. Because it is lightweight and easy to maneuver. It works great on level ways with light snow that is less than 5 inches.
Q. How to clean my snowblower before storage?
A. It is easy to clean the electric snow blowers. All you need is a small brush and a broom. Each time you finish the snow clearing, let the snowblower run for several minutes until it blows off the snow inside. Then brush the dirt off, let it air dry.
For gas-powered snow blowers, the biggest concern is to remove fuel from the tank. There are two options. First, run all fuel out of the tank. This will prevent it from thickening or leaving deposits. You can add a fuel stabilizer to any fuel left in the machine. This will reduce deposits and thickening.