Compbrella Guide for Choosing the Best Snow Blowers On the Market
For some, clearing snow from your driveway is something you do occasionally in the winter when snow falls. For others, if you don’t clear the snow, you don’t leave your home. Depending on how much snow you get and how much area you’ll have to clear, you may just need a snow shovel or a single stage blower, but if you’re inundated with blizzards every year you’ll have to take things up a notch. This guide will help you figure out exactly what you need.
How do snow blowers work?
Snowblowers work by using an auger drill bit to suck up snow off the ground and blowing it out a back chute. This is the basic function of all snowblowers. In addition, certain models will also have an impeller, which is a fan that increases the distance the snow will be blown, and an accelerator which pushes snow from the auger to the impeller, making it more powerful.
What types of Snow Blowers can you find?
Although all snowblowers have the same function, not all are equally as powerful.
- Single Stage: This is the most simple type of snowblower. They consist of just an auger that scoops and disperses the snow. Usually, they are gas-powered and are the lightest, smallest, and easiest to handle snowblower. They are meant to deal with up to 8-12 inches of snowfall. Single-stage snow blowers are not recommended to be used on gravel surfaces due to the risk of injury from flying gravel.
- Two Stage: These snowblowers are more powerful and meant to handle up to 18 inches of snow. What makes these machines more powerful is the high-speed impeller that pushes snow through the auger, expelling the snow faster and farther and keeping the intake unclogged. Since these machines do not touch the ground, they can be used on gravel and concrete surfaces.
- Three Stage: These are the most powerful and efficient snow blowers you can buy. In addition to the auger and impeller functions, these snow blowers have an accelerator that chops and pushes the snow through the machine. This causes the snow to launch out the chute at high speeds. Three stage snow blowers can plow through over 20 inches of snow.
Electric: Electric snow blowers are able to clear light snow from your driveway, roughly less than 12 inches. They are easier to handle than the gas-powered snow blowers and have much less maintenance, but they are less powerful.
What features to look for when shopping for Snow Blowers?
As we’ve already explained, each type of snow blower is meant for different weather condition and this is obviously the most important thing to consider before you make your purchase. Beyond that, there are many possible features that are common for snow blowers you should look for:
- Dead-Man Control: This is a critical safety feature. It’s a lever you hold while operating the snow blower. If you let go of the lever, the snow plower will stop running, making sure no one can just leave it on and hurt someone.
- Long Handle: This is usually found on single stage models and allows you to quickly and easily change the direction of the snow thrown from the discharge chute.
- Electric Start: Many newer gas-powered models also offer an electric starter you can use plugged into an outlet. This is easier than using the pull cord and will extend its life.
- Headlights: This may not seem like a big deal but you’ll thank us for mentioning it when the snow starts to pile up at night and you need to clear your driveway while it’s still dark outside.
- Speeds: Many of the two and three stage snow blowers have four to six forwards speeds. This can prevent the machine from becoming clogged during heavy snow.
- Trigger: This helps you steer more easily by cutting power to the drive wheels while you turn.
- Discharge Chute Control: Chute controls work on multi stage snow blowers the same way the long handle does for single stage models. You can change the direction of the snow as it’s discharged.
Compbrella Pick for Top 3 Snow Blowers
Best Overall: Toro SnowMaster 724 QXE – This single-stage snow blower is one of the fastest, most efficient, and easiest to use snow blower on the market. It has an auger that is powerful enough to match any multi-stage blower while using a patented Personal Pace drive system that matches the machine’s wheels to your pace. It has an easy to use electric start and a joystick chute control that will allow you to get to work fast and deposit that snow as far as you need it to be.
2nd Best: Cub Cadet 2X 26 HP – If you need something a bit more powerful, or if you have a gravel driveway, the Cub Cadet is for you. Its two stage system stands out with its extra features. It has power steering, an electric start, and 16-inch tires that will help you tread through the snow as you go. It may be heavier and slower than the SnowMaster, but when you’re facing over 12 inches of snow, heavy and powerful is the way to go.
Best Value: Toro Power Clear 721 E – If you’re used to relatively easy winters and just need to clear a small driveway or patio, this Toro is the machine for you and it’s light on your pocket too. It’s a single stage blower with an electric start and a very powerful engine for a single stage machine. In addition, it folds up for easier storage and its lightweight frame makes it easy to maneuver.