Which Snow Blower Is the Best One For Your Needs?

Do you live in an area which has enough snow each year that you constantly have to shovel it from your driveway and walkways? If so you will know what a back breaking and time consuming job it can be using a shovel. You will of course have thought about buying a snow blower or snow thrower as they are properly called. Or you already have a snow thrower but now need to replace it because it is broken, worn out or you perhaps need a larger more powerful one or maybe a smaller easier to handle model. Snow blowers do not actually blow the snow which is why their proper name is "snow thrower". Snow is ejected at speed from the chute or out of the front of the machine either by the speed of the auger or on a two stage machine, by an impeller inside the output chute.

So What Snow Blower are Available to Suite Your Needs?

There are four types of snow blower or thrower which will be of use to most domestic property owners. Starting with the smallest and going up in size, these are as follows: –

  • Electric snow shovels. Small electric machines similar in size to a shovel with around a 12-inch cutting width and usually of 7 to 9 amps in power
  • Electric snow blowers. Larger electric machines usually with wheels and around 18 inches cutting width of 12 to 15 amps
  • Gas powered single stage snow blowers. Larger than the electric machines and with bigger wheels. Snow is ejected through the chute by speed of the auger blade
  • Gas powered two stage snow blowers. Top end domestic machines, two stage snow blowers cut through the snow the same as other machines, but the snow is then ejected from the chute by an impeller inside the output chute rather than by the speed of the auger

and, for clearing really large areas such a long driveway

  • Snow blowers and plow attachments. Attachments for garden tractors and even for on-road utility vehicles

What Job is each Type of Snow Blower Best For?

  • Electric Snow Shovel. An electric powered snow shovel is great for clearing small areas, steps, decks and patios. They are light weight and very easy to move around. They are limited to being able to clear snow up to about 150 feet maximum away from the electrical outlet and no more than about 4 to 6 inches of fresh light snow in one pass
  • Electric Powered Snow Blowers. Electric powered snow blowers tend to be of around 18-inches cutting width and usually have a power rating of between 12 and 15 amps. These electric machines are good for clearing larger areas of snow up to the size of a 3 car driveway and accompanying sidewalks. They tend to be rated to be able to clear up to 10 inches of snow at a time but 4 to 6-inches depth of snow is more realistic. They are limited to being able to clear snow up to about 150 feet maximum from the electrical outlet.
  • Gas Powered Single Stage Snow Blowers. Gas powered single stage snow throwers are usually 21 to 24-inches and are rated to clear around 12-inches of snow at a time but most are happy with removing 6 to 8 inches in one pass. Single stage gas blowers tend to be powered by 4-cycle engines nowadays rather than 2-cycle engines, thus eliminating the need for adding oil to the gas. 4-cycle engines are also quieter than 2-cycle engines and also tend to have more torque which means that they cope better with tougher conditions. Single stage snow throwers tend to require the operator to push them as the wheels are not driven but saying that, they do drag themselves along by the cutting action of the auger.
  • Gas Powered Two Stage Snow Blowers. These are the top end machines for clearing areas around domestic properties. These blowers are sized from 24 to 33-inch cutting width and are self-propelled with up to 6 forward speeds and reverse. Two stage snow throwers are also able to cope better with wet snow as it is driven from the chute by a secondary impeller and are also able to clear snow of up to 24-inches in-depth. These two stage snow throwers are large in size which means that they are not as flexible to use as smaller single stage or electric machines and they also need substantial storage space.
  • Larger Snow Blowers – Attachments. Attachments such as snow throwers and snow plows are available for garden tractors and for utility vehicles.

Which Type of Snow Blower is the Best One for Your Property?

This will depend on the amount of snow you normally have and how large the area is that you need to clear. So, the larger the area, the larger, more powerful the snow blower you will need. After all, you do not want to be clearing the snow all day as there are better things you could be doing.

  • Steps, Decking, Patio, Paths etc. Really the only option for these smaller areas is a normal shovel or an electric powered snow shovel.
  • Small Sized Area – 3 Cars plus Walkways . If you have a small driveway for up to two cars, plus side walks around the house then an electric shovel may do but I suggest an electric powered snow blower of around 18-inches would be more ideal. A driveway of more than two cars and you definitely need an electric snow blower and not an electric shovel. As with an electric lawn mower, the electric cord can be a problem and so care is needed when using the blower not to cut the cord.
  • Medium Sized Area – 2 to 5 Car Driveway plus Walkways. If you can get electricity to the limit of where you need to clear the snow then I suggest an electric powered snow thrower would be ideal as there is no gas required, no starting problems, easier to store than a gas blower, easier to handle and when you want to use it you just get it out, plug it in and off you go. A gas powered single stage machine will do a similar job to an electric one and you will be able to clear snow where there is no access to electricity within 150 feet. I suggest a single stage gas powered machine will be useful for a driveway which will take up to five cars plus walkways.
  • Large Sized Area – Larger Than 5 car Driveway. If you have an area larger than 5 cars or experience regular heavy snow falls then you will need a gas powered two stage blower. Remember also that two stage snow throwers have driven wheels and up to 6 forward speeds plus reverse, and so are easier on your muscles, back and lungs than electric or single stage machines where the auger is what drags you through the snow.
  • Massive Sized Area – Long Driveway, Large Parking Area etc. If you have a very large such as a long driveway or parking for ten plus cars and own a lawn tractor, ATV or compact tractor then attachments are available to enable you to clear the snow from the comfort of the seat of any of these vehicles. Attachments are also available for on road utility vehicles such as a pick up truck but unless your property is miles from the main road then you will not need to consider these.