How to Buy a Snowblower – A Detailed Guide

You are probably reading this because you just finished breaking your back shoveling your driveway for the 50th time, and you promised yourself that you wouldn't do it again. If you want to use a snowblower but are not sure which one is the perfect choice for you, you are at the right place as here we have come up with a quick guide on how to buy a snowblower.

The right snowblower can make the tough task of snow removal bearable and a good one can last for twenty years or more. Before purchasing a snowblower, you will have to understand some key vocabulary terms. With some basic mechanical knowledge, you will be able to make a better decision.

Important Parts of a Snowblower:

1. Auger

The auger is a corkscrew-looking part that sucks up all the snow; in single-stage snow blowers, the auger does all this work, taking in the snow and then channeling it to the discharge chute.

Auger

2. Discharge Chute

The discharge chute shoots, blows, and throws snow out of the way.

Discharge Chute

3. Impeller

The impeller helps push snow through to the discharge chute. The added help from the impeller gives you more power and efficiency when clearing snow and is better for heavier jobs.

Impeller

You can choose between a gas engine or an electric motor model that works with a battery or a power cord.

Consider These Factors While Buying Snowblower

Choosing the right snowblower comes down to three main factors;

1. How much snow do you get?

More snow necessitates a blower with a larger auger, also known as clearing. Small augers are best for light snowfall under 4 inches. Medium-sized augers can handle more, but we recommend 4 to 8 inches for the best results. The augers with the largest clearing can handle up to 24 inches of snow and are ideal if you consistently get more than 6 inches of snow.

2. How large is the area that needs to be cleared?

A smaller blower should suffice if you're only clearing a patio walkway or deck, but for driveways, we recommend a dual-stage blower (we'll explain this in a moment) because it provides the most power and efficiency.

3. What is your terrain like?

If you have hills slopes or gravel, certain types of blowers will handle these obstacles better. To avoid surface damage, only use single-stage blowers with classic scrapers on decks or porches. You should also consider plow piles, which are the large mounds of snow left at the end of your driveway by the plow. You will need a blower that can cut through them without stalling.

After you've considered those factors, it's time to look at the various types of snow blowers available to see which one best suits your needs.

Types of Snowblowers:

  • Corded Electric
  • Battery-powered
  • Single-stage Blower
  • Two-stage or Dual-stage Blower
  • Three-stage Blower

1. Corded Electric

While it may seem convenient to simply plugin and go, the cord can limit your clearing distance, makes handling difficult and dangerous if you run over the cord, and it's easier to shovel. These blowers are in the range of $150-$300 and are recommended for 0-4 inches of snow. Also, if your power goes out so does your blower.

2. Battery-powered

These are in the same price range as the electric blowers with the same 0-4 inches snow height recommendation. They're light, easy to handle, and quiet. They're best for decks, porches, and walkways. There are no powered wheels on these guys, so you'll have to do all of the work propelling the machine forward. The auger will pick up gravel in its path and spit it elsewhere. If you get more than 4 inches of snow, expect to make several passes with this blower.

3. Single-stage Snowblower

A single-stage blower is recommended for 4-8 inches of snow and it costs around $300-$800. This blower is still relatively light and easy to handle and offers more power than electric motors. This type is mostly prefer for sidewalks, porches, decks, and perhaps a small driveway they'll clear a larger area than electric blowers. But they aren't the best for slopes as they'll pull sideways.

4. Two-stage or Dual-stage Snowblower

Have you got a lot of ground to cover? Then a two-stage snowblower is much recommended for this case. Two-stage or dual-stage blowers provide the most power and efficiency because they have an impeller that speeds things up by pulling snow from the auger and pushing it through the chute. This blower has a huge price range of $500-$3,000 and is recommended for 6-12 inches of snow. They also have engine-driven wheels, so you don't have to do all the pushing and hills are easier to handle. 

Dual-stage blowers also have skid shoes that act as a buffer between the bottom of the snowblower and the surface you're clearing. You can raise the skid shoes so the auger doesn't touch the ground, making these the only blowers that can handle gravel. They are also the best for dealing with the dreaded plow pile at the end of your driveway.

5. Three-stage Snowblower

Three-stage setups are similar to two-stage blowers as they both have a high-speed impeller and an auger, but here they also have an added accelerator in front that helps break down the materials faster. They are designed to handle snow up to 18 inches. The way this type of setup is built allows the machine to process more dense snow and more amount of snow while also giving it the longevity it requires.

Some Extra Features To Consider in Snow Blowers:

Snowblowers now have a variety of extra features to make the job easier and more comfortable. Here are a few to look for when chopping snow.

1. Electric Start

Rather than pulling on the starter cord to start the engine, you can plug your blower into an outlet and turn it on that way.

2. Clearing Tool

Never use your hand to clean out and shoot safely.

3. Multiple Speeds

Most dual blowers have multiple speeds to avoid clogging when plowing through a piece; though single-stage models only have one speed.

4. Chute Control

Do you want to make the process easier? Consider the concept of controls. You will be adjusting the chute frequently, so make sure the control is comfortable for you. If you use the manual shoot control, you will have to stop the machine and adjust the chute yourself. However, some models come with controls you can use from the driver's seat, such as a long handle on single-stage models or a joystick on dual-stage blowers.

5. Operator Control

Some dual-stage snow blowers have an operator controller that allows you to steer the wheels and auger with one hand while using the other to control the chute.

6. Easy-turn Capability

Dual-stage blowers up the ante in terms of extra features and convenience, such as heated handgrips and headlights, but the most important feature of dual-stage blowers is their ability to turn easily. Easy turn capability help the outer wheel to turn faster than the inside wheel, making it easier to turn your blower. It's usually a set of triggers near the handle that you squeeze in the direction you want to turn.

Conclusion

That's a wrap on how to buy a snowblower. Investing in the wrong type of snow blower or just an expensive piece that is not worth the penny will be annoying. But after scrolling this article, we hope that it was insightful such that you can now choose your best snow blower.

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About the Author

Tim

I am Tim, a weather enthusiast who loves to watch hurricanes and all other harsh weather conditions. I studied B.Sc(Meteorology) at the University of Miami. With excellent knowledge of Weather Forecasting, Meteorology, and Environmental Science, I am currently working in San Francisco as a Meteorologist. Also, I am a member of The Weather Channel and AccuWeather. In this blog, I will write a detailed review of Weather instruments that you need for survival and other activities.