A snow blower's features are something that can be considered a necessity, depending on your requirements. They appear to be simple attributes that are used to operate the snow blower, but in reality, they are complex in nature, and it is preferable if you can understand them properly. Once you've mastered the features of a snow blower, it will make your life a lot easier.
Snowblowers now come with a slew of extra features to make the job easier and more comfortable. I will list some common features found in almost every snow blower and some new, less-common ones. Here are a few to keep an eye out for when chopping snow.
1. Electric Start
If your snow blower has been sitting in the garage for too long and refuses to start in the bitter cold, some engineers have saved you from yet another headache by adding an electric start to the snowblowers. Most one-stage snow blowers lack this feature, but a few exceptions exist, such as the Toro SnowMaster series. Simply plug an outdoor extension cord into the designated slot and press the electric start button to start any one-stage snow blower.
In the case of two-stage or higher snowblowers, you will need to take some steps. Make sure your key is inserted first, then move your throttle to the run position, the choke position, connect your power cord, prime it three times, and simply push the button to start.
2. Discharge Chute Controls
It is essential to have control over where the snow is thrown. For example, if the space you are clearing is large but your chute's throwing distance is short, you'll just have to do extra work by clearing the snow again and again. A manual chute controller (where you have to reach over and change the chute direction) doesn't seem like a big deal for small driveways.
For longer driveways, however, I would recommend snowblowers with longer throw distances and simple chute controls. Imagine controlling the chute and deflector direction with one hand while steering with the other. Doesn't that sound amazing? You will also save time. New chute controls, such as joysticks, levers, and electric controls, are being added to make them easier to use.
3. Speed Controls
I am pretty sure almost all of you don’t like the process of straining your back while pushing the heavy snowblower forward. It is inconvenient and takes too much time and energy. While most snowblowers only offer one speed, you might want to opt for multiple speeds for convenience, especially if you have a slope to your driveway.
Having multiple speed options at your hand is very suitable for different situations. For example, during light snowfalls, you can increase the speed of your machine to chow down on the snow, which will save up a lot of your time. However, if a snowstorm arrives and the accumulated snow in your driveway is heavy and wet, you can reduce the speed of the snow blower and give it some time to properly clean your pavement.
4. Heated Handlebars
This is more of a luxury feature than a necessity, but if you intend to be out in the cold for an extended period of time, you might want to reconsider this option for the sake of your hands. If you are unable to control your snow blower properly due to cold hands, this can be a problem. It is much easier to use your machine to its full potential with heated handlebars.
Headlights also come under the luxury features, it all depends on what time of the day you are going to use your snowblower, but a headlight can be very useful since the sun hardly ever comes out in winter. It is a little gimmicky because you can use a headlamp if you're snow blowing at night, but it is still useful if you ever go out of batteries.
6. Power Steering
Power steering is one of the most important features of a snow blower. If you have ever seen a two-stage or three-stage snow blower, you might tell how heavy that thing is just by looking at it. Now imagine making a U-turn with that jumbo in heavy, wet snow appears to be a difficult task, doesn’t it?
This is where power steering comes into play. This function slows down one of the wheels of the machine so you can easily maneuver it to your desired position. In some cases, it can be operated from below the handlebar and nowadays automatic steerings are also coming into the market, in which the snow blower itself detects a turn.
7. Airless Tires
This is a new feature that Troy-Bilt introduced in 2017, followed by well-known brands such as Ariens and Cub Cadet. This feature is designed specifically for driveways made of gravel or other uneven platforms. When you're working on such rough terrain, a flat tire is unavoidable. The invention of airless tires has saved people who have to deal with such unpaved surfaces.
8. One-hand Control
This feature is impressive and is becoming more popular in the industry. Most multistage snow blowers have two levers on both handlebars, the right one controlling the auger and the left one controlling the wheels. When you press both levers at the same time, both functions are activated, and once the machine is running, you can remove your left hand from the lever to change the speed or chute direction without the wheels stopping because this feature keeps the lever locked in its place.
Before this feature, people had to stop moving forward just to change the snowblower's speed or the chute's direction because both of their hands were occupied. This new feature makes multitasking much easier and less time-consuming.
9. Skid Shoes
Another feature built for unpaved surfaces. Most two-stage snowblowers have this feature since the auger doesn’t touch the ground, you have to calibrate it. Skid shoes are needed to safeguard the snowblower from all the gravel and debris that is on the ground. You can also adjust their height according to your liking and convenience.
If there are any clogs inside the chute, never stick your hand in there. Instead, use the shovel to scoop out any ice chunks, rocks, or other debris. It easily attaches to the snowplow. Keep in mind that you should only take out the clogs when the snowblower is turned off.
With this, we come to the end of this article. Hopefully, this article which addresses the different features of a snow blower was informative enough for you to choose your next snow blower. Thank you and take care!
About the Author
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.