If you are on this page, chances are you want to buy a snow blower. This buying guide will takes you through all the important questions you need to consider before you choose the one that matches the most to your needs.
Why to Buy a Snow Blower?
There are plenty of reasons why you might consider buying a snow blower. The most obvious one is plenty of snow. If you live in an area with plenty of snowy days during the wintertime, a snow blower could save you a lot of time and energy comparing to manual shoveling.
There are also health considerations. Now you might say: but shoveling snow is a good exercise! This is true, but not for everyone. You might have problems with your back, the doctor might specifically banned lifting heavy things etc. In such cases the good old manual way is simply not an option and you need a proper snow blowing tool for that.
Things to Consider Before Choosing a Snow Blower
You should ask yourself a few question before deciding on the type of snow blower you will buy. The most important ones are:
- Amount of snow you need to deal with regularly. It is always better to over estimate as you don’t want to end up buying a product that will be useless during heavier snowfalls.
- The size of the area you need to clean
- The surface of the area you need to clean (asphalt, wood, gravel, lawn etc.)
- Type of snow you regularly need to deal with
Types of Snow Blowers
There are quite a few types of snow blowers you can chose from so it is easy to get lost. In the followings we will cover all the categories you might meet during your research of snow blowing tools.
Electric Snow Shovels
These are the most basic type of (not manual) snow removal tools but depending on your circumstances this might be exactly what you need. They are light (around 10-15 lbs) and can be stored in a small area.
Electric snow shovels can be particularly useful if you don’t have too thick snow to deal with (maximum 5-6″ deep) and you don’t need to clean a large area. They are typically 12-13″ wide, therefore could be perfect to clear pathways from your door or your patio, nevertheless we wouldn’t recommend them for 2 car driveways.
Besides of gravels they can be used on many various surfaces, but due to their limited power they are not the best choice for heavy or icy snow.
They come in both corded and cordless version. For the corded ones you need to have separately a proper outdoor extension cord. The cordless snow shovels you can carry around, the only limit is the battery life. Depending on the exact type of battery and the kind of snow you are dealing with, these tools can be used for 20-45 minutes when fully charged.
If you decide to buy a cordless electric snow shovel, we recommend sticking to a particular brand if you have other cordless garden tools around the house (like cordless lawn movers). These batteries can usually be used for other tools of the same brand, therefore you can save some money by not having to buy the battery again.
The disadvantage of the electric snow shovels is that they only throw the snow a few feet away, furthermore you cannot control the direction of the snow. They do not have a chute, the snow is being thrown in the direction of use.
If you decide to choose such tool, in our website you can find a great review on the best electric snow shovels that might help you further. In addition you can also immediately order those products from Amazon.
Electric Snow Blowers
In case you need to deal with not too heavy snow up to 8-10″ depth and you don’t need to clear a very large area (up to 3-400 sqft), an electric snow blower could be an ideal choice for you.
They have the size of a lawn mower so they need a slightly bigger storage space than the electric snow shovels. At the same time they also require only minimal maintenance and are also very quiet.
The clearing path of a typical electric snow blower is around 18-20″ which means you can clear the same area faster.
One of the big advantage of them vs the snow shovels is that they do have a chute, which is typically 180 degrees adjustable. This allows you to control the direction of the snow. Bear in mind that you won’t be able to throw the snow with them in a great distance. This typically means maximum 20 feet away.
They also come in corded and cordless, battery powered models. Once again keep in mind that you need to have an outdoor extension cord in order to operate the corded ones.
They are great to be used in relatively level, solid surfaces like driveways and patios, nevertheless they are not recommended on gravel and lawn. Also you have to push them by your own power, so we don’t recommend them if you have steep slopes.
If you need some more idea on specific models, we invite you to read our review on the best electric snow blowers we recommend.
Gas Powered Snow Blowers
Within the category of gas powered snow blowers we can distinguish single-stage, two-stage and three-stage models.
The single-stage ones can be used under similar circumstances like the electric snow blowers. At the same time due to the gas powered engine they are more powerful and can deal with a bit more compacted snow as well.
Comparing to the electric models they are also heavier (depending on the model around 60-80 lbs) and due to the gas engine, also louder. Although the engine is more powerful, you still won’t be able to blow the snow much further than 20″ with these machines.
They are not difficult to maintain as they only have a few moving parts. What you need to take care about is that you should always use new, sealed gas as a fuel. Using old gas might harm your machine. This is because old gas might absorb moisture from the air. If this moisture then gets into the carburetor, the engine won’t start. This is true for all types of gas snow blowers.
The two- and three-stage snow blowers are the type of equipment you need if you have to deal with deep snow and you want to have it thrown further away. The 2-stage ones first grab the snow and push it into the center part of the machine. Then the impeller gets the snow and pushes it out through the chute. The snow blowing distance can be increased to 40-50 feet by this method.
These snow blowers are almost always self propelled. This means that besides of their weight they are easy to push and also can be used on slopes. Also their front scraper bar can be lifted, therefore are safe to be used on gravel.
If you live in an area with regular heavy snowfall, you really do need at least a 2-stage snow blower as they can easily handle 15-20″ snow. In terms of clearing with there are lot of different models on the market which typically come between 20-30″.
The main difference between a 2- and 3-stage snow blower is that the 3-stage ones have an extra auger which breaks down heavy snow into smaller pieces. If you regularly have to deal with heavy, icy snow, you might consider going for a three-stage model.
We hope that the above buying guide helped you answering your questions about how to choose a snow blower. Please make sure you also check our related product reviews. On behalf of the Gadgets4Gardens team we wish you a happy winter season!