What Are Five Things To Consider When Purchasing A Snow Blower?

Are you tired of shoveling snow every winter? If so, it might be time to invest in a snow blower! But before you rush out and make a purchase, it’s important to consider a few things. In this article, we will discuss five key factors that you should keep in mind when buying a snow blower. From the size of your driveway to the type of snowfall you typically experience, these considerations will help you find the perfect snow blower to make your winters a little easier. So let’s get started and take the hassle out of snow removal!

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Size and Power

Clearing Width

When choosing a snow blower, one of the first things you need to consider is the clearing width. This refers to the width of the path that the snow blower can clear in one pass. A wider clearing width means that you can clear a larger area in less time, which can be especially beneficial if you have a large driveway or walkway to clear. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a wider clearing width also means a larger and potentially heavier snow blower, so it’s essential to consider your own physical strength and maneuverability when making this decision.

Clearing Depth

In addition to the clearing width, you also need to consider the clearing depth. This refers to the maximum depth of snow that the snow blower can handle. Different models have different clearing depths, so it’s important to assess the average snowfall in your area and choose a snow blower that can effectively handle the amount of snow you typically receive. It’s worth noting that even if a snow blower has a high clearing depth, it may not handle wet, heavy snow as well as it does lighter, drier snow. Therefore, it’s important to consider the type of snow you typically encounter as well.

Engine Power

Engine power is another important factor to consider when purchasing a snow blower. The power of the engine determines how effectively the snow blower can handle heavy and compacted snow. Snow blowers with more powerful engines typically have a higher torque and can throw snow a greater distance. This can be particularly useful if you have a long driveway or need to clear snow from a large area. However, it’s also important to remember that more powerful engines often mean a heavier snow blower, which can affect maneuverability, especially if you have to do a lot of turning or navigating around obstacles.

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Type of Snow Blower

Single-Stage Snow Blower

A single-stage snow blower is a compact and lightweight option that is suitable for clearing smaller areas with light to moderate snowfall. These snow blowers use a single auger to scoop up the snow and throw it out through a discharge chute. While single-stage snow blowers are generally less expensive than their two- and three-stage counterparts, they may struggle with heavy or wet snow and are not ideal for uneven or gravel surfaces.

Two-Stage Snow Blower

Two-stage snow blowers are more powerful and versatile than single-stage models. They feature an auger that scoops up the snow and feeds it to an impeller, which then throws the snow out through the discharge chute. Two-stage snow blowers are designed to handle heavier and denser snow, making them suitable for larger areas and regions with frequent heavy snowfall. They also typically have wider clearing widths and larger engines, offering increased efficiency and faster clearing times.

Three-Stage Snow Blower

For the ultimate in snow clearing power, a three-stage snow blower is the way to go. These machines feature an accelerator in addition to the auger and impeller found in two-stage models. The accelerator breaks up the snow and ice before feeding it to the impeller, resulting in even greater throwing distance and increased efficiency. Three-stage snow blowers are ideal for heavy and compacted snow, making them a great choice for clearing large driveways, commercial areas, and properties with steep inclines.

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Terrain and Driveway Size

Driveway Length and Width

The length and width of your driveway play a significant role in determining the size and type of snow blower you need. If you have a short and narrow driveway, a smaller snow blower with a narrower clearing width may be sufficient. However, for longer driveways or areas that regularly receive heavy snowfall, a larger snow blower with a wider clearing width and higher engine power would be more appropriate. It’s important to consider the dimensions of your driveway to ensure that the snow blower you choose can efficiently handle the task at hand.

Slope and Incline

If your property has a sloped or inclined driveway, it’s crucial to consider the maneuverability and traction capabilities of the snow blower. Steep inclines can make it challenging to control and navigate the snow blower, especially if it’s a larger and heavier model. In such cases, opting for a snow blower specifically designed for inclines or one with features like tracks or wheel chains can greatly enhance stability and maneuverability on slippery surfaces.

Surface Type

The surface type of your driveway also impacts the choice of a snow blower. Smooth, paved surfaces are generally easier to clear than uneven or gravel surfaces. For paved driveways, most snow blowers will be suitable. However, for gravel or uneven surfaces, it’s important to choose a snow blower that offers adjustable skid shoes or other height adjustment options. This allows you to raise the auger slightly, preventing it from picking up and throwing gravel or damaging the surface.

Budget and Affordability

Price Range

When considering which snow blower to purchase, it’s important to establish a budget and determine the price range you are comfortable with. Snow blowers can vary significantly in price, depending on factors such as size, power, and additional features. While it may be tempting to opt for a more affordable option, it’s essential to find a balance between cost and quality. Cheaper snow blowers may not have the durability or features necessary for your specific needs, so it’s worth investing in a reliable model that will last and perform well over time.

Long-Term Cost

Apart from the initial purchase price, it’s important to consider the long-term costs associated with owning a snow blower. These costs include regular maintenance, fuel or electricity consumption, and potential repairs. Some snow blowers may require more frequent or specialized maintenance, while others may have higher fuel consumption rates. It’s important to factor in these ongoing costs to ensure that the snow blower you choose remains affordable in the long run.

Value for Money

While price and long-term costs are important factors, it’s equally crucial to consider the value for money offered by a snow blower. Value for money encompasses not only the initial investment and ongoing costs but also the quality, performance, and features of the snow blower. Researching and comparing different models’ reviews and customer feedback can help gauge the overall satisfaction and value experienced by other users. It’s worth considering reputable brands with a proven track record of producing reliable and high-performing snow blowers.

Features and Functions

Snow Discharge Chute

The snow discharge chute is an essential feature to consider when purchasing a snow blower. This is the mechanism through which the snow is expelled from the machine. Some snow blowers offer adjustable chutes, allowing you to control the direction and angle at which the snow is thrown. This can be particularly useful when clearing driveways or walkways, as it allows you to direct the snow away from areas you want to keep clear, such as entrances or windows.

Adjustable Speed

Many snow blowers offer adjustable speed settings, which allow you to control the pace at which the machine moves. Being able to adjust the speed is especially useful in situations where the snow is deep, heavy, or densely packed. Slowing down the speed can provide better control and prevent the snow blower from becoming overwhelmed. Conversely, increasing the speed is beneficial when clearing lighter, powdery snow, as it enables faster and more efficient clearing.

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Electric Start

While not a necessity, an electric start feature can greatly enhance the ease of use and convenience of a snow blower. Electric start allows you to start the engine with the simple push of a button, eliminating the need for manual pulling of a recoil starter. This is particularly advantageous on cold winter mornings when starting a gasoline-powered snow blower can be more challenging. Electric start is also beneficial for individuals who may have difficulty with physical exertion or manual pulling.

Ease of Use

Weight and Maneuverability

When choosing a snow blower, it’s important to consider its weight and maneuverability. Heavier snow blowers may be more difficult to maneuver and control, especially if you have to make tight turns or navigate around obstacles. Lighter models are generally easier to handle, but they may lack the necessary power to handle heavy snowfall or dense snow. It’s important to find a balance between weight and power that suits your specific needs and capabilities.

Control Interface

The control interface of a snow blower plays a significant role in its overall ease of use. Look for models that have intuitive and ergonomic controls that are easy to understand and operate. Clear and labeled buttons or levers can streamline the operation process, allowing you to focus on clearing the snow without having to decipher complex controls. Additionally, some snow blowers may offer features like heated handles, which provide added comfort and ease of use in cold weather conditions.

Start-Up and Shutdown

The ease of starting up and shutting down a snow blower can greatly impact the overall user experience. Electric start models offer the convenience of a push-button start, while those with recoil starters may require manual pulling to start the engine. It’s important to consider your own physical capabilities and preferences when it comes to starting mechanisms. Similarly, easy-to-follow shutdown procedures can help ensure safe and efficient operation, as well as extend the lifespan of the snow blower.

Noise Level and Emissions

Noise Output

Snow blowers, especially those with gasoline-powered engines, can be quite noisy. The noise level produced by a snow blower can be a significant factor to consider, particularly if you live in close proximity to neighbors or sensitive environments. Electric snow blowers tend to be quieter compared to gas-powered models, but it’s still essential to check the noise specifications before making a purchase. Some manufacturers offer noise-dampening features, such as insulated housing or mufflers, which can help reduce the noise level significantly.

Environmental Impact

As awareness of environmental issues increases, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of the snow blower you choose. Gasoline-powered snow blowers emit greenhouse gases and contribute to air pollution. If minimizing your carbon footprint is a priority, you may want to consider electric snow blowers, which produce zero emissions during use. Additionally, some electric models may be more energy-efficient, resulting in lower power consumption and reduced environmental impact.

Emission Regulations

Before purchasing a snow blower, familiarize yourself with any emission regulations or restrictions in your area. Some regions have specific emission standards that must be met by outdoor power equipment like snow blowers. It’s important to ensure that the snow blower you choose complies with these regulations to avoid any potential legal issues. Checking the product specifications or consulting with local authorities can provide clarity on the emission standards applicable in your area.

Brand Reputation and Customer Reviews

Popular Brands

When it comes to purchasing a snow blower, considering the reputation of the brand is important. Established brands often have a track record of producing reliable and high-quality snow blowers. Research popular brands known for their snow blowers and evaluate their reputation in terms of performance, durability, and customer satisfaction. Well-known brands may also have a wider network of authorized service centers, ensuring easier access to maintenance and repairs if needed.

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Customer Feedback

Reading customer reviews and feedback can provide valuable insights into the real-world performance and reliability of a snow blower. Genuine customer reviews can shed light on the pros and cons of a specific model, helping you make an informed decision. Pay attention to comments about ease of use, clearing ability, reliability, and long-term durability. Look for patterns in the feedback to gauge the overall satisfaction level of customers who have purchased the snow blower you are considering.

Warranty

A reliable warranty can offer peace of mind and protection against potential defects or malfunctions. When purchasing a snow blower, check the warranty information provided by the manufacturer. Consider the length of the warranty, as well as what it covers and any limitations or exclusions. A longer warranty period and comprehensive coverage may indicate that the manufacturer has confidence in the quality and durability of their product. Additionally, some manufacturers offer extended warranty options, which can further enhance the value and reassurance of your purchase.

Maintenance and Durability

Routine Maintenance

Proper maintenance is essential to keep your snow blower running smoothly and extend its lifespan. When considering a snow blower, review the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines and requirements. Some models may require more frequent or specialized maintenance, while others may have simple and straightforward maintenance procedures. Key maintenance tasks often include oil changes, spark plug replacements, and general cleaning. Ensure that you are comfortable with the maintenance requirements and that they fit into your schedule and abilities.

Longevity and Build Quality

Durability and build quality are crucial factors when purchasing a snow blower. You want a machine that can withstand the rigors of clearing snow year after year. Look for snow blowers that are constructed with sturdy materials and have a reputation for long-lasting performance. Heavy-duty components, such as reinforced augers and durable housing, can indicate a higher build quality. Reading customer reviews and feedback can also provide insights into the overall longevity and durability experienced by other users.

Availability of Spare Parts

Over time, it’s inevitable that some parts of your snow blower may require replacement or repair. When considering a snow blower, check the availability and accessibility of spare parts. Popular brands often have a wider range of available parts, reducing the hassle of sourcing replacements. Additionally, ensuring that authorized service centers or dealers are accessible in your area can provide reassurance that any necessary repairs can be carried out promptly and efficiently.

Safety Features

Auger Safety

The auger, which is responsible for scooping up and moving the snow, can pose a safety risk if not properly managed. Look for snow blowers that offer safety features designed to minimize the risk of injury. Features like auger guards or shields can prevent accidental contact with the spinning blades. Additionally, consider models that offer a dual-stage engagement system, which requires both hands on the handlebars to operate the snow blower. This ensures that your hands are away from the moving parts and enhances overall safety.

Handle Controls

The control handles of a snow blower should be designed to prioritize user safety and comfort. Look for models that have ergonomic handle designs that are easy to grip and control. Some snow blowers offer features like heated handles, which not only enhance comfort but also help prevent frostbite or numbness during extended use in cold weather. Additionally, models with user-friendly controls, such as conveniently placed lever or button positions, can ensure safe and intuitive operation.

Safety Switches

Safety switches are an important feature to consider when purchasing a snow blower. These switches are designed to shut off the engine or auger in certain situations to prevent accidents or injuries. For example, some snow blowers have an auger control bar switch that must be engaged for the auger to operate. Releasing the control bar will cause the auger to stop, providing an immediate safety mechanism. Similarly, an engine kill switch can quickly shut off the engine in case of emergencies or if the snow blower needs to be stopped abruptly.

In conclusion, when purchasing a snow blower, it’s important to consider factors such as the size and power of the machine, the type of snow blower that best suits your needs, the terrain and size of your driveway, your budget and affordability, the features and functions that enhance convenience and efficiency, the ease of use, the noise level and emissions, the brand reputation and customer reviews, the maintenance and durability of the snow blower, as well as the safety features it offers. By carefully analyzing these aspects, you can make an informed decision and choose a snow blower that will effectively and reliably clear the snow from your property for years to come.

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