The Best Snowblower for Me! Which one should I Buy?
If you’ve been shoveling snow by hand or have been coaxing an older snowblower to make it one more year, then this would be a good time to upgrade. Since there is a wide range of choice available, you should do your research before making a buying decision.
What kind of snow do you get?
It’s one of the first things to think about — how heavy the snow is where you live. A light-duty snowblower should set you back around $300 if you buy new. One that can handle a couple of feet of snow each day can cost five times as much. You also need to think about the texture of the snow that you get. Wet, slushy snow requires more power than snow that is the fluffy, powdery kind. If you use a lightweight machine for wet, slushy snow, you can end up with clogs.
Single-stage models: These are lightweight machines capable of clearing snow under 6 inches. These machines do not come with powered wheels. You can choose from corded or cordless electric models for the lightest and smallest machines. If you have a deck or patio to clean, you’ll need to consider an electric snowblower.
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Single-stage snowblowers come with gas engines, as well. These are more powerful than electric units, but can be much heavier. They are able to clear wider paths, and can go farther than the electric models.
Two-stage snowblowers: If you get slushy snow or anything over 8 inches, you need the power of a two-stage machine driven by a gas engine. These are called two-stage blowers because there are two separate stages of operation — while an auger picks up the snow, an impeller spits it out at high-speed.
Three-stage snowblowers: These are even more powerful than two-stage blowers — there is an accelerator next to the pickup auger that clears the way.
Then, there is the lightest kind of design of all: the snow shovel. It is right for very small spaces — decks and steps, for instance.
What kind of features should you look for?
Once you make up your mind about the right kind of basic design to get, it’s time to think about the extras. These are the features that you cannot do without.
Heated handgrips: Every snowblower these days comes with a dead man’s switch — the snowblower shuts down unless you hold the handgrip. This could be hard, however, when the grips are freezing cold. You need heat. You mustn’t think that your gloves will keep your hands comfortable; they never do if you’re gripping a cold metal bar.
Electric start: If you’re getting a gas-powered machine, you want push-button start; you don’t want to be messing with the pull-cord on a freezing cold day.
Drift cutters: Compacted snowdrifts can make it hard to cut through on a regular snowblower. If you tend to get snowdrifts, you need a special feature: blowers equipped with drift cutters can make short work of these difficult areas.
Multi-speeds: You want several forward speeds and one reverse. Speeds can be very useful when you have to deal with heavy snow.
Powered wheels: If you have areas that slope, or a large area to cover, you don’t want to have to push your machine along. Powered wheels go a long way in making life easier.
Direction changers: A joystick chute control can help you direct exactly where you’re throwing the snow. A joystick helps you operate the snow thrower chute with thick gloves on.
Make sure you don’t make these mistakes picking a snowblower
Don’t buy the wrong size: A heavy, three stage machine with a 27″ clearing path won’t help you if you have a small driveway and garden. Not only would it be hard to maneuver, you wouldn’t know where to store it. A small, 16 inch model would be the wrong idea in a large home.
Make sure that the machine is easy to handle: A snow thrower that’s slow and clunky can make life miserable for you. You need to buy one that’s the right size and height for the person who will be operating it. The unit that is designed to follow your walking speed can be even better.
Finally, remember that you don’t always need to set out looking for a brand-new unit. It makes sense to hunt around a little for a lightly used unit that can simply get the job done.