In most areas of the country a snow blower is often considered a comfortable luxury, but living in the northeast, it’s hard to imagine getting through a winter without one. Ultimately, selecting the right unit for you really just comes down to how much power you need to get the job done. Today we’ll help you weigh your options and pick the machine that best suits your needs.
Single stage snow blowers, work by having an auger in direct contact with the surface of the ground, which directs snow through a discharge chute. They come in both electric and gas powered models and are very lightweight, making them easier to maneuver. Since their auger is in direct contact with the earth however, they are really only suited for paved surfaces where they won’t risk picking up rocks and debris. Single stage snow blowers are primarily intended for less than 8 inches of snowfall and driveways less than 60 feet in length, so if you have a relatively short driveway, this should be all you need to get through the winter.
For most driveways, a two stage snow blower will be the right machine for the job. Two stage snow blowers also use an auger to collect the snow, but an impeller fan then propels it out your chute. This allows the machine to move more snow, more quickly and to discharge it further, allowing for greater areas of coverage and more efficient snow removal. Two stage models also boast engine-driven wheels to help with handling and require less force on the part of the operator.
Three-stage snow blowers work a lot like two-stage machines, except with an accelerator that dramatically increases the rate at which the auger moves snow. If you have a really big driveway, you may want to consider going with a three stage model, but they’re pretty heavy duty and are typically only necessary for moving 18 or more inches of snow from very large areas.
Two and three stage models will typically feature a range of features that can make your work a little easier. Power steering can greatly improve maneuverability while single handed operation can make adjustments on the go a breeze. Remote or joystick chute controls can make directing your snow flow a lot easier and heated handgrips can go a long way to staving off the cold.
While snowblowing might not be anyone’s favorite thing to do first thing on a winter morning, it sure beats shoveling! Considering your driveway size and typical snow removal needs will ensure you select the snow blower that is best suited for you.