Snow Blowers: How to Choose

Learn about the types of snow blowers and which one will best suit your needs

If you've learned your lesson this winter, and are finally going to invest in that snow blower you’ve been thinking about for years, make sure you invest wisely.  To choose the perfect snow blower for your needs, you have to understand that it’s not the type or amount of snow that dictates the type of snow blower you need.  Rather, it’s the clearing surface that you have to look at. 

Electric snow blowers are capable of clearing light snow from sidewalks and small driveways. These extremely lightweight machines are commonly used on decks and steps where larger gas-powered models simply don’t fit.  Best of all, electric snow blowers are maintenance free, eliminating the need for oil changes and fill ups. All you need is a flexible outdoor extension cord and a nearby electrical outlet to get started.

Single stage snow blowers, very simply put, only throw the snow once. A gas-powered engine spins an auger that scoops up the snow and throws it out the chute.  Since the auger actually contacts the ground, you should not use a single stage snow thrower on gravel surfaces, unless your goal is to hurl small rocks at your neighbors.  Single-stage snow blowers are typically 19 - 22 inches wide. The limiting factor, however, is their height – not the width. If you’re frequently battling 12-inch snow drifts, go with a two-stage snow blower instead.

Two-stage snow blowers, on the other hand, throw the snow twice. First, a metal auger scoops up the snow and ice. Then, a high-speed impeller throws it out through the discharge chute. The auger on a two-stage snow blower doesn't touch the ground, so they can be used on gravel and concrete. Plus, they feature taller buckets capable of inhaling snow drifts.  If you need to clear large, deep expanses of snow, you’ll appreciate the wider and more powerful two-stage snow blower instead.

Consider these factors before making your snow blower purchase, and you will have the perfect snow blower for your job.