Best Snow Blowers: Quickly Clear the Path
Get rid of snow without breaking your back with these sturdy and powerful snow blowers
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BY Scott Roepel / LAST UPDATED ON October 9, 2019
Snow can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be quite a hassle. It blankets roads and driveways, making driving and walking difficult and dangerous. Clearing it away with a snow shovel can take a while and is exhausting, but using a snowblower can be quite entertaining. They rapidly collect and remove snow. Here are a few of the best snow blowers for clearing your or your neighbor’s driveway in no time.
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Benefits of Snow Blowers
- Faster. When you use a snow blower, you can clear snow-covered areas much faster than if you did it by hand with a shovel. This lets you clear larger areas and deeper snow in less time.
- Less physical effort. Getting rid of snow by hand with a shovel requires a considerable amount of effort. A snow blower eliminates it because all you have to do is walk behind it and maneuver it into place. This reduces the stress on your arms, back, and legs.
- Increased safety. You can clear more areas and do a better job at clearing the area with a snow blower. This makes walking around on the snow cleared surfaces safer.
Types of Snow Blowers
If you only have a small area to clear, then an electric snow blower will work just fine. They tend to fail on larger properties because you need to have a cord long enough to keep them plugged in during use. They also work well for light to medium snowfalls on smooth or paved surfaces.
What’s nice about these snow blowers is that they require minimal maintenance. They also are lighter, easier to move, and quieter than gas models. Since they don’t require oil changes or fuel, they are cheaper to operate. If you have a small patio or short sidewalk that needs clearing, this type is ideal.
These snow blowers require gasoline to run. You’ll find them in single-, two-, and three-stage models. They also come in a wide variety of widths. They tend to be heavier than comparable electric models because they have all of the typical gas-powered engine components. This means they also require a lot more maintenance to keep all of those parts in running order.
You may find the larger gas-powered models to be hard to maneuver due to their weight and bulk. They also tend to be noticeably louder than the other two types. However, they also provide the greatest amount of power to clear compacted or deep snow.
Battery or Cordless
These snow blowers operate with the use of a high voltage battery to provide power. They come in a variety of widths and stages. This makes them ideal for use on light, moderate, and heavy snow. You’ll find them to be heavier than the corded but lighter than the gas-powered blowers.
These models tend to cost less than the other types of snow blowers, so they’re good for someone who’s on a tight budget. They also come with the added benefit of never worrying about running over the cord and don’t require the maintenance that you’d have to do with a gas-powered model.
Founded in Sweden in 1689, the Husqvarna name is known worldwide as a leading manufacturer of outdoor power equipment. They produce reliable, durable, and high quality machinery. Their product line includes mowers, trimmers, chainsaws, motorcycles, tractors, brush cutters, and cultivators. The Husqvarna 27 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering is a high-quality blower that can power through deep snow.
Briggs & Stratton
Founded in 1908 with headquarters in Wisconsin, Briggs & Stratton manufactures gasoline engines and equipment. The company has expanded to worldwide distribution of outdoor powered and light commercial equipment. The Briggs & Stratton Single Stage Snow Thrower with Snow Shredder Technology and Electric Start is a high-quality piece of machinery that’s easy to use.
Founded in 2004, the Snow Joe brand is known for producing affordable and easy to use snow removal equipment. What started with their first product, the electric snow shovel, has grown to an extensive line of products. The Snow Joe Electric Single Stage Snow Thrower is a decently sized and affordable machine.
Snow Blowers Pricing
- Under $200: The blowers that are in this price range are on the small end. They’re best for single-car driveways, small patios, and sidewalks.
- $200 to $500: The bulk of snow blowers fall in this price range. They are electric, gas, and battery-powered. They’re typically capable of clearing a two-car driveway and sidewalks, which makes them perfect for most homeowners.
- $500 and up: These are the largest snow blowers. You’ll find that most of them are gas-powered. They’re good for large properties with long driveways and extensive areas that need clearing.
Blowers come in one, two, and three stages. All three types use an auger that rotates to pull the snow off of the ground. Then the snow gets expelled out of the chute. A single-stage blower has a corkscrew device as the only moving part. A two-stage blower has the turning corkscrew and an impeller to help break up the snow and force it out of the chute faster and further. A three stage blower adds an accelerator to the process to make these blowers the most efficient.
There are three types of power sources to choose from. There are gas, electric, and battery-powered snow blowers. The majority of models are gas-powered. These machines are loud, require regular maintenance, and need fuel. But they’re the most powerful and effective at clearing snow.
Corded machines can be hooked up to an extension cord and can give you a usable range of about 100 feet. They won’t perform as well as gas machines, and you’ll have a cord to contend with.
Battery-powered blowers are a relatively new technology. They work best on light snow and require you to plug them in to charge the battery when not in use.
Wheels vs. Tracks
The vast majority of snow blowers use wheels to make them mobile. For smaller machines, you’ll need to push and pull them to get them to move. Larger machines send power to the wheels for easier maneuvering.
Some larger units have tracks similar to what you see on tanks. This design is best if you have to clear steep driveways or hills. Wheels will want to roll and make the blower hard to use. Tracks are more stable and have better traction.
- Multiple Speeds. It can be smart to have a machine with multiple speeds. That way, you can control the amount of power you use based on the amount of snow that’s on the ground. This gives you better clearing control of the different areas of your property. The speed control should be easily reachable on the handle.
- Chute Controls. The chute is how the snow blower expels the cleared snow. A blower that has an adjustable chute gives you more control over where the expelled snow goes. Look for one that has the greatest amount of adjustability. This measurement is expressed in the degrees that it will swivel or rotate.
- Headlights. Wintertime has the least amount of daylight hours. This means you’re likely using your snow blower in low light. Trying to clear snow in the dark puts you at risk of clearing an area that you didn’t intend. A headlight can illuminate the area you're clearing and reduce the risk of getting off track.
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- Consider getting a long extension cable for snowblowers run by electricity. The cables they come with are short and do not offer much mobility.
- Since snow blowers toss snow away from the machine, it is wise to wear protective eyewear. While it may be only water, it is freezing and can form ice that might damage your eyes if it hits them at a high rate of speed.
- If using an extension cord to power a snow blower, be careful not to run over the cord when operating the snowblower. Try not to use a white extension cable. Instead, go for one that is brightly colored.
- Gas-powered snow blowers tend to be louder and more robust, capable of handling larger amounts of snow. You may want to wear headphones when operating these to avoid potential damage to your ears.
Q: What if I bend or break a blade?
A: Just like a lawnmower, you may end up bending a blade or auger on the snowblower. This can happen after hitting a rock or grinding against the ground. If you do end up with a broken blade, stop using the snowblower before you risk harming it further. You can buy snowblower blades at home department stores or online.
Q: How much snow can a snowblower handle?
A: This will depend on the snowblower you purchase. Gas-powered ones are capable of clearing a path up to 24 inches wide, maybe even wider. They also can clear a path that is up to 16 inches deep.
Q: How should I store the snowblower?
A: The best way to store a snowblower is in the garage or someplace that will not get dangerously cold. You can leave them outside and cover them with a warm tarp or blanket if needed, but you increase the risk of it freezing up on you.
For a sturdy snowblower with a strong motor and enhanced mobility, consider the Poulan Pro Two-Stage Snow Blower. The Briggs & Stratton Single Stage Snow Blower is also powerful, with an adjustable snow chute to aim the snow wherever you want.