Shoveling snow can be an obnoxious and even physically dangerous chore, especially in places where it can really pile up. Many a poor homeowner has been faced with the prospect of shoveling out a driveway before work, or on what was supposed to be a relaxing day off. A snowblower can be an easy, more thorough alternative, especially when it comes to larger properties where manually shoveling every drive simply isn’t a workable solution. Finding the snowblower that’s right for you, though, can be a complicated chore in and of itself. How do you pick the one that’s right for you and your property?
Well, to start with, we need to familiarize ourselves with the different types of snowblowers.
The Different Varieties of Snowblower
Snowblowers come in four main types, each having its own strengths and weaknesses. No one type is perfect for every application, and it’s up to you to decide which is right for your property!
Electric snowblowers are a small, portable, and compact option. They typically don’t require the maintenance that a gasoline-powered device does, so you don’t have to worry about changing the oil, keeping filters clean, or fumbling around with a gas can in subzero weather. Small and light enough to easily fit into most small spaces, an electric snowblower can be a perfect choice for anyone on a smaller property that doesn’t receive much snow. The trade-off for that portability is that an electric snowblower simply doesn’t have the horsepower to deal with large amounts of snow, or snow that has frozen solid.
Single-stage snowblowers are smallest entry in the gasoline-powered category. Requiring more maintenance, these medium-sized snowblowers are never-the-less convenient and small enough to be a good option for areas where an electric blower simply isn’t up to the job. Essentially a horizontal, gas-powered auger on wheels, the snowblower’s rotating screw simultaneously scoops and tosses the snow out of its chute and away from the work area. While able to make short work of moderate snowfall, the single-stage snowblower’s auger makes contact with the ground, meaning it can’t be safely used on gravel surfaces, and its vertically narrow mouth means it can’t effectively deal with deep snow.
The next size up, two-stage snowblowers are generally slightly larger than the average upright push mower, and may be more tool than you need if you live in an area that receives only moderate or occasional heavy snow. In return for that bulkiness, though, you get a generously sized bucket and a two-stage mechanism that can devour everything short of truly massive snowfalls, and sits high enough above the ground that it won’t damage concrete or gravel surfaces. Similar to the single-stage, the two-stage snowblower sucks up the snow with its auger, but then tosses it into a high-speed impeller that ejects it far away from the work area.
The 800-pound gorilla of the snowblower kingdom, these monsters are large, powerful machines that inhale, chop, then HURL snow and ice a significant distance away. Featuring dual augers that chew through even the largest and most solid snowdrift, a three-stage snowblower offers a third auger, positioned perpendicular to the collection augers and called an accelerator, that chops and shoots the snow and ice directly into the impeller, which further chops it up and fires it out of the chute. More machine than most people will need, these powerful tools will clear almost any amount of snow and are perfect for someone with large and deep areas of stubborn snow who just wants to get the job done.
Choosing The Right Snowblower
While a single or two-stage snowblower will be sufficient for most properties, larger areas or places that tend to receive large quantities of wet, stubborn snow may require a three-stage snowblower. For those who are concerned with maintaining a pristine property, an electric snowblower might be a convenient and maneuverable supplemental device for areas where a larger machine won’t fit, or for small touch-ups when a larger device isn’t necessary. Ultimately, the needs of a specific property depend on its size, winter weather patterns, and even the personality and capabilities of the user, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. You simply need to evaluate the requirements and quirks of your specific situation, then decide which machine best meets your needs!